Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Domino Project

Seth Godin is starting The Domino Project to change the way books are published and purchased.

His goals:
  • To reinvent the way books are created when the middleman is made less important.
  • To reinvent the way books are purchased when the tribe is known and embraced.
  • To reinvent the way books are read when the alternatives are so much easier to find.
  • To find and leverage great ideas and great authors, bringing them to readers who need them.
It is my personal goal to become one of the authors working with the Domino project.

I have finished the first draft of a book that would be ideal for this project. The second draft is under way. When the second draft is finished, I will write a 20 page PDF manifesto as the first step toward finding and embracing the tribe for the book.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall, 1938--intro film

Brief film with intro and footage from inside the concert hall.

Benny Goodman, "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Gene Krupa "Sing, Sing, Sing"

Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall, 1938

I'd been busy on a book, with no time for posting on the blog, when a friend told me about the Benny Goodman concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938. It is one of the great musical performances/events of all time.

You can buy a boxed CD set of the complete concert on Amazon.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Colin Cromwell on reporting

Colin Cromwell writes on "What did I learn at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism."


WordCount Blog: Freelancing in the digital age

Michelle V. Rafter's blog, WordCount.

Good writing, useful tips on digital freelancing.


online writing markets (e-book)

Online Writing Markets.

An e-book by Boston freelancer and writer for Urban Muse, Susan Johnson.


Ledes - Use memorable quotes as your ledes

Memorable quotes make great ledes.

When researching a piece of writing, there's always one quote that sticks in your mind. It often summarizes the story, or provides a provocative insight.

"Helping people is hard. You do your best. Then you let go."
(A Tibetan monk speaking on compassion and the responsibility to relieve suffering.)

Use the memorable quote as the lede to your article, chapter, or blog post.

Nut graf tells the direction of the story

From Michelle Rafter's blog:

...A story without a nut graph is like a walk in the woods without a path: you know you’re going someplace, you’re just not sure where.

The nut graph supplies that direction. It tells readers, ‘This is what this story is about, this is why you should care, this is why you should keep reading.’

LIRQS -- a loose formula for writing a news article

Colin Cromwell explains LIRQS

"LIROS or lede, impact, react, quote, scene. Legend has it that Lawrence Van Gelder, a former reporter/editor at the New York Times developed this form of article writing. Up late at night at the Times office, Van Gelder scrutinized the papers’ best articles to see what they all had in common. The result, LIRQS – a loose formula for writing a news article."

How to record phone conversations on Skype

Colin Cromwell explains:

From Colin Cromwell's blog:

"New media publishing requires being able to plan, source, edit and upload with speed. Yadda yadda. If you’re new at this or like me, you’ll often have this awesome photo slideshow only to lament your lame audio actuals. While, it’s not ideal, you can bolster your slideshow or even your video by calling your source on Skype. You can record the conversation with software like, Audio Hijack and then mix the new actuals over the images.

To make this work, you should be sure that you always record ambient sound while reporting and be familiar with something like Audacity or other sound editing software.

Here’s the how to record phone conversations on Skype:

  1. First, plan story.
  2. Then go take photos.
  3. Be sure to record ambient when you get there, as you won’t get this chance again. Record ambient sound from where ever you get your actuals from.
  4. Get as many actuals as your storyboard requires.
  5. Go home and edit. Realize you’re missing material. Doh.
  6. Open Audio Hijacks. Then open Skype. (Only this order works. You’ll be prompted to quit Skype if you reverse order.) Ready? Test. Then call sources and explain. I’m fully honest that I’m laying this new audio over the “older” slideshow. I even ask that they imagine that they are back at the scene. If this is unethical, let me know.
  7. Once you’ve got your material. Edit it. Use Audacity’s noise removal feature to help get rid of the phone tone.
  8. Lay your actuals over the ambient sound you recorded. Tweak accordingly.
  9. Once you’ve got your clips. Export as .WAV and insert into slideshow. Voila."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Google 10^100 award winners

Google just announced the 10^100 award winners.

The winners include the Kahn Academy, which strives to make a world-class education available to anyone, anywhere, for free.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tony Levelle Video

A short video of me talking about Digital Video Secrets. Just posted on YouTube.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How web video powers global innovation

In this TED talk, How web video powers global innovation Chris Anderson shows how global innovation is being fueled by online video.

For a while now, I've known that each new book that I write must be accompanied by video. I thought of the video as a way to promote the book.

I now think I got it backwards. Online video may be the most important part of an intellectual project (like writing a book). The book itself may just be a 'souvenir', a small part of an intellectual project, a specific tool for researchers and text-oriented applications.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The line between the book and the Internet

The line between the book and the Internet will soon disappear, according to this essay on the O'Reilly Radar.

This has enormous implications for publishers and authors.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hybrid distribution for micro-budget films

Microfilmmaker magazine just published my new article on how Micro-budget filmmakers are using hybrid distribution techniques to get their films in front of audiences, recoup expenses, and continue to make films.

The article includes detailed examples of micro budget films that have done this successfully including the films:

The Shaman and Ayahuasca
Senior Prom

Finding a band of angels -- crowdfunding

Peter Broderick has written a good, simple explanation of how an author can use kickstarter to fund, publish and distribute a book.

All the links you need to crowdfund your own book or film are in the article.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Helping creative workers find an audience

There is a deep need for hands-on courses for filmmakers, artists, and creative workers of all kinds in how to find and collaborate with their niche audiences via the Internet.

This skill is not easy to learn. It may take hands-on experience under a teacher or mentor.

I think a "course" of learning for a filmmaker, writer, artist or creative worker might look something like this.

How to:
- Find and test an idea (Are you passionate about it? Really? Is it worth doing?)
- Define how you will express the idea: will it be a book, film, or artwork of some other kind?
- Define the exchange, how your audience will benefit or be enriched from your work
- Define your audience(s) and where they hang out
- Create reliable low-cost ways to reach your audience(s) using the Internet and digital media
- Develop relationships with a tribe of people within the audience(s)
- Raise funds from the tribe (via crowd funding)
- Deliver the book, film, or other creative work to the tribe
- Repeat several times and develop a following.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Head Butler dot com

Head Butler --a civilized way to start the day...

(along with Arts and Letters Daily)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Murikami novel releases to iPad

The famous novelist Ryu Murikami is releasing his next novel directly to iPad. He figures if he can get 5000 downloads, he will earn back his investment.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Content design for the Kindle

A good article on designing and writing content for the Kindle.

Writing your book for the Kindle

Amazon now sells more Kindle books than they do hard-copy books.

I just read my own book on a Kindle. I was not happy with the page layout, or the way my book read. (I read a lot of Kindle books.)

If I were writing the book today I would do a few things differently, to make the book easier to read on a Kindle. I would:

1. Use a simpler layout, with short paragraphs (130 to 200 words max).

2. Use extremely high contrast black and white illustrations.

3. Rely more on stories and anecdotes to illustrate concepts.

4. Use illustrations that stand alone, and don't have to be physically placed on the page close the text.

5. Limit or eliminate tables

6. Limit or eliminate numbered lists (The numbering scheme in my book did not translate to Kindle)

7. Limit or eliminate bulleted lists.

Maybe eBooks will one day faithfully reproduce the layout and contrast ratio of a printed page. But until that day, I'm going to use a much simpler layout on everything I write.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Publicize Your Book, by Jacquline Deval

Publicize Your Book focuses on mainstream publishing houses, as opposed to self-publishing, and shows what goes on inside the publishing house. Well written, time-saving tips from someone who knows the business from the inside.

Scroll down to the reviews for well written analysis of the book by the author of The Joy of Digital Photography.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

digital barn raising?

When I was a kid, I used to watch the Amish community get together for barn raisings.

The day before the raising, all the materials were delivered to the site. The next day everyone in the community showed up in the morning, and started work on the barn. By the end of the day, the farmer had a barn.

What if a group of authors did the same for new books? Maybe we get five, seven or more volunteers together for two hours to do a digital "barn raising" for new books. If you participate, that means the others in the group will do the same for you some day in the future.

We might shoot a dozen short videos, write a dozen Amazon reviews, write twenty 130 word blog posts (to use in future), a bunch of tweets and facebook entries. By the end of the day the book would be launched.

The corporate world just did this kind of thing successfully with the Old Spice commercials. Here's an explanation of how it worked for them:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tips for responding to the media

What do you say when a reporter wants to interview you?

Here's a link to a very good tip sheet, "Tips for responding to the media" from Resource Media:

From the tip sheet:

When a reporter calls … first ask questions.

When’s your deadline?
This question is imperative. Let them know you will get back in touch before that time.

What’s the story about?
Don’t be afraid to ask for more information. It’s possible the reporter will ask YOU to identify the news. This is your chance to set the tone for the interview and, possibly, the article.

What do you need?
Get specifics.

Who else have you called?
You may not get an answer, but this is a fair question. It can help reveal the “angle” of the story.

Next … do the following:

Hang up to get prepared:
This is key.

Enlightenment masters podcast

Here's my first experiment at a podcast. Ed Dalton talks about direct experiences and the enlightenment intensive.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Concerning the 'Interview,' by Mark Twain

Concerning the 'Interview.'

No one likes to be interviewed, and yet no one likes to say no; for interviewers are courteous and gentle-mannered, even when they come to destroy. I must not be understood to mean that they ever come consciously to destroy or are aware afterward that they have destroyed; no, I think their attitude is more that of the cyclone, which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village, and is not aware, afterward, that it has done that village anything but a favor.

--Mark Twain

From a previously unpublished manuscript by Mark Twain. You can read the whole essay on the PBS Newshour blog, Rundown, here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So you want to write a book in Word

On very good days, Microsoft Word and I have a love-hate relationship. On all other days we have a loathe-hate relationship.

Unfortunately for me, the rest of the civilized world is standardized on this bloated, over-complex piece of software. Whether they like it or not, professional writers have to learn how to use Word. (But "Surely," you say, "There are good alternatives?" So far I have researched about 15 Word alternatives but they all have drawbacks that rule them out as professional writing tools. Word is such a behemoth in the marketplace, that new word processing packages can't seem to muster the development resources and money to 'make it'.)

If you are writing a long document in Word, here are a few simple things you can do to defend yourself. Things that make it more likely that your long document will not crash, reformat itself, or otherwise trash your work--usually on the day you promised to send your manuscript to the publisher.

So You Want To Write A Book In Word is an eloquent article about what you can do and how to do it. It appears to be written for Word versions between 97 and 2004, but you can easily adapt it to later versions.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chapter by Chapter: a program for writing books in Word

If you ever try to write a book in MS Word, you will quickly realize that there is no easy way to write a long document in Word. (By long, I mean 50,000 to 100,000 words, or more, with multiple chapters.)

There seem to be three options when writing a book in Word:
1. Using Word's Master Document feature.
2. Creating one humungous document.
3. Writing each chapter as an individual document and assembling them into a book at the end of the process.

I've never been able to get the Master Document feature to work satisfactorily. Probably just me, but I can't make it work. I've had equally bad results with creating one humungous file. Word tends to crash, or automatically reformat parts of the document, or incorporate infuriating "hidden" formatting. I find the safest way to work is to make each chapter a separate .doc file. Then assemble all the doc files just before publishing. But... you have to keep track of where the files are are on your disk, make sure you have the right version, and assemble them in the right order... I find it a frustrating organizational nightmare. Chapter by Chapter is a companion program to Word that goes a long way toward solving these problems.

Chapter by Chapter is a free program that helps you write a book in MS Word. It allows you to pull together multiple Word documents into a single longer one.

As you work, Chapter by Chapter gives you an outline view to the left of your editing window, so you can easily jump back and forth between various chapters. When your book is finished, Chapter by Chapter handles the task of compiling the documents.

Overall Chapter by Chapter seems to be a faster, more reliable way to assemble a book from multiple Word documents than using Word's frustrating Master Document feature, or creating one humungous book file.

You can download Chapter by Chapter here:

A good description of Chapter by Chapter is here:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Restrepo: cameras used to film the doc

Documentary Tech has a good article about the superb documentary Restrepo.

Roger Ebert says in his review: "It was filmed at great personal risk by the war photographer Tim Hetherington and the author Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm)..."

A couple technical notes:
One of the things that struck me is the way journalism, still photography and filmmaking are converging.

Cameras used:
Sebastian Junger used a Sony HVR V1 and Tim Hetherington used an HDV Z1. Both are HDV tape cameras.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

disruptive changes in learning

How-to books are tools for learning. The tools and processes for learning are undergoing disruptive change.

What does it mean for writers and publishers when the tools for learning change radically?

Old tools ------------------------------->New tools

Mainstream media --------------------> YouTube
Mainstream press (and books) --------> Blogs

My bookshelf is a good example of this change. I have about 70 books on digital video on my bookshelf. But when I need to know something, I automatically search Google, or youtube.

Does this mean that we should think of how-to books as an information package of book, blog, and youtube?

The package might consist of:
- the paper book (for sale on Amazon and elsewhere)
- a downloadable ebook (for sale or for free depending on the type of content)
- a blog with dozens of entries concisely explaining key concepts in the book (with easily findable topics on Google)
- a youtube channel with demonstrations of common procedures in the book (with easily findable topics and keywords on Google)

A blog on disruptive changes in learning (with good links to DIY learning essays) is here:

I don't know what all this means, but I do know that I will write all my future books with this package in mind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'how to get your film out into the world' article

Shipped the article on 'How to get your film out into the world.' It started out as an article about digital distribution, but as I got into the research for the article I realized that what 99% of micr0-budget filmmakers really needed to know was how to promote their films.

In other words, how to get their films out into the world, and how to find what Kevin Kelly calls their true fans.

Distribution and promotion are separate subjects. Distribution is about one thing: money. Promotion is about finding and nurturing a community that cares about you and your art.

When the promotion article appears I'll post a link to it.

Distribution is subject for a future article. I see three more topics to cover:
Hybrid distribution deals.
Traditional distribution deals.
Distribution scams and rip-offs.

How to prepare for public speaking

Tim Ferriss on how to prepare for public speaking.

Monday, April 5, 2010

status of film distribution and promotion article

I have done an enormous amount of research on this article, and yet I am still anxious about it.

The film distribution business is in chaos. The old model doesn't work.

The people hit worst by the chaos are the people for whom I write, DIY micro-budget filmmakers. It's a safe bet that a) they won't find a distributor. b) if they *do* find a distributor, they will never see a penny and their films will be promoted poorly... if at all.

As one filmmaker who makes ultra-low-budget films told me, "I sell 30 DVDs on my website at $30 each, and people say '$900, that's pretty good.' But it took me 500 hours to make that film."

So far I've read dozens of blogs, magazines, and articles and listened to several people speak about the state of distribution. I've read 5 books, attended two seminars, interviewed three filmmakers, and written about 50 pages of single spaced notes. I've studied DIY marketing and promotion for artists, writers and filmmakers for two years...

And I still don't have a hook for the article.

This is one of those times that I envy people with journalism degrees. People who have been trained to find the compelling story in an avalanche of information.

Time for the second cup of coffee.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Film Ireland

Film Ireland Magazine.

I gotta get a blogroll instead of all these blog posts... time to update the blog template.

Scripped: Free online script writing software

Scripped is a free online writing software. Much like Google Docs, your scripts are available online from any computer, anywhere. You can get your free account here.

Good blog on DIY filmmaking

DIY Filmmaking Sucks is a very good blog on micr0-budget filmmaking.

Here's a good DIYFS report on the state of indie distribution from Sundance 2010.

Who is Tony Levelle?

Occasionally, people want to know who I am and what I'm working on.

Here are a few links.

My books on Amazon:

My website and blog:

A recent how-to article about hand-held camera techniques:

To contact me on Facebook:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

free inbound marketing tools

Free book sales tracking at

Free blog grader at

You can also find a free website grader, facebook grader, and press
release grader also at

Very useful tools. Also humbling when you run them on your own sites and blogs.

2 ways to track your book sales

Here are a two free ways to track the sales of your books.

I have used TitleZ for about a year, and like it a lot.

I recently found another site, Book Grader, that does much the same thing.

Both sites are worthwhile.

Book Grader

Monday, March 29, 2010

The economics of publishing: Early 2010

Seth Godin writes about the current state of the writing and publishing business.

"A magazine with a million subscribers might spend more than a million dollars to deliver a single issue to its subscribers. A million dollars spent on postage, printing, subscription sales, fulfillment, ad sales, sub rights and more. I wouldn't be surprised if the freelance budget for the writers and photographers (the real reason people read the magazine) is less than 15% of the cost, perhaps a lot less.

"The economics of this business are interesting. Millions spent, millions earned, and almost all of it goes to pay for the paper and the friction it brings.

"Now, we fast forward to a world, our world, where the cost of delivery is zero and so we've removed 95% of the costs..." you can read the post here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

DIY window frosting

Increase your privacy with clear acrylic wall glaze for a good, cheap DIY window frosting. From Lifehacker.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

11 best sales and marketing books

From the book '100 Best Business Books of All Time', comes this list of 11 all-time-best books on sales and marketing. Reading these books while running a small marketing campaign (of any kind) looks like a good way to learn the skill of marketing.

Sales and Marketing (books)
Approaches and pitfalls in the ongoing process of creating customers.

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout
A New Brand World by Scott Bedbury with Stephen Fenichell
Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith (also available in CD and audio)
Zag by Marty Neumeier
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar (also available in CD and audio)
How to Become a Rainmaker by Jeffrey J. Fox (also available in CD and audio)
Why We Buy by Paco Underhill (also available in audio)
The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore (also available in audio)
Purple Cow by Seth Godin (also available in audio)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (also available in CD and audio)

Getting your "Personal MBA"

Free ebook from Josh Kaufman that tells you how to develop your own 'personal MBA program'.

writing on walls

For years I have used blank walls for brainstorming new projects. I began by taping 3x5 cards to walls, then went to 3x5 post-its, and then discovered cheap 4x8 tileboard at Home Depot. The tileboard functions as an inexpensive whiteboard. It turns out that Kevin Kelly writes on walls, too.

100 best business books

HT to Kevin Kelly at Cool Tools for recommending the book:
100 Best Business Books.

Books you don't need in a place you can't find

The Montague Bookmill, which Seth Godin says might be the "bookstore of the future."

In this vision, the bookstore becomes the center of an intellectual community. Much in the spirit of a English Coffee House in the early 1700's. As Ned Ward wrote around 1700:

"There was a rabble going hither and thither, reminding me of a swarm of rats in a ruinous cheese-store. Some came, others went; some were scribbling, others were talking; some were drinking (coffee), some smoking, and some arguing; the whole place stank of tobacco like the cabin of a barge. On the corner of a long table, close by the armchair, was lying a Bible..."

For the modern coffee house cum bookstore maybe add to the "rabble going hither and thither," high speed wireless access, and a large flat screen display with authors giving 'web seminars.' Or perhaps the flat screen will be showing TED or videos.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My yoga reading list

“Yoga is of very little use, if studied theoretically." Pancham Sinh

1. Iyengar's "Yoga" and "Light on yoga", as well as his daughter Geeta's "Yoga: A gem for women." .
2. Eric Schiffman's "Yoga: The spirit and practice of moving into stillness."
3. Miriam Austin's "Cool yoga tricks."
4. Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta's "Yoga the Iyengar way."
5. Gary Kraftsow's "Yoga for wellness."
6. David Swenson's "Ashtanga yoga: The practice manual."
7. Bikram Choudhury, "Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class"
8. Leslie Kaminoff, "Yoga Anatomy."
9. David H. Coulter, "Anatomy of Hatha Yoga"
10. Richard Rosen, "Yoga for 50+"
11. Paramahansa Yogananda, "Autobiography of a Yogi"
12. Rajashree Choudhury, "Rajashree's Pregnancy Yoga" DVD and audio CD
13. Yoga Challenge video #1 by Tony Sanchez. Beginner's series.
14. Yoga Challenge video #4 by Tony Sanchez. 160 minute advanced class with the Bishnu Ghosh 84 asana series.
15. Kids Yoga, Sanda Wong-Sanchez and Tony Sanchez. Beginners series for kids, also suitable for the elderly, and students with certain physical limitations.

For yoga philosohy:
1. Georg Feuerstein's "The yoga tradition"
2. Peter Connolly's "A student's guide to the history and philosophy of yoga."
3. Desikachar's "The heart of yoga."
4. Eliade's "Yoga: Immortality and freedom."
5. Carrera's "Inside the yoga sutras."

1. Ashtanga yoga demo. 1.7 million viewers...

2. Elephant Journal: 20 hottest yoga videos

practice, practice, practice.

A great line from the BBC drama "Waking the Dead."

"Practice, practice, practice. Nothing else works."

This is true for writing, filmmaking, yoga, teaching, relationships... nearly any meaningful accomplishment. A flash of genius is great for getting the initial idea, for seeing a direction. But only practice develops competence. Or, as someone once said, "A professional is just an amateur who didn't quit."

Friday, March 12, 2010

The 10 awful truths about book publishing

The 10 awful truths about book publishing, from Steven Piersanti, President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers. (Read the whole article here)

Mr Piersanti writes:
1. The number of new books being published in the U.S. has exploded.
2. Book industry sales are declining, despite the explosion of new books.
3. Average book sales are shockingly small, and falling fast.
4. A book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore.
5. It is getting harder and harder every year to sell books.
6. Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities.
7. Most book marketing today is done by authors, not by publishers.
8. No other industry has so many new product introductions.
9. The digital revolution is expanding the number of products and sales channels but not increasing book sales.
10. The book publishing world is in a never-ending state of turmoil.

1. The game is now pass-along sales.
2. Events/ immersion experiences replace traditional publicity in moving the needle.
3. Leverage the authors’ and publishers’ communities.
4. In a crowded market, brands stand out.
5. Master new sales and marketing channels.
6. Build books around a big new idea.
7. Front-load the main ideas in books.

book blurbs... great article about getting them

Excellent article on how to get book blurbs from Berrett-Koehler publishers. Clearly explains why the author must focus on his or her community.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Digital Video Secrets sample on Scribd

Scribd seems to be kind of a "youtube for writers." Easy way to publish, and unlike youtube, you can even sell your work on Scribd. Here are a couple examples...

A sample of my book Digital Video Secrets.
A chapter from a Lonely Planets book which explains Moving To San Francisco, with a "buy now" button.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

50 Top blogs and magazines for moviemakers (Updated 8/23/2013)

This is a long post, because I wanted to collect all my links to film blogs, magazines and organizations in one spot. 


Top blogs

Most of this list is lifted straight from the February 2010 issue of highly recommended MovieMaker Magazine. (I posted the list on this blog so I don't lose it.)

Go. Go now. Go subscribe to MovieMaker so they can continue to do good work like this! The list:
All About Indie Filmmaking *
All These Wonderful Things *
The Anonymous Production Assistant’s Blog *
The Art of the Title Sequence *
Ben’s Blog *
The Big Picture *
Blog Stage *
Bright Lights After Dark *
Cinema Tech *
The Documentary Blog
The Edit Foundry
The Editblog
Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts
Film Dailies
Film School Rejects
The Film Sensei
Filmmaker Blog
Filmmaking Stuff
GreenCine Daily
Hammer to Nail
HD for Indies
Hollywood Elsewhere
The House Next Door
In Contention
The Independent Eye
The Joy of Film Editing
Just F*ing Entertain Me
Living Your Dream: An Acting & Film School Blog
Making the Movie
A Moon Brothers Film
The Movie Blog
Persistence of Vision
Projector Films
Scriptwriting in the UK
Some Came Running
Thompson on Hollywood
Totally Unauthorized
Travel Day
Truly Free Film
The Unknown Screenwriter
Workbook Project

Top Movie Magazines

Most of this list of top movie magazines is lifted from World I'm posting it here for convenience and so I don't lose it.

Bright Lights
Close Up
Creative Screenwriting
Eye For Film
Film Comment
Film in Context
Film Journal
Film Threat
Filmink Magazine
Filmmaker Magazine
Films in Review
Future Movies
Guardian Unlimited Film
Hollywood Reporter
iF Magazine
Images Journal
Indie Film Slate
Inside Film
Rotten Tomatoes
Senses of Cinema
Sight and Sound
Strictly Film School

Other magazines (that I know about)

DV Magazine.
American Cinematographer
Microfilmmaker magazine

World Newspapers
TV and Film Magazines
Boston area Harvard Square Scriptwriters. Click on LINKS.

San Francisco (Bay Area Video Coalition) (resource) (SF Film Society)

Oregon Media Producers Association

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Roy, come and get this goddamned cat!"

Melvin Vaniman and Kiddo the Cat

Thus began the first air-to ground radio transmission in 1910, by Melvin Vaniman, flight engineer for explorer Walter Wellman's airship America. Melvin wanted Roy to come and get Kiddo the cat, who had stowed away in a lifeboat. Kiddo didn't like flying, and he let the crew know it by howling, mewling, scratching, and spitting. Fortunately, Kiddo soon settled in to enjoy the flight. Kiddo's story is here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

stock photos and an online print service

Istockphoto and Pictopia

If you need a high quality digital image, try istockphoto.
If you need a large high quality print, like 2' x 4' up to wall size, try Pictopia.

Royalty free digital images

Huge pictures from digital images

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seth Godin's advice for authors

Very, very good stuff.
Read before writing.

Advice for Authors (Part 1)
Always beware free advice. It is worth what it costs! That said, I get a fair number of notes from well respected, intelligent people who are embarking on their first non-fiction book project...
July 21, 2005

Advice for Authors (Part 2)
It happened again. There I was, meeting with someone who I thought had nothing to do with books or publishing, and it turns out his new book just came out...

August 2, 2006

Editorial Freelancer's Association

The Editorial Frellancer's Association (EFA) is a good place to find an editor for your book manuscript.

When to start promoting your book

Someone asked me when to start promoting a nonfiction book.*

My answer? At least a year before publication. Better still, three years before.

This one to three year period before publication day is the "invisible" part of book promotion.

During this time you identify, and build relationships with people in your true audience. The incredible thing about the Internet is that for the first time in history, an artist or writer can build relationships directly with his or her audience. You can learn more about this here, here, here, and here.

Things to do during the year (or three) before publication day:

Step 1: Find your audience and build relationships.
- Clearly identify your target audience. Who exactly are you writing for?
- Find out where they hang out online. For example, if you were writing a book about filmmaking you would want to end up with a list like this.
- Find out where they hang out physically.
- Start a book blog. Write about what you are learning as you research the book. Keep the average post to 130 words, with occasional much shorter and much longer posts. Your book blog might look something like this.
- Become active in online forums where your audience hangs out. A word of warning: do not try to "sell" or "market" anything. People can smell marketing hype from a mile away. Instead, treat people the way you want to be treated--with respect and honesty. If, for example, you are writing a book about health, offer health advice freely when asked. Generously help people solve their health problems. Get known, and build a reputation.

Step 2. Identify your fans, friends and followers within your audience
- As you begin to make friends and build a network, look for passionate experts. You might interview them as part of your research for the book
- Look, too, for interesting people and interview them to learn their stories
- Make a list of people who might review the book

Step 3. Write a remarkable book.
From a practical standpoint, one of the most important things you can do is to write a remarkable book. An ordinary book, one that doesn't stand out, is almost impossible to promote successfully. Here is one process that might improve your chances of writing a remarkable book:
- Write the first draft of the book. The main purpose of the first draft is to *get something on paper.* The first draft doesn't have to be good, it just has to be done.
- Send the first draft out for a structural edit by a professional editor. You can find an editor at the Editorial Freelancer's Association (EFA).
- Write a second draft, incorporating your editor's advice.
- Send the second draft out to be copy edited. A good copy editor will flag two general kinds of problems: 1) facts and libel. and 2) style. When the copy editor flags a factual error or potentially libelous passage, you have to assume they are right until proven wrong. When an editor flags a style problem, however, things are a little murkier. Often the editor is right, but sometimes they are not.

Step 4. Roll out your book
- Design a 'roll out' plan. Who do you want to review the book? Which blogs do you want to write about the book? Where will you publish magazine articles? Where will you speak? Where will you sign books? Where will you appear in person? You might hire a PR person to help design a roll out plan. (Before you design your roll out plan, be sure to look at what Seth Godin did.)
- Three to four months before publication, start your roll out plan. Gradually build up to publication day.

Publication day
- Publication day. The book is in the stores.

Step 5: Promote your book.
Now the visible part of book promotion begins. The visible part may include: media tours, interviews, book signings, workshops and seminars. Plan on promoting the book intensely for 3 months (minimum) after publication day, and at a less intense, ongoing level for at least a year after publication day.

* This all falls into the "things I wish I'd known when I wrote my first books" category. I hope to hell that this post helps you write and promote your own insanely successful book.

Make 1 minute videos to promote your book

Another great idea for book promotion from Seth Godin. He is making a series of one-minute videos of "linchpins." Any author could adapt this idea to his or her book.

Two examples of how this might work:
For Digital Video Secrets, it could be a series of 1 minute videos on "people who made videos that count."
For Producing With Passion it could be a series of 1 minute videos on "People who made a film that matters."

You get the idea.

Here is Seth Godin's original blog post:

Linchpin videos (first in a series)

We're traveling around, finding interesting people and asking them to riff for a minute or two about what makes someone indispensable. Kicking off the weekly series is Gary Vee. Click the picture to view it. We'll do four for February and see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

gettting 3gp file on the web

Q. I want to send a short video to someone. What's best way to go about it?
A. Put it on youtube and send them a link.

Q. I don't want to use youtube.
A. OK, then put it on your blog and send a link.

Q. Why don't I just send them the file?
A. You could, but there are a few problems going that route. One is that video files are big. Another is that the person receiving the file has to have the software to play the file. It's a lot easier if you can just put the video online somewhere and send them a link.

Q. What if I try to upload the 3gp (third generation phone) file directly to my blog?
A. If you are using Blogger, it won't work. Blogger wants AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Real, or Windows Media, with a maximum size of 100 MB.

Q. What do I do?
A. Convert the file to AVI, MPEG, or Quicktime using a file converter like MyVideoConverter.

Q. OK. I've installed MyVideoConverter. Now what?
A. Convert the file to AVI.

Q. OK, I've converted the file to AVI, and now I'm linking to it from my blog. Hah! It looks like the avi is uploading to my blog. It's taking a while.
A. I think you're there. Wait until the upload is finished, then click play.

Q. It works!
A. Cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Post the links to people who helped you write your book

Seth Godin (again) because he just keeps getting better. Today, he posts the links to the people who helped his write his new book, Linchpin.

Posting these links is a great idea in a number of ways.
- He recognizes the people who helped him.
- He helps readers of Linchpin (like me) track down sources of "further reading".
- It helps promote the book by spreading the meme.

I will do the same for my future books.

I feel like a biblical prophet in an MGM epic, only I'd be saying things to the crowd like "Go! Go forth, and do like Seth!" All I need is a robe and a staff. (Already got the beard.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Linchpin -- a book review

Linchpin: Are you indispensable?

We are in the middle of a revolution. Jobs have gone offshore and they are not coming back. 401K’s have been cut by half. Unemployment is the highest it’s been in decades. Fear is everywhere. The middle class is under tremendous pressure.

Godin sees the pain clearly, but he also sees a once in a lifetime opportunity in the situation to create value and become indispensable by taking the intellectual initiative.

You begin by making a decision to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with leading and connecting. Then you train yourself to become what Godin calls a “linchpin,” someone who adds unique value.

Godin has identified 7 abilities of a linchpin:
1. Providing unique interface between members of an organization
2. Delivering unique creativity
3. Managing a situation of great complexity
4. Leading customers
5. Inspiring staff
6. Deep domain knowledge
7. Possessing a unique talent

Godin shows what each of these abilities looks like in the real world, and tells how people have trained themselves to develop them.

Linchpin is Godin’s most ambitious book and his best. Two small sections are worth the entire price of the book: On page 101 Godin explains “Resistance” and on page 146 he tells how he gets projects done.

Get this book. You deserve it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Microphone comparison

Here's a little 1 minute movie I made to (hopefully) show the difference in sound quality in three types of microphones:
- the in-camera microphone of a Sony HC7 HDV camera
- a consumer-grade lavaliere microphone from Radio Shack
- a professional lavaliere microphone from B and H Photo

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The future of the library

Seth Godin's brilliant post about the future for the library...

What should libraries do to become relevant in the digital age?

They can't survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don't want to own (or for reference books we can't afford to own.) More librarians are telling me (unhappily) that the number one thing they deliver to their patrons is free DVD rentals. That's not a long-term strategy, nor is it particularly an uplifting use of our tax dollars.

Here's my proposal: train people to take intellectual initiative.

Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.