Thursday, September 29, 2011

IFP conference, Day 3

Another flashforward – Wednesday night I drove to Buffalo for some lectures on filmmaking. The speakers included writer-actor Frank Rossi, who had stories to tell about breaking into Hollywood; DIY filmmaker Peter McGennis, who said that there was no one perfect way of making a film; and experienced crew member Chris Santucci, who I actually worked with on a corporate project many years ago.

Having just spent a whole week attending filmmaker panels, I probably wouldn't have gone to this as well, but I'm glad I did because it gave me a flashback to my film school days. I've gotten so used to do everything myself in the DIY manner, it was good to be reminded of the days when I had aspirations to break into commercial studio filmmaking.

It's because of this event, though, that I didn't continue my blog yesterday. Anyway, back to the IFP conference ...

DAY 3 – September 20

The first panel of the day had the inspirational title “Paying the Bills”. Panelist Ursula Lawrence of the Writers Guild of America touted the advantages of joining the Guild, while the other panelists talked about the struggle to get by when making a film. One of the panelists, producer Gil Holland, said that he once made a movie for $250,000 and sold it for over $1 million, but didn't see any actual money for nine months, which left him living on credit cards and getting his phone turned off, etc. He also said it takes three to six months to break into an industry where people prefer to hire their friends.

Another panelist, Antonio Campos (no idea if I spelled that right – my program booklet has gone missing), mentioned the cliché that every waiter is a struggling actor, and that filmmakers should be prepared to pay their dues similarly, pointing out that Christopher Nolan made his first movie over six months of weekends. He also said to “accept that you're going to have credit card debt,” and that if you want a life with more stability, benefits and a regular paycheck, you should do something else.

Speaking of his NYU film school days, Campos said that in film school, the connections you make are more important than the classes you take; if you surround yourself with enough talented people, one of you will make it, and hopefully he or she can help you and others. On a similar note, Holland said that you should be adding points to a “favor bank” so you have people to call when you need them.

Campos' most memorable quote was “I always believe things will work. As bad as things seem in the moment, things will work out if you keep going.” He also discussed the “danger” of getting too comfortable doing paid work, and realizing one day that you never took the plunge of making your movie. This advice sounded a bit reckless given the current economy, although I sort of agree that things “work out” if you do your best and are reasonably smart and adaptable. Holland pointed out that there are jobs within the industry that are less precarious than filmmaking, such as being a film lawyer. (During the Q&A, someone quoted Werner Herzog allegedly saying that filmmakers should go to business school, not film school.)

The next panel was called “How to Craft a Pitch” and consisted of three aspiring screenwriters pitching their projects to the panelists (as they would to a producer or investor), who then gave their opinions on the pitch. The lessons conveyed in this panel seemed to be to keep it short and clear, convey what budget level you're aiming at, and mentioning examples of films in the style you have in mind. Have a log line – one sentence that sums up the movie.

This was followed by a panel devoted to the recent indie comedy Terri by writer/director Azazel Jones, who discussed his career progression from making lower-budget films. Jones had some advice that I wrote down as: “It's important to like the work you're doing. God forbid you make something you don't like and it succeeds. You think it'll buy you the chance to do what you want, but it doesn't work like that. They'll want that again, and you'll be surrounded by people who like what you don't like. It's hard to pick your battles, but to pick a battle is important. Have something to say that no one can say but you. Hopefully that will make you irreplaceable.” Again, that might not be the most responsible career advice, but without that kind of idealism we don't get independent films.

The last panel was about getting an agent, and the advice all seemed to boil down to the importance of networking and meeting people. Lucy Stille of Paradigm (the agency that represents indie writer-director John Sayles and author Dean Koontz) discusssed the “six degrees of separation” theory and said that getting in touch with someone might be easier than you think. So there was no great magic bullet given out here, except to be connected socially in the field. Agencies secure clients by referral, and by going to festivals looking for talent. Agents don't generally accept unsolicited manuscripts from strangers, although NYC agencies are apparently a bit more indie-friendly.

Actually, Stille seemed to have most of the best and clearest advice on this panel. “It's easier to say no than yes,” she said, and therefore the closer a script is to being a movie the more likely it is to get noticed. If a script shows up from a writer who's talented, her agency may put the writer with a strong development producer who can help the writer make the script into something marketable. When an audience member asked when was a good time to seek an agent, she said that when you have a film in a festival you should have another script written or in progress, in order to have something to present or pitch to an agent.

One panelist – I don't remember who – said that if you start with one type of film (such as a small, contained thriller), your next proposed project should have a similar tone at a slightly bigger budget, but within that genre you can add new elements. “If you change [genre] too much, people won't know what to do with you. If you have more experience and people know you, you may then be able to say you have a different idea. You have to have another script started even if it's not done. If I ask what you want to do next, and you say 'I don't know', I'll be less impressed with you.”

Later that evening was a presentation of excerpts from indie features being developed by IFP. I missed the beginning of this show, and probably for this reason saw more documentaries than narratives. Frankly the docs impressed me more, but there was one narrative that (based on the excerpt shown) stood out from the others. Pervertigo, from a mohawk-rocking writer-director named Jaron Henrie-McCrea, had a wildness lacking in some of the more earnest projects surrounding it. The scene I saw consisted of a guy secretly videotaping a girl in the house next door, only for her to notice him and sic her steroidal boyfriend (and his posse) on him. After seeing these muscle-bound, 1980s-high-school-movie-villain type dudes chase the guy down, threatening him with over-the-top violence and yelling "perv" over and over while the boyfriend rips the camcorder apart with his bare hands(!), I knew this was a movie I wanted to see in its entirety.

NEXT TIME: Post-production topics rear their head as the conference switches its focus to documentaries, and I learn that a documentary I never heard of is apparently quite heartwarming.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

IFP conference, Day 2

In yesterday's post on IFP's annual filmmaking conference, I neglected to mention that Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman was in the audience. At first I thought maybe he was seeking some wisdom like the rest of us, but of course he was present because his wife Pat Sweeney was a panelist. Sorry for the omission. Yet it seems fitting to bring up Lloyd Kaufman at this point, since the first panel of day 2 had another known genre filmmaker, Larry Fessenden, as a panelist.

DAY 2: September 19

The first panel, featuring Fessenden as well as producer/author Jon Reiss (Think Outside the Box Office), was about producing. Reiss said that you should think about marketing and distribution from the very inception of your project. Don't tailor the film to an audience, but think about who is the audience for your film and what are your goals: To change the world? To find a large audience? To change your career?

Although the panelists had practical talk about producing, they maintained an emphasis on artistic integrity. Reiss stressed the importance of knowing who the audience for your film is and figuring out how to reach it. Panelist Mike Ryan of Greyshack Films said that for his recent female-centric Western, Meek's Cutoff, he had to tell the investors how the movie would make its money back, and he said that “every woman who listens to NPR will see this.” The panelists also cited the recent film Note by Note, about the making of a Steinway piano, which appealed not only to piano fans but furniture makers. Fessenden discussed a film he made about a chef who seeks revenge against a critic, which didn't quite fit the horror genre but was enjoyed by “foodies”.

“Cinema is about communication,” said Fessenden. “Marketing is about supporting that communication. You can't make an alternative-minded film and then market it aggressively without a sensitivity to what that film is about.”

The panelists, particularly Reiss, also stressed the importance of setting aside money and resources for marketing and distribution. “I say half [of the budget] to get people thinking about this,” said Reiss. He also emphasized the importance of commitment: “If you're in this business to make money, I suggest you have better things to do with your week than be here ... You need to be passionate.” He described the long odds of getting into Sundance, where about 3000 feature films are submitted every year, only 200 actually get in, and only about 40 get distribution deals. (“And they're not good deals,” added Ryan.)

Reiss has coined the term “PDM” (producer of distribution and marketing) as a new crew position that low-budget films should have. His view is that filmmakers – who aren't always socially adept – should concentrate on making films, and leave the outreach to a PDM. He also suggested that a film about a particular subject to reach out to fans of that particular subject, not just a filmgoing audience.

The subject of four-walling (renting a theater and collecting all the income yourself) came up. Reiss said that each film has different needs, and that these days you should think beyond movie theaters. Fessenden said he preferred to split the box office with the theater owners rather than rent the theater. Fessenden also referred to reviews, newspaper articles, and the blogosphere as “free advertising.”

The next panel was specifically about self-promotion, and featured publicist Sheri Candler, publicist Adam Kersh, filmmaker Ava Duvernay, and IFC's Ryan Werner. Candler's advice was that “Self promotion is about helping other people ... Many filmmakers are shy and don't want to gladhand. Give your audience things they're interested in ... Be someone they want to talk to. Spend less time talking about yourself and more on what you think they'll be interested in.” Duvernay had similar advice: “Your pitch is for your film, not yourself. You're nothing without your film … Your pitch needs to be less about 'me and my friends made this' but what it's about, who the audience is, why it's important.”

Kersh and Werner recommended hiring a publicist, and to do so as early as possible, although Candler said that at a smaller festival the filmmaker could be his/her own publicist. At this point, visible tension arose between Werner, who stressed the need to debut your film in a major festival like Sundance in order to get noticed; and Candler, who pointed out that not every filmmaker would be able to do so.

Candler's advice was that you need an audience before you get money. Know your goal, whether it's to get industry attention, or to change the world, or get the film seen (which may not mean money). That helps you figure out your audience and how to market/distribute them. At the script stage, bear in mind who will love your film and how to find them. She also warned against selling all of your rights to a distributor, so that you can still sell copies of the movie yourself.

The next panel was by “distribution strategist” Peter Broderick, who repeated themes introduced by Reiss and Candler: Know your goal, whether it's to make money back, to make another film, to entertain, to open a dialogue with others, to build a fanbase, to educate and motivate, etc. and to know which goals are primary, secondary and tertiary. Getting the film seen or getting top-tier premiere are not goals, just means to an end. He defined the three main reasons to make an indie film as: Maximize revenue, maximize career, change the world. He added that there's only one reason to be an indie filmmaker today: “because you can't help yourself.”

Broderick also said that filmmakers should not try to do everything themselves, and should have a distribution team as well as a production team. He discussed crowdfunding, and said that the building of an audience was more important than the fundraising.

Next was a case study about the distribution of Kevin Smith's new film Red State. As you may know, Smith chose to self-distribute the film rather than sell the rights to a distributor; he controversially announced a plan to auction the distribution rights at a Sundance event, only to declare that he would be doing it himself (look on YouTube for video of that event). David Dinerstein, representing the film on this panel, said that if there'd been a distributor who really wanted the movie, they would have heard about it before this event.

The release of Red State began with screenings at 15 venues in the U.S. and another 5 in Canada, each with a ticket price of $60-$100 but hosted by Smith in person. (I almost went to the one in Toronto, and a DVD was to be included in the ticket price.) The film earned $1.1 million from these shows alone. The film was then released on VOD, followed by another screening (40 theaters showing the film simultaneously) where Smith responded to audience questions sent by Twitter. (I attended the Rochester screening on Sunday.)

A panel about music seemed to consist largely of the high-powered panelists (including composer George S. Clinton) telling war stories about the 60s and about famous people they've worked with, but ended with the advice that, to get music for your indie film, you should give a struggling local musician a chance instead of buying music from a library.

The day concluded with a panel featuring Sundance's Keri Putnam and Tribeca Enterprises' Geoffrey Gilmore. They discussed the changing role of film festivals, which Gilmore criticized for having “too many people with this color hair”, pointing to his own graying head. He said the future would be in new narrative forms, such as games. He recommended reading the Future of Film blog on Tribeca's website.

Even by this second day I was noticing certain themes repeating in the panels, but it was useful and informative nonetheless. Later that evening was a book launch for Sheri Candler's book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul, which is available as a free download until the end of this month.

NEXT TIME: panels on how to pitch and how to get an agent, plus a crazy movie I saw a preview of.

Monday, September 26, 2011

IFP conference, Day 1

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the first public screening of Saberfrog. I could have blogged something about that, but instead I spent yesterday evening at the Little Theater for a public showing of Red State, followed by a streamed Q&A with its writer-director, Kevin Smith.

Smith's famously rambling, anecdotal style meant that he only managed to answer about five actual questions, but along the way he offered some inspiring pearls of wisdom. Smith claimed that he had “no discernable talent” and that his film career resulted from “will over skill”. He also made the inspirational statements that “Failure is just success training” and “There's no such thing as incorrect self-expression.” He was eagerly trying to encourage the audience to do what he did and make their own films, and their own art, even in the face of nay-sayers.

It seemed a fitting way to end a week spent in New York City attending IFP's annual independent filmmaking conference. There were five days of panels and I took tons of notes each day, which I'll try to recap in this blog each day this week. I had a good time and learned a lot, so I figure I might as well share the knowledge.

DAY 1: Sunday, September 18

While most panels were roundtable discussions of current topics, some took the form of conversations with particular individuals about their own work within the filmmaking community. Sunday began with a talk with Micah Green and Dan Stineman, from the film finance department of the famous talent agency CAA. They discussed the recent Toronto International Film Festival, which is one of the primary film markets next to Cannes and Sundance. They defined “independent” as a film not owned or controlled by a studio at any point from development to distribution. They discussed alternate financing models that were emerging, in which studios invest in films that have indie financing, since studio executives do want to make authored, visionary films even if their corporate structure doesn't normally encourage it.

Green took the view that “independent” was a financing concept (which Stineman slightly disputed) and said that there's a danger in assuming that a film made in a certain way was automatically better. His advice was to recognize the market, and create your project in a way that is informed by the market; it's okay to just do art for art's sake as long as your financiers (who may be you) understand that. It's irresponsible not to look at the market and be working at a budget level that's realistic for that. He described the recent trend in “microbudgeting” – films made in the low 6 figures or even 5 figures – which is a way to make a movie without established stars or genre. Examples he cited included the Duplass brothers, who didn't want to spend three years chasing investors, and would rather make a movie on their own terms even if it had lower aesthetic quality; and Lynn Shelton, who made a low-6-figures movie that sold at Toronto.

They stated that the greatest successes at Sundance have been in the low-6-figure budget range, including The Brothers McMullen, Napoleon Dynamite, Super Size Me, El Mariachi, and Pi. Bigger budget Sundance hits like The Kids Are Alright and Little Miss Sunshine are the exception; the latter was almost was developed in the studio system.

They also stressed the importance of having something to attract distributors and audiences, such as stars or perhaps a known director. To anyone trying to start their directing career, they suggested microbudgeting, but said that the challenge of this is finding money from friends and family, and then figuring out how to convince actors and/or foreign buyers. A film by a first-timer won't get investors without a producer (such as Christine Vachon or Ted Hope) who's made similar films that were commercial and successful; “don't even think of approaching financing until you've done that.” The next step is to get at least one star to bet on you.

The panelists said that your budget should be right for what you're doing; if you're trying to launch your directing career, you should be pursuing friends and family, not bigger sources, for money. They again said to consider microbudgeting, making a film that costs $2000 or $5000 or $10,000, to show your ability to direct actors and move the camera; this can then be used as a “calling card: for future projects.

During the Q&A, they stressed the importance of having a good pitch in order to stand out from the crowd. They said your first movie should be affordable, and before approaching them you need to get a producer with a track record who can express his/her belief in you.

The next panel was on crowdfunding, the process of soliciting numerous small donations to your project through venues such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. I was interested to notice that one of the panelists was Jennifer Fox, who I recognized from a late-80s indie-film documentary To Heck With Hollywood! that I saw in college. (That film profiled several aspiring indie filmmakers and their then-recent projects; Ms Fox had a documentary called Beirut: The Last Home Movie.) Fox admitted that she didn't enjoy the crowdfunding process or the self-promotion it required; inviting thousands of people into her project was “scary”, but she realized she was inviting them into an exchange, giving people the chance to be part of a creative endeavor.

Panelist Steven Beer pointed out some pitfalls. He said if you're sloppy you can incur tax liability. His advice was to understand that crowdfunding is a gift, a no-strings-attached grant, and that the people who give should have no expectation of return on investment, except maybe a T-shirt, a DVD, or a visit to the set. He said to be upfront and don't give the impression that they'll make money if you make money. He also said that the money raised from crowdfunding should not be taxable income, and that you should raise money through a company (which has the screenplay rights), not as an individual.

Fox said that crowdfunding works when you can really target your audience and find a segment willing to give money; her father-son film My Reincarnation targeted a Buddhist market, for example. She also said “you have to make sure your film has people that will look for money for you.” She pointed out that with Kickstarter you lose all money raised if you don't meet your goal, but that this can encourage people to give, and to help you meet your goal in the final days of your campaign.

The panelists discussed the time and effort involved in a crowdfunding campaign. Filmmaker Rodney Evans said he worked 5 hours a day for 30 days on a recent crowdfunding campaign. He said Kickstarter has a “project update” feature that let him update his blog; Fox said she regularly put up new videos, wrote seven articles for IndieWire, and wrote 50 pages worth of updates.

At the end of the panel, I asked Fox whether one should use multiple crowdfunding platforms or stick to one. She said stick to one, because it would be too much work to do several at once.

A later panel had the theme “Making Your First Feature”. As a case study, they used the recent film Kinyarwanda, a $250,000 feature about genocide in Rwanda, with the filmmakers present to discuss the production. I didn't feel I needed this panel as much, but director Alrick Brown – a teacher at NYU and Rutgers – was full of inspirational quotes: “I'm sorry of hearing filmmakers say 'I can't.' The question is how.” “We artists get cocky and think that because we made something people will go. You have to build your audience. Making the movie is only half the battle.” He stressed the importance of figuring out the script ahead of time; quoting Helen Keller, he said that pencil and paper are cheap and patient, but people aren't.

Brown's closing monologue was great: “Ladies and gentlemen, your first feature film will not be given to you. Take it. Take it from the universe. Process over product. If you create a process with people you respect, the product becomes a bonus. And make movies that matter, that you care about. You're spending money, days, time, people, missing people – don't do that for gimmicks and bullshit. If you're gonna use people, give them something to hold onto. Whether you're political or not, you're saying something. Make something that matters, please.”

A panel on transmedia (spreading a storytelling experience across multiple media platforms, such as those online) featured Lance Weiler (who's become known for this type of work) and Ingrid Kopp from the filmmaking organization Shooting People. Weiler was typically evangelical on the subject (“This is like the silent era of filmmaking, where we are starting to realize what we can do”), while Kopp pointed out the possibilities for documentary work. Another transmedia artist on the panel, Braden King, said “This is an exciting time. If there's parts of your project that don't fit traditional film narrative structure, this is a new way to organize your thoughts.” The panelists cited and as online resources on this topic.

The final panel of the day had the title “The Hot Button: Is Indie Filmmaking a Career?” One of the panelists, indie producer Ted Hope, amusingly contradicted his surname by asserting that having a career in indie film was no longer realistic due to increasing competition, falling budgets, and the rising cost of living. He said you now have to be independently wealthy to be able to pursue the unpaid internships necessary to break into the industry. Another panelist, Mynette Louie, felt it was still possible; she herself had saved up money so that she could spend a year trying to break into the industry, and ended up in a full time job at the Hawaii film commission, where she earned enough money to be able to then spend another year looking for other opportunities. She admitted that a recent DIY self-distribution experience was very difficult and that she didn't want to do it again.

Hope conceded that we currently are in “very exciting times and scary times” due to the rise of new digital platforms but the relatively low 5- to 6-figure offers that filmmakers are getting, which make it difficult to justify making films on larger budgets.

The moderator asserted that making a project can get you job as a lobbyist or professor – “you make money for something next to the thing” - which sounded a bit parasitic to my ears. It's common for American liberals to lament the lack of funding for the arts, so it was refreshing when a Danish woman in the audience said that she respected the American system and asked whether the US film industry would be the same if producers were paid a lot whether they made films a lot. Hope, responding to this, admitted that in societies where art is subsidized, there are governing boards and bureaucracies who only support people like themselves.

When asked for advice during the Q&A, Louie said to manage your time well and make sure you have enough staff to help you. Hope said to gather information on the community that builds around your film, and not to lose touch with them. Hope also recommended not having a script over 100 pages, and said he had no patience for spelling errors or lack of proper format. He said you should be able to think of transmedia marketing hooks for your movie, even if some of your ideas are nonsense.

NEXT TIME: panels on self-promotion and distribution, plus a panel about the release of Red State!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The past and the future

I recently stumbled across this short article quoting Roger Ebert's lament at the lack of original (i.e. not a sequel or remake) films being made in Hollywood today, a frustration I basically share. However, the article attracted commenters who disagreed with Ebert, and they made some good points: that in tough economic times people will spend their money on stuff they know they'll like, and that “the good stuff” does still exist but is to be found on television.

And so the culture clash between Cahiers du Cinema/Criterion Collection guys (for whom film is an art form that should express a personal vision, despite genre restrictions) and Comic-Con guys (who are loyal to a genre or series, not to any particular medium) continues.

When I go to the movies I like to see something new, not just continuations of a franchise. I get tired of the idea that movies exist solely to reenact situations and characters that are already familiar. Where I disagree with the Eberts of the world, though, is the knee-jerk assumption that anything part of a series is a lazy cash-in. We're now in an age where larger stories are being told across multiple volumes, with more characters and more complex backstory. A hell of a lot of ingenuity goes into telling these kinds of stories, and I don't think self-contained one-offs are going to enjoy a similar degree of public affection any time soon.

Time for a segue: One of the commenters complained about the “laziness” of Hollywood filmmakers and used George Lucas' constant tinkering with Those Movies as an example. It's interesting how people are so annoyed with Lucas nowadays that they will even resort to insults that don't fit reality. Doubtless you've heard that Those Movies came out on Blu-Ray yesterday, with even more changes. (An article about that, also with some interesting dissenters in the comment section, is here). I don't have a Blu-Ray player anyway, but the sample revisions that leaked onto the Internet in the past few weeks (assuming they're legitimate, which they might not have been) didn't impress me much. Whatever you think of the various CGI-era add-ons, though, I don't know how any objective person could call it “lazy” to keep spending more time and money reworking a movie. In one clip I saw online, a shot in Return of the Jedi of Artoo and Threepio approaching Jabba's palace has been changed from a static shot to a slow dolly shot. This presumably required somebody (or a team of somebodies) to create and render a CGI replica of that long-ago-demolished set, just to make a three-second shot look slightly more interesting. Lucas' priorities might be questionable at this point, but I can't really call that “lazy”.

I feel like Lucas has had enough opportunities to make whatever artistic, technical or continuity-related touch-ups he thought were necessary, and that enough is enough. In the past, though, I've always defended the other special-edition changes to Those Movies. I watched the originals so many times as a kid, and became so overly familiar with them, that I actually welcomed anything to make them seem fresh and different again. Everything I've heard about the Blu-Ray release sounds like this is finally a bridge too far even for me, but maybe this too is a blessing. Maybe we've watched these movies enough. I know I have.

I think of all the self-described geeks of a certain generation, who wore out their VHS copies watching the same damn space opera trilogy over and over as kids because the world they lived in was too difficult for their younger, more awkward selves to cope with. I hear their constant online lament that the ability to reenact that exact experience yet again has been taken away, because the earlier version of that trilogy has been withdrawn. And I want to ask them: What are you holding onto? Do you really want to be back there? Do you still want to be that pitiful person you were? Is this a remotely healthy attitude to adult life, or is it holding you back?

Instead of “saving Star Wars, maybe someone should save Final Cut Pro instead. This is somewhat old news that I haven't gotten around to blogging about before now, but ... you may have heard that a new version of Apple's beloved video editing program has been replaced by a new release, Final Cut Pro X, that has a bit too much in common with Apple's freebie intro-level program iMovie for some tastes. The real controversy, though, is that the previous edition has been withdrawn from the market (barring whatever copies they have left) even though FCP X is not backwards-compatible with previous versions and is missing too many features that professional editors consider essential. (I played with it at the Apple Store a week or two ago, and to me the most glaring omission was lack of a Save As feature.)

As someone who still owns Final Cut Pro 6, this doesn't affect me directly right now … but it will, because like a certain spoof-meme dictator, I have over ten years of projects that I won't be able to do anything with when the day comes that my current computer dies. (Older FCP versions apparently won't run on the latest Apple operating system.)

It's another of those end-of-an-era moments. When Final Cut Pro first came out, it meant that, for the first time, you could have professional editing capabilities on a consumer budget. The end of the previous, truly “pro”, version of Final Cut Pro now seems to kill the last remnant of the 90s dream that Joe Shmoe with 2 dollars could compete with Hollywood films. Apple's new mission seems to be to make it easier to be a consumer but harder to be a creator, which seems to violate the “Think different” campaign they used to have.

But enough about the past. How about the future of filmmaking? Well, that's what I'm hoping to get in on. IFP's Independent Filmmaker Conference starts tomorrow, and I'll be there to attend panels, network, learn new things, and generally re-infuse myself with indie spirit and enthusiasm. I'm planning to take loads of notes, which I'll be sharing with you here on this blog. Stay tuned.