After a break of over a year I am pleased to relaunch the From Search to Screen blog and share what’s been keeping me so busy. My online course Becoming a Storypreneur has just wrapped up a very successful first cohort and is now taking submissions for Cohort 2. Read on to learn more about this new adventure from my extended press release below:
Breaking through the digital noise
Every day there seems to be another news story making headlines about how the old business models for film and television are breaking down. Digital disrupters like Netflix and Amazon are definitely helping it along, and many content creators are now going direct to their audience through digital channels with web series. But, as a recent panel at Sundance reiterated, “now it’s easy to make your film, hard to get people to see it.”
The reality is the online landscape is incredibly crowded and getting more so every day, hour and minute. How do storytellers break through the noise, find an audience, and potentially build a direct-to-consumer business model? “You need to be strategic,” says Annelise Larson, who has created the online course Becoming a Storypreneur: Digital Marketing for Screen Media. “The good news is not many storytellers are, so there is actually a huge amount of opportunity right now.”
Walking the digital walk
Larson has been teaching digital marketing skills to filmmakers and other storytellers for Telefilm, the Independent Production Fund and other organizations across North America since the Internet got fast enough to carry an effective video signal. Her unique blend of experience as an indie filmmaker and 20 years as a digital marketer make her perfectly suited to give writers, producers and other content creators exactly what they need to be successful online.
“This course takes materials I have been teaching in person in 2-3 day workshops and spreads it out over 3 months in weekly modules that can be attended live or reviewed as an archived webinar,” says Larson, “It takes the participants beyond the ‘tell a good story and they will come’ mentality to a place where they gain a deep understanding of their project’s audience and have a solid plan for reaching and engaging them. This knowledge and the skills they learn allows them to be better at attracting investment, building an audience that can be monetized and creating a viable career as an entrepreneurial storyteller spanning an entire body of work.” Larson is also very excited about the course reaching across the ocean with a new cohort of participants from Europe. She will work online with them and the students of Cohort 2 from her office in the Canadian Prairies, where has she relocated after almost 20 years on the west coast.
Funders & alumni sing digital praises
Larson notes, “It has also been great to get such strong support from the Canadian funders. They understand how important this knowledge is, as can be seen from the significant involvement of Telefilm Canada, Creative BC and the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association in providing financial assistance for the first cohort.”
“We’re very proud this course is hailing from Saskatchewan,” says SMPIA Executive Director Vanessa Bonk. “We are in the process of rebuilding our industry here and recognize digital is an important part of the future. To have someone of Annelise’s calibre based here and able to reach a national and international market like this proves the power of digital platforms.” “We’re excited to see how the filmmakers from the Telefilm microbudget program put what they learned to work,” says Francesca Accinelli, Director of National Promotions and Communications at Telefilm Canada. “Creative BC is pleased to support this industry initiative as it will help BC’s content producers expand their skillset in interactive screen based storytelling and digital marketing. This program is a great opportunity for our producers and content creators to learn valuable skills that will help them compete in this growing market,” says Erika Kumar, Business Analyst at Creative BC.
“Annelise turned my thinking completely on its head,” says Dawn Bird, a Saskatchewan producer of the award-winning feature Bread Thieves who participated in the first cohort, “I can’t wait to start using all the skills I learned and implement my digital marketing plan.” Marc Almon, Nova Scotian producer of the indie hit Blackbird further noted, “I know digital is the future for these kinds of projects, whether for distribution or crowdfunding campaigns or other kinds of grassroots engagement. My team feels much more confident in the plans we are making for all the projects we are working on.” While Alyson Richards, Ontario producer of the TIFF success story Guidance says, “I would absolutely recommend this course. I learned a lot from Annelise, but also from all the other participants who had very different projects. You don’t often get that kind of access. It multiplied what I learned many times over.”
Cohort 2 open for submissions
The second cohort of Becoming a Storypreneur is now open for submissions from Canada and the US and will continue to take applications until March 16. Only 8 projects will be accepted, with up to 3 team members per project. Feature films, documentaries, TV series, web series, transmedia experiences and convergent or stand-alone apps are all eligible for submission. The next online course will start on April 13, 2015 and run into June. For detailed information on the course and various financing options or to apply go to: http://www.veria.ca/becoming-storypreneur-course
Supplemental financial support for Becoming a Storypreneur – Cohort 1 (Fall 2014) was provided by: