Terry Hope, Editor, Pro Moviemaker Magazine, Bright Publishing
James DeRuvo, Senior Writer, DoddleNEWS
John Pritchard, Founder/Director, The One Heart – One Spirit Project
Andy White, Creative Director, Saddington Baynes
Robin L. Bronk, CEO, The Creative Coalition
Larry Jordan: The massive IBC trade show opened this morning and we have a series of reports covering the latest news. Then we turn our attention away from IBC to introduce some new companies that are worth getting to know better. We start with Terry Hope, editor of UK based Pro Moviemaker magazine for a pre-show look at announcements at IBC.
Larry Jordan: Then James DeRuvo extends his DoddleNEWS update to cover the latest news from both Apple and IBC.
Larry Jordan: Producer director John Pritchard talks about the process he used to get his documentary, One Heart One Spirit, entered into a film festival, what it took to win the film festival and what he’s learned in the process.
Larry Jordan: Andy White is the creative director for Saddington Baynes. This artisan production agency has built a reputation for cutting edge visual effects. Tonight Andy shares his thoughts on the current state of visual effects.
Larry Jordan: Media today tells stories. Whether that is as simple as a commercial or as complex as a documentary, tonight we talk with Robin Bronk, CEO of the Creative Coalition, about the role media has in raising awareness for pressing social issues around the world. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts – production – filmmakers – post production – and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.
Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Yesterday morning, Adobe announced their latest updates to Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition and Character Animator which they also plan to demo at IBC this week.
Larry Jordan: The biggest news is Adobe Sensei, a framework for artificial intelligence and machine learning that’s built into the Adobe Cloud platform which leverages Adobe’s massive volume of content and data assets. Adobe Sensei is designed to improve the design and delivery of digital experiences. New features in Premiere include the ability to open multiple projects at the same time, improvements to the essential graphics panel, the ability to access motion graphics templates using Adobe stock, improve virtual reality video creation and support for common consumer headsets. 360 VR audio can now be positioned by orientation and position, and exported as an ambisonics file and team projects in Premiere are now released and allow project locking to prevent accidental changes.
Larry Jordan: In After Effects we can now create and update animated graphics using data sets, and there are improved expressions for faster production and animation.
Larry Jordan: New features in Audition include improved session organization for multi-take workflows, continuous playback while editing, autodocking is now included in the essential sound panel which simplifies us mixing music. There’s improved hardware support, and faster export of mixdowns.
Larry Jordan: New features in Character Animator include improved animation functions, improved lip syncing and improved puppet controls.
Larry Jordan: The updates will be included as part of the Adobe subscription service and available later this fall. Adobe did not announce a release date.
Larry Jordan: These Adobe announcements are only the start of news coming out of IBC. We’re going to take a short break then return with two IBC reports, the first from Terry Hope, followed by James DeRuvo with more insight on what’s being announced at the show.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Terry Hope is the editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine which is a quarterly publication that appears in the UK and the US. He began his career as a professional photographer, then a videographer and now the editor of a key UK media magazine. Hello Terry, welcome.
Terry Hope: Hello Larry, thank you for having me on.
Larry Jordan: Terry this year the Buzz teamed with Pro Moviemaker magazine to expand our coverage of IBC, however before we get to the news from the show, how would you describe your magazine?
Terry Hope: Well the magazine developed organically. It started off as a supplement about four years ago, and just grew. It was just a few pages long to start with, and now it’s a magazine in its own right. Initially we were talking about filmmaking from a photographer’s point of view of how you moved into that world, but now of course we’ve reached maturity and we get a lot of people who are pure filmmakers, they aren’t photographers at all. Our audience is professional filmmakers, normally commercial as opposed to independent filmmakers, so they could be anything from wedding videographers through to people making commercial films that people use on their website.
Larry Jordan: When it comes to professional media, that instantly means IBC, and we’re recording our interview on Tuesday, two days before the show opens, to give you time to travel to Amsterdam from London. Based on what we know so far, what’s some of the news coming out of IBC?
Terry Hope: The news is very interesting. As always, you’re getting a few pre-show announcements. These days you don’t tend to see an awful lot of things that you’re not expecting to see, but in the week before IBC quite a few things are coming through, and there have been some big camera announcements already, from Canon for example. I think part of the pleasure of going there is to come across things that you don’t necessarily expect, and they can be smaller things as opposed to bigger things as well. It’s always a bit tricky in the lead up to the show because you’re never quite sure what you’re going to see. For me, the big announcement has been the Canon cameras, but there’s bound to be other things that come up at the show and I’ll be thinking of what I’m going to be talking about when we next catch up and there will be things that I will definitely be picking up on and highlighting in our next conversation.
Larry Jordan: Let’s tackle the news. What are some of the announcements that we know of so far?
Terry Hope: For me one of the big ones was from Canon. I did get a chance to see the new compact camcorders that they’ve announced, the XF400 and the XF405 4K. Having had a bit of a preview of them in London the other week, I can say they look really interesting and I look forward to getting one of those in for a proper review. Some of the things they do is it’s 4K, UHD, 50p recording. They’ve got three steps of built in ND filters, and a one inch chip as well. They’re very nice, very compact, beautiful to use so I think they’re going to be interesting.
Larry Jordan: Anything happening on VR?
Terry Hope: I’ve had quite a few bits of information coming through prior to the show. My favorite part of the whole show I have to say is the Future Zone which I always make a point of spending a good hour or two going around. As I’m sure you know, that’s for VR announcements, so I shall be making my way there to see what’s going on. In terms of specifics, there’s the announcement of a VR news room which is going to be demonstrated at IBC which I shall go and have a look at. At a bit of a tangent, one of the seminars at the conference there is going to be introducing a couple of very lifelike robots which if I get the chance I’m definitely going to go along and have a look at that as well.
Larry Jordan: What are the robots supposed to be doing?
Terry Hope: I think they’re being presented as two of the most human like robots ever to be created. I think it’s very much a case of seeing what that’s all about. It’s one of the things you get at IBC, these off the wall events that are fun to go along to and sometimes offer you something you don’t expect. You get something out of them that shows you a way to the future somehow.
Larry Jordan: Tell me about the IBC Future Zone. What’s that about?
Terry Hope: That’s probably about the size of half a floor with I would say between 20 and 25 different stands. It’s basically different companies showing off things that they’re doing that are very cutting edge or they may not have been introduced yet. They may be future technologies that people are testing out. That’s very much a home for VR, so you get things like Sennheiser was showing their VR microphone there last year which was incredible to see, and obviously you get a proper demonstration of all the things it can do. They also show things like 8K TV screens, live VR screening from around the floor of the show. All of these kinds of things. It gives you a little bit of a taste for the future, things that might be coming.
Larry Jordan: Terry, there is so much stuff to cover at IBC, we’d like to invite you back for the next two weeks to keep bringing us the latest news on IBC if that works for you?
Terry Hope: Yes, that works for me very well thank you.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about the magazine, where can they go on the web?
Terry Hope: It’s www.promoviemaker.net.
Larry Jordan: Promoviemaker.net not .com and Terry Hope is the editor of Pro Moviemaker magazine, and Terry thanks for joining us today and we’ll talk to you next week.
Terry Hope: Thank you very much Larry.
Larry Jordan: IBC continues to dominate the news and we’ve got even more stuff happening today which is why we turn to James DeRuvo the senior writer for DoddleNEWS. James, it’s good to have you back.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: There is so much news going on this week, let’s start with the biggest. What’s happening with Apple?
James DeRuvo: Well the big news out of Apple, it turns out that just about everything we thought was going to be about the new iPhone actually is the new iPhone. We got the iPhone 8 and the 8 plus. It comes with modest upgrades, faster A11 bionic processor, don’t ask me why they call it bionic, I have no idea. Faster cameras, F1.8, F2.8 on the dual cameras on the 8 plus, and a new feature called portrait lighting. It’s almost like the iPhone applies LUTs to the images that you shoot, and it just automatically adjusts lighting on the fly, to get a fine high quality professional grade portrait with your mobile phone. It also has wireless charging via the open source Qi standard and it leaves me wondering if that lightning port is not long for this world.
Larry Jordan: You got to hope that the lightning port will be there because it’s the way we’re going to connect a lot of peripheral devices, but is there any benefit to these new phones for filmmakers?
James DeRuvo: The new iPhone X, the tenth anniversary iPhone, which Apple is calling “the iPhone of the future” and it has a super OLED retina screen and the bezel is designed in a faster telephoto lens at F2.4 which will also support the HDR standards of HDR10 and Dolby Vision. For mobile filmmakers there’s a lot to like here. You got the wireless charging, shooting 4K at up to 240 frames per second, and although the portrait mode and the portrait lighting option is not available for video just yet, I’m betting that’s going to happen in the next upgrade. So for now, I think it’s a powerful upgrade, and it just comes down to whether or not you want to spend $1000 on that iPhone X.
Larry Jordan: The jury is still out because they’ve been announced but not yet released. We’ll see what happens once the phones actually reach the real world.
James DeRuvo: They ship September 22nd.
Larry Jordan: What else is going on in the outside world that doesn’t affect IBC?
James DeRuvo: GDU has returned with a cool new telescoping drone design. GDU used to be called ProDrone and were the creators of the first collapsible drone and now they’ve come out with a new drone design that has slide in and out drone motors to make a more compact design that doesn’t sacrifice on stability, has a 4K camera, fully stabilized with a three axis gimbal, that’ll give it a leg up over DJI Spark. It has all the usual navigation features including obstacle avoidance, follow me, orbiting, and a really cool feature called vertical burst, where it takes off like a rocket and shoots a burst mode of three frames per second as it goes. It looks like a really super cool camera drone that would be great for everyday drone users.
Larry Jordan: DJI and GoPro own the market, can GDU compete?
James DeRuvo: It’s really difficult to compete in this market when you have those two companies as your main rivals, but GDU is doing it with innovative designs and offer faster options. You can deploy the drone in seconds instead of minutes, and they are doing things that the other guys haven’t thought of. So for the everyday drone enthusiast or the shooter looking to add aerial cinematography to their cadre the GDU O2 is worth taking a look at, it’s a cool little drone.
Larry Jordan: That’s Apple and GDU, in non IBC news. What’s happening at IBC that’s got your attention?
James DeRuvo: The real news is coming out of Amsterdam this week. In addition to what you just heard earlier from Terry, Transcriptive, the cool automatic transcription service that enables you to upload your audio and video into their software and it will transcribe it for you. It can now do it in over 20 different languages, including English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Dutch. It uses two different speech recognition services including Speechmatic which also adds Russian, Swedish and Watson which adds Arabic and Mandarin. So Transcriptive is really exploding in their capabilities as far as adding transcriptions for the international world.
Larry Jordan: Transcriptive is published by Digital Anarchy and we’ve had a chance to follow them during their beta process, so I’m really excited they’ve got this released, and you’re right, 20 languages is pretty amazing. What else do we have?
James DeRuvo: SmallHD has launched a 17 inch daylight reference monitor, fully featured with double the brightness of other models, covers DCI-P3 and Rec 709 color spaces. It’s got a 1500:1 contrast ratio and 179 degree viewing angle. It’s a huge monitor, at home, in bright sunlight you can see all the details you want with the sun shining right into it. It’s really amazing.
Larry Jordan: OK, what else?
James DeRuvo: Rode has announced a new addition to their Kit wireless microphone line. It’s got the Filmmaker kit, the Newsshooter wireless kit, and now they have the Performer kit, which comes with a TX-M2 wireless microphone, and the RX-Desktop receiver. It uses the 2.4 gigahertz wireless standard which is kind of crowded, but it uses encrypted digital transmission that’s set on two separate channels so you don’t get any bleedover. It’s going to be an excellent addition to that Kit wireless line, and I’ve used both the Newsshooter kit and the Filmmaker kit, and they’re excellent so I expect high things from the Performer kit. That’s just day one Larry.
Larry Jordan: James, IBC is just exploding with news and it’s going to continue for the next several days so we’ll talk more about that on next week’s show, but what else are you following this week?
James DeRuvo: Other stories we’re following include yet another director loses his Star Wars gig. James Bond could be distributed by Apple. And we deep dive into RED’s IPP2 workflows.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information on these and other stories, where can we go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Keep your eye on IBC and we’ll bring you and Terry back next week to find out what the latest news is from Amsterdam. Thanks for joining us today.
James DeRuvo: We’re all IBC all the time Larry. Have a good weekend.
Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of Thalo Arts, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with the resources you need to succeed. Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s Thalo.com.
Larry Jordan: Now let’s shift gears from IBC to filmmaking. John Pritchard is an award winning educational filmmaker, multimedia producer and publisher. His newest film, One Heart One Spirit, just won Best Indigenous Documentary at the 2017 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in Australia. Hello John.
John Pritchard: Hey Larry, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: I’m talking to you, it’s going great. By the way, congratulations on winning the award, we’re going to talk about that more in just a minute.
John Pritchard: Many thanks.
Larry Jordan: How would you describe One Heart One Spirit?
John Pritchard: This is a film that has been in the making for a number of years, but it takes place in Northern Australia where there is a Festival of Aboriginal Wisdom that is shared with the outside world every August since about 1999 and a couple of thousand people come to this Garma Festival. Garma is an Aboriginal word that means coming together in harmony, and it’s essentially the only place in the world where people from the outside can go and learn about the 40,000 year old traditions and culture of the Aboriginal people. My film is unique in the sense that a very close friend of mine who’s a Native American elder, who is of Micmac and Mohawk heritage, travelled to Australia and was doing a storytelling tour and was invited up to this festival, and essentially a couple of filmmakers followed him around for three days, and that’s where we got the footage. That’s really the essence of the film which is the essence of indigenous wisdom, that we’re all one human family, we’re all connected and we took that message and are now bringing it to colleges and universities on a world tour.
Larry Jordan: I can understand the value of the festival, but why did you decide to turn it into a film?
John Pritchard: This was a long process that started with our executive producer who lives in Sydney and we worked together very closely in New York City back in the 90s and the Native American elder is someone that we worked with in a band called Sinh-Tala where he played his Native American flutes, Greg played guitar and I played drums, percussion and keyboards. We played all over New York City and put an album together which is the soundtrack for this album, but we all went our separate ways in the early days of the dot com era, 97, 98. Greg went back to Australia and he really had this vision of getting Ken to meet with the Aboriginal folks up at this festival and it took a number of years but it finally happened. The subject matter and content was very new to me being that it was an Aboriginal festival. I’ve gone to many Native American pow wows, but there’s something very unique about Australian Aboriginal people, and we’re even finding out that our human heritage goes back to Australia, not to Africa. The folks that took us on the journey to Eve 180,000 years ago in Africa have now started to re-write their research and it’s now going back to Australia interestingly.
Larry Jordan: What was the purpose of the film? Now that it’s done, what are you doing with it?
John Pritchard: The purpose is to share the heart of indigenous people everywhere which is to have not only respect for each other, but also for the earth. So these are two very timely issues as we know with our current political scene, kindness is not necessarily an operating word, and certainly environmental justice has had to take a big slap in the face during the last year. But both these issues of human kindness and caring for the earth are at the heart of indigenous people all over the planet, and this message, we believe, as a filmmaking team, is crucial to bring to the world, and especially to college kids. People that are at the heart of their own career building, about to go out into the world, and as much as we can do to introduce them to these very simple indigenous principles of respect, being less materialistic, thinking seven generations ahead.
Larry Jordan: John, take a breath. We’re going to run out of time, so I understand the film has value but I also want to talk about the fact you decided not just to send it to college kids, but you wanted to send it to a film festival. What was the role of the film festival?
John Pritchard: The big search that every filmmaker needs to go through is to find or create a festival list that is going to be showcasing the subject matter that their film contains, and for us obviously looking at different film festivals in Australia, this one in Melbourne had an indigenous focus and we knew there would be quite a number of films that we would be competing against, but at the same time the director in particular there had a specific passion for helping get the indigenous message out. So what I recommend to all filmmakers, which is a little bit of stating the obvious, but if you can really go through the hundreds of film festivals and find the ones that really resonate with your message, the most important thing you can do is try to contact the director of that film festival and not unsurprisingly, they are accessible, and their goal is to get your film seen and if it’s in a competitive category, to help you do as well as you can to win. We found the Melbourne film festival to be extremely helpful all the way through from the moment we entered to getting articles written by local magazines and online blogs. The critical component is really to search and find the festivals that match your film. Does that make sense?
Larry Jordan: Yes, what did you do to win? Did you have to do anything special in terms of marketing or the media?
John Pritchard: The main thing that we had to do was stay in the eye of both the film director and his team and once they went through their process of looking at all of the different films that were in this category of Indigenous Documentary films, they had let us know that we were high in the running. I think it’s probably different for example with Sundance which we’re entering in another week, and you have a much larger pool of films that are not necessarily in a particular category other than documentary and feature and so on.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about your film, where can they go on the web?
John Pritchard: Createkinderworld.org is where people can go and also download a free guidebook.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, createkinderworld.org not .com, and John Pritchard is the publisher and the director of One Heart One Spirit. John, thanks for joining us today.
John Pritchard: Thanks so much Larry.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Andrew White is the creative director at Saddington Baynes which is a production and post production studio located in London. Hello Andy, welcome.
Andy White: Hello, it’s good to speak to you.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with the easy question first. How would you describe Saddington Baynes?
Andy White: I would probably describe us as one of the more artisan production agencies out there. We create a wide variety of projects from beverage to pharmaceutical, also working with the automotive sector. We’ve got a big history in CGI, probably one of the first retouching houses to use CGI for photographic retouching. Always pushing the envelope on everything we do really. Our clients really do challenge us, so there’s not really a question of us sitting around and resting on our laurels. There’s always the next challenge coming in the door.
Larry Jordan: What do you mean by artisan? What does that mean to you?
Andy White: To me it means that we will push stuff for our own personal gain in terms of we might get to the end of a project but we still think there’s more to be got from it, or the amount of options we may give clients. We’re just very passionate about trying to do the best we can and do that piece of work that gets us noticed, so we’re always trying to get more out of what we’re doing.
Larry Jordan: One of the words you used as you were describing the company is the idea of digital retouching. We’ve been able to do this in software for a long time and is that what you’re referring to?
Andy White: Yes, originally back when, everything was photographic. Saddington Baynes was one of the first studios out there to start using barcodes and image retouching before even the Photoshops were around to generate some of the advertising imagery that was out there. So they’ve done a huge journey from there to where we are now.
Larry Jordan: One of the things you specialize in is CGI work. Tell me more about the kind of CGI work you do and more importantly, the tools that you’re using to accomplish it.
Andy White: We have a very varied client base. We really do mix the tools that we use. I’d say we’re a largely Mayer based studio, but we’re also using Houdini, ZBrush, Mudbox, Cinemar, Nuke, the list goes on. Anything we need to accomplish we’ll look around for the right tool for the job, so we don’t have a 100 percent lock down, we only do it in this or that software. Just because of the nature of the work really, we get asked for, from furry dice to huge landscapes or cities to some of the automotive work we’re doing, to the pharmaceutical work we do to beverage work. They’re all very different mediums to work in, and they all need different tools and different rendering solutions.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that caught our attention was your statue project where what looks like a bronze statue starts to flake apart and explode with glowing orange light. Tell us about this.
Andy White: That was one of our internal projects. I mentioned earlier that we really like to push ourselves. We’re always looking around at new tools. We’ve been doing a lot of work in the last two to three years with Houdini, and the idea behind it was to come up with a project that could showcase a lot of the more advanced visual effects that you can accomplish in that package. So we have some very advanced artists that are really good at using that, so the challenge for me was to come up with an idea where we could showcase that and orchestrate some effects and show our skills doing that.
Larry Jordan: Do you find yourself doing artistic work yourself? Or are you principally supervising others?
Andy White: As creative director here I’m a bit of everything. I’m supervising, I do put images together, do visuals. I’m obviously working very closely with clients to make sure everyone understands what they want to get at the end of the day, but I do dabble. I have a bit of background in CG and compositing, so I’m a bit of an all rounder, so I do still really look at technology, I’m always interested in what’s out there and what’s coming and I do like to dabble.
Larry Jordan: Thinking from the point of view of your clients, we’re living now in a world where everything is visual. We’re being bombarded with tens of thousands of images a day. What imagery today is reaching through the screen and actually grabbing an audience?
Andy White: That’s a very good question, and it’s something we’ve been looking into a lot here over recent years, and we have a lot of stuff that we’re pioneering with neurotesting in terms of looking at images and analyzing what people get from them. What sort of lighting, what sort of angle, what composition and how that affects the overall noticeability I guess of an image. We’re using that with a few clients now where it helps us to scientifically guide and prove that certain approaches to that image is going to be more beneficial than others. Because as you say, there’s a huge amount of imagery out there at the moment and we’re looking for something to take us to the next level, to give us some hard facts so our client can be really confident that whatever you’re creating now, we’ve fine tuned it to get the most from it.
Larry Jordan: And the initial takeways based on your research so far?
Andy White: It’s been a really good learning process because there are certain things come out of it that you then can instinctively use going forward. You start to learn stuff about certain things, about images. It’s like some things you thought had great value, don’t necessarily have the value you may have thought and other things that you have to be mindful of that can affect an image. What we do here is we have a set of goals for an image, so you’ll say, OK this image wants to be premium, it wants to be very emotive, it wants to be very striking, and we’ll look to score within those goals. Another image might have a different set of characteristics so we’ll be looking to score differently on those. So we always set up a testing environment for each image and what we want to get out of it.
Larry Jordan: So the standards for what makes an image successful depends upon the emotional connection you want it to make?
Andy White: Yes, it definitely does, and obviously hitting that right note, depending on what reaction you might want to get from that image. It might be something pharmaceutical, it might be something that’s quite striking and not necessarily very pleasing because it’s more of an attention grabbing image, or shocking, and wants to get people’s attention that way rather than something that’s very product based which might be fresh and pretty.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like there’s all kinds of lessons to be learned as you explore this area.
Andy White: Yes, I don’t think you ever learn enough. There’s definitely a lot to be learned there.
Larry Jordan: Andy for people that are interested in learning more about your company and the products you create, where can they go on the web?
Andy White: It’s saddingtonbaynes.com so you can find us quite easily on that site.
Larry Jordan: That website is all one word, saddingtonbaynes.com and Andrew White is the creative director at Saddington Baynes, and Andy, thanks for joining us today.
Andy White: Thank you for your time.
Larry Jordan: Robin Bronk is the CEO of the Creative Coalition, a leading national non profit, non partisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment industry. Hello Robin, welcome.
Robin Bronk: Hi Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am delighted to be talking to you because I’ve heard of the Creative Coalition but don’t know a whole lot about it. How would you describe the group?
Robin Bronk: I’ll give you the elevator pitch. We were formed about 30 years ago by the actors Chris Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin specifically to use the unique power and platform of the entertainment industry behind issues of social welfare importance. It was started when President Reagan was going to eliminate the national endowment of the arts and Chris and Susan and Alec decided that they were activists, who all happened to be actors and cared about the arts and the nation because they certainly had arts when they were growing up and it did well by them. They went to Washington and literally went door to door gathering votes to save the national endowment of the arts. That’s how we were formed and I guess the past has caught up with us.
Larry Jordan: Sometimes things go full circle when we don’t want them to. What issues are you looking at today as a group?
Robin Bronk: As a group, today, for better or worse, we’ve become very relevant. We’re a non partisan organization, but President Trump has called for the elimination of the national endowment of the arts in the current budget, and we think that’s an issue worth fighting for and it stumps us why we do have to fight for it because not only is it a cultural development, it’s a necessary educational tool, and also for every dollar spent by the national endowment of the arts in a community, seven dollars comes back to us, so it’s also great economic development motivator.
Larry Jordan: Is the organization principally focused on getting funding for the arts, or is it looking at advocating for other issues in society today as well?
Robin Bronk: That’s a great question. Substantively all of our resources go to helping to ensure that the arts thrive and flourish, especially for the next generation. Process wise, we are the public policy … for the entertainment industry. We use the process and help our members, we’re also a membership organization, our members are actors, writers, producers, directors, executives, fine artists, to follow their public policy passion. So we’ll help them navigate the deep waters of policy.
Larry Jordan: I had a chance to go on your website to learn more about the organization, and was looking through the board of directors and you’ve got some outstanding people on your board.
Robin Bronk: We do.
Larry Jordan: But organizationally, I’m confused. You’re the CEO of the organization and Tim Daly is the president. What is the difference between those two roles?
Robin Bronk: Well, I do the footwork, the administration, and again I think that’s a development in the non profit world. The executive director title has flowed into CEO and I think maybe it’s because none of us could spell executive director. And with Tim as the president, we set the agenda with the board. He is quite knowledgeable about Capitol Hill. It’s interesting that he now is playing on a show that is policy focused, and he certainly walks the walk and talks the talk in real life, real versus reel life. But he does that too.
Larry Jordan: I was just reflecting, you’re talking to an audience of creative individuals, and every one of us cares about the arts. What resistance are you running into? Why is it so hard to get consistent decent funding for the arts?
Robin Bronk: You know what? That is a question that’s stumped all of us, because if you care about the arts, and you care about our society as a very cultural thriving society, we know that the arts is a basis for that. If you say, “I don’t care about that, all I care about is economic development for the nation,” in that case then the arts are a huge economic driver. We have the statistics for that and what I find absolutely baffling is that the arts have become a political football, and how does that happen? I’m stumped.
Larry Jordan: You’re not supposed to be stumped, you’re supposed to be coming up with the answers.
Robin Bronk: I know the answer is we cannot be a society without artists. How do we do that?
Larry Jordan: You mentioned that you’re a membership organization. Is there a requirement, you have to be a certain type of person to become a member?
Robin Bronk: You are invited to become a member, and we have different levels of membership and if you’re a practicing artist, and that goes very broad, actor, writer, producer, director. You might be a lawyer who defends artists. You might be an executive, the purveyor of art. So you basically have to believe in the arts. I think that’s it.
Larry Jordan: I think believing in the arts would qualify just about all of us. But there’s another question. We have a lot of filmmakers that are listening in. Do you have a way of helping filmmakers get additional visibility?
Robin Bronk: I’m so glad you asked that because at the Creative Coalition we believe that independent film is really one of the last vestiges of art craft in the film industry and as your listeners probably know better than me, it’s hard. Making an independent film and getting it out, getting it to an audience, it’s not an easy task. It’s a fine art that requires a lot of labor. We do have something that we started about ten years ago called the Spotlight Initiative, where we choose ten films a year, both features and documentaries, films are submitted to us, to support. And support can range anything from helping figure out a cause marketing strategy, because we know that cause marketing works in this world. People like to get behind causes, whether you’re buying ice cream to save a rain forest, or seeing a movie that will help educate the world on a particular issue. Or as documentaries and features, or we will get our celebrities behind it, and again, our only dog in the race is to get your independent film out there and to get it seen and to get it heard. I often use the example of when Vice President Gore was trying to change the world to understand global warming, what finally crystallized it was when he made a movie. So movies do change the world.
Larry Jordan: Robin, for people that want more information about your coalition, where can they go on the web?
Robin Bronk: They can go right to thecreativecoalition.org.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, thecreativecoalition.org not .com. Robin Bronk is the CEO of the Creative Coalition, and Robin thanks for joining us today, I’ve enjoyed our chat.
Robin Bronk: Thanks so much.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: You know, I was just thinking. There are over 1800 exhibitors at IBC and this morning every single one of them had something new to announce. Most had multiple somethings. In years past I’ve worked for companies that were announcing new products at a trade show. Now I’m on the other side as part of the press that helps spread the word of new products. The challenge for both sides is trying to determine how to get the word out. Every morning for the last two weeks, I’ve waded through 20 to 30 emailed press releases, many started with the words “New product for broadcast and enterprise.” That’s code for really expensive. And broadcast and enterprise isn’t the buzz audience, so those are easy to delete.
Larry Jordan: However, that still leaves hundreds of companies who want you to know about their latest products that are targeted at the independent content creator. That’s where teaming with DoddleNEWS and Pro Moviemaker help. Their editorial teams are geared to providing short announcement articles so that you know there’s something new from that vendor. Now we do our part on the Buzz, but the problem we have is time. In our three IBC reports, it took us ten minutes to present 12 new products. Presenting products from all 1800 companies would require a program about 26 hours long and this is probably longer than you want to listen. I know that it’s not possible for us to cover everything, but I sure do want to try because maybe there’s a new product that solves a problem you’ve been wrestling with. That’s why I enjoy working with the team at DoddleNEWS. They provide additional news resources that enable us to cover more of the industry at any one time.
Larry Jordan: Still, figuring out how to connect relevant news to you is something I think about every day. It is a never ending puzzle. Just something I’m thinking about and as always, I’m interested in your opinion.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for this week, Terry Hope of Pro Moviemaker magazine, John Pritchard, producer director, Andy White of Saddington Baynes, Robin Bronk, the Creative Coalition, and James DeRuvo from DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all online and all available to you today. Remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Saturday.
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Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
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