Archive for the ‘Film Finance’ Category

Babelgum & Channel 4 Team for Episodic Doc Prequel

July 13, 2010

from worldscreen.com

Babelgum has entered into a co-production deal with Native Voice Films that sees the web platform working alongside traditional media partners to support the release of the documentary featureThe Bengali Detective.

The new project is a co-production between Babelgum, the Channel 4 British Documentary Foundation, DR2 Denmark, Commonwealth Broadcasting Trust and Salty Sea Music. Further production and broadcast deals are being confirmed.

Babelgum is to broadcast, starting today, specially commissioned prequel episodes for the film. The exclusive customized episodes will roll out on a weekly basis. These mini-documentary episodes will then be used to virally promote the feature film festival appearances and theatrical release of The Bengali Detective in 2011.

The feature-length documentary centers on the day-to-day investigations of Rajesh Ji. He is a dance-obsessed gumshoe with a motley band of helpers who look to expose the secrets, fears and covert lives of today’s middle-class Indian society. The accompanying doc series takes a look at modern India and highlights the real-world characters investigating cases in Calcutta.

“This deal is a crystallization of what we have been working towards at Babelgum’s film division,” said Karol Martesko-Fenster, the senior VP and general manager of the film division at Babelgum. “A true 360-degree production approach that doesn’t just pay lip service to the online dimension—but rather where online and mobile are the driving factors, working with, not against, traditional media, to virally create interest in the project before it is released on traditional platforms. Bearing in mind the ever-fragmenting nature of the media landscape and the need to target audiences across all platforms, it is the kind of approach that filmmakers will increasingly be adopting. We are excited to be working with Native Voice Films on this fantastic project.”

Phil Cox, director for Native Voice Films, added, “At Native Voice Films, we’ve always strived to make films built on strong storytelling that challenge our audience’s view of the world, while at the same time revealing the essential humanity of our subjects. We’re especially excited to be working with our co-producing partners at Babelgum on the premiere of The Bengali Detective. Together we’ve crafted a fresh, compelling approach to distributing the film, first as an episodic prequel and then as a full-fledged theatrical feature, harnessing their platforms to reach the widest global audience possible. It truly will be a landmark event and hopefully a guidepost for other independent filmmakers.”

see original article at http://worldscreen.com/articles/display/26226

YouTube Sets Up Grants to Fund Video-Makers

July 13, 2010

from worldscreen.com

YouTube is investing $5 million in grants for select new and emerging partners, to further the creation of high-quality videos.

The YouTube Partners Grants program will serve to help fund the production budgets of a small group of YouTube partners who are leading innovation in their video-making. The site is selecting partners based on factors such as video views, subscribers, growth rate, audience engagement and production expertise. Selected partners will be contacted by YouTube and invited to submit a grant proposal. Proposals will then be evaluated based on signals such as projected performance, distribution plan, marketing plan, cost requirements and appeal to advertisers. Once approved, the video-making partner will receive funding to get started on their project.

“Youtube Partner Grants represents another step forward in the evolution of both video and YouTube,” said George Strompolos, partner development manager at YouTube. “Our hope is that through these investments we’ll help nurture talent and bring more great videos to YouTube for all of you to enjoy.”

see original article http://worldscreen.com/articles/display/26238

Cannes 2010, the sate of the industry

April 23, 2010

Cannes 2010

I’ve cobbled together some interesting stats about attendance of the Cannes Film Festival 2010, just did a quick breakdown to give snap shot of market place and not sure quite what to make of it!

3549 Total Companies Listed

1746 Production Companies

1015 companies listed as buyers

975 listed as theatrical distribution

683 Video Distribution

521  Sales Agents (only 192 listed as buying)

521 Sellers

510 Exhibitors

333 Film Festivals

314 TV Distribution

272 Services

193 Organisations (including UK Film Council)

160 Publicity and Marketing

131 Financial Institutions

125 Film Commission

115 Interactive and New Media

102 TV Broadcast

99 Film Funds

56 Technical

51 Publisher

45 Talent Agencies

40 Law Firms

39 Press

39  VOD platforms

36 Training

26 Music Publishers

14  VOD aggregators

4 Unknown

(stats from Cinando)

Attendance: 29323

Media Attendance: 4376

Accredited Industry Attendance: 24856

Total Number of Films Submitted: 4329

Total Number of Films Screened: 138

Total Screenings: 30

# of Shorts Screened: 44

# of Features Screened: 94

(stats from filmfestivalworld.com)

would be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts

April 23, 2010

from paidcontent.org

It took a couple of extra months but Fox and Universal have agreed to roughly the same deal with DVD rental kiosk company Redbox as Warner Bros. (NYSE: TWXdid in February. Both studios will now provide Redbox with “improved economic terms,” as well as additional access to Blu-ray titles, and, in exchange, Redbox will delay renting their new releases until 28 days after they are first available to purchase in stores, so that they can try to protect their sales. Redbox will also end its lawsuits against both Fox and Universal, which had become particularly ugly.

The deals come only two weeks after Fox and Universal bothannounced new distribution deals with Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), which also agreed to delay distribution of their new releases for 28 days. In that case, however, both studios granted Netflix additional streaming rights in addition to improved economic terms.

With both Redbox and Netflix now agreeing to 28-day rental windows, Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) has been trying to use the deals to differentiate itself from its rivals. It has now negotiated its own agreements with Warner Bros., Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Fox so it can rent new releases on the same day they are available for sale.

Related Stories

see original aricle http://paidcontent.org/article/419-redbox-ends-legal-wrangling-with-fox-universal-agrees-to-28-day-window/

The UK film council has released a report on digital and creative.

April 23, 2010

The UK film council has released a report on digital and creative.

Download a copy of the report here

Hulu launches exclusive feature

April 1, 2010

from variety.com

‘In the Darkness’ is released by Mattoid Ent.

By LIZ STINSON

 
 

In a sign of the digital times, Hulu.com yesterday launched the first feature-length narrative film to premiere exclusively on its site.

“In The Darkness” is released by Mattoid Ent., which focuses on creating first-run content for online platforms.

Pic follows the disappearance of two young men in a fire-ravaged mountain range.

Mattoid co-founder and “Darkness” scribe and helmer Andrew Robinson said cost considerations as well as the chance for greater exposure led to his decision to preem via Hulu after taking a more traditional distribution approach for his 2009 pic “April Showers.”

see original article http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118017098.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2570&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+variety%2Fnews%2Ftechnology+%28Variety+-+Technology+News%29&utm_content=Netvibes

UKFC’s new Film Fund launches today with £15m

April 1, 2010

from netribution.co.uk

Wharton, Francke, Collins confirmed as executives working under Seghatchian in newly streamlined fund.

  • Biggest shake-up since UKFC’s creation
  • £15m film fund open for applications today
  • £5m Innovation Fund confirmed for Autumn 2010
  • New online application system for funds 
  • An ambitious sounding ‘web-based.. national filmmaking community’ 
  • Producers to receive equity in UKFC recoupment
  • WT2’s Natascha Wharton joins BBC Film’s Chris Collins and Em Media / EIFF’s Lizzie Francke on team

The UK Film Council today published its three year plan and launched its new £15m Film Fund to be headed up by Tanya Seghatchian. In developing the final plan, the UK Film Council spent three months consulting on the proposals, engaging with hundreds of people from across the film sector, facilitating more than a dozen consultation sessions and attracting almost 1,000 responses. The plan specifically:

  • opens up for business a £15m-a-year Film Fund (topped up further by film recoupment) for emerging, experimental and world class filmmakers;
  • ring-fences money for development;
  • confirms production companies will for the first time automatically receive a significant share of the UK Film Council’s recoupment from all feature film investments they are involved in, following State Aid approval of the measure by the European Commission;
  • sets up a think tank chaired by Tim Bevan to identify new policy initiatives to grow independent UK film companies of scale;
  • proposes a national web-based talent showcase, to be launched in Autumn 2010, to unearth fresh talent and to broaden the diversity, reach and the opportunities available to all filmmakers who are keen to engage with one another in a national filmmaking community;
  • confirms £5m is allocated to the new Innovation Fund, which will launch in Autumn 2010 (more details to follow);
  • provides £500,000 for film exports for each year of the plan;
  • confirms that 100% of recoupment from the Prints & Advertising Fund – which widens and supports the distribution of selected specialised films and British films – will, like the Film Fund, top up that fund’s budget.

Alongside this plan, the DCMS have been leading merger discussions between the UK Film Council and the BFI. These discussions have been underway since August 2009 and continue.

The new appointments to Tanya ‘Harry Potter/Heyday Films’ Seghatchian’s team include: 

  • Lizzie Francke, former head of EIFF and BFI Governor, will focus on experimental feature length films, national engagement and showcasing new talent;
  • Chris Collins, executive for Pawel Pawlikowski’s Last Resort, amongst others will focus on ideas for future film practices for both emerging and established filmmakers, from micro/low budget features and shorts, through to 3D blockbusters.

Launching UK Film: Digital innovation and creative excellence, Tim Bevan CBE, Chairman of the UK Film Council, said, “We’ve set out a renewed mission, a new set of priorities, and a new way of working. With the right level of support, a successful British film industry can continue to help get the UK out of recession, drive innovation and create more highly-skilled jobs. Further tough choices probably lie ahead, but having reduced our overheads by 20% and positively responded to the needs of British filmmakers we’re now in the best place we can be to support and promote UK film in the years ahead.”

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, announced that the new £15m-a-year Film Fund had opened its doors for business. Managed by a new team of experienced senior production and development executives, the fund has introduced a brand new online application process in which applicants will set out their creative and strategic visions for their film.

Woodward commented: “The new Film Fund’s primary focus is creative excellence. Tanya and her team will support filmmakers who want to put British filmmaking at the centre of our national culture and on the international map. The aim is for the Film Fund to attract the best talent, encourage creative risk taking, and deliver great films to audiences.

“Joining Tanya in the search for creative excellence will be a team of three Senior Production and Development Executives with an impressive and broad range of film industry expertise. Natascha Wharton, Lizzie Francke, and Chris Collins each have big production successes under their belts – together, it’s a team that will provide a wide range of expertise and tastes as well as a supportive, energetic and ambitious home for British filmmaking talent.

“The team will all work across the full range of projects in production and development, but individually they will also have specific responsibilities.”

The Film Fund is open for applications from 1 April, but it will be presenting a more detailed strategy to the UK Film Council Board in the coming months. It has already been agreed that a portion of the £15m budget will be ring-fenced for development – although there will be no automatic assumption that projects developed will become films that the fund would then invest in at the production stage. The remaining budget will be safeguarded for the Film Fund’s own production investments. Further details will be announced in the coming months, in addition to details of the Film Fund’s non-London investment target and how the new online showcase will operate.

Natascha Wharton

Natascha has been at Working Title Films for most of her film career.  During her time there,  she set up WT2, Working Title’s low budget film division.  The first film through that division was Billy Elliot, on which she was an Executive Producer.  She was Executive Producer on a further ten films through WT2, including Shaun of the DeadAli G Indahouseand My Little Eye. Later, when WT2 was absorbed into WT’s main slate Development Department, she became Head of Development and was Executive Producer on Hot Fuzz.

 

Lizzie Francke

Lizzie started her career as a film critic in the early 1990s, contributing to titles such as The Guardian, The Observer, Sight and Sound and Screen International.  During this period she also wrote the book Script Girls: The History of Women Screenwriters in Hollywood. In 1997 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and in her five years there re-established the festival as a key showcase for British cinema. She moved into production in 2001, first for Little Bird, where she co-produced Marc Evans’s thriller Trauma, then as Executive Producer for EM Media, where her credits include ControlAnd When Did You Last See Your Father?, A Complete History of My Sexual Failures and Better Things. She also acted as the British co-producer on Vinyan, the second film from the cult Belgium director Fabrice du Welz, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Lizzie has been a Development Producer for the UK Film Council’s Development Fund since January 2008. She managed the First Feature stream, which is dedicated to emerging writing and directing talent. Films that she worked on during that period include the The Arbor, directed by Clio Barnard and debuting at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, and artist Gillian Wearing’s directorial debut Self Made, which is currently in post-production. 

 

Chris Collins

Chris started his career working in television documentaries, after which he joined BFI Productions in 1997 as a development and production executive, where he oversaw films such as John Maybury’s Love is the Devil and Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People. He then spent ten years in the independent sector as a producer working with filmmakers such as Pawel Pawlikowski, Francesca Joseph and Sarah Gavron on critical successes Last ResortMy Summer of LoveTomorrow La Scala! and Brick Lane. He also worked with BBC Films on a series of shorts with filmmakers like Vito Rocco and Andrea Arnold. Since 2007 Chris worked as a Development Producer in the UK Film Council’s Development Fund where he managed the funding strand for experienced writers, directors and producers. Projects developed range from new screenplays by Duane Hopkins, Noel Clarke, Matt Greenhalgh and Hanif Kureishi to the recently completed Tamara Drewe, written by Moira Buffini from Posy Simmond’s graphic novel and directed by Stephen Frears.

see original article http://www.netribution.co.uk/stories/finance/1870-ukfc-launch-new-p15m-fund-appoints-wharton-collins-a-franke-confirms-innovation-fund

3D: Eye-popping economics

March 29, 2010

from variety.com

Auds embrace 3D but ticket fees turn heads

By PAMELA MCCLINTOCK

 

Surely there can never be too much of a good thing in Hollywood. Right?

For years, a hot-button topic was the conversion of movie screens to digital projection, an innovation heralded to bring about the revival of 3D on a grander, more immersive and more lucrative scale.

Now that the revival is in full blush — with three consecutive years of record box office bolstered by 3D, especially in 2009 — the economics of such eye-popping filmmaking are playing an increasingly major factor in Hollywood planning.

They’re also raising questions as to how long the boom will reverberate and how deep auds’ appetites for 3D are, especially as the ticket upcharge rises dramatically. Some studios are worried that exhibs might price people right out of the theater.

As evidenced by “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” 3D can increase a movie’s gross by as much as one-third. In just 17 days, “Alice” grossed $265 million domestically and $300 million internationally for a total of $565.8 million. “Avatar” is the highest-grossing pic, at $736.9 million domestically and $1.94 billion overseas through March 21.

It’s found money. Nobody ever dared increase the tickets by as much as 50%,” one studio exec says. “Now, they have something to do it with: 3D. And guess what — the public is buying it. Let’s say ‘Alice’ cumes $300 million domestically. At least $70 million comes from 3D.”

3D revenues also help to offset the dramatic downturn in the DVD market. “It’s a new revenue stream for content creators,” one veteran exec says.

Generally speaking, the box office split between studios and exhibs is 50-50 domestically and 45-55 overseas. And while the same splits hold true for 3D titles, those revenues are offset by the costs associated with creating the 3D experience.

For the studios, shooting a film in 3D from inception begins at a base cost of $20 million above a film’s core budget. Opting to convert a 2D film to 3D after shooting comes with a lower pricetag, averaging about $10 million, but the figure also can be higher.

Warner Bros.’ late decision to convert “Clash of the Titans” to 3D raised eyebrows across Hollywood. Some say the conversion cost $5 million; others put it much higher. Warners won’t say, but points out that it successfully converted Polar Express.”

If “Clash” works in 3D, other studios are sure to follow suit and begin converting some of their event titles with the after-production conversion process, too.

As part of their deals with exhibs, studios also have to pay for 3D glasses, whether disposable or reusable. That bill can average $5 million to $7 million per picture domestically.

And, of course, theater owners are still paying to convert more screens to digital 3D. The cost of converting a screen to digital — a prerequisite for showing 3D — can be more than $100,000. Studios are helping to defray some of these costs by paying a “virtual” print fee, at least for the time being. The amount of virtual print fees are something of a secret, but insiders say they are usually capped at around $1,000 per print.

For theater owners, the lure of 3D — much as it was in the 1950s and ’60s — is in providing a unique experience that can’t be replicated at home. Getting auds into theaters is primarily a gateway to selling them pricey treats at the snack bar.

As a result, theater owners have been loath to raise ticket prices much. Increases typically ranged from 20¢ to 30¢ a year; a 40¢ rise would have been frowned upon.

However, exhibs are savoring the added gravy of the 3D ticket upcharge.

The profits for exhibs come from concessions,” says one studio exec. “If a person comes in with a $20 bill, he pays $7 for the ticket and $13 on food. They’re making 75¢ on the dollar off concessions, but only 50¢ on the dollar at the box office, if they’re lucky.”

Now, all of a sudden, they are getting a bigger percentage of (their revenues from) the box office,” says another exec.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America and the National Assn. of Theater Owners have long touted moviegoing as the least expensive form of entertainment, since sports, live theater and theme parks cost much more.

But on a percentage basis, the escalation of ticket prices driven by 3D represents an enormous jump in a short span of time. The exhibition biz is unique in being able to get away with such increases in tough economic times.

In the year since pics like DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens,” Disney’s “Up” and 20th Century Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” helped pioneer higher prices for digital 3D — with a typical $2 to $3 extra premium on every ticket — the cost of getting a 3D eyeful is growing downright eye-popping in some markets.

Last week, ahead of the high-profile releases of “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Clash of the Titans,” Wall Street media analyst Richard Greenfield released a survey of 3D ticket prices at 10 theaters. It revealed that the average upcharge on a 3D admission had risen 8.3%. One theater instituted a 26% jump.

But Greenfield’s report was just a general barometer of the dramatic boost in 3D premium charges. An informal survey by Variety finds that circuits, including AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment, are starting to charge at least $3.50 to $4 more for 3D titles, with a handful of theaters in marquee markets such as New York and Los Angeles pushing added fees even higher. The previous upcharge average was $2 to $3.

At AMC Century City 15 in Southern California, for example, the upcharge for a 3D ticket is $5 — meaning adults could pay $18.50 on the weekend to see a 3D title; children, $14.50.

Prices are going up even in smaller markets. The Regal Edwards Bakersfield 14 in Bakersfield, Calif., charges $3.50 more for a 3D ticket. Usual prices are $10 for adult ($10.50 on the weekend) and $7 for a child. A 3D ticket for a kid is $10.50, a 50% increase over a regular ticket price; an adult would pay $14, a 33% jump.

The questions now are how much audiences are willing to pay for the 3D experience, and how long will the experience be enticing enough to warrant those extra fees?

A year ago, there was much discussion over whether the marketplace would even have enough 3D screens to cover “Avatar.” The gap in screen count has narrowed since then, and distribs and exhibs now predict there will be enough 3D locations by December to support two 3D pics releasing on the same date. But there’s still a crunch, with the March 26 debut of “How to Train Your Dragon” sharing the landscape with “Alice” and a fading-but-still-around “Avatar” as Warner Bros.’ “Titans” looms on April 9.

But once it’s routinely possible to have multiple 3D titles on screens and competing for attention at the same time, some in the biz wonder if auds will grow weary of the experience and the higher ticket cost.

We run the risk of losing the value movies once were and becoming a luxury item,” says a Fox exec. “This industry has touted itself as the most cost-effective form of entertainment. But we are rapidly moving out of that arena.”

History suggests that Hollywood ought to tread carefully in its aggressive push of 3D. The novelty of all sorts of film innovations — talkies, all-color films and, more recently, CGI animated features — eventually diminished for auds. After Hollywood saw some major hits in the CGI toon biz, expectations were brought back down following a handful of pricey CGI toons that disappointed, including “The Ant Bully” and “Surf’s Up.”

In other words, once the novelty factor plays out, the movie itself better be good. Technology can only keep the audience occupied for so long. “The floodgates have opened,” one studio topper says. “But there’s no way of knowing what will happen when 3D becomes commonplace. When the first CGI animated movies were made, they were a big deal, they were events. And then there were a bunch that didn’t work.”

Imax, after years of struggle, is a big beneficiary of 3D. Imax has always charged a premium, since it offered a “bigger” experience even before 3D. Imax 3D has built an avid fanbase, sending the company into the black. Its domestic gross on “Avatar” was north of $200 million, the best in the company’s history.

Imax, however, is insulated to a degree that regular exhib chains are not: With a relatively small number of screens, it can play only so many movies, and its deals with the studios have grown from only a few titles a year to eight in 2010. So the experience retains a uniqueness-factor for auds.

The challenge for all sides is to keep up pic quality and not fall into gimmickry.

Early 3D adopters James Cameron and Jeffrey Katzenberg are urging Hollywood to slow down when it comes to converting pics to 3D after production. Michael Bay has been outspoken about his reluctance to shoot the next “Transformers” film in 3D, questioning whether the heavy cameras and production demands are flexible enough for his helming style.

In an industry often keen to follow a hit with more of same, it’s telling that these high-profile creatives are urging caution. Maybe there can be too much of a good thing.

see orgininal article

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118016987.html?categoryid=3764&cs=1&nid=2570&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+variety%2Fnews%2Ftechnology+%28Variety+-+Technology+News%29&utm_content=Netvibes

Street Artist Banksy Sets Release Strategy For Subversive Feature Directing Debut

March 29, 2010

from deadline.com

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Exit Through The Gift Shop, one of Sundance’s most subversive entries, is getting an unorthodox theatrical release. It has been acquired for distribution, sort of, by Producers Distribution Agency, which is run by Cinetic Media’s John Sloss, who repped the film at the festival.

Most buzzworthy Sundance films got bought for minimum guarantees by established distributors who made P&A commitments. This one, a documentary directed by the mystery-shrouded street artist Banksy, will debut in New York, L.A. and San Francisco on April 16 and then slowly platform to other cities. Through PDA, Sloss  will book the theaters and handle the marketing and publicity with indie vets Richard Abramowitz and Donna Daniels.

When I passed by the Egyptian Theater one day during the festival, Sloss grabbed me to see the film. Without giving too much away, it focuses on Thierry Guetta, a French aspiring filmmaker who sets out to film street artists-turned art gallery fixtures like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, and then tries his own hand at it, despite questionable talent. It was well received and was funny in a Borat way, and many questioned if the whole thing was a put-on. Sloss swore the self-distribution strategy wasn’t done because no established distributor made an offer. There were several, he said.

Sloss said the strategy is right for Banksy, who never shows his face, and who left his mark at Sundance creating street paintings on walls that included rats wearing 3D glasses. He also decorated the side of a barn visible on the way into town, but that got quickly whitewashed.

“The 20th Century distribution model involved the transfer of rights for 15 to 20 years to distributors who said, `we have the access and knowledge you don’t, give us your film,’” Sloss said. “Now, there are a lot of high quality distribution and marketing execs for hire, and in the 21st Century, is the other model always necessary? We showed this to the head of Landmark Theaters, and he loved it. When Banksy has such an ability to generate awareness, do we really need significant P&A when so much of what Banksy does is viral?”

While Banksy be on hand to paint each town with his own version of a one-sheet?

“I’m not ruling anything out,” Sloss said.

see original article

http://www.deadline.com/2010/03/street-artist-bansky-sets-release-strategy-for-subversive-feature-directing-debut/

March 21, 2010

by Peter Katz and Jessica Richman

from culturehacker.workbookproject.com

MovieblogRemember the choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) books?  Those old childhood standbys are being recycled in the form of audience participation in movies, theatres, and online. Does she or doesn’t she? You get to decide…

In movies, CYOA has taken several forms. In 2006, Lean Forward Media, a company started by two Harvard Business School grads, created The Abominable Snowman, a CYOA-based DVD designed for children. In 2008, SilkTricky created the online movie Survive the Outbreak, a zombie flick that lets you CYOA. (A heist movie – Bank Run – is in the works.) Survive the Outbreak has a total of 21 scenes, with 10 total decision points: six options lead to death, and two lead to survival. (h/tTubefilter.tv)  More recently, creators have linked YouTube videos based on user clicks, a kind of DIY CYOA (examples). And just a couple of weeks ago? The web series Spade.

Some obstacles to uptake of this new format are familiar: audience familiarity with the medium, new ways of thinking by designers and filmmakers, technical issues with managing clicks. Moreover, these experiments raise some interesting artistic questions: what is the ideal ratio of decision points to scenes? Where should those decision points be placed? Does it differ for adults vs. children? One terrific feature of new media is that its easy to gather data to learn more about what works best – but it also means that there is still a lot of experimentation is left to do.

From a business perspective, the question, as always, is monetization. SilkTricky solves this problem by simultaneously formatting the online movies as iPhone games (which I couldn’t find in the online store for some reason); Lean Forward Media is selling children’s DVDs to parents (but they haven’t produced a movie since 2006, so I’m not sure how well that’s going). An interview with Lynn Lund of SilkTricky noted that they spent $35k on their movie, not including pre- or post-production, which they did themselves. These movies are not cheap.

But audiences really seem to like them. Web reviews of Survive the Outbreak were quite positive, with many lamenting only that the movie wasn’t longer (and some that the acting was bad – but that’s not exactly new for a zombie flick). That’s another possible problem with these new technique – they must stand on their own as movies and cannot rely on exclusively on a gimmick. So a filmmaker has to make 21 scenes to get to 8 endings, instead of (if we assume a similar ratio) three scenes to get to one. Making more scenes is more expensive, and demand will have to justify that cost.

What hasn’t been done on a wide scale are CYOA movies in movie theatres. CYOA has been used in live theatre productions (for example, the 2007 run of Intimate Exchanges, reviewed in the NYT) and in screenings at SXSW (The Weathered Underground, 2010). The question, though, is whether this technique could be used to bring people back to the theatres from their Netflix and their online gaming. And no one has yet put up the money to resolve that question. If audiences like it (as they seem to so far, at least on their own computer screens), this could lead to greater participation and engagement and perhaps a boost to the theatre-going experience.

There’s a reason why we all remember the CYOA books – they’re lots of fun. The next few years will undoubtedly see more attempts to transfer that sense of power and enjoyment to the big screen.

see original article http://culturehacker.workbookproject.com/2010/03/real-time-audience-feedback/