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Phase 09: Gather Additional Multimedia Input from Volunteers

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* Open Source Media
* Multimedia Collaboration
* Creative Commons


* Use to facilitate multimedia submissions from volunteers to be included into The Echo Chamber documentary.
* Gather B-Roll from other volunteer filmmakers (background visuals without sound in order to add depth and context)
* Gather animation sequences from volunteers
* Provide questions to be asked for "Man-on-the-Street" interviews, and include other diverse perspectives on the website and film.

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Phase 11: Solicit Feedback for Final Editing Phases

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* Collaborative Content Development
* Volunteer Feedback
* Media Transparency


The eventual distribution model and business plan for The Echo Chamber documentary will determine the full scope of this phase. (i.e. online distribution with micropayments vs. DVD sales). The intended audience for the documentary film may not be the volunteers are participating in co-creation of the project. There could be a tradeoff between providing access to the video excerpts for volunteer feedback versus keeping the video exclusive for the video release.
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Using Blogs to Supplement a Direct Marketing Campaign

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I've been conducting an experiment over the last week to test how blogging can supplement a mini-marketing blitz directed at a specialized target audience.

Within 4 working days, I was able to contact the moderator of a Sundance Docs & Blogs panel discussion, contact and receive a response from all of the panelists, and receive an e-mail response from the editor-in-chief of indieWIRE who had just commented on his blog that "there is so much going on that the competition for attention is fierce."

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Contacting Sundance Docs & Blogs Panelists

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The Sundance Film Festival starts tomorrow, and there is an interesting panel discussion that is happening on Saturday called "Docs, Blogs, & the Changing Politics of America."

From what I've been able to see online so far, Sundance hasn't published the list of panelists anywhere. I've been able to contact panel's moderator and determine the following list and makeup of the panelists:

* 4 Documentary Directors (Robert Greenwald, Heater Rae, Alex Gibney & Aaron Raskin)
* 1 Blogger (Jason McCabe Calacanis)

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Sundance Panel on Docs & Blogs

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The Gothamist asked indieWIRE senior editor Eugene Hernandez to make some predictions for what to look out in the independent film world in the upcoming year.

The first thing Hernandez said was:

There is a panel at Sundance this year looking at the intersection of blogs and documentaries. I am curious to see what that is all about. Technology remains an important factor right now.
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New Methods of Creating Meaning

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The concept of Integral Filmmaking combined with the principles of Open Source could introduce new methods for how meaning is created.

Traditionally, the Mainstream Media or documentary filmmakers had the most power in determining what meaning was created through their editing judgments.

But combining the Internet, Blogging and documentary filmmaking mediums could allow the audience to create their own meaning from information instead of relying upon the "objective" mainstream media, partisan press or closed-source documentary films.

The Open Source tactics of the The Echo Chamber documentary and website could create up to four distinct phases of meaning creation that could provide a unique economic competitive advantage.


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What The Echo Chamber Can Provide

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Addressing the market demand in the previous post, here is what I tentatively see as what The Echo Chamber can provide to the market:

* The Echo Chamber explores the sociology of the media and brings a deeper understanding to the media's role of creating meaning and shaping the cultural consciousness.
* Provides an opportunity to investigate the media bias culture wars in the context of the build-up to the war in Iraq.
* Can be used as an outreach tool for individuals to bridge the polarized culture gap -- Grievances with the mainstream media provides a common ground for conservatives and liberals to come together and have further political discussions that bring a deeper understanding to each other's perspectives.

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Distribution Models

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One really helpful link that one of my advisors gave to me was from an article that Peter Broderick wrote about "Maximizing Distribution."

Broderick emphasizes the importance of creating a web presence and reaching the core audience before the project is released:

During the filmmaking process, the filmmakers will have one to three years to learn how to reach their core audience most effectively. They will also have time to create an effective Web presence. This will enable them to build a valuable mailing list as they are creating awareness for their film within the target.

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Docs = Mirrors of Reality

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indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez subjectively lists the top 15 docs coming out of the International Documentary Filmfestival in Amsterdam.

Hernandez also excerpts Ally Derks, the IDFA festival director, pointing out how documentaries are picking up the slack of the failures of the mainstream media:

"It seems that the lack of adequate information in that land of infinite possibilities is taking its revenge. But filmmakers are no longer prepared to accept this." Continuing, she definitively, "The documentary is the supreme means of discussing, questioning and examining the world we live in."

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Incorporating Complexity into Film

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I have been struggling with how to incorporate the methodological flaws of the Media Research Center into my documentary film. For the first time, I have organized my thoughts as clearly and succinctly as I can in this blog post.

But the medium of web writing and the medium of film are completely different, and it will be very difficult to make the same caliber of an argument within The Echo Chamber documentary.

A writer has more freedom to use complex words and phrases that carry very specific meanings, and adding a hypertext link allows the reader to learn more about the difference between an inductive and hypothetico-deductive method of scientific inquiry.

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