Author Archives: nzindie

What’s your Klout in the social media world?

Do you wonder what kind of reach you really have in social media? How well are you doing compared with other people? What you are doing right, or if you’re really not reaching anyone past your closest friends and family?
Well I just came across the site Klout which links to all your social media sites (Twitter, G+, youtube, facebook, etc) and tells you how you’re doing. I’m not doing that great, I discovered. Currently sitting on a Klout score of 11 out of a possible 100 (which youtube has achieved).  It tells you what kind of participant you are (I’m an Observer… really?), and it gives you hints on how to expand your reach. I have no idea how accurate this all is, but apparently some businesses are using it to head hunt people who are big in the social media scene, so I guess there must be some value in it.

I might spend a week actually engaging with people on facebook and twitter just to see if it makes any difference.

Let me know if you sign up with Klout, and what you think of your score!



So in two days my Klout score rose to 51. I spent a little more time on twitter, and engaging in various other social media sites, but not THAT much. I suspect that the statistics from facebook take a few days to come through and this accounts for the 40 point jump. Though 11 sounded a bit low, 51 seems a bit high…


Finding an audience for New Zealand films

As Producer of Marketing and Distribution for the feature film Penny Black (filming July 2012 in New Zealand) I’ve been spending a lot of time researching different ways to find and engage with our audience. I’ve been very encouraged seeing what other creative and innovative film projects are attempting, eg. The Tunnel, who sold frames of their film for $1 to raise their budget then allowed their film to be torrented freely on completion, and El Cosmonauta‘s forward thinking and transparent business model which involves crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and really cool t-shirts (I own one). Of course there have been disheartening moments, like when I realised that Hollywood studios are using the same techniques as Indie filmmakers, but with every indie distribution success I am filled with hope for the rest of us. If one succeeds, we all succeed.

Achieving traditional distribution is increasingly difficult for independent film, especially anything made outside of the USA, as demonstrated by Taika Waititi’s amazing film Boy. Finding and engage with the people who are really passionate about the idea of your film is a good start. Whether they know you personally, or they live where the film is being made, or they are interested in the topic or genre of your film, these are the people who will encourage their friends to come to a screening, or loan them their autographed DVD.

I’m a big fan of crowdfunding, raising all or part of your budget before you make your film, often by ‘selling’ unique items (t-shirts, signed DVDs, stickers…) or experiences (a roll as an extra, name in the credits, tickets to the premiere screening) on sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or the New Zealand site Pledgeme. The financial help is great, but to receive your supporters votes of confidence in your project is invaluable.

As our film, Penny Black, progresses I will share what I learn and attempt here. I believe there is room for many more independent films to achieve success than is currently the case, and that by working together we will eventually construct a model that will help filmmakers achieve this goal.

Also, I wanted to pass on this link to a free ebook called Engagement from Scratch. I’ve gleaned a few ideas of how to build an audience, and within it are links to other social media gurus.

Cheers, Fiona

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – The videos

A PAL version of this show is available for purchase at Createspace or Amazon

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – Part 1

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – Part 2

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – Part 3

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – Part 4

An Evening With Richard O’Brien – Part 5

Richard O’Brien performing “Pokerekere Ana”

Produced and Directed by Fiona Jackson

The Power Of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change

Initially Appreciative Inquiry (AI) seemed a little too positive for me. I think there is a lot to learn from negative experiences. It seems that a lot of filmmakers are trying new marketing techniques, and many of them are not working, and to know what does not work would save a lot of valuable time and money for other filmmakers. But I am also beginning to see the value of AI. Though some people tend to like to gripe about what is wrong with the system, the ones who are moving forward are the ones who are focusing on the positive. Seeing what is working well, what is working a bit, and seeing how that information can be used to move forward.

In this book it is claimed that AI works because it liberates power, unleashes individual and organizational power, brings out the best in people, encourages them to see and support the best in others, and encourages cooperation and innovation. All of which seems kinda good.

They describe the process as follows:
(I recognise that the DREAM and DESTINY headings seem a bit corny, I’m going to assume they felt it was important to have them all start with D)

Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a cycle of 4 processes focusing on:

  • DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
  • DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
  • DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  • DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.


Basically you focus on what works rather than ‘problem solving’. Build on strengths rather than focusing on faults and weaknesses. It also doesn’t stop when things are working well, but rather continues to strive to be even better.

Certainly new technologies are bringing a lot of positive options to independent filmmaking, opening up a range of doors that may help level the playing field between large productions and independent films. Focusing on the doors that are closing doesn’t help indie filmmakers move forward.

Producing Great Sound for Digital Video – Jay Rose

So I decided this year to learn how to do sound, well. It seems on every no-budget set the last crew member we think about is the soundie, and oftentimes it will end up being an actor whose not in the scene, or a crew member’s girlfriend who happened to drop by, and then we pay for it in post with a ton of ADR and a soundtrack as outstanding as your average infomercial. So I nominated myself as the person who will learn how to do it well, and picked up a copy of this book.

There’s a lot of technical stuff that made my brain feel like it was melting, but there’s also a lot of ideas that can quickly and easily improve your soundtrack.

  • Have someone on set whose responsibility is to concentrate on audio on the shoot. If they aren’t trained then give them this book and half a day with the sound equipment they’ll be using and let them practice.
  • Try to avoid shooting dialogue over noisy actions – having the character stop talking when they slam down the phone.
  • Record a minute of room tone in each location, you’ll need it in post, and it lets the crew take a minute to relax, too.
  • Try to grab the sounds you need on set rather than depending on sound libraries, (this one is especially for my students).
  • Record vocal and sound effects on different tracks, you’ll need this in post, too.
  • Practice using a boom mic by taping a flashlight onto the end where your shotgun mic will go, and aiming the light at the mouth of the actor. That’s where’ you’ll hold it to get the best recording from a boom/shotgun mic.
  • Get the boom mic as close to the actors mouth as possible. Start with the mic in the shot and raise it til it can’t be seen.
  • Even if you aren’t planning to use the sound from a take, at least record it using the camera-mic. You might pick up something you can use, you might need it as a guide track, and it doesn’t cost anything.
  • If you can’t record good dialogue for a scene remember long shots are easier to loop than close-ups, quick phrases/cuts are easier than long takes/phrases.
  • Sound may need a reference – if you can hear a neon sign bzzap in the background, show the sign in an establishing shot.
  • If you’re turning off the refrigerator put your car keys on it so you remember to turn it back on when you leave.
This is a great book (though I’d kinda like one that only has the technical stuff I really need to know…) and you’ll get a ton more info than the hints I’ve listed above. And you’ll get some great ideas for foley, like slamming a head of cabbage against a table for a really gory fall…

Ten ways to keep me as your Facebook friend

Okay, this is a completely self-serving post that I wrote for a local mag, but I can’t wait for it to be posted.

It’s amazing how Facebook has become such an essential part of our lives. Even after watching The Social Network and realizing what a total jerk Zuckerberg is, and really wanting to quit Facebook, I can’t. However, I’ve been noticing my interest in Facebook waning lately and I suspect it may have something to do with the standard of my friends recent updates, their friends’ responses, etc., so as I can’t divorce myself from Facebook I’m making a list of self-serving guidelines. Of course, you don’t have to heed my advice. I can always deface you.

1. Don’t be boring. I don’t really want to know exactly what you are doing at this very moment, unless it’s fascinating or hilarious. And I do not want to see photos of your meals.

2. Don’t vague-book. A status of “AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” is just annoying, and I don’t care what you are talking about on principle.

3. Don’t post about your intimate personal life, unless it’s funny.

4. Don’t diss people, you’ll regret it, one way or another. Unless they really deserve it.

5. If you ‘like’ a video one of those new auto-like thingies, unlike it immediately! Geez!

6. Don’t ask me to join anything unless you know I will want to. If you don’t know me well enough to be sure, then just don’t.

7. Poking? Seriously? Don’t.

8. Don’t tag me in ugly photos of myself.

9. Don’t ‘friend’ me unless I know you, or should know you, or might like you, or you’re hot. And single.

10. Don’t take me seriously when it’s completely obvious I’m joking. Really, until there’s a sarcasm font, just imagine I’m using it. Except for the list above. Dead serious about all that. :p

Seth Godin on standing out

I love the TED talks. And Seth Godin has some great ideas about marketing. This is a great talk to get you thinking about how you’re going to sell your film, or whatever product your trying to distribute. I’ve noted down the points I found most interesting, and there’s a link at the bottom for the whole 20 minute talk.

The way you’re going to get what you want or cause the change you want to happen is you’re going to figure out how you’re going to get your ideas to spread.We are living in a century of idea defusion. People who can spread their ideas – win.

People used to use TV commercials and magazine ads attempting to get our attention, but now it’s not working because we actively try to avoid this kind of advertising. People have way more choices than they used to, and way less time, so we ignore stuff. Like cows on the side of the road. Who cares, seen them before, they’re boring. But if the cow was purple…. you’d notice it.

Ideas that spread are things that are ‘remarkable’. Remarkable meaning ‘worth making a remark about’.

Instead of marketing to the average person in the middle, market to the people who are interested in what you’re ‘selling’. Desperately care about and are obsessed with what you’re ‘selling’ Sell to people who are already listening and maybe they’ll tell their friends.

Very good is not longer good enough. If you are trying to sell something that’s very good no one is going to notice it. It has to be remarkable.

Remarkable is my new goal.