April 2009

Lionsgate Relativity closing deal…

I love DHD for its insightful take on Hollywood business. Here is Nikki’s futures projection come to life…

SANTA MONICA, CA (April 27, 2009) - LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading next generation filmed entertainment studio, and Relativity Media, a premier media and entertainment company, announced today that they have finalized a new multi-picture, multi-year deal under which Lionsgate will acquire U.S. distribution rights for up to five Relativity Media productions per year. The agreement builds upon the successful relationship established by the companies during the past two years, when they partnered on the critical and commercial hits THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, 3:10 TO YUMA and THE BANK JOB. The announcement was jointly made by Joe Drake, Lionsgate President, Motion Picture Group, and Co-Chief Operating Officer, and Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media.

Said Drake, “Ryan Kavanaugh and his colleagues at Relativity Media have built an extraordinary company that is one of the industry’s most prolific suppliers of broad-appeal, talent-driven motion pictures. This agreement solidifies the long-term relationship we built together through successful partnerships on 3:10 TO YUMA, THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM and THE BANK JOB. We are thrilled to bring these new movies into the Lionsgate family, adding to the tally of first-rate productions that will define the Lionsgate release slate going forward.”

Said Kavanaugh, “This deal represents a big step in the evolution of a partnership between two forward-thinking companies. Lionsgate is defined by its keen ability to take smart risks on compelling films. Lionsgate treats its distribution of films as an owner, thinking creatively about how to approach every film uniquely and maximize the value of each and every project. These films are in great hands thanks to this relationship.”

The first title to be released under the new agreement is BROTHERS, the highly anticipated new film directed by six-time Academy Award® nominee Jim Sheridan (IN AMERICA, MY LEFT FOOT). Tobey Maguire, Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Academy Award® nominee Natalie Portman star in this drama about the rivalry and ultimate redemption of two brothers in love with the same woman. Based on the award-winning 2004 film by Danish writer/director Susanne Bier, BROTHERS is expected to be released by Lionsgate later this year. It will be followed by the supernatural thriller SEASON OF THE WITCH and the action/comedy THE SPY NEXT DOOR, both of which are currently in postproduction. Directed by Dominic Sena (GONE IN 60 SECONDS), SEASON OF THE WITCH stars Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and introduces Claire Foy in the story of 14th Century knights transporting a girl suspected of being the witch who has spread the Black Plague. SEASON OF THE WITCH marks Relativity’s first film in their output arrangement with Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. Directed by Brian Levant (ARE WE THERE YET?), THE SPY NEXT DOOR stars Jackie Chan as a mild-mannered suburbanite who agrees to babysit his neighbor’s unruly kids, only to have them accidentally blow his cover as a secret agent. Additional titles will be announced at a future date.

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Wendy Jaffe, Executive Vice President Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Sean Kisker, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning & Operations, Motion Picture Group; and by Ryan Kavanaugh, Chief Executive Officer, Tucker Tooley, President of Production, Andrew Marcus, Chief Operating Officer, and Linda Benjamin, Executive Vice President Business & Legal Affairs on behalf of Relativity Media.

Picking up the 3rd world internet bill

Consider that Facebook stores up to 850milj new photos and 8milj videos each months. Imagine the disc farms. The story continues to return revenue. If all those people who uploaded pics and vid’s actually added to the online economy by clicking on ads or better yet actually buying something this conversation would be a mute point. However, many of the users who use social networks and the like can hardly afford a loaf of bread, not to speak of “Sexy lingerie for you and your lover”.

This brings the Utopian vision of world sharing and online equality under some serious skepticism. The couple of milj users who actually DO click and buy cant sustain the rest of the world so now what. Some have answered by excluding ISP’s from specific countries or regions in Africa and India for example. Other alternatives are using simpler displays and lower quality pics and vids for these users to see. MySpace may try something called Profile Lite which would be a simpler layout that would use less bandwidth.

Bandwitdh cost money and not everyone has money so now what…this is going to become tougher question as revenue and usage become closer and closer. At the end of the day it’s all about the bottom line….


From NYTimes

This intractable contradiction has become a serious drag on the bottom lines of photo-sharing sites, social networks and video distributors like YouTube. It is also threatening the fervent idealism of Internet entrepreneurs, who hoped to unite the world in a single online village but are increasingly finding that the economics of that vision just do not work.

Last year, Veoh, a video-sharing site operated from San Diego, decided to block its service from users in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, citing the dim prospects of making money and the high cost of delivering video there.

“I believe in free, open communications,” Dmitry Shapiro, the company’s chief executive, said. “But these people are so hungry for this content. They sit and they watch and watch and watch. The problem is they are eating up bandwidth, and it’s very difficult to derive revenue from it.”

Web entrepreneurs like Mr. Shapiro of Veoh, still struggling with his decision to restrict his site from much of the world, might have to find a way to soothe their battered consciences.

“The part of me that wants to change the world says, ‘This is unfair, it shouldn’t be like this,’ ” Mr. Shapiro said. “On the other hand, from the business side of things, serving videos to the entire world is just not supportable at this time.”

Read Full NYTimes Article

No Advertising on French TV

In a world where we are trying to work out a business model where Advertisers and corporates can work together and make make money through new avenues (read Internet) to further content creation, french president Sarkozy bans advertising on National Television. For those who have been following the story since 2008, why has no-one mentioned it?! I think this a major step in modern television and rather controversial. Indeed, so controversial that most of the network-(ers) went on strike to try and change the bill.

Most of the controversy actually lies with the fact that Sarkozy’s best friend is owner of largest private broadcaster where all these advertisers now will flock to. ….eish… However, Sarkozy promises better national programming due to the fact that national broadcasters wont have to bend to the will of advertisers any longer and be able to make proper “French-centric” programming. He will off-set advertising revenue with higher advertising taxes and may go as far as to tax cellular and online networks.

I was elated to hear that there will be television with no advertising. My gosh, what a pleasure! If Sarkozy gets this right it may be a flag ship for other networks to follow. So now the focus is turned to his online principles and policies, and they my friends, do not make me as happy.

Some excerpts from News sources about his TV legislature:

Variety TV
Tue. Jan. 6, 2009

Sarkozy’s amendment will introduce a commercial-free, government-supported pubcaster model akin to the BBC in the U.K. However, unions and the left-wing opposition argue the ban will only help commercial nets, which will benefit from the advertising boost.

They also fear it will strengthen Sarkozy’s control over the media, by allowing the government to appoint France Televisions’ topper, previously chosen by broadcasting regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel.

BBC News
5 January 2009

Advertising is now banned on French public television between 2000 and 0600. It will be phased out by 2011.
He says his plan will improve the quality of programming but critics say it is a power grab that will deprive state broadcasters of funds.

The shortfall will be funded through a higher tax on advertisements aired on private channels and a new tax imposed on internet providers and mobile phone operators, the government says. But critics say the plan will cause job losses and hand funding to private broadcasters - the largest of which, TF1, is owned by a close friend of Mr Sarkozy’s.

Web in France Magazine
April 14, 2008

In a speech February at the inception of the French commission headed by French National Assembly leader Jean-François Copé to research the recommendations being implemented today, Sarkozy envisioned a French public liberated from what he called the “tyranny” of advertising on French TV. But the President of France said at the time that there were no plans to privatize any channels as part of a planned overhaul of public television, and so far has kept true to his word.

The plan would be an “innovation without precedent” for the audiovisual industry, resulting in “a cultural revolution in the public-television service,” Sarkozy said. He added that the move would “support French culture.” Sarkozy did add that the French government might also introduce a tax on Internet access and mobile communications to finance ad-free state TV in France, though the French president called the possible tax “infinitesimal.” People in France who own a television already pay a yearly tax for the privilege.

SMS Sugarman

I heard of SMS Sugarman a couple of years ago when I started making shorts on my Cell Phone. It must have been 2005?… During that time cell phones where starting development with video and resolution was a problem. I know when I got my Ericsson that could shoot 640x480 I was super chuffed…much like that feeling I got when my PC upgraded to a 1gig hard-drive. Since then I have worked with the D.O.P. Eran a couple of times shooting TV and he is a great filmmaker.

The big problem was a exhibition for this film. Having been shot on tiny res, the film had to be captured by basically shooting it again off a high-res screen. The end gets convoluted and I am not sure if that really worked. Either way I didn’t see it in Cinema and until now I wasn’t sure what actually happened to it.

So, without further adue, here is the full feature for your watching pleasure absolutely free! I haven’t watched it yet but will in the next couple of days. Let me know what you think…

Also, some words from the SMS Sugar Man blog.

Q&A with Eran Tahor excerpt….I really liked his closing statement!

Q: Will you be making further films in this manner, and what would you do differently?

Sure I want to make more films in this manner, for me it’s not about the technology. Using cellphones to shoot a feature film proved that with the right people, story and creative spirit we can make it happen.

Whether I shoot on cellphones, HD or film it’s about being creative, innovative and realizing that here in SA we can and must create a new kind of cinema, we must find new ways to transcend our limited resources and create something new as opposed to making low budget copies of what’s already out there.


“a fairy tale assumption in which an all but non-existent condition is assumed to be rampant” —Samuel R. Delany

South African film maker Aryan Kaganof shot his new film SMS Sugar Man entirely with a cell phone. That the media is the message is old news, so it’s hardly surprising that most readings of the film have focused on its presentation of the superficiality of our hyper-real late capitalist society. And indeed in Kaganof’s film is a relentless presentation of error, bad taste, artifice and a lack of truth or reasonableness, chronicling with zeal the hyper-violent banality of South Africa as a cell phone society where media image replaces reality and texting replaces language as a means of communication. What these readings fail to consider however is the films textuality and inter-textuality, and how Kaganof employs these strategies as a radical alternative to the banality of “sms society”. This paper investigates how Kaganof’s gleeful weave of fucked up fairy tales, nightmarish slapstick violence, literary references, mythology, personal narrative, b-grade trash and a wistful quest for spiritual unity encapsulates a cinema of multiple artistic personalities and irreconcilable differences. It is as if the film passes from the reality of our suppressed lives into the history we dream of making, and back again — left in ruins, our dreams haunt us like memories of an imaginary homeland that has disappeared from the map. In this context, Kaganof offers a reading of contemporary South Africa far more hopeful, far more complex than could ever be encapsulated in the 128×160 screen resolution of the cell phone.

In keeping with Kaganof’s refusal of the traditional dichotomies between art and popular culture, academic and b-grade strategies, this investigation presents itself as much as a fiction, an sms and a tabloid review, as a traditional academic analysis or paper.

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger

Some advice from Mr Scorsese himself and this his video clip which includes collaboration with Mick…

John Cassavetes once told me to stop wasting my time and get down to making the films I wanted to make, as opposed to the ones I could make.

It was an excellent piece of advice, which led to Mean Streets. Film what you want to film, what you need to film, not what you can film.

Mick Jagger joked that Shine a Light was the first of my movies in a long time that didn’t include “Gimme Shelter.” Believe me, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Exclusive Clip

From MyFilm.com

Selling overseas

Reading my daily digital newspaper (Google Reader) I found this article on foreign sales on Truly Free Film. Ted asks a colleague to explain how do foreign sales come up with the numbers. In short, based on a budget percentage, but it doesn’t end there by any means.

After this interesting read I was lead to Wall Street Journal for another article on the dismal state of foreign sales at the moment. It discusses the lack of interest in American cinema and the boost of local content world wide. I thought this was great news because SA now just has to catch up with the trend.

Enjoy the read!

*Glen Basner on Truly Free Film*

There are many factors in determining what a territorial license fee should be, a percentage of the budget is only one. These are standard amounts that are “typical” for an individual territory based on what distributors have paid historically (Yes, the world has changed quite a bit recently!). I don’t believe that they apply in singular fashion unless you are contemplating some form of output deal.

On a single picture license, a distributor will want to know what the budget level is so that: a) they understand what the production value will be; and b) they can feel comfortable that they are not paying an excessive amount in relation to the cost of the film. These are valid points but what people forget is that ultimately the budget of the film does not necessarily have a correlation with its success at the box office (Blair Witch etc).

Our approach is to think like a distributor and run estimates, both revenue and expense, for a film in all media to determine a low, base and high value a film is likely to have in any given territory. With these estimates we can back into a license fee figure that would allow for a distributor to make money should the film turn out well. The budget comes into play if the sum total of our international estimates do not raise enough money to finance a film.

Excerpt Wall Street Journal

Indie Films Suffer Drop-Off in Rights Sales
* APRIL 20, 2009

In the latest challenge to the American movie business, a crucial source of funding for independent films; sales of foreign-distribution rights, is rapidly drying up.

For decades, independent movie producers in the U.S. have routinely been able to fund their films by selling the rights to distribute them abroad. If the production featured a big-name actor or director, the rights were often sold before the movie was finished, providing producers with 50% or more of their production budget.

In addition, shifting tastes in many markets have favored local films over American fare. The breakout success in France of “Welcome to the Sticks” last year and, more recently, “LOL (Laughing Out Loud),” has persuaded some distributors to stick with products made on their native ground.

The success of local movies has diminished the demand for U.S. movies that don’t have a cross-territorial appeal,” says Bill Block, a veteran film financier who bought “The Blair Witch Project” a decade ago and went on to found QED International, a film production and foreign-sales company.

Read Full Article

Lionsgate finds private sales

Seems like Ichan is loosing the battle to not only win over Lionsgate board members but also buy Lionsgate debt and future slips…

More from Variety Business

In a move that may put a damper on any takeover effort by Carl Icahn, Lionsgate is refinancing $66.6 million of its debt in a private deal.

Meanwhile, Icahn had not indicated Monday afternoon whether he would extend his offer to buy $350 million of the Lionsgate debt or allow it to expire.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday, the mini-major disclosed that it had renegotiated with noteholders to exchange $66.6 million in existing notes due in 2025 for a new issue of the same bonds with two annual interest payments. The new notes have a lower conversion rate - $8.25 a share, compared with $14.28 - and mature three years later in 2015.

Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns told Daily Variety, “It’s a private transaction with two of our major bondholders on terms that are attractive to both sides.”

Read Full Article

Cut an effective Indy Trailer

Suprisingly I found Zak Forsman in the Workbook Project shortly after posting his film trailer I F*cking Hate You on my previous blog about Caachi. This article by him deals with Cutting an Effective Trailer. I now some film schools let the students design a trailer, in other words, they treat the trailer like a short film and that is a very good exercise. Being able to cut an effective trailer is of utmost importance when trying to convince your audience that they should watch your film.

Here is an excerpt out of the article.

Trailers can be a real challenge for filmmakers. The tendency is to withhold some of the more dynamic and compelling aspects of the film to preserve the experience of watching the film in a theater, streaming to one’s laptop or on a DVD. And that is admirable, but often lessens the potential impact of the trailer.

Feature editors have a natural inclination to want moments to breath. Trailers editors are skilled with the ability to compress moments down to a core idea. Asking a feature editor to cut a trailer would be like asking a novelist to write a song. It seems like a no-brainer to have the person who knows the footage best create the preview, but the result is often unbalanced. First, filmmakers often want to save the good stuff for the screening. That’s a problem from a marketing standpoint where you want to hook an audience with the most compelling details of your film — more on that later. Just know that the ability to re-conceptualize is very difficult for an editor who has been living and breathing your characters for weeks or months.

The first act of most pictures have all the set-up, all the character introductions, and all the bites of dialogue that can be laid out to present a concise version of the story. This is not necessarily the actual story of the film, however. My trailer for HEART OF NOW takes some liberties in order to present something that is as compelling as it is easily understood. The film itself, goes into territory much deeper than that of a girl deciding whether or not to have an abortion. But you can’t show that in less than three minutes.

Read Full Article

Heart of Now Trailer

HEART OF NOW - a film by SABI - TRAILER from Zak Forsman on Vimeo.

Caachi your online distributor

The conversation of whether film makers should distribute via traditional outlets or use alternative methods is, to me, redundant. All methods are valid and offer the same something, a positive return on investment. The difference now is that you are not requires to “go traditional”, you may experiment with many different tools and networks to get your film sold.

The word Hybrid is being used in the car industry all the time and I think the word should be used more often in the independent film world. A hybrid of economies, cultures and traditions are being used today to create, finance and sustain film makers. Many of the fundamentals of film making have stayed the same, however, our approach and execution are changing dramatically.

Caachi is an online distributor that takes only 25% of sales for their distribution service. They have hundreds of films in their library already covering all genres including an African section. Some of the films can be downloaded and watched for free, others you (obviously) need to pay for. Prices range from $10 to $2. The site sports a nice blog and also allows film makers to create “vidgets” (Video Widgets) so that they can display trailers on social networks.

Some titles that stood out:

24 Hours on Craigslist

Witness a day on Craigslist.com in San Francisco: An Ethel Merman drag queen searches for the perfect backup band for her Led Zeppelin covers. A suburban professional woman assembles a diabetic cat support group. A couple seeks the perfect rabbi for their marriage. A would-be mother finds her ideal sperm donor. Doors for sale, one night stands, compulsive roommates, transsexual erotic services. The mundane and the sublime, the ridiculous and the profound, all come together to paint a portrait of a thriving, humanistic community in the midst of an ever-accelerating culture.

Last Exit

LAST EXIT delves into the alternate and dark side of Copenhagen. Nigel, a loser in every sense of the word, is escaping his criminal past in England and is wedged in a loveless relationship with his wife Maria in a run down Copenhagen apartment. Nigel is constantly under pressure from loansharks and needs work badly

A commitment to gritty reality and honesty that is missing from a great deal of film making these days, …those of you who still think of “Sundance” as the epitome of independent film making, this movie will be an eye opener” Richard Marcus, Blog Critics Magazine

Hard as nails and cool. Drama , black comedy, psychological thriller and splatter in the same movie! [I]t had my with eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end” MovieMix Magazine

I F*cking Hate You

A compelling glimpse into a young man’s ill-conceived scheme to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex- girlfriend. Ain’t It Cool News hailed it as “Brilliant”.

Shoot a Feature film on a DSLR

More on the camera kit

The biggest issue with digital is that it’s not film. It smells differently. The noise is loud. The converters are (almost) infinite. It is cheap though and has allowed anyone to start making movies. The latter being the most important point to me.

As technology becomes cheaper to produce the quality get’s better so that manufacturers can keep bringing out updated hardware. The latest good news for film makers is the Canon 5D Mark2.

The 5D Mark2 has the ability to capture full HD video clips at 1920 x 1080 resolution, Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera features a 21.1-megapixel full frame 24 x 36mm CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 imaging processor and significantly lower noise, with an expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600.

Although it has no on board sound recorder the pictures beat anything I have seen digital produce. Perhaps the RED competes but that is a huge and expensive system if you compare it to the 5D. I have read a couple of blogs and news pieces on the 5D camera shooting video and the most prominent problem is focus.

Focus is murder; you don’t actively want a sensor this big, even if you think you do. It gets noisy, unpleasant vertical bands of noise, if you leave it on too long, which is mentioned in the manual.

The reason this piece of tech caught my attention was the indie film “Searching for Sonny”. The first full feature film to be shot on the 5D. I have not yet found information on their specific work-flow however I am to understand it was a pain in the ass to get it working all the way through.

Disney and his crew had to figure out how to workaround a few of the 5D Mark II’s most annoying limitations for filmmakers: no manual control over exposure settings during capture, and a lack of an efficient focusing system while shooting.

This is the life of the film maker though and if you have made ANY films you will know that problem solving is part of the job description. The override on exposure settings was solved by putting a Nikon F mount to Canon EOS adapter and stuck on an older Nikon 50mm lens with a mechanical aperture wheel. The latter problem is was simply a make-shift follow focus system which needs a focus puller. As far as the capturing and importing to Final Cut goes, I will have to get back to you…

If I look at the way the set was run it smacks of old-school meets new-school. Let me explain. The old-school 35mm Panavision et-al camera weighing in at 20kg odd is replaced with a 2kg DSLR. Both have interchangeable lenses and both still need an operator and focus-puller. The sound is separate (as it always was until the PD150 came along). However, we don’t need massive DAT recorders now, simply a good mic, pole and recording device like a mini-disc player or laptop. The crew formation is returning but the gear is transformed! Poetry of technology….

All that is needed, and will come, is a full LCD lighting kit. From the 10k all the way down to the 150 peppers. Take a second and imagine…beautiful.

Searching for Sony” seems to be an interesting story and I will want to see it regardless of the technology they have used. The fact that the pictures are amazing does help motivate me though.

SEARCHING FOR SONNY is the story about three bumbling friends who come back home for their high school reunion only to get sucked into a small-town murder mystery that is
eerily similar to a play from high school.

Another interesting point to this film is the investment strategy. They have a $30 buy a T-shirt and get your name in the credits option and also an invite to invest in the film. You can e-mail them to receive the full proposal.

Have a look at some of the trailers and the quality of this camera. I am convinced. Anyone has a 5D? Let’s make a movie!

Searching For Sonny - Gary Teaser/Canon 5d Mark 2 from Andrew Disney on Vimeo.

Hustlin’, Not Mumbling

This article title is a response to the depiction of our (upper middle class over educated and opinionated) generation. I used the example of Mumblecore film in a previous post, Mumblecore example for SA filmmakers, in the context of making movies regardless of popular taste. I use that example as much as I could have used the Dogma film for example. The content however of Mumblecore represents a “lost” generation unsure of the future and slacking. I don’t think this is a true depiction, I just have to look at my friends to know that.

I found this article which really gets the point across. We’re not a mumbling generation, we’re a hustling one!

The older generation is taking notice. “Today’s whippersnappers—they all take their cue from Monica Lewinsky, who had regular sit-downs with Vernon Jordan to discuss her career trajectory—are the most careerist, focused and entitled generation in the history of the planet,” Barney’s fashion guru and pop culture opinionista Simon Doonan wrote in the New York Observer in 2007. “Why can’t young adults just be the big, fat, freewheeling losers that people in their 20’s are meant to be?”

We are not the baby boomers. We are their children—Chelsea Clinton spring to mind. Have you ever seen someone in their 20s more mature and together than Chelsea Clinton? I can imagine her rolling her eyes at her less-than-perfect parents: “Ugh, you guys are so immature.” Our parents told us we could be anything we want to be. It was a lie, but it motivated us nonetheless.

written by: Aymar Jean Christian

Read full article

Opensource Furniture

And now for something completely different….

The idea and execution of open-source has mostly been linked with online participation regarding coding of applications and then further into re-mixing content. However, this philosophy has never really spilled into the “real world” until now. I found this great story on Boing Boing.

Your next piece of designer furniture could cost less than an Ikea chair—as long as you’re willing to make it yourself. Taking a cue from the Linux community and file-sharing services, Berlin-based design guru Ronen Kadushin has started a furniture free-for-all he calls Open Design. It allows crafty consumers to download the instructions, photos, and AutoCAD files needed to knock off his work.

Kadushin’s tables, chairs, and shelves sell for upwards of $5,000 each, but he’s as interested in sharing ideas as in making a profit. Everything on Kadushin’s Web site (ronen-kadushin.com) is free for use under a Creative Commons license. And far from being an artistic tyrant, he hopes you’ll customize his pieces. You’ll just need access to a large computer-controlled router or laser cutter (depending on what you’re building) to realize the digital forms in wood or metal. All Kadushin asks is that you be creative with your mods—oh, and maybe send him a picture of the finished product.

Click here for further instructions.


bird-table-2-l.jpg eclipse_light_5-large.jpg

AOL being dislodged from Time

If Time Warner is able to “spin” AOL and split it form the mother ship, Time Warner earning projections should double from 2009 - 2012 says DealBook. Read here for the details and hefty plans of the corporate world…

Mr. Nathanson said by separating AOL, Time Warner would double its estimated earnings growth from 2009 to 2012. He estimates that AOL would be valued at $2.4 billion on a stand-alone basis, a far cry from some estimates of up to $10 billion last year.

And with the extra cash Time Warner may look to some bargain hunting, Variety speculated. One fund manager told the publication that Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive, the video game companies, could be attractive to the media conglomerate “because the stocks are cheap and it’s the fastest-growing industry in the media field. And I think it makes more sense to buy rather than build.

And I thought we where all 2k


Discussing this topic of 2k digital distribution and exhibition with my friend Daniel in Lake Constant, we realize this conversation is not new to say the least! In 2006 when we both worked on Spoon (shot on full raw 2k camera) digital distribution was a very popular late night conversation. Alas, this conversation should never have ended.

With a hundred years of film history and 35mm film technology, the exhibitors of the world still consider it a better format and see no real reason that they should spend to convert to digital. In their eyes, if a distributor wants to distribute digitally they should at least fit the bill to project this (2k) image. In turn the distributor looks at the Studio for some sort of budget compensation or inclusion for this plan and of course he is turned away at the door.

Obviously there are numerous reasons for this belated digital party with only a small percentile of exhibitors world wide going digital and this number (unlike twitter followers) are not growing exponentially. This is caused most severely, in my opinion, by new creation of technology combined with un-relinquished history.

The more we code and encrypt new technology the more detailed it becomes. Coding is becoming similar to the art of molecular research where you realize that you can continue ad infinitum. There are codes for every bit that is transferred and no code may clash with another. If it does then you need to write a patch code and so the tale continues for capture, grading, exporting, encrypting and exhibiting. Of course there is no help form the hardware designers (read SONY) who have coded their own machines to their specific manufacturing code. Oy vey.

My other point regarding history is simpler to examine. It is a cultural and generational point. Albeit that it is easy to identify this chasm, it is not as easy to overcome. Indeed, coding a missive video and audio app that enables streaming data to converge and display with a unique code each time may be easier to configure than this conundrum would be to discombobulate. For an exhibitor that has been doing this since the “olden days” looking at a 2k projection and receiving nothing more than a file is, to say the least, a push in personal boundaries. Similarly is the idea of the entire digital age to the older generations which doesn’t make our case for digital any easier. I do not want to discredit the Boomers at all, but it is true that presently they run, well, the world and really none of these people have ever seen Google reader or tried to figure out why the damn fire-wire wont friggen work!

The point is, it is going to take time. Like most good things in life. It is also going to take experimentation, like most good things in life….

Here are some links to the Digital Distribution World
Digital Cinema Report
Celluloid Junkie Article
LA Times Article

Fans Friends and Followers


This new book looks at what is going on in the digital age and independent media. I am going to show you the content of this book and get you excited about it that way…because it is RAD.

Table of Contents

Understanding the New Rules: Building an Audience and a Career in the Digital Age

Table: Defining the Terms

Introduction to the Interviews

Film & Video

Michael Buckley: Creator of “What the Buck”

Mike Chapman: Animator and Writer, “Homestar Runner”

Ze Frank: Multimedia Artist and Creator of “theshow”

Curt Ellis: Documentary Producer and Writer, King Korn

Michael “Burnie” Burns: Creator of “Red vs. Blue”

Sandi DuBowski: Documentary Filmmaker, Trembling Before G-d

Gregg and Evan Spiridellis: Co-Founders, JibJab Media

Timo Vuorensola: Science Fiction Director, Star Wreck

Steve Garfield: Videoblogger

Robert Greenwald: Documentary Filmmaker, Iraq for Sale

M dot Strange: Animator, We Are the Strange


Jonathan Coulton: Singer-Songwriter

Damian Kulash: Singer and Guitarist, OK Go

DJ Spooky: Composer, Writer and Multimedia Artist

Jill Sobule: Singer-Songwriter

Richard Cheese: Singer

Chance: Singer-Songwriter

Brian Ibbott: Host of the Podcast “Coverville”

Visual Arts

Natasha Wescoat: Painter, Designer and Illustrator

Tracy White: Comics Artist, “Traced”

Matt W. Moore: Artist and Graphic Designer

Dave Kellett: Comics Artist, “Sheldon”

Dylan Meconis: Graphic Novelist, “Family Man”


Sarah Mlynowski: Novelist, “Magic in Manhattan” series and Me vs. Me

Brunonia Barry: Novelist, The Lace Reader

Lisa Genova: Novelist, Still Alice

Kris Holloway: Non-Fiction Author, Monique and the Mango Rains

Comedy & Magic

Eugene Mirman: Comedian and Writer

Dan and Dave Buck: Pioneers of Extreme Card Manipulation

Mark Day: Comedian and YouTube Executive


Exploring the New Business Models

Power Tools for Audience-Building, Collaboration and Commerce

Supplemental Reading


About the Author

*You can buy the book here*

Short review from www.chutry.wordherders.net

Scott Kirsner’s Fans, Friends, and Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age uses interviews with a number of prominent artists who have been able to forge careers and gain widespread popularity primarily through promotional and distribution tools available online. For those of us doing research on digital cinema, Kirsner’s book is a valuable resource, one that illustrates the ways in which content creators are navigating, and sometimes profiting from, what Chris Anderson has described as the “long tail” of digital distribution and what others have described as do-it-yourself (DIY) distribution. While my own research, in Reinventing Cinema (Amazon) , focuses exclusively on filmmakers, Kirsner assembles a number of key figures from what he calls the “era of digital creativity,” including musicians, comics artists, visual artists, and novelists, in order to establish or explore how a set of practices have emerged that allow artists to escape the “gatekeepers” of traditional distribution and market themselves. While Kirsner’s book is generally optimistic about the potentials of DIY, a number of significant themes surfaced throughout the interviews.

Read full review

Icahn and the Lion Cont’d

Lions Gate Says Icahn’s Move Could Risk Default
March 27, 2009

From Dealbook - Here’s the latest on what is going on with Icahn. He wants it all, no surprise considering the strength of LG library which include the Madea franchise.

Mr. Icahn, who controls 14.5 percent of Lions Gate shares, has launched an offer to buy $325 million worth of convertible notes issued by the studio, producer of the popular “Saw” and Tyler Perry movies, and the “Mad Men” cable TV series.

If Mr. Icahn were to successfully buy the debt and convert it all into equity, his stake would double to about 28 percent to 29 percent. The offer expires on April 20.

Lions Gate said on Thursday its board decided to adopt a “neutral” stance toward the activist shareholder’s tender offer, but warned that, if Mr. Icahn owned more than 20 percent of the company, it may constitute a change in control that could result in default and accelerated payment obligations on another Lions Gate credit facility.

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Future of Independant film

Scott Kirsner interviewed Independent film makers at a breakfast about the future of Independent Film.
The recording is not great because of the background noise, if you can take it you may hear some pearls about distribution, business models and where are we going….

Eight folks who were in Austin this week for the SXSW Film Festival sat down yesterday morning to have breakfast and talk about the one big idea or big challenge or big shift that we’ve been thinking about most these days. We recorded the conversation so you could listen in, but be forewarned that there’s a lot of background noise; the restaurant was noisier than is ideal for audio recording. (It gets better as the recording goes on, as the restaurant empties out.) The order in which people speak in the recording is:

producer Ted Hope
filmmaker Lance Weiler
conference organizer and producer Liz Rosenthal
technologist Brian Chirls
outreach guru Caitlin Boyle
filmmaker Brett Gaylor
producer and Filmmaker Mag editor Scott Macaulay

Listen Here