Gotta Be Better Than Last Year? AFM opens today

We’ll see what AFM brings but we refuse to be at its mercy.

We’ll see what AFM brings but we refuse to be at its mercy.

The past year has been mostly depressing with reports of poor attendance and low purchases at the various film markets all over the world. It seems like it wasn’t a good time for us to finish our film, The Enemy God, and to be trying to fight it out amongst all of the content looking for distribution.

You can read some folks’ theories about how this year might be different in this article about the American Film Market which opens today in Santa Monica, CA.

There are whole worlds where we feel we just can’t learn enough, don’t know enough of the players, and we’d basically get eaten alive – like at AFM. So our sales agent, Entertainment 7, is our big hope out there to sell foreign rights, television, VOD, etc. We received good news from the last market in Cannes; we found a distributor for South Asia and Scandinavia. (I blogged about that here.) That gives us confidence that there are still distributors looking for remarkable content that falls outside the mainstream rom-coms, thrillers, and big action pictures.

The rule now is to avoid just sitting back and waiting for those glorious license deals to fall in your lap! We have seen how our film plays for audiences, once we reach them, and we’re in this for the long haul. We are working the hybrid-distribution world as well; call it partial-DIY. Our screenings at the Starz FilmCenter last month proved we could get audiences in theaters via word-of-mouth. We have a new DVD out to press right now and we’ll pump that one via social media; so we aren’t just sitting back at the mercy of the markets.

Genius or Shuffle?

I believe I am not alone in the occasional quest for just the right music to suit my mood or change my mood. The iPod and other devices like it promise us the world and devise all sorts of ways to help us in this quest for control.

As I was working around the kitchen this morning I found myself in a dilemma. I was searching for the soundtrack for my morning on my iPhone. I believe I am not alone in the occasional quest for just the right music to suit my mood or change my mood. The iPod and other devices like it promise us the world and devise all sorts of ways to help us in this quest for control.

I tried Pandora first, looking through my varied radio ‘stations’ to find one I thought was perfect. For those unfamiliar with the way Pandora and Apples iTunes Genius work, the easiest way to describe it is that they look at the DNA of the music – artist, genre, tempos, tone, etc. to match songs for you. For instance, I have a ‘station’ on Pandora for Benedictine Monks. When you type that in, you pretty much know what you’re going to hear – everything that plays on that virtual ‘station’ sounds pretty similar. The promise of Pandora and the others is that you have control over what you hear, like you own the radio station and don’t have to put up with lousy songs that make you want to change the station.

This morning I began listening to a station based on The Fray, listened a while, and decided it wasn’t working for me. So I went further back in time to see what a Gin Blossoms radio would sound like. I had some vague sense that it would be a little less angst-ridden and melancholy than the Fray and whatever music-mates Pandora would deliver. I’d have to say Gin Blossoms radio was a little more upbeat, but still a little to down for me today. I guessed wrong on what would be the key musical DNA to change my mood.

Was I in the mood for Genius – letting me set my mood and seeing if the miracle of technology would find the right tone? Or was I better off with Shuffle – a musical world that is far more broad, eclectic, and not at all driven by some pre-determined mood I was trying to reach? I love to play random shuffle on my iPod – my tastes in music are very broad and I often laugh or am surprised by the songs that play back-to-back. It could be Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” followed by Chris Tomlin singing “Famous One”. I love to consider those juxtapositions – not as if they are controlled somehow by God to tell me something (though they could be if He wanted) – but I tend to be a person who loves the discovery of things, serendipity.

I confess that, in the end, I’m more of a shuffle guy – seeking to discover the story of seemingly random things – than a genius guy – knowing exactly what I want and enjoying that measure of control.