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Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

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Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

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The Documentary I want to See

I avoid political posts, because that’s what Facebook was made for, and I left if already, but I can’t resist, and do think this should be a film so bear with me.
After several days of nausea brought on by reading the collected nonsense of supposed responses to Michelle Wolf’s performance at the Correspondent’s Dinner, I am pretty sure that the doc we need now is one about the shit show that is the creepy and democracy-destroying relationship between our Washington press-corps and those they supposedly report about.
That any journalist, from any side of the political spectrum, could say her routine was anything less than the minimum requirement of the job shows just how much these two classes sleep in the same bed and eat from the same trough and pretend to do otherwise. True, some of the jokes weren’t funny, but neither is having these corrupt liars in the executive office, and all of her political commentary was spot-on and if anything, mild.
You can’t pretend to hold people to account all day and then be surprised when someone calls the press secretary/liar-in-chief out for being a liar and then you (the supposed journalists) as well for not doing much more than fanning the flames. Anything less wouldn’t be ‘Merican. And for the record, while this routine was required for this regime, it wasn’t too far off what was needed for any other.
Simply put – those covering our government elites are acting as if they’re Variety covering Hollywood – like it’s all an insider’s game governed by a press release, and we’re all part of the same system, we’re all “bro’s” at the end of the day, and no one needs to report too hard. But this is a democracy, not a trifling entertainment, and none of the people in that room should pretend to be friends, and none of them are doing their jobs.
Please, some filmmaker, work on this subject, because it’s rich for the mining and we deserve to see how this sausage grinder turns. I don’t need a doc about how the NYT covers the news. I don’t need one about the last year of Obama, or even an episode about how Trump is a crook. I need one about the complete failure of this entire sector of our democracy.

Stuff I'm Reading

Black Media Story Summit – Black Public Media convened a “day-long, invitation-only gathering brought more than 100 black creatives and thought leaders together with media technologists, funders, investors and distributors in a series of conversations designed to get strategic black content into the distribution pipeline.” The full guest list wasn’t published, but it’s interesting (to me at least) that no mention was made of attendance from some of the more important folks in the media space- Netflix, Amazon, Facebook or even Macro. But it looks like it was a great convening, and I look forward to hearing more about it – a white paper will be released soon.
IDA Getting Real Summit – Care about docs? Of course you do. So the IDA’s Getting Real Summit (Sept 25-27) should be near the top of your must-attend list, and apparently, they’ll be hosting an event on their Facebook page on May 8 at 1pm pst (4pm est) where you can learn more about it and presumably ask questions and suggest ideas for the conference. My suggestion – a closed door session with high level reps from brands making docs and foundations supporting them brainstorming how they could work together to have a bigger impact by working together, with 2-3 filmmakers keeping them “real” and Joe Marchese of Fox telling what they’re both doing wrong and could do better.
Godard’s Sales Agent is the only person with a brain in the Cannes/Netflix/theater debates. Wow. Vincent Maraval tells IndieWire that “I would’ve liked to have the Godard film on Netflix for 10 days during Cannes, and on the day of its screening, release it theatrically in France,” continuing, ““I don’t think it would’ve stolen one audience member away to have a Godard film for 10 days on Netflix,” Maraval said. “We would still do the same number in theaters that we have had with Godard before.” Amen, brother. That’s the simple truth. I wish everyone else would wake up to it.
Could Apple Buy Conde Nast? That’s the juicy tid-bit dropped in this article from the Guardian. The idea is that Apple is moving more and more into being a luxury brand, and you can’t get much more luxury in the publishing world than the Conde Nast brands. My take: It makes sense, and as Apple moves more into original content, the best way to distinguish themselves from everyone else doing it is to focus on brand building, the upper-end and essentially shit that rich, dying boomers care about. So expect their film moves to include more docs about Dylan, Clapton and films by Scorsese.
What’s going on with Net Neutrality? It’s probably still dead. But people are trying to do something in Congress about it on May 9th, and you can read all about it here.
Conde Nast OTT – But until Apple comes knocking, Conde Nast is joining the hordes of those launching OTT channels, announcing new OTT offerings for WIRED, Bon Appetit and GQ. And if you didn’t think we had enough content in the world already, they’ve got 35 returning series and 60 new pilots launching. Hear them knocking on your door for films, indie filmmakers? Nope, neither do I…
Brand Storyteller’s Top Headaches: Strategy, Distribution and Determining ROI. That’s what the survey says according to BrandStorytelling in their latest newsletter, and based on my experience, those are definitely the headaches I hear about most (and it’s why I’ve concentrated my business on the first of those two and am trying to help solve the third). Without a doubt, ROI is the hardest. How do you really measure impact, cost-effectiveness, reach and how do you show the direct connection to what matters for most brands – sales – when most content is a long-term proposition? In the indie world, the funders are mainly foundations, and they essentially have given up measuring the ROI of their investment. Let’s hope brands don’t, and give us a standard we can all find useful someday.
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

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