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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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Branded Documentary Workshop

I’m teaching a new branded documentary workshop at UnionDocs in Brooklyn May 4-6. I’ve done this twice before, and they both seemed to be a great success, so we’re doing it once again (it’s been a year or two now). I have some great guest instructors, including filmmakers Trish Dalton and Sarah Tricker; and producers of branded content, Rob Sheard from Zero Point Zero and Megan Cunningham from Magnet Media (all bios in the link), and we’ll likely add one more soon. We’re covering everything from business to creative, and it’s a great opportunity to learn how to work with brands to make great content, as well as pros/cons and how to break-in to this area. Register here.
Image from Adweek.

Stuff I'm Reading

Blockchain and Film: Blockchain is in the news daily, and I get a call once a week from someone launching a new film-related business based on it. But I’ve yet to read a single smarter thing about the potential of blockchain for film than this Tweet-storm from Erik Opeka. Read it. Everything you need to know to solve the problems of film via Blockchain is in this set of tweets. It’s from back in January, and I keep meaning to write a post about it, but really, he says it all.
It’s a couple of weeks old now, but if you haven’t yet read the Sundance Institute’s report on the distribution of Columbus, I highly recommend it. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in indie film – marketing, distribution, even just how to make good artwork for your film, it’s all here.
My QuickTake: Anything that brings more transparency is needed, and this is a great report, all around. But whenever I read these things now, all I can think about is how much work it takes to release a film, and in this case, all of the help and discounts they got because of the Sundance name. It’s as much of an argument justifying a distributor’s fees as it is in favor of avoiding them, IMHO.
MoviePass partners with Landmark Theaters – Will MoviePass make it to December, 2018? That’s the question on everyone’s mind, and they keep trying to f-k it up, but this new deal with Landmark shows they have potential. You can select seats in advance, and not just from outside the theater, both steps in the right direction.
Branded Content
The North Face launched a new series focused on “trail-blazing women and athletes” called Move Mountains. It features a series of films, a massive fold-out advertising section in print, a partnership with the GirlScouts (including new badges that can be earned); grants to women and a renewed focus on working with women in their supply-chain.
My QuickTake: Wow, great campaign. Full disclosure – I work with one of their biggest competitors and am thus biased against them, but I think The North Face has built a great multi-faceted campaign that hits at just the right time, with the right focus. I’m curious as to whether they worked with women behind the camera (I couldn’t find out yes or no easily before this post), which is a big problem in the outdoor film and branded content world, but kudos to them on the start of a great campaign.
WeTransfer launched a new web series called Works In Progress, and episode one features Bjork and Jesse Kanda. Check it out on YouTube and their WePresent branded content site.
My QuickTake: Closer to ads than short film, but an interesting way to promote the collaborative nature of WeTransfer, which I usually use myself when collaborating with other filmmakers, so this is a pretty natural use of branded content. At the time of this post, they have close to 50K views, which isn’t exactly viral, but it’s not bad for this kind of work.
SoundCloud has launched their new First on SoundCloud, with episode one featuring Taylor Bennett and future episodes showcasing artists who launched on SoundCloud.
My QuickTake: Now that Kerry Trainor has moved from Vimeo to SoundCloud, it’s no surprise he’s bringing video into the mix. Trainor was responsible for Vimeo’s brief foray into branded content, so he gets how this stuff works. While this still feels like a regular ad now, and views are pretty low, I expect to see more, and better, stuff here soon.
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