It begins…

Or more accurately, continues. Crave has a post about a TV station in a box from NetTVworld. This box is essentially a minimal configuration solution for easily transmitting video content over the internet. This kind of product coming to market is yet another harbinger of the impending paradigm shift in entertainment media. Musical artists are beginning to eschew their record labels and show some faith in direct marketing and the WGA is striking against TV and Film producers. The onward march of technological process lowers the threshold for entry into media and entertainment, and products like NetTVworld’s box are breaking down barriers in distribution. BitTorrent and YouTube have already made it easier for masses to distribute pre-recorded video and other digital media. This box aims to make it easier for the technically uninitiated to broadcast live video. Exciting things are happening. The industry is due for a change, and it’s only a matter of time before there is a major shift. Certainly, there are still advantages to major studio or station backing, but can those entities continue to justify the cost of their services? For independent media creators of all kinds, and for consumers with a taste for more than just the “mainstream”, this promises to be an exciting time indeed.

Characters Matter

Insert appropriate quip about the importance of strong moral character *here*. Character Matters, but I won’t subject you to the puns. There are more interesting things to discuss.

John, of College Grad, Real World, has a post about what pulls him (or people in general, perhaps) into a TV show. You should read the post, but the SparkNote version is: Good characters that the audience cares about are what make them tune in. In the past, I have posted about what I believe makes a good film: primarily the story. John’s post brought up an interesting question for me about the difference between movies and TV shows (or serial online shorts, etc.). We watch movies for the story, but when we watch TV shows, do we care about the overarching structure that the episodes take place within?

Certainly, there are serial shows that maintain and develop a story arc over a season or even an entire series, but there are also episodic (that is, non-serial) shows that have little or no continuity between episodes. They essentially reset the circumstances between episodes. Most sitcoms fall into this category. So the story is limited to what can take place in a 30 or 60 minutes time slot (minus commercials). That story could be compelling, to be sure, but if that story isn’t carried over from one episode to the next, then viewers must be tuning in, week after week, for something else. In my estimation, it probably isn’t the special effects.

Of course, this train of logic brings up another question: Is it possible to separate a story from its characters? And if you do, does anyone still care about the story? A topic to explore at a later date.

More free music

Mike over at HD for Indies posted about free music from Moby for non-commercial/non-profit films. Looks like a pretty good deal. To be sure, this is not music released under Creative Commons; the license restrictions are much more stringent. When you request a license there is a list of statements to agree to:

You hereby confirm that by proceeding with this license, your film or solely for non-commercial uses i.e. explicitly for non-profit organizations.
You hereby confirm that this may not be made available for sale or public broadcasts (paid for). It may be used in film festivals and student (non-paying) venues.
You acknowledge that all songs remain the property of the artist, song writer and their record company and publisher and use hereof is limited only to your designated film.
You acknowledge that Moby has his own moral values and as such he stresses that any musical synchronisation (use) to acts of animal harm, acts of violence or any sexual acts are strictly prohibited.
Any license granted hereunder may be revoked at anytime at Moby or the copyright owners sole discretion in the event there has been any misuse or intentional misappropriaton of the terms and conditions contained herein.
Any inadvertant, illegal or blatant misuse of any music made available hereunder is a material breach of the terms and conditions and you will be vigorously pursued by the relevant copyright owner.

If you, your film, and your usage of the music meet these requirements, then go for it.

Boston Open Screen

This is probably the coolest idea I have ever seen pop out of the film community in Boston:

Boston Open Screen

Basically, it’s an open mic night for filmmakers. How cool is that? You’re testing your material in front of a live audience, presumably made up of other filmmakers and film nuts. Also, they have a lovely little DVD burning guide on their website. I’m tempted to skip the free showing of Juno at the Harvard Square theater, just so I can go to this instead. Choices, choices. . .

Reading Scripts Aloud

In a recent post, Jane Espenson talks about having your script read aloud by actors. This is something that I really support and I will definitely do with my own work… just as soon as I get a script written.