Exploiting The Future by fjhuangjun


									Exploiting The Future:
Digital Opportunities for Diversity and
27 January 2005 - Congress Centre, London

Report and Recommendations

1.    Participants‟ feedback and evaluation

64% of those who returned evaluation forms found the event excellent or
good overall and 6 others took the trouble to email the organisers to say
how much they enjoyed the day and how useful it had been.

Generally the event was found to be “efficiently organised” with one
comment being “food great, venue great, articulate and informative
Lots of useful ideas.”

On the other hand, there were comments concerning the technical
hitches and timekeeping which some found too ambitious leading to not
enough depth in some presentations and insufficient time for questions
and discussion.

The best features mentioned included space to “actually discuss issues”,
the welcome “exposure to new ideas”, “networking opportunities” and
being able “to meet like-minded people” which lead to “the raising of
awareness of what is out there.”

2.    The idea of the day

The idea for this one day workshop sprang from consideration of the
frequently made claim that digital technologies in filmmaking should be
cheaper and easier to use and, therefore, in theory could provide fuller
access for traditionally under-represented or under-served voices and
organisations in the film and media industry.

It was decided to explore what opportunities there now were for diverse
communities and others who felt their stories were not heard in the
mainstream to make and market their content in new ways and formats.

The day aimed to bring together those from the diverse community
working      in   the   moving    image       field   with   pioneers,   innovators,
practitioners and other movers and shakers to look at practical ways of
developing their work, their ‟brand‟, their pitch, their outreach.

As the idea was developed with an advisory group of film industry
professionals, key aims for the day were defined as:

        To look at ways of freeing content creators from the constraints of
         the large screen / festival / terrestrial broadcast route;

        To counter the misconception that large production budgets are
         essential for success;

        To explore what outlets and avenues could currently be exploited
         for diverse content;

        To brainstorm ways of overcoming barriers and market limitations;

        To discover what is needed for success: building on great ideas;
         developing talents; building profitable business models.

3.       The format of the day

The format of the day was planned to match the interactive and
innovative ways of working with new technologies and planned to take
participants on a shared journey of discovery:

        Hearing from a variety of pioneers, groups and organisations who
         had already solved „parts of the puzzle‟;

        Exchanging ideas, sharing experience with peers, networking to
         make new business and creative connections;

        Exploring what was now possible and what the future might hold;

        Providing workshop opportunities with experienced practitioners to
         develop new skills and techniques;

        Learning how to get ahead in a fast changing landscape of new
         opportunities for filmmakers and others.

4.       The programme

The programme was an ambitious combination of short presentations,
intensive workshops, one to one mentoring sessions together with a
unique opportunity to undertake intensive Apple software training and a
preview screening at the National Film Theatre of the award-winning film
Tarnation edited on the director, Jonathan Caouette‟s, Apple iMac.

5.       The morning session

The shape of the day was designed to move participants through a cycle
which began with examples of what can be achieved in digital filmmaking.

Bille Eltringham, director of This Is Not A Love Song, discussed the
particularly forceful scene in her film where the farmer‟s daughter is shot
during a robbery. The power of the imagery and camera work is directly
related to the freedom of the digital shooting and the visual effects that
are possible.

Rob Chui came at filmmaking partly through his training as a graphic
motion designer and the extracts he showed enabled discussion and
comparison of different ways of working and visualising a narrative. For
Rob‟s recent work and show reel, see http://www.theronin.co.uk

Jeremy Boxer, the International Programme Co-ordinator for RESFEST,
added a number of other different ways of coming at things which
showed what     different styles and techniques are possible with digital
filming and editing.
Comments received on the evaluation forms showed that participants
valued “seeing the inspirational work” and thought the best feature of the
day   was   “seeing    exciting,   innovative,   imaginative   use   of   digital
technology” and especially the chance “to see actual content from a
variety of sources”. For more about RESFEST, see www.resfest.com

Geoff Lowe of Filmserve, a company developing interactive cinema
possibilities, although not understood by everyone on the day has
received a number of enquiries and commercial follow-ups.                 These
include a US company interested in developing joint business ventures
and numerous individual filmmakers and academics with interactive
projects wanting to follow up what they learnt on the day. Filmserve are
also following up, with Caroline Cooper Charles, UK Film Council Short
Film Executive, the idea of a Digital Interactive Film Festival. This session
certainly achieved its aim of stimulating filmmakers to think about new
possibilities for their work. See Geoff‟s presentation in Appendix One.

Daniel Meadows of BBC Wales presented and illustrated the process
whereby people with no technical knowledge were supported to create
digital-stories based around photographs and memories.               This was a

lively session with many questions from the floor and 55% evaluating the
session as excellent to good. During the day and afterwards a number of
participants showed interest in this way of involving „ordinary people‟ in
creative digital filmmaking. One Regional Screen Agency saw how this
approach could be very valuable to marginalised or excluded groups
finding a voice and telling their story in a simple yet visually powerful way.
For    more      information     about     digital     story    telling      see
http://bbc.co.uk/digitalstorytelling/ and http://bbc.co.uk/capturewales/

There was also a fascinating presentation by the Bollywood Movie and
Music interactive television network, B4U, underlining how audience
interactivity around the content of the channel can involve audiences
more fully. The channel expressed a keen desire to be part of any further
events and contribute to a workshop in the future.

Present with stands in the Congress Centre were Black Filmmaker
Magazine,      see   http://www.blackfilmmakermag.com/            and        also
Transmission                             Films,                              see
http://www.transmissionfilms.com/tf/default.php        who     were   able    to
discuss their offering with participants one to one.

6.    Throughout the day

Throughout the day, courtesy of Apple Computers, master classes were
run for groups of participants with an official Apple trainer for their
editing software. This linked with the film Tarnation which was edited
using the software and
screened that evening at the National Film Theatre. Several participants
commented that this workshop was the best part of the day for them and
very timely for some as this moved them forward in relation to their
filmmaking skills – which was indeed the purpose of arranging this
element of the programme.

7.    One to one mentoring sessions

Sixty participants pre-registered for one to one mentoring sessions with
the following industry experts:

Abigail Dankwa - Head of Acquisitions, The Community Channel
Adam Gee - Creative & Commercial Director, Ideas Factory, Channel 4
Alasdair Scott - Creative Partner, Filter UK
Bille Eltringham - Director of This Is Not A Love Song
Geoff Lowe - MD Filmserve
Caroline Cooper Charles - Short Film Executive, UK Film Council
Sarah-Jane Meredith - Screen Development & Lottery Manager, South West
Hugo Heppell - Head of Production, Screen Yorkshire
Tony Dixon - Emerging Talent Manager, Screen Yorkshire

These 10 minute sessions were planned to give participants a chance to
discuss a current or future project with an expert of their choice. This
was a lively and fast-moving part of the programme which 50% rated as
excellent and 33% as good. From the evaluation comments received it is
clear that participants valued this opportunity highly and would like this
to feature even more prominently if any future events were planned.

8.    Afternoon Session

In the afternoon, participants took part in workshops exploring different
elements of the digital value chain.       One workshop, Growing Niche
Markets, had to be cancelled because a facilitator was ill, but those that
had pre-registered for this were then accommodated in their second
choice workshop.     The one hour workshops were preceded by short
presentations from the workshop facilitators to enable everyone to have
an understanding of the key issues and elements.

For many this was the highlight of the day and the workshops included:

The Cool Hunters - David Dunkley Gyimah
David shared his expertise in digital-film making, interactive and online
journalism and showed how stylish net-promos and brand-casting can
help get your content „out there‟. With many examples and practical tips
on how to get started this was a highly interactive and fruitful session.
To see more of David‟s work, go to www.viewmagazine.tv

From Script to Screen: What Producers Are Looking For – Kate Croft
Kate Croft from IWC Media looked at the process of submitting
treatments and ideas to potential funding producers in the light of the
IWC Media Coming Up programme for Channel 4. She emphasised that
submissions from multi-cultural and regionally-based filmmakers were
encouraged and discussed in detail the type of criteria which IWC would
use to assess submissions.      The aim was to make challenging and
individual films with strong ideas and voices, originality, boldness and wit.
Workshop participants were able to discuss their own ideas with Kate and
to hear in detail what they would look for, not only in the case of this
scheme, but also in similar situations from a producer‟s point of view.
See the IWC website for more information http://www.iwcmedia.co.uk/

The Community Channel – Jane Mote
Jane Mote, Controller of The Community Channel, the UK‟s only not-for-
profit TV channel, worked with participants in detail concerning the look,
length, subject matter (short films, dramatised films, documentaries,
student programmes and community programmes) and potential funding
for film content for the Channel.         See their website for up to date
information at http://www.communitychannel.org/

Film Content for Mobiles – Alasdair Scott
Alasdair of Filter UK, a leading mobile and marketing applications and
content   Agency,    looked    at   the    importance,   practicalities   and
opportunities for film content on mobile phones and what the consumer
wants.    In his workshop he explored narrative forms and styles for
mobiles in detail.     For the lowdown on Alasdair‟s company see

Internet TV: An Opportunity - Karen Shannon
Karen and her team from the internet TV channel, Let‟s Go Global (which
is run by and for the diverse communities of Manchester) outlined the
concept, funding path, business model and ongoing challenges of
running an internet TV channel.     There was a very lively round table
debate about many of the issues involved in community television and
their presenters shared their journey of skills-learning. You can catch
Lets Go Global live at http://www.letsgoglobal.tv/

Interactive Cinema Content – Geoff Lowe
As Managing Director of Filmserve, a British digital film content and
company, Geoff has developed Avalon, an interactive platform enabling
mobile phone, pda and laptop users to interact with on-screen content
and is working with BT on new services and content for broadband users.
In his workshop Geoff, and project developers at the Creative Technology
Centre (University of West of England at Ealing), explored interactive
digital cinema content, narrative possibilities and practicalities in more

The Cool Hunters was rated as excellent to good by 63% of participants,
Kate Croft‟s workshop was rated by 80% as excellent to good and Jane
Mote‟s workshop on The Community Channel received a 90% excellent to
good rating. Alasdair Scott‟s workshop, entitled Film Content For Mobiles,
an 85% excellent to good rating. Although Karen Shannon‟s Interactive
TV and Geoff Lowe‟s Interactive Cinema Content workshops were rated
less highly (at 46% and 49% respectively) only 9% and 13% had significant
problems with these workshops overall.

9.    The final panel

Not everyone stayed for the final panel session after a long and
exhausting day and the audience was divided as to the usefulness or

effectiveness of this way of concluding the conference. It was evaluated
by respondents as 40% excellent to good, 29% had few or slight problems
with the session and 24% significant problems. Part of the difficulty was
that some participants saw this as an opportunity to take the UK Film
Council to task generally in relation to matters which were not part of the
conference brief – specific funding decisions for example – or because
there were unrealistic expectations of what the UK Film Council might be
expected to achieve in influencing digital opportunities and markets.

Nonetheless, this was a lively and passionate debate with strong opinions
expressed. Some who responded in evaluation thought the end session
came too late and that “the debate should have framed the day”. Another
respondent expressed the view, which captured one side of the panel
discussion, that filmmakers “have got to really engage with the
mainstream film industry… BME representatives have got to get more
positive, instead of just whinging.”

The day concluded with an enjoyable reception at the National Film
Theatre which gave further opportunities to network, a feature which
throughout the day was particularly valued by participants.      This was
followed by a preview screening of Tarnation, directed by Jonathan
Caouette, who had unfortunately cancelled his planned visit to the UK to
answer questions a week before the event.

10. Lessons learnt

Although 17 different sources were given as the means of hearing about
the event, some felt the day could have been marketed better, that they
would have liked the opportunity to do more than one workshop and that
these would have been better taking place in different rooms.

Some felt there was insufficient emphasis on digital filmmaking itself or
on the technical side of things.

Generally, people wanted more time for workshops and networking and
less for presentations.

A small but articulate minority felt that issues around diversity were not
sufficiently central to the day and in particular that there were not
enough black, lesbian and gay filmmakers present.         In fact, of the 26
diversity forms returned, 8 listed themselves as non-white and 7 gay,
lesbian or bisexual.

It is clear that if this event were to be developed again, more time given
to, and more choice of, workshops would be desirable. Although the idea
of having presentations to allow everyone to learn about a variety of new
forms and opportunities was good in theory, it might have been better to
have enabled people to do more workshops in greater depth.

In terms of diversity, greater efforts need to be made to reach filmmakers
and others from diverse communities, or at least to ensure that existing
channels of communication were all supplied with conference information.
Working with known experts and leaders in their fields has the advantage
of showcasing successful pioneers, but these will not necessarily be from
diverse communities.      The point of the conference, however, was to
develop   skills   and    encourage    those   with   fewer   resources   and
opportunities by contact with these known experts. It is the case though
that more effort needs to be made to find obviously diverse presenters
and panellists for any future event.

It was unfortunate that the text messaging facility could not overcome
the venue‟s firewall system.     Also, greater care and preparation was
needed to ensure technical uniformity of presentation formats which
would have enabled a smoother running order.

11. Recommendations for the future

Overall there was considerable enthusiasm for similar events in the future.
Comments included “hugely inspiring – a good launch for this area –
more please!”, “more of them!”, “have more” and “I thought it was brilliant
that you did this. Please do it again soon!” Someone suggested that it
would be good to do “a similar workshop once a year”. Another, “more
frequent – perhaps quarterly”.

In the light of both participants and organisers evaluation of the day, I
would recommend consideration being given to organising a similar
event in the coming financial year in order that the event could build on
the success of the day and learn from those elements which participants
felt needed improving. I would, therefore, suggest consideration of the

      Organising another one day event but possibly having it outside
       London or at least working more closely with the Regional Screen
       Agencies to build further on the work they are already undertaking.

      Focusing the shape of the day on more workshop opportunities for
       participants and ensure that they are hands-on and participative.

      Make more time and more opportunity for one to one mentoring
       sessions for all participants.

      Build a network of participants before the event and grow the
       conference out of their involvement and suggestions.

      Seek better ways of publicising and marketing the event through
       already established networks.

      Make the focus narrower and more specific, perhaps with only one
       or two themes.

      Invest more in the technology for any presentations and the

P A Packer
Conference Organiser

01 March 2005


Appendix One:
Powerpoint presentation given by Geoff Lowe of Filmserve

Appendix Two:
The Cool Hunters by David Dunkley Gyimah

Appendix One -
Powerpoint presentation given by Geoff Lowe of Filmserve

              What is


                                Digital Cinema?

              What is Digital Cinema?

         Digital Cinema is NOT just a digital
         Digital Cinema is (or will be):
          –    Networked digital screens
  What is Digital Cinema?

– It‟s a chance to create a new order, redefine
  the cinema experience
– Not about technology but creative and
  cultural evolution
– Interactive systems are as important as the
  introduction of sound and colour

    What is the opportunity?

      Global window of opportunity
      Hollywood is focused on the digital high end
      A chance for new voices to be heard
       – Bollywood and China, UK DSN, European
          Docuzone, World Cinema
       – Opportunities to create a new digital
          distribution network for content outside the
          mainstream feature film
       – Interactive content will be a key driver
       – Creating a unique brand id that traditional
          cinema (digital or optical) cannot match
       – It‟s all about the experience.


    Redefining the cinema experience

      Content is changing
      Audiences want and expect new experiences
      Interactive, personalised content
      Lean forward entertainment
      When they want it, where they want it
      Kids grow up with interactivity
      They want it in the cinema too
  Interactive Digital Content

 Audience controlled content

Example of cinema interactivity

               Avalon Platform
•   Avalon services and functionality

         •   IM and cellular interface
         •   Broadband link
         •   Wi-fi in the auditorium
         •   Gaming platform
         •   Quiz & competitions
         •   Chat & feedback
         •   Voting & content manipulation

•   Users interact with screen content using mobile
    phones, wireless game controllers, pdas‟s and
    laptops.           17
             Avalon Audience Interaction

              Audiences can:

             Choose what they want to see
             What they want to happen
             Become actively immersed in the content on the
             Change the story narrative
                 – In dramas
                 – Documentaries
                 – And live content streams

             Avalon Audience Interaction
    What does this mean to the filmmaker?
    What are the opportunities?

   It‟s NOT the end of traditional cinema
   We are at the beginning of interactive cinema
   A chance for anyone to set the agenda
   New ways to tell a story
   New formats beyond the 120 minute feature and the 25 minute
                                18
    Lean forward cinematic entertainment
   Merging games and film into a new entertainment experience
   Watch the film and play the game at the same time
Appendix Two:
The Cool Hunters
Notes from a workshop given by David Dunkley Gyimah

Cool Hunters are early trend catchers who determine for a mass market
what is hip and what isn't. The onslaught of all things digital means it‟s
more difficult for traditional cool hunters to operate.   In fact, this has
spawned new cool hunters who occupy a new more digitally-evolved
ground, e.g. i-pod, game consoles, etc.

No self-appointed body can now determine what's hip. Everything's up
for grabs, so understanding the many strands of the digital tree will give
you a heads up. Today it's almost not enough to be schooled in
traditional film making techniques alone, as the net, DVDs, I-TV,
interactive Cinema are increasingly playing a dominant role in the circle
of mainstream.

The Cool Hunters are now, in a sense, self-appointed but some of the
evidence is there for all to see.   You can still be cool without being a
hunter, but an increasing number of the new cools, similar to old tribal

consumer relationships, seek out one another. Here's some of the things
that I have borrowed, learned, stolen from others to share with you.


                                                          A unique
                                                          searching for
                                                          World War One

                                                          Recut, the story
                                                          ran on BBC
                                                          World Service

                                    A DVD and miniature Business Card
                                    Rom were produced off my Mac.

                                    The business card is particularly
                                    useful as it can be carried in wallet
                                    and produced at those moments
                                    when you wished you had your film
                                    on you. The card has a promo 640
                                    by 480 in size.

                                                          David shooting
                                                          on Digi-beta

                         If you shoot on Pd150s the transition to Digital
                         isn't that great. It's worth taking the technical
                         leap to upgrade if you're serious about upping
                         the   quality   threshold   of    your    film     on   a
                         competitive budget
The Family

                                     The film The Family was cut and
                                     produced on my laptop which became
                                     a one stop editing and producing

                                     Influenced by Hollywood flicks like
                                     Black Hawk, it was posted on the net
                                      using after effects - work.
The Family examined how interactive documentaries cheaperItversionaof  was
finalist at Unleash The Talent Inside telecine. It led to work with Film Four
                                      and C4.
and filming a documentary on Lennox Lewis fighting Tyson.

Net Viral Promos

                                                  Net viral promos produced
                                                  for     Lennox's    fight      and
                                                  afterwards.        Very     small
                                                  files     that      could       be
                                                  downloaded in an instant.

Fibre optic cable and TV or cinema over the net

     The future of cinema and visuals
     will be fibre optic cable and TV or
     cinema over the net. This early
     model demonstrates one facet of
     how this could work


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