Monthly Archives: September 2015

Advertising in New Media – Who is Profiting the Most?

Many subscribers to cable television are dropping their subscriptions in favor viewing online streaming media. One reason so many subscribers are switching over to new media is due to the amount of advertising that’s used as way to keep networks financially stable. Using advertising as a means of staying financially stable has also crept into streaming content (and you’ll be surprised in places where it has not).


For the owned YouTube, advertising for content creators has become paramount for drawing in revenue. In 2013, YouTube brought in $810 million in advertising revenue, with an estimated $1.13 billion in 2014.[1] YouTube wholly allows viewers to access their content for free, aside from officially licensed content that are uploaded to the site from film studios, distributors, and TV networks (this typically includes the streaming of full-length feature films and TV shows). However, much of the content that is uploaded to YouTube cannot be entirely monetized, either due to the short length of the uploaded videos or the content is considered “brand unfriendly” for advertisers. 1

[1], the online streaming service owned by NBC, Fox, and ABC, brought in a reported $1 billion in revenue in 2013. From that revenue, 59% of it can from advertising. On top of that model, the other 41% came from revenue generated by viewers who have a paid subscription to the site. The paid subscription model on Hulu allows for users to access a larger well of content compared to users who watch content on the site for free. Both of the models require users to view ads, which can play during as well as bookend viewable content.[1] While this has brought in a wealth of revenue for the site, this number is dwarfed by the revenue its main competitor, Netflix, has brought in during a single quarter.


In 2013, Netflix reported revenues $900 million in one quarter.2 In the first quarter of 2015, Netflix reported a $1.57 billion in revenue.[2] Both of these numbers were gained from Netflix relying entirely on a subscription-based model, much like Hulu. The difference between Hulu and Netflix however, is that the site does not bookend ads on their video content, nor do ads interrupt content while it is playing to viewers. As of this writing, Netflix continues to rely on a subscriber-based revenue platform with no additional advertising revenue. Ultimately, the subscription-based and advertising-based revenue models are proving to be a profitable avenue for content creators and filmmakers.







Ben Harwood


Is VOD a Good Idea For Your Indie Film?

What is VOD? Video-On-Demand. This means that a film is released online instead of in theaters. There is also something called Day-and-Date release, which means a film is released on VOD and in theaters simultaneously. So as an indie filmmaker, this raises the question, “Is VOD a good idea for your film’s release?” The answer? Yes, and no…

So why is VOD a good idea? If you are an independent filmmaker and you want to get your film out there and noticed, why wouldn’t it be a good idea? It’s a lot cheaper than a theatrical release deal and viewers can watch your film from the comfort of their homes. Some filmmakers believe that this is the future of film distribution. There are even numbers to back it up. reported that the VOD market will be worth over $61 Billion by 2019. All good things. So why would it be a bad idea to release your film via VOD? Well for starters, theater owners hate it.

John Fithian, president/CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners mentioned in an interview with Deadline that VOD services like Netflix will destroy cinema like they have with the DVD industry. In theater owners’ minds, if a consumer has a choice to watch a recently released film in a theater or at home, their obvious choice would be to watch at home. So what does all this mean for you? It means that many theaters will not do a deal with you if you plan on carrying out a Day-and-Date release for your film. I know it’s bad news, but there may be hope…

AlamoDrafthouseMost independently owned and operated theaters will indeed support you. Founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Tim League, recently told Indiewire “I do wish more theaters would be open to supporting day and date releases for indie films”. League also mentions, “I am open to this for small movies by small distributors who don’t have the budget for a massive national P&A spend. We have proven that model can work for the right film.”

So this distribution method Has been proven to work, but for the “right” film. So what exactly determines if your film is “right” or not? Film Festivals. If a film is a big hit at a film festival it will typically be a VOD success. Not everyone can attend film festivals, but everyone hears about the great films that pass through. When (and if) a film festival hit gets released in theaters, it’s most likely going to be a limited release in very few theaters for a short time. Adding a VOD to these releases would definitly not be a bad idea at all.


In conclusion, VOD is a good idea for your indie film in certain conditions. Make sure your film already has a little buzz. Either via film festivals or star power. It also has to be a limited theatrical release. Theater owners will be happy with the exclusivity. This will also attract viewers who want to but cannot attend one of the few theaters.

What’s Hollywood’s Issue With Leading Ladies?

Recently there’s been an evolution in the acting community regarding women in  leading roles in film. In the past they’ve only been known as the damsel in distress, the love interest, the supporting cast, the “maids”, and that’s just to name a few. This stigma has plagued women of the industry since their involvement and is just now, within the last five or six years, healing from said plague. The New York Times posted an article last year in March titled: “Only 15 Percent of Top Films in 2013 Put Women in Lead Roles, Study Finds” (written by: Cara Buckley). The writer doesn’t make it past the second paragraph before she emphasized an alarming fact. “Women accounted for less than a third of all speaking roles in the year’s 100 top-grossing domestic films. And just 15 percent of those films had women in leading roles.” She goes on to talk about other issues dealing with the poor representation of women in film. The previous excuse saying leading ladies aren’t able to make the studio’s money back is no longer viable.

The Hunger Games Series started their run in 2012 with The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence. While the films already had a sizable book following, the fact that they’ve all grossed collectively just over $2.3 billion says a lot to audiences desire to see a strong lead female character in a film. Ms. Lawrence herself is the highest paid actress of 2015, with a $52 million income.


July 23rd, 2010, Salt starring Angelina Jolie is released and grosses nearly $300 million worldwide.


In 2011, Bridesmaids with an ensemble cast of: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy, grossed nearly $300 million.


In 2013, Frozen Co-starring the voices of: Idina Menzel & Kristen Bell, which has grossed over $1.2 billion.


In 2014, Lucy starring: Scarlett Johansson surpasses expectations with a just over $450 million worldwide gross.


Maleficent, also released in 2014, also starring Angelina Jolie was the fourth highest grossing movie that year with a whopping worldwide $758,410,378.


In saying this, I want to bring to your attention there are other examples not mentioned above that female led films (solo or ensemble) do work. There is a demand. Hollywood just appears to be lacking in the supply for some reason. “In her speech accepting the best actress award at the Oscars, Cate Blanchett chastised those in the industry “who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences.” “They are not, Audiences want to see them. And in fact they earn money.”


By: Zachary Peek

Lights! Camera! And… Like?

Lights! Camera! And… Like?

By Ciara Clark

Ask yourself, Can you name two or more people you know that doesn’t have a social media account? Can you? Most likely not.

Going to the movies has always been a social experience. After the movie, the first thing people want to do is talk about it with their friends and family. Today, the audience can talk about the film on social media and reach more people in a short period of time rather than the friends they went to the movies with. Social media has proven to be the digital influence of movie marketing and promotions. Social media is such a powerful tool that it can make or break a film at the box office.


Today, studios promote films through pictures, posts, and contests on different media platforms. The recently release film “Straight Outta Compton” took to social media to spread the word about the film. The movie created a picture logo that allowed fans to add their own creative twist to the movie’s logo and post on social media. While most movies may sue if someone uses their logo, “Straight Outta Compton” encourages the fans to use their logo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie received a massive response and became a viral sensation. The movie generated over $60 million opening weekend and currently has a domestic gross over $150 million. The film currently has over 2 million likes on Facebook.

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Almost every movie that releases has at least one social media account. Films, such as Sharknado and Blair Witch Project, were known for their social media campaign which help fueled the buzz about the films.

According to Market Watch, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson helped save his film through social media. Weeks before ‘San Andreas’ premiere, critics claimed the movie was going to bombed at the box office. In response, Dwayne took to social media with his 9.2 million followers to generate buzz about the film. Opening weekend, “San Andreas” grossed over $54 million and earned a domestic gross of $154.6 million.

1432644405_the-rock-zoom                   San_Andreas_poster

The Hollywood Reporter conducted a social media poll with 750 social network users. Base on the study, over 20% of users have made a post before watching a film and 72% post to sites after watching the film.


Social media has become a powerful source for marketing and promotions and will continue to be as long as everyone has Internet and Wi-Fi.


Skylyfe Music Corp.

Efficiencies of Digital Technology in Film

Written by LaToya D. Vines-Derrick

     Throughout the years as film and its processes have advanced, the underlying process has become altered. New technologies such as digital cameras, digital editing, online video and mobile phone have brought about change in the filmmaking process. Making a film is not cheap unless you have an amazing amount of assets and people willing to work for next-to-nothing (dedicated team that believes in the film). Analog workflow cost is significantly cut and any funds already attained can then be used for pre-production, production, or post-production. The cost of an industry standard camera is out of most new filmmakers reach. The implementation and development of digital camera’s makes acquisition more likely, which means, more filmmakers and films, theoretically. Why?

As a filmmaker marketing is a major portion of a film success. To know that distribution (YouTube, Personal Website, Vimeo, etc) and advertising can be achieved with little to no cost to the studio is of benefit to any investors. The more money that can put towards production and pre-production cost the more likely a film is to be visually stimulating to the audience, which by use of new technologies, is greatly widened. The audience members themselves often times become the new filmmakers, because the tools and means are made more available. Analog technologies presented barriers for the inexperienced.


We live in the age of now and these new technologies make fulfilling this need, more doable. The efficiencies of the new technologies and their online distribution have also impacted the length at which film are made, generally due to the space that large files take up. The overall film quality is degraded (generally), due to lower resolution of low-level cameras. “Video on the go” is becoming the new norm and the efficiency provided by these technologies is why. Not only can the filmmaker show the film just about anywhere, but by the use of mobile phone integrated software and formats, the audience member can watch a film almost anywhere. Therefore, it has never been easier to wet your feet in the field of film, no matter if you just want to make an in-house family film,, or start diving deep into a full length independent feature.

We as people and filmmakers can either adapt to technology or are overcome by it. Some are okay with not adapting, as they have already made a name for themselves and/or companies.


Petrović, V. (2015). PIRATERIJA FILMSKIH DELA U ERI DIGITALNE TEHNOLOGIJE. (Croatian). Megatrend Review, 12(2), 219-236.



Kaufman, D. (2015). Surveying New Workflows. Shoot, 56(1), 14-20.



(n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2015, from,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNHrMs


Are Steadicam’s and Ronin’s the “new” Dolly?

Filmmakers have been using dolly shots since the invention of tracks. It gives the picture a little kick. Whether it’s dance floor or having a gnarly shot with long track, it’s something we perceive in our minds to typically be on film sets.

Sanjay Sami and Hybrid dolly in India 1_1

I like to work as a Dolly Grip, but have been finding it difficult to find shoots that specifically need a dolly grip on set. Instead, the more favored movement shots is Steadicam or Ronins.



I can’t help but wonder why that is.


To break down the difference between the three:

Dolly Shot, “Travels along tracks. The camera is mounted on the dolly and records the shot as it moves. Dolly shots have a number of applications and can provide very dramatic footage.


Steadicam, “Lightweight mounting for a movie camera that keeps it steady for filming when handheld or moving.”


DJI Ronin Handheld Gimbal System, “Developed for the cinematographer with pro-grade build quality keeping up with the demands of everyday use and aerial film making in professional environments. Smooth and stable footage with the highest levels of precision”


All together they produce smooth moving shots. But why are filmmakers throwing away the idea of a dolly? Normally dollies are not just bought, they’re rented. Perhaps renting the dolly more expensive than using a Steadicam or Ronin. Here’s a weekly rental rate for all three.

DJI Ronin Handheld Gimbal cost $319 for a 7 day rental (


Stedicam Zephyr cost $1,200 for a 7 day rental (


Chapman Super PeeWee 2 is $2400 for a 7 day rental (

Although Dolly Shots look phenomenal, it can become time consuming. With my experience and discussions with other operators laying down track, leveling, getting marks and practicing the shot with talent can take awhile. Especially when it comes to hills or anything with uneven terrain. Looking at these numbers its easy to see why filmmakers are using Steadicam’s and Ronin’s over Dollies. Looks like I’m going to learn different ways to achieve movement shots.


By: Stephanie Vernet 

filmScreen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.04.04 PM

This means more work for filmmakers, talent, and of course more money for the box offices.  Straight Out of Compton; The biopic about the iconic rap group N.W.A smashed box-office history with a $60.2 million dollar debut. It was the biggest opening for an R-rated film this August. The release date was a wise choice for Universal considering the uncertainty for results for a film like this one with so much controversy within. The budget was $28 million, and despite of the small picture edit error in one scene people are still headed to the movies to watch this epic story.

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It looks like hip-hop fans may be infatuated with dead rappers like Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E and Notorious BIG.

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Films about dead iconic hip-hop rappers started to sprinkle in film back in 2009 with the Biggie Smalls biopic “Notorious” which only took $20 million dollars to make. The film ended up doubling the budget amount in box office sales world-wide, grossing $44,371,751 million dollars with 83% of that coming directly from our domestic movie goers. The movie didn’t do as well as expected but considering inflation and its coming out right after the holiday’s, it did pretty well for its budget.

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I mention Tupac because it had been rumored before that Director John Singleton was working on the biopic. let us know back in April of 2005 that Singleton told XXL he has hit the pause button on this project. Singleton stated, “I’m a Very passionate person who wants to make the movie I want to make. Tupac’s soul would come back to haunt my ass if it wasn’t done right”.

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Of course it isn’t only the dead rappers biopic’s that are making history in box office sales, but right now that’s what the hip-hop lovers want. The movie 8 mile grossed $242,875,078 worldwide, with 51% of that coming from the foreign box offices on a $41 million dollar budget, released in November of 2002. Of course Eminem isn’t dead but who wouldn’t want to see how a crazy white boy made it in and out of the hood? – It was different, and…interesting. I predict Straight out of Compton to gross just as much world-wide, if not more.

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Biopic Films about hip-hop rappers are going to be big for a while because people want to see them. They weren’t doing too good before Eminem or after Biggie. Straight Out of Compton has given hip-hop artists and their family’s hopes for movie deals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Meek Mill gets his movie debut next year.

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Who knows, maybe I’ll be behind the camera apart of that production.

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-September 9, 2015