The Women in Film Festival kicks off today in Vancouver and I’ll be covering the New Media Forum today as well as other elements throughout the week.
As with any other conference, the wifi is spotty so my updates today will not be in total real-time. However I will cover the day in a single blog post, highlighting the best talks, discussions, and media elements such as video and photos produced throughout the forum. You can also follow everyone’s comments on Twitter using the tag #wiff09.
A lively discussion from a diverse group of new media professionals about where to step in and how to play. From education to experience to flying by the seat of their pants, hear about what have others tried (and learned) to bridge the traditional and new forms. [Bridging Media]
The focus is on new media forms and crossing them over from traditional film and production but also on the role of women – you can be an expert, you don’t need to be “techy”, you simply need to apply your skills and resources, using the best mediums possible for your audiences.
As the panelists are introducing themselves and their various journeys and projects, the big screen behind them is calling up their sites and videos – it’s a nice interactive display thus far.
Bridget produces videos online while Danika features ImprovEverywhere, organized flash-mob style gatherings of people organized online. “The bottom line is it’s all about stories, whether it’s on the internet, televisions or cell phones,” notes Danika. She mentions there are three ways to just get into this realm: take a class, a job, make partnerships with folks who know the business well, or just going for it. Each of the panelists shares their own route they have taken to get where they are, from education to the “power of collaboration”.
Straying a bit from the panel discussion about the paths they have taken, we watched a few demos of video sharing tools online, which is helpful. All of the panelists share their stories of working with and creating “digital entertainment strategies”.
Daniella is handed the mic so that she can introduce the New Forms Festival as well as Midforms, which is starting tomorrow at the Great Northern Way Campus and she also through in a plug for Fearless City‘s initiatives. “When you’re creating content on the web, you’re creating content for one viewer – it’s an intimate setting. But when you share that with a group the message shifts.”
One point that all panelists drive home (and that is totally on the mark) is that audience interaction and having a conversation is key. The organic marketing power of things like “Free Hug Day” videos on YouTube are very powerful – Bridget says she’s challenged when it comes to marketing herself, and I think she’s trying to say there are so many distractions that may make efforts seem less transparent. A comment from the audience says that it’s a very female issue and we tend to shy from our successes, which should be celebrated.
Another comment from the audience speaks to music rights and how videos on YouTube ignore copyrights when it comes to music in online video. The conversation shifted from making content free and gaining an audience and then transitioning that to business platforms. From the audience, “the goal of a blogger is to get a book deal and the goal of a video blogger is to get in movies,” noting “to sustain the endeavour,” you need to break from new media to mainstream but does this show the failure of blogs or video blogs then — if they’re treated as a stepping stone.
“Videos can contain a call to action,” says Monica who is always a lively and enjoyable speaker. “YouTube is the most popular site, it’s not the ONLY site out there.” Awesome, thanks to Monica for mentioning that (I was getting a little frustrated with all of the YouTube talk… as I am a Viddler girl myself). Monica also says that tagging is important for searchability and also search engine rank.
There are so many websites and social media tools out there but you don’t have to be on them all, however you should place your content where there is an audience. Erica mentions that she’s not a huge Facebook fan but she keeps profiles alive and updated because there are people on there who will flow through that profile and end up where you want them: on your website.
Monica mentions that you don’t need to be paranoid about sharing information online, “we’re not perfect and that’s the beauty of [sharing].” Carol brings up the characters of the series Mad Men who are on Twitter and how creating online profiles for characters in film, TV, theatre etc. can really be beneficial when interacting with your audience beyond the screen or stage. “It’s really important to work ethically within that space,” notes Erica because there does need to be transparency and there should be engagement. “You can actually start your shows up online to build an audience before they even launch.”
We took a quick lunch break and ran into two interesting women on our way back. One was from the Whistler Film Festival and the other was Alison Reid, the Director of tonight’s opening night film presentation: The Baby Formula. Both were curious about how they can find the time, people, and resources to start social media campaigns for their films and projects. Having covered several film festivals and done a handful of movie promotions on my site I could offer some tips but I think campaigns and strategies need to go far beyond blogger relations (and I’d be happy to help with those as well).
As well as some exhibitions:
I won’t be writing about the panels this afternoon as I have to do my weekly segment with Talk1410 followed by a quick interview for the Vancouver Opera’s blogging series, however I will be back to cover the reception this evening that is filled with interactive exhibits (and beer, thanks to Molson).