Emily Best just made me swallow my gum and she doesn’t even know it. (Maybe she does - she’s wicked smart). If you don’t know Emily, she is the Founder and CEO of Seed & Spark and a great friend to filmmakers. Team NuHo had the great pleasure of meeting her when she spoke on our NuHo Distribution Panel at the JumpCut Cafe in Studio City.
The panel discussion was lively and included Jason Brubaker from Filmmakingstuff.com, Adam Mosam, CEO of Pivotshare and Jerome Courshon (love that guy!) As the prickly discussion heated up, Emily declared that filmmakers needed to “know their audience”. Now as writers and filmmakers ourselves, Team NuHo has heard that old axiom a thousand times. But when Emily expressed that singular truth at that singular moment, we all seemed to hear it as if for the very first time. She went on to challenge us to go beyond that general demographic B.S. (18 to 34 year old woman in middle America) to something much more concrete and much more specific. “Where do they eat? Where do they hang out? Where are they now? What are they watching on Netflix tonight?”
I swallowed my gum. As the Director of Programming for the film festival, I had been chasing films and filmmakers for months and now Emily was asking me to know my audience. Holy crap. Gulp. Audience: Who are you? Where are you? What are you watching tonight?
So I did what I have been taught to do: I asked for help, I meditated, and I listened. I spoke with my brother Otto Luttmann, a skilled media and entertainment attorney in D.C., who has been my consigliere for quite sometime. Together, we mulled over this question of audience and Otto introduced me to the dynamic mind of Michael J. Saylor, the young CEO of MicroStrategy. When Otto started talking to me about Saylor’s take on software, something opened up for me. Saylor writes about the movement of software from solid to liquid to vapor. On your desktop, it’s solid – you have to go to the stationary desk. With your laptop, software is liquid - you go to it on what Michael calls the “Wi-Fi waterway”. Finally, with a mobile phone or tablet, that software transforms into vapor and you, my friend, can use it anywhere.
Okay - so the desktop is a ball and chain- the laptop is a canoe, and our phones and our tablets are vapor - in the clouds - everywhere! At Team NuHo, we suddenly realized that all we had to do was look up in the clouds and we had found our audience. Because we are streaming everywhere! No four walls for us.
So where is that audience? And what are they doing? And most importantly, for us, what are they watching tonight?
Our Audience is here:
Hollywood is our audience. They want to see if our kooky idea works. And some of them - to be honest - want us to fail. And what is our response to that? More humility and more swagger. We’re blessed to be where we are. And we know it.
Our Audience is here:
Where are these guys? These Filmmakers? The Jumpcut Cafe in Studio City? Coffee shops across America? Filmmaker websites? Fangoria? Twitter? Yes. All of the above and we are out everyday finding these guys and handselling our concept to them. There are some amazing innovative souls in this lot. There are guys like Ian and Eshom Nelms who’s word is gold and who dream big and help us to dream ourselves. Sadly, there are a lot of these guys who have made films and are too afraid of their Sales Agents and their Distribution dealers to fully experience the freedom found in the clouds. I don’t begrudge them at all. I have spoken with plenty of them. I like them. They are beautiful souls clutching the shores of an old, dead model that doesn’t benefit them or their careers but we’ll all keep swimming forward and see where the waters take us.
Our Audience is here:
The Tech World, San Francisco, Silicon Valley - these guys may not even necessarily give a hoot about the art of films or filmmakers but they are now gobbling up our All Access Pass just to see if what we are doing works.
Lastly, and most importantly - our Audience is You. You - the movie fan. The one who hangs out for the double feature, cries by yourself on the couch or in that out-of-the-way movie house because it feels so damn good. We’re the ones whose heart skips when the hero prevails. We’re the ones who want the romance. We are the ones whose best friend is a movie fan too. We love movies. It’s that simple and that beautiful and that pure. So let’s keep moving and transforming from solid to liquid to vapor and if you’re a movie fan, like we are at Team NuHo, then stand up and be counted in the clouds. I know where you are. I know what you’re doing. And I know what you’re watching tonight.
Oh yeah, and thanks, Emily.
Director of Programming, NuHo