Friday, August 6, 2010

Crew Needed Tomorrow AM

North Carolina filmmakers, you're help is needed as Abandoned Allies crew tomorrow morning.  I need three or four people to help as crew at a ground-breaking ceremony in Durham, N.C., starting at 8:00am.  (Yeah, that's early if you've stayed up late but it'll be worthwhile, I promise.)

You don't have to be a pro, but experienced people are preferred.  Here's what I need:
  • Audio guy / gal
    Someone to wear ear phones to make sure the audio I'm getting is great.  Knowledge of lavalier mics, wireless receivers, etc. is helpful but not absolutely necessary.
  • Camera operator
    Someone to make sure the camera is pointing at the right thing at the right time.  Knowledge of an HD camera, tripod, mini-DV tapes, focusing, and composition is best.  I'll bring a light kit, so knowledge about how to set up / break down lights is great, too.
  • Still photographer
    We need lots of stills.  If you have your own DSLR or point-and-shoot, please bring it.  I will bring my own DSLR, but will likely be talking to people which makes it tough to shoot.  Everything should be shot in crazy-high resolution so we can use it in all sorts of places: video, print, etc.
  • Carrying person
    There's a lot of equipment to carry, and it's tough to pack/carry it while talking with people.  Someone that knows how to pack/carry camera equipment safely would be a great help so I can focus on very important conversations.  There's probably a better, more official term than Carrying Person so if you think of one we can use that. :)
The film is a zero-dollar budget one, so we can't pay you for your time; however, from me you will get a big bear hug, eternal gratitude, public thanks, and of course credit in the film.  I wish I could offer you more, my friends!

The event is taking place in Durham, N.C., tomorrrow at 8:30am.  I want to get there early so I can size up the location and think about what to capture.  The event is a ground-breaking ceremony on a Habitat for Humanity home for a Montagnard family, sponsored by Cree.  I'm such a geek about residential construction and energy efficiency, so I'm doubly excited about the event tomorrow. 

If you're able to support as crew, please let me know as soon as possible via email.  Thank you!

Social Media Conferences & Abandoned Allies

Note: This blog post is an attempt to win a free ticket to Social Fresh Charlotte in response to their call for blog posts.  As a first-time, independent filmmaker, attending would be incredibly helpful, fruitful and fun; however, justifying the expense is tough.  Have no doubt, though, attending would help us make this film even better.

There's a lot to learn about social media and how it's impacting your daily life.  It changes constantly because that's the nature of it.  People are constantly moving and changing, and social media is all about people.  It'll become increasingly important in your life, too--no matter whether you love it, hate it, or simply have to use it at work.  It's been an integral part of making Abandoned Allies in the past two years.  With that, here are some of the things I love, hate and hope to learn at a social media conference.

Social Media Conferences
If you're interested in learning about social media then attending a social media event or conference focused on it is one of the best places to start.  You'll find yourself surrounded by really smart and dedicated people, if you attend one of the great social media conferences like Social Fresh (@SoFresh).

Learn more about Social Fresh Charlotte at
Some attendees are in the same place you are: still learning, exploring and seeking an understanding of social media.  Talking with them will help you feel more at ease because, let's face it, this is still new territory for most of the world.  It's constantly evolving, so keeping up is challenging.  Are you doing what you should be doing, or wasting time on something that's unimportant?  How do you know where to start?  Whom should you trust for guidance?  Conferences can help you sift through it all, and make better decisions for you and your business.

The presenters at conferences are the people shaping the industry right now and you can be there while they share their experiments, success, failures and new rules they've learned.  You can ask them questions after they present, and find someone that might be a good fit for you and your business. 

Hey, you might even find yourself having lunch with one of the social media celebrities.  And because many of them are so down to earth, you might not know you're sitting with one until they take the stage to make the keynote presentation.  They are just that cool and curious.

Social media conferences are so much fun.  Everyone hustles and bustles to get to presentations, then they slow down to converge and converse. The atmosphere is addictive at the really great events like the Social Media Business Forum and Social Fresh.

While there are so many great things that happen, there are things that can make it rough on attendees.  Here are a few suggestions to social media conference organizers.  Keep in mind, I understand how much work goes into organizing a conference.  I have nothing but respect for how successful the ones I've attended were, and hope only that these small suggestions might make them even better.

My Social Media Conference Pet Peeves
  • Internet Connections
    Social media conferences are based on being online.  It can be frustrating when the internet is either (a) not free or (b) not capable of keeping up with demand.  Include the cost of internet with registration, and make sure it's powerful enough to let all of us tweet, blog and post pictures about your conference. 
  • Real Life Connections & Ergonomics
    If social media is all about people and conversations then allow time for that to happen in real life.  Give us a chance to meet new people, put a face with an avatar, laugh and learn from one another.  Allow this to happen naturally and comfortably.  Don't use venues with spaces that are too small, because people stop to talk without getting in each other's way (like in hallways).  Leave a big open room for the talkers to linger.  Always, always, always have water and coffee available throughout the day so the audience is a captive one.
  • Electricity
    We have a lot of gadgets.  We need our laptops, cell phones, and cameras to take notes, check email tweet, blog, and post pics.  That takes up a lot of battery life so we need outlets, equipped with power strips and chairs close by them so we can power up when needed.  Some of us will forget a charger, so a place to buy, rent or borrow what we need to keep up at the conference is helpful.
  • Provide Different Tracks
    Some of us are ahead of others in our education.  Label presentations as introductory or more advanced. 
What I Hope to Learn
Social media conferences are absolutely wonderful, in my opinion.  I have such fun at them because I'm a social person who loves to learn.  Social media has helped create our documentary film titled Abandoned Allies, and I hope to continue making improvements to what we provide to our audience by attending Social Fresh Charlotte.

If I were able to attend with one of those six free remaining tickets, I would learn so many lessons to apply to Abandoned Allies.  The past few months have had me focused on many things offline, and I rather miss it my social media events.  It would be great to see old friends and make new friends.  Learn from the pros about what's been happening in the industry.  Find ways to apply those lessons to filmmaking, to keep improving what we're doing.  And, perhaps, make the world a little better in the process. 

The film is wrapping up well, and we will start sharing it with audiences soon.  That means I need to be prepared for continued conversations online, so that people can keep learning more about the Montagnards, Special Forces, and the Vietnam War.  I have a lot of ideas, hopes and dreams, but I need a lot of help.  Attending Social Fresh would, I believe, help make so much of that come to life.

Here's hoping that this little blog post might make that happen.  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Local Film Community Happenings

Hello, friends!  Some of you fellow filmmakers might like to know about upcoming events.  Be sure to click on the links for more information, and share with your fellow filmmakers who might be interested!

"Pioneers in Skirts" Production Assistance
There is an opportunity to help a friend of mine, Ashley Maria, with a documentary she is filming in Raleigh this August.  She's a graduate student at the University of Southern California studying Film and Television at the School of Cinematic Arts.  The documentary is titled "Pioneers in Skirts" about an organization called Business and Professional Women.  If you're interested in helping as a member of her crew, you can find more information here.  Some of the pertinent info is listed below, and pulled straight from her site:

Shooting Dates:  
Thursday August 12th OR 13th (TBD) for a shoot at Meredith College
Saturday, August 14th in Carrboro, NC 
Crew Needed:
Camera operators, grip & electric, boom operators, production assistants, hair & make-up
Credit & DVD once film is finalized
Email Ashley Maria; please include resume with experience, your interest in the documentary, and any equipment you can provide for shooting day
We are low budget and are using available resources to make this documentary happen, so I thank you in advance for being a part of a very special documentary to me and the ladies from the BPW organization. 

Triangle Film Society: Networking Event on Sept. 2nd
A networking event for filmmakers will take place next month.  You have to register and arrive early, because the event will be held in the RBC building in downtown Raleigh.  Read the invitation from Nene (@QueenTiger) to register and get more information, but mark you calendars now because there are going to be free drinks and appetizers. :)

Triangle Film Society: Networking Event
Thursday, September 2, 2010
5:30 to 7:30PM
Location: Poyner Spruill (@poynerspruill)
RBC Building, 19th Floor
301 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

SPARKcon Call for Talent
Part of a local creative festival called SPARKcon will include a 48-hour film challenge starting on Friday, September 10th.  They're also calling for film submissions, the deadline for which has been extended to August 27th according to their twitter page (@filmSPARK2010).