SEED&SPARK BLOG

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Welcome to the Seed&Spark Blog, a place where community members and industry leaders share lessons they have learned and hopes for where independent cinema can go. If you have an idea you'd like to share, email us at hello@seedandspark.com.

Six Tech Tools to Help Filmmakers Succeed

by Emily Best Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014

In honor of the big film/music/techsplosion just about to happen in Austin, Texas, we wanted to post some tech companies we have encountered in our travels that we think are building powerful tools to help filmmaker succeed in filmmaking, audience building, and distribution. We are lucky enough to travel to conferences and be invited to meetups that skew more towards tech than film, and we wanted to share some of our favorite crossover tools. (We even know of a few forthcoming, but they wanted to wait until they're close to launch before we add them to our list. So, more lists coming!)

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Creative District is building a professional social network for film and media makers. Find a camera, hire an editor, or find your next gig! Get the support you need to complete your project by finding collaborators and experts with build-in tools to aid in the collaborations.

You'll be able to create your profile to display your skills, experience, and connections. You'll also be able to create content-rich project pages to showcase your project from beginning to completion, and call out for resources you need to complete your project. Other users will be able to follow you and your projects to track your progress along the way. Imagine if you could build your professional network and portfolio all at the same time. The team behind the company, a Technicolor Creative Services initiative, is led by the incredible Micki Krimmel, herself both a film and tech startup veteran.

Creative District's goal is to help film and media makers #CreateMore. While currently in private beta and coming soon, you can pre-register get get a preview of the current Featured Projects at creativedistrict.com

Also, they're already getting written up in little publications like Forbes.

 

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Remark is a video annotation service for video teams. They've made it really easy to share notes on video edits. No more time coded emails!

I recently met one of the co-founders of Remark, and they're focused on setting the standard for interaction to take place around a video. Remark uses it’s time-stamp commenting service to allow stakeholders to have a two-way experience with video. Viewers can engage with video on a frame-by-frame basis, connecting their comments to time-stamps then exporting those comments to markers into any modern NLE. Remark is powered by core technology that has a unique capacity: giving anybody who interacts with video deeper engagement by time-stamp comments, drawing on the video, and leaving audio notes. Have you ever used Soundcloud and left comments along the way? Imagine what a great tool that would be for filmmakers to collaboratively edit video! Apparently, you can also export the annotations directly into your editing programs (with a few program-specific limitations). I, for one, am excited to use this on my next film project.

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Here's one I am particularly excited about because it takes the coding burden of finding and managing coders off a filmmaking team:

Developed by artists for artists, Throwing Fruit will be a filmmaker and content creator platform providing an easy, non-technical way to globally distribute and release films, TV series, webseries and specials directly to audiences via mobile apps. You've been looking for a better way to harness the power and the enormous viewership potential of mobile, and here it is. The platform allows you to retain ownership of your content and related metrics while expanding the user experience way beyond traditional viewing into the realm of touchscreen interactivity of smartphones and tablets. 

Launch Date: Late Spring 2014 (you can request an invite via their website)

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I know you've heard of them already (and if you haven't, you're welcome from under your rock!), but what they're doing is changing the theatrical release game. Even indie studios and mini-majors use theatrical release of indie films as a loss-leader: meaning, it's a marketing ploy that loses money. Tugg changes all that, and anyone can use it.

Tugg enables youto turn social interest into action by empowering your fans to create community-driven theatrical and non-theatrical screenings across the nation. If you want to screen your film at a theater in your hometown, chances are that theater is in Tugg's huge network. Pick a date and time, and the theater will tell Tugg how much they need to make on that screening. As the filmmaker, you also get to set the minimum you need to make. If you have a promoter on the ground, they can even set a minimum they need to make. The three minimum's make up the event minimum, let's says it's $1000. That's 100 $10 ticktes. (Math!) That's the minimum you need to guarantee the booking of the event. It works like an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign, if you don't hit the minimum, no event and no one is charged for the tickets.

Case Study: Tugg distributes the 2013 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award-winning documentary, Blood Brother. In addition to booking Oscar-qualifying runs in NY and LA, the filmmakers have shared their film nationwide at over 90 theatrical events, and over 120 non-theatrical events! The campaign has grossed over $100,000, with the filmmakers donating 100% of their profits to the HIV/AIDS orphanage featured in their documentary. Simply by seeing the film, audiences are making a difference.

Spend some time on www.tugg.com or email films@tugginc.com to reach out to their content team. 

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Simple ACTIONABLE lists. 

While I am lucky enough to know the inimitable founder of Simplist, I would have sought out this tool. For most of us, our networks are too big and changing too quickly to keep track of who and what people are important. Simplist finds and groups the individuals across your networks that are most important to your business needs. And it keeps these people on simple lists that automatically stay up-to-date even as people change companies, roles, cities and more.

So imagine this: I needed to connect to some cinematographers in our community quickly to gather some social proof for a pitch we were putting together. I wanted to ask them a question.  I hit up Simplist to tell me who among those I follow and who follow me on twitter (as @seedandspark) were Cinematographers. I used a bunch of keywords like "camera, shoot, movies, cinematographer, director, photography" and Simplist spit back 72 Cinematographers already paying attention to us on Twitter. Just like that. I could then direct message them with my questions.

Imagine you're about to launch a funding or distribution campaign and you could segment your social media following to find out who to target with your messaging? It's just one piece of the exceptional targeted marketing and niche-audience seeking I think Simplist will help us do. 

Synkio is a global hand-picked network of music professionals who are ready to make the right music for your next project. Synkio is the platform designed to massively simplify music licensing and help you get access to better quality music, for less effort and cost.

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When I start to think about the music budget for a film is usually when I get really depressed as a producer. It's like stabbing in the dark. How much will it cost? How do I know it will be good? How do I find the right person for this project? Enter Synkio.

Using Synkio, film-makers can set up a project, complete with required rights, budget and a brief description of creative needs. Thousands of professional songwriters, composers, producers, music supervisors and labels will receive your project and consider it carefully, before they respond with some audio. Once you've selected somebody to work with, you can continue the conversation, finish any amends and the platform manages your payment and the contracts, so you can be sure that you have the rights you need, without having to spend time in negotiation.

We've currently got a deal going with Synkio: Just email your Seed&Spark profile link and email address to humans@synk.io with the subject "Seed&Spark meets Synkio" and you'll get a free one year Synkio Pro Account (that's $540!). Try it out!

All of these companies are startups, which means that customer feedback is incredibly valuable to them. Try them out, and no matter what your experience, feedback is really meaningful. But be nice, of course.

Also let us know if this was useful to you. Leave a comment below on any you've discovered recently we should cover soon.

 

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About the author

Founder and CEO, Seed&Spark
I want to help filmmakers make money making films. I want to help audiences find what they love and feel good about paying to watch it.

An Open Letter to the SEC on the JOBS Act Rules

by Max Silverman
Operations Czar, Seed&Spark Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014

 

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Selling at Sundance

by Emily Best
Seed&Spark Founder and CEO Saturday, Jan 18, 2014

Everyone wants to know the secret: how do you sell your film at Sundance? 

Spoiler: there isn't one. (Darn.)

If you DO sell at Sundance, what is likely to happen to your film - when will it release, and how might that influence box office?

The Print Magazine Impends

by James Kaelan
Editor-in-Chief Monday, Jan 13, 2014

The first-ever print edition of BRIGHT IDEAS launches later this week in Park City where it will be available exclusively inside official Sundance and Slamdance Film Festival venues. Oh, and at our totally rad launch party @ Downstairs on Main Street this Sunday from 4-7p. 

The Top 20 (+10) Films of 2013

by James Kaelan
Creative Director, Seed&Spark Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013

BRIGHT IDEAS Editor James Kaelan presents his "Top 20 Films of 2013," notably excepting Her and Inside Llewyn Davis—neither of which he's had an opportunity to see yet. But everyone else likes those films, so they probably don't need his endorsement, anyway.

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Raising Awareness, One Vagina at a Time.

by Zoé Salicrup Junco
Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

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"Zoé Salicrup Junco (left) directs lead actress Dalia Davi (right)"

Hello there. My name is Zoé Salicrup Junco. I’m a film director in-the-making, but more importantly, I’m a woman in-the-making. I have a funny feeling that both the former and especially the latter will be never-ending journeys... Hit me up if that’s not the case.

We HAVE What We Need to Create

by Barbara Ann O'Leary
Thursday, Dec 5, 2013

I’m really inspired these days by filmmaker, entrepreneur, community builder Ava DuVernay - inspired about film and about life.  IndieWire named her one of their 40 top Industry Influencers and they definitely got it right when they put her in their shapeshifter category. She IS indeed a shapeshifter.  She’s not only transforming herself, but she’s calling into being a highly fluid, passionately creative era in filmmaking.  She’s inviting us all to shift our perceptions and change our world.

To Win Your Film Audience, Think Like a Content Marketer

by Katja Schroeder
President, Expedition PR Thursday, Nov 14, 2013

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In a recent Seed&Spark #filmcurious Twitter chat the question was raised how people find out about new films. The idea behind was to identify the main information sources that people trust to make the decision about the next movie to watch.

Help us choose a poster designer!

by James Kaelan
Creative Director, Seed&Spark Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013

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Last week we launched a contest to choose which film from 1964 deserves a brand new poster. Now we're asking our audience to help select the designer who will re-imagine that winning film's key art.

Little House in the Big Woods: Flyway Film Festival Keynote Speech

by Emily Best
Thursday, Oct 24, 2013

Editors Note: Seed&Spark CEO and Founder Emily Best had the honor of giving the Keynote Speech at the 6th Annual Flyway Film Festival Gala on Thursday October 17th in Pepin, WI. 

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The Best Film of 1964

by James Kaelan
Creative Director, Seed&Spark Sunday, Oct 20, 2013

 

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As part of a really awesome new project that Seed&Spark is launching in January, we're holding a contest!

There are a bunch of amazing films turning 50 in 2014 (amongst them Dr. Strangelove, Fistful of Dollars, and Godzilla vs. Mothra), and we're asking the Seed&Spark community to help us pick one of 16 very worthy movies to commemorate with a newly re-designed poster.

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