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Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era Paperback – December 8, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0982576205 ISBN-10: 098257620X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Hybrid Cinema (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098257620X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982576205
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

It s no secret that indie film has gone through an amazing period of growth for any number of reasons, not least access to cheap but high quality cameras and computers/editing systems. The way we watch indie film has changed drastically too, from art house cinemas to DVDs that arrive in the mail or from a kiosk in a supermarket, on demand via your cable or satellite TV provider, or online via iTunes, Netflix, Amazon.com or, gasp, Bit Torrent. . . Now that the retail DVD market is dying we re finding new ways to bring our films to their intended niche audiences, and that s exactly what Jon s book is all about. What worked yesterday is failing today and won t work at all tomorrow. The only hesitation I have in recommending this book to every single independent filmmaker today is that armed with the information in this book, a filmmaker is potentially equipped to bypass distributors like Disinformation completely! But, in the spirit of information should be free, buy a copy today disinformation.com --disinformation.com

Filmmaker-turned-author Jon Reiss has just released his new book, Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distributing and Marketing in the Digital Era, which aims to put the current independent film distribution crisis in better perspective. Having been through the wringer with his own documentary Bomb It, Reiss has done a lot of work to study the situation from many different angles and come up with ways for filmmakers to think creatively and proactively about getting their work seen. I was just in Cophenhagen at CPH:DOX, where Reiss presented his latest 10-point manifesto. You can buy Think Outside the Box Office right now at the book s official website, which includes many bonus gifts if you buy it there. I look forward to reading it myself, because my natural instincts are to run flailing from anything involving self-promotion, outreach, marketing, and distribution. But to shun those concepts these days isn t just silly. It s suicidal. The main revelation I had while listening to Reiss talk in Copenhagen is that these post-film duties, which have always felt like brutal chores to someone like myself, should in fact be considered part of the fun, as creative a task as writing the screenplay itself. It will be fascinating to look back on 2009 in five or so years to see what happens. For now, all we ve got is our instincts and Reiss book to help guide us along. ----Michael Tully Hammer to Nail

Written in a light conversational tone and beautifully organized over 354 pages, Jon, a noted filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry) and CalArts teacher, passionate about connecting filmmakers to their audiences, arms filmmakers with the arsenal needed for a killer DIY direct to fan film marketing campaign. This book drills down to specifics that allows the reader to form an actionable strategy, and is destined to become required reading for all filmmakers. The book also includes steps to create better engagement on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, and then in the next breath puts a call out to festival directors to see themselves as distributors, aggregators of quality indie content for traditional and new media. It seems so complete I m still reading on hoping he addresses ways not to trip up Oscar qualification with day and date online screenings. An incredibly valuable resource. --Content NOW

About the Author

Jon Reiss is a critically acclaimed filmmaker who has produced and directed feature films, documentaries, shorts and music videos in a career that spans nearly 30 years. Named one of the 10 Digital Directors to Watch by Daily Variety, Reiss also teaches in the Film Directing Program at the California Institute for the Arts.

More About the Author

Jon Reiss is a critically acclaimed filmmaker who has produced and directed three feature films, including most recently "Bomb It 2", the follow-up to the acclaimed documentary "Bomb It" about graffiti and the battle over visual public space throughout the world. His experience releasing "Bomb It" with a hybrid strategy was the inspiration for writing "Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution in the Digital Era, the first step-by-step guide for filmmakers to distribute and market their films."

Reiss now works with numerous film organizations, schools and film festivals to present a variety of distribution labs and workshops around the world. To date, Reiss has held his "Think Outside the Box Office: The 2 Day Workshop" in London, Amsterdam, NY, Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Atlanta, among other cities. The IFP recently brought on Jon to help transform their Independent Filmmaker Labs into year-long completion, distribution and marketing labs.

Prior to "Bomb It", Reiss produced and directed the documentary film "Better Living Through Circuitry", a startling, humorous and entertaining glimpse into the exploding rave culture featuring Crystal Method, Roni Size, and Moby, among others acts. The film played at such festivals as RESfest, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, Copenhagen, Los Angeles Independent, Seattle, Vancouver, and Sheffield International Doc Festival before being released theatrically in the United States and on DVD worldwide. The film also screened on the Showtime and Sundance Channels.

Reiss' first film, "Cleopatra's Second Husband", is a dark psychological drama, which screened at the Los Angeles Independent, Seattle, Montreal World, Hamptons, Houston, Sao Paulo and Bangkok film festivals. The movie won Best First Feature at Cinequest before being released theatrically in the United States and on DVD by First Run Features. Cleopatra's Second Husband was subsequently broadcast on IFC/Rainbow.

An award-winning music video director, Reiss has directed videos for Nine Inch Nails, The Black Crowes, Danzig, Slayer, and the Kottonmouth Kings. Reiss' "Happiness in Slavery" video for Nine Inch Nails received awards at the Chicago and San Francisco film festivals and was voted Top Ten by the Village Voice Critics Poll for Best Music Video. In 1995 the Toronto Film Festival curated a retrospective of Reiss' music videos. Jon's shorts have screened at festivals throughout the world, including Sundance, Berlin, New Directors/New Films, Edinburgh, and Chicago. Reiss received his MFA from the UCLA Film School.

Reiss received his MFA from the UCLA Film School and currently teaches in the Film Directing Program at the California Institute for the Arts where he created the class "Reel World Survival Skills: Everything I Wish I Had Been Taught in Film School." This course covers the practical aspects of surviving as an independent writer/producer/director in today's economy; topics include finding a job, pitching, script development, financing and new models of distribution. He guest lectures at universities around the world including UCLA, USC, NYU, Tisch Singapore, AFTRS in Sydney and Melbourne, among others.

Jon Reiss' early credits also include four hour-long documentaries concerning the notorious performance group Survival Research Laboratories. These documentaries have screened in festivals, theaters and cultural centers throughout the world. All were included on a compilation DVD 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem released in the summer of 2004. Reiss got his start in filmmaking at Target Video, a San Francisco based alternative video company where he covered much of the West Coast punk explosion.

Customer Reviews

This is one of the best, most current books I've read on DIY film marketing and distribution.
Donna May
Beyond arming me with a wealth of ideas and step-by-step guides, this book changed my mindset of distribution.
Nathan B. Taylor
I'm just into reading this book, but find the step-by-step instructions/information very helpful.
G. Rossi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Wilker on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I ordered Reiss' book as soon as I heard about it, as I had just finished shooting my first feature film this summer. I wish we had this book last year! But we are still in post-production so we'll get at least a metric ton of valuable information even at this point in the process to put into use before we finish the final edit and release our film. Now, the question is: how will we release it?
Many people would tell you the film business is somewhat broken and you cannot rely on a huge win at a festival and having your film bought and vaulted to hundreds of screens. This being the case, you have to work a little harder, you have to know how to manage your rights (digital and otherwise), how to market and reach your audience yourself and more than you ever thought as a filmmaker. Jon's book is very timely, full of current information (but he should sell it with a PDF update for future revisions!) and has answers to all types of questions. Theatrical? Festival? DVD? VOD? Streaming? BitTorrent? And how much time and money does this all take to do this DIY (do it yourself) anyway? How do I use social media to reach my audience? There are a million questions and Jon covers them all, and ably, too. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for the price. Get yours now before Reiss figures out what a goldmine he's got here and starts charging $2,995 for a seminar that covers the same! Seriously, you could spend a lot of money on seminars and such and not get as much value as you get in "Think Outside the Box Office."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Shapiro on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Everyone knows that no one knows exactly where the independent film world is heading - but the people who help it find its way will no doubt be greatly influenced by this book.

For the past year I have been reading all the great blogs and information that is out there. Among the best: Ted Hope's Truly Free Film, Power to the Pixel, The Workbook Project/ DIY Days. This book along with Scott Kirsner's "Fans, Friends, and Followers" are, in my opinion, the two most important books to have if you're committed to creating and building an audience for you and your film.

John's book contains the best current information and tools from all over the web in one place. This combined with his own personal experiences in DIY make it a bible for a new generation of filmmakers. But as he recognizes, this is a work that will continue to grow as filmmakers experiment with new tools and strategies.

Yes, it is dense. Good. We don't need more endless circle jerk conversations where everyone leaves more confused than when they entered. Lets start getting stuff done.

I've recently finished my first feature script and am in the process of putting together a strategy for my film using many of the ideas contained in this book. I keep it next to me 24/7.

The most exciting part of the book for me is that John recognizes that this industry is in flux - and therefore the conversation doesn't end with the book. He'll be launching a website soon where all of us can come and add to the conversation the book starts. What works, what doesn't, what are new tools we can use to make sure we're laying the foundation for long careers and not financial ruin.

I highly recommend ordering this book.

Jesse Shapiro

ps. I recognize I'm the first review and that always looks fishy. Full disclosure: I've never met John or spoken to him. I saw him from afar at the filmmaker forum this year. He looked like a nice enough guy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Rossi on December 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm just into reading this book, but find the step-by-step instructions/information very helpful. Reiss is not only an excellent filmmaker, he also knows his stuff here. based on my own research/knowledge the information presented is complete and maintains a conversational approach and independent perspective. For newcomers, the step-by-step method makes the BIG process of filmm aking and DIY distribution feel achievable and accessible.

Good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anne Flournoy on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
(Context: Having been around around the block with my no-budget 1st feature distributor-free even after Sundance/Berlin, I saw the light and abandoned film for a webseries in '07. )

I'd never even heard of Jon Reiss or his doc BOMB IT when I bought my copy of THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE at the IFP 09. (The extent of my relationship with Reiss is that I bought the book, he signed it, I said 'thank you' and months later I twittered about it once.) Wish it had been written two years ago as it would have saved me months of hours of trying to figure out the 'outreach'/distribution angle so critical to making web video production a paying (instead of a volunteer) job.

The book has no fat, no fluff. It's hard core, detailed, factual information covering everything from how to set up an effective website which search engines will be able to find, to the privacy settings you should use on the different types of fb GROUP accounts to maximize the splash of one fb post. Digital rights, merchandise, publicity, crowd sourcing are just some of the areas Reiss covers. There are a lot of actions he recommends taking which could take months of work even with an army of interns helping. Think of it like the course work for an MBA in monetizing media. As another commenter said, this book and Scott Kirsner's FANS, FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS are indispensable for anyone making media today. I'm grateful that Reiss 'rushed it out' with a few typos. It's gold.
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