Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social media, it’s not just a buzzword if you’ve been using it for more than a decade. We have.

Repost: Indie Movies and the Importance of Sharing

May 5th, 2011 by Janos Honkonen

Cannes Film Festival is here and that means purgatory for countless filmmakers trying to get their projects out there. That makes this a good time to remind everyone how you can help indie filmmakers. I originally posted this a year ago. This is a slightly updated version.

Our community has helped us in several ways, from giving us concrete ideas and materials via Wreckamovie to helping us finance the movie by buying merchandise or investing directly in the movie. This help is not cosmetic or a gimmick, it’s very important for us in a very concrete way, and we are truly grateful for your support!

There’s also another thing people can do that really helps us – something you might not think of as being useful or important. Moreover this is something that’s very easy to do and also free. This something is SHARING.

When we publish something interesting on our blog, website, Facebook, YouTube or other place we frequent, go nd share it to your pals in social networks, forums you frequent and in your blog; Digg the article and submit it to Reddit, Stumbleupon, and so on. Also, drop in the www.ironsky.net/demand/ link with the stuff you share, because those red dots on the map are very important for us.

Sharing is Caring

Why is this important? How is the fact that some guy or gal shares our teaser or blog entry to his pals in Facebook actually hugely useful for Iron Sky?

The thing is, publicity is enormously important for indie projects that are not backed by big money. When people think about movie publicity, they think about just getting people to the theaters when the movie is done – and that’s how it might be for the big studio backed movies. Those filmmakers can announce the movie, start producing it and then have the studio throw €30 million for marketing when the film is done. That’s really not how small or even multi million euro budget indie movies work, especially if it’s aimed for a wide theater distribution.

Indie filmmakers need good buzz right from the moment they start pitching the film to production companies, distributors and investors. They must convince all those people that the idea is viable, has potential and that there are people who are interested in it – and keep convincing them until the movie is done. For every Paranormal Activity there’s a dozen films that couldn’t get the buzz going. This is part of why indie projects seem to take an age to be completed: you don’t hear about big studio movies until they are almost done, but indie movies need to make noise right from the pre-production phase.

(Well, sometimes indie movies really do take ages to make… )

Support Iron Sky

So, for projects like Iron Sky publicity not just about the amount of viewers: at the production stage it’s almost literal currency with which we can get resources and freedom to make the movie we want to and convince that theater near you to show the finished film. A $10 million project can’t get by on crowd funding and the personal finances of the creators alone, although both of those are often extremely important sources to get the train rolling. Projects this size must deal and co-operate with the traditional side of movie business.

Distributors, investors etc. are very interested in how much buzz a project has, and these people love numbers and figures. When negotiating with them, website statistics, YouTube views, Facebook likes and amount of demands turn out to be cold hard cash and at times the most effective bargaining tool. Those red dots on the Demand map are catnip for the business people. “Here’s our movie idea, and here’s our ready made audience that can’t wait to see it – please give us resources and free hands to do our stuff!” It’s also the matter of artistic integrity: the more there is buzz about the film, the less chance there is that they panic and start demanding changes that would make the movie more “commercially viable”.

Why Demand Iron Sky?

Iron Sky is not the only indie project that needs buzz – some interesting new films are Dr. Professor’s Thesis of Evil, “8″, Vampyre Princess 3D and The Music of Erich Zann. Give them a shout as well!

So, when it comes to indie movies, sharing is caring. Act now and join the fight for a new way of making movies: from fans to fans – with fans!

Director’s Diary: Power to the People!

April 20th, 2011 by Timo Vuorensola

I was asked to participate in an interesting seminar / panel discussion that was part of the Imagine Film Festival program, in Amsterdam, Holland. The seminar was called Power to the People, and it discussed two basic topics: fan fiction and crowdsourcing. Attending alongside me were a New York -based filmmaker and an actor Zachary Oberzan, who had made his own interpretation of the book First Blood, called Flooding with Love for the Kid (2010), Alexandré Philippe, a documentary director who had released a film called The People vs. George Lucas (2010), and a Danish director Martin Koolhoven, who had crowdsourced 60-second edits of his hugely popular film Winter in Wartime (2008).

The Imagine panelists (from left): Zachary Oberzan, Alexandré Philippe, Timo Vuorensola and Martin Koolhoven.

The moderators had prepared a bunch of bold statements, which they flashed on the screen as a discussion starters, igniting the panelists to venture from fan art to crowd sourcing, crowd funding and finally the future of the film industry. Although I was one of the panelists, I felt the discussion was quite thorough, and didn’t degrade into circlejerking or a flame war at any point, which unfortunately can’t be said of every panel I’ve attended to.

Flooding with Love for the Kid is quite an interesting project, of which I had not heard of before the festival, although the film’s been out there quite prominently – just one of those things right down my alley that I’ve managed to somehow miss. The idea behind the film that it was shot with $96 in one apartment in New York, by Zachary Oberzan, who’s playing all the roles himself. Zachary, a big First Blood fan (first, the movie – then, the book), realized his life-long dream to re-interpret the novel, on which Stallone‘s film by the same name is based on. Fact is, he never had any money, equipement or crew to do it, but being an unemployed filmmaker and an actor in New York, he decided to quite waiting around for other people’s permission to make the film, and went ahead and just did it. The trailer is here:

Zachary told interesting stories, as he had contacted the novelist David Morrell who wrote the book, to gain his permission for making the film – and although Morrell didn’t own the rights, he did give his blessing. But still, Stallone has the filming rights for First Blood, and if he wanted to play asshole, he could sue Zachary quite fast. But the discussion of whether it would be either a fan film, a parody or something in between is something the lawyers are not especially enthusiastic to start fighting for.

Right now, Zachary is working on a film/theater project where he’s re-making shot-by-shot his youth fan remakes of Van Damme‘s movie KickBoxer (1989), and he tours around the world on theater stages showing the films and playing Van Damme on the stage simultaneously. A very interesting project touring right now, and goes by the name Your Brother, Remember. Check out the amazing trailer below – if this doesn’t make you think about Samuli Torssonen back in the days when he was working on Andy Bones and Star Wrecks, then nothing:

Alexandré Philippe, a director of The People vs. George Lucas jumps even further down the fan’s mind with his documentary, trying to find out an answer to the question of how far does the rights of the author go, and does a fanbase that’s been feeding the filmmaker for decades have any say on what can be done with the franchise and what not. Although Star Wars is quite unique case, it’s a great subject to mess around the topic; there probably is no fan of the original Star Wars saga who really can say they think the prequels, started by The Phantom Menace (2001), get even close to the original trilogy.

And more interestingly, as Lucas has been tampering with even the original trilogy, releasing new versions loaded with heaps of terrible, already outdated CGI and completely retarded plot twists and needless changes, the question is even more interesting. What version of the original Star Wars trilogy is the version that’s “real”? Who can make the decision? Lucas – who says that the latest remake of the original trilogy, the one where Han Shot First, is the real one, and the original one is obsolete? Or the fans who’ve fell in love during the last 30+ years over and over again to the very original trilogy – they’ve been denied an access to that film, and re-sold time and time again a newer, even worse version every time.

Check out this trailer for the film, it should prove to be quite an exciting watch indeed:

The last guest was a Dutch filmmaker Martin Koolhoven who made an extremely succesful Dutch film Winter In Wartime that’s been spreading on big screens all the way to the States. He was there because as a part of a competition, the fans of his film were asked to re-edit the film into 60 second segments. As it usually happens (he indicated it was especially a Dutch phenomenon), the people didn’t follow the rules and re-made the 60 second versions into a completely different stories that had nothing to do with the original film.

The winning piece was a very innovative 60 second short film where the main character rides a bicycle, and on his both sides jump on and off the characters of the film, thus telling in a very clever, cute and compressed form the story of the film. Instead of editing it, they shot the whole material, so they had really put an effort into making the film.

This led to a question I wasn’t able to give a clear answer to: why did I release Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (2005) under a license which allows anyone to further distribute it the way anyone wants to, but not to make derivate works of it.

Like Martin said, there’s no better way to promote a film than a fan re-make – or a spinoff – of it – which have happened already so many times in Star Wreck’s case, the biggest of those being Star Wreck 2pi that’s currently in production – so why didn’t I allow, and encourage it further?

I enjoyed taking part in the panel, and liked the way the discussion travelled from defining a fan film to legal issues, and then moving on to separation between crowd sourcing and crowd funding, and eventually asking what’s the business model of a laptop filmmaker using Internet as his or her’s main distribution and marketing channel. I assume there’s not one clear answer to that, but I believe it’s “motion”. It’s impeartive to be able to keep the product alive, keep it spreading in whatever form it most naturally takes, in whatever media it most naturally goes to – whether it’s fan art, merchandise, DVD sales or whatever – and constantly try new things.

And coming back to Hugh Hancock‘s extremely good point he made during a seminar in Singapore – the most important thing in the Internet is to fail fast. Try new things, see if they work – and if they don’t, kill them, move on and come up with another idea. The Internet is in constant motion – the key is to keep up to it.

Here’s a Director’s Diary of the trip; it’s quite long, and maybe quite confusing, but I wanted to grasp a bit of Amsterdam and a bit of the panel to it. Enjoy:

Ps., here’s another report I wrote from the festival, to my blog Zombie Room.

Facebook poisti Kaivuri-Mutasen fanisivun

June 28th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

English summary: Facebook has removed one of the biggest Finnish pages without any good reason. This post is mostly about how bad an example this is for Finnish companies planning on adopting social media in their business. This is now the third large Finnish page removed without good reason in the last 6 months.

Facebook kaivaa jälleen kerran omaa kuoppaansa. Ilmeisesti suomalaiset sivut hassuine suomenkielisine sanoineen ovat punainen vaate Facebookin sensuuritiimille. MoonTV:n sivun poistosta on ehtinyt kulua vasta pari viikkoa, kun Facebook on iskenyt kauhansa entistä syvemmälle lietteeseen. Tällä kertaa vasaran alle joutui Suomen suurin kesäilmiö, eli Jukka Mutanen joka Facebookista lähteneen vedon johdosta ajaa parhaillaan minikaivurilla Hangosta Kuusamoon. Iltapäivälehdet huutavat Facebookin sulkeneen Mutasen sivut.

Tämä on Facebookin poistoista ehkä käsittämättömin. Minikaivurit eivät tietääkseni ole laittomia, loukkaa uskonnollisia ryhmiä tai uhkaa sukupuolisiveyttä millään lailla. Sen sijaan kyseessä oli Suomen suurin Facebook-ilmiö, suorastaan palvelun kultapoika – siellä aloitettu vitsi voi paisua näin valtavaksi mediatapahtumaksi.

Facebookin yrityskäytön kannalta Mutasen sivun poisto lienee tähänastisista vahingollisin. Paitsi, että tästä kuulevat muutkin kuin netin aktiivikäyttäjät, kertoo tämä hyvin vahvaa kieltään siitä kuinka mielivaltaisia Facebookin päätökset ovat. Tämä tuskin kannustaaa yhtäkään pienyritystä käyttämään vähiä rahojaan Facebook-markkinointiin. “Jos Mutasen sivut poistettiin, niin eikö ne voi poistaa meidänkin sivut?”, tulee varmasti olemaan yleinen kysymys sosiaalisen median markkinoijille.

Oma arvaukseni on, että sivusta on tehty piloillaan valituksia ja nämä valitukset on käsitellyt suomea ymmärtämätön työntekijä. Tämä ei ole voinut millään tietää palvataanko sivulla saatanaa, vai jutellaanko minikaivurilla köröttelystä. Koska valitukset on tehty niin vaikeiksi, Mutasen fanien ainoa toivo lienee se, että uutinen sivun poistosta leviää mediassa niin laajalle, että sana siitä kiirii myös Facebookin markkinointiosastolle. Jos näin ei käy, sivut jäänevät palauttamatta ja suomalaiset sosiaalisen median palvelut saavat yllättävän kilpailuedun taisteluun kotimaisista mainosmarkoista.

Kick them when they’re down: Facebook edition.

May 10th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

If you have a passion for Space Nazis, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. -Facebook

Am I the only one who thinks the above is slightly scary?

We really like Facebook, we’ve been using it for ages and it’s a great place to connect. But we’re not fans of their problems with privacy and security. Or their bullish ways of doing, well, pretty much everything. Not to mention the time they removed our page for alleged hate speech, even though we did get it back.

Couple of weeks ago Timo tried to leave Facebook, only to discover the existence of a “community page for Timo Vuorensola”. These community pages are the result of their new feature – creating pages for almost everything that has a Wikipedia page so they can be listed in the “interests and likes” section of people’s profiles.

Turns out this automation creates some problems for a company that tries to keep their nose clean of anything remotely offensive and Facebook now has fan pages for some rather unpleasant things.

So how about letting the world know you “have a passion for Nazism and Fascism” or that’ you’re into all forms of totalitarianism with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Or maybe you want to let the world know you like Child Sexual Abuse?

This is a good example of what’s wrong with Facebook’s plans for world domination. They want to be the one place for all things – but then there’s all the nasty stuff no-one likes. If they want to get rid of it it means they need to up the censorship, creating lists of banned words, or getting even more trigger happy with acting on complaints. And the more they try to clean up the world site, the bigger target they become for ridicule & litigation when something slips past their net.

If they want to be the one place for everything they need to give up control and re-think their strategy of reducing all relationships into “friends” and “likes”. The world just doesn’t work like that.

p.s. There’s little doubt these pages will be removed once the first complaints are made, so don’t be too surprised if the links don’t work.