Sunday, August 30, 2009

What is facebook, really?

I've been experimenting on Facebook lately.

I've decided that Facebook is like a meeting of friends on a front porch.

- All your friends can hear what you say, but not everyone will

- Occasionally people will get up and leave, and occasionally new
people will arrive.

- People won't share *everything* on the front porch, but they may
share surprisingly intimate things.

- Using the front porch as a forum to sell one's wares is in very bad

Over and out.

Curriculum guide for Digital Video Secrets

Here's a 15 week curriculum guide which draws upon the exercises in my book, Digital Video Secrets.

This guide is intended for a class in introductory digital video production in a two or four-year course that culminates in a film degree.

Use it as you wish in your classes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Morrie Warshawski on "crowd funding"

Morrie Warshawski, author of Shaking the Money Tree comments on something I wrote about

"There's definitely a new paradigm, and "crowd funding" is one part of that.

"A more egalitatiran site for this for film is I believe that kickstart is by invitation only.

"I'm seeing more and more indie filmmakers try this type of fundraising. Unfortunately, the downside is that it doesn't normally raise "big" bucks, so it can only be part of the strategy used for raising support - unless you are doing a film of modest budget where $30 - $50K is considered major.

"When I did research for my new 3rd edition of SHAKING THE MONEY TREE (due out in January) I ran across Robert Greenwald's success in raising large amounts from thousands of small donations nationally for his work.

"The key to his success was his luck in being able to partner early with, which has a huge email list.

As I say in my book, one important "shift" in thinking is to forget about chasing an "audience" and concetrate on creating a "community."

(Shaking the Money Tree is the classic among fund raising books for filmmakers.--TL)

Thursday, August 27, 2009 -- DIWO for filmmakers is a Do It With Others site for filmmakers who are looking for resources for their films.

"Whether you're a filmmaker trying to get your project started, finished, marketed or distributed or a fan eager for more personally relevant and interesting films, IndieGoGo is where both can take action and influence what projects are brought to life."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 -- micropatronage for the arts is a micropatronage site, where people can give a few dollars to aspiring artists and filmmakers.

This is one of the most exciting funding ideas for filmmakers and artists that I've seen. In the immortal words of Mel Brooks, "It. Could. Work."

New York Times article.

Monday, August 24, 2009

1000 true fans

Kevin Kelly contends that an artist--any creative artist--needs only 1000 true fans to make a living and thus to be able to spend his or her life making art.

An interesting idea, because it means that the artist need not strive for a "hit" to faceless millions.

And it's an achievable goal. One fan a day for three years...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

6 publicity tools every new author needs

I recently asked book publicist Lorna Garano "What are the basic publicity tools every new  nonfiction book author needs?"  She quickly listed six things:

1. A press kit. 
And it should be good. Good writing, good photography, good graphic design and good printing. Have hard copies for mailing and handing out, and a soft-copy PDF on your website for downloads. 

The press kit should include, at a minimum: 
    a. Your "story" and bullet points about you
    b. Your bio and a head-shot (photograph) taken by a professional or talented amateur
    c. A list of suggested interview questions. Write the list in the form of a Q and A, and include full answers. Some interviewers will read the questions verbatim during interviews.
    d. Raves about you and about your book

2. A web site for your book or a dedicated page for the book on your existing web site
3. At least 3 targeted press releases to niche media

4. A blog 

5. An e-marketing piece (either a regular e-newsletter or some other regular email)

6. Video (on your web site) 

Note: This list is for nonfiction books, and not for fiction. Fiction books have different publicity and promotion needs.

Rick Steves tells how he built his empire

Rick Steves interviewed on Bloomberg: 20 minutes. In this interview Steves explains how he wrote his first book and went on to turn the book into a $140,000,000.00 empire of books, tours, radio and television shows. He ends by explaining his current expansion into iTunes audio. The key to his success is his passion and honesty. The interview is also a brilliant example of publicizing his latest book: Travel as a political act.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"As the world's largest, 100% free directory of author events, makes finding when a favorite author is coming to your town as easy as checking the weather.

"In just a few minutes any author can create a page showcasing their biography, books, and upcoming engagements."

The BookTour Blog.

Independent Filmmakers distribute their own films

"When “The Age of Stupid,” aclimate change movie, “opens” across the United States in September, it will play on some 400 screens in a one-night event, with a video performance by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, all paid for by the filmmakers themselves and their backers. In Britain, meanwhile, the film has been showing via an Internet service that lets anyone pay to license a copy, set up a screening and keep the profit..." More... in the New York Times, August 13 2009.

Monday, August 10, 2009

HD Video Camera for documentaries

The new HM100 HD camcorder from JVC is a winner. 

In the past I've shied away from JVC products because of lingering quality control problems. With the HM100, JVC has overcome these problems. The camera is well-built, balanced in the hand, and easy to use. The image is great, the controls are well placed, and the included microphone captures good quality sound. 

The camera records native FinalCut Pro files on inexpensive SD cards. After shooting, just plug the SD card into a laptop running FinalCut Pro 6.04 or above and start editing. 

If you are not using FinalCut Pro, the HM100 also records in standard MPEG4 format.

While I was in New Orleans, I used the HM100 to shoot some sample footage: low-light, bright daylight, soft daylight and interview.  As soon as I get back to my FinalCut Pro editing system,  I'll post a few samples.

digital recorder / pen

Digital recorders are essential for good interviews, as are comprehensive notes. 

I usually take notes and record interviews. But, after the interview, I often want to go back and find out exactly what someone said at a certain point. In the past I've noted the time (approx. 20 minutes).  The LiveScribe recorder has a camera in the tip of the pen/recorder which allows you to point the pen at a note--written in a special LiveScribe notebook--and replay that part of the interview.