Hey all,  Film Production student Mike Cruz (’11) wrote me recently to let me know about some exciting strategies his team is working on to promote their latest film.  It sounded like such a neat project, I offered him a chance to share that excitement with the community here on our blog.  Take a look at how this team is creating a transmedia storytelling experience, by creating a tangentially related web series based on the short film’s plot.  Such a great idea!  Take it away, Mike:

Let’s face it, the world of audio visual media as we know it is changing. We are past the verge and into the revolution of new ways, new ideas, new platforms, and new beginnings. While many of the traditional systems of production are still in effect, the ongoing search for less expensive, more expansive, actively integrated, and wonderfully interactive media is ongoing. Some see this as a threat, the Goliath to the honorable David of established ways. Yet, some of us choose to see it as the newest expansion set to the way we tell stories.  Opportunities to involve audiences by creating interactive content, listening to the fans, building excitement, expanding the universe of a character, and bringing new tales to the public in exciting ways, are expanding everyday. To not take advantage of it is to be one of the long gone executives who raised their nose at color, scoffed at sound, giggled at the Internet, and refuse to think of 3D as a possible aesthetic tool for adding to the emotional journey of an audience.  [Amen! -JP]

Dodge College of Film and Television has been at the head of a lot of change without throwing away the value of the giants whose shoulders we stand on. Dodge has embraced digital filmmaking workflows while, simultaneously training DPs in the use of film and expanding the technology that integrates KODAK stock with the digital realm. Dodge teaches us the traditional production pipeline while simultaneously taking on 3D, expanding the Digital Arts Department, and continually aiming to integrate an up to date PR and Marketing department with its Film and TV students.

In an effort to be part of this movement and learn the new tools of the trade, I sat down with some of the creative team behind our upcoming graduate thesis film (“The Revolution”) and we all thought it would be a nifty idea to expose ourselves to all this. We realized that we should not and did not want to interfere with the existing production pipeline for thesis films, but instead add to it. So we created an independent study and shot a major part of a 6-8 episode web series (“Follow The Revolution”)(there is still a little bit we have to shoot), and we wrote up a general structure for a webseries, social media buzz campaign, etc leading up to the film. We are shooting the film on 35mm, but shot the web series on a combo of RED, 5D, 7D, and digital still photography.

The film has a pretty simple storyline: A middle aged man, named Aaron Boeke, works in the corporate world of music. He is passed up for promotions by those younger than him and feels like he is falling out of the loop. When a much younger guy is given the position he has been fighting for his boss makes him take a ten day vacation. On this vacation he finds all the memorabilia of his old college band. In a series of misadventures he struggles to bring the band back together and tries to keep them together as all the old issues resurface. They break up again but he battles through and convinces them they must play a battle of the bands that his company is attending. They sign up for it and in the end, despite the fact that they don’t even place, they decide to stay together and keep music as an active part of their lives. They will keep their jobs and their families and their lives, but on weekends they will do what they should have always been doing, for the music not for the money.

The web series follows a girl who is a fan of the band back in their original incarnation. She gets a video camera and decides to document her pursuit of this band, eventually, when she meets them and gets close to them, she decides to make a documentary about them to put online. The idea we had for it was that since she is “following” them, we, the audience should jump on board and “follow” them as well.

Hopefully this all serves as a microcosm for a longer webseries/feature film template, one of many that could work with the different aspects of Internet and social marketing. We are very looking forward with the hopes that this experience will expand our knowledge base of new and social media, provide a fun and exciting collaborative experience for everyone involved, and, most importantly, tell a great story in a new and fun way!

If you find the idea encouraging, we can also always use your support:
financially, creatively, and in kind! Email us personally at followtherevolution@gmail.com about contributions or contact me on Twitter @mikecruz84 for updates and ideas on how to help!

Long live the Revolution!