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DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in Dogfish (2)

Saturday
Jan042014

#googleglassmovie

A month ago I blogged about initial reactions to my new Google Glass wearable computing device, mostly the back story about why I decided to dive into this new world and my initial experiences. 

Well, I've been wearing Glass for about a month now, capturing still images and videos and entertaining my friends. Brilliant of Google to get people like me to pay them for the privilege of evangelizing their product, but hey, it's been fun being the first kid on the block with a new toy. 

My experience with the device was limited to image and video capture, primarily because connectivity is so difficult, especially as I use an iPhone not an Android device. Other problems remain, and I'm sure others will solve them. I'll also leave until another time my comments on the social dimension of this new class of wearable devices, except to say that my encounters wearing Glass produced more curiosity and astonishment than fear or snearing. Subterfuge is not that easy with a glowing cube attached to your forehead.

So herein I offer my first month with the Google Glass camera, a frenetic period with lots of travel, conferences, meetings, and of course the year-end holidays. I reduced my month into five minutes, along the way remembering how to user iMovie and why media editors have a right to be crazy. 

The image quality is, to my eye, pretty damned good for an amateur like me. What's great is the sponteneity of image capture -- especially after Google introduced its "blink" function that allows you to take a still image by blinking, without needing to power up the device. You don't have to find the camera in your pocket, open the app, aim and frame. You just blink. Like one of my friends said, "it's creepy." 

The hands-free essence of the wearable camera turns your body into a steadycam or a dolly, like the shot of my hand holding catfood while following the cat, and the 360-degree pivots that are so fun when you wear the camera. It's a more fragile version of the GoPro, a product I've never used beyond trade show demos. 

The worst thing about Glass' camera is the lack of an actual viewfinder. I couldn't frame shots as easily as I do with my cameraphone. As a result, you'll notice that many of my shots slice off the tops of heads because the camera is positioned slightly above the normal field of vision. 

Now that I'm used to wearing the damned things, I'm going to try to shoot interviews at CES and see if I can create a movie with more content. 

Sunday
Dec082013

Helping the Dogfish Fly

The ‘classic’ business accelerator model is an investor-backed bootcamp-style program that offers tech entrepreneurs money, training, advice, and access in exchange for a share of the company (think: Y Combinator and TechStars). 

Can the model work for indie film?

That question drove NYC-based producer James Belfer to expand the boundaries of his indie film company Dogfish Pictures by launching the Dogfish Accelerator to help filmmakers think like start-ups. Inspired by a summer at Tech Crunch, Belfer joined with his colleague Michelle Soffen to co-found an indie film accelerator, which held its demo day last Friday.

James Belfer (via #googleglass)

I was there as a minor mentor in the program, having spent an intense day of speed-dating with six of the eight companies in the program and some Skype calls along the way. I'd originally reached out to Dogfish for a panel for accelerators in the media business -- there are still only a handful (Media Camp, Matter Ventures, and ideaBOOST, which I advise).

I wanted to see how far these young companies could come in three months, and to learn how the Dogfish model has progressed its first time out. It’s one thing to generate press buzz, and quite another to execute.

Did it work?

The teams I met in September delivered much better pitches last Friday. Their business goals were more clearly articulated, and somebody made sure they were funny and engaging and warm. Even though they couldn’t explicitly raise money at the event, they all laid out their financial needs and how they’d use the money.

Me w/ Zach Lieberman, shot by Ryan Koo via #googleglass (their company, Exit Strategy is building a live-action game engine).Listening to the pitches, you could see the influence of the tech start-up spirit, even among those companies that were essentially offering single films or a slate of films (which was the majority). All of these companies had deeply absorbed the new paradigm for successful indie content – which is to know, find and connect with audiences long before the release date. All were exceedingly tech and social media savvy, and much more grounded in the entire business ecosystem they hoped to conquer.

But they’re running a marathon, not a sprint – it’s too soon to know whether Dogfish’s companies will succeed at raising funds and building sustainable businesses.  

To help, Belfer announced that Dogfish will work with the eight companies on an ongoing basis as they raise funds and launch their businesses, and that “by next year, I hope to be telling you details about a Dogfish Studio.” The 2014 program will kick off in September. Aspirants can register early on the website prior to the official application process.

I can’t wait to see what happens. 

Allie Esslinger of Section II, the first VOD platform for premium content for lesbians.Jessalyn Abbott gives me and my #googleglass an infectious smile (Aptly, her company is Go Infect Films.)