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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reflection on Cannes

Looking back at Cannes - and my own stern face above (!) - and all the people I met - and all the crowds I saw - I am left with one conclusion...

Not enough people are having fun.

Bad news. Suki said he could hear myself and Rob Pratten laughing from the other end of the convention centre. Why? Because no one else was. The best people I met are people who took film making seriously, but not themselves. If you don't have fun, how can you expect the audience to.

You don't need to go this far though...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Open Source Cinema

These guys are right out there in the film2.0 world. They are creating an open source film on the subject of copyright. Its so of its self and so of the moment its amazing.

'Open source' means that they share the content, the raw material, and invite others to both edit this and contribute more new material. What some people (who are more cool than myself) might call a MashUp. The film itself will look at the idea that strict copyright halts artistic progress.

Here is the manifesto:

1) Copyright Is Theft!
Every time we copyright a work, we are robbing from the Commons We are denying others the freedom to share the ideas we have given life to. We are denying others the freedom to build on our ideas.

Yes, Copyright in some sense is necessary. It is an incentive to create, to encourage "the progress of science and useful arts". But when it is the life of the author, plus 75 years? That's a theft of our collective heritage.

2) Music Wants To Be Free!
On the advice of my lawyer, I must qualify the above statement. Of course artists need to profit
from their work. But as my lawyer explains, over the years copyright has mutated from something
that was supposed to encourage art by guaranteeing a limited profit for artists, into something
that corporations use to control the supply of art, music and ideas—long after the artists
have passed away. It used to be that art would fall into the public domain after its creators had
made money from it for a few years - but nowadays, the public domain is an antique concept.
Corporations have much longer life spans than individuals, so from their point of view, their
copyrights should never expire. As Sonny Bono put it (congressman Sonny Bono, that is), “copyright
should last forever minus a day.”

As a result, artists are having a harder time building on art from the past. Culture—which needs
to live and breathe and evolve—is being stored in vaults, released at the discretion of corporate
interests. So this film project is about more than just music, it’s about the future of all creativity. As John Oswald once said: “If creativity is a field, then copyright is a fence.”

3) Film is Fascism!
The traditional approach to creating films, especially documentary films, is flawed. A single perspective cannot hope to capture the nuance of an evolving cultural debate. Sure, Point of View is important. But "The Ecstasy of Influence", the participatory nature of digital creativity, begs us to create media that invites input from its audience.

4) Film is Pollution!
Travelling the globe, running hours of tape, wasting resources - these are a fact of life for documentary filmmakers. This no longer needs to be the case - with digital tools and transmission, we can crowd-source our ideas with silicon instead of carbon.

5) Open Source Cinema!
I am hereby opening this film to the masses. My entire plan, warts and all, can be viewed at the WikiFilm.

Check it out.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

People who love Circumference - episode 5

I ran into James Tinney in Cannes. James is a composer of no small talent. Handing over a Circumference card he had a moment of recognition. "I know that guy", he said, "Archie's my friend on MySpace". So proof that MySpace is a great viral marketing tool for lower budget films as well as for spiderman3. The Circumference word is spreading! If you want to be friends with Archie, the main character in Circumference then go to his page here.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


An odd promo at Cannes. A lifesize Simpson family. Very strange to see what they would look like if they were real!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cannes vodcast

Rob Pratten from Zen Films had his new film to talk about Mind Flesh. Here is his video of Cannes featuring yours truly handing out the Circumference flyers.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

cannes review

Promoting Hope at the Short Film Corner at Cannes.

After several conversations with short film makers and animators I have a conclusion for the problem of how to get your short noticed.

The answer is passion.

Take for instance the guys behind American Identity - this is a personal story brought about by personal experience. Take also the work of Sam Moore who combines animation with documentary to create something new and important.

I believe this is due to the fact that must live the feelings you want your audience to feel. If you really want the audience to care about your film then you had better care about it yourself.

So get personal.


Myself and the Small Town Folk guys with Suki Singh.

Here's their latest trailer...

Small Town Folk

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Small Town Folk - live at Cannes

This morning was the Cannes screening of Small Town Folk. For those of you who don't know this is a super low budget (a no budget) film shot locally to me. In fact the director Peter Stanley Ward and the producer Chris Musselwhite were in my scriptwriting workshop a few years ago.

This film has been a real challenge for them financially as they have funded it themselves. But it looks amazing.

And now here it is, in Cannes, being repped by a sales agent and being a project up for sale and part of the international market.

If people say to me, how can I make my film I just say do what the Small Town Folk guys and girls did and just make it! For me, its just great to see the guys in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter instead of in my back garden at the film makers BBQ!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The competition

I'm here on the second day and alreday the Short Film Corner is full of posters.

The Short Film Corner is a section of the film market that specialises in shorts. So it deals with a very different product than the main market. You imagine it would be more low key, more low budget. But it's the opposite. The over-supply of shorts leads to a situation of every available bit of wall covered in posters. Last year it took until the end of the week to reach saturation point. This year we are there already.

This photo is from last year.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New site to sell your films

I spoke to David Geddes this week who is one of the guys who recently set up Si-Mi. It's a video-on-the-web portal where film makers can set their own price to charge customers.

I talked to him about my free-to-the-audience ideas such as 365films and Circumference.

David and si-mi guys are on a different path to me, but on the same journey - or rather on the same exploration. And we both agreed it is the most exciting time to be an indy film maker. Here are some quotes from the conversation that stood out to me. David said...

"Set the price right, set it realistically - that's how you fight piracy. Most people want an original."
"Our slogan is what we believe - the goal is not just to be seen but to be paid, so you can make your next film."
"The phrase 'content wants to be free' isn't probably true, but the phrase 'content want to be made' probably is."

I'll be keeping an eye out for Si-Mi over the next few months. I'm not sure that they have the full answer in these days of blogging, sharing, social networking and viral ads. But then who does?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cannes do

I'll be in Cannes from the 17th to the 20th.

I'm generally promoting Circumference and the The Scriptwriter's Life diagram. Check out the fantastic negative campaign we're doing. Its a two sided postcard. Front above, reverse below. How to make friends in the film business - ahem.

But if you bloggers are out there then lets meet as well and talk about how we plan to change the world together.

See you there.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Shareware - go on, give it a go

4 stories, 1 article and from these 1 new idea.

Story one A friend of mine decided to download (in the good old-fashioned dodgy way) 'The Host' - to give it a go. He doesn't know Korean films at all. But he had half heard good things. So he gave it a go - as it was risk free. He loved it. He recommended it to myself and others. And will check out other Korean films from now on.

Story two Which reminded me of when I saw Sad Movie. I saw it on a plane, didn't have to pay, gave it a go, bought it when I got back.

Story three The marketing campaign for '300' included inviting bloggers (I couldn't go as I was in Berlin) to attend early screenings to spread the word.

Story four I'm reading a Michael Moore book at the moment. It's a collection of emails from soliders in Iraq. Many mention seeing pirate copies of Fahrenheit 9/11. They had never seen Michael Moore's work before this. Now they are fans.

Article one In this week's Screen International Leonard Klady writes 'Today the myriad of supplemental revenues (such as DVD, downloads, ringtones, figures etc) are the engine, or at least the prevailing profit centre for movies. {in the future} conventional film going would merely be a loss leader much in the way hardcover has become in relationship to paperback in publishing.

The new idea: Go further. Give the cinema experience away. Its just a giant advert for your film. Make it easy for my friend to check out a Korean film on a no-gamble chance. If its good he'll stick with it. Or perhaps adopt a shareware approach. You only pay if you like it. You are sure people will like your film - aren't you???

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