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.

Be Free Where You Are

by Emily Best Thursday, Sep 18, 2014

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We've always been about eating our own dog food. We started Seed&Spark as filmmakers who wanted a better future in which to make moving pictures. Six months after launching, we raised money on our own platform to improve the streaming Cinema experience and unbeknownst to us at the time, to start Bright Ideas Magazine. From our own experiences crowdfunding and everything we've learned from our incredible filmmakers so far, we put together best practices and started teaching them.

Then one day, we were sitting with our friends from Tugg - a platform for crowdsourcing your theatrical release - and we discovered that they teach filmmakers who are looking to use their tools for theatrical distribution almost an identical set of skills. We realized that together, we could help filmmakers utilize the tools we've built to maintain maximum control over both the creative AND the distribution. After we announced last month that we had combined forces to educate filmmakers on tools for building independence, the incredible women at Picture Motion chipped in on the best practices for filmmakers to build relationships with big organizations and non-profits. Combined, it's a pretty killer handbook on Crowdfunding to Build Independence - which we also now teach as a workshop.

In these classes, we encourage filmmakers to seek out opportunities to go and meet their audiences in person, to pursue regional film festivals with the same fervor as Sundance. How else will you find out how audiences in Birmingham, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New Haven, Seattle, Ft. Worth or Albuquerque feel about your film or connect with you as an artist? How will you know what people like and what they don't? 

There are so many examples (here’s one) of how when artists have decided to collaborate with their audiences, they make films that better serve those audiences. (And their audiences better serve them as evangelists!) 

And then we realized: as a company, we need to go and hear from OUR audience - our filmmakers. Ideally, we can build tools powerful enough to help filmmakers build sustainable careers right in their hometowns. For us, success is the ability for a filmmaker in Albuquerque to make a film, connect with her audience, leverage the Seed&Spark community to spread the word across the country and make money for herself, her family, and her creative community, right where she prefers to live.

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The truth is, right now, you may not be able to make enough money just on indie films to live in NYC or LA. But why should you have to? 

When we as a company got together to say, "Ok, what are we doing this for?" we came to this: we’ll consider Seed&Spark successful when we can say we were part of the movement to grow the creative middle class - when artists connect meaningfully with their audiences and can make meaningful returns from their work. It's not about getting rich and famous. It's about getting paid a fair wage for doing what you love - which also happens to be an important cultural service. 

Empowering filmmakers right where they are will bring more, different kinds of stories to the screen. It doesn't only have to be New York and Los Angeles that loom large in our cinematic vocabulary. And that means more than just the coastal perspective, more than just the city perspective comes to the screen and has the potential to reach a wider audience.

Or so we think. So we're hitting the road. 30 cities in 60 days, mostly by car. (Yes, there will be lots of Hyperlapse from the road.) We’ll teach filmmakers how to use the tools available to them to build independent, powerful relationships with their audiences. Hopefully, you’ll teach us about how YOU would like to be able to make work where you are. Or, if your dream is to make it to NY or LA, maybe we can help with that, too. We know what that feels like. In fact, we'll be interviewing the heads of film organizations, filmmakers and film lovers in each city to find out just exactly what "independence" means to each of you. We hope to understand how to build better tools to serve you to be free where you are.

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About the author

Founder&CEO, Seed&Spark
Emily is going be traveling the country for the next 60 days for the #stayindietour.

Blackmagic Stirs the Cauldron

by Diamond Bros
Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

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The Writer's Objective

by Hal Ackerman
Monday, Sep 8, 2014

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Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Write Screenplays That Sell - The Ackerman Way by Hal Ackerman. Hal has graciously shared it with us and we are honored to republish it!

The Elusive Filmmaking Entrepreneur

by Márcia Nunes
Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014

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8 Tips to Take Away The Crowdfunding Night Terrors

by Tracy Soren
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

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My writing partner and I created two seasons of a web series without any formal film training. That’s scary. But one of the scariest things we had to do was create and run our crowdfunding campaign.

Tips and Tricks or Things Not to Do: Your Editor is Your Best Friend

by The Diamond Bros.
Monday, Aug 25, 2014

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In this series we’re going to discuss the finer points of some things you should try to avoid.

A client comes to you with a project or you’ve decided to start a new project of your own.

General pre-production knee-jerk first thoughts are:

What type of camera should we use?

What kind of lighting package do we need?

Quit Your Bitching and Get to Pitching

by Paul Osborne
Monday, Aug 18, 2014

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From Crowdfunding to Community Building

by Christina Raia
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

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Rubber-Necker Special: Diary of a Crowdfunder

by Anne Flournoy
Monday, Aug 11, 2014

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The filmmakers who run Seed&Spark advise: “Have all videos and all your material set before you launch a crowdfunder.” Got it.  

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Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

by Amanda Trokan
Former Director of Content, Seed&Spark, now Film Programming & Acquisitions at HBO. HBO! Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014

Today is a tough day in the Seed&Spark office, as we bid farewell to our incredibly talented Director of Content Amanda Trokan, who was recognized and snapped up for one of the most prestigious programming jobs in the world: Film Programming & Acquisitions at HBO. HBO YOU GUYS. It's hard to be simultaneously so sad to lose a teammate and so excited for her new adventure. But we're nothing if not full of complexities and contradictions around here. Especially today.

Crowdfunding is a Scary Thing

by Jillian Corsie
Monday, Aug 4, 2014

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