Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays from All About Indie Filmmaking

2011 has been a great year. We made movies and had fun. I'm looking forward to 2012 - establishing goals for the new year.

I know I want to:

- write and complete at least 2 new feature-length screenplays.

- grow this blog and introduce new features.

- produce at least 1 new feature-length film.

This sounds very doable. And I know these goals will grow immensely at the start of the new year. I try to start small and then I end up bursting at the seams!

But right now, I feel pretty satisfied with 2011. Here's to a great 2012! Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guest Post from FindTheBest.com: Choosing the Right Video Editing Software

Choosing the right video editing software can mean the difference between an award-winning masterpiece and a back-shelved B-reel – not to mention a couple thousand dollars blown at Best Buy.
The most expensive software doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. Still, if you can’t live without high-def green screen editing and one hundred audio tracks, get ready for a big bill. On the other hand, don’t discount downloading top rated video editing software for free; in many cases they’re just as powerful.

Here are four top rated video programs to help you make an informed decision when you’re in the market for the best.

Final Cut Studio: Everyone knows the name because it’s a consistently top rated software. Final Cut supports exporting to formats like Blu-Ray, DVD, MPEG-4, smart phones, Quicktime, Windows Media and podcasts with features like changeable aspect ratios, color correction, green screen editing, Hi-Def support and storyboard mode. The drawbacks to Final Cut are that Apple only publishes the software for Mac OS X, and it comes with a steep price tag of almost $1,000.

Blender: Blender is an incredibly powerful 3D graphics generator that’s available for all platforms. The best part of Blender? It’s Free. Plus, you won’t need a massive processor to run the software, since Blender’s requirements are much less than the average processor for other open source software. It’s versatile, powerful and consistently top rated in the industry; Blender is a great software choice if you need 3D graphics.

CyberLink: Are you a Windows user whose video editing needs the power of Final Cut with the price tag of Blender? Meet CyberLink. Moderately priced at $70, and powerful enough for the majority of editing needs, CyberLink easily meets the average consumer budget. With a large range of features like color correction, full screen playback, Hi-Definition support and storyboard mode, Cyberlink delivers speed and affordability.

Avid: Avid’s $2,124 price tag reflects its customer: high-end movie production. An extremely powerful and all-encompassing program that runs on both Mac and PC platforms (sorry, Linux), Avid includes features like green screen editing, drag and drop storyboards, changeable aspect ratios and animation tools. With Avid, users can add up to 99 audio tracks and 24 video tracks in a wide range of formats. When you’re done editing, Avid supports exporting in formats for Blu-Ray, MPEG-4, smart phones, QuickTime, Windows Media and YouTube.

About the Author: Tom Samph, a graduate of Boston University, is a Marketing and PR intern at FindTheBest. He recently moved back to Philadelphia after living in France for a year where he was teaching English, working in a bakery and freelance writing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Trailer for Our New Film: The Diary of Preston Plummer

We have just completed the trailer for our new film The Diary of Preston Plummer

The film stars Trevor Morgan (Mean Creek, Off the Black), Rumer Willis (Sorority Row), Tony-nominee Erin Dilly (Julie & Julia), Christopher Cousins (Breaking Bad) and Academy Award-nominee Robert Loggia (Scarface, Lost Highway, Jagged Edge).

We had such a great time making this film.

We can't wait to premiere it! Stay tuned on the official details.

Check out the trailer here:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Making Money from Your Short Videos

We've tested a lot of ways of making money from our short films. Some are better than others. Here are a few areas we have explored and the results:

1) Signing with a short film distributor like Ouat or Shorts International etc.

Results: If you can get a short film distributor on board, it's great for television or educational sales if your title appeals to the television and education market. This is not a lifetime solution. The work that a distributor does will only last a few years. You won't get rich off their licensing fees but every dollar counts. They are usually amenable to having non-exclusive rights so why wouldn't you do it?

2) Loading your film on Amazon through CreateSpace and offering it both as a DVD and a download.

Results: Amazon takes a large piece of your revenue but it has a wide audience that it serves so I find it's smart to have your title on it. You may get sales from random people searching on the topic of your film. Or you may not. But again, it's free to load your title so why not?

3) Loading your film on sites like DynamoPlayer or IndieReign.

Results: These sites take a piece of your revenue so no upfront fees, which is nice. And they allow anyone to embed their players anywhere on the Web. That way your audience doesn't have to leave the site they are on to watch your film. This is great for promoting your film through blogs. The film can be embedded in a blog entry and your audience can pay for it and watch immediately without much fuss. The downside is that these sites are relatively unknown to the masses so your title may perform poorly due to a lack of reaching a wide audience. These sites are good if you are making a strong social media/blog push of your film.

4) Loading your film on YouTube and collecting Google AdSense dollars.

Results: I have be honest that this may actually be the most lucrative for you if your video is very popular. The more viewers watch your video, the higher chance they will click on the ads that appear on your videos. This translates to advertising dollars that your title can earn. So even though an audience is watching your video for free, you may be making a nice chunk of change on it through advertising and perhaps much more than if you charged $2.99 per rental on another site. Case in point, our short film Gay Baby is over 30,000 views in less than 2 weeks.

5) Making DVDs and using a fulfillment company like FilmBaby.

Results: Fulfillment companies are great as you don't have to worry about handling the sales and sending out your DVDs. The downside is that you have to make the inventory that is being sold yourself, store most of it, and potentially be upside down on it should your title not perform well. As DVDs are phased out, there will be less of a need for fulfillment companies.

You could do all of the above. Again, why not?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your Film Can Find a Home Without a Nomination or Sundance Premiere

My head is spinning at all the nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards to the Sundance acceptances. Everything comes full circle in December when the films from the year get nominated and new films are chosen to be launched at Sundance. It's overwhelming. And such an exciting time for the indie film biz.

I am the first to applaud those who are nominated for an indie spirit award and selected for Sundance. A few are close friends and I couldn't be happier for them - congrats guys! I will be rooting for you! They deserve the accolades. Every single filmmaker whose film makes the cut deserves to be there. Making a movie is tough business and we should all be congratulated for even completing a film.

At this time of year, we filmmakers have to remember that it's tough competition and that a large number of worthy titles don't make the Spirit Awards or Sundance cut. Hang in there.

None of my films (I had 1 submitted for a spirit award and 2 for Sundance) were chosen for these honorable slots this year - alas. But I know I share the pain with about a few thousand other filmmakers, which takes the bite out of the sting. Still sucks, but it's not the end of the world by any stretch.

Why does it suck? Well, anytime your project can be singled out as something to watch, it helps give your project exposure which can lead to an easier time finding distribution and a wider audience etc. And while it's okay my title didn't make the cut, it still sucks. It makes my life harder. Does that mean my project is bad. Hell no. It just means that the programmers or selection committee felt that other films fit their mandate better.

When our films don't make the cut, we have to get even more creative about how to get our titles to stand out. But in the end, we do usually find the means to access our audience. Each film has its own journey. It's one of the things about filmmaking that I absolutely love - discovering the journey for a film.

Though my film Not Since You only played a couple of smaller festivals, it found its audience and has sold worldwide - Italy LOVES it and that's so cool. Take Me Home launched at Nashville (a great festival) and has been doing amazingly well on the festival circuit with 5 awards to date. And when I thought our festival run was over, it picked right back up with requests from more festivals. So awesome. And we are signing a domestic deal this week that includes a small theatrical.

The moral of the story is that while it would be awesome to be nominated for a spirit award or play at Sundance, your film can still have a great life if it doesn't achieve either. So don't get too sad about not making the cut. You're in good company. Use that energy to kick ass on getting your film in front of your audience in other ways.

Good luck! I'm rooting for you!