In an effort to keep up with the changing landscape of new technology, ITVS commissioned author Scott Kirsner to find out what independent filmmakers are doing in the field.

Independent Filmmakers Working with New Technologies: Case Studies by Scott Kirsner

New technologies are creating unprecedented opportunities for social issue filmmakers, whether they are already members of the ITVS community—or aspiring members.

But chasing every new opportunity can be a waste of a filmmaker’s energy and resources. Which ones will generate the biggest return, in terms of attracting viewers, making change in the world and producing positive financial results?

The ITVS Digital Initiative: Report from the Field, a series of case studies published on the ITVS website, aims to answer that question. By sharing the stories of filmmakers who are experimenting with new technologies, and trying whenever possible to quantify the results, we’ll seek to inspire other filmmakers to innovate—while trying to avoid raising unrealistic expectations.

The Report from the Field will focus on three main changes, or pillars: opening up production, finding new audiences and taking advantage of new distribution opportunities:

Opening Up Production to Participation
During pre-production and production, how are filmmakers communicating with audiences, widely dispersed teams, funders and prospective subjects in new ways? What new opportunities for involvement and participation are they exploring?

Finding New Audiences
Once a project is completed and ready for release/broadcast, how are filmmakers using blogs, social networks, games and other technologies to reach audiences that will care about their project?

New Distribution Opportunities
How are filmmakers presenting their work on websites, cell phones, iPods and the new generation of Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes? Do these distribution avenues create conflict with more traditional outlets? Are there substantial economic benefits or simply promotional positives?

Scott Kirsner is a journalist who writes about the ways that new technologies are changing the entertainment industry. He edits the blog CinemaTech, and is the author of two books: Inventing the Movies and The Future of Web Video. Scott's writing has appeared in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and The New York Times.