March 25th, 2011
From “Nanook of the North”, dir. by Robert Flaherty.
A few days ago, Jim Feeley on Doculink posted the article “Why Documentaries Matter” from Sunday’s Guardian:
“It would be more accurate to say”, writes the author Nick Fraser, “that documentaries are among the most valuable, neglected cultural forms of our time. They aren’t all good, to be sure, but the best are unusual, persuasive, seductive. And their success has something to do with the way they are taken for granted, casually watched. Few old things have flourished in the cultural chaos of this century, but docs have steadily consolidated their hold on a small portion of the contemporary consciousness. Film stars want to make or sponsor them. Sometimes, if you squint hard enough, they really do seem like the new rock’n'roll.”
I think that in all realms, our shared need to understand and bear witness to the “real” has informed our cultural vision, as serious documentaries play at first-run film houses, literary memoirs rise on best-seller lists, and reality shows hold sway on tv.
I like particularly Fraser’s line, that the success of the documentary has “something to do with the way they are taken for granted.”
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March 18th, 2011
Today is the day for self-disclosure. While some of you may think of me as the fulltime owner/consultant behind NewFilmMarketing, my head to the grindstone constantly trying to publicize D.I.Y., the truth of the matter is that my fulltime love and obsession is writing. Come the middle of April, two days after I give my April 9th class on Academic D.I.Y. at Mt. St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, I will be off to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at a wonderful writer’s colony, working on a collection of short stories.
Will I still be selling my movie? You bet your bootie. I have a great assistant who is tasked with fulfillment and can easily mail them out for me. When I return at the end of April, I will pick-up with both current clients and more film sales.
What I want you to understand is that D.I.Y. can be your doorway to living more of the life you want, the life of the artist/filmmaker/writer, or whatever life you want to live. Of course I hope you hire me to help you with your D.I.Y. effort, but what I want most of all is for you to simply do it. Stop turning over your potential revenue to catalogue distributors who can only promise to put your film in their holding tank and then take a hefty percentage if and when they manage a sale.
Let’s get out of that mindset, people! Go with the distributor next year after you fail at D.I.Y. this year. At least give it a try!
March 11th, 2011
Newsflash! If you live in the LA area or are planning a trip, make sure to attend my April 9th class in E-Marketing for Documentary and Independent Filmmakers. Check out this website for registration, directions, and a list of other wonderful courses and panels you’ll want to attend. It’s all on the gorgeous Brentwood campus of Mt. Saint Mary’s College, in the hills near the Getty Museum.
Best of all it’s for a good cause–a wonderful writer’s retreat called Hedgebrook– and while the suggested donation is $40, you may pay what you can afford.
Hope to see you there!