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Rambling Comments on the future of the media arts field.



Updated: 2018-01-15T23:54:45.841-05:00

 



New website, new blog

2011-06-24T12:16:28.847-04:00

I'm moving the blog to www.sub-genre.com Please follow me there.

Yessirree, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my online life a little bit. Just under two years ago, I left my day-job for more independent pastures and launched my new company sub-genre media. But, I had many years worth of blog posts over here at Springboard Media, which was never a company, just a blog, and I kept blogging there. Every single time I give a lecture or do a consultancy, this leads to confusion. On top of that, I never really liked the Springboard Media name. I had actually just grabbed that name for a project I was working on at the time and it stuck around. But lately, I’m getting tired of the Blogger platform, and figured that when you couple it with the fact that it was confusing…there needed to be a change.

Well, I’ve decided to finally launch the new sub-genre website using tumblr as a backbone. I’m still making improvements, and I’ll be adding a lot more soon, so please hold back on the critiques until I figure out how to make this look prettier. In the meantime, if you’ve ever liked reading my blog, please update your RSS feeds, etc to here. I’ll keep Springboard up as an archive of my past writing, and will refer to it via links here and there, but from now on, all of my writing will be from sub-genre, where you’ll also be able to follow more about my consulting (as I get around to adding it).

Thanks to all, hope to see you at sub-genre.




The problem I'm having with Kickstarter

2011-06-20T17:48:50.435-04:00

I'm a fan of Kickstarter and their team. I've used it for films I've helped as a consultant, and I've contributed to several projects (not all of them film related) through it. There's nothing wrong with supporting projects you love, and yes, there's a little bit of a funding revolution going on as a result. That's all well and good, but...I've been thinking a lot lately about the unintended negative consequences of it, and particularly how these relate to our current political situation and the future of both funding for the arts and of what types of projects get support. We build our society and our future with little decisions. We tend to make them quickly and just focus on the novelty of new mechanisms, instead of thinking about their bigger implications. This critique isn't a thesis, but rather my initial thoughts on the subject.On the face of it, Kickstarter is pretty harmless, and I think the founder's intentions are good. It's great that people can raise money for cool things from the crowd. It's hard to raise money, especially for the arts, and there have always been a lot of gatekeepers in the way. Now, the people can decide what gets funded.I fear, however, that this particular phenomenon fits a little too squarely with the right-wing agenda in the US (and elsewhere, actually). Government support for the arts has always been miniscule, but it's now disappearing rapidly, with many states moving to cut their state arts commissions and one that already has. This year, we saw more attacks on the NEA, CPB and other public funding for media and the arts. Yes, crowdfunding helps bridge the increasing gap, but I'd be much more excited if I received calls to action to support public funding for the arts every five minutes, instead of another email announcing a Kickstarter campaign I can help fund.Why should I need to help fund some filmmaker I love, when I pay taxes that I believe should support the arts, but don't. This smacks of the "big society" ideas going around in the UK to me. The government doesn't need to help the people anymore, the people can help the people. While contributing to a Kickstarter campaign doesn't make you a right-wing, arts-cutting person, by any means, the adoption of such trends can be detrimental to the argument for public funding of the arts.Now, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing, to play devil's advocate. Heck, the State Arts Agencies are probably a lost cause, and the NEA hasn't been very effective (although their new leadership is trying hard). A crowdfunding system is better than no system at all, and I've seen multiple projects raise more money in less time through Kickstarter than the average government grant. But I'm also weary of some other things this trend reinforces.First, I've already witnessed the following:Funders who have already determined that they don't need to fund production and distribution, because anyone can shoot a film for cheap and give it away on YouTube, who now also add that it's easy to fund a movie, so why should they? Trust me, I've heard these arguments already.Funders who understand that good films can be expensive to make and distribute, but who think that you should show them a successful crowdfunding campaign, to show community support. I'm all for the power of the audience, but some art isn't necessarily popular, and making it a popularity contest won't make better, or more effective, art.Funders who don't know anything about any of this, but they smell a trendy subject easily, and are easily swayed. Many of these are now asking how your campaign went, even though they've never even looked at Kickstarter.My biggest concern, however is this - guess who usually gets help when the people help the people? The rich and connected people. That's who. They've traditionally been the ones able to make indie films, by the way, even though people don't like to talk about it. This isn't exclusively true, of course, but it tends to be true - filmmaking has been a rich person's game for most of its history. In addition, the doc communit[...]



Movie Recommendation - General Orders No 9

2011-06-20T13:03:50.319-04:00

I spammed/emailed this to my friends earlier today, and thought I'd share it with you here.  Friends - I'm writing to tell you that the film "General Orders No 9" by Bob Persons opens this Friday, June 24 at the Rerun Theater in Dumbo, Brooklyn.I first encountered this film as a jury member at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival and it absolutely blew me away - I couldn’t think of another film I had seen like it, and I’m still haunted by its beautiful imagery, poetic narration and clear artistic importance. I was not the only one. Mike Ryan said the film was “one of the best I’ve seen at either Sundance or Slamdance” and Michael Tully described that the film “makes Malick look like a straight shot of Hollywood" (and this was well before Tree of Life came out). In a review with nary a word of critique, Robert Kohler wrote in Variety that it comes “seemingly out of nowhere...a true original.”Kohler was correct - filmmaker Bob Persons is not a film-school educated filmmaker. Instead, he attended the Double Take Documentary Film Festival (precursor to Full Frame) as a spectator with no knowledge of the history of the form and became enamored with documentary film. He decided he needed to become a documentary filmmaker and taught himself how to shoot a digital camera, and learned the history of film by renting nearly every film at Atlanta’s Movies Worth Seeing video store (an amazingly well-curated video store, still thriving in this age of Netflix). As I said to Bob after his first screening, he then went out and made a masterpiece.Since that time, he's won many awards for the film, and he's now working with Variance Films to release the film nationally. The film opens June 24th, this Friday, at the Rerun Theater in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It's a great venue, with craft beers, full bar and excellent food available in the theater (that's right, in the actual movie theater, while you watch). There will be live music accompaniment by the film's composer, Chris Hoke, with the Sunday matinee show (June 26, 2pm) which is not to be missed. The film is currently scheduled through June 30th, but it might be extended if it does well. As many of you know, the film's stay at the theaters, and how many it eventually plays, is based upon how it does during this first week. We hope to open in Manhattan, and then in many other cities (some are already booked, like Savannah, Denver and Dallas), but the odds will improve greatly if you buy tickets and see the film, and if you tell your friends who live in NYC to do the same. I'm helping arrange Bob's DVD, VOD and other digital sales soon after the theatrical tour of the film, and we'll announce their availability on the film's website, but trust me, you want to see this on the big screen.For those of you so inclined, please tell your friends to follow the film on Twitter and Facebook, and please help spread the word. You can watch the trailer here, check out the awesome movie poster here (hint: not only is it for sale, but some cool art from the film will be available for sale soon) and again, buy tickets here. Bob will be here for the Q&A after the Friday and opening weekend shows. Hope to see you at one of the shows. [...]



General Orders No 9 - the Malick-y doc

2011-06-02T18:22:52.334-04:00

As many of you know, I've been helping out a filmmaker I know (Bob Persons) with the hybrid distribution plans for his film, General Orders No 9.  Well, I'm happy to report that Variance is taking the film out starting June 24th at the Rerun Theater in Brooklyn. It will then tour to many cities and come out on DVD, VOD and all those other mechanisms not long after that. The trailer just went live on iTunes and it is a beaut. I didn't help in the editing, so I can honestly say it is one of the better trailers I've seen for an indie doc in quite some time. I recommend you check it out. For some reason, Apple doesn't let you embed the trailer so you have to click the link. Dumb, but so is the fact that their Twitter button doesn't work right now. Seriously. Makes you feel better about your grasp of tech doesn't it!

And what's with this Malick-y thing? One of the reviews of the film mentioned that it made Malick look like a regular ol Hollywood guy. We didn't ask him to say that, but it's true.



Report from DocAviv

2011-05-20T08:56:10.242-04:00

I'm just back from the fabulous DocAviv Film Festival. This was my first trip to Israel, and I wish I could've stayed longer. I met wonderful people, saw some great films as part of the International Jury, went to the beach (a lot), visited many of the famous sites and learned a lot. While DocAviv takes place during Cannes, that doesn't matter much to the locals, who are coming out in droves, filling the theaters and having a great time watching some amazing docs. We awarded two prizes. The first was a Special Jury Mention to the film Darwin, by Nick Brandestini. He's off to Karlovy Vary next, and you can check out the film here. We also awarded the International Competition Award to El Sicario: Room 164 by Gianfranco Rosi. Turns out El Sicario was recently picked up and will play NYC and elsewhere soon. I highly recommend both films as well as all of the others in competition. There was also an Israeli Doc competition (with many great films, Israeli docs are in their prime right now) and student film awards, as well as a DocChallenge and many special events (including my favorite: Food and Film). The festival is only 13 years old now (happy Bar Mitzvah), but is growing in importance and stature and I highly recommend that doc makers, industry and fans check it out. You can't get much better than May in Tel Aviv, with good docs, good conversations and outdoor screenings at the Tel Aviv Port!While there, I also ran a workshop with Hypermedia on the Future of the Doc, called "Re:Invent." It was a full day workshop broken into three sessions: new business models for distribution and audience engagement, transmedia practices and pitching. I learned a lot from the audience - about particularities of Israeli cinema and possibilities, about new ideas and I hope I left behind some wisdom as well. The biggest things I learned are: 1. that Israeli Docs are great, the scene is vibrant and winning awards (this I knew, but learned even more while there, watching about 15 recent docs) and 2. that there's a pretty solid funding system in place, but not much for trying new models of outreach and distribution, and last 3. that the political situation makes many things difficult for Israeli filmmakers both at home and abroad (in many ways, and from many different perspectives, too much to cover here). There were two interviews that ran in conjunction. One at NRG, and you can see a Google Translation here, and one with DocMovies. Speaking of DocMovies, they have launched a really cool distribution service that is very filmmaker friendly, and I hope to cover more about that soon.I've uploaded the slides from my workshop to SlideShare. Feel free to download them, and use them as you wish. I hope to give more updates from the festival soon.DocAviv - Roadmap to the Future of Docs frameborder="0" height="355" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/8033073" width="425"> View more presentations from Brian NewmanAnd a late edit: The organizers published this great Flickr Set of the day:   [...]



Up Next: DocAviv and building a roadmap for the future of Docs

2011-05-04T13:28:56.699-04:00

I'm finally settled into the new apartment, and have found the buried computer cables. No, I didn't go completely offline thanks to my Android, but I am not much into typing the blog from my phone. While the rest of the film industry preps for Cannes, I'm now busy with a few filmmaker clients and with preparing for my next masterclass/workshop in conjunction with the DocAviv Film Festival, scheduled for May 18, 2011.

I'm working with Hypermedia to put on a full day workshop on the future of the Documentary. Here's the English version of the description and you can find the Hebrew version here or here. If you are in Tel Aviv, register and/or stop by and say hello, and tell your friends who might live there. While I hope to offer some new insights into the possible future of the doc, I'm really looking forward to learning from the audience how the film industry there sees the future, because their doc community is pretty strong and vibrant.

Here's the description:

Roadmap for the Documentary Filmmaker

Why try to predict the future when you can simply invent it?

Digital technology, new business models and a plethora of innovative production and creative tools – all these are combined together and promise many exciting years of research and challenges in the realms of documentary filmmaking. What are the possible directions in the field? Where do we go from here? How do we find the path to success in the new world?

This practical all-day seminar will lead the participants into the future districts of the field and provide filmmakers with a concrete, practical and up-to-date tool kit for turning an era of change into an era of new opportunities.

Content editor and producer: Ari Davidovich.

Wednesday, 18.5.11, at ZOA in Tel Aviv

Fee required, please register in advance.
For details and registration:
www.hypermedia.co.il/future





Sorry for the delay

2011-04-20T22:18:20.856-04:00

(image) photo © 2009 Robbert van der Steeg | more info (via: Wylio)

While I've never been a daily updater, I've been better about posting lately...until this week. My personal life has intruded as my wife and I move our apartment this week to a new neighborhood - which is a good (great) thing, but packing is killing my computer time. Which is also a good thing! Back with more soon.



Helen Hill

2011-04-15T12:02:51.600-04:00

Image via WikipediaHelen Hill was a great filmmaker (among many other talents) who was murdered in 2007 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She was also an acquaintance, and because of that I've been following the progress of her husband Paul Gailiunas as he has been completing her final film. He's done, the film is now touring. There's a grand, big showing in Columbia, SC on April 16th - Helen was from SC and that's where we first met. Here's a note from Paul about the film. If you live anywhere near SC, I highly recommend making the road trip for this special evening."This is to announce that The Florestine Collection, the film Helen Hill started in 2001, has been finished and will have its first two screenings very soon. Helen began this project after she found more than 100 handsewn dresses in a trash pile soon after she and I moved to New Orleans from Canada. She wanted to find out more about the seamstress and make a film about her.She received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and continued to work on the film as a new mother and then after Hurricane Katrina, which ruined a lot of the material she had already filmed.After Helen was murdered in January 2007, I decided that I wanted to finish the film that she devoted much of her energy to. I got an incredible amount of help and support from our friends and family, and I recently completed it as a 16 mm film print, which is how Helen liked to screen her films.The final result is a 31 minute experimental documentary that includes Helen's beautiful silhouette and cut-out puppet animation, as well as re-printed flood-damaged home movies.Helen put a lot of love and energy into The Florestine Collection, and she was very determined to finish it. I am glad to at least be able to present my interpretation of Helen's vision for the film."- Paul G.The film shows:Saturday, April 16Indie Grits Film FestivalColumbia, South CarolinaIt also showed recently at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Thanks Paul. We all miss Helen, and we're all excited that you've helped interpret her vision and have completed this film. I hope many film festivals and exhibition venues book the film for further screenings soon.[...]



Letter from the Future

2011-04-08T09:55:17.537-04:00

photo © 2007 Adam Lautenbach | more info (via: Wylio)I am a 32 year old indie storyteller living in Pepsidelphia (formerly known as Philadelphia, before the crisis), population 23 million, and it’s 2018. I moved here after the “event” in New York City along with everyone else. Last night, I went to Lance Weiler’s amazing Opera, Hope, which was supposedly the culmination of a nearly seven year process starting way back at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival when he played his short film and premiered the interactive Pandemic experience, which began this entire Gesamtkunstwerk phenomenon (the German’s told us transmedia was a bad name, and this one kinda stuck). I was able to get a ticket through my friend who does code programming at TopSpin, which was lucky because all operas sell out immediately now that they work with established directors from gesamtkunstwerks.I go to the cinema more often now that the Pepsi Alamo Drafthouse offers free screenings 24/7 to anyone who has drank at least 4 Pepsi’s that week. It’s really great because I only see one advertisement for Pepsi at the beginning and then the film plays, I order some great Vegan food and a Diet Pepsi water, or a beer and enjoy the show with all my friends. We pick the show we want to see the day (or week) before, and which theater we want to see it in – KidFree, MobileFree or FullActive. I usually go to FullActive because then I can see what my friend’s are thinking while I watch the show (from my retina display), and I usually sit on the left side of the theater. I’m not sure why, but I think the content is usually better there than on the right side. I think more of the clues to the film show to the audience on the left side, but maybe I’m wrong. Sometimes, I go see something again from the other side, but I already know the clues from the left side feed, so it’s hard to tell. The Alamo is really great because I can also choose to see the film edited specifically for my town. Always better than what I get on PepsiNet for free at home.Speaking of which, I’m so happy Pepsi took over Netflix. That happened back in 2015, a year or so after Netflix had taken over Time Warner, and it made sense to change it to PepsiNet since they were now offering me internet service everywhere, as well as flix. Now when I watch films, I can choose which charities my points go to (I’m on the point, as opposed to pay plan which means I see more advertising for free access and get points for watching), and I always choose Sundance. Then, Sundance selects which indies get funded and then get to go on the Sundance Festival Tour. My friend Saskia Wilson-Brown got funded $50,000 to make her gesamtkunstwerk, plus another $10,000 for the theater piece she had made and $5,000 for the short videos. Then she went to Sundance Cokelanta, Sundance OWC (formerly Chicago), Sundance Duke, Sundance Harvard, Sundance Jetblue to Puerto Rico, Sundance Heinzburgh (formerly Pittsburgh), Sundance Sarasota the Riviera of Florida, Sundance Missouri Tea Party and even to Sundance LL Beane (formerly Maine). She did a big international tour, playing in Sundance Norway, Sundance Sur de France (formerly Cannes), Beijing Sundance, Rio de Sundance (note which towns get priority naming!) and Sundance Dubai, among other places. Her film played each of those cities with her and the cast in attendance, and only people who had given to her SundanceStarter campaign were allowed to attend. That was a cool idea Redford had when he took over KickStarter – if you don’t fund it, you can’t see it live, only a whole 24 hours later on PepsiNet.Saskia’s theater piece made her (and Sundance) a lot of money, and rumor is she’ll be making an opera at the Pepsidelphia Opera soon, after Lance. They don’t announce the show until one month earlier, and only to subscribers to that artis[...]



Conclusion to 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts

2011-04-05T17:26:08.721-04:00

Over the past week, I've been posting every few days about the future of the arts. None of what I brought up here was meant to be ground-breaking, but rather, was meant to be a summary of some key trends of the current moment that will likely have a profound impact on the arts (even if the trends aren't in and of themselves all that profound). I was hoping to spark some interest in the topic, and in the book where these thoughts first appeared: 20 Under 40.In the original chapter for 20 Under 40, I ended with a conclusion that I won't print in its entirety here. Briefly, I argued that with these changes and trends come great responsibility for artists and arts organizations. We have a chance now to help shape the future not just of the arts, but of society. As I said in the book:Perhaps the greatest threat to the digital future is society’s lack of imagination. What is needed most now is an ability to imagine what might come next, instead of trying to bend digital change to fit preconceived notions of the world. Herein lies the heart of why the arts sector must take the lead in these debates by experimenting with what’s next in technology.The arts sector is well positioned to put forth innovations that harness the demand for participatory culture, for relationship and community building, and for connecting audiences more directly with artists. Such innovations can help people find the art and culture they desire and curate experiences that lead to discovery. They can help insure that democratic critical discourse remains an important facet of our cultural experience. Unless the arts sector takes an active role in creating the future, a new era of digital sameness may be the best we get, and our society will be the poorer for it.My hope is that this chapter, and this series of articles on it will help spark some dialogue about the role of the arts in our future. You can check out each of the posts here, or buy the 20 Under 40 anthology here.Editors Note: Oops, I forgot that I had promised to hint at three more key trends that I didn't cover in the book. This last bit was added after my original post:I didn't have space in the chapter to cover the 10 things I think are vital changes. Here's the final three:8. Diversity - The US is much more diverse than its current cultural marketplace. Arts organizations pay lip service to diversity all the time, but not enough is being done and audiences are changing and expect more options.9. Global - We are a globally interconnected society now. I have more in common with people who share my tastes and cultural interests in Iceland (or Kenya, or....) than I do with my neighbors. Arts organizations need to think of whether they serve a global audience (not all will) and how they can do this more easily. Corporations ignore the state now, and perhaps so should we. In addition, we learn about and expect to interact with more global culture.10. Remix - It's not just for music and video. Remix as a concept is seeping into other areas of culture and needs to be explored, encouraged and embraced by more arts organizations.Bonus 11. Mobile - Ok, this one is obvious. Do I need to explain further?[...]



Electracy: The New, New Media Literacy - Trend 7 of 7 for Future of Arts

2011-04-08T09:56:22.279-04:00

This is part eight in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.The New, New Media Literacy: ElectracyDigital technology has changed many things, but it has done more than give society nifty new gadgets and new ways to connect. Noted theorist Greg Ulmer has proposed that through digital technology civilization has shifted from orality to literacy to electracy—where all thought, processes, writing, storytelling, and business practices are based on or mediated by electronic, visual, motion media communication. This is not media literacy, but rather a paradigmatic shift which the cultural sector should not just be aware of but should be leading, as the changes electracy will bring about may profoundly alter the world.Linguist Walter Ong described the change from orality to literacy and how this altered society’s perception of the world. This paradigm shift changed the nature not just of communication, but of religion, art, politics, and other processes. Culture could now be written down and passed along, instead of repeated through folk-tales. News could spread via print, altering the shape of nations. Detailed instructions could be put in a book and learned not through lengthy apprenticeship but through study. All the world’s knowledge could be archived and stored in physical libraries. The very notion of who and what human beings are transformed as cultures became literate.Likewise, humanness will change as populations shift from literate to electrate societies. Knowledge, religion, culture, and power will be altered in ways that can’t yet be comprehended. The tensions this shift will bring are already visible, for example, in the debates among parents and teachers over the impact of gaming on children’s literacy. The shift to electracy also threatens existing structures and challenges ideas of ownership through copyright, the nature of much work, the value of many goods, and will likely influence widely accepted notions of currency. Electracy gives new powers both to rebellion and to state control. It alters the notion of communication and the nature of privacy. Of course moving towards electracy also affects what people create and how they interact with their culture. The full scope of these permutations are only now becoming apparent but will likely continue to manifest as society develops and responds to the next iteration of the evolution of digital technology.Where this leads next is uncertain. While literacy shaped laws, education, religion, culture, and politics it was also shaped by these same forces. So too will electracy be altered by society’s current beliefs, fears, and very often, by who is in power.When decisions are being made about digital technology, decisions are also being made about the future of how society will think, conduct business, interact, make and enjoy art, and how individuals will behave as social beings. There is much danger that many of the possibilities of digital will be thwarted by incumbents who are threatened by the changes digital might bring. One sees this most clearly, thus far, in the battles over network neutrality, copyright, security, and privacy. These issues are important to arts leaders—because the decisions that take place today will likely affect the possible future(s) the cultural sector may experience tomorrow, as well as the legacy it will leave behind. Next Up: Conclusions and Hints at 3 O[...]



In a world of Free, the Future Lies in Find: Trend 6/7 Future Arts

2011-04-08T09:57:08.262-04:00

This is part seven in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Trend 6: In a world of Free, the Future Lies in FindIn a digital world, a copy is just zeros and ones and thus—copies are free. This makes piracy of content much easier, but it also allows for the legal dissemination of content. Many companies are finding that they can use free as one aspect of their business model, often through advertising and sponsorship support or through the use of free content to attract people to pay for an upgraded “freemium” version.It is important to note that this does not mean that free itself is a business model—that wouldn’t be sustainable, but rather that free access can be one part of a multi-tiered business strategy. Raise enough sponsorship and it could be mutually beneficial to you, your audience, and Target to make museum entrance free one night a week (which is not a novel concept).Of course, at the end of the day, there truly is nothing for free. Someone pays to produce the content, or to host the video of the performance and deliver it over the Internet. Every arts administrator knows the costs of artistic production well, and a quick criticism of the free model is to point out that artists need to be paid. While this is true, perhaps there might be new models to be explored that take advantage of the economics of free. In fact, many artists have begun experimenting already, and some are finding success.photo © 2009 PopTech | more info (via: WylioZoe Keating, an avant-garde cellist, was able to join the top ranks of Twitter with more than 1.3 million followers, and can now ask her fans to donate money directly to her so she can make and record her music. Many give just to support her work, some “pre-buy” a download, ensuring quick, often advanced access to her music. Keating is now able to sustain a career, even though one can listen to all of her songs for free on her website and find all of them on pirate networks.She isn’t alone; thousands of others use online tools such as Kickstarter to go directly to their fans and raise money to make their work. Others have found that free music access increases their fan base, allowing them to make more money from live shows and appearances than from album sales. Or they make money from merchandise. Artists are moving (back again?) to a patronage model—but this time, one where their fans and audiences help fund their work. Not just through purchases, but through donations and other support to help create works of art.Arts organizations would do well to participate in the free movement soon. Luckily, the answers to the dilemmas of free content seem to be very much in the favor of arts organizations. Digital has changed the nature of value. In the past, value came from scarcity—it was expensive to make a film, or to buy a Matisse—but in a world of ubiquitous copies, the audience is overwhelmed with choice. Attention becomes the scarce resource, and as the amount of content online multiplies daily, audiences increasingly need, and will pay for, someone or something to help them wade through the digital mountains of garbage to find what they actually want.If the history of the Internet thus far has been defined by search, its future resides in find. Online, as in the offline world, audiences turn to a trusted source to help them find what they want. This means that guid[...]



Communal Conversation trumps Marketing: Trend 5/7 Future of Arts

2011-03-29T11:50:01.317-04:00

This is part six in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Trend 5: Communal Conversation trumps Marketingphoto © 2011 jeff hubbard | more info (via: Wylio)When people join a social network, they do so for a variety of reasons including connecting with colleagues, sharing information, or possibly to find friendship, romance, or work. If you glance at most arts organizations’ websites, however, it appears that the administrators think social networking is just about marketing. Themselves. Constantly. If an organization is event-based, one usually finds a flurry of postings just before and during the events it offers, but rarely afterwards—unless it’s a tweet saying “hey, thanks for attending, see you next year.” This couldn’t be further from what audiences want, which is an ongoing dialogue and real sense of connection.Arts organizations must participate in the building of online communities in a natural way or they will become, as many already have, just so much more noise in the Internet social sphere. This isn’t easy for arts organizations, or for most artists and other people, because real dialogue is hard. In fact, this is precisely the area where one often learns that one’s real queasiness around social media isn’t technical—almost anyone of any age group can learn how to use social networks. What’s hard is conversation, whether that’s in the lobby or online. The entire architecture of most museums, theaters, and arts organizations seems intended to minimize the chance that a staff member could engage in even brief conversation with the public. The architecture of the Internet, however, requires true, engaged conversation.Until arts organizations realize they must actually participate in a dialogue with their community, they can’t create a proper presence online. While that dialogue will necessarily be different from one institution to another, reflecting different ideas of what constitutes dialogue, it must be genuine, ongoing, and it must have some compelling voice—be it from everyone on staff/commission or just the artistic director or performers. Arts organizations should also begin thinking about how this will evolve over time—likely becoming more participatory, more enriching, and more argumentative at the same time, and likely leading to entirely new art forms which could be co-created by those organizations who take the lead.Next Up: The Future Lies in Find[...]



Participatory Culture: Trend 4 of 7 for the Future of the Arts

2011-03-28T10:45:55.400-04:00

This is part five in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Trend 4: Participatory CultureThis sense of disintermediation has expanded into what is called participatory culture. Audiences can now easily participate actively in the art they consume, and expect to be able to do so. This is an historic return to the way art used to be practiced—by and for all. Ancient cultures valued communal art making and practice, with the arts integrated into community activity.For too long, however, art has been placed on a kind of altar—to become a painter, a musician, a dancer or a filmmaker one had to learn “the rules” and follow the canon. Sure, punk rock existed, but to make “fine art” music, such as classical music, one had to learn an almost secret language. One had to take dance lessons, learn ballet, and compete. One had to go to film school and spend a lot of money on equipment. Art was no longer something to be produced by everyone, but something that one had to aspire to learn perfectly. And because it was hard, art became something that was largely consumed.From today’s perspective one can see that the one-way street of art consumption was an historic aberration, and one society’s good to toss. Audiences no longer want to just consume their art—they want to be involved, to engage in the conversation around art and creativity and perhaps participate in its production. Technology facilitates the human need to connect, share, and participate—and this is great news for the arts.Through digital technology and sharing culture, legions of people now have access to entire recording studios for free, cheap cameras, and programs to teach them any instrument imaginable. These digital consumers don’t think of themselves as amateurs, but as creative beings, contributing to culture. Each of these individuals now feel a greater connection to the arts and will likely explore more within their interests. In film, the YouTube mash-up creator may begin to seek out classic cinema, or avant-garde works because they now understand it better and feel a connection. They are participating with the arts, searching for a dialogue, and it is incumbent upon existing cultural institutions to tap into this energy and change how it operates to allow for a more participatory arts experience.Organizations must address this shift in their programming and outreach and even in how they create and curate their shows. They will need to let the audience become more than just spectators. This doesn’t mean that all arts experiences must be participatory, as not all audiences desire the same levels of interaction, but rather that greater levels of interaction should be possible for those who increasingly expect such participation. While some arts organizations are beginning to experiment with programming that involves the audience, or that at least makes the experience more participatory, such as bringing the audience into rehearsals or having them add to a musical performance with their cellphones, the field as a whole should make every effort to make their experiences more participatory.The value in some of the most successful web businesses today, companies like Amazon, Craigslist, Google, and Wikipedia, derives from the participatory contributions of their users. Users of Amazon gain insight into p[...]



One Hundred Mornings

2011-03-24T21:24:30.300-04:00

A little break from the 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts posts to plug a great film opening Friday in Brooklyn. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the folks from Blinder Films at Slamdance a year ago, but I didn't get to see their amazing film, One Hundred Mornings, until later due to the fact that I was on the Doc Jury for Slamdance that year. A few months later, I was lucky to be invited to Ted Hope's This is That Goldcrest Screening Series to check it out. I became a fan.Now, the film is opening in NYC – Brooklyn, to be precise – at the Rerun Theater. Buy tickets now. Run, don't walk. It's such an amazing piece of work, done so well by director Conor Horgan, and I hesitate to give much of a review, because I saw it with no knowledge of the story going in and found that to be such a great experience.So, no spoilers at all, but quit reading here if you, like me, prefer to be completely surprised by a film.One Hundred Mornings is a bleak, horrifying, yet somehow inspiring film about the complete break-down of a society post-somekinda-apocalypse. What I liked about it was that Horgan doesn't sugar-coat anything, he stays real. It's also terrifying. I can still remember minor details that give me goosebumps, but can't say much more without giving anything away. What was most amazing to me was that the sorry state of distribution has led to a weird state of affairs where something this awesome is having a hard time getting a release in the US. Luckily, they're here now, but they only have one week in Brooklyn, so they need some love. Go see this great film this weekend (or next week).Here's the description from Rerun:Winner of the Best Feature award at five international fests (plus a special jury mention from Slamdance), ONE HUNDRED MORNINGS is a chilling post-apocalyptic drama set in rural Ireland. Conor Horgan's arresting, moody debut makes its New York theatrical premiere with a week-long run, March 25 - 31. Upended by a complete breakdown of society, two couples hide out in a lakeside cabin hoping to survive the mysterious crisis. As resources run low and external threats increase, they forge an uneasy alliance with their self-sufficient hippie neighbor. With no news from the outside world, they can't know how long they must endure living in such close quarters, and with such limited supplies. Conflicting worldviews spill forth, unspoken animosity fills the air, and a suspected affair drives a wedge between them all. As everything begins to disintegrate, each of them faces a critical decision they never thought they'd have to make. The film showcases an exceptional ensemble of Irish talent, led by Ciaran McMenamin (THE LAST CONFESSION OF ALEXANDER PEARCE), Alex Reid (THE DESCENT), Rory Keenan (INTERMISSION) and Kelly Campbell (BACHELORS WALK).You can watch the trailer below, or buy tickets here. title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gRDiqinG8Ow" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="640">[...]



Disintermediation: Trend 3 of 7 for the Future of the Arts

2011-03-23T09:37:19.985-04:00

This is part four in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Disintermediation—The Audience as Curatorphoto © 2005 alex de carvalho | more info (via: Wylio)Also known as the rise of the crowd, digital technology has disintermediated culture, and this profoundly changes the top-down systems of the arts. For quite some time, arts institutions have talked about making art accessible to the masses. What was often meant, however, was that art resided here in this museum, with a special aura and we, the experts, will educate you, the masses, about its importance so you can come here and experience more of it.Today, this talk continues, and true, a certain populism can be found in the blockbuster shows of Impressionism or Tim Burton, but disintermediation isn’t just about pleasing large crowds; it also means that audiences can gather around the long-tail of content. If audiences like obscure, niche works, they no longer have to wait for someone to bring it to them, but rather can pool themselves together online and form an audience for that art, often by connecting directly to the artist.If one isn’t sure whether their tastes are shared by others, they can now find out by starting a blog, advertising it on social networks, and building an audience for, say, European free-jazz pretty quickly. If no local institution is bringing this work to a particular town, the digitally networked townsfolk can build their own tour, bypassing traditional booking agents, performing arts networks, and other middle-men to bring the artist directly to them. The fans no longer need to wait for a review in Artforum, receive a blurb via newsletter from their local orchestra, or wait longingly for their regional theater to stage a certain production. They can speak directly to one another, follow the opinions of those they trust, sample video and audio of performances or exhibits (often taken by amateurs), and coalesce around the art that they like.Utilizing digital technology, audiences can now connect globally and discover new art forms and artists they would never before have found. They can also seek out more racial, ethnic, political, and religious diversity when they don’t see it reflected in their local arts organizations’ programming (or staffing). Having gotten used to the idea of digital content being available on demand, anywhere on any device—immediately, consumers will begin to demand this disintermediation and immediacy from other art forms and live arts experiences as well.Arts institutions need to embrace this disintermediation. This doesn’t mean tearing down the walls and firing all the curators, but rather arts organizations should utilize the better aspects of this trend. True, many arts organizations have been experimenting with disintermediation and participation for some time (perhaps this is an ongoing experimentation for most), and many are having some success. That said, the field as a whole must contend with this phenomenon more directly and develop best practices because digital technology has compounded this expectation.Today’s consumer expects that their content will be available on every platform simultaneously, watching their favorite film through Netflix, XBox, Amazon, iTunes on their cellphone, TV, or any other [...]



The Rise of With-Profit Endeavors: Trend 2 of 7 for the Future of the Arts

2011-03-21T09:58:43.809-04:00

This is part three in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Trend 2: The Rise of For Profit and With Profit Endeavors:Today’s combined economic and business practice turmoil also creates a perfect environment for strategic outside players to unseat established organizations. It’s not that the established players in the music industry, for example, didn’t see that change was coming due to digital technology. The changes brought about by digital technology are so disruptive precisely because in order to embrace the new paradigm, one must undercut an existing, often very profitable business model.Likewise, it is difficult for established arts organizations to embrace change that might undercut their current business models, but this leaves room for others to enter the sector. One could argue that such a shift is already occurring today. For example, the amount of promotion, fundraising, sharing, career-building, and market-creation of such new online arts discovery services such as YouTube, Flickr, Spotify, Pandora, KickStarter and Etsy alone, all of which started very small and outside the nonprofit arts, have likely had more impact on the arts than any six nonprofit cultural organizations can claim in the last five years.It isn’t impossible to imagine such services being created, much differently, in the nonprofit arts sector. For example, if a film festival had thought broadly about the combination of cheap access to the means of production and distribution and the growing forces of participation and disintermediation, it could have created YouTube. The site might look somewhat different, offer more curatorial sidebars and probably have a less catchy name, but it arguably should have been possible.There was a time in the arts world when small arts organizations contributed to this sense of innovation. Organizations such as Nexus Press in Atlanta served as incubators for cutting edge book artists regionally, and the Off-Off-Broadway theater scene acted much the same way, pushing the field forward, taking chances and launching many careers. Today, however, that sense of excitement and innovation is sorely lacking from the arts sector. Innovation, risk-taking, and flexibility have migrated back to the for-profit sector, and cool new ideas aren’t brought to fruition as nonprofits, but as Internet start-ups that capitalize on the access to funding and the risk-taking, free-for-all atmosphere of the new digital economy.Similar innovations could be developed in the nonprofit arts sector today, but due to the risk averse, highly structured funding environment that has evolved in the nonprofit arts sector, it is more likely that several organizations will get funding from a Foundation to think about and strategically plan for the future of their field. While they workshop their ideas for the future, two people in a garage will probably out-think them in two weeks and launch the next big thing that further disrupts the ecology of the arts.Building a culture of entrepreneurship in the sector will require fresh thinking and innovative approaches to funding and support that aren’t readily apparent. Few nonprofits have unrestricted income with which to explore new, especially risky, programs and fewer still [...]



Downsized and Merged - Trend 1 of 7 for the Future of the Arts

2011-03-18T16:17:36.996-04:00

This is part two in an ongoing series of posts on 7 Trends for the Future of the Arts. Originally published (and partially reprinted here with permission of the publisher) in the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. I'm presenting selections from each trend, and you can follow the whole post series from here. If you are interested in these arguments, check out and think about purchasing the book here.Trend One: Downsized and MergedThe economy continues to bring bad news to the arts sector, but the real news is that is isn’t going to get better. The budget battles we see now in the US are only just beginning (and are spreading globally, but that’s another conversation). Already, state governments, and the IRS, in search of increased revenues are contemplating vast changes to the benefits of nonprofit status, and many foundations have had to curb support for such supposedly “non-essential” activities as arts and culture due to declines in their endowments. While many may agree that such cuts wouldn’t be necessary if it weren’t for specific policies being pushed to shrink government (such as tax cuts to the wealthiest few), the fact remains that such cuts are likely to continue.In addition, digital technology fundamentally changes business practices, and is downsizing once large industries rapidly. Craigslist upended the entire business model of the newspaper industry, effectively downsizing an entire $1 billion sector to one $100-million company. We are seeing this now in other cultural industries, and we’re also seeing more companies avoiding state taxes by being entirely web based. The resultant decline in tax revenues from these shrinking sectors will greatly limit the ability of government to maintain minimum service levels, much less support the arts (regardless of whether this is the correct argument, it is what will be used), and foundations will look to pick up the slack from government – also at the expense of the arts.As government and foundation revenue shrinks, arts institutions will increasingly look to earned income, but fundamental shifts in consumer behavior make this a challenging arena as well. Consumers have less overall spending power, and more options for their cultural and entertainment experiences. As consumers increasingly find their content online, they expect to find yours there as well, watching your performance online instead of attending it live. While this itself can be a revenue stream, it is also one where consumers expectations are for free and/or cheaper access, meaning online profit margins will likely be lower than any reduction in overhead costs. As these stresses combine, the nonprofit arts sector will likely have to rethink business practices, and contend with radically different economics.Unfortunately, it’s not a stretch to say the nonprofit arts sector looks like a field of zombies—undead, potentially harmful shells of their former selves, haunting the landscape, unable to live or to die. Quite simply, funders, board members, and leaders in the arts need to take a hard look at reality and make some painful decisions. More organizations need to merge to save costs, end duplicative services, and achieve greater impact. Many more organizations need to be shut down entirely, having either served their mission well or having long ago abandoned any real hope of having a meaningful impact. These conversations aren’t easy, but they need to be had on a field-wide level. Even those organizations that are healthy enough to survive will need to consider downsizing their [...]



Inventing the Future of the Arts - 7 Key Trends

2011-04-04T15:57:10.737-04:00

I recently contributed a chapter to the book: 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. For the next few days, I’ll be presenting excerpts from that chapter here, in hopes to get some more conversation started about these issues, and in the belief that if you like what you read here you might buy a copy of the entire book – or just recommend it to a friend. I’m editing each section down a fair bit, not so much to “force” anyone to buy the book, but because while this remains long, I felt some sections needed shortening to fit the blog format. Read on, send me your comments and please share!INTROMy fundamental argument in the chapter is that the disruptive changes we’ve seen as a result of digital technology will eventually affect all arts and cultural activities, not just those we’ve seen impacted thus far (print, music, film). Unfortunately, most arts organizations are being reactive and are trying to fit digital into their existing ways of operating, which mimics precisely those mistakes that led to crises in other industries. They must instead look strategically at these changes and make fundamental changes to their business practices in order to turn these challenges into opportunities.While there are many challenges facing the arts, I argue that there are seven key trends brought about by digital technology that will arguably have the greatest impact on the arts sector:The future is “Downsized and Merged;”The rise of for-profit and with-profit endeavors;Disintermediation - the audience as curator;The rise of participatory culture;Communal conversation trumps marketing;In a world of free, the future will reside in find;The new, new media literacy is electracyWe’ll explore the first of these trends next (edited from tomorrow, as in: when I get to it), where I argue that the future of the arts is going to be "Downsized and Merged."While most of the next few posts are geared for those of us working at/with arts organizations, I do think any artist can benefit from reading these posts and contributing their voice to the conversation, so please do so in the comments.You can see all of the 20 Under 40 chapters here, and buy the book (or E-Book) here.[...]



Slides from my speech at Sofia Film Fest Meetings

2011-03-13T13:03:12.537-04:00

Image via WikipediaI've been having a fantastic time here in Sofia, Bulgaria. I've met many great, talented people – producers, distributors, filmmakers, festival folks, etc. I've learned a lot from them about the state of film in Bulgaria (flourishing, yet having funding difficulties), of film financing and distribution in Europe (too much to share here now) and about Bulgaria generally. I highly recommend the Sofia Meetings to anyone interested in international co-productions, or to anyone who just wants to meet some great European film industry folks.As usual, I spoke a bit fast at my lecture and many people asked me to share the slides. So here they are. If you've been to some of my recent lectures, there's not much new here, but some things have been updated, including some stats on Facebook usage in Bulgaria (strong). The speech was a general overview of changes to audience expectations, digital disruption and how artists are using these new tools to build their audience and make new business models. I didn't know my audience was going to be distributors until I arrived, but as I explained on the spot - nearly everything I mention here can be used by distributors, film fests and organizations as well.Sofia: Inventing the Future of FilmView more presentations from Brian Newman. [...]



Reclaiming DIY Slides from DIY Days

2011-03-07T10:44:59.245-05:00

Here's the slides from my recent DIY Days NYC speech (below). I think it went well, and feedback was pretty good, but please give me more of your feedback below. I don't speak from notes, and there are very few notes embedded in the notes section of the slides, so I'll post the video from the presentation when it becomes available, but I do think you can get the gist of it.DIY Days - Reclaiming DIY: it’s not JUST a business modelView more presentations from Brian Newman.I added a slide to specifically point out one important thing – it needs more diversity in the samples I show. I said this from the stage, when I was showing the slide on Sarah Jacobson, but I noticed a couple of tweets where people missed my explanation for this. Here's the text of the note I added:"Note: In my live presentation, this is where I stopped and explained to everyone that this slide-set really needs more diversity, especially in regards to women. I searched the web for many more images of DIY women pioneers, for this section and the earlier one (where I show Barbara Kopple) and had a very hard time finding them – not that they didn’t exist, but it is hard to find images of many of these pioneering artists online (especially of the right size and image quality). This acknowledgement doesn’t change the slight, but does hopefully make it clear that I am aware of the need for a new version of this in the future that takes into account people like Susan Robeson, filmmakers who worked with Third World and California Newsreel and more. I welcome suggestions in the comments section."And I welcome more suggestions in the comments of this blog. I've got a pretty strong track record of calling people out for not addressing the strong history (and currency as well) of diverse thinkers and artists in this space, but it needs to be pointed out that I had this same problem. I also suggested that it would make a good project - reclaiming this history online, and a few people volunteered on Twitter, I'd be happy to meet about this. Just for a quick example, I can link you to Susan Robeson on Third World Newsreel, but a cursory image search for her doesn't bring much up at the pixel level needed for slides. I am sure I could've searched better if I'd had more than three days to prepare these slides!Anyway, hope you enjoy these.[...]



Let the teens take over arts advocacy

2011-03-04T15:42:57.245-05:00

I've been writing a lot lately about the state of the arts and threatened cuts. I even suggested we need some cool video to help make our case. Well, the students of the Rochester School of the Arts (NY) made one. Check it out, spread their word (ok, their video). Let's put them in charge of arts advocacy in the US - they can't do worse than the current advocates have done!


title="YouTube video player" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tnDf2uhyjPM" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="480">



Getting with the (Jazz) Times

2011-03-01T12:49:14.744-05:00

photo © 2007 interstatial | more info (via: Wylio)I'm a big fan of Jazz, and share this passion with my friend and fellow strategic planning consultant Morrie Warshawski. About a year ago, he brought my wife and I along with him to see Vijay Iyer at Le Poisson Rouge. We'd heard of his music, but hadn't gotten around to seeing him perform live, and we both thought he was great (thanks, Morrie).We've now been to see him a few times, and just a few nights ago, I went online trying to purchase tickets for a couple of his upcoming shows. That was an experience I hope to never duplicate again – let's just leave this short and say that the entire online experience for finding and buying tickets to Jazz needs a massive overhaul. Iyer's site is okay, but the venue websites were a disaster (hint to Vijay's designer though - deep links to the actual performance page, not the venue page would help). Anyway, the experience was worth it because while on his site, I stumbled upon this great article in Jazz Times by Iyer about the state of Jazz today – attendance, education and the difficulty in getting access to live performances.The article reminded me a lot about the independent film world: attendance declining; less and less financial support from the government, foundations and individual donors (but a rise in crowd-funding to be sure); more and more musicians graduating from Jazz programs and entering a crowded marketplace; musicians building followers/fans, but mainly because each new artist is looking for some connection to a possible break; fewer (affordable and accessible) venues playing live Jazz, and a general problem of access, meaning being able to find good Jazz because of these fewer venues, outlets (radio, etc) - so how do people even find the music.Substitute film for Jazz/music and you see the similarities. I often lament the same situation in film - where are all these newly minted filmmakers going to find a job and earn a living? Here's a great quote from Iyer on the situation:"It’s a basic problem of supply and demand. In this period of economic fragility, when jazz venues, festivals and record labels rapidly appear and disappear like so many elementary particles, where are all these highly trained, capable, student-loan-burdened musicians supposed to go? And yet, young people are entering this area of music in droves, an oncoming swarm whose aim is true. It’s as if the impossibility of the prospect drives them ever forward."I've always argued, however, that I'm never upset as a consumer that there's too many musicians – I can always rely on friends and curators to help me find the good ones, and I believe this is true for film as well. With more and more classically educated and self-taught filmmakers, there's more people "in tune" with the history, importance and vibrancy of the medium, so audiences should only increase. Like Iyer, any filmmaker or film industry person, online gathers a fair amount of friends and followers. We're building a little network of indie film lovers. That's all fine and dandy, but how can we leverage this network to greater effect? If we did, could we solve all the "problems" of indie film? (I say problems, because they are always equally opportunities) Iyer seems to feel the same way, and is taking the next step and wondering how we might put all of this together for the betterment of all of us:"So there it is, in all its banal glory: It’s 2011 and we’re all connected, acros[...]



DIY Days - Reclaiming DIY: it’s not JUST a business model

2011-02-23T17:52:48.795-05:00

I'll be speaking on March 5, 2011 at DIY Days in New York City at the New School. It's a great event, and I'm really looking forward to this year's conference. Best of all - it's free! That's right, but you have to register. There are a lot of great speakers, and then you have me. Lance Weiler, the organizer, asked me to do something that really pushes people a bit, and I chose this topic:

Reclaiming DIY: It's not JUST a business model.

Soon after the recent film business implosion, a lot of people came to see that DIY made pretty good sense as a business model. But DIY was never JUST a way to make money: it’s always been an inherently political act tied intimately to the ideologies of punk rock. Doing DIY without the politics isn’t DIY. As the world changes in numerous ways before our eyes, the voices of true DIY artists are needed more than ever before. This talk will put the politics back in DIY.

That's the description we're putting online soon. I didn't add this, but I'll also be speaking a bit about how I think all DIY artists need to think of grabbing the social issue mantle back from the doc world. Not that docs aren't great, and I do love them, but it bugs me that anytime you talk about social action, or covering something of social importance, everyone thinks it has to be a doc. DIY is also about breaking down barriers , and DIY makers who aren't doc makers can bust these confines and do serious social change media without being so serious. Or, so I think. Tell me what you think, and/or what you'd like to hear more about. I'm planning my talk now, so it would be great to hear from you while I'm developing it.

Want to learn more about DIY Days? Watch the trailer:

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DIY Days from The Sabi Company on Vimeo.






Making it Happen: Vimeo Conversation

2011-02-22T11:51:08.018-05:00

Late last year, Vimeo invited Ted Hope and I to speak at their awesome Vimeo Festival. We decided to each give a brief speech followed by a conversation about the future of film and media - or a few of those possible futures. The whole thing was one hour long, and is embedded below, but for those of you with less time on your hands, the trusty folks at Vimeo have edited together a little highlights reel that clocks in under ten minutes. If you take the time to watch either video, I'd welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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Making it Happen (Highlights) from Vimeo Festival on Vimeo.



Here's the full length version

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Making it Happen from Vimeo Festival on Vimeo.