Almost all of our independent film clients have questions about the appropriate size of their respective digital advertising budgets. It’s a tough question mainly because there isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all answer. Of course, it would be great to have unlimited resources but, as I’m sure many of you reading this already know, that is almost never the case when it comes to independent artists.
TAMP Episode 19: The Choice Podcast
"The Choice" (thechoicepod.com/) is a six-episode audio drama, a feminist dystopian thriller set in the refugee camps of Los Angeles. Set in the year 2047, Dr. Margaret Carter is facing the death penalty. These are a series of recordings played as evidence in her trial.
Misty Eddy is a director working in Portland, Oregon. Her obsession with radio dramas started early when, at twelve years old, she fell in love with classic radio theater programs like The Shadow, Suspense, and Orson Welle's War of the Worlds.
Molly Silverstein is the Director of Programming for the Portland Film Festival and the host of the Portland Film Podcast. She studied film at Yale and London Film School.
Nick Escobar is a design manager at a digital marketing agency in downtown Portland. As a producer, he has been recognized by the Portland Comedy Film Festival, premiered a short film at the 2016 Rose City Comic Con, and co-founded Blue Envelope Productions.
Smarthouse Creative's Leroy Mack sits down with "The Choice" creators, Misty Eddy, Molly Silverstein and Nick Escobar, to learn about the creative inspiration behind "The Choice" and what elements make the series unique, for example including an animator on the team to help listeners visualize the tone of each episode. Misty, Molly and Nick describe the fundraising tips that they've learned through their current Kickstarter campaign, ways to encourage your audience members to become "brand champions" for your work, long-term branding strategies, for example creating a project media-plan, and much more!
Visit "The Choice" on Kickstarter:
Check out “The Choice” on Facebook:
Visit the official “The Choice” website:
TAMP music by Dude York.
1988: Die Hard premieres in theaters. Nirvana plays their first show. Sub Pop Records forms, and a few hundred video tapes are offered for rental in the back of a record store where George Latsios greets customers with his familiar call of, “Hello, my friend!”
2018: Scarecrow Video celebrates 30 years of being one of the most important film and television resources in the country! The original stock of 600 tapes has grown to over 131,000 titles and isone of the largest publicly available video collections in the world.
This beloved Seattle institution is currently positioning itself to be the leader of making videos relevant in our digital age. Scarecrow established its world-renowned reputation during the video revolution, and is continuing to reinvent itself by undertaking the challenge of how we think about videos.
With a staggering collection of titles nearly three times the number offered by major streaming services that puts them in league with the likes of The American Film Institute and The UCLA Film and Television Archive – they are well positioned to do so.
In honor of their landmark annivesary, Scarecrow is launching a 30th Anniversary 30 Years of Scarecrow Fund Drive. Gifts to this campaign with sow the seeds for Scarecrow’s next 30 years … and beyond.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Major streaming services have a combined total of ~35,000 titles compared to Scarecrow’s 131,000+ titles. The internet, and video-on-demand may offer greater access to all forms of entertainment -- but you still can't find everything on streaming or even close to everything. Not only that, but Scarecrow continues to grow its collection by 3,000- 5,000 titles each year, while many streaming collections are shrinking.
- 80% of Scarecrow’s rarest movies are not held by the Library of Congress.Scarecrow’s collection represents the deep wells of our cultural history spanning over 125 years, and includes many rare, out-of-print, foreign and independent films. Scarecrow is proud to hold films not just about marginalized storytellers, but by them as well, and they hold these works to be of equal importance as Hollywood blockbusters. Unique to Scarecrow is an expansive foreign section – including region coded titles - which represents 129 countries and over 126 languages other than English.
- With over a quarter of US households without internet access, the digital divide persists. This means that physical media, like DVD & Blu-rays, will continue to be produced by most distributors. Scarecrow anticipates that its collection will continue to grow with both new and historical content for the foreseeable future. Further, Scarecrow offers a solution that gives viewers complete control of their experience and the freedom to fully explore their curiosity.
- Scarecrow Video is now a non-profit. By 2014, the collection had grown to become so significant that a non-profit was formed to continue its stewardship. This change in model has allowed Scarecrow to not just remain a Seattle icon, but also to develop unique outreach programs to connect more people with film. Foremost in their mission is that these cultural assets remain accessible for current and future generations.
Episode 18: Sam Berliner
Sam Berliner (www.donutfilms.org) is a Seattle-based filmmaker and animator best known for his engaging and accessible films about gender non-conformity. His award-winning short films, Dating Sucks: A Genderqueer Misadventure, Genderbusters, Perception and Float have screened at over 200 film festivals around the world and are distributed by CFMDC. When not actively making films, Sam is the festival director of Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival, as well as a Senior Programmer at Three Dollar Bill Cinema. He leads workshops and gives presentations about gender at various organizations and schools. He is in pre-production on Episode 2 of the Dating Sucks webseries and is the founder of Queer Scouts Bay Area and Queer Scouts Seattle, hosting monthly skill-shares for LGBTQA adults. Sam graduated in 2005 from Smith College with a BA in Film & Theatre and earned an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University in 2013.
Smarthouse Creative's Brad Wilke sits down with Sam Berliner, director of Three Dollar Bill Cienma's Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival, to talk about Berliner's work at the festival, his own filmmaking career, how he connects with his audience, and what to see at this year's Translations (May 3-12 in Seattle). They also cover Berliner's efforts building an IRL community at Translations and the importance of trans education & allyship via partnerships, panels, workshops and screenings.
You can check out Sam's Facebook page here:
You can check out the Translations Film Festival website here:
Visit Sam’s current projects on his website here:
TAMP music by Dude York.
Episode 17: Heather Brown
Heather Brown (www.mindthebirdmedia.com) is a PR and events professional currently providing publicity, production, and communication services to individuals and literary and cultural organizations from her home base in Portland, OR. She activates her extensive network, her background in public education, and a master’s degree in creative writing to approach each job with inclusivity, rhetorical sensitivity and service-oriented, trust-based leadership.
In this TAMP episode Smarthouse Creative talks with PR and events professional Heather Brown about her work as an editor & social media manager at YesYes Books and launching her own communication and events company, Mind The Bird Media. Brown has extensive experience with audience building for artists & authors with a focus on creating authentic connections, which she'll discuss, in addition to describing her approach to building buzz for her new company.
You can check out Heather's Facebook page here, www.facebook.com/mindbirdmedia/
Visit Heather’s current project "Mind The Bird Media" at this site;
TAMP music by Dude York.
Episode 16: Alexandra Billings
Alexandra Billings (www.alexandrabillings.com) is an actress, singer, author, teacher and activist. Currently, Ms Billings plays Davina on Amazon's Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning hit TV show Transparent. In 2005, Ms. Billings played Donna, opposite Katherine Heigel, in the ABC film Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning. It was the second time a transgender actress played a transgender character in the history of television. She's had guest starring roles on How To Get Away With Murder, Grey's Anatomy, Eli Stone, E.R., Karen Sisco, Nurses opposite Lynn Redgrave, and playing opposite Dot Jones in the Ryan Murphy pilot Pretty/Handsome, co-starring Blythe Danner and Robert Wagner. She finished her first feature film role as a non Trans character in Valley of Bones in the spring of 2016. She is the recipient of five After Dark Awards and one Joseph Jefferson Award.
Ms. Billings' activism stretches across the continent. She has won the TPA Award and the Rainbow Spirit Award, and she was inducted into the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in Chicago in 2007. Living with AIDS since 1995. Her life story “From Schoolboy to Showgirl, produced by Alex Silets for PBS television, was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary.
In this TAMP episode, Smarthouse Creative's Brad Wilke talks to actress Alexandra Billings about her role on Transparent and her experience communicating with her growing audience. Alexandra discusses how she navigates her personal vs. public persona, how living publicly as a trans actor has informed her career, and what she believes her responsibility is being a part of the Transparent cast. Alexandra’s work is inspired by, “allowing more people to be heard, bringing more people in.”
You can check out Alexandra's Facebook page here, bit.ly/AlexandraBillings_Facebook.
TAMP music by Dude York.
Wondering how to best curate your watch queue tonight, to give some love to, and get some inspiration from, female-powered films? We got your covered:
The Goddess Project
This documentary comes out TODAY on Amazon and iTunes (or you can order yourself a DVD)! What better day to watch it?! Determined to empower the feminine voice, two filmmakers packed their lives into a school bus and hit the road for what became the most transformative adventure of their lives. Through powerful conversations with over 100 women from different walks of life, The Goddess Project gives an intimate look into the collective experience that women in the United States face today.
Arcadia Flats is a cinematic 360 horror experience that follows Alice (Jessica Martin) as she attempts to outrun supernatural forces. Ivan (Evan Mosher) comes across her car on a dark, deserted road. Will either of them survive the night? It's directed by the new VR company Electric Dream Factory, co-headed by the Lacey Leavitt.
Today's a perfect day to support this in-production documentary exploring the criminalization of pregnant women, as seen through the eyes of a young mother swept up in dangerous new laws. They currently have a match on campaign donations up to $5000, so it's the perfect time to donate to help them reach their goal! Personhood is directed by Joanne Arranger and produced by Rosalie Miller.
What better day than International Women's Day to support this feature documentary, that will explore the phenomenon of the Women’s March on Washington, which became the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. The film will examine why and how millions came together in solidarity to march through small towns and big cities nationwide. The spirit of the movement began with a single march and quickly swelled into hundreds across seven continents. The story will concentrate on the United States while keeping viewers aware of the global significance.
Smarthouse is lucky to work with many talented female filmmakers! If you're looking for even more great docs to watch this week, check out this recent list.
Team Smarthouse client Seattle Jewish Film Festival, presented by the Stroum Jewish Community Center, is an important part of Seattle’s cultural mosaic, offering a diverse spectrum of films that celebrate Jewish and Israeli life, culture, history, and cinema.
This year, SJFF salutes Israel's 70th birthday. Almost half of this year’s “isREEL Life”-themed festival showcases a prismatic variety of Israeli films, from student productions to award-winning, internationally acclaimed directors like Eran Riklis.
Over 21 special guests are slated to attend the screenings, including directors, actors, producers, musicians, and expert speakers that will introduce films and lead post-film discussions.
The Festival takes place March 10-18 at venues around Seattle and on Mercer Island. SJFF is also extending its reach to the Eastside, April 14-15, at Regal's Cinebarre Issaquah 8, showcasing four additional films.
Seattle’s Opening Night will feature the funny and touching mob caper Maktub by Israeli Director Oded Raz, followed by a delicious Tom Douglas dessert party. Sunday’s Matzoh Momma Brunch Film features Jewish comfort food, klezmer music, the film Land of Milk and Funny, and film subject and comedian Dwight Slade will do a stand-up set.
At the Closing Night Centerpiece on Mercer Island, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain will be honored with SJFF's REEL Difference Award before she presents “Spoken Cinema”—a new, interactive, documentary art form, featuring live narration of her acclaimed films on stage—followed by a closing reception.
SJFF's new Eastside Opening Night kicks off with the illuminating and entertaining documentary Shalom Bollywood, about Indian-Jewish screen legends, and includes a free popcorn and a beverage for ticketholders. The final Eastside film will be Across the Waters: a gripping story of survival and rescue.
Tickets and passes are on sale now! Get yours, and join us for colorful celebration of Jewish and Israeli life, culture, and history.
General admission tickets: $12-$15 | Special events: $20-$25 | 8-packs of discount tickets: $100-$125 | Full passes: $200-$225 | Senior tickets available | SJFF accepts TeenTix
At this point you probably feel like you’ve heard it ALL when it comes to advice on how to build your brand’s social media audience, but since we do things a little differently at Team Smarthouse, I wanted to share three quick tips that cut through all the “growth-hacking” jargon and “guru wisdom” out there.
1) DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE NUMBERS
This is the very first thing I like to tell Smarthouse clients. The goal of building an audience for your brand vs. the goal of reaching “at least 1 million followers” are two very different things. Setting a goal to build a huge following is a recipe for madness and despair -- and buying followers is not an option I’d ever recommend to ANYONE. In short, it’s better to build a small and loyal audience of fans who will help you spread the word and grow your audience slowly than it is to have thousands of random followers paying zero attention to your message.
2) USE YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE
Just like IRL, people are going to know if you’re faking it or trying too hard on social media. Finding your authentic voice for social is about your brand -- but it’s also about you. Your brand should reflect the passion of your project, and the core of what it means to you. Use the same voice in your online social posts that you use when talking to friends in person; more followers will connect and engage when they can identify with the personality behind the brand.
3) ENGAGE WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS
Think of every post you make as a conversation with your followers. That doesn’t mean you have to actually include “comment below” in every post, but create posts that will prompt a reaction, whether it’s commenting, liking, or sharing -- and then remember to actually reply and engage with any audience comments, reactions, and shares. Even just a simple “thank you” goes a long way, letting your audience know you’re paying attention and that they’re important to you.
That’s it! Loyalty + Authenticity + Engagement = a strong social audience that will help spread the word about your brand, create buzz for your project or product, and contribute to your success.
Looking to learn more? Drop us a message and we’ll send you a free quote!
What happens when the patriarch of an immigrant family returns to his west Texas home after spending the last 15 years in his native Korea? Find out when you get tickets to Lloyd Suh's critically-acclaimed AMERICAN HWANGAP, at West of Lenin February 1-25!
Directed by AJ Epstein and featuring a talented cast of local favorites including Michael Cercado, Kathy Hsieh, Mara Palma, Stephen Sumida & Moses Yim, AMERICAN HWANGAP is the funny and moving story of a Korean-American family and their uneasy reunion with the father who left them 15 years ago.
This engaging play tells the story of Min Suk Chun, who some 15 years earlier left his family in a West Texas suburb to return to his native Korea. On the occasion of his 60th birthday (hwangap), a milestone signifying the completion of the Eastern Zodiac and a type of rebirth, he returns to his ex-wife and now adult children as they struggle to reconcile their broken past with the mercurial, verbose and often exasperating patriarch now back at the head of the table. Through a tense birthday weekend filled with humor, heartbreak and half-filled expectations, this American hwangap and its aftermath bears a family not quite whole but still somehow transformed, and not quite happy but still somehow beautiful.
About the Playwright
Lloyd Suh is the author of Charles Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, Great Wall Story and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Play Company, La Mama, Denver Center Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, The Guthrie Theatre with Mu Performing Arts, East West Players, and internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea.
CAST: Michael Cercado (Ralph Chun), Kathy Hsieh (Mary Chun), Mara Palma (Esther Chun), Stephen Sumida (Min Suk Chun), and Moses Yim (David Chun)
Directed by AJ Epstein || Produced by West of Lenin || Fremont's Venue for Live Theatre
Dates, showtimes, and advance tickets available here: http://bit.ly/AmericanHwangap