Hi WRA H2H,
I'm excited to meet you all and work with you as an 'educator for the day!' I'm still pretty early in my career as a filmmaker... everyone in H2H has a lot more experience... but I'll do my best to live up to Rob's request 😅 Not long ago that I was in your position, looking up to Rob, David, Jeff and others from WRA as I started in film (Class of 06 - maybe it was awhile ago).
I've put together a collection of short films I've done over the last 5 years. I want to work with you to unpack and talk about different kinds of media, both established and emerging. We'll look at how form factor and creative influence each other. Film festivals consider short films anything under 40-minutes (the ones that get in are shorter); Instagram's initial video feature supported anything under 15 seconds (that's since changed); a majority of users watch videos on Facebook without sound (notice more text-based videos?); Netflix and Amazon drop entire seasons of a shows they produced all at once (what was considered being a 'couch potato' is now accepted as 'binge watching').
- How do those competing form factors demand you, as a filmmaker, think differently about what you're making?
As creators, we're experiencing an emergence of 'bilateral content' - that movie idea you're thinking about:
- How will it play out over Twitter vs Snapchat vs Vimeo vs YouTube vs Funny Or Die vs at Sundance, etc.?
- Maybe your idea works better as a YouTube series or Vimeo short instead of as a feature?
We're at a nexus in film where we're 'going digital' in so many different ways all at once. It's no surprise, but in production we're mostly shooting on digital camera platforms (glance through this, minus Fences, LA LA Land & Hidden Figures). With audience consumption, it was not long ago that Netflix was a mail-order DVD rental service and Amazon only sold books. Now they're gorillas in the room of original episodic and film making. Glance through this, Netflix dropped $100 million on House of Cards season #1, and Amazon just made an interesting offer to all 2017 Sundance films. Further, YouTube Red wasn't even a thing 2 years ago. Now they're empowering creators to make episodic content with actual budgets.
I want to encourage you all to look for new 'models of success' that include digital - where creators are building a series on YouTube and parlaying that into a Comedy Central or HBO show (see: Broad City).
- How do you 'remain true' to your medium (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), but build in the potential for an HBO show (see: High Maintenance)?
For me, this all boils down to mixed feelings of excitement and confusion. More platforms competing for content mean more opportunities for us to 'make it' - that's cool! But those ever changing platforms and form factors can also be very distracting (and I had just started a Vine account... woops. Spotify is making original video series?!). I sometimes don't know what to think 🙃 It's cheesy to say, but at the end of the day - we all have voices, and we can only find our voices by making stuff, putting it out there, and doing it again.
These shorts I've done with a group of filmmakers, sometimes it's just two of us, other times there are thirty of us on set and in post. We started with documentaries; they're generally easier to shoot. When we started to get paid to make them, we kept doing it! I hope you enjoy.
Meanwhile, we started to make 'scripted' stuff. Sometimes for ourselves, other times for hire. We're moving towards doing more independent stuff where we have more control.
1 of 6 episodes
These are rough cuts of our newest project (shot in Wisconsin in December). The music, voice over, sound mix, sound design, color correction... EVERYTHING in these is temporary. It's in partnership with a non-profit on sex-trafficking. I'm also making a 25-minute short film out of it, I'd love to show you that, it's way too rough, but it'll be awesome.
Send me 2 short form videos that you love or inspire you.
PS I helped my friends with this music video years ago. After re-watching it in preparation for this, I just want to put it out there. It seemed so absurd at the time of making, but now it sort of reflects forces at play in America. Hope it doesn't offend!