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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How filmmakers are using MySpace ... And how digital moviemaking changes acting (from the DGA's Digital Day)

- Anne Thompson's Risky Biz blog pointed me to this article about how filmmakers are using MySpace to build an audience for their projects (and ideally convince distributors that people want to see it in theaters). Alexandra Deyle writes:

    Some [filmmakers] liken the social-networking landscape to an unmowed lawn: messy and overgrown. “Every 12-year-old with a camcorder is posting his movie,” sighs one forlorn filmmaker. “There’s so much junk out there, your film can get lost in it.” But others see the vastness of MySpace its most valuable resource — a massive talent pool with limitless networking possibilities, all free of charge. “Regardless of the clutter, [MySpace] has given indie filmmakers a kind of base operation,” says Dominic Greco, a Utah-based filmmaker who used the site to find cast and crew for his upcoming film Plastic. “We can all browse each other’s projects and team up with other filmmakers who have similar visions.”

    Greco knows a lot about networking on MySpace: it’s where he met (and fell in love with) cinematographer Janissa Rose Hamilton, who moved from Virginia to Salt Lake City to collaborate on Plastic, a drama about teenagers who get embroiled in credit card fraud. Greco and Hamilton cut together a spec trailer for the film, created a MySpace page that has over 7,200 friends and now hope to secure financing through their growing network of supporters.

    When the producers of the bio-doc Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? began searching for their target audience of Nilsson fans, they devised a pretty logical strategy using the site. “We heard there were a lot of Harry fans on MySpace, [and] we knew how powerful the site was,” says Arlene Wszalek, an associate producer of the film. A simple query into the MySpace music search field yielded hundreds of profiles, and before long the official Who Is Harry Nilsson film page had 1,630 friends. “Once we got accepted to the Seattle Independent Film Festival...we sent a bulletin to [our] MySpace friends, and people started e-mailing [to say] that they would be traveling to Seattle to see the film,” says Wszalek, who points to the film’s MySpace popularity when speaking with potential distributors.

- Wired editor Chris Anderson was the opening speaker at the Director's Guild of America's Digital Day on Saturday, July 29th. This is technically an off-the-record, top secret event, though some coverage seems to slip out each year. (Here's some from 2005.)

Chris posts some notes from the event, including some comments from `Flyboys' director Tony Bill and `Zodiac' director David Fincher about shooting digitally -- and how it changes acting. Tony Bill says:

    That slight whirring noise of film running through the camera is the sound of money. And it gets in the way of being real.

    I've had to unlearn saying "action" and "cut". I think shooting in digital makes every actor better. You're always in rehearsal and never in performance. There's no "start". It allows for serendipity. Rather than reach an emotional moment and then having to recreate it later with the film running, you capture everything.

Other speakers at the event: Doug Trumbull (via holographic projection), Scott Billups, Rob Cohen, Rebecca Miller, and Brad Silberling.


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