Producer Tips

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I recently attended the Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe, NM hosted by Vision Maker Media and was a part of the Media-Maker’s group. The bulk of the first session was led by Molly Murphy of Working Films who gave an in-depth presentation of what their campaigns consist of. She offered insight and tips on how filmmakers should approach Working Films and similar companies and pitch their projects correctly and in turn what benefits they can reap from the collaboration.

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Just wanted to post a message regarding the 1st Vision Maker Media Media For Change event in Santa Fe, NM. I have to say that I really enjoyed the program and it was good to see old friends and meet new ones. I found this event to particularlly interesting because of how media is changing. It's no longer about just delivering a completed movie, but now it's about  how to extend the life of that program by using new media, such as the internet, apps, online gaming, etc.

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Finally in Post-Production, I can see an end to five years of making my first feature documentary, My Louisiana Love. Now… how will the film help bring forth change for my best friend, co-producer, and main subject, Monique Verdin and her Houma Indian family of southeast Louisiana? With this question hanging over me, I gratefully accepted Vision Maker Media’s invitation to a Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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If ever there were a boot camp for emerging filmmakers, the folks at NALIP have laid the groundwork for how things might go: early mornings, late nights, constant networking, and in between, squeezing in sessions of proposal writing, film editing, music composition, crowd-funding and practicing the perfect pitch. After 10-days of non-stop work-shopping at the Latino Producer’s Academy, I felt as though I had pulled the ultimate all-nighter, extremely fatigued, but reflecting on the experience with much satisfaction.

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My head was swimming with ideas as I left the Media for Change Conference. As a college professor and a documentary producer for Wisconsin Public Television, I straddle both an academic world, where I try to grow the next generation of digital storytellers, and a professional sphere, where I coax funders to bankroll worthy projects—most of them dealing with Native topics.

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$15,0000.  That was the magic number I had come up with. My documentary, “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101” had come to a complete halt when my funds dried up and I needed to get it finished.  I estimated that I need $50k to deliver the final cut to submit to public television, but it seemed impossible to try to raise that amount in 30 days, so I decided to go for a more reasonable $15k. I saw the success my other filmmaker friends had with their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter.com and thought I’d go for it. Here’s how it all went down…

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This weekend (Sat. Nov 20) in LA, niche marketing guru Peter Broderick and tech author Scott Kirshner will bring their social media crash-course, Distribution U: Version 2.0, to LA. I attended their NYC event last weekend. And, despite the day-long committment--an intense 9 hour session-- the tech refresher brought industry-types together to share secrets and stories of success on the latest in hybrid distribution models.

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