Jun 22

Playing Catch Up: Filmaka Updates

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Well, thanks to Filmaka’s Nicole, we have figured out our technical problems so watch this space for more frequent blogs.

Here’s what’s been going on since our last blog:

* NEW HOME PAGE: Here’s a shout-out to our designer Ryan and our India-based development team based.   Congrats on doing such a great job with the new Filmaka.com home page.    Since our April 2008 launch, we have received some great suggestions from the Filmaka community about how to tweak our website.   One of the main suggestions involved re-organizing the information to make the benefits to community members easier to understand at a glance.  That’s why we now have three primary areas:   Make a Movie (our feature and documentary competition), Join the Community (member discounts, member success stories), and Get a Job (working with brands and agencies or jobs our members received because of their Filmaka work).   We hope you like these changes and, if you have other ideas, e-mail us here or at info@filmaka.com

* FILMAKAS ROCKED THE WEBBYS: Our talented team from Mexico City – Luis, Arturo, and Rodrigo – flew to the Big Apple to attend the 13th Annual Webby Awards with Filmaka’s Allison Polly and Jana Augsberger (who was an early champion of their work and who greenlit their Best Drama Series THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LA VIDA LOCA .   Check out the photo of the guys with Webby host Seth Myers on the Filmaka home page.   You’ll be hearing from them in their own words very soon.

* THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LA VIDA LOCA NOW ON YOUTUBE: YouTube, one of the sponsors of The Webbys, was so impressed with TEN COMMANDMENTS, that it’s now being featured in its new “Show” section along with TV series such as Weeds and Star Trek.

* FILMAKA’S YOU TUBE CHANNEL: TEN COMMANDMENTS also has its own “playlist” on our YouTube Channel which Filmaka’s Nicole, Jason, and Craig have been working hard to revamp.   Check it out and help spread the word (send to your friends on Facebook!)    We look at this Channel as a great way to bring attention to our members’ best work.   You’ll see we have created “playlists” for several web series as well as short films, branded entertainment, and even jury interviews.   We’ll be adding a lot more content in the near future, including documentaries.

* DIRECTV STATUS:    Thanks to everyone who submitted to the DIRECTV FILM CHALLENGE.    As we mentioned a couple weeks back, DIRECTV requested additional time to review your entries.   They were extremely impressed with everyone’s hard work.  We expect to speak with DIRECTV any day and will keep you posted.

I am sure there’s more but, if I don’t stop now, this will be the longest blog entry ever.

Jun 02

Hard Times, DIRECTV Competitions: The Latest

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Hey, this is Jason from Filmaka.

I just wanted to give you an update that Filmaka has sent DIRECTV all of your pitches. Having read more than half of them (and I promise to read the rest in the next day or two), I can say “WOW”. We’ve done quite a few of these projects (Lincoln, Mustang, Cisco, Red Bull, Miller, etc) but each of them is unique in its own way. One thing that is always consistent, though, is your creativity. Although the pitches did contain some common themes (family, couples), they all had some unique characteristics. Thanks again for making us proud. What happens next? Well, DIRECTV will take about a week to review the pitches as well as your previous work (which is why keeping your Filmaka profile up-to-date is so important). We’ll certainly weigh in with our thoughts but, ultimately, the final decision rests with DIRECTV. Stay tuned.

As for the Digital Rights Group UK-sponsored “Hard Times” competition, we hope to announce the Entry Level Winners within the next week. Filmmakers selected their top ten and now it’s DRG and Filmaka’s turn. We like to announce them all at once so everyone has the same amount of time to produce their second film.


May 27



Jason here. A quick post at the end of a long day. Thanks to everyone who entered Filmaka’s DIRECTV Film Challenge. We received close to 200 entries which makes it one of our most successful competitions – especially since it was open to US citizens only. I think I must have read about 60 myself today and so did my colleague Carolyn. Our goal is to power through the rest by the end of the day tomorrow and then begin working on a presentation to submit to DIRECTV by the end of the week. We’ve been very impressed with what we have seen so far. DIRECTV is known for its bold creative and we think they’ll be pleased. THANKS to everyone who entered. We know you put a lot of time and energy into your submissions and are greatly appreciative.

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May 23

SHOOT names Jonathan Newman to New Directors Showcase . . . and more

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Hello, everyone. Jason from Filmaka here.

We are having some technical issues with our blog which is why our postings have not included photos and videos in a couple weeks. We are working hard to fix that problem.

Johathan Newman

Johathan Newman

The biggest news at Filmaka this week is that SHOOT named JONATHAN NEWMAN to its New Director’s Showcase. Jonathan, as you may recall, was the winner of Filmaka’s FORD MUSTANG STORIES competition and SHOOT selected him because of his Mustang film “Father’s Day.” Jonathan is flying from London to New York to attend the reception at the DGA. We’ll be posting updates from Jonathan’s trip. Congrats, Jonathan!

The Filmaka staff – and many of you! – have been busy getting ready for the DIRECTV Film Challenge. Pitches are due this Monday 5/25 so, if you have any free time over Memorial Day weekend, this could be worth your while. Twenty semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to turn their pitch into a film. After a month of production, ten winners will be awarded $50K, with the top winner receiving $15K. Check out http://www.filmaka.com/directv

Our Webby Award winners from Mexico City, Luis, Rodrigo, and Arturo are hard at work publicizing their success in Mexico – several articles and a radio interview so far. In a couple weeks, they’ll head to New York with Filmaka’s Jana Augsberger and Allison Polly to accept their Webby Award for Best Drama Series (THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LA VIDA LOCA).

Filmaka had a meeting with a potential new client – always looking for opportunities for our members – and we’re working on some exciting changes to our website.

Finally, we have also been working on an experimental project. We’ll fill you in as soon as we can.

That’s it for now. Have a great weekend, everyone.


May 15

Hey, here’s what’s going on at Filmaka:

* Voting open for “Hard Times” – support your fellow filmmaker and move them into the jury round – one step closer to realizing their dream of directing a feature film.

* DIRECTV Film Challenge – you have about a week and a half left to submit your written pitch. First prize is $15,000, second $10,000 – and you might intro your films on DIRECTV. No financial risk other than your time because DIRECTV is funding production.

* We are making travel plans for our Webby Award winning filmmakers Luis, Rodrigo, and Arturo who will be flying from Mexico City to the Big Apple to accept their award for BEST DRAMA. They’ve never been to NY before so watch out NYC!

* Look for some new improvements to our website in the near future. Our designer Ryan is hard at work, as always.

* Too many other things to mention, including a (fingers crossed) huge announcement.

More soon.


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Apr 29

DIRECTV is looking for exciting, entertaining, 2-4 minute films (in HD) that capture and articulate the DIRECTV selling points and help raise the profile of the brand.

Be sure to check out the interview with Jon Gieselman, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Public Relations, in the video player below. He tells you exactly what DIRECTV wants in your film.


DIRECTV is looking for films in HD, under four minutes, that tell a story in which their services appear and play an integral part. They aren’t looking for hit-you-over-the-head commercials, but rather a story that is entertaining on its own in which DIRECTV is integrated. Remember, this is a scripted competition with a narrative story and interesting characters. Please note, you must be a US resident to submit to this competition.

Who uses DIRECTV? Why should they start using it now?

People are making smart choices on how to spend their time and money. Instead of heading off to see the biggest stars in theaters or catching their favorite team at the stadium, they are choosing to stay at home with their friends and family with DIRECTV. Who says they have to miss those blockbusters? With DIRECTV, they can watch all their favorite stars in blockbusters On Demand, and watch with all their friends and family —without paying $7 for a bucket of popcorn. They can catch every NFL Sunday football game, plus get behind-the-scenes looks into the league they can’t get sitting in the nosebleed seats.

And then there’s the technology. With DIRECTV, they could have a cutting-edge interface with some of the fastest search mechanisms in TV, plus the ability to schedule their DVR remotely by phone or computer from anywhere in the world.
How’s that for something to play with?


We’re asking you to create a film…you give us a pitch we like, and we’ll fund your production. Your pitch should be three to seven pages long. We suggest you include:

1. A script of 2 to 4 pages.
2. Storyboards and/or mood board (optional but recommended).
3. A budget breakdown.
4. Links where we can view your work as a director, if you intend to shoot this script yourself.
5. Current phone numbers and an e-mail address where we can reach you.

Remember, DIRECTV’s customers are in the United States, so your submission should target that sensibility. In addition, only legal US residents may submit to this competition.

PITCHES ARE DUE Monday, May 25, by 24:00 PST.


DIRECTV will select 20 filmmakers and greenlight their pitches.

Each filmmaker will receive $5,000 and have four to five weeks to shoot and edit their script. Productions MUST be shot in High Definition Video for this competition. DIRECTV is known for its crisp, quality picture, and winning films may be shown on DIRECTV itself! If you have a great pitch but are not able to shoot in HD, let us know and, if your pitch is greenlit, we can pair you with an experienced Filmaka director who has access to HD equipment.


From the 20 completed films, DIRECTV will select 10 winners:
•   1st place – $15,000 cash prize and the opportunity to introduce your winning film on DIRECTV
•   2nd place – $10,000 cash prize
•   3rd place – $7,500 cash prize
•   Runners-up 4-10 – $2,500 cash prize

Winning films will be used for online viewing as well as, potentially, on DIRECTV.
This is your chance to have your production funded and possibly have your film seen on television.

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