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Monday, June 18, 2007

Advice for Indie Filmmakers: Peter Broderick Video Q&A

If you've been to a film festival or two, you've likely seen Paradigm Consulting founder Peter Broderick speaking or moderating a panel; often, his focus is on digital filmmaking and do-it-yourself distribution. (This month, he'll be at the LA Film Festival and next month at Outfest.) Peter was formerly president of Next Wave Films, which in 1999 launched the first initiative to finance digital features.

This interview is in three segments. I've tried to indicate the topics we cover in each one.

Part 1 (8:00 running time)

Topics: The Cannes Film Festival, and whether attendees in 2007 were thinking about digital distribution channels. Broderick's favorite film at the festival. IFC's First Take multi-channel releasing strategy, and their acquisitions at the festival. Also: iTunes, Jaman, and Joost.

Part 2 (15:10 running time)

Topics: Film financing, including Internet-based efforts by documentarian Robert Greenwald,, and Also: Peter's recommendations about the best way for filmmakers to sell DVDs online.

Part 3 (8:50 running time)

Topics: How to market indie films online. Creating various versions of a film for distribution. The shift from selling DVDs to digital downloads. Also: 'The Secret,' Breakthrough Distribution, Joost, AppleTV, and affiliate programs.

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  • Hi Scott. Thanks for all you do from the blog to "The Future of Web Video" (which I bought) and now this interview with Peter Broderick.

    So, after kissing-up a bit, I have some observations and suggestions, not about the content, but about the tech side. (Are you surprised that us film-maker-types notice this stuff?)

    1. THE INTRO
    It starts out with the audio volume level real low. Just about the time I got my amp gain cranked up to the max... BOOM... you crank it up to listening level. It made the neighbor dogs bark. You fooled me twice too. By the time I started part two I'd forgotten the trick.

    I suggest you add a little music and voice-over intro at a volume level that matches the rest of the piece.

    The volume from section to section in your three parts varied all over the map. I had to adjust the gain several times to keep it loud enough to understand but below the threshold of pain.

    I spend more time fixing the audio on my videos than I spend editing the pictures. I suggest you might want to take a bit more time with the audio in general.

    I can't believe you broke the cardinal rule about "crossing the axis". You were both looking to the left of the screen. I know it's not a big deal but this is the "CinemaTech" blog.

    4. WHY VIDEO?
    This is a question I ask myself all the time, "Does this interview really need to have moving pictures?" How much value was added by the video in this piece? (If it had been just audio, you could have spent more time making it good audio.)

    I shot and edited an interview with Mike Curtis ( and Tom Parish (The interview is here: In this case you do get to see some of Mike's secret lair, so I suppose that's some value added.

    The value in your interview is in the information you shared with us and I thank you for that. But I think the aesthetics do matter some. If the choice is this way or not at all, then "this way" is okay.

    Peace, Love, Laughter,


    By Blogger Rob:-], at 8:05 PM  

  • Rob-

    Thanks for all the feedback. Really useful. I'm not a filmmaker myself, and was working as a crew of one on this one (me) -- so it is good to get tips from CinemaTech readers, who are much better at this stuff than I!


    By Blogger Scott Kirsner, at 8:15 PM  

  • Awesome useful and informative video...mega thanks for posting it Scott... I took notes :)

    By Blogger M dot Strange, at 9:22 PM  

  • Peter Broderick is an odd one. He wrote the Filmmaker article that inspired a LOT of people to ruin their lives making their 16mm movies, as he published actual budgets for El Mariachi, Laws of Gravity, etc. But then he started Next Wave, which was a tragedy. Word was that Blair Witch Project would've been theirs pre-Sundance but Next Wave did not commit. Following and Blood Guts are fine and good, but they totally missed the Next Wave. I've seen Next Wave present a lecture. It was contradictory. They were there for filmmakers- at a rate of 5 per year. (Submissions to Sundance are over 1,000). But they wanted everyone to keep them up to date on their projects. All the tracking, none of the investment or commitment.

    So I'm always up to hearing what people have to say, but I feel some folks just ride off a long ago reputation as they journey the festival circuit and offer empty encouragement. (You know the film financing panels that talk about negative pick ups... um, when does that happen?) I don't care if predictions are wrong, so long as they're actively doing the work. Next Wave could've and should've. And didn't. Lack of commitment, I suppose. Some folks can't follow their own advice I guess.

    This said, thanks for interviewing the guy. Just questioning the experts. Everyone thought Lou Pearlman was a genius. But folks from NYC knew the dude was a crook a decade ago. Not comparing Broderick to Pearlman, just saying question all answers. Advice is easy to dispense. Application is the tough stuff.

    By Blogger Team Torres, at 9:29 PM  

  • Scott,

    I know how much work goes into even the simplest of "video" to post online, so thanks for taking the time to do it.

    I disagree with Rob about whether this "need(ed) to have moving pictures" in the sense that too few people associate faces and personalities with names these days.

    You get far more from meeting YOU or anyone else in person than years worth of reading what they write. Video adds value, and in spite of any technical limitations for what you had available when you shot the interview, I'm very glad you did post it. :)

    Steve Herring

    By Blogger Steve, at 3:10 AM  

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