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Friday, December 18, 2009

Making films that matter.

A lot of people first get into writing and creative endeavours because they feel they could make a difference.

That could be a difference to people's opinions, a difference to how they think or maybe a difference to the wider conversation. Something like Brave New Films, has that as its raison d'etre and they focus on topics purely to challenge and create debate. They try to make a difference to the World.

But how can we achieve this goal as film makers with limited resources, no infra-structure and perhaps films with a more subtle or non-political voice? How can we help ensure that our films reach out to people in whatever way we want them too?

Try extending your film and creative ideas into a new area - 'tools' and 'help'. I'd like to say 'make it interactive' but that phrase would probably suggest a complex online tool to you. This is not (necessarily) what I mean.

One example would be the fun activities for Mr Vista; the doodle pad and the 80s style text adventure. Whilst these didn't get the same usage figures as the videos themselves feedback would indicate they were very popular with the hardcore fans. So, reflecting upon that, these style of add-ons reach the people who you want to reach and do it in a deeper way. It adds more to their involvement. Mr Vista is now in their real life too.

On a (slightly) more serious basis I recently received a series of photos from Steve Keevil showing his media students using the pdf download for my abstract documentary short Quartz Shorts.

It's great to see. And I guess that sums up my belief in why these add-ons work. They are the film +1. They are better than any DVD extra. They bring the film into the real world and into people's lives.

They embed the thinking of the film and make it stick. Whatever you want people to feel at the end of your film - this ensures you exceed that.

Basically they are 'film magnifiers'.

Have a think about what you could do for your next project...
  • Links to self-help pages or organisations.
  • A free-gift; a piece of origami that people can print, cut out and make.
  • Upload your rough footage so anyone can do a re-edit.
  • If it is location-based then do a virtual tour in google earth.
  • Create an experience that allows people to empathise with the main character - the world as they see it.
  • Have a link allowing a donation to an organisation that can do something about the issues you raised.

And lastly - never think your film isn't worth it. Horror, comedy, documentary, thriller, any genre can benefit.

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