Hanging around at the airport

Waiting on my flight back to PDX. 4 days in Santa Monica (with a brief foray into Hollywood). I’ve not attended the American Film Market before, never felt the need to, but thought I’d give it a whirl this year. It seemed to me that Lower Boom had a few projects that might make it worth subjecting myself to the cold calls, cold meetings, and uncomfortable (for me) networking. I opted to not get too worked up about number of meetings scheduled, especially since I was not there pitching a completed feature film, which is the majority of the action here. What Lower Boom DOES have is a really diverse set of projects, and by diverse I mean in multiple senses of the word. Women-created projects, women-driven narratives, diverse characters in the narratives – and platform diversity as well. I came down prepared to talk about an episodic documentary, an episodic narrative about Portland, a video game and VR experience, and the Lower Boom Discovery app.

I didn’t get a lot of meetings, despite considerable elbow grease applied, and I avoided most of the networking events. I felt like saving my energy for the meetings I did get, and using the remaining time to write, reflect and work.

And turns out the meetings I did get were 100% worth it – fun, friendly, informative. I am glad I didn’t come down here with a do or die attitude, make or break etc. There’s a time and place for that, this didn’t seem like the time or place to run around sweaty and desperate. I’ve plenty of other opportunities for sweaty and desperate, believe me!

I was able to meet with the CEO of one of the top doc companies on the planet, with multiple Academy awards noms and wins to their name, about our Jump the Fence project, and it really couldn’t have gone better. We shall see, of course. When by the end of a meeting that goes twice as long as planned you’re talking about mutual love of David Bowie, Barcelona, the Ramones etc., it’s probably a good sign. My goal was to get meeting #2 with someone I really wanted to work with, so mission accomplished. I also met with a company who I wasn’t really sure was a great fit in terms of our projects and their focus – but I really liked the attitude they showed off on their website. They seemed like kindred spirits, perhaps, attitude-wise.

And that turned out to be accurate! A really fun meeting, and though she correctly saw that our projects weren’t necessarily a good fit with her company’s vision, she got on the phone, and connected me with other folks she knew who she thought might go for the projects, and then asked if I had any features in development. I hadn’t planned on pitching any features, but decided to pitch her the feature script MUSCLE CARS. And she loved it, and requested the script and pitch package. She called her next meeting and bumped them, and we spent over an hour talking projects.

Who knows! Lower Boom is a boot-strapped start up, so coming to the American Film Market was a gamble in terms of potential ROI – it wasn’t cheap, and neither is staying in Santa Monica, and of course the expense account comes right outta my wallet.

That said, I head back home to Portland knowing that both our projects and our presentations were worthy of the time, energy and money spent. Maybe nothing comes of this trip other than that knowledge.

For right now, that’s good enough for me.

Lower Boom current projects

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54 days until #AFM2017!

It’s pretty helpful to have such a focused goal…going to the American Film Market in November. It’s making Lower Boom set priorities on projects, and put a few things on the back burner so that other projects can get our full attention.

For instance!

We’re currently editing the first episode of Jump the Fence: Around the World in 7 Days. We shot for almost a month in Brazil, and are excited to craft that edit into Episode to show off at AFM. We’ve been fortunate to already have gotten some nice press…this article appeared on the Resource magazine website…it’s a great interview with the stars of Jump the Fence, and a great overview of the project:

http://resourcemagonline.com/2017/08/around-the-world-in-seven-films-an-international-tour-of-indie-filmmaking/80388/

The Craft of VR Filmmaking

REALLY interesting article here…

Taiwan-based auteur Tsai Ming-liang, whose credits include “Stray Dogs,” “The Wayward Cloud” and “What Time is it There?” recently premiered his VR project “The Deserted” at Venice. He gives a great (lengthy and detailed) interview here to Variety. I’ve not seen that many in-depth discussions/interviews with filmmakers/creatives that go much past “yeah, it was hard, but pretty cool”. This one does.

The interview is followed by one with HTC…well worth reading as well. Instead, he renewed his collaboration with top actor Lee Kang-sheng, partnered with pioneering cell phone and tech company HTC and tested the limits of story-telling in the new medium.

Venice Interview: Tsai Ming-liang on the Craft of VR Film Making

58 more days…

…until #AFM2017. Over the past few months, Lower Boom has convened a few meetings we called “Indie Filmmaking Meets VR”

We invited indie filmmakers who knew nothing about the VR platform, VR technologists that knew nothing about linear cinematic storytelling, folks from the business side of the storytelling business, and more, and mashed them all up in a room with some beer, a few prompts, some thought-exercises and we were off…many different perspectives, lots of great questions, new connections made. The reason we brought these folks together was we’re curious to figure out what rules exist for storytelling in VR, what do we know, what don’t we know, how can VR leverage the storytelling capacity of the filmmakers, how can the filmmakers dip their toe in the VR world…

One of the outcomes of these meetings was Lower Boom itself has decided to dip it’s toe in the VR world in a number of ways, first and foremost with developing the fascinating characters and world of the video game ARID GHOST. 

arid_ghost

It’s beautiful, mysterious, has lots of multi-platform/channel potential…and it’s not on the market yet! So we’re excited to continue developing the ideas and the world of ARID GHOST and bring it with us to the American Film Market in November.

View story at Medium.com

59 more days…

…until the American Film Market.  I, and Lower Boom, have set a goal of having several of your projects ready to show off. We’ve been very excited about our Portland:Dark episodic series we’re developing.

I’m really excited that we’ve shot the inaugural episode last month in Brazil of JUMP THE FENCE: Around the World in 7 Films in Brazil, our global filmmaking documentary. And to make things even more exciting with that project, one of our stars, Lacy Allen, was just featured on the front page of the NY Times Arts section, in a very positive review by Brent Brantley of the play INANIMATE, starring…Lacy Allen.

 

Next week we should have a working prototype of our new Lower Boom Discovery app. I think that it’s going to be a game-changer for indie storytellers to build audience and awareness – a completely new model and market maker…I use that term loosely, but our intent is definitely to do something that’s not been done before, that fills a real need in the market and has an exciting and innovative business model attached.

User testing countdown imminent.

Ramit Sethi

Listening to Ramit Sethi on James Altucher’s podcast. Two interesting takeaways (among many).

Be specific. And A/B test in your daily life. For instance, what do you say when you meet people? That’s an interesting thought. He mentions things as simple as how he describes what he does. For awhile he said he was a ‘writer’…he noticed a change in people’s attitudes towards him when he started saying he was an ‘author’.