View Full Version : SHORT FILM BUYERS - who are they?
08 August 2003, 09:36 AM
I have had only a handful of short film distributor experiences, but it used to make a huge difference to me that there was not apparently a "buyer" like SciFi's "Exposure" or "Liquid TV."
My view these days is to focus less on the idea of personality, and more on why I am making a film, giving somewhat more weight to there being invisible forces that will show up when the thing is finished.
That said -- am I wrong, are there any paying shorts venues/shows (defined as having an open call and/or theme, like Exposure did)?
Has anyone here sold directly to distributors? Through IFilm? Etc.?
I know one person who made a pretty involved three minute short, paid the $200 to be at IFilm for one year, and made about $1,000, I think.
I submitted to Hypnotic.com for purchase and was refused, but they sent a nice prompt rejection letter, and didn't charge me or take any rights.
There is a website called theshortskinny.com which lists the major distributors like apollocinema.com bigfilmshorts.com atomfilms.com shortkutzdvd.com sputnik7.com
I have heard that Independent Film Channel and Sundance both run shorts.
TechTV "Eyedrops" I am told is good exposure if they accept your work.
www.awn.com has a links page of some festivals
The last time I thought about the festival scene and my latest mini-oeuvre, a bee came from nowhere to land in a paint cup I was daubing from, and I watched this poor creature in a glob of vinyl struggle to be free. Freedom is probably overrated, yes?
08 August 2003, 08:37 AM
I see that "f 8" will be coming out on video from www.odyssey3d.com, which is a pretty well-known name.
I once was contacted by an independent animator who was putting together a DVD of shorts and found my name somewhere. I don't know if he found me through a google search or Yahoo discussion board, or whatever. Cool idea.
I've made one or two music video's, or three or four depending on what counts... Friends have also worked on music video's of one kind or another. They can be a lot of fun. I didn't notice a lot of music video collections on google, or in video stores, though I saw Radiohead's magnum opus once, and Will Smith has a compilation out. It looks like production cost is what there is, and this thread is more about selling shorts, though if there are buyers, it's nice to know.
08 August 2003, 06:08 AM
I found your post funny..in a good way. maybe I'm tired.
I have been wrangling with making a targeted independant feature. Its history based. WWII to be exact.
Its crossed from being wholly financed by 2nd parties interested in the idea to being pitched to Discovery and the History Channel.
In any case I like the fact you are doing research into the many avenues available, not just asking questions.
Two heads are better than one. Were both in Los Angeles. What kind of short are you producing and what is the target audience?
08 August 2003, 12:03 AM
It's easier to talk about what you've done than what you're doing -- I think there is some scriptural basis for this. A person "pitching" may actually be rewriting their script as they talk, Kramer was known to do that.
These haven't done the festival circuit yet and need bells and whistles:
http://www.inspirejoy.50megs.com/gallry97.htm was for a cable show...
Who is the target audience?
For some reason, that question makes my skin crawl.
Probably the supply and demandiness of it. Or the demographicness of it, which denies spiritual abundance and dilutes proper priorities.
"Divorced women living in multi-family households"? They don't have any time for watching movies, do they? Their eyes have already closed while the kids are hammering the fast-forward button,... but I digress. Maybe God will let you watch words appear that nurture and liberate them.
Questions where one limits options or capabilities or projects a market or an outcome -- you probably don't mean your question that way.
08 August 2003, 11:58 PM
The BIG NEWS on www.awn.com is that FOX is planning an open call that will pretty much coincide with the deadline for Sundance shorts. Postmarked Sept 15 for Sept 22 arrival.
Animation World mentioned the "What a Cartoon" open call ten years ago, which wasn't an open call if you didn't hear about it. I check awn.com at least once a week, and NOW YOU KNOW.
Among the shows that appeared at "What a Cartoon," were a short by Joseph Hanna himself, Dexter's Lab, Power Puff Girls, and several shorts where the talent pool engine or late entry really showed -- pencil tests, storyboards, etc.
Will this be the case with the FOX-TV contest at fox.com/pitchorama ?
Nope. From a quick browse, apparently one is allowed to send a script, VHS short, napkin with crayon, etc. 100 pitches will be selected to be pitched to FOX people in November.
Will there be short prductions after the pitchathon in November? It doesn't sound like it, but let's wait and see.
The FOX open-call is a keen gesture, but I honestly have heard that a number of studio's have open doors for new show concepts. Disney and Klasky-Csupo basically have said they have the production infrastructure, and so will look at a two-pager (though I heard this back in Februaryish).
SO you have a finished short and no idea at all whether or not it could be stretched to 75-plus hours of programming? Well, since the entry fee is the cost of mailing and notarizing the application (but if there's an earthquake as you fill out the form, don't enter,..), what can I say? Either collaborate with a writer -- yeah, go ahead and email me -- or send what you have, and let the FOX executives decide if you make the 100 cut.
You say it's called "Reservoir Puppies," and hasn't been pitched in a few years, but you'd like to give it a try? Well, the rules sort of exclude stuff that isn't really yours; no "Bay Watch Babies" either, though I hear Hasselhof is one terrific guy.
What if you want to make a feature?
These guys say they are looking for TV shows.
In another post I wanted to delve into the so-called "ideal" short for shows like TechTV's "Eyedrops," which would be an advertizement for investors.
I should also mention that we shouldn't make too much of these objectives if our focus is to bring more love/excellence to our world. The other stuff will come when it comes...
Myrl Schreibman's "Indie Producing" book goes into some detail about pitching, though it isn't written for animators, and in places I think it's very materialistic. There is a small amount of legal stuff one should know when approaching investors, because some folks sometimes exaggerate, and that will wind one up in jail. A funny film that gets shared and has something to offer its audience and comes from the right place, is like the first page of a pitch. Do folks laugh? The pitch is already done, then, except for the remaining 120 pages and the vagaries of hiring out animation and paying others what they're due. (oh yeah, that...)
If 75 hours just doesn't float your boat, another feature-related "pitch-o-rama" but including several smaller studio's is coming up through www.writewayin.com in early October but it doesn't include animation per se, and costs over $100. AWN tried to put something like this together for animation writers and artists, and it met some rancor because $400ish was being asked, and there is a thread somewhere on CGTalk about this -- try the search engine here.
Is there anything cheaper? I often have recommended www.script-o-rama.com aka "Drew's Scriptorama" which will post a link to your script for free, though I've noticed there aren't actually many spec scripts posted there...
PIXAR? They have published notices "PLEASE DON'T SEND US STORIES," and one supposes, if/when they change their minds, we'll hear about it.
Agents? I think it would be excellent if we had agents representing shorts, don't you?
I have heard that if one knows Producer's Guild members, that is one way to get an agent to look at one's script (from the wga.org list of agents who will look at recommended writers?), but that's what it sounds like, hearsay. I've also heard that agents like to get involved after the writer has stretched and found a buyer or two. A friend who worked in publishing had that happen, and was eager to pass the baton and let the negotiations proceed with the agent who the publisher knew already.
09 September 2003, 10:23 AM
www.group101films.com is a strange little group that I haven't seen mentioned among the pretty impressive resources at http://www.shortskinny.com/resources.html but they've apparently produced about 1500 short films, mostly DV live action. One pays to join the group/crop for 6 months ($100), and is given themes and attends screenings in Los Angeles, where one hangs out with fellow creatives. There are satellite groups, but the hub is LA.
Sometimes the theme is holiday oriented, hence Clive Barker hosting an evening of horror shorts,...
"Group101 is now the largest short film content generator in Los Angeles and beyond..." is a cute thing to be able to say, yes?
What this implies for distribution is unclear, and this isn't mentioned at the website, which is unfortunate, except that there have been screeenings.
Again, a nice resource links page is
09 September 2003, 05:39 AM
A few other little ideas:
As mentioned, www.awn.com has a list of all the festivals that accept short animation. I've also found that ASIFA will give some input on this topic; that's the animation appreciation crowd, in case you've never heard of them. Bill Scott (voice of Bullwinkle) was very big in ASIFA when I was a member, through UCLA. There was a blurb about the "Annie Awards" in a recent www.awn.com story.
The festival I heard about: www.theanimation.show.
I also visited the TechTV "Eyedrops" web page, and learned that they're fond of "Animation Express" at http://www.wired.com/animation/submit.html
"Animation Express" is pretty forward about wanting to pay for shorts, which is nice, though I haven't sold anything to them.
Eyedrops' Submission page: http://www.techtv.com/eyedrops/story/0,24330,3373159,00.html But I tried to download their release form and it was blank, so I'm not sure what's up there.
The problem of not being paid by an outift that has a billion viewers is tricky. How do they sleep at night? I know a spiritual counselor who advises that humility is good, but self-effacement is bad. Life can be very enigmatic, so, never mind why it happens (unless you should repent). Bill Scott mentioned that they had to walk out of negotiations with Paramount (?) a number of times before "Rocky & Bullwinkle" (?) was greenlighted. Is that insane or what?! There are some metaphysical subtleties here, because the "etiquette" of approaching buyers is all about the spoon. Everybody has an opinion, but they can't really tell you why things came together. Since focussing on competitiors tends to clog creativity, don't just not sell your stuff to protect your fellow artists, love your audience, and let that guide you.
10 October 2003, 05:49 AM
www.awn.com also has a newsletter that they will mail to you, and it may be worth mentioning, though I think the way to make connections happen is focus on the love underlying your work. If all you want is your piece of the DVD pie, how is your conscience/universe going to side with that?
The "FOX" episodic Open Call disappeared without a trace, as far as I can tell. Three web pages and then no replies. Weird. I may have to hold back on "announcements" like this for a while. FOX Searchlight still seems to have a program, where your excellent short gets you a shot at, something... another short, a pitch, something...
It's worth reiterating that the love in the finished work motivates its own completion, and if nothing is completed, the other unfoldments/contests are just detours for attention.
www.group101films.com has a lovely vibe to it; I showed up, handed over my $100 and got introduced to a tiny group of ten folks in the 818. As far as I can tell, there are few if any "affiliations," and the money barely keeps the group afloat.
I guess they do have a relationship with the cable network, AMC, that has a billboard in the neighborhood. Halloween they'll be screening a bunch of horror shorts, and I think they've shown others. Distribution was mentioned at the launch meeting; and basically, the reply was they don't much go there. They want to focus on getting the films made, that's work enough on its own.
10 October 2003, 08:24 AM
sounds like group101 needs a cgCollective!
Anyway, good links!
10 October 2003, 12:54 AM
One related "contest" is the upcoming "National Film Challenge.com" in its first year, I believe. If you've heard of the 48 Hour Film festival.com, or Flash Film Works, which had an in-house "Marathon" years back, it's the same people.
In 48 hours, make a 4 - 8 minute film. Actually, from 7pm October 17th to postmarking Monday at noon. 65 hours.
"We send you a film genre and a list of required elements: prop, character and line of dialogue. Send us your film Monday morning and await the judges' decision..."
One interesting thing about this "contest" is that you aren't supposed to do anything other than build support staff -- crew, cast, equipment -- until the actual contest. No thinking allowed.
I am not going to suggest this is unique from "compi's" worldwide or similar groups sponsored by ASIFA or Animation Celebration/awn.com. But it looks like a giggle.
11 November 2003, 07:18 AM
At UCLA, the "Design class" is where students get assigned a few words at the beginning of the quarter, and bring in what they have as they go along. This seems to be the concept behind some of the groups like "Group 101."
The big difference as far as I can see -- none of us had the time or energy for serious casting, titles, decent sound, etc. etc. The talent out there is incredible; they're each making little "GONE WITH THE WIND"s!
In case you ever visit any of my other web pages, you'll find I insist we all live as mentally and metaphysically as possible... In my 10 person (San Fernando Valley) sub-group of 101, there is a puppeteer who's done lots of live work, someone who's worked at Disney and Dreamworks, and a veteran CG animator who is directing live action.
Pretty humbling. "Shoot a damn storyboard but have the story ready so we can give feedback on it" they advised when I brought in a shortened 2 fps QT, rendering up to the wall. It was cool to dig my heels in and get what I was after though.
One update: another script-listing resource I encountered at a local Starbuck's, looking over someone's shoulder is www.hollywoodlitsales.com which is a very fun page, in that they allow pitching log lines. Not necessarily producing a short, but sort of related.
12 December 2003, 08:30 PM
AGAIN, the most important warning: THE BUYER IS NOT THE PROJECT, which should be motivated by one's love of the audience.
Another interesting link, though driven primarily by feature filmmaking came by way of www.group101films.com discussion boards.
They're having a "Pitch-In" this weekend, December 6, Downtown. It sounds very for-real, and it's free.
If you have something leaning towards feature-length, here is a chance to pitch to the big-boys.
12 December 2003, 09:37 AM
Triggerstreet.com is a sort of "Project Greenlight" for short filmmakers that I heard mentioned the other day. Post your screenplay? No kidding.
Short-makers seemed to know them, as well as casting venues like nowcasting.com, which I hope to try soon.
The sorts of things live action film-makers have to deal with can be a bear; they will rent a rehearsal hall for auditions, for instance, so they network to find places they can get for $15-25 an hour.
01 January 2004, 03:52 AM
So, last visit with the www.group101films.com local cabal of filmmakers (about half animators?!), we talked about selling films and the festivals universe. Again, I want to put a quick caveat here: the appearance that opportunity has doors of market/timing/networking/etc. is the situation machine/anachroincidence. Stick with your original intention, add a load of conviction, and keep broadcasting that grateful vibe.
Okay: here's something to know about film festivals: the festival is only going to show a great compilation because it cannot afford to get a bad reputation with a disappointed audience, so they INVITE films they hear about at other festivals. SO, if your film isn't strong, on some level, forget it, because some guy who didn't pay the fee gets an email inviting him to be in the show and visit Miami or wherever. Your application isn't a right, it really is just an audition, so test-screen it, be convinced it's ready. And if you're selected, BE HAPPY!!! (You may find yourself being invited to other screenings...)
Do you have sound? There are some public domain sound libraries, and music is included free with Final Cut Pro. I am the last person to advise on sound but here's some links: http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceSubmittedFileView?file=multimedia_sounds.htm , www.sounddogs.com , and www.royaltyfreemusic.com . Those links are from www.group101films.com by the way. They have some great information, though I was a little surprised at how much some of them LOVE www.withoutabox.com , the automated festival entry dotcom.
Check www.download.com for editing/mixing programs.
S-video got you confused? I wound up buying an S-VHS machine for pretty cheap, but I still wonder how much of my confusion was the equipment. The instructions just don't seem to go anywhere near the button combo to get rolling, and I couldn't get anywhere near the combo until I got the S-VHS. The route around seems to be to skip VHS and make DVD-R's by buying the Pioneer A06 for $200ish.
01 January 2004, 09:39 AM
Hi Scott, can I ask what you do?
You sound like you're producing.
Keep the infos coming!
01 January 2004, 11:53 PM
I was stunned to see this topic has gone to a second page; page 1 has most of the links...
"You sound like a producer?"
Ideally, I read the producer champions some ideas in the script, to see they survive the appropriate/market demand embellishment.
With short films, one generally sets up a joke using the rule of three's. Have a thing, add a thing that confirms a rule, and a third that makes an exception. Then slap your knee so people remember to laugh. (Cut to black, a close-up, etc.) Jokes tend to fall into categories of pretension and confusion.
Funny without a rescue of some kind doesn't tend to be very funny -- versus "Shrek," "Nemo," etc.
01 January 2004, 09:45 AM
02 February 2004, 09:10 AM
Again, the buyer is not the product, so please do not be mislead by all of this talk of "connections." Most of the pertinent links may be found on page one.
We have been using this thread also for general tips on getting one's work seen and bringing scripts forward, etc. If you have any tip particularly useful in the sense of getting the product to "delivery," do tell.
Once again, I attended a meeting of 101groupfilms.com with my tail between my legs due to problems which ranged from software to poor scheduling. Here is some worthwhile info picked up along the way.
SOUND: most amateur live action and animated short films have a problem with sound. It's either ignored or recorded in noisy conditions. I recently opted for a digital tape recorder because there wasn't motor noise, and because connecting a USB machine to the computer sounded less risky than hooking a headphone jack to the rear of the soundcard. The Panasonic RR-US320 Voice Editor 2is getting hard to find, it includes free voice recognition software and is priced about $100. The new one is the Voice Editor 3, probably with similar high quality. A tape recorder with a $20 lavalier mike will probably give equivalent quality or better.
www.soundogs.com has a number of samples of royalty-free (festival only) music, and what music can do for your animation I cannot describe with mere words. If you can, have your music chosen first, so that you can animate to its tempo, ie on 3's. The sounddogs samples are meant to precede purchase. The available track selection is fairly small. A very wide selection that's highly recommended can be found at APM Music.com. They are also well known for working with animators and short film makers. The music rights thing doesn't bug me like it may bug some. APM Muisc is very obliging about this -- if you get paid a decent amount for moving from festival film to broadcast, they will have the appropriate bump up in rights fee available. In a pinch, have a composer make something else with the same mood if you feel you're being chiseled, though you may have to settle for a pretty moogy track. Some "needle drops" can be pricey, but believe it or not, there is a whole other side of the mountain when things start clicking, and you actually make money on the sale of the music to your film, though that's nearly always feature territory.
MIXING: I was blessed with a high quality freebie included in another program that I found difficult to work with, "Studio Pro" from Mixman. The freebie is called "Steinberg Wavelab Lite," and it provides a straightforward interface with enough depth for a lot of animation needs -- lip synch, aligning tracks, etc. Programs that can be used for examing the waveform wiggles are getting pretty inexpensive. NERO includes one, and there are probably a few others from Download.com. Another program that came highly recommended here at CGTalk, I think, was "Pro Tools" from Sony.
"Pro Tools," from what I hear, has a learning curve. It seems to be based on the "bus" system of true rerecording mixer boards used on every movie since sound mixing was introduced. For instance, to get out of "Pro Tools" requires using the "Bounce" command, which isn't self evident. I didn't figure out how to move levels during rerecording my first session BUT it bears sharing that I did complete my first mix that day, using eight tracks, and the next day, added reverb to a track that was then bounced and remixed, making me feel like a minor mixing deity.
I panned through the tracks manually, comparing durations so I was always at the same point in time with the several tracks. I combined sound effects tracks on one track where I could with cutting, and did some minor fading and level changing at that time, rather than the mix. since I wasn't able to figure out how to adjust levels, I didn't get fancy.
"Sound Forge" available from download.com seems to be the program of choice for animators and live action. I haven't tried it yet.
Do you have headphones? Sometimes PS fan or other noise will mask some problems with sound that a pair of headphones will reveal.
COMBINING SOUND: has lately remained a trial for me, so I won't get into it here much. "Bink" from www.smacker.com is terrific because you can add your finished sound to finished picture, but the movie cannot be rendered on 5's unless the soundtrack has been sped to five times its normal speed. Back when QuickTime's were less common and video cards were slower, it was THE way to see what you were rendering.
TMPEGEnc has been recommended to me, and you may find some info about it with a Search here at CG Talk. It requires "avi's," but has a facility for adding sound, and yields either VCD's or SVCD's.
There are competing VCD packages which allow for sound. If your project is going to be shown on a small TV, VCD looks pretty good on NTSC, until someone shows a DVD right after you.
BUT I think if you've got a finished animation, you're better off making a Quicktime (from your image sequences) using the "thousands of color" setting and bringing your 8 track mixed sound file and QT to anothr animator who has Final Cut Pro, Avid or Digital Fusion or one of the other editing/compositing packages. Finished sound, finished animation, then beg favor. This is really not a lot to ask, and they get goodie points and I've asked pretty much complete strangers, who've said yes.
DVD-R has become a home movie format practically, as 35mm was some years back. Everyone has authoring software, so if you're offered it, take it. A beautiful picture, no two ways about it, and delightful background music and menu templates that look very professional.
Speaking of DV, I met an animator who went to SUNDANCE this year. Eric Kurland of www.workprint.com Unreal. Power-shmoozing? Actually, he brought along a crateload of convention-type do-hickeys which became fairly popular. He wasn't in Sundance proper, but one of the mini-screenings that occur simultaneously in Park City. Who knew?
I had hoped he would wear a button or something -- he kept in touch over email and bulletin boards -- but he did produce a short documentary with his DV camera that turned a giggle. Now THAT's doing Park City.
Here in Los Angeles, I ate at a McDonald's where a producer was talking with a martial arts expert who perhaps he had met in Park City? A self-proclaimed "money man" he fielded calls three times while I ate. How I needed to pitch to him, but I held my peace. Besides, he always answered the phone with the name of his company...
But I overheard some interesting things: a few years back, theatrical movies made 8 billion, while DVD's just made 2 billion, but last year, the numbers were 9.6 billion and 20 billion? And what is on those DVD's? Games, commentaries, data, music, wallpapers, and dare I hope, shorts? You're probably thinking, the two of them are bogus; they're eating at a freaking McDonald's. Who cares?
03 March 2004, 12:20 AM
Does anybody have those issues on pitching your projects at MIFED and NATPE that were in 3D World, I think?
The closest thing I've come upon has been a book by Dov SS Siemens -- "From Reel to Deal." It tries to dissolve a lot of possible misconceptions, though I wonder if it doesn't create others along the way (metaphysically).
Btw, the big news is that www.withoutabox.com is now free to post one's film, stat's, stills, etc. for, and get discounts through the web site.
The other day, I paid for a query on answers.google.com the genius help engine. Pretty cool. They're as willing to find a star's email as explain how to prune orange tree suckers.
Some other links discovered along the line through answers.google.com : http://www.shortkutzdvd.com/ ,
I got contacted by a group of animators putting together a DVD; they advised the following:
The submission must have a clear and complete storyline
The submission must be between 0 and 15 minutes in length
The submission must not contain a school logo
The submission must have been created no longer than 2 years ago
All software used must the commercial version and not the educational version
All aspects of the submission must be copyrighted to the animator who produced it "
(from www.wbias.com, no endorsement implied)
This brought up three interesting issues: collaboration is being yoked to another and can really bite, especially if you work on something completely amorphous like a "clown cartoon" and then for the next seventy-five years think twice about animating clowns. Don't "collaborate?" Trust one another and don't expect too much. Another has to do with "free" objects, that sometimes are not "royalty free," which is a distinction I don't make when I give away objects. If I put it out there, it's gone, with my blessing. As for a trailer short, I would be willing to watch a trailer, knowing full well that it might only give me a stylistic flavor without much denouement.
Shorts are great because one can fully investigate a thing like denouement, and it's okay to skip the beginning and middle of a story. Have the knight come in, propose to the princess, slay the dragon, makes love with/to her while she picks out silverware, and arranges their burial plot by phone. See how far "Happily ever after" needs to go?
There is going to be an onus on the animator in this situation, though, because if the animator has the feature version story down, and maybe 100 decent jokes ready, who is the audience? A producer might appreciate seeing what the animation could look like, but do they really need to see a polished version?
03 March 2004, 06:54 AM
This is not a section on demo reels. If you have a great demo reel, my hat's off to you, and I hope it finds a nice HR person to be your champion. I recently met another HR person (you will find some fairly thorough threads on demo reels at CGTalk and www.spicycricket.com ) who said she needed to be wowed in the first ten seconds. Then, I saw a reel with ten Preston Blair seconds at the start before the "title" of the animator.
DEMO REELS have music without clearances, short films have stacks of paperwork. Music rights are gettable, but feel free to use a kazoo and compose something original, seriously. (Try using the SEARCH ENGINE here at CGTalk to see what music composers may be available free if you don't have a budget-- I'd recommend planning for music but saving until the final renders... ) We sometimes forget that whistling or humming is valid -- heck, there are midi machines that can write music from it. There are also composers on the Internet interested in forwarding their music vision cheaply, though I respect them a lot and wouldn't want for them to feel cheapened.
FREE MIXING SOFTWARE-WISE, I neglected to mention the Win 98 SE updated sound recorder, because I've only just started using it. IT ALLOWS MIXING. You can reduce the volume and under "EDIT" mix an additional track in. "Ping-ponging tracks is great for roughing something in, and it worked for a Rolling Stones hit or two, I hear.
www.triggerstreet.com only runs QuickTime or Real Player, which sounds sort of common, BUT not a lot of animation software includes sound compositing. Real Player actually DOES provide a free media suite at http://forms.real.com/rnforms/products/tools/producerbasic/index.html?key=MNLE51079606279 called "Helix." Cool, huh?
To add sound to a Quicktime and adjust formatting, frame rate, etc., you'll need to spend $30 on Quicktime Pro, according to everything I've read. $30 isn't too much of a headache. $30 to put yourself on www.triggerstreet.com .
By the way, until this week, I had no idea how LightWave was REALLY recording! I knew there was something called MPEG-4 and that it did something strange with blocks of image and blurring and such, but I didn't fully realize that when I recorded a Quicktime, I was usually recording uncompressed, which cannot get anywhere near the file size of MPEG-4, though I wasted some time on a 16 color render anyway. MPEG-4 is supported by many Player programs, apparently, including Quicktime and others like Real. AND WOW what a difference in the size of file! Like Bink, there is a requester to say whether you want the final version to be 50% of uncompressed or 1% of it. Getting to 15 Megs (Triggerstreet's max) was no problem at all.
MARKETING YOUR SHORT FILM/TRAILER
Dov Simen's book "From Reel to Deal" describes his showing his ideas around Hollywood, and having many wind up eventually being produced -- though not by him. I was stunned and kind of slowed down by how often it looked like he'd been ripped off. I hope you don't have this problem.
But it's a great book in some ways, for the aspiring feature "producer". Part workbook, part directory, with organizations like www.vsda.org www.producersguild.org and http://www.afma.com/
It's time to buy another 40 5 minute video tapes at 50c apiece from the place down the street (VT Plus, Video Tapes Plus on Sherman Way). If you're as shy as I was when I started this road, it will seem the highest hurdle. But from what I hear -- the HR person -- everybody is now using DVD's. It feels like a no-brainer that this is what they'll be using at MIFED, NATPE, NAB, AFM, etc. though maybe not.
04 April 2004, 08:49 AM
The LightWave section has had a discussion about sound effects with oodles of links for free sound effects. See it here: http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=1279824#post1279824
In other news, if you purchase the latest 3D WORLD, available locally (Los Angeles) from Border's Books for $15, it includes a treasury of short animated films including some recent classics.
Without further beating a proverbial inert equine, I would more strongly suggest a filmmaker ask a friend to pray for them (like me) than rely on mere "connections" like these threads for finding film buyers.
http://www.alexa.com/search?q=short+film+buyers is a recent search I made using a service I have enjoyed in the past -- alexa. Lotsa pages there.
So, consider "manually" listing with the leading search engines, that is, making sure your pages don't have dead links, cleaning up your web page's web references that are sometimes hidden in the beginning of the HTML (What's the name of that again? Metatags?), and listing the URL's with the big boys like google, yahoo, alexa, metasearch. There is always a link for listing with them somewhere on the page. They even have pages on how to do it better. Why? Just because you may already have 200M of space provided by your web provider, which is pretty substantial with MPEG-4.
www.projectgreenlight.com apparently has already had their big contest?! I guess it pays to register with every website under the sun, because the open and close of the event was something like three weeks long, some window! Whoops -- you blinked!
05 May 2004, 07:26 PM
Well, I've tripped over a dozen more resources along the way, so I guess it's time to post the info. As always, I was taught and tend to still believe that material appearances of opportunity are not the goal, but good unfolding and one's personal growth in purity and integrity. Hands-up tend to have complications and conditions galore as long as we think of them as personality and materiality-based. A book or lecture below may completely ignore this point, but they may have it backwards, fyi. Okay, lecture over.
Most urgent info: from withoutabox.com, apparently the IFP independent feature project is letting us submit our short films as work-in-progresses for feature films to a category titled "works-in-progress/shorts." Deadline May 28 2004
http://market.ifp.org/newyork/market/market26/appforms/NarrativeIntro.cfm?Category=Film was the link I used, there may be a better link through withoutabox.com or ifp.org .
It turns out some guy has a 430 page book on making and selling your short animated film?
While looking for the poop on that book, I revisited the web site of non-animator greg pak with a little advice and a list of links:
And also, an even better link showed up (google) -- a pdf page -- that was prepared by Australia for its booming short filmmaking community.
The above drew a distinction between the festivals and "sales agents" like www.shortfilmbureau.com or www.shortfilm.com
I still haven't come across a solid method of combining my sound and picture on a budget (free) other than: image sequences in lightwave, made into quicktime using lightwave, sound-mixed into a "bink" from www.smacker.com, then back-converted by "bink" into an "avi" with sound. That's a fair amount of muck on the way to the avi format that is going to be compressed by tmpeg or avi-to-vcd/dvd or whatever vcd conversion software you happen across at download.com or included free with a dvd-r unit.
The "Realproducer" link above is probably the safest bet for creating a standalone "mpg" format download for one of the online venues. There are lots of PAY solutions, though I haven't had the patience for all of them: QuickTime Pro's mpg is supposed to include a sound facility; TMPEG too; Cucusoft's avi-to-vcd/dvd freeware is a nuisance at 1 minute maximum and doesn't include sound editing but gives good quality picture.
Btw, animationnation.com has links of sound effects sources, besides the ones linked to in previous posts here.
One last note, in rereading Dov SS Simen's book "From Reel to Deal," it seems that he does NOT advocate making short films. His idea: get an investor by arranging a screening at a nice projection facility of the cinematographer's reel. His is an extremely cynical take on Hollywood, but his book does appear to rescue one from pointless merry-go-rounds. Maybe this animation production thing IS for the birds.
Some animation houses hold themselves out as "service bureau's" and some do not. If you want to be listed either way at www.aidb.com , there are free as well as pay listings. Service bureaus provide a reel with examples of what kind of work they are capable of, beit photo-real car ad's or character animation. My experience of contacting studio's and offering my services to approach potential clients has been that what the average service bureau would love to hear is the sound of a pen scratching at the bottom of a check, everything else is a distant second. It's also possible to farm out the work yourself to local artists, you've seen the ad listings here and elsewhere.
My feeling on animation competition is that it's the same as comedy competition or any other form of competition -- don't go there. If you aren't applying for work at a studio, it's little-to-none of your business what or how they're doing. Conan O'Brien keeps to his comedy, we don't need to know what the other guy is doing, with the possible exception of some little technical doo-dad. This is the opposite of reading VARIETY daily, but it's my two cents, especially when there are naive minds who might think awn.com has to be studied and every personality's shifting role analyzed. Maybe it means something, Yoda should know, who else has the time?
08 August 2004, 06:11 AM
Well, here we are again.
The newest news, for me, is Avid's free DV tools. Wow! Thanks McEwan7! (Lwg3d.com)
Bouncing back-and-forth between compression formats to marry sound and picture apparently doesn't require buying TMPEG or QTPro to see if they'll work, after all!
Here's the link: http://www.avid.com/freedv/index.asp
This will only marry sound and picture for QT's, but QT's are so universal these days, one should be able to scare up someone with the resources to play the darn thing. I'm guessing this is for uncompressed QT's, though the QT format (which is one of those things mentioned in the excellent "1,001 Tips & Tricks" book for LightWave) includes a dozen different compressions, including "DVPRO-NTSC" which I think is the DV-CAM standard. On a TV set of any size, it's beautifuil to behold. The only way to get at this is through the "Render Options" panel, options for QT in LightWave.
The "1,001 Tips" book is the third Manual for LW. If you save a "psd" render, it will be a single photoshop file, but if you open "Image Processing," you can save out the reflections, textures, colors, bumps and a dozen other image aspects as separate layers for fiddlin with in Premiere or After Effects, speaking of post processing.
A QT DVCPRO file is pretty close to MPEG-2, as far as I can tell, though I don't know how many DVD players see QT's, I heard that that was the next thing. Speaking of next thing, formatwise, cinemanow.com was in the news recently because of its microsoft relationship (MP 9).
If you have a "Monsterfest" short film to submit to AMC, I couldn't find any info about this, but last year's wound up in DVD retail stores, and the Group 101ers who did it said it paid handsomely.
In production insanity news, I was accepted into the Seventh Wave of Group 101 Films.
The computer keeps playing games with me, not at all resembling the little tabulator of 0's and 1's it is purported to be. More likely, it should wear a necklace of human teeth with a dozen incense-holders to be vigilantly tended-to and a pedestal strewn with mangled "dream-catchers." I dare not share the plans for G101 while it is watching me...
Lastly, do you "DEFRAGMENT?"
www.diskeeper.com (http://www.diskeeper.com) has a limited function amazing program for defragmenting your hard drive that I've learned is positively necessary when you start working with a lot of files. It's part of the regular routine, like using whatever directory system our software recommends or clearing out old web pages from the disk memory. Functionally freeware, it's made the difference between night and day when the machine slows down.
09 September 2004, 11:45 PM
First things first: for LightWaver's, render at 720x480 using the JPEG-B compression standard in the Quicktime Options requester, saving the file as a .mov, from your rendered image sequence in tga or tiff.
I am told that this lossless compression format will allow someone with a reasonable suite of tools like FCP to quickly combine picture and sound. Use a wav format audio file or one of the Mac file formats.
Sorry if I lead you in a wrong direction, I plan to edit this when time's a little freer.
Speaking of wrong direction, although the Avid Free Tools are impressive, I haven't figured out how to record the final as anything but a HEAVILY compressed QT. I mean, SCARY compression, like a postage stamp. So, I guess it's not worthwhile as a way of combining sound to the final project.
It's a pity that all of this stuff is so heavily mystified -- what the heck are we talking about here, rocket science? 720 by 480 pixels, 256 luminance values! Shuffle the numbers around? I've pitched "bink" repeatedly here, and a teacher stopped to thank me for introducing him to it the other day. www.smacker.com (http://www.smacker.com) I did a little search for Bink, on google.com, and found www.free-codecs.com (http://www.free-codecs.com) which also has some other obscure but useful compression tools in their "Tools" section. You can convert images to avi's with virtualdub, in some cases, add sound, and then make avi's into mpeg2's or get DV compression.
The whole compression thing is a little sad. We're all wading through competing standards that all boil down to confutation of 720 x 480 256, and the CPU's ARE fast enough. We're THERE already! Has anybody NOTICED?!
Right now, I have to find out just what it is that a Mini-DV records. I'm told that it's a DV codec, which shouldn't be impossible to obtain -- there are only a few. That's one of the scams of the old VCR's -- ten different formats (VHS, SVHS, Beta...), but they all recorded the same NTSC frame, just throwing away chunks of it, then outputting a blurry flattened picture, but with the identical dimensions.
I have come across a couple more interesting writing contests, and/or threads. Bravo TV sponsored a $25,000 contest for those interested in having their 25 page sitcom scripts read without a fee. Kudoes! I don't think that there is another contest so affordable, apart from www.hollywoodlitsales.com (http://www.hollywoodlitsales.com/) which is basically a studio with an open door for logline submission. It's over, but keep an eye out for its return or similar ones.
Here's links from a google search for writing contests that might pay with varying fees: http://www.filmmakers.com/contests/directory.htm
http://www.moviebytes.com/contests.cfm?category=Upcoming and http://www.moviebytes.com/directory.cfm
which was the only page to include the Bravo contest. Kudoes to them.
Quick reminder: It has to be from the heart/soul and not to feed some amorphous "IF ONLY I" that confirms a mortal solution, like a one-time connection/contest. If you mean all of mankind when you say "we," a lot of stuff goes better.
On the subject of contests, the Good Morning America show has a October 18 deadline. NO money, but what's that?
I See Scary Movies
We Dare You to Frighten Us
We welcome you to enter Good Morning America's "I See Scary Movies Contest."
We are looking for the scariest, most original, and the best fright film you can create. Your entries will be judged by a panel of experts, and the winning movie will be featured on Good Morning America ("GMA") for Halloween. Then the winning filmmakers will appear on our show.
Viewers must send us their entries, three minutes or less, on a VHS tape to:
GMA's I See Scary Movies Contest
P.O. BOX 234072
New York, NY 10023-9403
The deadline for entries is midnight, Monday the 18th of October. The winner will be announced on Halloween.
Official Rules for Good Morning America's "I See Scary Movies Contest"
Please include your name, address, and daytime phone number. Entries must be received by midnight, Monday, Oct. 18, 2004, to qualify for consideration. Entries must be mailed to the above address; entries delivered or mailed to any other address will not qualify for consideration in this contest.
Entries cannot be the work of a professional videographer. Submissions must be the sole property of Entrant and Entrant must have all rights to reproduce and distribute the videotape submitted. Entries including unlicensed music will be immediately disqualified; any entry featuring any music must be accompanied by proof of all necessary clearances. Entries and any ideas or material therein become the property of Good Morning America, and will not be acknowledged or returned, and may be published, broadcast or otherwise used or distributed in any and all media for any purpose in perpetuity. Videotapes containing anything that may be deemed harmful or injurious to anyone appearing in the video, containing scenes which would be inappropriate for morning television or otherwise not meeting the requirements set forth herein will be immediately disqualified.
There is a limit of one entry per person. Sponsors are not responsible for mail that is lost, stolen, late, illegible, incomplete, inaccessible, damaged, mutilated, misdirected, altered, tampered with, or postage-due.
Entrants must be 21 years of age or older and must be legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia at time of entry. Employees of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., its advertising and promotion agencies and anyone involved in the production, development or handling of this contest, as well as its parent, subsidiary, affiliated and successor companies, and immediate family or household members of such employees, are not eligible to enter or win.
How and When Winners Will be Selected and Notified: Judges will select one grand prize winner from all entries received, based on judges' determination, in their sole discretion, as to which videos demonstrate the most creativity, humor and talent and which entrants have the greatest potential for on-air appeal. In the event of a tie, winner will be selected on the basis of their potential for on-air appeal. All decisions of the judges are final and binding in all contest related matters. Winner will be announced on the air on Good Morning America, and their film shown on the air, the week of October 25th, 2004. Winners will also be notified by phone. Panel of expert judges will be selected at the sole discretion of the Good Morning America staff.
Winners must be available to appear on Good Morning America in New York during the week of October 25-29th. Choice of dates for any appearance is at Good Morning America's sole discretion. In the event winner is deemed ineligible, fails to comply with contest procedures, or is not available to take trip during specified dates, prize will be awarded to the first runner-up or, if the first runner-up is similarly disqualified, the second runner-up, as time permits. If, in Good Morning America's sole discretion, it is not practical to award prize to runner-up because of time constraints, prize will not be awarded and will remain the property of Good Morning America.
Grand Prize: The grand prize includes round trip coach air transportation for two from an airport near the winner's home to New York, and accommodations (one room, double occupancy) for two in a hotel of sponsor's choosing for two nights. There are no other prizes. Total estimated value of prize $2000.00. Final actual value may be considerably higher or lower depending on point of origin, and dates of booking and travel. If the Winner is from the New York City area (as determined by sponsor) local transportation will be provided in lieu of airfare. Any and all additional expenses not expressly mentioned herein are the sole responsibility of the Winner.
Taxes: Federal, state and local taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner, who will receive an IRS Form 1099 reflecting actual value of any prize valued at $600 or more.
Exchange/transfer of prizes: Winners are not entitled to transfer prizes or to obtain substitutes, but sponsors in their sole discretion may substitute prizes of equal or greater value.
Conditions on Entry: By entering this contest, entrants agree to be bound by contest rules and by decisions of judges, which are final as to all contest-related matters. In addition, by participating in this contest and accepting any prize that they may win, entrants agree to release American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., its parent, subsidiary, affiliated and successor companies, advertising and promotion agencies and prize suppliers, and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees (collectively, the "Released Parties") from any and all actions, claims, injury, loss or damage arising in any manner, directly or indirectly, from participation in this contest and/or acceptance or use of the prize. Entrants also authorize the Released Parties to use their name, voice, likeness, biographical data and city and state of residence in programming or promotional material or on a winner's list (if applicable) without further compensation unless prohibited by law.
Selection of entry as winner does not guarantee any use or appearance of winner or their entry on-air or otherwise.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
To Claim Prizes: To claim prize, winner must provide proof of age, identity and residency. Winner and his or her intended guest must also sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, release and indemnification within time period specified by Good Morning America. Failure to timely comply with any requirement of these terms and conditions will result in selected entrant being deemed in eligible for further participation and to receive any prize.
Winner's List: For the name and city and state of residence of the winner, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope within 90 days of winner's selection to: Good Morning America, "I See Scary Movies Contest," 147 Columbus Ave. / 6th floor, New York, NY 10023
01 January 2005, 02:44 PM
Scott, I've found your material very helpful (as David has!) ... just wanted to say thanx, & keep it up.
01 January 2005, 06:30 PM
http://zed.cbc.ca (http://zed.cbc.ca/) is a website (and also a daily late-night tv show) that is great for increasing your short film/animation's exposure (for free), and it could lead to the possiblity of nation-wide broadcast on tv (only in canada im sorry). just think ifilms, without the commercial b.s. you can either upload your movie (which will get voted on and may get acquired for broadcast) or actually send the full version for consideration for broadcast (which results in you getting paid for the broadcast rights). the site is actually great for just watching other short films, animation, music, visual arts, etc. although the show is only broadcast in canada on CBC, there is a tonne of international work that gets the same consideration and recognition, its worth checking out. its all free, your film has nothing to loose, and im sure that there is like a 60mb cap on each film that you can upload...
03 March 2005, 08:01 AM
I suppose a little update is in order here. Since this thread began, the CG Filmaking Forum has come into existence, along with a handful of threads. Go there for some redundant posts, but it's been slow, so try to open up your viewing to posts of over 30 days to see the stuff. Getting at abandoned threads can be tricky, but not impossible as long as you keep: a) their bookmarked thread number saved in some form (bookmarks are very saveable in history, and history is saveable in Wintel), or b) a good keyword and make a year or so search.
I participated in www.group101films.com (http://www.group101films.com) again this year, barely. We had a go-getter making his third or fourth live action feature running the show, www.tonymark.com (http://www.tonymark.com) . He puts his stuff out there, gets seen, works the conventions and festivals, creates a brand, you gotta love him.
I saw all manner of free editing/authoring software and some not-so-free, and I encourage you to shop before you buy any editing suites, because a little goes a long way these days. If the DVD-R, includes Roxio fre, GRAB IT. Avoid NERO, because it's almost impossible with LightWave as it has virtually no useable compression Codec's. NERO may be great with HD in the future, but I opened every compressor I had and got zilch. I bought a DVD-R that included Nero but never use Nero. I paid $100 for Roxio. YEEHAW!!
[Incidentally, USB-2 USB 2 : watch out. The drivers packed with it tend to override everything at the level of toggles for interrupts and such... What a headache. The drivers downloaded from the niternet should be good, just watch out. I love the convenience of USB-2 but my fingers are still singed and I haven't had the courage to buy another card since.]
I wish I could remember what the link was that finally shared with me about www.animationcoop.org (http://www.animationcoop.org) that has a "Pitch Fest" in Los Angeles. That goes for both finished projects and storyboards, incidentally. You and a dozen people or so pitch for three hours to your fellow animators and others. Everybody gets their fifteen minutes, as McLuhan says. The people there who seem to know how it works pitch boards for shorts.
And who else wants short films?
I recently viewed a pitch reel for "Animation Quest," an animated short omnibus show, but haven't encountered anything else. I can't recall where I saw it, maybe even here.
Is anybody out there buying short films these days? From what I hear, if it can play on a small screen (headshots and large print, etc.), the cel phone "V-cast" market is supposed to be huge in Japan and is getting hyped here in the USA. Strike while the iron is hot?
Anyway, if I took anything away from the recent wave of www.group101films,com (http://www.group101films,com), and there was plenty to assimilate, it was that there will be folks who will look at what you've done, when you're done.
04 April 2005, 10:01 PM
I have a distribution partnership with a new online/television venue that I will not name here. We're looking all over the world for good films. I will look at your movies and distribute them if they're appropriate to our desired library. You can retain ownership rights if you want and simply license us distribution, or simply sell it to us outright. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and will give you more information.
Food for the Moon Productions
12 December 2005, 03:27 PM
i get some of my songs that i need for my projects from http://www.massivetracks.net
ist called gemafreie musik ( royalty free music ) ...
they have cool song packages with different song length edits, flash loops, and single sounds to mix your own version of the song. Sound fx too ....thats why i like this site :)) and the price for each package is very low ( starting at 22 $ ). you can pay with paypal or money order and download your song in a few seconds.
well, check out that site guys...
12 December 2005, 03:27 PM
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