[digg http://digg.com/tech_news/How_can_filmmakers_use_the_internet/blog]Technology and cinema go hand in hand for years. The world of cinema started as a technological invention. Only couple of years later filmmakers created new ways of story telling.

The web, video sharing applications, blogs and social networks can help filmmakers in several ways – if used properly. Here is a short overview of the main Internet influences on filmmakers:

1. Content Creation – the Internet not only helps companies to work collaboratively – it also helps filmmakers to create new kind of productions – participatory filmmaking. Sometimes referred to as open source cinema, there are several amazing projects where filmmakers ask a community to contribute ideas and scripts to a central project. Some of them also have a fundraising element – users can contribute content or funds, and get credits as producers. Great example for that is Swarm of Angels.

2. Distribution – the most straight forward advantage is the ability of independent filmmaker to distribute her own content. YouTube, Blip.tv, Bittorent and Jaman are only some of the options open to filmmakers today. The main problem with this solution in my opinion is the user experience. There is a magical atmosphere in the theater – dark room, large screen, the soundtrack all around the viewer – all of these elements create a unique world, and in a sense makes the life of filmmaker easier. All the above mentioned distribution methods, though in some cases support even HD video quality, will enable viewers to watch the content on their TV in best case, and in most cases on their computer screen. Still, the ability to independently distribute video can improve filmmakers position and attract audience to their work. Which leads me to the next item.

3. Marketing – with all those filmmakers, Indie creators, and kids with webcams – how can you get noticed? This is one of the strongest links between filmmakers and Internet TV creators. The ease of distribution is a double edge sword – cause now content creators need to fight for attention. Lucky for all of us, there are several ways to utilize free and available tools to achieve this goal. Social networks, blogs, dedicated sites, badges, embeddable video players – all can be used in order to spread the word, and get attention from potential viewers. Here are some techniques:

– Allow users to remix your content and let them create their own version of your creation

– Release content to YouTube and allow viewers to embed it in their social network profiles and blogs

– Create online fan material – badges, graphics and logos can help fans express their affection to your creation. The good news – it is cheaper than making T-Shirts.

If you want to see a great example – check the work of Lance Weiler and Head Trauma.

4. Augment your creation – well, this is the tricky part. Remember all the discussions about interactivity, and how you can create content that viewers will decide its course? Well, I don’t believe in it. People want to be entertained – don’t let them decide on the protagonist’s action. But, you can use technology to add new dimensions to your creation. Write a fictitious blog by your characters. Create a Facebook account for them. put some Easter eggs in your film, that can be unlocked by registering to a web site. The sky is the limit.

Tomorrow I will attend the CinemaTech conference in Jerusalem, covering these topics. In future posts I’ll drill down to each of these points.

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