REVIEW: GameLoading: Rise of the Indies

on Thursday, Apr. 30th

Another indie film about indie games?

That’s the first thing I thought when I was pitched on the idea of GameLoading: Rise of the Indies, a documentary funded via Kickstarter that tracks a number of indie game developers in order to give a cross section of the international scene.

The sense of deja vu was strong: it was Indie Game: The Movie—an indie movie about indie games—which helped kick off the Kickstarter film funding craze a few years back, after all. GameLoading tackles the same topical territory. Yet where IGTM delved into the details of its subjects to tell a story about creativity the makers of GameLoading directors Lester Francois and Anna Brady take a wide angle approach.

This means that GameLoading is a less intimate film than IGTM, but while the later movie does an amazing job of unearthing the soul of the indie game scene Francois and Brady excel at giving a sense of the scene’s scope.


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BEST OF WATCH THIS: Soderberg’s State of the Cinema Address

on Friday, Jan. 3rd

2013 was a tumultuous year behind the scenes in the film business. In some ways the industry is just waking up to the changes that the Internet has brought about. Some parts of the industry, at least.

One of the most interesting perspectives of the year came from filmmaker Steven Soderberg at the San Francisco Film Society’s  annual “State of Cinema” address.

As I wrote then:

The original plan was that this would only be for people in the room, but bootleg copies of the speech started making the rounds on the internet and now the Film Society has released both an official transcript and video.

Couple this with Kevin Spacey’s talk about where television is going, and a vision of the near-future of filmed entertainment emerges.

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on Wednesday, Jan. 1st

We first featured this short back in June of last year, when I wrote “I love the attention to detail in this period piece.”

That remains true. One of my favorite shorts of 2013.

Written and directed by Hope Larson
Starring Brie Larson, Brendan Hines and James Urbaniak

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SEO for Filmmakers

on Monday, Oct. 7th

Digital marketing expert Annelise Larson has the latest post in a series on search engine optimization for filmmakers up at Ted Hope's Truly Free Film blog today.

Look: SEO can often be seen as a kind of "Dark Arts" of web design, but at its heart the practice is all about making sure that search engines can read your site and won't shove it down the page in search results because of formatting errors.

For those who live their lives online SEO can read a lot like common sense. For example:

#5 – Manage your page load times.

Google and Bing want to return sites that offer the best user experience and slow loading sites just don't do it. Human visitors will also likely bail on your site if it takes too long to load, so it just makes sense to ensure your site is nimble and easy to load.

Give it a dive in.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)

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Lighting Is An Underestimated Art

on Tuesday, Apr. 16th

Over the weekend I was having a conversation about the new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum that’s been announced. Specifically we were talking about the interactive exhibits. My companion expressed disgust at that kind of thing for a museum ostensibly about an art form.

I countered that people don’t appreciate what goes into something as complicated as filmmaking until they get some hands on experience with it themselves. Film lighting, in particular, is underestimated by pretty much everyone who hasn’t tried to make a video look halfway decent.

So you can imagine how delighted I was when BoingBoing’s Rob Beschizza posted this teaser for an upcoming music video today. Here’s the power of light, kids.

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Image: Digital Bolex

Out of SXSW, a New Indie Film Ecosystem Emerges

on Thursday, Mar. 21st

The first “prosumer” grade video cameras were hailed as the arrival of a filmmaking revolution. Igniting that revolution has proven to be a bit more complicated than grabbing a camera from Best Buy. 
The cost of production equipment has been driven down, and the rise of digital distribution — both theatrical and on-demand — has radically reduced certain costs on the exhibition side. However, the core issues that face any filmmaker, how to fund their film and find an audience for it, feel as if they have only grown more acute.

For filmmakers, crowdfunding has been the next big part of a continuing revolution.
“I believe that it has only begun to disrupt the film funding space,” said Emily Best, founder of the crowdfunding/distribution hybrid Seed & Spark. “And that’s a big claim when Kickstarter raised over $30 million for independent film in the past three years. That’s a tremendous feat.” 
At this year’s South By Southwest Festival, it became apparent that a new ecosystem that goes far beyond crowdfunding is emerging. One that could, in theory, shepherd a film through all the phases of its life apart from production: development, financing, distribution and exhibition. Perhaps the last obstacle remaining is the lack of a map to help navigate them all.
What follows is an attempt to illustrate some of these choices. A snapshot of the terrain as viewed from the vantage point coming out of SXSW. 

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Speaking of Tugg… Film Start-Up Celebrates One Year With New Site

on Wednesday, Mar. 6th

In yesterday’s Hangout we talked a lot about Tugg, Inc., the Austin based film start-up that brings classic and new films to theaters on an on-demand basis. As Miss Dial filmmaker @DavidHSteinberg mentioned, the service came out of beta this week and have upgraded their website.

Tugg, Inc. is proudly touting a film library of over 1,100 films–which, sadly, cannot fit in anyone’s pocket– that can be screened in hundreds of cities around the United States. We’ll be catching up with Tugg co-founder Nicolas Gonda at SXSW next week.

The complete press release trumpeting their one-year anniversary is included after the jump.


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From To Beauty, directed by Jess Zakira Wise

Saturday Night is LACMA’s Young Directors Night

on Friday, Mar. 1st

Los Angeles is the film capital of the world, no doubt about it, and the city treats it’s biggest cultural export with the all the respect, pomp and circumstance that a cultural capital can muster.

LA’s biggest art institution, the LACMA, is no exception to that rule. Saturday night will be the 12th annual Young Directors Night, an event put on by the museum’s Muse division that celebrates rising directors by screening their short films. From the press release:

As one of LACMA Muse’s most popular annual events, Young Directors Night is dedicated to cultivating and celebrating the best in local film. Join LACMA Muse as it presents the Art of Film Award to the best in show. Following the award presentation, guests are invited to celebrate with the filmmakers at a wine reception where LACMA’s special exhibition, Stanley Kubrick will be open for exclusive access.

Seven short films will be presented during the program, which starts at 8PM and is followed by a Q & A session with the directors and hosts. The award presentation and a reception– which includes late night access to the museum’s Stanley Kubrick exhibit follows the Q & A and runs till midnight.

The logistical details after the jump… (more…)

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Crowdfunding 201: A New Model From Seed & Spark

on Wednesday, Jan. 30th

It’s a familiar scene to many filmmakers: they budget out their film, calling in favors left and right, then they launch their crowdfunding campaign and someone sends them an email that says, “Hey, I don’t have any money to give, but I’d love to help.” Invariably, that help can lower the budget. Maybe they have a location you can use for free. Or extra lenses they can loan you. Or they can edit the film for you. Suddenly, you don’t need $X.

Only, you still do.

Kickstarter doesn’t care that you suddenly found an editor that can knock a chunk off your budget. The target goal won’t change.

Enter Seed & Spark, a (very) new entrant in the crowdfunding space. I met up with them at Sundance, via mutual friends. (more…)

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The Weekender: Machinima’s Interactive Film Festival

on Thursday, Dec. 6th

YouTube’s biggest network is hosting a hybrid Film Festival: online and at one of LA’s hottest galleries.

How hot was the ticket to last week’s opening of the Machinima Interactive Film Festival at LA’s iam8bit gallery? Try around the block line, no parking in Echo Park hot.

That’s okay, because the gallery installation is just half of the equation. Machinima and iam8bit have collaborated to put on the MIFF, which features videos in six categories (with the sixth category rolling out today) all of which are somehow steeped in gamer culture. (more…)

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To Build The VR Education of Tomorrow One Scholar Turns To The Past

There are plenty of folks in the education technology field who are excited about virtual reality as the next great educational tool.



We’re Closer To Our Photorealistic VR Future Than You’d Think (INTERVIEW)

A look into the virtual world of tomorrow with USC researcher Paul Debevec.


Prepare Yourselves For The Personal VR Video Revolution

Virtual Reality is rapidly approaching a watershed moment.

Ralph Echemendia

Spoiler Alert: Hollywood Isn’t Taking Cyber Security Seriously (LA Film Fest)

Tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival, squeezed in between movies and red carpet events, a symposium on Cyber Security is being held at the Grammy Museum.

Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.