Social media is changing the way that we do almost everything and that now includes how independent filmmakers are funding and distributing their films.
“Everything is changing so quickly that 10 years from now, we won’t even recognize what it is right now,” said Ryan Catherwood, an independent filmmaker from Vancouver.
Besides the obvious social media forms, such as Facebook and Twitter, there are also specialty sites such as IndieGoGo that filmmakers are using for their films. IndieGoGo defines itself as an international funding platform.
Catherwood has recently starting using IndieGoGo and said that it’s a different way to raise funds for a film.
You “basically just put a pitch up online and then cross your fingers that people want to invest in it and become a part of it,” he said. Anyone can create an account, and attempt to raise funds for almost anything.
This money can make a huge difference to independent filmmakers.
“I work at a rental shop and, like a lot of my friends, we’re all filmmakers and we want to spend our time and our energy and our passion in film, but we have to get supplementary jobs to afford that,” Catherwood said.
Funding a film isn’t the only problem; distributing that film is also sometimes an obstacle.
“Distribution is continually becoming a problem, besides just putting it up for free online,” Catherwood said. “There are not a lot of options for filmmakers these days. It’s kind of like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about right now, but I keep trying to bring it up and just say like we have to find a way to make money from our films.”
As much as social media can help filmmakers distribute their films, it also poses its own set of problems.
“YouTube came along and it’s kind of the Coca-Cola of Internet broadcasting. It’s hard to get an edge on them,” Catherwood said.
Amid all the changes, Catherwood doesn’t know what the future holds.
“I don’t know where the independents are going to end up,” he said. “Until the independents, like one of our own, creates something to distribute indie films on a larger scale, nothing is going to change. That’s kind of how I see it.”
The National Canadian University Press (CUP) conference in Montreal was an opportunity for eager university students to mingle, but face-to-face socializing took a back burner to social media.
The 73rd annual CUP conference took place Jan. 12-16 in Montreal. Editorial staff from The Runner, Kwantlen’s independent newspaper, attended the conference along with approximately 300 student journalists, editors and designers from around the country.
Twitter not only was valuable addition to the conference, but a tool for 300 students to communicate instantaneously, showing the prominent voice Twitter has in the world of new media.
“It was cool to see what other people were thinking about specific things. In particular, there were a lot of people tweeting during a few of the keynote presentations, which kind of lightened the load on a couple of fairly snore-heavy speeches,” said Brad Michelson, the culture editor at UVic’s newspaper, The Martlet.
“Then again, it was cool to see what people’s plans were and to hear about restaurants, bars in town. It was just a cool social tool.”
The convenience of being able to speak to the person next to you, while keeping up with rest of the conference updates through Twitter, enhanced the Nash (a short form of “national”) experience and emphasized the importance of journalists receiving and using information from multiple sources.
“Aside from a tool for research, Twitter is also really useful for promoting one’s publication and work. Social media has been a blessing and a curse for media as a whole, but I prefer to think that it’s helping develop new media and evolving how media works,” said Michelson.
At each keynote, seminar and social event, iPhones and Blackberries were put to use while students documented each of the highs and lows.
“Twitter, in particular, allowed people to interact socially during times where they normally wouldn’t be, like speeches, and seminars. People could make commentaries, discuss opinions and share their general thoughts and impressions. I really enjoyed that kind of sub-culture, part of the conference,” said Michelson.
Twitter at Nash became the easiest way to find fellow students with similar interests.
Andrew Bates tweeted: “I’ve been getting follows and wondering ‘what, I wasn’t following these people already?’ This is almost entirely because of #nash73.”
“Great to meet (now connected) to so many smart journos. Thanks for your time. Loved meeting you all,” tweeted Wilf Dinnick.
Students continually refreshed the #nash73 feed in order to review a constant stream of updates on everything from seminars to critiques of the catering to hangover complaints.
“It was pretty entertaining to read through the #nash73 hash-tag throughout the conference. Everything from commentary on presentations or keynotes to seeing what other conference people were up to. It was definitely an source of entertainment that actually enhanced my experience there,” said Michelson.
“Last night’s drunken tweets are the best breakfast reading ever #nash73,” tweeted Sarah Petz.
Tweets sent throughout the four days became a significant part of the conference experience, even allowing for some competitive (and comical) tension between publications.
Colin Sharpe tweeted, “The day I remove the #nash73 column from TweetDeck will be a very sad one.”
Olivia Lovenmark isn’t just typical fashion-obsessed Vancouverite: She is style struck.
At 22, she’s working two jobs, penning entries for her blog Style Struck and hoping to launch her career in public relations.
Lovenmark’s fashion sense was there even as a child. “My aunt made my sister and I these pink jeans with bunnies on them and even as a five-year-old, I was like ‘there’s no way I’m wearing these.’”
After high school, Lovenmark enrolled in Kwantlen’s Fashion Design and Technology degree program. After a year, she realized design wasn’t for her. She took a year off and then went into fashion marketing and eventually the public relations program at BCIT.
“A short-term goal of mine would be doing public relations for Holt Renfrew. That’d be amazing,” she said.
A few of her favourite designers are Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld and Carolina Herrera. Her favourite local spots for shopping are Zara, Browns and Holt Renfrew. Lovenmark describes her style as “constantly changing.”
She claims to have two alter-egos when it comes to her fashion sense. One resembles her blog: more frivolous, sparkly and fun. The other is her more casual everyday look, with tailored jackets and ties.
“I really love androgynous clothing. I just really like men’s apparel, it’s got more structure to it and it’s a more thoughtful design.”
She claims her guilty pleasures are donuts and shoes. As a proud owner of more than a hundred pairs of shoes, she says, “I have a weakness for expensive shoes, but I also have a knack for finding designer shoes on sale.”
But lately her wallet has been given a break from the designer brands.
“I’ve been very fortunate lately to receive free clothes because of my blog. They see me talking about their brand and send me clothes to help promote their label, by blogging about their clothing and advertising for them,” she said.
She’s had her blog for two years and she’s been receiving clothes from a number of designers for about a year.
“It’s about building experiences. I worked for Guess by Marciano and by working for that brand or other brands, it really builds your credibility and people start to notice that and want you to wear their clothing, too,” she said.
Lovenmark blogs about everything fashion-related — what she wears, what’s in style, events she attends and people in the fashion industry she meets.
One of the biggest fashion faux pas, in her opinion, is when women show too much skin.
“I think that girls should cover up more, and leave a bit more to the imagination,” she said. “You can still look sexy and fashionable without showing too much.”
Lovenmark is a big believer in the power of social media to help build a personal brand.
“Social media is the new way of communicating; it’s here to stay. I was listening to this speaker earlier this week who describes social media as a cultural shift and I think that’s so spot on. As a blogger, your whole life is on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and your blog,” she said.
The key to being successful is being able to meet people in the industry and network through social media, she said.
“It’s a free platform to express yourself and kind of brand yourself as an expert in your field, I don’t have the capital behind me to start my own business, but with my blog I can show off what I do and people can find me and see what I’m about,” she said.
One of the biggest perks of her fashion blog are that it has opened the door to meeting other interesting people in the field.
“One of the best highlights for me is having the opportunity to meet so many cool people. I’ve been able to meet Judy Becker, Lisa Tant of Flare Magazine and Adrian Mainella from Fashion File. Being able to meet these people and talk to them, when I’ve looked up to them for so long, is an amazing experience, whether they’ve seen my blog or not,” she said.
Armani Exchange has just opened a new store in Oakridge and, of course, Lovenmark is going to be at the grand opening.
“They dressed me for it, so I’m going to wear Armani and promote the brand,” she said. “I really like working tandem with brands like that. For them, it’s good to have someone wearing their brand who blogs about it all the time and, of course, I like it because it builds my credibility. It shows that I’m working with established brands.”
Of all the opportunities Lovenmark has had available to her in the fashion industry, she said it’s all because of Style Struck.
Meagan Gill, Miranda Gathercole and Sarah Casimong explore how Facebook has changed the dating world for university students, as part of a continuing series on life in the age of social media.