Can’t decide whether or not to go to Jim Jermanok’s workshop on May 20th? These Testimonials may well convince you.
In order to work professionally in any kind of creative industry, you need to create your own opportunities and make your own projects. This workshop is for those in the business and those who want to enter the business. Jim Shares 30 years of experience. He’ll speak on finding your own work, building your brand and becoming the creative entrepreneur you were born to be!
BEYOND THE CRAFT: What You Need to Know to Make A Living Creatively!
Based on the bestselling book by Jim Jermanok
This is an insider’s no-bull, no fluff presentation of the current state of creative career success.
Want a taste? Check out this article he wrote on Indiewire!
An acclaimed, intense and empowering professional 4-hour workshop geared toward actors, directors, writers producers, investors, filmmakers, key crew, and anyone who wants to start or expand their career in Independent Film and Media.
Rishi is the driving force behind the new film, “For Here or To Go?” Which opened yesterday. He’s an immigrant technologist who produced his first feature film, For Here or To Go which tells the story of the struggles skilled immigrants face. I’ve known him for years, so when his movie came out he answered some questions about filmmaking I had for him.
The film has been been called a welcome counterpart to HBO’s Silicon Valley, and both entertains and educates on a part of a hot button topic we often don’t consider. The story has its roots in reality, and could be a way to communicate our flawed economic policies. It may even be having some impact, as it screen before congress last year
“For Here or To Go?” follows a young immigrant looking to do a startup in silicon valley, and the trials and tribulations he faces along the way. The film has been covered in variety, The SF Chronicle, the USA Today, Breitbart “News” (Scoff) and even screened before congress.
You can find out more about For Here or To Go? on their website or Fandango. The film itself is well worth the price of admisssion, but this interview is less about the movie and more about the process of making it.
Rishi used some unorthodox tactics to create a hybrid of the processes driving innovation in Silicon Valley and the standard filmmaking processes. Rishi, the film’s writer and producer, is a skilled immigrant from India, and the film gives us a look into his experiences.
I talked with Rishi about the film just before it’s limited theatrical release on Friday. Here’s that conversation
Ben: Given you’re an immigrant from India working in tech, how much of this story is based on your life?
Rishi: It is a combination of my experiences and observations. I was writing a blog called “Stuff Desis Like” which was talking about the Indian assimilation experience and was started off as a meme following the “Stuff White People Like” blog. The blog was where the main inspiration came from.
B: How has being an immigrant affected your life?
R: Like with anything there are advantages and disadvantages to the situation. The advantages have been the sheer amount I have learned coming here and the exposure I’ve had with my higher education and work experience. You tend to come in more hungry and eager to learn as an outsider. But once you learn about the culture there are some very real assimilation barriers that you encounter (socially and legally) which can make it very challenging.
B: How did you line up a screening before congress?
R: We met the congressman and his office at an advocacy event about the immigration issues that are the core premise of this film. That’s how the screening took place. Essentially, a bill [was] re-introduced in the house that aims to fixes the issue. Under current law people get hired based on skill and education but get green cards based on country of birth. So there are long wait times for people from India and China. India especially and these wait times can be as long as 70 years! That’s according to some of the latest research.
I’m collaborating with an advocacy group- skilled immigrants in America and the bill- HR 392. The Bill aimed at making the system fair and first come first serve regardless of country of birth.
B: What do you think of the current administration’s immigration policies?
R: It is clearly fuelling a great amount of anti-immigrant sentiment. If [you] look different you seem to be in trouble. Three shootings, one fatal targeting Indians. It’s all very heartbreaking.
B: You’ve mentioned that you used Lean Startup Principles to make this film. How did that go, and what advice do you have for other people who want to utilize lean principles in media?
R: I leaned on those principles quite a bit!
B: I see what you did there. (Chuckles)
R: (Chuckles) Anyway, the core philosophy is to continually test and learn to build bit by bit and to eliminate wasteful activities and resources. Filmmaking is perfect for it, especially at the writing stage before there’s some much risk and uncertainity involved in the process.
As indepenedent, we have to be scrappy and be sure what we are building will work. The advice really is find your story and lean is a great way to find it or what they call “product-market” fit.
B: How would you iterate on the process next time?
R: [I Wouldn’t] be so linear, I and find the distribution first! Quality product is table stakes these days, its how you deliver to the final audience that’s become a very big challenge. Now that I’ve been through the entire process of going from idea to production to delivery, the main thing to learn will be to think and plan on these things simultaneously.
B: That’s something every filmmaker deals with, it’s a huge challenge. Your Background is in tech, What made you want to make a film?
R: This film to me is a solution to a problem. That’s how I see it. The problem is that there is no authentic mass media representation of Indians in America.
There’s nothing to influence popular perception and to create empathy and awareness of this very complex legal issue that affects lives. Storytelling in mass media is a required solution. It’s about solving this problem, shifting the narrative- film is a great medium for it.
B: What was the hardest part about making your first film?
R: Team, funding and distribution. Like any other entrepreneurial effort.
B: What advice would you give other immigrants working in film or technology?
R: Keep the passion and the curiosity. Backgrounds, qualifications and training don’t entirely determine what you can accomplish.
Rishi’s Film, “For Here or to Go?” opened in theaters on Friday! If you’re in the bay area and want to promote films shot here, you shoud go see it. If you want others to support your film when it comes out, you have to be an active and supportive part of the community. Get your tickets on Fandango.
Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle is back for Part 2 of our interview! In this episode, we talk about Alex’s use of previous content to market his latest project on Seed & Spark, a crowdfunding site for independent films, and as perks to incentivize contributions. We also hear a great anecdote which relates his experience running a gourmet olive oil business to being an indie filmmaker and content creator.
Our guest, Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle, was gracious enough to do a second take with us when we had technical difficulties with our first interview. On our second go, we talked about so much more that we’re splitting this up into two episodes! Part 1 is all about building up a content library to enhance your indie filmmaker brand and how to utilize all the various channels available to support your film career. Thanks, Alex, for all of your amazing insight!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “Transmedia” and what that’s going to mean for the future of media creation and marketing for the foreseeable future. So, when my friend and colleague, Ben Yennie, came to “camp” and do work with me at The Crepe House III in San Francisco, I turned on my phone’s voice recorder and asked him a few questions. What follows is a transcription of our conversation, where we discuss predicting the future of transmedia, the development of VR and AR, and more!
Follow me, @IndieEvan, on Twitter for more content on digital, emergent, and transformative media.
Evan: Where do you see Transmedia and/or Transmedia storytelling going in the next five to ten years?
Ben: I think we’re going to see a lot more utilization of Transmedia marketing and monetization. I think all mainstream TV and movies will have some transmedia elements in them and very high social media presences. The more successful ones will actually have content that’s exclusively available on separate platforms and devices. Marvel’s actually done a really good job of this, you can’t get the whole story just by going to the movies. You have to watch their myriad of TV shows, and I think they’re even starting some more web-based content now, too.
E: They also have short films released in the extras of the DVDs for the movies that come out.
B: See, I didn’t even know that.
E: So there are, like, eight short films that you haven’t even seen that also add to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
B: And I was having trouble keeping up with just the movies, god… damn. Anyway, the success that Marvel’s having from this explosion in transmedia content is probably going to be emulated- sometimes successfully, sometimes not-so-successfully- by major studios. Sometimes it’ll be clear that it’s just a marketing grab and sometimes it’ll be actual, good content, like Marvel seems to be doing.
E: I see this happening now. Will this still be the case in 5 years?
B: I think it’s going to become even more of the case. We’re moving further and further away from traditional movie screens more into what are referred to as “second screens” which are tablets, mobile devices, and even computers [being used in conjunction with the main form of content]. I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix releases an app that integrates with your Netflix account, but isn’t about watching Netflix, it’s about communicating with others who are watching the same thing you are watching, especially on early releases or HBO could do the same thing for, like, Game of Thrones premiere nights, things like that. Essentially the same thing is already happening on Twitter, but it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
E: So, this second screen environment that you’re talking about… is that five years down the line or closer to ten years down the line?
B: That’s right now. It’s already happening. The second screen environment is only going to grow over the next two to three years. It’ll be a lot more prevalent in two to three years, in five to ten, it’ll be ubiquitous- the same way smartphones are.
E: What technologies do you think we’re seeing now that will persist for the next five or ten years?
B: Honestly, I think the biggest thing that we’re going to see emerging- more in ten, than in five- is virtual reality. It’s already starting to emerge; it’s in its infancy. We’re in the “Pong” days of virtual reality right now. It’s changing rapidly, though. There was just an announcement earlier this week that, I think it’s in the UK, they’re opening a virtual reality theme park that will be the first of its kind. There’s no announcement as to when, exactly, it will open, but the idea is… having real, immersive, interactive, live, virtual reality environments, kind of like an arcade, where you can join a team of four and go fight a dragon with virtual swords. I mean, I would pay to go there. I would pay lots of money to go there and I think that’s going to be how it starts. These virtual reality setups are too expensive and too impractical for [individual/private use], but putting it into a theme park environment works really well.
E: I feel that, maybe, augmented reality would become more prevalent? Because that way, you’re only producing some elements for a live video of the existing environment instead of creating a completely unique one. Do you think augmented reality will be the “layman’s virtual reality”?
B: I don’t think gaming or entertainment is going to be all that well served by augmented reality. I think it will be very useful for informational uses and extremely useful for people like contractors and biologists and I don’t think augmented reality is going to be “consumer” for a while.
E: Or narrative?
B: Or narrative. I don’t think AR will ever be narrative. I don’t think it’s going to be consumer-facing for quite a while, that’s why Google backed off of Glass.
… to be continued in part 2 where we talk about the impermanence of Snapchat, the potential for crowdfunding, and the nature of transmedia storytelling!
While reading a book on habits, I came to a realization. If filmmakers are to survive this chaotic and rapidly changing time in our industry, the most important thing we can do is learn and grow into community leaders.
The time has passed that we can rely on the regular system to help the best filmmakers emerge. The studio system is broken, and its discovery methods are dying. Viewers have become lost in a sea of choices, and often retreat back to what they know as opposed to going out and discovering new entertainment. The deals being offered to new filmmakers for V.O.D. subscription services are often nowhere near where they need to be in order to make a living as a filmmaker, and far too often filmmakers lack a way of even getting the money they put into the movie back, much less make a profit to continue to eat and make the next projects.