This Saturday, I will be speaking on a roundtable on metadata at the Open Video Conference and presenting an informal demonstration of new, metadata-related software I’ve been working on at the “Hack Day” on Sunday.
For the past year or so, I’ve been hearing bits of the film industry slowly wake up to the fact that the state of media metadata is a mess. The complete lack of open, common data formats leaves media producers struggling to conform their data to a variety of proprietary formats, only to result in outdated and inaccurate information left under the control of others. Worse, existing processes discriminate against independent producers by limiting what counts as a “real” movie, album or other work.
I have been working on a project called Open Media Object Format, which is a free (both as in beer and as in speech) protocol and file format for publishing rich metadata on a range of media. The protocol creates a distributed network of information on media and its participants, allowing the information to spread while every creator maintains authority over their own work. And the format is designed to store semantic data in more detail than we’ve seen before. The Open Media Object Format is an effort to address the above problems while bringing metadata away from the mere administrative, opening up possibilities for pretty cool stuff we haven’t seen before.
Scott Kirsner (moderator) is a journalist and all-around smart guy. He’s the author of two books, Inventing the Movies, which I frequently cite as a defining analysis of how the film industry falls behind on innovation, and Fans, Friends & Followers, an excellent collection of interviews with artists who build their own audiences and distribute their own work. He also writes the blog Cinematech.
I am currently in Austin for South By Southwest Film and Interactive conference and festival. I’m here with the From Here to Awesome team, meeting (and recruiting) filmmakers, finding screening partners and shooting video for the educational component.
I’ve also been invited to speak on a panel about short films. The panel is on Tuesday, March 11 at 11am, in room 15 of the Austin Convention Center. Friends Jigar Mehta and Brent Hoff are on the panel with me.
Is it the Golden Age of Short Film? People keep saying it is, but I doubt many filmmakers have felt the gold yet. Some short films are bringing in more money than most award winning documentary’s are being sold for. Find out what is the best way to capitalize on these new potential revenue streams as Filmmakers and industry experts discuss if this will really finally elevate/free shorts to become an art form and not just a stepping stone to features.
Peter Goldwyn and I disagreed on a few things, which made for a fun and interesting discussion. He seems like a smart guy, and it was good to hear from Peter and Clémence, who have very different sets of experiences.
Correction: In our discussion, I compared the theatrical film industry to the bottled water industry. I mis-stated some figures. Upon further research, I realized that the global bottled water business generates $50bn, whereas the U.S. market is closer to $10 billion (source: ResearchBuy MarketWikis). However, this is still more than the annual U.S. theatrical gross of $9.49bn (source: MPAA). So I think my point is still valid.
I’m looking forward to this panel, because it’s a new batch of panelists for me, different from the usual suspects at Vancouver, IFP Market and London. We’ll be discussing some of the same topics as past panels: on-demand theatrical booking, content discovery, the up-scaling of the theatrical experience. But the added perspective of the bigger-budget, older-school Goldwyn and Zeitgeist representatives should be interesting, and if we’re very, very lucky, maybe we’ll see another showdown. Aaron will also ask us about how the writers strike ties into Internet distribution. One of the greatest consequences of Internet distribution is a shift in power, so we should have a lot to talk about.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of participating in the Power to the Pixel conference at the London Film Festival. Liz Rosenthal, director of the conference, invited me to join Arin, Susan and a number of other pals and speak to a breakout group after the rest of the conference. The Q&A was moderated by Richard Ayers of Magic Lantern.
I introduced myself and my role in the Four Eyed Monsters self-distribution. We focused on the application of traditional business principals to the changing models of media distribution. Have a look: