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WIFF New Media Forum 2009

March 4th, 2009 @ 9:30am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

WIFF New Media Forum

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 first panel today is Getting Your Feet Wired including: Bridget O’Neill, Dennis Chenard, Catherine Warren, Daniella Sorrentino, with moderator Danika Dinsmore

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”.

WIFF New Media Forum

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.

WIFF New Media Forum

The Social Media panel now consists of Monica Hamburg, Carol Sill, Gillian Shaw and is moderated by Erica Hargreave.

Gillian is first up – being in traditional media she speaks to how the industry has changed for the better using these new tools, “It plays a part in how we deliver the news and how we tell our stories.” Carol Sill, “the internet is not something that stops and starts, you just jump in and go with the current — learn to swim.” I’m posting most of my updates for this panel on Twitter, using the conference tag #wiff09. Carol says, “Get active! Lose that old site!” Amen, Carol. “WordPress.com is great but if you plan on doing anything commercial or anything you want to make money from, don’t use it.” Again, Carol hit the nail right on the head. You *cannot* put ads on WordPress.com sites or have business content on there or you may violate their terms of use. Use WordPress but get a full custom installation – that way it’s all yours in every way. “Make sure you blog doesn’t get stuck in a proprietary system.”

“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.”

Alison Reid, Director of The Baby Formula

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).

Coming up this afternoon:
Emerging Trends and Technology
Panelists: Thecla Schiphorst, Jean Hebert, James Eberhardt, Shannon McKarney
Moderator: Jennifer Ouano

Monetizing Your Content
Panelists: Bradley Shende, Maura Rodgers, Amielle Lake, Rochelle Grayson
Moderator: Tracey Friesen

There will also be an “Applications” demo zone with: Strutta, tagga, HootSuite, Overlay.tv, QuickMobile, memelabs, work[at]play.

As well as some exhibitions:

  • “Egg Cinema” – Angela Smailes
  • “Tongue Tales” – Tassia Poynter & Sharon Lee
  • “I Know a Place” – Maia Iotzova
  • “Fluxus” & “Mordant” – Karin Schmidlin
  • “Murmur Video” – Maayan Cohen
  • “Lost Cause” – Kirsten Johnson
  • “Graffiti Wall” – Alex Beim
  • “Don’t Stop” – Julie Gendron
  • “Grafik Dynamo” – Kate Armstrong & Michael Tippett
  • 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).

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    7 comments

    1. joshywashington says:

      Nice recap, I was sitting in the audience and love you’re live narrative!

    2. Great recap. Thanks for covering the event today!

    3. It was great meeting you in person even for such a short time! See you at the Spotlight Awards Gala.

    4. Wonderful having you there on Wednesday! Thanks Rebecca!

    5. Thanks so much, Rebecca, for being there & for covering the event in such glorious detail!

      And the compliment is most appreciated!

    6. Alex says:

      Women in Film Festival is a great event! As for me “Egg Cinema” was the best part!

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