Digital Production Buzz
July 9, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Larry Jordan & Mike Horton
Scott Hosfeld, Music Supervisor/Editor/Conductor, Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra
Jonny Videl, Founder & CEO, Callsheet Operator
Steve Leon, Partner, Showstoppers
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we start with Scott Hosfeld. He is the Conductor and Music Director of the award winning Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra. He’s also a composer for major motion pictures and independent films. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on what it takes to write music for film and television.
Larry Jordan: Then Jonny Videl is the Founder and CEO of Callsheet Operator. They’ve invented a new web based call sheet for filmmakers. Tonight, he explains his new technology to us.
Larry Jordan: Then Steve Leon is a Partner at Showstoppers. They produce media only events at major trade shows like CES and NAB. Tonight, he shares his thoughts on what it takes to get press coverage for your project.
Larry Jordan: All this and Randi Altman’s perspective on the news and Tech Talk. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by Advantage Video Systems, at advantagevideosystems.com.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital film making …
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Announcer #2: …one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals …
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Announcer #2: …uniting industry experts …
Larry Jordan: …film makers …
Announcer #2: Post production.
Announcer #2: …and content creators around the planet.
Announcer #2: Distribution.
Announcer #2: From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content producers covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Mike, the big news this week is tomorrow. Do you know what tomorrow is? Tomorrow’s a very special day.
Mike Horton: This is tomorrow?
Larry Jordan: Yes it is.
Mike Horton: The big news?
Larry Jordan: Very special day. You ready? You sitting down?
Mike Horton: No. What?
Larry Jordan: It’s our producer Cirina’s birthday and if I don’t mention that first, you and I are both unemployed.
Mike Horton: Oh my goodness, really? Let me put that down in my calendar so I can send her an email card. Ok.
Larry Jordan: And happy birthday Cirina.
Mike Horton: Happy birthday Cirina. Yes.
Larry Jordan: And now the other big news is GoPro. You know about their new …
Mike Horton: Yes, I saw that session. You know, when you were a little kid, you would get these little cube-like things, 3D. That’s exactly what I thought it was when I first saw it, one of those 3D viewers and it was in a cube kind of thing. Wasn’t the …
Larry Jordan: A Viewmaster?
Mike Horton: Yes, but there was a cube 3D viewer and that’s exactly what it looked like, only this one’s $399.
Larry Jordan: But it’s not the same thing. Yes, and it does 100 frame a second 720p; 60 frame a second 1080 and it does 30 frame a second 1440, which is like 2½K.
Mike Horton: And it’s waterproof.
Larry Jordan: And it’s $399.
Mike Horton: And it’s $399, and plus you can put on all those accessories. It’s amazing.
Larry Jordan: Very cool stuff.
Mike Horton: I’m sold. But it’s not 4K. That’ll be the next version six months from now.
Larry Jordan: And it’ll be the size of an ice cube.
Mike Horton: And you’ll have 8K and you’ll have 2008 …
Larry Jordan: Was it your fault that the New York Stock Exchange went down?
Mike Horton: I thought of you. Not only did the New York Stock Exchange go down, United Airlines went down and the Wall Street Journal went down all in the same day and, of course, the internet was blowing up with all sorts of terrorist speculation, that it was all related and all this stuff. But I thought of you immediately. The cloud, the fragility of the digital age and you don’t trust anything. But let’s face it, all that happening in one day – this is going to happen all the time.
Larry Jordan: And there was a bad router, there was a bad software update … seem to have collapsed.
Mike Horton: But that’s what they told us. Of course, I’m one of those conspiracy people that thinks, “Well, a software update, don’t they have a way of testing that?” but then that happens all the time with Apple.
Larry Jordan: Have you ever upgraded your computer and have it not work?
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: And that’s just one computer.
Mike Horton: Lots of people do that. But you’d think it’d be a little bit better when you’re dealing with the Dow Jones. Anyway, it wasn’t that big a deal for investors, but it was a big deal for the media.
Larry Jordan: Yes, a lot of news, especially when you want to fly somewhere and they’ve cancelled flights everywhere.
Mike Horton: Yes, but it’s going to happen all the time.
Larry Jordan: And we will keep an eye on it because that’s what we do.
Mike Horton: Just throw your computer away, everybody. Just throw it away.
Larry Jordan: You can join our conversation at Facebook, at digitalproductionbuzz.com, and Mike and I will be back with Scott Hosfeld right after Perspective on the News …
Mike Horton: Assuming you still have a computer.
Larry Jordan: …with Randi Altman.
Larry Jordan: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.
Larry Jordan: Randi Altman has been writing about our industry for the last 20 years. Now she’s the Editor in Chief of her own website, called postperspective.com, and as always, Randi, it’s good to have you back.
Randi Altman: Thank you, Larry. Good to be here again.
Larry Jordan: Randi, the big news this week is GoPro. What have you heard?
Randi Altman: Well, they introduced the Session 4, which is teeny tiny. It weighs almost nothing, you could put it anywhere. The way that I see it being used is it’ll make lives easier for editors – they won’t have to try to cut out the camera or they could just paint it out. It’s so small. It’s pretty neat.
Larry Jordan: I’m looking forward to playing with it. It’s the size of an ice cube, it’s just amazing how tiny that thing is.
Randi Altman: Yes, it is pretty amazing. People were saying that it’s almost the size of a lens of the regular Hero 4 … yes.
Larry Jordan: Sort of Scotch tape it on your jacket and you’re good to go.
Randi Altman: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: We’ve moved from production to post. Avid’s been making news. What’s the word from Avid?
Randi Altman: Today, the news that they announced at NAB is now a reality, so Media Composer 8.4 is now out there and they’re touting resolution independence, so essentially what you can do now in Media Composer is just type in whatever frame size you want to work in. You could work from a big feature film all the way down to creating an ad for the local pizza place on the corner. There’s a lot more freedom and flexibility.
Larry Jordan: Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but both Premiere and Final Cut do this. But Avid is trumpeting this as a big new feature?
Randi Altman: Yes. Up until now they hadn’t been able to do it. Even though they’re saying that you could edit in 8K now, they’re also offering more flexibility for people working in all kinds of workflows and jobs, so they’ve gone up and down market.
Larry Jordan: One of the other things that you were talking about last week is your interest in virtual reality. Why do you think VR is not going to be the flash in the pan that stereo 3D was?
Randi Altman: Well, I’m hoping it won’t be, but the reason I think it won’t be is that your cost of entry is very little. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a nice headset where you’re really immersed in the atmosphere. You could also take in virtual reality almost anywhere. You pop your iPhone or your mobile device into one of the headsets and suddenly you can be in the middle of Manhattan.
Randi Altman: My first experience with virtual reality was I was in a bar in Manhattan and life was going on around me but I was at a Paul McCartney concert and I was in the Grand Canyon and it was unbelievable. So to be able to sort of separate yourself from reality in that way is pretty cool and, like I said, the cost of entry is not very high at all. John VR, who has a studio in LA and has now developed their own camera system for it, they aim to be the Netflix of virtual reality content, so I do believe we’re going to be seeing more and more stuff to watch.
Larry Jordan: Randi, what’s the lead story on your newsletter today?
Randi Altman: I’m not set yet but I believe it’s going to be a review of the Lenovo workstation, the ThinkPad, and Brady Betzel, who is a working editor out there in LA, was kind enough to review it for us.
Larry Jordan: Very cool. Randi Altman is the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com. Randi, thanks for joining us today.
Randi Altman: Thanks Larry. Take care.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
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Larry Jordan: Scott Hosfeld is the Conductor and Music Director of the award winning Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra. He also works with producers, directors and writers creating music for major motion pictures, independent films, television and video gaming. He has decades of experience as a conductor, composer, musician, entrepreneur and an institution builder. Welcome, Scott, good to have you with us.
Scott Hosfeld: Thanks very much. Happy to be here.
Larry Jordan: Scott, how old were you when you knew you wanted to be in music?
Scott Hosfeld: I think I was about three or four years old and my parents had a little thing where I could play their 45rpm singles and I would stand down in the basement and sing my head off and I just loved music from the beginning.
Larry Jordan: So when was your first paying gig?
Scott Hosfeld: Ah, probably truly right when I was in college. I think there was somebody who was recruiting kids to do very off contract session work, went to using student labor, and I think I got paid a few times to mix some recordings, or at least back up.
Larry Jordan: Well, I was just looking at your resume. You’ve been a performer, a composer, a conductor. How do you view yourself? Do you think of yourself as a musician? A composer? Conductor? Performer? How would you describe it?
Scott Hosfeld: I would say I think of myself as a performer mainly first and foremost. That’s what drew me in, the actual hands on production of music with an instrument in my hands. Then from there, with a particular focus actually on intimate music making – I always loved chamber music, I liked playing with a handful of people where everybody mattered – and then it grew from there.
Scott Hosfeld: I spent probably the first 20 years of my career touring with a string quartet all around the country and had various residencies at various universities, and then I ran out of steam with that to direction and built a destination chamber music center and school in the mountains of central Washington, a destination music spot, kind of like a miniature Tanglewood or Banff.
Larry Jordan: So your principal instrument is what?
Scott Hosfeld: Viola is my main instrument, although I would call myself equally a violinist. By happenstance I ended up playing viola for those 20 years in a string quartet, so I kind of got used to it.
Mike Horton: I’m a little ignorant here on chamber music. When we talk chamber, are we talking about just a few instruments, a few people versus a full orchestra?
Scott Hosfeld: Exactly.
Mike Horton: What instruments are we talking about?
Scott Hosfeld: A formal string quartet is two violins, viola and cello and it’s led me so much into the direction I’ve come to now with media, simply because a lot of composers put a lot of their best efforts, channel a tremendous amount of energy and creativity into writing for that particular combination and so you have groups – I was one of them – that toured all over to people who particularly like that form.
Scott Hosfeld: It’s a little bit like seeing a really great rock band because you can everybody in it as a personality and they’re all contributing their energy towards making music, unlike in a symphony orchestra where you’re sort of encouraged to be a blender and a conformer and the real star is the conductor.
Larry Jordan: Which gets me to the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra that you’re conductor for. Tell me about this.
Scott Hosfeld: My wife and I – her name is Maria Newman, she comes from the Newman family, the Alfred and Randy and Thomas and David …
Mike Horton: THE Newman family?
Scott Hosfeld: …LA family – began to do a series of concerts in Malibu, in our home, in 2005 and we dreamed of the idea of having really outstanding musicians, of which there are endless amounts in Los Angeles. But this particular group was made up out of people who could play in the orchestra but also anyone of them could be a soloist, any one of them could be a leader and so, again, it’s a little bit the same in that we draw energy from people who have a real reason to be there and it creates a unique orchestra where everybody pulls their own weight, and maybe as conductor I tend to guide as much as anything the wonderful expression that comes out of people that feel important in their role in the orchestra rather than as just cogs.
Larry Jordan: But there’s a big difference between being a performer, even as something as visible as a string quartet, and conducting. What was it that made you step out from the ranks and stand in front of the group and take all the slings and arrows?
Scott Hosfeld: Good question. I always liked conducted, I started doing it when I was in college, in Conservatory in New York. We founded and established the International House Chamber Orchestra, which was made up of Manhattan School of Music and Julliard students, and it was a string orchestra but I stepped in many, many times and conducted and always liked the feeling, like I said, of guiding the efforts rather than controlling. So you take people who have a lot of energy, allow them to develop a relationship with one another in terms of the music, and then hopefully just guide that in a way that makes it the most effective.
Mike Horton: Every time I go to a classical concert and watch the conductors, nobody’s looking at the conductor, they’re all looking at their music sheets and so I always wonder what’s the conductor there for? If nobody’s paying attention to this guy – occasionally they’ll glance up, occasionally he’s pointing over here, occasionally he’s doing this thing with his hand – what does a conductor do? You say guide, but is it out of the peripheral? Again, ignorant question, I know, but that’s one of the things I don’t understand.
Scott Hosfeld: A … orchestra like the LA Phil can probably play their way through something really without a conductor for the most part, but it is the shaping of the music, bringing the vision, especially to a large orchestra.
Mike Horton: But that shaping happens before they actually perform?
Scott Hosfeld: Yes, a lot of it. A lot of it happens in rehearsal. You might have three or four rehearsals prior to that concert or set of concerts where you kind of work things out, but the music’s not memorized and people are accustomed to reading, but trust me there’s a peripheral sense of that energy coming from the conductor and, of course, we all know that there are better and worse conductors, so sometimes it pays to ignore the conductor and then sometimes it doesn’t. But somebody who’s dynamic and brings vision or excitement or energy to the performance is really making a difference.
Larry Jordan: Which gets me to the third thing that’s keeping you busy. In addition to performing and conducting, you also write music, and you write music for film and for television. It seems like anything that needs music, you’ve got it written for. What are some of the projects you’ve written music for?
Scott Hosfeld: What I do is – and I don’t claim to be specifically a composer, although I’ve composed a lot – but I usually work in conjunction with a composer who has perhaps a background similar to mine in classical or in small music forms and what we try to do is bring that expensive sense of great sound or acoustic music to projects, whether they’re large or small.
Scott Hosfeld: Over the course of the years I’ve worked in many, many ways with lots and lots of well known people, of course, like I mentioned, almost the entire Newman family we’ve collaborated with one way or another, Marco Beltrami, Hans Zimmer and John …, just a huge array of people that we work alongside in a collaborative way.
Larry Jordan: We’ve got a couple of clips and I want to play a music clip to give us a sense of what your music sounds like. We’ve got two radically different styles; and then I want to have you describe what the use of these was. Let’s play the first audio clip.
Larry Jordan: Now, that’s but a small piece of a larger project, but tell me about that one.
Scott Hosfeld: Ok, the actual cue was drawn from a piece that was actually written by my wife, Maria Newman, and it was a concert piece but we used it in a film called Heaven’s Rain by director Brooks Douglass, and it was the Oklahoma State House of Representatives and the hero of this particular film is standing up to introduce a very important piece of legislation. He’s a junior Senator and initially it opens the scene and it’s also used later when this particular Bill passes, even though all the senior Senators had opposed it.
Larry Jordan: All right, well, let’s try a second clip, which is a totally different texture piece. Let’s listen to it and then I want to talk about the process of how you went about composing these. Let’s play the second clip.
Larry Jordan: Tell us about that one.
Scott Hosfeld: Interesting, of the ones I provided these are both actually from the same film. This is also an adaptation of similar music by Maria Newman. It was music that went against picture so the mood of the music is kind of serene, but the actual scene is the hero, who has been both mentally and physically injured in a very graphic way, healed but working out the demons and he’s actually punching a punching bag and having flashbacks, so it’s sort of a serene background but kind of eerie in intent that backs up this scene where he’s punching and punching and punching and working out his demons.
Larry Jordan: How do you write a piece of music? You’re handed the script, you’ve probably got the rough cut of the film, pretty close to lock for time. What process do you go through?
Scott Hosfeld: What I try to do, and this is where I feel like my advantage in being a musician comes to play, because I think that when you play a lot and you talk a lot and discuss music, whether you’re a conductor or a performer, you develop language to describe things that are not really supposed to be described in words. So I feel that when I see something, I am very in touch with the color or the mood or the feeling in the scene or, in the case of the last cue, kind of the opposite, like how do you frame something in a way that draws emotion from that?
Scott Hosfeld: If it’s a violent scene, it’s easy to be violent, so I’m looking for a direction. Then what I try to do is then come up with a texture that fits that scene, so if it’s warm and tender I think of strings or something that can embrace, but of course the texture of something that’s more noble would have fit the first cue – about the courtroom and about seriousness and drama. I try to interpret a feeling first and then either create or paint with music that I’ve worked with something that seamlessly works with that scene.
Mike Horton: You’re dealing a lot with budget, obviously, especially on those small films where they can only afford a certain amount of instruments, a certain amount of people, and especially when you’re dealing with something like a choral arrangement, as you did here, you can only get a certain amount of people. What can you choose within the constraints of the budget? That stuff sounds absolutely wonderful, but is it expensive?
Scott Hosfeld: What you were hearing is expensive. The brass players, I would consider that the A list brass players in Los Angeles were playing that, so that is expensive. But part of it is that small amounts of people can make a huge difference. I’ve worked with composers many, many times on writing or developing a chamber score.
Scott Hosfeld: Nowadays you can mic things so brilliantly and bring things to life with just a handful of voices and if each one of those has a commitment or you can use modern technology and use samples and use those things to begin with and then overlay something real over the top of it and all of a sudden it has a deeply dramatic and expensive feel without an expensive budget.
Mike Horton: So me as an independent filmmaker, I can come to you and hire you, maybe?
Scott Hosfeld: Yes, you sure can.
Mike Horton: And you and I would share the same budget perception?
Scott Hosfeld: Yes, yes, and that’s really important because you start off with that. A lot of times what happens with films is a filmmaker gets really excited about their film and kind of forgets that music often is the part that ties it together emotionally. We’ll sit on a scoring stage and you’re watching the film without music and, boy, it’s such an empty experience until that comes in.
Larry Jordan: We need to bring you back and have you walk us through the process of composing. Where can people go on the web to learn about the orchestra? What website?
Scott Hosfeld: That would be malibufriendsofmusic.org.
Larry Jordan: And how about your own website?
Scott Hosfeld: That would be scotthosfeld.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s scotthosfeld.com. Scott Hosfeld is the Conductor and Founder of the Malibu Coast Orchestra. Scott, thanks for joining us today.
Scott Hosfeld: Thank you. My pleasure.
Mike Horton: Thank you Scott.
Scott Hosfeld: Thank you. All right.
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Larry Jordan: Jonny Videl is the Founder and CEO of Callsheet Operator, which is a web based management app designed to replace printed or .pdf call sheets. Hello, Jonny, welcome.
Jonny Videl: Hi, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: It’s good to have you with us. How would you describe what a call sheet is?
Jonny Videl: A call sheet is a master document and schedule for the day which lists all the crew members and crew lists and also the schedule of what you’re going to be shooting that day, specific and detailed.
Larry Jordan: Well, call sheets have been printed or typed since the beginning of time. Why bother to create something new?
Jonny Videl: When I entered the film industry, I was actually shocked at how much of it was outdated. Like you said, they’ve been around forever and … so with all this technology in play, with mobile and digital, the internet, all these things that people have at their disposal today, I decided to upgrade the whole technology, make it web based, and there are a couple of different reasons for that. Going green is one of them, but most importantly it makes the workflow easier and easier on the actual production manager and the production teams and they have a lot more important things to worry about.
Larry Jordan: So you invented something called Callsheet Operator. Tell me what that is.
Jonny Videl: Callsheet Operator is a web based tool that we use and there are a couple of different applications for it. The first is creating a call sheet. You upload your contacts to our system and it will auto fill for you, very much like Google suggests, for example, when you type in the L-A of Larry, it’ll auto suggest the rest of your name, Jordan, and auto fill the correct information. From there, it will also match email, text and voice for the entire document and the location app or any other NDAs and documents you have with that, so the entire crew for you at the press of one button.
Jonny Videl: It also tracks that document, so you can see who’s opened it, who’s viewed it. It also includes digital confirmation, so you can confirm with the document … old school calling people up and verbally confirming or requiring that they respond to you through email. And the last valuable asset to Callsheet Operator is actually making the call sheet interactive, so when you open it on your mobile phone you can actually call the numbers by clicking on them or add a contact by clicking on a name. You can see the weather, you can dial out, you can email. There are lots of applications for it.
Larry Jordan: I was doing some homework, getting ready for this interview, and without even having to break a sweat I found Pocket and FilmTouch and DoodlePro also offering call sheets. What makes you special?
Jonny Videl: Yes, those are somewhat in the same vein in terms of dealing with call sheets, but they do think a little bit differently. I believe Pocket’s call sheet just stores call sheets as a database and I think DoodlePro also has a call sheet application, but we work in very different ways. What sets us apart to my knowledge is we’re the only ones who are doing interactive call sheets in terms of being able to actually interact with the exact document, and the only one that actually does the follow-up through … voice messaging with digital opt-in, so people can opt in automatically.
Mike Horton: Back when I was an actor, a long time ago …
Larry Jordan: Did they have paper back then?
Mike Horton: No, we’d actually get sent the call sheets by courier the night before we would go to the set. Now, there are a lot of actors today, especially in their 70s, who do not own a computer and still rely on the call sheet. What is happening nowadays with people like that, who are Luddites or don’t have a computer?
Jonny Videl: It’s actually a very small percentage.
Mike Horton: Yes, I realize that but those people exist. Really, they do.
Jonny Videl: Yes, they definitely do. With our system … most of the crew and there will be a couple of stragglers, maybe one, two or three, but it expedites the process and weeds them out, so instead of going through the whole crew and cast list manually and calling everybody concerning email, you can set … follow up feature for you, so a follow up for each channel – digital, email, text and voice – and at the end of the day, you’ll have a couple of stragglers and you will have to pick up the phone for them. But instead of calling 100 people, you’re going to call three.
Mike Horton: Right. You are the Assistant Director’s dream.
Larry Jordan: Jonny, I just realized that you not only run Callsheet Operator, but you founded the company. What was it that made you decide there was a market here and why start a company?
Jonny Videl: I’ve been working in film myself and been in the business roughly about five or six years, a camera assistant by day, and working inside of it I realized that there were a lot of problems and there are solutions that you mentioned and a couple that you didn’t, and what I found with those solutions was that they weren’t utilizing the technology in the right way, number one; and number two, a lot of them were trying to do too much, they want you to do everything inside the system.
Jonny Videl: We focused on solving very specific problems and points from the inside out because we know them so well. This is the first app of our company – our company’s actually called Cinio – and we’ll be following up with additional products in the future, but this is the first one we’re launching this year, which is the most painful one …
Larry Jordan: How do people access it and how do you put data into it? Just tell me how it works.
Jonny Videl: It’s mostly web based, so you will need an internet connection, which again is pretty common these days. Even if you’re shooting on location, they usually bring a satellite phone or something with them. You can upload the contacts through your address book – you just … and then upload it to the system, if you want, and if you don’t want to that’s absolutely fine also.
Jonny Videl: There is also a paste-in feature where you can copy your existing call sheet already done into Callsheet Operator and skip the first module and go right into the contacts where it will follow up for you through email, text and voice and give you analytics on the tracking to the messages, see who’s opted in, see who hasn’t, see which channel they’ve opted in through and then set out the call sheet for you at the end.
Mike Horton: Is this a Filemaker kind of database based software?
Jonny Videl: It can be, but it doesn’t have to be necessarily. We made it user friendly because we know, especially with production managers, everyone has their own workflow and … learn a new thing or to change their workflow, which is what we found that a lot of people …
Mike Horton: That was going to be my next question. You don’t want anybody to have to learn something. You want it to be absolutely intuitive and easy to learn or easy to use.
Jonny Videl: Exactly, and that was our parameter when we created it. We didn’t want to change anybody’s workflow, we just wanted to help them through the process by using our system. We’re not changing the existing workflow, you’re still creating a call sheet the same way, you’re still using a call sheet the same way, you’re still filling out a call sheet.
Jonny Videl: You just use technology to aid all those things. You’re going to make call sheet faster, you’re going to distribute it a lot faster and more cleanly, no … messages, no CCs, no asking for responses and at the end of it you’ll have an interactive document that’s actually useful instead of a .pdf that you can’t do anything with.
Larry Jordan: Jonny, how much does this cost?
Jonny Videl: We’re currently working on pricing right now, but we will have a Fremium model and we’ll have a studio price that goes all the way up to, I believe, about $120. But we’re doing a Fremium model for indie filmmakers and we’re working on keeping it as low as possible in cost. But what it costs in monetary value it makes up in time, so instead of spending hours creating a call sheet, it can be done literally in minutes. Instead of spending following up with crew members, again, it can literally be done in minutes or set up to run on its own all day, and the same thing with the tracking and analytics.
Jonny Videl: It’s kind of foolproof and it’s double security for the production manager because we all know they’re the ones who get yelled up when … doesn’t show up to set, so you can look at the metrics and say, “Well, I know you opened the document, there’s a time stamp that says you opened it and you read it, but you didn’t confirm it,” so it’s kind of back on that other person.
Larry Jordan: You said that you’re still working on price. It sounds like you’re in a soft launch right now as opposed to up to full speed. Is that true?
Jonny Videl: Correct. We’re currently in beta with our core group of … that we’re running with and we’re getting feedback from them. We actually built it alongside them, so we didn’t just make this app that we thought would be great. We spent about a year … 2013 when it first started and … started interviewing everybody, getting a consensus, get feedback the entire way along and now we’re getting feedback on the actual physical software.
Mike Horton: Are you looking for more testers?
Jonny Videl: Oh yes, all the time. We’re definitely looking for more testers across different genres. We have a commercial team, we have people in the indie world, we even have some people who … musicians … features and films so anybody who can really give us a clear opinion, especially somebody who works a lot and uses it all day. We’re working with 2nd ADs, 1st ADs, production managers, coordinators, producers, you name it.
Larry Jordan: So where do you want to take this? Is this the start of a suite of products you’re going to be coming out with? If so, where do you see the direction that you’re headed?
Jonny Videl: It will be something of a suite, but not in terms of something like an Adobe suite where it’s all in one. The products will be standalone but they also will be able to work together, but you don’t have to buy them or use them all at once. We’re focusing specifically on film production management because that is the last to the game, they’re the ones who are lacking the editing software, the scheduling software, the budgeting software. There’s no real software to take of the meaning of the boring data entry task that we can automate.
Jonny Videl: Our second product will be coming out very shortly, actually, on August 1st and then we plan on doing a couple of other very specific niche software solutions as time progresses. Again, we’ll be able to focus on very specific problems – we don’t want everybody to do everything in our system, we don’t want to change workflows, we don’t want to make things difficult … people using it – so our goal is to make user friendly, very simple, obviously affordable solutions that solve very specific problems.
Larry Jordan: And the website for people who want to learn more is callsheetoperator.com and Jonny Videl is the Founder and CEO of Callsheet Operator. Jonny, thanks for joining us today.
Jonny Videl: Thanks so much, guys.
Mike Horton: Thanks a lot. Take care.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: What is the challenge, aside from just the volume involved, what’s the challenge in preserving digital records?
Female: Well, the enormity of it, just as you mentioned. Millions and millions of digital objects for some institutions, and not just that but the huge variety of records, the different types, not just email but Office documents and sound recordings and video files and databases and geographic information systems. I could go on for a long time.
Voiceover: This is Tech Talk from The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: This is a typical presenter pose, square to the camera. Notice the size of her head relationship to the shoulders. It’s ok, but it’s boring. What I want you to do instead is I want you to turn your body and point your knees toward the ladder and spin. There you go. A little too much, too much. I’m going to get you there, but not yet. Ok, now cut back to camera two. Look at how much more interesting this is when we start to put her shoulders at an angle. What it does is it diminishes the width of her body and emphasizes the size of her head, not to make it swell but your eye looks at this which is largest or brightest or most dominant in a frame, which is her head by definition.
Larry Jordan: Now, watch what happens. We’re going to stay with camera two. Spin your body a little bit more, just a little, right about there, and now, there we go, this is like a fashion photographer where your head is twisted so much over your shoulder that you’re looking over your back. There we go. Now, the head is dominant, you have to look at her face because the shoulders have receded into virtually nothing – it’s a straight line receding from the camera. So it depends upon what you’re emphasizing. If you want to emphasize the face, then you spin the body so that the shoulders are more at an angle. If you want to emphasize the body, then you spin so that she’s sitting square, ok?
Larry Jordan: Now cut back to Dennis. Trade places, Andrew and Cynthia. Now we can take this one step further. Let’s have Drew do the same thing, but I want to have him talk about a newscaster pose which, for some reason, works much better with guys than with girls. Let’s zoom back out here, square to the camera first to start with, and again this could be a mug shot. Oh, look at that frown, oh my goodness. This is happy news. There we go, much better. Now rotate your body in the same direction that we did with Cynthia and, again, notice how this is a much more pleasing shot.
Larry Jordan: There was a newscaster in New York that made this next shot famous. His name is Tom Snider from WNBC New York, and what he did is he took this whole concept to an entirely different level. I want you to spin, cut back to camera two. Look at that shot. Drop your right shoulder a bit more, lean in a bit more. Push, push, push. There you go, right there. How can you not pay attention to that shot? His body has essentially disappeared, his shoulders are at such an extreme angle. He is leaning forward, his head dominates the frame. This is like body in the river, shoes on the bridge, film at 11.
Larry Jordan: This is the most incredible way of dealing with the camera because you are forcing the viewer to pay absolute complete attention because the presenter is totally dominating the frame. Andrew, relax. Nice job.
Voiceover: This Tech Talk was shared from Larry Jordan’s website at larryjordan.com.
Larry Jordan: Steve Leon is a Partner in Showstoppers. Now in its 22nd year, Showstoppers creates media events for selected press analysts and key executives that are designed to generate news coverage, product reviews, promote brands and open new markets. Showstoppers produces events at CES, CTIA, Mobil World Congress, NAB and many other venues. Hello, Steve, welcome.
Steve Leon: Hello, Larry. Thanks for having me on.
Larry Jordan: We are delighted to have you with us. Tell us about Showstoppers – what is it and why did it start?
Steve Leon: Oh man, we started 22 years ago with a very simple premise. I worked for a small PR agency, I compared notes with a couple of other agencies where we all had three or four clients each at a trade show that no longer exists called COMDEX and we had a … We had clients in three different buildings up and down the Strip and we had appointments with journalists for each of those clients and we hit on the idea of putting all of those companies in one place at one time, bring in some food, bring in some drink and let the companies demonstrate their products and see how many journalists we could collect for two or three hours. That turned into a business and it’s now 22 years later.
Larry Jordan: What’s your role with the company?
Steve Leon: I am one of three business partners. I am the partner who is responsible for inviting the press, registering the press, talking with journalists – which is why I’m doing this interview – and I am also involved very heavily in business development. There are two other partners. Both happen to be my brothers. Bob is responsible for our logistics, the hotel room or … site that we use, the venue, the power, the lighting, things like that. The other partner is Dave and he is responsible for sales and also for business development.
Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, Mike and I were chatting about this before the show, there’s so much competition for attention from the press and individual users. How do you break through? How do you get the press to pay attention to your event? And then how do you get end users to pay attention once the press is there?
Steve Leon: Let me turn the question round … How many trade shows have you been to and what happens when 30 companies call you up and ask for interview slots and timeslots? What do you do? We think the Showstoppers format is far more cost and time effective for everybody involved and the idea is you can do business, look at new products, put your hands on them for two or three hours and you walk out at the end of the evening with a stack of business cards, leads to coverage, leads to products that you want to review on air or in publication. How valuable is your time? You can see 20, 30 companies in an hour at a Showstoppers event instead of walking up the trade show aisles for three days. We think that’s a formula that works.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that we do, and we make a big point of covering NAB, is that we’ll do live programming from the show floor and we’ll talk to anywhere from 40 to 60 on air interviews during an NAB show and we present them in periods of seven to ten minute interviews a piece, so our format is live broadcast. When you say the Showstoppers format, what’s that?
Steve Leon: At its simplest, it is a large room, typically a ballroom at a hotel – The Wynn, for example, in Vegas, or one of the exhibit halls in Berlin – and we fill the space with companies that have new products to launch, new products to demonstrate, a reason to talk with the press and we set up tables, we run power to the tables, we bring in food, we bring in drink and we open up the doors. We spend a lot of time prior to the event working with each of the companies that is exhibiting and sending out the invitations to the press, building a press list, things like that.
Steve Leon: The event is typically two or three hours – CES is a longer event, that’s a four hour event for us. At our largest event, we have a few hundred journalists in the room, typically 130 companies exhibiting. We’ve done smaller events with as few as ten companies and 100 journalists. The idea is that every journalist can meet with ten companies, 30 companies, 50 companies, 130 companies and put your hands on the product, get a demonstration from somebody who knows that product intimately, can explain that product to you to walk you through the benefits, the advantages, how it differs from something that may already be out on the market, and then you understand the product well enough that you can do that coverage.
Steve Leon: At NAB, for example, which I think is where I saw you guys, I think we had 30 companies in the room. I think there were 500 journalists for that event and that was a three hour event. That was a large ballroom inside the convention center at Mandalay Bay, I think. It gets confusing because we do three events there a year.
Larry Jordan: Steve, hold on a second because I want to come back to something. It sounds to me like the developers are your clients and the press is your audience. If that’s true, what advice do you give to your clients, the people who have products to sell, to help them maximize their contact with the press? And the ultimate reason is to help our listeners understand what they need to know to work better with the press.
Steve Leon: Oh boy. There are a series of long answers. If you’re doing a PR for a tax company, hardware, software, devices, internet services, any of those, the best thing you can do with a new product that you are launching is demonstrate to a journalist one on one, face to face and there is nothing like being in the room with that journalist for those five or ten minutes or whatever it is. That gets rid of a lot of the resistance, it eliminates confusion, it clarifies the communication channel. Much more work gets done that much more quickly, that much more effectively in a shorter amount of time.
Steve Leon: If you’re a journalist, your time is valuable, you’re on deadline, you’ve got to get things figured out, written up and on the air. If you’re a marketer for that product, for that company, you want to figure out how to reach as many journalists as you can as quickly as possible. You can spend a week on the road traveling from office to office, flying around the country, or you can put yourself in a room full of journalists who have already been qualified as people that you want to shake hands with and you’re done in two hours.
Mike Horton: Are these companies at Showstoppers also on the show floor or are they just at Showstoppers?
Steve Leon: At some events, at CES for example, some of those companies are on the show floor, some of them are not. At … where we produce the official press event, that’s the event in Berlin, those companies must exhibit on the show floor. In part, that is the way we work with … which runs the … trade show.
Larry Jordan: You’ve been doing this now for 22 years and it sounds like you’re working with smaller companies to give them a chance to break through and become visible, as opposed to the Sonys and the really large companies of the world. How have your exhibitors changed over time?
Steve Leon: First let me go back a step. We have large companies in a room like HP and Microsoft and Samsung – can’t get any bigger than those – and we are known for bringing smaller start-ups into the room that journalists have never heard of, never discovered, and this is their foot into … How has this changed over time? Go back to my reference COMDEX, the trade show that doesn’t exist any longer. That is the trade show that turned technology into consumer electronics into the Internet of Things, which is where we seem to be moving at this point.
Steve Leon: But technology evolves over time, the way it is delivered over time changes, and I can’t predict for you where we will be at CES in January 2016, which products are going to be flying around the room like a quadcopter or which cameras are going to be shooting video in what format, but I know that I will have them in the room and I know that I will have large companies doing those demonstrations and I will have small companies that nobody’s ever heard of before doing those demonstrations.
Larry Jordan: How does a small company approach you and convince you that you need to invite them to the event?
Steve Leon: Please, contact me. Honestly.
Larry Jordan: What I’m saying is do you have criteria or do they have to audition or is it just a question of paying the fee?
Steve Leon: It’s a combination of things. Obviously, we’re going to get paid for this, it’s a business. That said, I am much more interested in companies that have a really good story to tell because if you’re a journalist and you walk into a Showstoppers event and you’re bored and you’ve seen all of these companies and products before, you’ll walk out of that room thinking that you wasted your two hours.
Steve Leon: If, on the other hand, I’ve got 30 companies in the room, some of which you’ve never heard of before and they’ve got something that’s relevant to what you cover, you’re going to be fascinated, you’re going to want to spend time at my event. Now, how I find those companies, we do a lot of marketing, we do a lot of outreach, we have a website, we have email newsletters, we have word of mouth, we have friends who introduce us, we take introductions by email, by telephone all the time. We are happy to have the door knocked on. It is a process.
Mike Horton: So diversity is really important to a show like Showstoppers, correct?
Steve Leon: Yes. Look at what you cover. I know you’re back from NAB most recently, right? We’re talking film, video, on air production, devices to do those kinds of things. That’s different from what happens at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s different from what happens at … or CES, which is much more about consumer electronics, but it will still have devices, it will still have mobile, it will still have video and audio and software tools. But the focus of those changes from event to event.
Mike Horton: Any particular company in, say, the last ten years that you have introduced to the world that has changed the world?
Steve Leon: Oh man, that’s a tough question. I am in the process now of remodeling the house. I’m not physically doing the labor, I have a builder doing the work for me, but I have a personal interest in not home automation, but smarter homes. At CES, for example, I took time to meet with one of the exhibitors in the room, a company called Sengled, who have an LED lightbulb that is not just a lightbulb. It has an intercom microphone built in, it connects to your router and it has a motion sensor and it has a 180 degree camera on it, so I can put one of these things at my front door and I don’t need a doorbell any more.
Mike Horton: All right, you sold me, I’ll take that.
Steve Leon: So I’ve got a personal interest in things like that. That said, if I’ve got at CES 1800 journalists in the room, I can guarantee you that there are 1800 different newsbeats and I could not predict who is going to be interested in any one of the companies in the room different from any one of the other companies in the room.
Larry Jordan: That’s true.
Mike Horton: Well, I’m interested in that LED lightbulb.
Larry Jordan: Steve, where can people go on the web to learn more about you and your company?
Steve Leon: Showstoppers.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s showstoppers.com and Steve Leon is a Partner of Showstoppers. Steve, I’m really curious to see what the next hot product is at your shows and I wish you great success. Thanks for joining us today.
Steve Leon: Thank you. If I could predict that, I wouldn’t be in this business, I’d be really rich.
Larry Jordan: Take care. Bye bye.
Steve Leon: Thanks.
Mike Horton: We should get the Digital Production Buzz at one of those tables, with Showstoppers.
Larry Jordan: We should get there and get the press, to talk to the press. I think we’ve got a story to tell.
Mike Horton: Are you kidding me? You’re huge.
Larry Jordan: They would queue up just to see you.
Mike Horton: The front page of the New York Times the next day. Massive.
Larry Jordan: The people would say, “I met Mike Horton.”
Mike Horton: You would crash the Wall Street Journal.
Larry Jordan: Which has already happened, I don’t think anybody would be interested any more because it’s been done.
Mike Horton: Well, we’ll do something big.
Larry Jordan: But I love his last line – if I could predict what the future was going to hold, I’d be rich.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: But it’s definitely going to be different than today, that’s for sure.
Mike Horton: Yes.
Larry Jordan: It’s been a pretty interesting show. We started with classical music and writing film scores.
Mike Horton: Yes, I had so many more questions for that guy. You and I are going to have to go to Malibu, do a picnic. We’ll have to do it outdoors, right? They don’t have anything indoors in Malibu.
Larry Jordan: Just to hear the orchestra. I love chamber music.
Mike Horton: Oh, do you?
Larry Jordan: Oh yes. When I’m sitting writing my newsletter, I listen to chamber music.
Mike Horton: I love choral music.
Larry Jordan: That’s true too.
Mike Horton: I do, and we should mention James Horner. Oh God, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful film composer who just died this last week. He was the composer of my childhood. Well, not my childhood, my middle life. I keep forgetting how old I am. But he always infused a lot of choral with electronic and it was just, ah!
Larry Jordan: Well, the Titanic was one of his scores, wasn’t it?
Mike Horton: Yes, that was one of his movies, yes.
Larry Jordan: Yes, that was a beautiful score. I want to thank our guests for today. We started with Scott Hosfeld, the Music Director of the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra; Jonny Videl, Founder and CEO of Callsheet Operator; and Steve Leon, a Partner at Showstoppers.
Larry Jordan: There’s lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Mike Horton: And you know what? We’ve covered it all. We’ve covered it all in the last how many years?
Larry Jordan: You know, it’s been eight years and we’ve done …
Mike Horton: We’ve covered the entire history. There isn’t any more history to cover.
Larry Jordan: …1500 interviews, so all we can do is cover the future.
Mike Horton: You want the history? Just go back to the archive. It’s all there.
Larry Jordan: Michael lives six months in the future. That’s where we can find him.
Mike Horton: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: Keep looking, there’s his trial. You’ll find hundreds of past shows and thousands of interviews, and Michael being cheerful.
Mike Horton: It’ll be huge and Showstoppers will be telling that story, folks. It’s going to be awesome. Come on, Larry, let’s use the press.
Larry Jordan: You can visit with us on Twitter. You can hush up now.
Mike Horton: Call this guy.
Larry Jordan: We can do @dpbuzz at Twitter, digitalproductionbuzz.com on Facebook. Our music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, additional music by Smartsound.
Mike Horton: We should get this guy …
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; engineering team led by Megan Paulos …
Mike Horton: Choral music…
Larry Jordan: …Ed Golya, Keegan Guy and Josh Kay. On behalf of the mouth over there, my name’s Larry Jordan, Mike Horton, thanks for listening to The Buzz.
Mike Horton: Ah, goodbye everybody.
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