REELNEO begins with a list of ideas, surfaced at the film Roundtable

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/01/2006 - 03:18.

At the 2006.02.28 Excellence Roundtable on Film, a core objective was to compile a list of ideas - objectives - projects - issues to address in the future, in smaller collaborations of special interest groups. In the process, we also identified major opportunities for the film community to come together as one in pursuit of specific outcomes, like tax reform at the state level. Without further interpretation, here are the items captured on the flip charts at the roundtable, for your comments.

  • Quality power in = quality power out
    • NEED TO RAISE THE BAR
    • Cleveland can be source of quality films, but we need to have excellence in every segment of the industry, from K-12 and higher education to creative funding to technology support... along with talented film makers
    • This dialog has the attention of leaders representing every segment - we can make sure the quality goes in
  • Cleveland can be a film production hub
  • Film industry can make lots of noise for Cleveland
    • Films shot here have impact worldwide
  • Need networks of film makers
    • Johnny Wu has created vibrant Indie Film Makers netwwork - meets once a month - will post details
  • Film music composer points out that is major part of industry and opportunity - he wants to work with film makers here
  • Chris Carmody of the Cleveland Film Commission explains their purpose is to get the film industry to spend money here - it doesn't matter if it is good film or bad, from Cleveland or Hollywood - he wants it all, and works on programs to attract and support that
    • Commission has economic policy setting objectives, including pursuing state tax credits for film - leading campaign to lobby legislators to vote for this - everyone in NEO in support of film should contact the decision makers - details on how will post
    • Good example of why we need to map and connect all the networks of film makers into a higher collaboration and unified voice
  • Robert Banks points out there is an "Oscar Night America" Benefit for Bernadette Gillato's Independent Pictures, this Firday - details to post
  • Robert Banks is committed to "FILM" rather than digital so he wants NEO to keep working in that media
  • We have many film festivals and they are blossoming
  • One role in the film cluster is to educate and enlighten the community at every level on what "film" and "cinema"  are.
    • Map people - jobs - dollars
    • economic imact analyses - will post more on this
  • Film is entrepreneurial - each film maker is an entrepreneur
    • Must have business skill and creative
  • CSU film program provides quality education
    • Several of the film makers at the roundtable teach at CSU and CIA
    • Criticism they are too slow to respond in developing programming - ten years to implement changes
  • Cleveland is a creative hub
  • Need to make basic film making tools more accessible.
    • Cameras are $1,000s
    • Adequate computers and prefered software are expensive
    • Could share many facilities - green screen - soundstage
    • Loan or rental program
  • Need media arts center
    • Examples in Pittsburgh, Columbus
    • Other examples
    • What should a media arts center provide/be?
    • Not just about film - all media - music for media?
  • Need to develop more opportunities in film for students - all ages - draw them into industry and keep them in town
    • Film is not just film makers or actors - there are many interesting good paying jobs and related businesses supported
  • From real estate and economic development perspective, the arts are part of urban sustainability and we need to help film industry grow
  • Film is important part of community story telling
    • Example is "Citizen Hauser, where the film is critical to human understanding in this community
  • David Reed of the Kent State Urban Design Collabortive pointed out they are working on some major project in East Cleveland and he suggested a film maker should track this transformation
    • Any film makers interested to document developments in East Cleveland should contact me and we'll make some arrangements
    • Also, East Cleveland has some lowest cost space, including land bank properties. If you have a great idea that will need some land, then this is an opportune
  • People here in the film industry all need to get along
    • No bashing each other, to each other or anyone else
  • Foundations keep getting 12 of the same type of proposals from the same people, year after year
    • Film Fund
    • Access center
  • Educate community about film
  • Include opinions of individuals
  • Citizens are saying arts and culture are important, but film seems under the radar
    • Lack of collaboration across film industry leaves voice weak and fragmented - hostile
    • Need to unify in "public relations" and fund raising - political action - all the big stuff
    • Believe in Cleveland Film
  • Representative from Voices and Choices is considering funding a film project and would consider proposals
    • Contact Joe Cothrell via REALNEO
  • Again, the issue is raised that many of the new technologies are expensive - barrier to entry - need lending and timesharing program
    • Includes facilities for special effects, animation, etc.... this is where many of the jobs develop
  • Computer labs need help bringing video resources into urban areas - need to bridge digital divide
    • This is especially a problem in poorer parts of the community, where few individuals and organizations, schools and clubs have high end computing equipment, software and high bandwidth
      • Some attendees expressed immediate needs for donations of adequate computers and software, like a G5 and Director, to run a video production lab at public schools and community centers - who can help out?
      • East Cleveland would like help with this - Digital VIsion would certainly want to be involved - Bill Callahan directs that
      • I'll follow up on all this - who else is interested?
  • Representative from Screen Actors Guild says he is here to put actors to work. He works at the high level and invites the local film community to be involved - any thing he can do to help grow the industry!
  • Louise Dempsey attended - she is a Cleveland School Board member - so she was able to capture the groups thoughts for the schools
    • We discussed importance of good film education at K-12 to feed talent into the industry
    • Many programs have been cut - this also hurts the industry, as struggling film makers are often also educators - need to restore film education  and expand - be innovative - new school?
    • Corporations could partner with Cleveland schools - any thoughts?
      • There are immediate needs for donations of adequate computers and software, like a G5 and Director, to run video production labs at public schools and community centers - who can help out?
      • Need donations of lower end used hardware for use by students
  • Having a vibrant film industry creates visual outcomes - films and increasingly multimedia - that enlightens and transforms the community itself
  • Paramount is producing a film of the "Torso Murders", which took place in the Cuyahoga River Valley, but they are planning to shoot it in a different state. The location of the murders has barely changed since then, so Cleveland is a more logical place to shoot this movie. We need to start a letter writting campaign to the Executives and board at Paramount (and others who would escalate attention to this opportunity) - go DFAS on this situation!
    • Another example where "industry" working in concert can have major positive impacts
    • Everyone in the industry wants big Hollywood here any time we can get that - they don't compete, and Hollywood gigs pay some bills for locals in the indusrty, while they work on their own projects.
    • Need to promote that we have the talent Hollywood needs, right here
  • We need to develop a network of Angel Investors - or a fund for early stage projects and start-up studios
    • Plenty of money in town, but it probably doesn't know how to invest in film - need to educate the investment community
    • Need to excite the investor community - use film to promote film - be an industry cluster, like nanotech
  • There are lots of mini-studios in town - many people here have artistic side down pat - need help on business development side
  • Why should community give money to arts - film?
    • Must have education component - wasn't previously so - funding scene for arts in US has changed since Mapplethorp and PBS issues went to Washington
    • Laura has found Canadian government is much more supportive of indie film - has created vibrant film economy there and she has been in festivals and has distribution there
  • There are many misconpections in the local economic development and business community that the Film Festival and Cleveland Film Commission are responsible for developing film industry in NEO... but that couldn't be farther from so...
    • Film festival is a film festival - the more like Sundance the better - it is not connected to local film making at all, but it serves every aspect of the film industry and community in huge ways, and is greatly appreciated by all
      • It would seem there is groun for more innovative collaboration between local film makers, venues and festivals... need to explore issues more
  • Be entertaining, as an industry - add to the experience of living in NEO - be inclusive and innovative in collaboration across the community... come out from behind the cameras and production boards
  • Cinematheque needs a digital projector to be able to show more digital format content - they currently have to borrow equipment for another department
  • The most frequently raised idea is a non-profit, cooperative Media Arts Center
    • David Reed of Kent Urban Design Collaborative explained there is one-stop urban design center in Columbus that is very powerful - suggests same for film here
      • Raises obvious question... is Kent providing that service in Cleveland, or planning to, or is there a way it may be created here... we ned this for matters such as the I-90 bridge and Flats/Lakefront planning... something driving more collaborative community engagement and understanding
      • The new Dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Urban Design will be featured at the March 21 Excellence Roundtable, so we'll have a chance to explore this further then
    • What are world-class examples of such Media Arts Centers in the world today? We need to find the best practices - visit them - interact with their planners and managers - become experts and package this for this community

WILL NOW POST KEY TOPICS TO FORUMS FOR FURTHER DIALOG AND PLANNING NEXT STEPS - THIS IS INTENDED TO DRIVE ACTUAL CHANGE - SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM, LARGE AND SMALL. ENGAGE.

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Leaving Film Community for Business Community

Norm and Ed,

First I want to thank you for bringing together so many different people. It is great to include everyone in the film community.  I decided a while ago to focus on the business part of Show Business, so I am not part of the film community, but I am part of the Business Community.

 

I applaud you for making sure things remained positive. I do appreciate our talk afterwards and will follow up with you on the Studio Incubator.  As an entreprenuer, I can see the need for things to remain focused.  In researching the history of the film business, the businessman who started it were very focused.

 

As part of the business community I will make sure my studio supports anyone in the film community.

 

I have some work to do on things now, but I am eager to touch base with anyone who is positive and needs help. I did talk to one of the filmmakers from Blue Hole Productions and we discussed the business aspect of things. I made sure to tell him to get in touch with Joe Parnell. Joe is in the business section of the Library and that is where a lot of the creative community is lacking (in the business aspects).

 

And this is no fault of yours, because you did a great job at facilitating, but I was disappointed that we never got to the roundtable part of things. The introductions became a "roundtable" with a focus on the needs of the filmmakers and a lot of history (both good and bad) but no real objectives for the future.

 

I still believe the economy to be one of the most important parts of the equation. As a memeber of the business community, I'd like to do a more focused roundtable on Just the Economy alone. I'd be more than happy to help organize it.

 

Again, thanks for bringing things together. 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Alex P. Michaels

Building the Knight Movie Studio Incubator

http://prelude2cinema.pbwiki.com

Many next steps, including Indie Nights at AJ Rocco's

Thanks for the feedback, Alex. I think you add lots to the mix in NEO as you are really pushing the creative envelop on the entrepreneruship and business development side. I think that is important and brings diversity, flash and energy to the industry.

I'm working on posting the notes from the Roundtable, which defines many areas of shared interest and specific next steps and opportunities. I'm all for follow-up meetings held in any form and venue to pursue these and other objectives, large and small - lets see who wants to get together on what next steps - we'll use the forums to see where interests develop.

And I want to swing by and check out your studio space! Would you like to set up a tour?

A quick last note - I'm making arrangements with A.J. Rocco's Bar in the Caxton building to turn their place over to the Indie film industry each Monday night from 7 PM until whenever for an extended happy hour (also have great home roasted coffee, locally blended organic tea, etc.) where we can use their sound system, large flat panel and a digital projector to screen locally produced indie films in an informal and casual space. Who wants to help plan this?

Next Week Studio Tour

"Thanks for the feedback, Alex. I think you add lots to the mix in NEO as you are really pushing the creative envelop on the entrepreneruship and business development side. I think that is important and brings diversity, flash and energy to the industry."

 

Thanks Norm. 

Next week would be good for a Studio tour of the small studio and the new larger space. I have to work out the exact time with my new Partner. If you have some time in the mid afternoon this Friday, you can see the small studio and we can talk about the A.J. Rocco's Bar film night.  I had some unique ideas about it and would like to help out.

 

I'll talk to you about the Economy Film Forum Think Tank idea. I think it can be really focused on some initiatives that would help grow the infrastructure of the film industry. I heard funding was a major issue, so I am proposing that the Economy Film Forum Think Tank focus on that and just that.  A sustainable method of funding for any type of project that originates here. I was talking to Joe Parnell about it and we have some ideals on how to get it up and going.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Alex P. Michaels

Building the Knight Movie Studio Incubator

http://prelude2cinema.pbwiki.com

Let's make it a task force - and let's tour next week

Sounds great William. I'd rather plan to see the space next week, and the more iof it and the big picture you can show the better - if the owner can be there, I'd love to meet him.

Let's move the planning of a task force to a forum here - you can go to the Film forum and create a new forum topic youself... http://realneo.us/interests-for-a-sustainable-neo/community/film 

Not what I had expected

I went to the film roundtable mostly as an observer. I have studied films like Pull my Daisy as an art historian and I go to the film festival every year, but I am not an aspiring filmmaker.

Several issues arose during the roundtable that surprised me: 

1. Practical issues prevailed, like the need for a media center with access share expensive equipment and software, and funding/financial support -- from anywhere -- grants, angel investors, banks.

2. Several filmmakers said that Cleveland needs to "raise the bar" there are too many people making bad films here. (this struck me a kind of mean, anyone who wants to make a film should be allowed to make one right? As another filmmaker with a different point of view said, everyone has to start somewhere, you don't make a David as your first sculpture. I think, to an extent it is up to posterity to decide what art is good or bad. So people just won't watch these bad films. Should we be discouraging anyone in this town from being creative, making art, or a film? Clevelanders can have such negative attitudes!  

2. Filmmakers are not seeking venues to show their works, the need for venues or audience does n't seem to be a problem -- or at least they are less of a priority than a media center and funding

3. Black-listing, petty fights keep films from coming to Cleveland and employing Cleveland film people. This has just got to stop!

4. The Cleveland Film Commission is trying to get a bill passed to make Ohio more favorable for making films. I hope it passes. My impression is that Clevelanders, maybe all Ohioan are lazy about getting involved in politics and making government work for them 

Excellent observations on film industry

Very good points that everyone should take seriously. But I don't understand what they are saying about venues? Where can I go and see a Cleveland Indie film tonight? This week? This month? I don't know of any... until we get the gig started Monday's at AJ Rocco's.

An expansion on your thoughts, Evelyn

Having been involved in filmmaking since 1970, making short films and videos and now completing my first feature, I would like to expand on your thoughts and offer further explanation.

 

1.) Though a media center is a great idea, there are now media tech centers in many career centers. I spoke to a class at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, and was amazed at how much great equipment they have to work with. These assets help to educate high schoolers, but could or should be available to indie filmmakers as well. Beside that, when it comes to digital cinema at least, there is no longer 'expensive' equipment and software, just ignorance on how to use it. Which brings me to...

 

2a.) I apologize if we didn't make it clearer, but there are two echelons in making motion pictures. Commercial films, which require accountability to investors seeking an ROI for their investment, and all others that are either done for art, education, experience or experiment. Investors or philanthropists who fund the latter group usually do so for the PR, to gain exposure for a good cause, or for the educational component; and in that regard, yes, anyone who wants to make a film has the right to try. However, filmmaking is not a solitary art form with just you, your paints and a canvas. It's highly collaborative and as such, the filmmaker has a responsibility and duty to make the best film possible, so that each person involved does not feel like they wasted their time. This is where the contention lies. Too many filmmakers put quality at the bottom of their list of priorities and then can't understand why they aren't taken more seriously. For myself, I have worked long and hard to educate myself on how to make movies and it's greatly disheartening to watch bridges to investors and locations burn in the flames of bad cinema. You hit the nail on the head when you said, "people just won't watch these bad films,", but what if you were the investor who was told by the filmmaker that he had the next "Clerks" or "Blair Witch Project"?. No one watching means no money made. That same investor who took a chance will be hard pressed to take another.

 

2b.) There's a little monthly film fest in Tremont, the monthly Indieclub, the yearly Ohio Independent Film Festival, but other than that not much for venues. It's not that we aren't seeking them, we just didn't get into that part of it.

 

3.) I was flabberghasted by Chris Carmody's statement. I would happily work with anyone in Cleveland, but I'm not even on the list ... lol... Of course maybe none of them want to work with me... hmm...

 

4.) It's not that filmmakers are lazy, it's just that we're passionate about filmmaking, not politics. That's why it's great to have champions like Chris Carmody pounding on doors in Columbus and working to make things happen for Cleveland. Of course, his efforts are more for big budget studio films, but who knows, my next feature might be just that, so his efforts will benefit me too.

 

Bill Johns

www.cinevidproductions.com 

440-796-7417