INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: Tips on Platforms and Services for Selling Your Film
By Sheri Candler and Orly Ravid for The Collaborative Blog
These tools and services are either ones that were used by filmmakers in the book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul or ones that we reached out to for support of the book because we believe in what they're doing.
This company powers the estore for Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues. She sells DVDs (both standard edition and artist signed edition), tshirts, necklaces, pins and soft toys. Amplifier is an ecommerce tool that allows you to sell custom merchandise directly to your fans, cutting out the retailer middlemen, by providing fulfillment and customer service. If you don't have a warehouse and staff and equipment to store, pack and ship your merchandise and deal with any complaints (and I know you don't), Amplifier takes orders from your site, stores your merch in their warehouse or fulfills just in time merchandise, ships it out and handles any customer problems seamlessly. They can also service custom orders (like give freebies to any order over $50 if you want to do that, or they can fulfill print on demand merchandise) all under one roof.
2. Believe Limited
Monetizing YouTube and Viral Videos
Adventures of Power utilized this service to help raise their Youtube profile. There is a whole section in the book written by Ryan Gielen about what Believe did for the film. The gist of their service is video marketing that helps a film reach the top spots on Youtube, Amazon, iTunes etc by spreading video content around, collecting large amounts of views, comments and subscribers (in the case of Youtube). They design branded channels and help craft video content that is compelling enough to spread and help seed it around the Internet to ensure that it spreads. According to their service sheet for a $50K campaign that runs 6 months, they recommend creating 20-25 pieces of video content that they can drive roughly 5-6 million views on Youtube. They start from the film's target release date and work backward to help plan out the content release strategy that will ensure a continuous build up of interest and viewers.
After 'Cosby,' Less Sitcom Diversity
By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times
In most respects, BET's "Reed Between the Lines" fits snugly within the safe cookie-cutter mold of the traditional family sitcom - successful, attractive parents with adorable kids tackle the daily challenges of life and resolve them in less than 30 minutes.
The upbeat comedy, starring Tracee Ellis Ross ("Girlfriends") and Malcolm-Jamal Warner ("The Cosby Show") as the heads of a loving family, recalls the subject matter and tone of "The Cosby Show" - the 1980s program also built around an African American family that helped revive the sitcom genre 25 years ago with a smart and gentle mix of humor and poignancy. (Jamal-Warner starred as Theo, Bill Cosby's son, in the Emmy-winning series, which ran for eight seasons on NBC.)
But "Reed Between the Lines" is also an unexpected pioneer these days - it is one of a handful of prime-time shows centered on a family of color. Despite hundreds of new TV channels and the popularity of "The Cosby Show," and subsequent series featuring minority families such as "My Wife and Kids," "George Lopez" and "Ugly Betty," ethnic families are still a rarity on the small screen today.
Family comedies once dominated the networks decades ago, but now these programs have had been a tougher time breaking into prime time as audiences have gravitated toward edgier fare with more mature content. Of course, there are still family comedies on the air, but of those almost all of them focus primarily on white families - "The Middle, "Up All Night," "Raising Hope" and "Last Man Standing," for example. TBS' "Are We There Yet?" and Fox's animated "The Cleveland Show" are the only other family-oriented comedies starring African American families. And mixed-race or ethnic families, such as on ABC's "Modern Family," are also scarce.
"I've seen this movie before," Bill Cosby said in a recent interview. "How is it that there are people of color who are CEOs of companies, that are presidents of universities, but there is no reflection of that on the networks? It is arrogance and it is narcissism. Even the commercials have more black people than the programs."
Network honchos, particularly at the four major networks, continue to stress they consider diversity to be a priority both in front of and behind the camera. But progress has been slow in both places. A survey conducted by the Directors Guild of America of more than 2,600 television episodes from 170 scripted TV series for the 2010-11 season found that white males directed 77% of all episodes, and white females directed 11% of all episodes. Minority males directed 11% of all episodes and minority females directed just 1% of the shows, according to the DGA survey.
"Look at the huge number of comedies. There is no black presence," said Doug Alligood, a senior vice president at BBDO, a New York-based ad agency. "We're back to where we were in the '80s."
The new slate of mid-season shows and next year's development season seems to hold the promise of more diversity, according to media analyst Brad Adgate. NBC said it was moving ahead with a pilot for a family comedy starring rapper Snoop Dogg. Meanwhile, CBS announced earlier this month that the comedy "!ROB!," starring Rob Schneider as a lifelong bachelor who marries into a tight-knit Mexican American family, will air in early 2012.
"I really do think that the absence of minority comedies is cyclical," Adgate said. "It's so hard to get a hit comedy no matter what, and ethnicity doesn't really matter as opposed to how good the casts are."
But, depending on their ultimate content, the shows with Schneider and Snoop Dogg have the potential of raising more concerns if they are bogged down by old stereotypes. Schneider, the star of movies like "The Hot Chick" and "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," is famous for broad comedy, not nuanced character studies. And Snoop Dogg, whose music career has glamorized violence and drug use, appears to be an awkward fit with NBC's stable of well-scrubbed stars like Tina Fey, Christina Applegate, Whitney Cummings and Will Arnett.
The creative team at "Reed Between the Lines" hopes to emulate "The Cosby Show" in its positive depiction of a family of color. And despite being on a channel that targets a primarily African American audience, they want to reach a mainstream audience with their message.
"We were clear that there had not been a show like 'Cosby' since 'Cosby,'" Warner said. "We are in no way looking to re-create that show, but we did want to re-create that universality and positive family values that 'Cosby' represented. Neither Tracee or I were interested in a 'black show.' We are telling family stories as opposed to black stories."
Emma Bowen Foundation Seeks Students for Paid Internships
The Emma Bowen Foundation is a National PAID Internship Program. We are celebrating our 23rd year of successfully placing minority students in multi-summer internships at media companies throughout the United States.
At the present time, we are recruiting minority high school seniors and incoming college freshmen. Qualified applicants should have at least a 3.0 GPA, plan to attend a 4-year college and have an interest in media, communications, business, engineering, or technology. Selected recipients are PAID and receive a matching funds scholarship to help pay for college expenses.
Please visit our website for a more detailed description of the program and the application: www.emmabowenfoundation.com
Interested students should complete the application and send all requested materials (transcript, resume, photo, etc.) to the
New York Office by January 31, 2012.
Plantains and Apple Pie: Promoting the Global Diaspora Initiative with Dominican-Americans
By Raul Yzaguirre, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and NALIP Advocacy Award winner
"Estoy completamente aplatanado," I recently confessed to an audience of Dominican-Americans in New York. Aplatanado comes from the Spanish word for plantains, the staple of many a Dominican meal. But in Dominican parlance, aplatanado means "Dominican-ized," and is used to describe a foreigner who enjoys plantains, a cold Dominican-brewed Presidente beer, embraces this nation's terrific music, and uses words from the Dominican Republic's colorful slang. Guilty as charged.
I was in the midst of a recent speaking tour in support of Secretary Clinton's Global Diaspora Initiative, during which I met with leaders of the Dominican-American community in New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Only last May, Secretary Clinton launched the Global Diaspora Initiative, telling Americans with ties around the world that "You have the potential to be the most powerful people-to-people asset we can bring to the world's table...you are, frankly, our Peace Corps, our USAID, our OPIC, our State Department rolled into one." And as someone who has worked with immigrant groups in the United States for much of my life, I can tell you how frequently Americans get involved in helping their countries of origin. To use our version of the phrase aplatanado, it is "as American as apple pie."
The Dominican community in the United States is a growing success story. The week I was in the United States, Dominican baseball players Albert Pujols and Nelson Cruz were making headlines, leading their teams to post-season glory. But Dominican success stories in the United States are becoming more prominent off the field, too. Already making their mark are Dominican-American writers, artists, businessmen, activists, politicians, and academics.
I learned many things talking to Dominican-Americans in the United States, but two things stand out. First, the Dominican community wants to make a difference in the Dominican Republic. Their enthusiasm is impressive. To cite one example, the President of the National Supermarkets Association followed me down the sidewalk after one meeting to make sure I knew he was ready to get involved. It is clear that the success of Dominican-Americans in the United States has shown them things could be better "back home." Second, and equally important, Dominican-Americans are looking for hands-on involvement in the Dominican Republic that would allow them to be involved at the grassroots level. Time and again, people told me that they preferred to make a difference at the micro-level where they could see the difference they made; for instance, that they would like to adopt a school or a disadvantaged community.
Now that the Dominican diaspora has made their enthusiasm and commitment to involvement clear, the next step will be to link the diaspora community to concrete projects here in the Dominican Republic. Stay tuned for further developments.