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Monday, October 31, 2005

The first 365films trials is launched...

Yes. Its up and away!

Quartz Shorts has launched.

What is Quartz Shorts?

  • It is a mini series for the full 365films vision.
  • Its about using all media - video, text, images, sounds, music
  • It is about us, as film makers and writers, taking a backseat. We steer the agenda together.
  • We may 'throw stuff out' but you decide 'whether it sticks'.

Why love?
Because normal linear, one-way, old school media just tackle this subject. Sure enough, it can try to answer what is love or when did you fall in love. We don't care about these small questions. We want to look at all of love. Explore all its meanings. Just how big is it?

How do I join the fun?

  • Go to this blog as often as you can.Link
  • If you are user of an RSS service then this is the stream.Link
  • Through iTunes / on your iPod. Put this link into the subscribe to podcast box in your iTunesLink

Join us as we ramble around the topic. And hey - at least its something nice to talk about!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

All the way up to the big guys

A post from Cinema Tech shows that these sort of distribution discussions are going all the way to the top! M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Soderbergh, two well respected directors, both a little outside of the Hollywood standard, can't even agree. It seems to me that the discussion is live and well - which is good. What is bad is that the arguements about how we watch films is rapidly becoming more entertaining and interesting than some of the films themselves!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The mobile phone method

I'm not all that convinced about short films on mobile phones. Having said that This Time Last Tuesday is on the shortlist for a mobile phone festival from Nokia.

So maybe its great.

At the very least I can say that this film, which is shot from one position and in 2 hours, is in the spirit of the amateur film making that Nokia are seeking to create.

Off topic - democracy in the 21st C

A little off topic musing...

We now live in a world of conversation and discussions. It doesn't matter where you live, we can talk about our shared interest - in the case if this blog; writing and distribution thinking.

Where is this heading? The end result of all this is groups of people that are united by thoughts, opinions and ideologies - not geography.

The impact - in terms of the real world what does this matter? Perhaps one view is that Governments will become squeezed and seem useless. Terrorists (another group linked by ideology, not geography) are fighting against a certain way of life, not against a country.

Britain isn't under attack - ruthless capitalism is. So what does the British Government have to do with it? What can it do? Its irrelevant!

No wonder voting is down in most democracies. I feel I have much more in common with people across the world than I necessarily do with people that live nearby. Why do my politicians have to represent me geographically. That isn't where my heart is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

At last. The reality kicks in!

An article on Variety about why US box office is down. You don't think... surely not... it can't be... they finally realise that the films are poor and generic. The bottom line has kicked in at last! Great. What is their answer? Carry on as normal of course and tweak with the advertising. Well done mate! Radical!

Still from 10 Seconds

Monday, October 24, 2005

Word of mouth was wrong

Always at the cutting edge of new ideas to do with flogging stuff Hugh Macleod makes an interesting comment on how word of mouth was always misinterpreted.

The idea is not to get people chatting about your product. But to make your product join their conversation. And shake up the market by doing that!

His example is Starbucks who got people talking about WiFi - not about great Starbucks coffee. Remember Starbucks don't advertise. They only have conversations to spread the word!

So this approach requires big ideas. Is 365 films that sort of idea. Its bold enough for sure. I'm hoping that the growing sense of disappointment towards film and TV will help. Heres to more crap tele!

Still from 'Four Poems' by Peter Lee

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Another 'no middle man' solution

The CinemaTech blog has an interesting article on direct DVDs for independent features. Here is a way to get your film in front of an audience directly. With far fewer middle men. The price is right as well.

How does it work? They have a master copy and burn duplicates as required by the public. Its yours in the post for 10 dollars. Their slogan is - "Own a movie for less than a movie ticket."

All you need now is a top notch audience pleasing film - but that's your business bud!

Friday, October 21, 2005

TV no more!

More evidence for the end of the world - if you are in old school media. Heineken have announced no more TV ads for them! See the BBC news item.Why? Because it doesn't work anymore. Some go as far as to say that marketing is dead altogether. Maybe this is an exaggeration for shock purposes but I'm sure that traditional marketing is not as effective as it used to be. Word of mouth (or the internet version - word of mouse) is much more important now that everyone can talk to everyone else. Heineken must know. 365films is built on the word of mouse idea.

Pic is from here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Vodcast content

Tom Baker has done a great job of kicking us off with some content for the vodcast pilot series. Here is the proposition. We are adapting a previous project that never suited a linear, old school, approach. Some of you will have seen it. It was called Quartz Shorts and featured an attempt to cram every media into a TV documentary. The revolutionary part was the approach that stated we would explore subjects without drawing conclusions. The example we chose was 'Love' - not what is love, or who do you love, but the whole thing. All of love!

TV companies couldn't cope with the unstructured approach and our pitch of 'TV for the Google generation' caused unease rather than excitement. But maybe we were wrong to take new ideas to old media. I'm sure that this project will find a new, exciting life in the vodcast / blogging area. Small chunks of multi-media that is polished and well edited. All on one subject. The full 365films proposition gives more variety. A series of unconnected films. So which is better? A set topic or random craziness? That's part of the experiment I guess!

So that's what we have. Content coming on line now, ready for the love launch.

Tomorrow we meet up with Apple / Quicktime / Digital / Streaming / Hosting guru Richard Pride to sort out the technical stuff. Nearly there. Paul D - jump in also if you have any advice.

See you at the love in!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New distribution idea from the US

The savage art blog posted this article about a new distribution idea for film makers. Hiring your own cinema chain and you keep all the profits! Like the landcrab - but countrywide!

Do you have Hope?

I'm really pleased to announce that sound design guru Gary Hayton (who did the post sound for WaterMelon) has started work on the sound for my new animation Hope. The film has a minimal monochrome look and the sound will absolutely crucial in its success. The film will premiere at the Landcrab Film Festival in December. See you there!

Vodcast update

Work has started on our pilot vodcast idea. The aim is to upload a new entry about twice a week. Tom Baker is editing right now and we're looking for a hosting site for the clips. Things are starting to come together fast. There has been a ton of interest. Especially in the full on 365 films proposition. But I'm convinced that this is the way forward to do a pilot first. See you there soon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005


Download your favourite (or favorite for the US readers) TV shows direct to your iPod through iTunes. The new iPod has TV out. So basically - download, for TV.

No TV company / cable company / Murdoch / advertisers / sky+ / freeview / etc. needed. So now 'Desperate Housewives' will be competing with the Landcrab films for viewers attention. On iTunes podcasting. A level playing field.

Our video blog launches next week.

When I started this blog in August this was something to aim for in the future. Now it is here. So it begins...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sunshine blog

Here is a new blog site for a film by Danny Boyle called Sunshine.. Its early days but the blogger is caught in the middle of the very fight we are talking about on this blog. She want to use the new 'open and direct' model. The studio (obviously) wants to use heavy controlled marketing. See this particular entry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The internet is rubbish!

A while back in a previous post about new ideas Paul said...

Sometimes a writer sitting in his shed will come up with something extraordinary and best off untouched by any kind of appraisal until release. I'd like to propose that The Werckmeister Harmonies is such a work ( Extraordinary.

I once heard that the internet can viewed as a suppressor of new ideas. A normal 'blogger' view would be that the spread of ideas quickly means that evolution of thought is accelerated. But pockets of isolated thought can sometimes be more beneficial. If everyone knows the same thing and the same trends - you don't get 'movements'. No Italian neo-realism, no German expressionism, no French new wave. Once these ideas hit a critical mass they exploded worldwide and created new thinking and new ideas globally. Currently we don't explosions - just a trickle.

Conclusion: internet = bad thing?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Another one-way media collapse

A one-off or part of a trend. Another big one-way media outlet is falling.

The New York Times reports that newspapers are in even more trouble that we thought. The Philadelphia Inquirer lost 30% of its subscription base in the last twenty years.

For just about any venture, it's the first customers that pay the rent, and the last ones that make a profit. It's hard to imagine anyone going back to newspapers, isn't it?

As reported on Seth Godin's blog

I know it, they know it.

Film 2005 on the BBC had an interesting segment on the film business. Its not easy to blog about as there is no on-line version of it on the offical site. But it was examining a topic that we've often discussed here. Why the cinema is starting to fail. The number one reason - poor scripts. The number two reason - bad business model. There was a claim that distributors want to move the DVD release even closer to the cinema release. Closer than close. In fact to the same day.

I'd go even further than that. At the moment its a no mans land.

As you all know I'd prefer a larger range of films that stay around longer as dictated by the audience. A low marketing, interactive approach. The other way, the big marketing, get em on the first weekend way, isn't big enough either. If its supposed to be an event then make it an event. I want to buy the Soundtrack and a poster as I come out of a good film. Not be thrown out into the cold. I want the DVD and to chat about the film in the cafe. But alas I'm out on my ear in the cold British weather.

Either way - sort it out. Just hiring out a darkened room doesn't really cut it anymore.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Blog Radio or 'The World's First Blog'

We already looked at Blog TV. No news on that. But as I stirred from my pit of a bed this morning I had a revelation while listening to the Terry Wogan show.

Surely his show was the world's first blog. It follows the same structure. He says something daft / controversial and then people text / email in with comments and slowly the show moves to a new agenda. Its not a phone-in show as no topic is ever set or discussed. There is just one topic - the show itself. It is a show completely based on the participation of the audience. They set the agenda. Terry just steers it. And he has done for 30 years (although e-communication has brought it to life)

So who would have thought it. Terry Wogan invented blogging.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A word from our competitors.

I don't think I do enough anecdotes or examples on here. Sure, there is a lot of rambling on about theory. But here is one TV viewers opinion on why the middle ground isn't working. About why 'big business' media making must end. It is ruining good work now. Simple as that.

Read it here.

Picture from Peter Lee's Four Poems

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New distribution - idea one

Less moaning - more creative thinking. Lets go...

Now might be a good time to mention an event that I am heavily involved with. Its called the Landcrab Film Festival and is an annual event in the Bournemouth area. Its been going for 8 years now and has built slowly up to an audience of 210 movie fans. We show about 15 shorts from film makers with many levels of experience. Our only criteria is that films must be exciting, fresh and entertaining. We are the largest fully independent screening in the South.

So who cares about another old film fest in southern England? Firstly there is the business model. No arts funding, no sponsorship, no fees to enter. We only cover our costs through entrance fees. So for it to continue we need to deliver a top-notch evening of entertainment. We have to compete with TV and regular cinema. Which we do. The theatre where the event is held says the Landcrab night is the busiest night of the year.

Secondly there is the spirit of the festival. Film makers have to stand up and introduce their film (if you're not there we don't show it) and in the bar afterwards there is plenty of opportunity to talk about it. Very immediate and highly direct.

What is the moral of this story? That people love a good night of films and the immediacy of discussion and feedback. Let's look at my chart again. With the landrab method we are halfway between the top and bottom route. As hard as we try to keep out of the way - we do in fact provide the distribution. But its a good start. Could we go further and ever achieve the top route?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh dear. Am I coming at this the wrong way?

Paul said recently (with regard to the position of writers in Hollywood) 'Why is it ridiculous if it works though?'. A kind of if it ain't broke don't fix it. Which, let's be honest, is sometimes a good policy. I mean, its not me that is making $200m at the US box office is it? But some films are - so what's my beef? It's only Hollywood films after all - the writer is much more highly regarded in say British TV. So maybe I have come at this the wrong way. The producers do know best. Get a writer in to do the job and let's package something up for the folks.

Fine - except for 3 pieces of evidence.

1: As we have seen - this summer was quite bad for films with regard to income. So something may in fact be broken and require fixing. The film business is fragile. A little bad streak bites deep.
2: The Media Guardian this week had 2 articles on blogging and 2 on the fact that audiences aren't in tune with summer blockbuster films. No link between these articles was drawn. But that is what I am trying to do! Show that a change is coming.
3: (and this is a cheeky one). I know that Paul loves the cinema. But I know that personally he finds a lot more interest in Asian, European and low budget films - albiet via his DVD player. I'm asking - is this the new way forward. More smaller films that communicate more directly with the audience.

Can we ride the change this is coming? Can Hollywood?