As well as offering the audience a chance to participate with as little friction as possible we need to fracture our content and intercept audiences.
Andrew Spitz recently launched a new project called Social Sound Design which is developed for sound designers and non-sound designers to find answers to tricky sound questions. Ranging from programming in Max/MSP to gear problems and for me what is the best advice to record sound on set.
Go check it out and post an answer or a question! I got great answers to my questions which you can see here:
In the spirit of true “Piratism” it doesn’t seem that even jail can stop them. Recently the 4 millionth user signed up. Check-out Freakbits for rad info on all things pirate - read comments for user info and links.
Despite the numerous lawsuits that have been targeted at The Pirate Bay, the notorious BitTorrent site welcomed its 4 millionth user last weekend.
Founded in 2003, the initial goal of the Pirate Bay founders was to build the first Scandinavian BitTorrent community. Due to the enormous international interest in the (former) tracker the operators of the site changed their initial plans and made the site available in multiple languages a year after it was launched.
Since then the number of users has grown by thousands a week, reaching a milestone of 4 million registered users a few days ago.
Its popularity didn’t go unnoticed to Hollywood and the major record labels either. This year there have been several lawsuits that targeted the site, and in April four people associated with The Pirate Bay have been sentenced to a year jail time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. This landmark case will be appealed in 2010.
Despite, or perhaps due to, all the attention the site has continued to grow, and there are no signs that this will be halted anytime soon.
What is VODO?
VODO is trying to help solve three problems:
(1) How do we get works (texts, films, music) distributed efficiently and widely using current peer-to-peer and filesharing technologies?
(2) How do we market these works in a way that can help artists gain widespread recognition?
(3) How can we help creators distributing via filesharing systems to develop a sustainable and even profitable, practice?
We approach these problems by, first, gathering quality “unpublished” content (books, films, music) from a variety of sources. These may, for example, be commissioning boies who know about work they’ve comissioned that couldn’t be or wasn’t published; they may be “slush-piles” from literary agencies; they may be first albums submitted directly by bands, or offered by managers. (The fact is that a lot of great content will never make it to a mainstream publication –– for a variety of reasons that we won’t go into here, but NOT just because they’re not good enough.)
Second, we filter the content. Once it’s uploaded, we allow VODO’s Regular Supporters to download or stream any work they like, in order to comment and vote on it. Taking into account these votes and comments our team select works to distribute.
Third, we are bringing together some of the world’s largest P2P services and sites to help promote and distribute winning works. Works selected are promoted prominently to our ‘Distribution Coalition’, which has many millions of eyeballs. The promotions we place on these pages will link directly to the works, which will be seeded in partnership with Bittorrent and other filesharing services.
Finally, at the core of VODO is a commitment to providing revenue for creators of media content, in a world in which the systems for distributing, copying and viewing that content are cross-territorial, rapidly changing and difficult to predict or control.
Put simply, we provide a freely accessible “look up” table that stores hashes of works we’ve helped distribute, against payment details (e.g., PayPal) for producers. With this table, any site that implements the VODO system can offer donation links for VODO works. In time we’re aiming to extend this to all sorts of works, even those not published by us. But as you can guess, this will take some time!
With the system we’ve developed, we’ll be able to let consumers of media shared through P2P networks make voluntary donations to our creators wherever their works are shared.
Until recently the assumption has been that if consumers cannot be made to pay for copies of media obtained through traditional channels, revenue is entirely lost to creators. However, content/distribution projects such as Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ and our own STEAL THIS FILM 1 & 2 have shown that a proportion (in Radiohead’s case, 38%) of people consuming media through P2P networks are willing to make entirely voluntary donations.
If a small proportion of the massive amount of P2P users downloading works through VODO decide to donate on a regular or semi-regular basis to some of the artists whose works they are sharing, these creators would be able to build an excellent means of support. One of the advantages of direct, after-the-fact donation is that there is no friction and much, much more of the money makes it into the artists’ pockets.
VODO makes it easy for users to donate and is part of a culture in which it will become normal for them to do so. We think there is a great opportunity for small-to-medium sized media producers to maximise usage of efficient, free P2P networks by encouraging free copying and distribution of their materials, while actively seeking voluntary supportive donations. We also think that around works distributed this way, we can build all sorts of new revenue channels for creators.
Films and music establish a powerful relationship between ‘producer’ and ‘consumer’. One of VODO’s key benefits lies in distributing payments out to players and downloading software, making it as trivial as possible for donors to initiate voluntary donations when they feel most ‘connected’ to the artist: at the point of enjoyment of the media.
VODO began in 2006 as the Pretext project, which was kindly supported by a grant from the Arts Council of England (ACE). Pretext’s aim was twofold: to distribute quality, minority texts over the internet, and to find a model that could remunerate authors while they did it. Back then, Pretext was Jamie King, artist/programmer Jan Gerber, then-CC-UK head Christian Ahlert, Hannah Upritchard and noted author Hari Kunzru.
To cut a long story short, it took us just less than two years to realise that ‘revolutionising’ the publishing industry was VERY hard way to tackle the problems that really interested us: how online distribution was changing what it means to communicate, to ‘get published’, to be a creator and an author in the ‘network society’. In the meantime, two of the original team — along with other friends — happened to make STEAL THIS FILM 1 and STEAL THIS FILM 2, which represented some of our thinking around this topic, live and very much in the public eye.
Artist/programmer/guru Sebastian Lutgert was another person instrumental in developing the ideas behind VODO during late 2007/early 2008. Sebastian and Jan are now working on the very significant Pad.ma system, mostly from Mumbai, India.
After STEAL THIS FILM, we focused on the core question how to distribute content of all kinds using existing P2P infrastructure (i.e., without re-
inventing the wheel!) and how to sustain content producers while doing it (i.e, get them paid!) A third, and equally important question circulated through much of our pragmatic research: how to help creators get as much attention as we’d got with the STEAL THIS FILM project. Without attention, you might as well upload your work to YouTube and hope for the best — not an enticing prospect for many.
So we came up with VODO, short for ‘voluntary donations’ but really much, much more than that. VODO is the publishing system we first started
trying to create with Pretext in 2006; it’s the distribution system that filmmakers all over the world have been wanting ever since they knew about distributing films online; it’s the same attention-gathering machine that was behind STF — only much, much more powerful.
In short, VODO is the culmination of a lot of thinking, a lot of work and lot of goodwill. From the initial funding offered by ACE, we were carried
through by grants from the OSI’s Information Programme, support from the BRITDOC Foundation and the UK’s Emerald Fund. We know that in the current economic environment, finding funding to continue developing VODO is going to be tough. That’s why we’ve designed VODO to be lean, simple and easy to maintain.
Today, VODO’s core development team comprises filmmaker/technologist Jamie King (UK/transient), programmer/activist Rama Cosentino (Argentina), documentarist/advocate Adnan Hadzi (UK), and BRITDOC’s delightful Jess Search (UK), who sits on our as-yet-not-really-existent board. In addition we’re delighted to welcome Stu Tilly (Shooting People) as a collaborator, and Pixeco, who’ll be helping us out with design before we go live.
HAPPY DAYS! I finally got my book from Scott Kirsner FRIENDS, FANS AND FOLLOWERS and am so amped to read it! In this vein my first post of the day is an article on the four types of fans. Remember the article on 100 true fans, this is a nice follow-up? At the end of this article Kirsner suggests a nice breakdown on percentage of each type of fan.
I had a meeting with my crew from THE FORUM (videos to be posted in the next couple of days) today and one of our topics was audience aggregation. This topic will become more important as it is the DIYS ideology becomes prominent. Finding and more importantly keeping an audience will become an art - maybe even a career in the future - perhaps one day you can have a business cards that reads Audience Aggregator. That might be cool.
Ultimately though it is the work that you do that speaks the loudest. However, doing good work doesn’t necessarily mean you will have an audience. They need to find you and the way they find you is that you actively seek them… its the circle, the circle of life….
One of the biggest questions is how do you spur your fans to actually do something? Once someone has joined your Facebook fan group, friended you on MySpace, or started following you on Twitter, how can you actually get them to buy a ticket, a DVD, a download, or some merch?
An important starting step, I’d suggest, is to start thinking about four different kinds of fans.
The Impulse Fan. The impulse fan sees a video you’ve made, or hears about your band from their roommate, and signs up to follow you on Twitter or joins your Facebook group. This fan will never do anything else — ever. They are good only for your ego: yesterday, you had 1000 followers on Twitter, and today you have 1001.
The Prospective / Occasional Fan. The prospective fan is someone who can be lured out to a show or screening, or convinced to buy a new CD/DVD, but with some effort. You may need to dangle free samples. You may need to offer a free ticket to a pre-release, top-secret, underground album listening party. You may need to mention that there will be free, limited edition t-shirts given to the first 25 people who show up. The prospective fan can be activated, with a little creative strategizing. They can be “converted” into an occasional fan, showing up every once in a while to your events or buying a book or digital album download every couple years. And they may even be transformed over time into a True Fan.
The True Fan. Kevin Kelly defined the True Fan as “someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name.” A True Fan will follow what you’re doing on your own site, your blog, your Twitter feed — wherever you choose to communicate. You shouldn’t ignore their care and feeding, but these fans have already been activated.
The Super Fan. The Super Fan is a True Fan who is willing to help you out in some way. In Fans, Friends & Followers, the singer-songwriter Jill Sobule says she has a super fan who built and helps manage her Web site. Cartoonist Dave Kellett talks about super fans who have given him a lift from the airport in their city to a local event, or have been willing to accept shipments of books on his behalf and cart them to a book signing. Jonathan Coulton says that super fans have helped him find a great concert venue in which to perform. Super Fans, if you ask nicely (and offer them copious thanks and credit) will post flyers for you in their city, or point you to the best bar for a post-screening cast party.
I don’t purport to have discovered all of the keys as to how you activate Prospective / Occasional Fans. But two things are certainly essential: making them feel part of your circle, and that you’re grateful for their support. Incentives and discounts and give-aways can help. So can events that feel special, secret, unique, limited in space, or invitation-only.
What do you think the typical breakdown is between these four types of fans, for the typical artist? Just to throw something out that you might think about, I’d suggest:
Aah, Trulyfree blog is always a little bit of awesome. This time Ted has posted some sights that review Indie films. I hope the guys from Orgie, Party of Three and Capitalist Pigs make use of of any of these!! If you do - let me know and well post something onnit….
Ted has placed the name of the individual who recommended the site next to the blog (to spread more names of people doing stuff)
http://brendonbouzard.com/blog/ Brendon Bouzard
http://cinemaechochamber.blogspot.com/ Brandon Harris
http://wwww.cinematical.com Tze Chun
http://www.cinevegas.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://d2dvd.blogspot.com/ Bill Cunningham action,horror, pulp,sci-fi, thriller
http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com Tze Chun
http://www.hammertonail.com/ Ted Hope
http://iradeutchman.com Christophe Lepage
http:/www.ironweedfilms.com Christophe Lepage
MyFiveYearPlan Brendon Bouzard
http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/screengrab/default.aspx Christophe Lepage
http://www.notcoming.com Tze Chun
http://www.sf360.org/blogs Christophe Lepage
http://www.spout.com Tze Chun & Christophe Lepage
http://twitchfilm.net/site/ Tze Chun
http://videocrity.blogspot.com/ Dave Nuttycombe
I am a member of Ironweedfilms and read Slashfilm OFTEN. Both these sites offer great indy information and enjoy the odd, the strange, the creative and unique, as I can imagine all these sites do. Hammer to nail is Ted’s site and is part of his site collective of which trulyfree is also part.
Enjoy, its a great resource… make use of it!
We know by know that story telling has come a long way from sitting by a fire and hearing an old lady tell of the man that came form the river…..Stories themselves have not become more sophosticated but the delivery methods have. Dee Cook looks at three different stories being told in three different ways.
The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you’re alone in the forest, it’s hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…
Alabaster is a form of interactive fiction that sets about to retell the tale of Snow White from a somewhat different perspective. The story is told through text, and you are given a prompt to enter responses. The story then reacts to what you have just told or asked it. Additionally, Alabaster includes illustrations that change in accordance with the mood of the story. This collaboration between 11 different authors is a sophisticated tapestry of dialog and plot. In all, 18 separate endings are available, depending on the choices the player makes.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to explore the world of interactive fiction, or IF, you’re missing a treat. If Alabaster whets your appetite, give the classic Zork series a shot next. Theatre of the mind at its finest.
Another sort of storytelling entirely, Nawlz is an online graphic novel. Nearly every panel features some sort of animation and sound, and some have interactive hotspots that readers can play with. The cyberpunk setting “follows Harley Chambers as he kicks thru the futuristic City of Nawlz engaging in overlaying virtual realities, mind-bending drugs and other strange techno-cultures.”
What’s interesting about Nawlz is that the panels are not static. Items and elements appear and rearrange themselves within the panels as the reader navigates through the story. This gives a totally new dynamic to the experience and is exciting even for graphic novel neophytes to navigate through.
Survive the Outbreak
When the zombies attack, are you dead meat or will you be leading your people to safety? Chris Lund’s Survive the Outbreak let people put their best armchair zombie quarterbacking skills to the test, providing a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive movie that allowed viewers to make the decisions what to do next. Unfortunately, the high quality version seems to be a victim of its own success (or perhaps it’s a vast undead plot), but a reasonable facsimile of the movie/game can be found on YouTube complete with the decision tree. According to the designers, there are eight possible endings - but only two where the protagonist lives. As Homer Simpson would say, “I like those odds!”
So take note, storytellers - every day there is someone out there finding another new and innovative way of captivating an audience. What’s been most interesting has been to see the shift from author-driven story to author/audience collaboration. Giving your audience a stake in the story is a sure-fire way of building a very strong relationship with them. Finding interesting ways of doing that is the challenge - and the fun part.
Dee Cook was elated to discover the world of interactive storytelling because, at that moment, she finally discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. A fish out of water with lofty ideals and meta-theorizing, Dee finds herself most at home with her sleeves rolled up and the grease of a good story under her fingernails. In the last several years she has written, designed, and consulted on over a dozen alternate reality games, extended realities, and marketing campaigns, most recently World Without Oil, True Blood, Dead Space, and My Home 2.0. You can find her online at Addlepated.net.
Last time I wrote about my favorite “creating fans” guru Scott Kirsner. NOw I found someone else who also has I wanted to share it with ya’ll..
Posted: Tue, June 09, 2009, 11:06 AM From Thompson on Hollywood
Cinematech blogger Scott Kirsner drank the digital Kool-aid some time back. So the author of 2007’s The Future of Web Video and 2008’s Inventing the Movies decided that he had to self-publish his newest book, Fans, Friends and Followers. “If I was writing that artists had to be their own entrepreneur,” he says, “then I had to do it too.”
For no up-front charge (and no advance), Kirsner selected his own fonts at Amazon’s CreateSpace. He sent a PDF of the cover and interior to upload. They sent him back galleys to correct and within 10 days of signing off, he had books on sale at Amazon, and collects a bigger percentage of royalties than a publisher would pay. “If I had waited for traditional publishing it would be out in the fall of 2010,” he says. “This stuff is timely, it’s not the history of MGM. It would have been stale.”
For the book, which has sold more than 10,000 copies, Kirsner interviewed three dozen do-it-yourself types in film and video, art and music, from internet pioneer and short video maker Ze Frank to animator M dot Strange. “Until the last three to four years,” says Kirsner, “you made a film and either you picked up a distributor at SXSW or Sundance, or not. There was no plan B. You never thought about what might happen, how to get the movie out there. I tried to talk to people about Plan B.”
In 2006, Strange persuaded the Sundance Film Festival to play his film We Are the Strange at a midnight screening at the Egyptian by using his YouTube following to prove that he had an audience. He then distributed the film through Film Baby and via YouTube (with a DVD click-through button) in April 2008. According to Kirsner, he made enough money to not only pay off the debt from the film, but to finance his next one.
Here’s the trailer:
The agricultural documentary King Corn debuted at SXSW in 2007, went on to other festivals, had a theatrical run, aired on PBS in April 2008, and was one of the biggest selling films on iTunes. Aaron Wolff, Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis and their team kept building a database of fans in FileMaker, then created an email list on Constant Contact. They barraged their fans with new info, updated their website constantly, and kept the promo stream going by guest-blogging at different sites that they knew would be receptive to the film’s green subject matter. Here’s the trailer:
“A lot of online communities are interested in what you’re doing, whether it’s a sci-fi movie or a documentary about U.S. future policies,” says Kirsner. “With the internet there’s a direct link between that review or write-up and where you buy a book. People are closer to the transaction. There’s a lot of innovation in terms of business models. People are trying different things. With places like Home Star Runner, which avoids advertising and built their model on selling t-shirts, merchandise and DVDs, or Lulu and CreateSpace, you can see there’s a whole new infrastructure, a new pathway for getting books, DVDs, and CDs out there.”
But DIY takes work, Kirsner admits: “The promotional energy has to come from you, using blogs and Twitter and getting people to write about your project. It’s a whole new world. There are no more sugar daddies taking care of problems. With the old school Hollywood dynamic you had to shuck and jive to get observed by a talent agent, that was the only path to making it. Now you do what you want to get noticed and build up an audience. Then you have a choice to do a deal with a studio or record company, or do your own thing. Some will do it, some will not. But you don’t have to wait around and cross your fingers and hope.”
Kirsner has been working overtime to get out the word on his book. He’s created a Power Tool Wiki that lists tools for building an online fan base. Here are some reviews, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, who log-rolled thusly:
“Making a living in the Long Tail means taking matters into your own hands, crafting a marketing strategy that’s just right for you and your work. This book compiles the stories of those who’ve done it best. You’ll get ideas from every one of them. Inspiring and incredibly useful—Kirsner’s assembled a playbook for the social media age.”
Hey all. It’s been a week of working and I admit I lost touch with my posting habits. But, I am back and here we go. Straight into it. Read this great post on Cinetech site by Scott Kirsner. Following on the most important question a film maker will ask:” Will you give me money to make my film”, Scott is of the opinion that the second most important question should be…Well, read the excerpt.
I suggested that there are two important questions filmmakers need to ask during the process of making a film. Filmmakers already ask the first one, constantly: will you give me money to help make my movie?
But the second one, just as important, isn’t one that most filmmakers know about, or ask often enough.
Here it is: what groups, online communities, blogs, Web sites, or non-profits do you think would be interested in this film?
I think you should ask that of everyone you meet: your cinematographer … your investors … your screenwriter … your prop master … everyone you interview for a documentary. And keep a list of their answers.
You will discover that there are magazines, blogs, fan communities, and organizations with millions of members that you should build relationships with. Let them know what you are working on. Get them (and their audiences) involved in some way - as you are making the movie. Give them sneak peeks as you are in postproduction. Give them a trailer or early cut to show at their annual convention. Enlist their help in spreading the word once you’re on the festival circuit or in theatrical release. Do ticket and DVD give-aways to get their communities buzzing.
You ought to be asking this second question throughout the process of making your movie because that will help you discover who the most powerful taste-makers are, online and off. People you encounter who know these bloggers and publishers and non-profit presidents will make introductions to them for you. That’s something that no amount of Googling during the post-production phase can do, unfortunately.
To celebrate the release of Lawrence Lessig’s book REMIX, Bloomsbury Acedemic has offered a competition to Remix any of Lessig’s work. The remix could be in form of Video, graphic or written. By taking a talk that LL does for example and mashing it you enter the comp. Post your new creation on the Facebook page and you’ve entered.
Prizes include a signed copy of the book and a $300 voucher for any Bloomsbury Academic books. Let me know if you post anything and let the voting begin!!
I read REMIX in the states and it was part responsible for the inspiration to start this site. It really is a great book and worth anyone interested in media, culture, technology and the internet!
This is the official Face book page invite / To Celebrate the Creative Commons launch of Lawrence Lessig’s new book, Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy.
Bloomsbury Academic are hosting a contest and asking you to remix any of Professor Lessig’s work!
The Contest will run as follows:
May 1st-May 31st Submission of Remixes
How to submit a remix?
Remixes may be in the following formats
Text (300 words or less)
Video (3 minutes max)
Photo (No offensive images, please)
No entry may be submitted that violates any copyright law
To be considered for entry, remixes must be posted onto this event’s wall with a unique name and title.
Videos and photos must be uploaded
Text submissions must be posted straight onto the wall.
All remixes must originate from Professor Lessig (i.e. a piece of his work or an interview he has given)
Don’t forget to put a Creative Commons license on your work!
June 1st- June 30th Voting
How to Vote?
Voting will begin June 1st, an application for voting will be added to the Bloomsbury Academic Fan Page at this time.
Voting will close on June 30th
The winner will be notified via Facebook on July 31st.
Read more on Lawrence Lessig: On Creative Commons
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.
From the Wall Street Journal, here is an article about free economics. A great FREE article I may add…
* FEBRUARY 2, 2009
In a battered economy, free goods and services online are more attractive than ever. So how can the suppliers make a business model out of nothing?
What about the oldest trick in the book: actually charging people for your goods and services? This is where the real innovation will flourish in a down economy. It’s now time for entrepreneurs to innovate, not just with new products, but new business models.
Take Tapulous, the creator of Tap Tap Revenge, a popular music game program for the iPhone. As in Guitar Hero or Rock Band, notes stream down the screen and you have to hit them on the beat. Millions of people have tried the free version, and a sizable fraction of them were ready and willing to pay when Tapulous offered paid versions built around specific bands, such as Weezer and Nine Inch Nails, along with add-on songs. (The Wall Street Journal is pursuing a strategy of blending free and paid content on its Web site.)
You will see one my first posts here is about1000 True Fans. D.I.Y. presents an insightful panel that takes a look into what is really needed to aggregate that 1000 keep them “live” and help them help you.
The future of independent film is not in content aggregation, which is quickly becoming commoditized, but in audience aggregation. Sustainability for filmmakers lies directly in the hands of the audience. Direct to audience models have shaken the core of the music industry. But the power of Kevin Kelly’s “1,000 true fans” seems good in theory but where do you start? What are the steps to building an audience around your work and most importantly how do you keep the conversation going? Discussion Leader: Saskia Wilson-Brown (Current TV) - Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) - Micki Krimmel (expert in social media and online community) - Alex Johnson (digital media strategist / filmmaker) - Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast, Head Trauma)