Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jamaican Documentary Up for Award

I read where the Jamaica Gleaner published a story about a local documentary that is up for an award at the American Black Film Festival June 24-27 in Miami, Florida.

The 61-min documentary titled, "Why Jamaicans Run So Fast?", was directed by Fernando Garcia-Guereta, who lives in Portland, Jamaica. The documentary captures the excitement that surrounded the return to Jamaica of three-time Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt. A segment of the intro is below.

This production is welcome. I therefore take the opportunity to share with my readers a panel discussion audio feed I had shared with some members of the International Film Society, at Full Sail University. The panel was titled "How Filmmakers Are Building Fan Bases". The Panel was organized and chaired by veteran writer and blogger Scott Kirsner, to whose CinemaTech blog I've been subscribed since around July 2007. The discussion took place at the Independent Film Festival of Boston on April 26, 2009. There were some very influential folks in attendance and you can read Scott Kirsner's original post to see who they were.

To borrow from Scott's blog some of the areas covered are:
- Benefits and pitfalls of social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.)
- Strategies for reaching audiences before, during and after production
- Crowdsourcing to build audiences as well as help production
- How much of your content to post online for free
- Ad revenue models
- Distribution formats (DVD, download, streaming, theatrical, etc.)
- Applying all the above to other media such as music and art

"I also recall that we talked a bit about the pendulum shift that is happening with regard to building a fan base for your work. In the old days, when you had a movie distributor or a record label behind you, you spent maybe 10 percent of your time on promotion and marketing tasks (like doing interviews with the media), and 90 percent of your time actually creating. I think the pendulum is swinging, toward a world where success is going to require more of a 40/60 split between audience-building and creating. That's not necessarily bad news, since audience-building can feed your art, and in fact be an art form unto itself. Just think about how much people like Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, and John Waters all seem(ed) to enjoy promoting their work..."

This should be some good perspective. I leave with you the audio feed (downloadable MP3 available) from the panel discussion in the hope that it can help an upcoming filmmaker from Jamaica, or the wider Caribbean, find his/her way. When all is said and done, it is patently obvious that there is no magic formula, just wise and hard work. Listen in and I hope you find it useful.

Feel free to share your thoughts or pass on the link.

Give thanks!

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