Originally posted by
On Wednesday June 16th, The Fledgling Fund began a new event series in collaboration with Chicken and Egg Pictures. The idea is simple - the media-makers we support are experts on so many things - let's get them all together to see what kind of sharing can happen. Every project we fund has had successes and failures that they have learned from along their journeys from making the media to inspiring social change. We wanted to take time to celebrate those lessons and create a collaborative space to share them. Here is a great video of that discussion which you can refer to: http://vimeo.com/12953847
So, for a few hours on Wednesday evening, 11 media-makers, myself and Natalie Difford from Chicken and Egg Pictures shared dumplings, sake and wisdom - all delicious. The topic for the evening was "Social Issue Film Website Do's and Dont's" - "Web Geekery" for short, dubbed by Nancy Schwartzman. Below is some of that delicious wisdom that we also wanted to share with you.
The event was such a success, that we have committed to doing a similar event every other month - each on a different topic. So, stay tuned for more of these updates, and if you are a grantee, let us know if you would like to participate in future get-togethers and topics that interest you the most.
Here were the participants for Web Geekery:
Jesse Epstein - Filmmaker, Body Typed http://jessedocs.blogspot.com/
Trish Dalton - Filmmaker, Body Typed
Nancy Schwartzman - Filmmaker, The Line http://whereisyourline.org/
Robbie Gemmel - Filmmaker, Cape Wind http://www.capewindmovie.com/
Stephanie Bleyer - Audience Engagement Campaign Manager, No Impact Project http://noimpactproject.org/ and Gasland http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/
Vaishali Sinha - Filmmaker, Made in India http://www.madeinindiamovie.com/
Roland Legiardi-Laura - Filmmaker, To Be Heard http://www.tobeheard.org/
Amelia Green-Dove - Filmmaker, The Recruiter http://www.propellerfilms.com/recruiter/
Alexandra Lescaze - Filmmaker, All Of Me http://allofmethemovie.wordpress.com/
Daria Sommers - Filmmaker, Lioness http://lionessthefilm.com/
Marty Syjuco - Filmmaker, Give Up Tomorrow http://www.giveuptomorrow.com/
Before the discussion, I gave the participants the following homework to bring with them to share:
1) At least one burning question you have about website design, functionality or creation process that you want to discuss with the group
2) One example of something you did right with your own film's website or with a film website that you really like
3) One example of something you would change about either your own film's website or a film website that you have visited
4) At least one thing you love about a NON-film website that you think filmmakers should incorporate into their website strategies
Here were some of the key questions that came out of the discussion:
Q. How can I find a designer that I really like?
Q. Should we be using HTML or FLASH?
Q. What are the advantages of using a blog vs. a website. Do we even need websites?
Q. We want to have an international reach and want to be compatible with bandwidths in other countries - what do we need to be aware of to make that work?
Q. How can we translate our website for other countries?
Q. What are the best ways to drive people to your website that perhaps haven't seen the film yet?
Q. How do you create a financially sustainable website?
Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:
• Wordpress is fantastic and works really well for people who have slow internet speeds or for smartphones
• No Impact Project site is not a movie site - in that it is not there to promote the movie No Impact Man but to start the conversation for people to be a part of the movement, and that structure worked well to engage people who had seen the movie and even those who had not
• Use Facebook for the interactive parts of your campaign - it's where people are at anyway and it's best to not add a new website to their day or else they won't come as often
• NING is a tool that media-makers need to know about - it's not for everyone, but can be very useful in some cases
• VOKLE is a great tool to do live Q&A's with an audience. People can interact with you on this website like a radio show so you can have web chats. Its an embeddable player. Your picture goes up next to the host and you are interacting via twitter and chat feed.
• CALL TO ACTION is a great tool for social issue media makers as well - allows you to create a widget with a piece of media that directly engages people in action after they have seen it. You can embed the widget anywhere so that it reaches people beyond your own website.
• TUMBLR is a very easy to use site that acts like a visual Twitter. One of the great things about it is that it leads visitors back to your own website.
• Media makers need to decide how much time they want to commit to their website. Do you want it to be a place where people get news about the subject of your film? If so, it is much more time consuming to do it well. It may be a better idea to let other websites who already do that continue to be the source for updated news - and you can just send your visitors to them.
• It's useful to have a full-time Twitter intern for some media-makers. If Twitter is a major part of your strategy, make the commitment. Help those interns to feel invested in the project and the issue and they will begin to really take ownership over the social media world and do an excellent job. They can even begin to create a name for themselves within the issue space.
• Make your website as "cool" as possible so that broader audiences find you online, stay with you and come back often. Don't just make a boring film website. That is useless these days.
• Linking to other films within the same subject area should be more natural - more films need to recognize the eco-system they exist within and find new ways to collaborate with other media-makers who have similar social missions.
• To just vote on something online or be told to do something is not enough, audiences have to be engaged.
Next up: Forming Partnerships in mid-August, stay tuned for more great feedback!