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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's the biggest challenge facing indie filmmakers?

We posed that question to our Distribution U. audience at UCLA last Saturday. Here's what they said:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Links from Distribution U. in NY...And looking ahead to Saturday at UCLA

Wow... we had a great group of 200 filmmakers converge on NYU's Cantor Film Center last Saturday for the first Distribution U. of 2010... and now we're looking ahead to the second (and thankfully, final) workshop of the year, this Saturday at UCLA.

Just wanted to share some stuff from NYU.

- Eric Kohn of IndieWire was there as one of our guest experts, running lunch discussions on how filmmakers can get reviews, whether in traditional media or blogs. Afterward, he posted this write-up of the marketing and distribution case study we did on "Exit Through the Gift Shop," with speakers Marc Schiller of Electric Artists and Richard Abramowitz of Abramorama.

- "Star Wreck" director Timo Vuorensola couldn't join us (he was preparing to start shooting his latest project, "Iron Sky"), but he sent this six-minute video explaining his approach to building communities around his films — and raising money for the productions online.

- Participant Moishe Kaufman posted his notes from the morning and afternoon sessions on his great blog about film, the Internet, and media, The M Word.

- Dustyn Gobler, who was part of our excellent team of volunteers in New York (and is also an experienced post-production consultant), posted his notes on his blog.

- One of our other guest experts, producer and Filmmaker Magazine editor Scott Macaulay, had put this post on his blog before the event (it contains some audio from Distribution U. 2009, at USC). Anne Thompson of IndieWire, who'll be a guest expert this Saturday in LA, published this post on her "Thompson on Hollywood" blog, which contains another bit of audio from 2009.

- Here's the Twitter stream from the event. (This Saturday, we'll again be using the hash tag #distribu.)

- Participants shared some really kind words with us afterward. My favorite: "Honestly, this event really exceeded my expectations. Awesome."

- If you're in LA, we hope you can join us this Saturday (or spread the word to folks who might benefit.) We're grateful to our friends at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, who've made it possible for us to come to campus.

- Our discussion leaders in LA are a pretty impressive bunch, and you'll be able to sit down with three of them for a small group chat that we think will be full of helpful guidance:

    Roko Belic, Director, "Genghis Blues" and "Happy"

    Joe Beyer, Producer, Sundance Institute Online

    Adam Chapnick, Founder, Distribber

    Jonathan Dana, producer and producer's rep, "Road to Nowhere"

    Nolan Gallagher, Founder and CEO, Gravitas Ventures

    Jim Gilliam of NationBuilder, the Internet strategist who helped Robert Greenwald launch (and finance) his Brave New Films series of documentaries and online videos

    Roberta Grossman, Producer/Director, "Blessed is the Match"

    Madelyn Hammond, Marketing Expert, Madelyn Hammond & Associates

    • Producer and editor Joel Heller ("Winnebago Man")

    Justine Jacob, Director, "Ready Set Bag" and Partner, Lee & Lawless

    • Oren Jacob, CTO, Pixar and Executive Producer, "Runner's High" and "Ready Set Bag"

    Skot Leach, Co-Founder, Lost Zombies

    Cara Mertes, director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

    Cora Olson and Jennifer Dubin of Present Pictures

    Danae Ringelmann, Co-Founder, IndieGoGo

    Chris Shellen, Web strategist and producer, "Marwencol"

    Jill Sobule, crowdfunding pioneer and musician; Jill's latest release is "The California Years," funded entirely by her fans.

    • IndieWire writer Anne Thompson of "Thompson on Hollywood" (formerly of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter

    Nancy Willen, Head of Acme PR, Documentary Publicist (“Taxi to the Dark Side”)

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    Friday, November 05, 2010

    How to Get a Free Pass to Distribution U.

    The two Distribution U. events that I'm organizing with Peter Broderick are fast approaching... and I've been remiss in telling you how you can get a free pass.

    First, the New York edition happens November 13th at NYU's Cantor Film Center, thanks to our friends at the Tisch School of the Arts, and the Los Angeles edition happens a week later, November 20th at UCLA, generously sponsored by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

    Second, here are some of the people who'll be on-hand to share their advice about audience-building, social media, distribution, and crowd-funding:

    Richard Abramowitz
    (who organized the successful theatrical rollout of "Anvil: the Story of Anvil"), Jill Sobule (the singer-songwriter who enlisted her fans to fund her latest album), Marc Schiller (the digital marketing expert who heads Electric Artists), Caitlin Boyle (semi-theatrical maven and head of Film Sprout), transmedia producer Noah Harlan, Internet guru Brian Chirls, Jim Browne (theatrical booker and founder of Argot Pictures), Adam Chapnick (founder of Distribber, the innovative company that works with filmmakers to maximize their digital revenues), Ira Deutchman (producer and Emerging Pictures CEO), Sandi DuBowski (producer/director "Trembling Before G-d" and outreach director for The Good Pitch), Justine Jacob (director of "Ready, Set, Bag!" and an attorney at the law firm Lee & Lawless), marketing consultant and former Variety chief marketing officer Madelyn Hammond, producer and producer's rep Jonathan Dana ("Road to Nowhere"), Amy Dotson of IFP and "Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo," "ZENITH" director Vlad Nikolic, Scott Macaulay (producer and editor of Filmmaker Magazine), Slava Rubin and Danae Ringelmann (co-founders of IndieGoGo), Anne Thompson (journalist and blogger "Thompson on Hollywood"), Robert Bahar (“Made in LA”), Roberta Grossman ("Blessed Is The Match"), Joel Heller ("Winnebago Man"), Skot Leach of Lost Zombies, Cora Olson and Jennifer Dubin of Present Pictures, and Ben Niles ("Note by Note").

    So of course we'd love to have you join us in New York on November 13th or Los Angeles on November 20th (and you can use the discount code "friend" at either one to save a little dough.)

    And if you would like to try your luck at winning a free pass to the Distribution U. workshop of your choice, just share the link to either one on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, along with the tag "#distribu," and we'll pick a winner by Wednesday next week at 5 p.m.

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