Archives: Film

Perception is Everything

Following on from yesterday’s post about faking it and how your inner confidence shines out through your actions, today’s post continues on the theme of perception.

I’ve just watched this video from Gary Vaynerchuk1 and it’s hard to do so without being inspired:

This is a guy who knows how he’s perceived, knows what people expect from him when they first encounter him, but flies in the face of it with wit and confidence.

Perception / Percepción

Knowing how people see you is key to finding your personal – or corporate – brand. I’ve written before about the importance of recognising your place in the market to help drive your growth, but it’s just as important to know not just where you see yourself, but where others see you, too.

  1. no, I didn’t really know who he was either until turned onto his stuff by Adam Baker []

Feeling Isn’t The Same As Being

Many of us have had a taste of success. Some of us dine on it frequently, for others it’s a rare treat. What it does is to help us all feel like we’re doing what we should be in life.

Too often, though, we define ourselves by how we feel. We even decline things by saying, “I just don’t feel like it today” – we put so much stock in feelings that we don’t stop to look at what and who we actually are.

This quote got me thinking:

It’s not about feeling like a filmmaker, it’s about being a filmmaker.

Drake Doremus, The Wrap

Doremus is talking about filmmaking and how it’s better to shoot for a lower target budget in order to be able to make films as opposed to holding out for the mega-budget and never actually making anything. It’s also about how the trappings of a “big” production don’t make the film, it’s the kit, the crew and the cast who make a film what it is.

It’s time for us all to stop chasing the “feel” and start “being” what we want to be – filmmakers, entrepreneurs, writers, artists; we all have goals and we all want to achieve them, but if we set about doing the things we need to do to get there, no matter what, we’ll arrive and find success much quicker than doing all the things that make us “feel” like we think we ought to.

 

The Indie Film Hub Is A Poke

Inspiration comes from many quarters all around us. Sometimes it’s something we see, sometimes something we here. A lot of times for me it’s things I read.

I’ve written previously about Seth Godin and his new book ‘Poke the Box’. After reading the free eBook SXSW Pokes, I immediately downloaded the Kindle version of the full book and read it quicker than I’ve read most things before.

Poke The Box is all about starting, initiating, changing the status quo without fear of failure. Reading it struck a chord with me. Not only had I decided to give up fear for lent, but I was also living a more fearless life, committing myself to things and driving myself forward in several areas of my life, albeit slowly.

While going through my RSS feed one day, I wondered if it wouldn’t be nicer to have a single place on the ‘net that collects all of the best content, particularly for filmmakers. There’s Hollywood Wiretap – a great site for news on big studio movies – but nothing really similar for blog posts and articles that are aimed at, written by and for the benefit of independent filmmakers.

TheIndieFilmHub.com was born in mere moments and, no sooner had the idea come to me than I had set about making it happen. This project, which launched yesterday, is my poke at the box, my attempt to get something shipped when other projects and ideas have been stagnating or not progressing as quickly as I’d have liked.

The Indie Film Hub is a place indie filmmakers can go to find the best, most useful, most relevant and entertaining content on the web, all personally curated. Every post on the site is hand-picked by a real, genuine human being – no bots, no aggregators, no automation whatsoever.

I hope, in time, it will become a great resource for filmmakers and be the first stop on their hunt for content. But if not, at least I started something. At least I poked the box.

When it comes to living your life creatively, you – the artist, the filmmaker, the writer – are the single most important person in your world.

By setting out to impress other people, we are doomed to following the path of what we *think* people want to see, only ever re-creating things that have gone down well before or that we are pretty sure will be swallowed without too much sugar on the spoon  ((apologies to Mary Poppins fans)).

The only person we as artists need to satisfy, impress or please is ourselves. By creating honest work, true to our core sensibilities and interests, we create personal work that carries a stamp of authenticity that will carry it onto a higher plane.

That’s not to say what works for us will sell like wildfire, will be the next break-out success or even make an impact. But all of those things are far more likely to happen if we start with the most important person in mind.

*Special thanks to Lucas McNelly on Twitter for inspiring this post.

Why Your Next Film Should Be ‘The Hobbit’

Peter Jackson on-set in HobbitonYou’re right, you can’t actually make ‘The Hobbit’ as your next film, but you can learn a huge amount about creating and nurturing your audience from the get-go from Peter Jackson‘s latest adventure in Middle Earth.

Yesterday, production began on the two-film adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkein book and no sooner had the press release hit the wires than Peter Jackson himself had launched his new Facebook Page. Yes, it’s a personal one, but you can be sure that it’s going to be used almost solely to promote his current flick up until its release in 2012.

This early-bird establishing of connection and communication with the audience (which is something PJ excelled at with both ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and his 2005 ‘King Kong’ remake) is crucial for filmmakers across the budget range.

While Jackson and the Hobbit team may be walking into an audience of millions of eager fans across the world and you may be staring at an audience of less-than-eager family members at the start of your journey, focusing on and starting your social media and marketing efforts from Day 1 is a key principle in audience building for independent filmmakers.

Just ask your friendly local PMD, a post title created by Jon Reiss and being exemplified by the sterling work of Adam Daniel Mezei over at pmdforhire.com – creating your film with your audience in mind is crucial to your success and the more (and earlier) you can connect with them, the more successful you will be.

Know What You’re Making (and Who You’re Making It For)

spider-man: the musicalI don’t want to pour more scorn on the much-derided Spider-man: The Musical, enough of that has been done by commentators and citizen reviewers across New York, the US and, increasingly, the world. I make no comment on its artistic merit; I’ve not seen it and therefore am in no position to judge.

I did, however, see a lesson for all artists and creatives in the development and re-development of the show following this piece in the New York Post this week. The key phrase for me:

[Phil] McKinley’s going to turn the show into a shorter, special-effects-driven family spectacle more suited to the world of Steve Wynn than Steve Sondheim.

Michael Riedel, nypost.com

For me, if you’re creating a musical from a comic book, the tone and the feel of the show needs to reflect that of the book itself. The same holds true for making movies and TV shows of comic books, too.  What I don’t understand about Spidey is why have a short, special-effects-driven family show is a change of direction – that’s exactly the sort of show it should have been in the first place.

As any social media and marketing expert will tell you, knowing your audience is key. And the audience for Spider-man: The Musical surely wants to see something breath-takingly spectacular with a simple, familiar storyline that they don’t have to concentrate on too much.  From the reports abounding on the ‘net, that’s not what they’ve got.

Knowing your audience and knowing exactly what it is you’re making is crucial to the artistic and commercial success of any artistic project. Even for little indies who don’t want to think about “commerce” and “business”1, it’s vital to understand who is going to consume your eventual product, even if they’re not paying for it.

What else would you want from a Broadway/West End show based on a comic book? I can’t think of anything other than good fun and spectacle. It’s the old K.I.S.S. message: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

  1. as misguided as that is []

The Lowdown on Communication

This week’s Lowdown focuses on communication tools for filmmakers:

Communication, as we all know, is key to establishing, maintaining and getting the most from our connections and relationships. And it’s important to remember that “getting the most” doesn’t just mean “getting what you want” – all relationships in life should be a two-way street. As soon as we forget that, we’re in trouble.

SKYPE

The biggest and most obvious communication tool for filmmakers is Skype. It’s free, it’s easy-to-use and it offers three main methods of connecting with someone: text-based instant messaging, voice-only internet phone calls and, more famously, video calls.

There is nothing better than meeting with someone face-to-face; relationships will always be stronger and more cemented simply by being or having been in someone’s company. Failing that, however, video calls are by far the best way. You can not only hear the person’s voice, but you get to see their facial expressions, too. When you’re part of a global community of filmmakers, being able to connect with people on the other side of the world and work with them in close-quarters, Skype video calling is simply the best solution.

Voice calls are second best, but Skype still allows you to have a conversation, to hear the other person and to enjoy proper two-way communication. And, of course, it’s still free, which means you’re saving significant amounts on your phone bill.

Lastly comes instant messaging. IM can be a great tool for chatting things through quickly with someone or floating ideas while you’re doing other things, too. It’s a productive communication tool for conversations that don’t require 100% attention the whole way through – you can dip in and out with pauses between responses. The main issue with IM is that it’s far too easy to be lazy and use it when you should really pick up the phone and talk to someone.

WHATSAPP

Alongside Skype, which is often seen as the catch-all free communication tool, is the fantastic WhatsApp Messenger. WhatsApp is both brilliant and significant because it’s one of the first cross-platforms communications apps that lets you connect with friends and contacts using instant messaging from your mobile device.

It works on iPhone, Blackberry and Android smartphones and uses the same internet connections and technology that gives you your email to keep you in touch without any charge beyond your usual monthly phone service.

The biggest barrier to this right now is the fact that both sides have to have the app installed on their device, so the more we can encourage each other and our friends and connections to download the app and sign up, the more free communication we’re going to get from it.

WRAP UP

Communication tools are like all the other tools I talk about on here: they’re great if you use them correctly and for the right purpose. While all manner of free communication tools are a huge boon to us as filmmakers and content producers, they can only be as good – and as productive – as we allow them to be.

So next time you find yourself typing out an email, stop and think if you’d be better connect with the recipient in a chat. Next time you try to connect with someone in a chat, think about whether you’d be better off calling them on Skype. And the next time you connect on Skype, think about whether what you have to say would be better done using video so they can see you’re not angry, pissed off or disappointed.

Good communication is the cornerstone of good business and at the end of the day, good business is what we’re all trying to achieve.

Why I Do It

The most common question I get when talking about the 3 Peaks is “Why?”.

I have two answers, both of which are exemplified in things I saw on Twitter today.  Number one (courtesy of the marvellous Sheri Candler):


Number two is this series of Tweets from a very close friend:

Just had call number 5 but no good for me. Gutted.

@Tor87

Feeling awful but thank you for keeping my spirits up, so many lovely friends. Please remember the amazing donor and their family today. x

@Tor87

God this has hit me hard. In lots of pain, breathing awful, body wont work. You cannot imagine.

@Tor87

Not only has Tor had to suffer yet another false alarm, but even while she’s hurting, struggling to breathe and exhausted from over 5 hours of travelling, she’s thinking of others.

And when she says, “You cannot imagine,” she absolutely means it. If you haven’t been there, you cannot possibly understand the rollercoaster of emotions that is involved with a false-alarm; being prepared to have your life changed forever before being told it’s not going to happen. And knowing that if it doesn’t happen today, it may never happen at all.

You want to know why I’m subjecting myself to 24 hours of mountain climbing following 3 months of hard training?

Tor is why.

PotW: Asymmetrical Mass Favours in Crowdfunding

Crowdfunders should be aware and cautious of Seth Godin’s concept of Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Mass Favours

Continue reading

Never a Wasted Moment

Anything that doesn’t go the way you intend may at first appear like an utter waste of your time, but it’s important to find the positives and ways to take advantage of a situation that may not be to our liking.

Continue reading