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July 2, 2017

Bawdy Nun Comedy ‘The Little Hours’ Soars at Specialty Box Office

All of a sudden the scary decline at the indie box office has reversed. Through the first five months of 2017, only four films opening limited in the standard four New York/Los Angeles theaters opened with a per theater average of $20,000. In the last four weeks, four films have opened strong as “Beatriz at Dinner” (Roadside Attractions), “The Big Sick” (Lionsgate) and “The Beguiled” (Focus) opened well and reached crossover crowds.

This week’s addition, Sundance comedy hit “The Little Hours” (Gunpowder & Sky) is the latest surprise. Loosely inspired by the bawdy 14th-century Boccaccio classic “The Decameron” (The Hollywood version starred Joan Fontaine while Pasolini shocked in 1971), this tale is set in the Medieval Italian countryside with bawdy contemporary dialogue as a randy peasant hides out at a convent after his master catches him with his wife. It did strong business at four theaters on two coasts.

This comes the same week as Netflix debuted Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” to strong media response with limited theater openings in the two cities. (As always, no grosses were reported for the South Korean Cannes competition premiere.) Also showing up in a handful of theaters was Sean Penn’s “The Last Face” (Saban) also showing on Video on Demand. It got zero attention, likely to its benefit after disastrous reviews at Cannes 2016.

Meantime, “The Beguiled” blasted out to 674 theaters and a Top Ten showing, while the more slowly expanding “The Big Sick” continued its even more impressive showing in 71. These two bolster the recent indie box office vitality.


The Little Hours (Gunpowder & Sky) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2017

$61,560 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $30,780

And now for something completely different. The weekend’s best limited opener stands out as one of the top openers of the year. This comedy with an ensemble of millennial comedians (including Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Dave Franco and Molly Shannon) about randy nuns fighting over a runaway peasant has its roots in classic literature. Smartly marketed by Gunpowder & Sky, which has had several recent streaming releases with limited theatrical play — this is their first traditional release — the comedy opened at the Sunshine in New York and Arclight Hollywood to strong initial response.

Impressive for its youthful appeal, the numbers went up 16 per cent on Saturday which suggests upbeat word of mouth. Favorable reviews and marketing clicked, but the oddball comedy (Jeff Baena also directed the Sundance premiere “Joshy” and co-wrote “I Heart Huckabees”) offered a welcome alternative to the usual specialized fare. This will be an interesting one to watch in upcoming weeks.

What comes next: This expands to around 30 total theaters this week and more than double that the next.

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography

“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography”

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (Neon) – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Toronto, New York 2016

$12,078 in 3 theaters; PTA: $4,026; Cumulative: $12,078

Errol Morris’ latest actually opened in Toronto last week (climaxing a retrospective of his acclaimed documentaries), with New York and Los Angeles coming along this weekend. This latest effort, less intense on the surface at least than most of his films, deals with a quiet Massachusetts photographer whose life’s work is shooting giant portrait Polaroids. It got the usual strong set of reviews his films usually receive

What comes next: Morris’ films always get national art house play, and this should be no exception.

13 minutes

“13 Minutes”

13 Minutes (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 56; Festivals include: Berlin 2015, Seattle 2016

$12,612 in 3 theaters; PTA: $4,204

German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall,” with its famously YouTube re-subtitled Hitler bunker scene, and Nicole Kidman-starring Don Siegel remake “Invasion”) returned to his homeland for this recounting of a 1939 assassination attempt on Hitler. Its U.S. release has been long coming — this premiered in early 2015 at the Berlin Festival. Two and a half years later, this initial U.S. release brought minor results for SPC.

What comes next: Expect this to get a usual full arthouse release in upcoming weeks to maximize potential.

Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge

“Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge”

The Society for Arts

Marie Curie: The Conquest of Knowledge (Big World) – Festivals include: Berlin, San Francisco 2017

$(est.) 16,000 in 5 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,200

A biopic on the immortal scientist is focused on her struggles to be taken seriously in a male-dominated field. This European production opened in five theaters to initially modest results.

What comes next: The subject matter likely propels this to further big city play.

Pop Aye (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Sundance, Rotterdam 2017

$4,332 in 1 theater; PTA: $4,332; Cumulative: $13,034 (includes pre-release revenue).

This seems to be the week for stories of human interaction with large animals in Asian settings. Opening parallel to “Okja,” this made-in-Thailand Sundance-premiered tale of a trek with an elephant from Bangkok out to the countryside opened at New York’s Film Forum on Wednesday (5-day total: $6,034).

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday.

The Reagan Show (Gravitas Ventures) – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Tribeca, Seattle 2017

$5,500 in 2 theaters; PTA: $2,750

This CNN documentary about the staging of the Reagan presidency opened in two New York/Los Angeles theaters. Its positive critical reaction will enhance its VOD interest this week.

What comes next: Streaming starts on Tuesday.

“Le Trou”

Le Trou (Rialto) (reissue)

$7,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $7,500

Jacques Becker’s classic 1960 prison escape story opened in New York to the usual restoration results, including some good media attention that will elevate this in its future multi-venue presentations.

What comes next: The usual niche theaters in major cities should see play for this ahead.

“The Beguiled”

Week Two

The Beguiled (Focus)

$3,260,000 in 674 theaters (+670); PTA: $4,836; Cumulative: $3,579,000

After its very strong platform opening, Sofia Coppola’s Civil War gothic drama expanded quickly to impressive initial national results. Smartly building on the auteur director’s marquee draw, its Cannes showings (and the Best Director prize) along with its cast, this has enjoyed two successful weekends to set it up for bigger things.

The best recent comparison is to Focus’ “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” That Holocaust drama also had a credible cast (led by Jessica Chastain) but lesser reviews with an initial week’s release of fewer theaters (541) resulted in a slightly higher gross of $3.3 million.

This was good enough for a #8 overall position. That will help elevate the drama even more to compete for theaters in the heart of the summer. We’ll need another weekend to gauge how big a breakout this could be, but at this point it is positioned to perform at the same high teens level reached by “Zookeeper.”

“The Big Sick”

The Big Sick (Lionsgate)

$1,672,000 in 71 theaters (+66); PTA: $23,552; Cumulative: $2,229,000

A very strong second weekend expansion for this culture clash family comedy/drama continues to promise a significant crossover appeal as it grows. The numbers are in the range of top late-year Oscar contenders, standing somewhere between “Manchester By the Sea” (also an Amazon Studio film) and “Moonlight,” both of which did quite well in somewhat fewer theaters their second weekend. This will break nationally on July 14.

The Bad Batch (Neon); also available on Video on Demand

$27,736 in 46 theaters (+16); PTA: $603; Cumulative: $146,810

Ana Lily Amirpour’s latest genre-oriented film continued its theatrical run while streaming with minor results.

My Journey Through French Cinema (Cohen)

$4,979 in 2 theaters (-1); PTA: $2,490; Cumulative: $26,762

Bertrand Tavernier’s travels through his country’s film past continued in New York and Los Angeles for not bad results for its nearly four hour length.

Food Evolution (Abramorama)

$2,744 in 2 theaters (+1); PTA: $1,372; Cumulative: $7,057

Los Angeles added on to the release of this doc about GMOs. The results continue to be minor.

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)

Beatriz at Dinner (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$1,190,000 in 683 theaters (+192); Cumulative: $4,474,000

Miguel Arteta’s film about two disparate worlds clashing over dinner continues its run with more theaters. Roadside smartly got this out ahead of a wave of strong specialized/older audience releases; they will end up with a gross somewhere over $7 million.

The Hero (The Orchard) Week 4

$920,315 in 401 theaters (+320);  Cumulative: $2,117,000

Sam Elliott’s turn as an actor reflecting on his career and life had a big jump in theaters this week positive results. It had a 50 per cent Saturday night jump, suggesting strong response from its intended older audience.

The Book of Henry (Focus) Week 3

$270,545 in 363 theaters (-287); Cumulative: $3,870,000

Colin Trevorrow’s return to small-scale work between his “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars” assignments is quickly fading after a disappointing release.

Paris Can Wait (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8

$269,498 in 214 theaters (-194);  Cumulative: $4,710,000

Eleanor Coppola’s French-set romance is winding down as her daughter Sofia’s “The Beguiled” takes off. Its total results could see it approach a respectable $6 million.

READ MORE: How the Coppola Family Dynasty Makes Movies Together

Maudie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$98,581 in 32 theaters (+4); Cumulative: $2,931,000 (U.S. cumulative: $315,448)

This biopic about an eccentric Newfoundland artist (Oscar contender Sally Hawkins) continues its slow expansion (its third week in U.S. release after an earlier opening strong Canadian specialized result) with modest results.

The Exception (A24) Week 4

$101,904 in 48 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $393,054

Excellent hold with the same theater count for this recreation of an encounter between the exiled German Kaiser and Nazi power in the days before World War II.

The Women’s Balcony (Menemsha) Week 18

$66,647 in 26 theaters (-8);  Cumulative: $741,353

This Israeli orthodox-community crisis drama continues to add to its impressive total now in its fifth month of slow national releases.

My Cousin Rachel (Fox Searchlight) Week 5

$55,000 in 61 theaters (-102);  Cumulative: $2,585,000

Disappointing throughout its run, this Rachel Weisz gothic mystery is running out of gas earlier than expected.

Also noted:

Chasing Trane (Abramorama) – $14,762 in 7 theaters; Cumulative: $363,061

Source: IndieWire film

July 2, 2017

The Greatest Rolling Shutter Demo EVER! Why Are Vertical Lines Crooked In My Video?

There are a lot of <b>Rolling Shutter Demo</b> videos around the web, but this one from SmarterEveryDay is #11 on the youtube trending list and I just had to …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

June 30, 2017


This article originally appeared on Column Five.

Data visualization is an incredibly valuable tool for marketers. It helps you communicate important insights in a visual way, helping you deliver your message more impactfully. But not everyone does data design right—even if they say they do. A good data visualization agency knows data is about more than charts and graphs; it’s about bringing your data to life.


To make the hunt a little easier, here are 8 great questions to ask to help narrow down your search for the right data visualization agency.


Many agencies can churn out an infographic, but a great data visualization agency knows the fundamentals of data. They don’t just design; they can analyze and dig into the data to uncover interesting insights. They should also demonstrate that knowledge and share their knowledge and expertise freely. You want to know you’re working with true experts.


Data analysis is only step one of creating a great data visualization. Turning those insights into a solid narrative and using data visualization to support that narrative is what will make your project truly successful. You don’t just want a data visualization agency to plug your data into a design program. You want them to help you create the most impactful narrative possible.


Now here’s where a lot of agencies fall short. Yes, you can design a chart. Yes, you can add a pretty illustration. But this is not what true data visualization is.

The entire point of the art is to make data as comprehensible as possible, to present it in the most easy-to-digest format. There are subtle but very effective ways to do this. The way you label, order, or use color can help or hurt your data visualization. (You can find out more about best practices in the Data Visualization 101 e-book from our sister company, Visage.) Ask them about their data design philosophy to get a sense of how they approach it.


There are many ways to present data visualizations, including infographics, interactive experiences, video, and more. The format you choose is informed by your data story, which is why it’s so important to work with someone well-versed in data storytelling. They should be able to design whatever the data requires.


If you have a specific idea in mind, you want to work with a data visualization agency that has the skills and experience to execute it for you. (You also want someone who can tell you if your idea doesn’t serve the data well.) Take a look at their portfolio to see if they’ve created similar work or have experience with similar clients or industries.


You want to work with people who are passionate about their craft. Asking this question will give you a sense of their knowledge and enthusiasm for data visualization. Trust us, any self-respecting data nerd will have an answer. (And if you want to hear some very strong opinions, you might also ask them which side of the pie chart debate they’re on.)


You can comb through their portfolio to get a sense of what they do, but if you aren’t the most data literate person, it’s likely you’ll miss the nuance and craftsmanship that goes into a strong data visualization. Having them explain their thought process behind a design or what they did to help enhance comprehension will give you a sense of their creative process and problem-solving skills.


There are a lot of moving parts in a major data visualization project. Content needs approval, brand guidelines needs to be communicated, data need to be double-checked. If these responsibilities are unclear, if they fall through the cracks, or are ignored completely, it can affect the quality—and credibility—of your data visualization. Make sure you are clear on how they work, and how they expect to work together with you.


You want a creative partner you can rely on to produce good-quality work. If they seem less than confident, if their pricing is murky, or if you get a general bad vibe, it’s best to move on. Again, a lot of agencies claim that they can do any data visualization, but it is a very specific skillset that requires true expertise.


You don’t want an antagonistic partner, but you don’t want a total yes-man either. A great piece of data visualization happens when the best ideas make it to the front—regardless of ego. If you have a great design suggestion, they should be open to it. If you’re heading in the wrong direction, you want them to tell you so. The goal is the best project possible. Work with a data visualization agency that puts that value above all else.


When looking for the right data visualization agency, don’t look for a gun for hire. You want an intelligent, thoughtful, creative partner to help bring your vision to life and steer you in the right direction.

To learn more about the value of data visualization, learn more about why data-driven storytelling helps brands, find out what 9 great sources of data you should be using, and learn about why our brains love data visualization.

Source: Visual News

June 29, 2017

SXSW Film Festival Favorite The Big Sick In Theaters Now

“You know, when I heard the story of their romance and their relationship, I just felt this would make an incredible movie,” said Producer Judd Apatow.

Kumail Nanjiani and Apatow met at SXSW in 2012 and that is where the seeds for The Big Sick began to grow. The last week of 2016, Apatow posted about the experience on his Instagram page, “The week Girls premiered five years ago. I did Pete Holmes‘ podcast with Chris Gethard and Kumail. I didn’t know these three men. In 2016, I got to work with Pete on Crashing for HBO, Chris’ one man show Career Suicide also for HBO and Kumail’s movie The Big Sick. You will see all of those projects in 2017. I am glad Pete’s manager Dave Rath strong armed me into doing the You Made It Weird podcast. It was meant to be. Or I am lazy about meeting people to work with.”

The Big Sick is based on the real-life courtship between Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (script co-writers), and tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail, who connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets.

The film is directed by Michael Showalter, who co-wrote and directed the SXSW 2015 Audience Award-winning film Hello, My Name Is Doris. Apatow and Barry Mendel serve as producers, both of whom have had several projects screen at the SXSW Film Festival including Knocked Up (2007) Girls (2012), God Help the Girl (2014), Trainwreck (2015), and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016). Apatow also had a cameo in James Franco’s The Disaster Artist (2017). Additionally, two features Apatow had at the festival this year, May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers and The Big Sick won Audience Award accolades.

Be sure to check out our Q&A with Apatow, Mendel, Gordon and Nanjiani below, moderated by SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson. Comedian Hannibal Buress also makes a surprise appearance!

Explore More Content From SXSW 2017

Get inspired by a multitude of diverse visionaries at SXSW – browse more 2017 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, recaps, late-breaking announcements, and updates.

The post SXSW Film Festival Favorite The Big Sick In Theaters Now appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 29, 2017

5 Essential Settings You Need To Double Check Before Shooting Video On Your DSLR (Or Cinema Camera)

Learning to shoot video takes a lot of trial and error, and can be frustrating to say the least. When you’re just starting out you’re more likely …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

June 28, 2017

Watch: What Makes a 'Cinematic' Image? Cinematographers Try to Explain

Cinematographers attempt to define that X factor that makes an image ‘cinematic.'<p>Filmmakers and audiences have struggled to define “cinematic” since …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

June 28, 2017

2017 SXSW Film Festival Headliner Baby Driver In Theaters Now

“There’s no way to describe it and that just says, it’s a unique, special movie. You haven’t seen something like this before,” said cast member Eiza González.

Baby Driver takes audiences on a dramatically charged ride fueled by car chases, young love, and a high octane soundtrack spanning era and genre. The film has a standout ensemble cast including: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx.

Edgar Wright is best known for co-writing and directing Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World’s End. Wright was previously at SXSW for Attack the Block (2011), where he served as a producer.

Baby Driver took our SXSW patrons by storm, see why this film won our Audience Award – Headliner by watching it in theaters starting today! Read our interview with Wright below, as he discusses why he made this thrilling joyride of a movie.

Q: Tell us a little about your film?

EW: It’s a car movie that is driven by music.

Q: What motivated you to tell this story?

EW: Twenty four years ago, I became obsessed with the rock song “Bellbottoms” by Jon Spencer. I dreamt up the opening scene of what was to become Baby Driver while listening to the song obsessively. Now I’ve finally made the action movie set to music that was rattling around in my head for the last two decades and I’m excited to share it with the festival.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from this film?

EW: It was made to be seen large and played loud, so I hope the audience have as much of a blast watching it as we had creating it.

Lastly, check out coverage from the world premiere, including scenes from the red carpet and a Q&A with Wright and the cast, moderated by Austin’s own, Robert Rodriguez.

Explore More Content From SXSW 2017

Get inspired by a multitude of diverse visionaries at SXSW – browse more 2017 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, recaps, late-breaking announcements, and updates.

SXSW 2017 World Premiere of Baby Driver – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

The post 2017 SXSW Film Festival Headliner Baby Driver In Theaters Now appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 28, 2017


This article originally appeared on Column Five.

There are many tools you can use to tell your brand story, and each have their own advantages. We’ve covered many of them, especially data visualization and infographics. These data storytelling formats are useful, but there is another format that is often forgotten: interactive stories. This format brings data to life in exciting and dynamic ways, which is why we love it.

If you haven’t experimented with interactive stories—or even heard of them—here’s what you should know.


Interactive stories, infographics, or visualizations refer to a specific type of content, mostly found online. In its simplest form, interactive infographics are any web-based content that lets you interact with the information or data on screen. Technically, there are two features required to make something an interactive:

  1. Human input: You should be able to control the visual representation in some way. This might be possible through mouseovers, clicks, drop-down menus, checkboxes, or other features to let you interact with the information on screen.
  2. Response time: Your actions should affect the visualization in a timely manner. When you do something, you’ll see something on screen.

In short, it’s the communication of data in an interactive way. (For the most part, we’re referring to online interactive stories, but real-life interactive installations, A/R, or VR experiences also count.)


While there are many different formats for brand communication, interactive infographics are uniquely suited to help brands communicate in specific ways or deliver unique experiences. In general, you are most likely to see them used for data storytelling, fixed-narrative storytelling experiences, entertainment experiences, or practical tools. Depending on your goals, some applications may be better than others.


Good data stories come from good data, but sometimes you have far more data than a single static infographic or white paper can contain. In these instances, interactive infographics are the best way to effectively present what is otherwise overwhelming information. Making that data easier to navigate helps the audience interact with and synthesize that information in a pleasant way.

To deliver these data stories, interactive infographics usually take one of two specific approaches: narrative or explorative. Not every data interactive falls clearly into each category. Some offer a blend of the two, but there are benefits to each.

1) Narrative: This approach guides readers through the data in a linear fashion, delivering a single narrative that conveys context and insight and often gives viewers a specific takeaway.

Example: The Anatomy of a Breach interactive we created for Microsoft guides readers through a data heist, crafting a specific story around the data breach to emphasize how important data security is.

This type of interactive storytelling usually requires fewer resources to create because it is a simple, contained story.

2) Explorative: This type of storytelling puts viewers in the driver’s seat, letting them browse information and extract their own relevant or interesting stories.

Example: Northwestern University Qatar conducted a massive survey on Media use in the Middle East. With so much data—an incredible 10 million cells to be exact—a static infographic would be impossible. We turned the information into a streamlined, colorful, easy-to-navigate experience.

This type of interactive is good for large or complicated data sets; however, because it usually involves large amounts of data, it requires more resources to produce.


Even in the absence of hard data, interactives are still a great way to deliver any sort of information or story. Narratives offer a contained environment, which gives you control over the story. Imagine a simple click-through slideshow or a narrative enhanced with interactive elements, such as animations. This type of storytelling is best used to deliver a specific message.

Example: We collaborated with Good magazine to create an interactive experience that allowed readers to learn about how a hybrid car works by interacting with different elements. 


Viewers crave content that entertains or inspires. When you are looking to create novel experiences or give a piece of content an entertaining spin, interactivity is a fantastic way to do it. Any piece of content can be enhanced by:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Animation

Example: Our Beyond the Beat interactive tells the story of African-American musicians who made significant contributions to music. Copy, illustrations, and audio samplings bring their stories to life.


Interactive tools can help viewers complete a task, get a specific piece of information, or explore an interesting subject. (They can also be used to help your own company gather data.) For that reason, they provide immense value. Some common applications include:

Example: We collaborated with Mashable to create a quiz that polled their readers about how they pronounce certain tech terms. (The results were later visualized, providing even more content.)


Data storytelling a fantastic storytelling tool, but interactives are particularly well-suited to help marketers communicate with their audiences. Whether you’re trying to increase brand awareness, engage your audience, inform them about a product, or help them make a decision, interactives can give you an advantage.

1) They make valuable information easily accessible: Audiences want content that is relevant, useful, and most importantly worth their time. Delivering information in an easy-to-understand way is a huge service to them.

Providing this type of useful content also shows your audience you care and are interested in helping them access the information they want and need. The same goes for interactive tools that provide utility, such as calculators or product demos.

These unique resources make your audience look more fondly on your brand.

2) They encourage personal engagement: The goal of all content marketing is to establish a relationship with your reader. With interactives, you are welcoming them into the experience and encouraging them to come along with you.

Interactives put your audience in the driver’s seat of the story. Narratives guide them through a set experience, while explorative interactives allow them to set their own pace as they discover information. But both put interaction in their hands, encouraging them to dive in.

“If you think about visualizations as a mass medium, something made for huge audiences, interaction turns them into very personal tools,” says interactive expert Dominikus Baur. “Interaction enables people to adjust a visualization to their own needs and ask it different questions.”

This is a powerful way to create an intimate experience that helps form relationships.

3) They can provide real-time storytelling: Unlike static formats, an interactive with a dynamically updated dataset allows viewers to access real-time data that is always up-to-date. Static visualizations may need to be manually updated or adjusted, but a dynamic interactive just requires uploading the new data.

This convenience helps you provide accurate information quicker, giving you a competitive edge.


Before you dive into interactives, make sure you have a story that can be told through an interactive. Learn more about the 7 ways interactive infographics can tell your story and ask yourself these 5 questions to find out if you really have an interactive story.

If you’ve decided that you’re ready to hit the ground running, you might want to take a look at these 101 fantastic infographics to get a little inspiration and try these 5 tips to help your interactive infographics get the most traffic.

If you’re curious to see more of our work, head on over to our portfolio to see the many interactive infographics we’ve created for brands and publications. You can also get more tips on creating great interactives by checking out these posts.

Source: Visual News

June 27, 2017

Emmys’ Generation Gap: Digital Short-Form Series Contenders Wonder If Older Voters Even Know They Exist


Digital producers cheered last year when the Television Academy expanded its short-form programming categories. But then they saw the nominees and winners.

Most of last year’s short form contenders didn’t come from digital-first producers or platforms, but came from traditional networks and talent. Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital” led all nominees, followed by the History channel’s “The Crossroads of History” and AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462.”

“Childrens Hospital” ultimately won the Outstanding Series category, which included just one independent contender: “Her Story,” about two transgender women living in Los Angeles. Besides “Crossroads of History” and “Flight 462,” the two other nominees were behind-the-scenes looks at popular TV shows: “Hack into Broad City” and “UnREAL The Auditions.”

In the short form nonfiction or reality series, another marketing series won, FX’s “Inside Look: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

That wasn’t quite what the Academy hoped for when digital studios campaigned to expand the categories. “It’ll be great to see someone like [YouTube star] Tyler Oakley win an Emmy,” Brian Robbins then the CEO of AwesomenessTV, told Variety last year.

But with content on platforms like YouTube Red still mostly shut out, that ultimately left a bad taste in the mouth of the rapidly growing short-form digital production community. Moving to multiple categories was a big win for that world, but they have a way to go.

READ MORE: IndieWire’s Full Emmy Coverage

“I was a little bummed to see that most of the winners ended up being ancillary content from existing IP or TV shows,” said New Form CEO Kathleen Grace. “I do think we need some education and communication around what a digital short form series is.”

New Form is a studio behind 17 series found on mobile, OTT and on-demand platforms such as the YouTube Red romantic comedy “Single By 30,” starring Harry Shum Jr. (“Glee”) and Go90’s high school comedy “Mr. Student Body President.”

There’s no shortage of digital studios making waves: Judy McGrath’s Astronauts Wanted has the talk show “Tawk with Awkwafina” competing in the short form variety series category, and “H8ters” in the short-form comedy category, among others. AwesomenessTV produces the Go90 thriller “T@gged.” Rooster Teeth’s large stable of offerings includes the apocalyptic drama “Day 5.” And that’s just a brief sampling of the hundreds of eligible shorts.

“Awards are great for marketing,” said Kulap Vilaysack, whose “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” was produced for Seeso.

Young-skewing linear networks like Freeform (“My Boyfriend is a Robot”) and The CW’s CW Seed (“I Ship It”) have also gotten into the game.

“You’re going to see linear TV brands are eventually going to have to adapt and be more digital and therefore theyre going to have variable length content and suddenly they’re going to really care about short form,” Grace said. “They need to do that to drive traffic to their OTT platforms that they’re going to need to build because this audience is not going to wake up one day and start watching television linearly. Sorry, guys.”

But right now, Grace said digital producers looking to getting noticed by Emmy voters are still hampered by the fact that the TV Academy is still mostly an older demographic.

“They don’t know the stuff,” she said. “They don’t know that these series stand on their own and they’re not just add-ons and they’re not just derivative. The majority of voting members are not in the demo that consumes a bunch of Snapchat, or not in a demo that is embracing YouTube Red or Go90 as viewing platforms. They are not necessarily in the demo that is watching a ton of content on their phone.”




Grace is part of a new digital committee set up to build education and awareness about digital producers and series.

“As someone who has been in the world of digital for a very long time I do sometimes get impatient that I’m still explaining to people that the internet exists and people are watching content on it,” she said. “But at the same time, the world changes so fast and slow and I’m willing to ride that wave because ultimately this is where the audience is.”

Grace said she hasn’t seen much campaigning by digital producers this year, and that could be because they may have been discouraged by last year’s results.

“I think they’re sitting back this year and seeing what’s going to happen,” she said. “It felt challenging given the resources we have in digital to fight against ‘The Walking Dead.’”

But it’s also a financial concern: “It costs just as much to put an hour-long pilot on the Emmy For Your Consideration website as it does to put up 10 minutes,” she said. “The 10-minute show certainly didn’t have the same budget that an hour-long drama did.”

That may be why reaction appears to be mixed with producers regarding the Emmys. While many say they’re submitting, College Humor’s Spencer Griffin is less bowled over.

“We have a giant comical prop trash can in our office that’s called the awards trash can, where we put a lot of our awards,” he said. “Because we’ve been a website since 1999 and there are so many awards you can get. With the Streamys and the Webbys and the [he jokes] Awardees. I can’t imagine any one is in it for the awards.”

READ MORE: TV Academy Adds Music Supervisor, Reality Casting Emmy Categories; Restructures Interactive Awards

Separately, the TV Academy this year added more interactive categories, expanding to Outstanding Interactive Program; Outstanding Original Interactive Program; Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program; and Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within an Unscripted Program. Most entrants are digital extensions of TV shows, although Turner’s Super Deluxe will compete with its series “Live Telenovela.”

“This project we’re pushing and the stuff we’re doing in general, I’m not surprised the categories are different because the type of work we’re doing didn’t exist a year ago,” said Super Deluxe executive producer Cyrus Ghahremani. “It’s reassuring to see that [the Emmys] are evolving in the same way that we and the medium is.”

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Source: IndieWire Digital TV

June 27, 2017

Less, But Better: 4 Practical Ways To Create Enough Engaging Content

This article originally appeared on Marketo.

“Brands need to be pushing out new content all the time.

That’s what marketers have been hearing for the past few years—and many of us have bought into this thinking.

In response to this, and to fill the need of an “always on” content operation, there’s been a push for content teams to function as publishers. That push for more content is so intense that some brands are using the 24-hour newsroom approach to create more and more content in an attempt to be relevant.

This is understandable, but it’s not always the most efficient approach. Maintaining high-quality production without a break is hard. And, if the quality of your content starts slipping to the point where it’s not engaging, it’s not worth it. Weaker content brings down the quality of your overall content efforts. According to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, 60% of marketers say “creating enough engaging content” is their biggest challenge.

More Content Is Not the Answer

It seems, for some, that “creating enough engaging content” has been wrongly interpreted as “creating tons of content.” This is the core problem: many marketers are overly focused on the word “enough.” Instead, marketers should put a greater emphasis on the word “engaging.

Good content means creating better and more engaging content. Simply put: Quality > Quantity.

Here are four ways to focus on creating engaging content and not just pumping out content to fill your editorial calendar:

1. Put More of Your Eggs in Fewer Baskets

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve learned over the years that putting more of your eggs in fewer baskets often makes the most sense—at least for our team. Why is that, you may ask?

Well, say you had a plan to produce and buy media for 12 three-minute videos over the course of the year. That’s a lot of videos, and it will be hard to maintain momentum and quality. And this route may not make the most sense.

Instead, consider doing four videos throughout the year—and making each one the best possible video you can produce. Better yet, make each one you put out better than the one before. And then, after the release of each video, make sure that it makes sense to keep producing videos. If it does, then keep making them, and keep making them better. If it doesn’t, then consider stopping or reducing the volume of work you’re planning. Most brands have limited time and resources, and it’s better to allocate these things where they make the most sense.

Also, consider this: people will remember one beautiful video that you spent a lot of time fine-tuning and perfecting. People won’t remember a bunch of video pieces you rushed through production because the editorial calendar ruled supreme, and if they do remember them, it’ll likely be for the wrong reasons.

If, however, producing a lot of video content is a non-negotiable priority for your marketing team, consider the idea of scaling up gradually over time. It’s smarter to increase your investment gradually, and to develop momentum over time, than it is to come out of the gates at a pace that’s difficult to sustain.

Content marketing is a marathon not a sprint. And, there’s no finish line. That can sound daunting, but I personally prefer to be realistic so that I can plan accordingly.

2. Constantly Sanity Check Why You’re Creating the Content You Planned

Are you creating content because you have reason to believe that it will work (based on previous successes)? Or are you creating something simply because you decided to do so months ago?

Content strategy is iterative (everyone’s figuring it out as they go), and you need to make sure that you are always making room for changes in plans that are based on what’s working and not working.

How do you determine whether your content is working? You measure it, regularly. One of the ways that we sanity check our content plan is to talk about it, a lot. We have bi-weekly brainstorms to come up with new ideas and kill ideas that we don’t love (if we can’t make them better). Search plays a big role in our marketing efforts, so we do a comprehensive KPI check-in on a monthly basis. This enables us, on a rolling basis, to determine what type of content works and what doesn’t. This intel then shapes our brainstorming sessions and helps us to determine what to create in the future.

Then, at the end of each quarter, we do a debrief and we discuss a) what worked, b) what didn’t work, and c) what could work if we did things better/differently. This helps us ensure that we’re not spinning our wheels and just creating content because it sounded like a good idea months ago and we have the people and time to do it.

3. Slow Down and Iterate Until You Get Things “Just Right”

There’s a saying that I love: “Doing something right is better than doing something fast.”

Obviously, you don’t want to procrastinate so much that you never actually get anything done. On the contrary, the first draft or version of most things usually needs to be polished. Also, doing things right tends to take more time than you initially thought… this is just the nature of the beast; so, whenever possible, set more conservative timelines for the work that your team produces.

In an ideal scenario, this means giving yourself the time and space to create something great every time you set out to create a piece of content. Not doing this is counter-productive. Why kill yourself to hit a deadline, if what you ultimately put out is not something you’re proud of? You’re going to hate it, and it’ll dilute your brand.

While this can be difficult when you are on a limited timeline, it gets easier when you really pursue a quality over quantity approach with your content, whereby you’ve got more of your eggs in one basket, and you are constantly sanity checking what you’re working on.

4. Do You; Don’t Focus on the Competition

It’s good to be aware of what your competitors are doing, but you can’t let your marketing efforts devolve into a competition with other brands.

IMO, the best brands are the ones that know who they are, what they stand for, and stay true to this. Conversely, weaker brands follow the crowd, constantly looking for the next novel thing to tinker around with.

While it can sometimes be difficult, and it always takes a lot of dedication, you need to do what is right for you and your audience. They are ultimately the most important consideration when it comes to what you’re doing with your content efforts. Also, it’s important that you stay true to your brand because, chances are, people (read: customers) were drawn into it and don’t want it to change.

The best way to know if what you’re doing is working for the people you’re trying to reach? Ask them. Conduct surveys. Email your customers. Take them out to dinner. Whatever feedback mechanism works best for your business, do that.

Focus on the Right Thing

If you remember one thing from this post, I hope that it’s that people don’t care about how often you post, they care about what you post; they crave content that is useful, relevant, and valuable. Keeping this in mind is key to developing a content approach that prioritizes quality over quantity.

Source: Visual News