How to create an IMDb page

I created a resource for my students recently, that shows the steps for creating an IMDb page. I share this here with you…

 

Down Below poster

and here is the page

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  • Check with your cast and crew whether they have an IMDb page first.
  • A spreadsheet will help you. So will having your film open in a tab with the credits.
  • You have to have an official website for your film.
  • You should already have your film online.
  • Anyone can submit to IMDb, but having IMDbPro and Contributor Status helps get your films approved quicker and easier.

Another few points (that I don’t think I made in the video)

  •  don’t create an IMDb page until you have shot your film. Even though you can create an ‘in development’ page, it is really hard to remove a credit from IMDb if someone drops off the project last minute. If you wait until your film is finished, the credits will be correct.
  • Have a portrait poster image.
    • Adding a thumbnail poster to your IMDb page makes the film look 100%* better for everyone involved.
    • IMDb thumbails are portrait (rather than landscape), so make sure your film title works portrait.
    • Because it’s a thumbnail, it is going to be very small. So you don’t need the credit block or lots of writing on your poster.

With AOTS, we have started creating poster thumbnails specifically for IMDb. Below we have two versions of the poster from our June 2017 Action On The Side project, ‘Exposure

Now, check the IMDb page for Exposure here. Click the pages for some of the Cast and Crew: doesn’t it look better on their page? The thumbnail really adds to their pages.

Recently I even went back and created thumbnails for some of my earlier films, using Canva.com.

Creating a poster is vital for your films. (I’ll write another blog post on this soon.)

Good luck creating IMDb pages for your film!


*or 150% or 200% or 1000% — I hate hyperbole when it comes to percentages. Also, that’s a made up number. Just — it makes your film look more professional and way better.

The Last Postcard

It’s been a long time since I updated my blog. I’m on set for our March 2018 Action On The Side short film, The Last Postcard. As Producer, I’ve organised everyone to be here: the cast, the crew, the location, the budget. As on-set DIT, I receive the footage and sound files and save it onto three different hard drives. As the Organiser, I’m in charge of the skills development of the project. People taking part benefit from my teaching on film production techniques, so they can become better filmmakers (part of the AOTS USP).

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Here’s me showing Adriana some script supervision techniques. Photo by Stine Olsen.

I learn something new on every film shoot. So far I’ve learnt that there’s no way of knowing when the building will hire someone to steam clean the carpets (on a weekend no less!). Every AOTS iteration I invest in something to make life easier in future: for this month, we have lids on our cups (sustainable and safe); I’ve developed more resources (like a Director’s checklist, a location recce checklist, and a chain of title checklist); and now we have three AOTS External Hard-drives.

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We’re shooting in a beautiful flat in Holland Park. Gavin, the DP, is shooting on a BMCC, with an external monitor.

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Isabella Stevenson-Olds on the monitor

Overall the shoot is going well. I’m looking forward to see the finished film in two weeks’ time.

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Be sure to check out our @actionontheside Instagram and the #actionontheside Facebook page for behind the scenes posts.

 

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Me talking to Jabari on set. Photo by Leyla Alizada.

 

Check out this https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FActionOnTheSideLondon%2Fvideos%2F769011923287302%2F&show_text=1&width=560“>Facebook Live post from today’s shoot

Now to return to DIT work and lesson planning.

Copper at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino

Pleased to announce ‘Copper’ will be screening at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino, 10 November 2017.

Copper screening in Italy

We have just been advised that Copper has been selected to screen at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino.

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This is a free event on 10 November 2017 in Torino, Italy.

‘Copper’ will represent the Best of the Fest from CineDeaf 2015, where we had our Italian premiere. CineDeaf have a special collaboration with the Divine Queer Film Festival and recommended ‘Copper’.

 

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project. Now to update the IMDb page

Transmission

Check out a 48 hour film that I did sound recording on.

Transmission

And check out the poster!

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This is our teams entry to U48 2016. Our genre is “Eeppisen elokuvasarjan ensimmäinen osa” which translates to “A first film of an epic film series.” Mandatory elements were a prop – “A miniature” and a character – “An idealist.”

The film was shot in Uxbridge, London, UK. Production was 8.00-18.30. Writing and planning took 9 hours (17.00-02.00.)

Cast in order of appearance

Scientist #1 (and her twin sister) :::Anna Britton
Scientist #2 ::: Christian Evans
Manager ::: Liis Mikk
Executive ::: Stine Olsen
Resistance leader ::: Manrina Rekhi

Director, Colourist, Graphics ::: Jani Sourander
Camera, Editor ::: Eero Vihavainen
Script Supervisor ::: Sanna Peltola
Writer ::: Zulf Choudhry
Co-writer ::: Heather Speake
Clapper Loader ::: Azad Sachedina
Focus Puller ::: Milena Rutkowska
Location Sound ::: Patricia Hetherington
Composer ::: Jonne Kytö
Music ::: Kalle Hahl

The vlogging journey

I’ve been all ‘heads-down, tails-up’ with my master’s studies, working 4 days a week, running the March 2016 AOTS project, running the business and doing general filmmaking stuff.  In the lead-up to the June 2016 AOTS project — two weeks away! — I’ve started vlogging.

Check out the first one below:

In one of my master’s modules (not this one, but the next one), I’m going to be developing my mentoring and training skills through vlogging. I’m starting now with promoting Action On The Side. Expect more to come.

And, click the Closed Captions button — isn’t that nifty?

Building your own website

A step-by-step guide to creating your own (film) website with Wordpress

Picture this. Someone posts on a film forum that they’re looking for a crew or cast member. They’re looking for x, and x is what you do. Your friend recommends you. It’s a professional gig — yay, you could get paid.

The first thing this potential client is going to do is check out your website. They’re going to google. They’re going to see if you have a twitter, a blog, a Vimeo or youtube channel, a facebook page. Basically they’ll check your online presence, to:

  1. see if you have one (an online presence that is);
  2. see examples of your work; and
  3. decide if they want to work with you.

(I suppose there is also 4: find your contact details.

Three of my friends have had this situation in the past two weeks. If you don’t have a website, then you could be missing out on work.

Filmmakers nowadays have to be their own brand. In every meeting, you could be meeting a potential collaborator or a potential client. You are effectively pitching and selling yourself as a commodity with every interaction. There is a lot of competition in this industry, and it is difficult to break through that noise.

Film is a relationship industry. When hiring cast or crew, producers make their decisions based on the following, in the following order:

  1. people they have worked with before (and like);
  2. people personally recommended to them (by collaborators they trust);
  3. people who look professional.

This latter point can be covered by people who have a good amount of credits, credits from reputable professional projects, and people who have a personal brand.

This could be through having a social media presence (twitter, instagram), by having a reputable blog, by having an up-to-date profile on industry pages (shooting people, filmandtvcrewpro), or, most importantly, having a professional looking website.

You need to develop a personal brand identity. I’m not going to go into that now. If you’re interested in finding out more about personal brands, check out this post from Raindance.

But what I am going to cover is the basics of setting up a website, and some of the pros and cons of different social media.

Continue reading “Building your own website”

London Film Communities

As part of my MA, I researched the London Film Communities currently available. Here is the list.

My most recent project for my Raindance MA was a Research Methods Report. For this, I researched the Film Communities currently available to London-based filmmakers.  This was aimed to help me place Action On The Side within the market, and to determine its USP (Unique Selling Point, or Value Proposition). My overall MA goal is to develop AOTS into a sustainable short film business model.

After doing all the research, I had a large appendix with details on film organisations. And why not share that information?

Here is a list of the London Film Communities…

Of course, since writing the report, new communities have cropped up, or I found ones I should have included. Please add a comment if you see any errors or omissions and I will amend them accordingly.


 

Continue reading “London Film Communities”

Copper at Seattle Deaf Film Festival

Copper will screen at the 3rd Seattle Deaf Film Festival in April

We are proud to announce that Copper has been selected for the Seattle Deaf Film Festival 2016.

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The 3rd Seattle Deaf Film Festival will run April 1-3 2016 at the Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98122, USA. Make sure you get along. Like their facebook page here.

What is Action On The Side?

At the London Screenwriters Festival this past weekend, I met six brand new people who, when I said I run Action On The Side, knew what it was.

So, let me answer: What is Action On The Side?

In July 2013, James Doherty, a motion designer who wanted to direct, set up a project for filmmakers. Get together and make a short film in a month. This was Action On The Side.

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The concept is simple. Get together and make a short film in a month of weekends.

  • Weekend 1 is preproduction
  • Weekend 2 is production
  • Weekend 3 is postproduction
  • Weekend 4 is the screening

It is designed for people who make films in their weekends and evenings. Those of us with day jobs or who study.

It also recognises that we need deadlines to finish projects; otherwise they will just drag on and on.

I took part in the first event. A group of 25-30 of us in the Medicinema in Westminster broke into two groups and produced two films. James produced one, I produced the other.

I got to talking with James about promoting Action On The Side (AOTS), and was invited to co-organise the project. James and I co-ran the projects until he stepped out to direct ‘Breathe‘.

AOTS has run seven projects, has entered one competition, and has produced 11 short films. Our 8th project is November 2015 — and it’s starting in 8 days!

Since I’ve been running AOTS, we’ve been developing our community.

Social Media

Our facebook page has 330+ followers, and our twitter has 480+ followers.
Every day we share links to articles, tips, tricks, and inspiration to our social media followers.
9am every Monday we share a scriptwriting challenge: write a 3-6 page short film in x genre. Include a x prop. The challenges are designed to inspire scriptwriters to write a short within a week. If they take up the challenge, they develop their writing skills (just by the act of doing), and develop scripts that they can bring to our script development meetings.

Script Development

We trialled script development meetings last year, and started running regular meetings earlier this year. The script development group has been named ‘Screenwriters On The Side‘, and now meets fortnightly. Any one can join us, and can bring their scripts or ideas for feedback.

Our February short, ‘Arms Trade‘, was developed by three regulars (James, Chris, and Josh) at our script development meetings. Our July short, ‘Drunk Dialling‘, was an idea that Rosie brought along to our first regular script development meeting. The subsequent meeting she had a first draft. The next meeting she had her second draft. And so it continued until the July project where the film was pitched, selected, and made.

So why the blog post?

I recently started my Masters degree with Raindance. The MA is negotiated learning: meaning we negotiate what our focus is going to be. My masters is designed around Action On The Side. Specifically, my learning goal is to develop AOTS into a sustainable film business model.

“How can I develop Action On The Side into a sustainable film business model?”

I’m currently working on a Learning Plan, whereby I outline the steps I’ll be taking to achieve my learning goal.

Part of this process is working out what I want to do with Action On The Side. What does it mean to me? Why do I want to develop it?

So what does AOTS mean to me?

Action On The Side is a collaborative filmmaking model. You get to make a short film with a new network of people. You see who you like working with and you work with them again. There are people I met through the project who are great friends now. There are people I will work with and recommend for jobs (and I have).

You get to try new ideas out. A lot of the ideas that get pitched are ideas that people have had percolating in their minds for a while, but have never had the chance to get out and make.

And you actually get to finish a film. You get a product out there with your name on it. Something you can show people and say “see what I can do!”

When I look at the people who take part in AOTS, they fall into three categories.

  • Filmmakers who are new to London, looking to develop their network.
  • Filmmakers who know one aspect of film but want to learn another (quite a few who want to direct, but want to learn other roles first).
  • People who are new to filmmaking but want to get into it.

That’s 2/3rds of the members using AOTS as an educational model.

Now, what do I get out of it?

I’m a Producer. I love producing films. I love getting people together and sharing a love of film. I get to produce content. I think every film is a learning opportunity – so I learn from the films we make as well. I get to learn from the people who join our group, who have different (film) backgrounds. I get to learn from others who are passionate about film.

I get to experiment, try new things out.

But also, I’m like the educational aspect. I taught film for two years, and I love sharing my passion for film. I’ve trained in many different film departments, so I get to teach people what I know. Don’t know how to use the sound kit? let me show you. Want to know how to schedule a film shoot? let me show you. Don’t know how to pitch? let me help you. And, as a producer (and writer), I get to help develop writers and their scripts. There are writers returning to the script development meetings with better and better scripts, all getting closer to being ready to be shot. I helped with that.

But what do I want out of it?

I think the AOTS model is a great opportunity for filmmakers. I want it to grow.

I want to grow AOTS in London. I want more teams taking part. I want more filmmakers taking part. I want multiple films being made during the projects so when we have the screening at the end of the month, there are more films being screened.

I want to take AOTS outside of London. I want to run AOTS in other UK cities. Hell, in other countries. Let’s get a few AOTS’ running a month. And then, when we have multiple films being made in a month, we can have screenings showing all the films that were made that month during the project. Imagine the London shorts, the Manchester shorts, the Berlin shorts all being screened on the same day!

I want it to be a training ground for filmmakers. I want the returning filmmakers to be making better films that we submit into film festivals and win competitions. I want new filmmakers to come in, learn, and develop their filmmaking talents so they grow with the organisation.

I want people to come regularly to the script development meetings and develop their writing skills so they are producing great work.

I want to run film screenings and q&as and workshops so people can learn their craft. I want to run a vlog on filmmaking, producing content regularly, which Actioners can help to produce.

I want to run our own film competitions. A 48-hour film competition. A one-minute movie competition. Cinema SoundEX.

I want to run funding for short films.

I want people to come up to me in a few years’ time and tell me they took part in AOTS in x city, and developed their craft, and now have an awesome network of filmmakers they work with all the time, and now they’re working commercially, and winning awards with their films.

So how is does the MA help me?

Over the next two years of my MA (which I’m doing part-time whilst running my business and running AOTS), I’ll be developing AOTS into a sustainable business model.

The skills that I’ll be developing are two-fold:

  • I’ll be developing my entrepreneurial and business skills
  • I’ll be developing my teaching and mentoring skills

These skills are closely related to my role as a producer and educator.

Now I don’t know exactly what will come with this business plan. I’m still working that out. But I think these skills are being developed so I can be the Executive Producer to other Producers running the project.

So here’s what I’ll be doing over the two years

  • I’m going to doing market research into other film communities within London. What are the opportunities available to London filmmakers? And from this research, defining Action On The Side’s unique selling point (USP).
  • I’m going to be running a vlog on filmmaking. I’ll be interviewing people making films, running film communities, showing what goes on behind the scenes and what every ones role is on set. I’m hoping regular content creation will be developing our audience and brand awareness, not just for AOTS but for me as a producer and educator as well.
  • I’ll be developing resources for the project, and trialling them with the projects (we’re running AOTS in London every 4 months). This will include meeting with a Media & Entertainment Lawyer and developing the project’s IP.
  • I’ll be developing a handbook, outlining how to run an AOTS project, so someone else can produce a project. This will include defining the AOTS brand and outlining its management.
  • And then, with all of these resources and research and development, my masters project will culminate in a Beta test — running AOTS in a new market, outside of London. And making sure that the development that I have done until that point results in a sustainable project (e.g. a project that gets good feedback, and that breaks even or makes a profit that we can invest in the next project).

It’s a lot to do.

So what do I need?

If you’re in London, join us for this November’s project.

Sign up here.

If you’re not in London, but have friends who will want to take part, direct them to sign up. Or at least join our mailing list.

If you don’t live in London, but like the idea of Action On The Side and think there’s a community of filmmakers near you that will want to take part, send me a message. I can bring the project to you.

Now this November is the first time we’ve asked Actioners for a fee up front to take part in the project. Previously we’ve advertised the event as free, but then, once we had selected the film and knew the budget, would ask for £30 or so to go towards catering and equipment and transport. Sometimes people would pay; often times they wouldn’t. This was fine – the Executive Producers (me and James) would pay a bit more because, hey, we were making movies.

Since quitting my job in July and going freelance, that’s impossible.

Our costs have gone up, so now the fee is up front. It’s £40 to take part in the project this November.

My MA is focused on how to make this great filmmaking project sustainable, so it can keep growing and developing and supporting filmmakers.

If you like what you’ve read, and you want to support Action On The Side and this filmmaking journey that I’m going on, then sign up to the next project and let your friends know too.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.