Description image

If You Like AMATEUR, Take 2 Seconds to Help Us Spread the Word (Makes a BIG Difference)

04.25.13 @ 1:20PM Tags : , , , , , , ,

Last week I posted AMATEUR, the prequel to my forthcoming feature MANCHILD, and the response to the short has been downright amazing. Thank you to everyone who has watched it! If you haven’t seen it yet, it is embedded below, and if you have seen it, here’s how two seconds of your time can make a big difference for the project:

The two second-version: scroll down to the twitter box (with the MANCHILD header) and click the “tweet @” buttons!

The longer version, with story and nuance and the behing-the-scenes of how the release has gone:

First off, I’m working on a number of behind-the-scenes posts to share how we made it, and I’m looking forward to sharing the details and what I learned in the process. But first we need to do a better job of getting it out there. We’ve gotten some great coverage in the film world, as we’ve been selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick, interviewed in Filmmaker Magazine, and had nice pieces written about us at Indiewire, Short of the Week, and Directors Notes. The reception in the indie film world literally could not have gone better, so thank you to everyone who wrote about it! But the success of AMATEUR depends upon showing there’s an audience for the feature, and that depends on reaching the sports world. The short is free watch and free to embed, if you haven’t seen it yet:

I think it should make for a good story at many sports sites, and I’ve sent a lot of cold emails to that end, but they haven’t gone anywhere and it has been incredibly frustrating to not be picked up by a single basketball site. I feel the work is strong, the topic is relevant, and both the short itself and the approach we’re taking is newsworthy. So here’s where I’m asking for your help — it’s part two of the twitter campaign we did during the Kickstarter campaign, which amazingly resulted in Phil Jackson backing the campaign, thanks to Los Angeles Lakers VP Jeanie Buss finding out about it from the nofilmschool community on twitter:

Phil & I are supporting this indie filmmaker's campaign to make a feature film about youth bball #manchild
Jeanie Buss

If you enjoyed AMATEUR, if it whets you appetite for the feature, if you appreciate this site (which has taken years of my life to build), if you appreciate the DSLR guide, please help me show the sports world that there are a lot of us who want to see this feature. The best way is to take two seconds to let some hoops journalists know about it on Twitter. When I say “two seconds” I mean it literally — we’ve pre-populated the tweets so all you have to do is click on the “tweet @” buttons:

If you would rather write your own tweets, here’s a select list of basketball journalists most recently active on twitter: go to this list and tweet @ anyone there. The list is better in some ways as it puts the journalists who are on twitter right now at the top of the list — and they’re the ones most likely to hear us right away.

The biggest help — do you know anyone in the sports world?

The best way to reach someone is through a connection. So — do you know someone in the sports world? Do you know someone who knows someone? As I posted about on Kickstarter, reaching out to anyone in the basketball world could be a HUGE help. I’ve tried to make it easy, so here’s a template email you can copy-and-paste and modify for your need, to send to any connections in the sports world:

Hope you’re well.

A friend of mine, Ryan Koo, released a short film about under-the-table high school basketball recruiting and I think you’ll like it. Give it a minute and I think you’ll watch the whole thing (it’s only 9 minutes):

The filmmaking team is looking for support from the sports world in order to show there’s an audience for the feature, MANCHILD, which is about a 13 year-old phenom and the pressures he faces. This short is a prequel to the feature. Phil Jackson backed their Kickstarter campaign!

Ryan is trying to make the writing process easy, so there’s background info, hi-res photos etc. here for anyone to cover it online:

Thanks for taking the time to check it out and let me know what you think.

Thank you for any emails you send! Feel free to cc or bcc We don’t have a PR budget — I’m not touching the Kickstarter funds at any point in this process, as they’re for the feature — so I’m really hoping the nofilmschool community can help spread the word.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter

A big part of showing there’s an audience for the feature — beyond the Kickstarter campaign — is with facebook fans and twitter followers. So please, like us on facebook and follow us on Twitter!

If you’re not on Twitter and don’t know anyone in sports

Upvote us on StumbleUponHollywood studios are trying it, why can’t indies too? If you don’t see a thumbs-up on the top bar next to “Stumble,” you’ll need to sign in at the top right (you can just sign in with Facebook if you don’t have a StumbleUpon account).

What if we never get picked up in the sports world?

Unlike with a limited theatrical run, a short film online does not expire. One week is not the end of this short, and while it would be easy for me to lapse into a depression about the fact that we haven’t been getting traction on sports websites, that would be ignoring two things: one, the response has been overwhelmingly positive on this site, on vimeo, from friends, and from film publications; and two, timing is everything. In this case, our timing was downright awful, in ways that we couldn’t plan for or just didn’t have the manpower to overcome.

Here’s what happened: despite my launch date for the short being strategically focused on the basketball calendar — after the NCAA championship on April 8 and before the NBA playoffs on April 20 — you can’t plan for assholes bombing the Boston marathon, which happened just as I was planning on releasing the short free on the web. Being vulnerable to the news cycle is one challenge of going directly online with a topical short; another challenge is, as a low-budget short with no PR budget, doing many jobs yourself often means delays and not enough time to do things “right.” By the time I finished the short and launched the website, I was exhausted, I didn’t have a PR list ready to go, the Tribeca Film Festival was about to take over the film news cycle, the Boston story was all over the front page of every sports and non-sports publication, and the NBA playoffs were here. A perfect storm.

The story of every independent film is one of overcoming countless obstacles. As filmmakers we problem-solve and make adjustments all the time — on-set, and in this case, online. We can never take no for an answer. If you guys can help me show the sports world there’s a community of film fans who want to see the feature, I’ll feel like Rudy:

Who’s the wild man now?!

Thanks so much and let me know what you think.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 37 COMMENTS

  • hey ryan
    i sent it out on twitter and am trying to get in touch with some beat writers here in Miami (a big market with the heat) hopefully they catch on on twitter and send it out as they have a lot of attention on them right now. (go heat!) also shared on FB and am im gonna call into a radio station tomorrow on Dan Lebotard as he is a film buff and i think this could start a really good dialogue on his show…hopefully.
    I thought the piece was great. good pacing and at first i thought it felt “acted” on the part of the player but i get it now.
    did you mix light on the exterior scenes?
    was that a shoulder rig for the walk up to the car?
    title card placement was amazing.
    0:23 was a brilliant shot
    the only thing i didnt like and this is PURELY subjective was the cross fade. it was your only one (i believe) and although its serves the purpose of showing the passage of time and i get why its there totally, i just dont dig crossfades for th emost part. that is subjective and a style choice though so no big deal. as a scarlet owner i have to say thanks for proving YET AGAIN that RED is amazing. have a good one and get some sleep when you can.

    • Thanks so much for everything, Biagio.

      I don’t like the crossfade either, but I couldn’t quite get through the whole edit without one (and yes it’s the only one). Wouldn’t be there in an ideal world!

      The walk to the car was a shoulder rig — almost the entire piece is handheld — but we stabilized it in post. We couldn’t afford a steadicam as I really only wanted it for one shot, so it didn’t make sene to have one for the full time.

      Let me know how the call-in goes! Big Lebron fan here myself.

      • Just thought I’d drop in & say I love the crossfade.

        • ive found that a car or even wheelchair can be stabilized really well in post especially with the aspect your using but the shoulder rig gives it a movement (half nelson) that i think works, especially with the really well lit/framed static shots youre using as a counter balance. the aspect is tough with framing when an actor moves up and down in the close up but the tilts were on point and you did well to keep everyone in frame so kudos!
          the basketball sequences in White men cant jump is all i keep thinking about i just hope you can really get the game the way it feels to be on the court. the one on one was perfect. it reminded me of the scene in He got game where they argue over a foul and he throws the ball down court and it goes in on the far basket.
          did you mist the rooms quite a bit?
          thats all i got for now! ill let you know how the call in goes.
          keep shooting!

  • The International Screenwriters’ Association is on-board. Ryan and the rest at nofilmschool have been providing a terrific service for the filmmaking community. We are are happy to try and provide some support and will get those tweets out there. Best of luck Ryan from your friends at the I.S.A.

  • Ryan -

    Beautiful execution and reveal. You’re on your way to big things. Keep story alive!

  • Just sent it to a friend here in miami who runs the fins nation blog, and has a big presence on twitter covering the miami heat games, so let’s see, good luck and btw great job on the short!!!! and thank you for nofilmschool!!!!!

  • As a cinematographer, I must say this was splendid! Loved it all. Can’t wait for the feature which I backed as well (tell all those that are bugging you to get off your back – it’ll be ready when it’s ready!) Ryan, give me a holler, I’d like to do my part in getting this Short out there by interviewing you about the cinematography of the film on my cinematography site.

  • Christopher Boone on 04.25.13 @ 7:27PM

    Done, done, done and done. Or tweet, tweet, oh never mind. Keep up the good work, Ryan. Maybe someday down the road, you can discuss the cross-fade from a story and script perspective. Should be enlightening.

    • Hah well you read the script Chris (and gave excellent notes) so you know from a story perspective what’s going on there! But yes, many BTS posts to come breaking it all down. Thanks!

  • Barret Bowman on 04.25.13 @ 10:38PM

    Great job Ryan. I’ll be sharing all I can. I myself was watching and thinking, “Really? He wouldn’t tell this guy all this stuff…. This is a bit forced… And he’s buying this? Awe come on Ryan I thought you– *insert reversal here* Ahhh damn! Awesome!” Seriously well done. Definitely proved yourself. The crossfade? When I saw it, I thought, “Hmm, something wasn’t working in the edit there. Nice and quick though, as to draw the least bit of attention to it possible.” Keep it up and I look forward to watching the feature in the future. Your website alone has built a fantastic community.

  • I tweeted it out to a handful of the sports journalists listed :-) Hope it gets some attention and success!

  • Is his the prequel to the Jean Reno / Luc Besson film?

    Man, he changed a lot between films.

  • I call travelling on the game winning basket!
    Great sports sequence though.
    Not sure the story is convincing, but I am no expert on what goes on in the recruiting world, so unless it has some sort of basis in reality, I’m not sure if it will gain wide appeal in the sports world.
    Just my thoughts.

  • Hey Ryan,

    Maybe you should connect with Benny Safdie and Joshua Safdie, the makers of “The Lenny Cook story”.
    A profound Doc on a prolific young prospect H.S. basket ball player’s dream gone terribly bad(Although self-inflicted). A real tragic story nevertheless. It’s really creating a HUGE BUZZ right now on Twitter,Facebook and not to mention many pro basket ball players in the NBA!
    I really feel, it would make a SUPERB EXPOSURE for your short “Amateur”.
    Your future feature fits perfectly with some of messages in this movie.

    Check out the trailer here:

    Here is the website:

    Let me know if that HELPS you here:

    Peace to you and here’s to “Manchild”!

  • mcblakewich on 04.26.13 @ 3:27PM

    The tweets are sent! Man…that was awesome. Great job on AMATEUR. I’m getting more and more excited about MANCHILD. Keep it up, Koo.

  • where will you be distributing?

  • I seriously have to congratulate you for your short. I haven’t seen such good twist on a short for a really long time. Wish you all the best. And thanks for doing such amazing work on this website.

  • Ryan, I respect all that You do, but why would You limit Yourself so much to shoot only basket ball, review gear, It seems like You’re really able to do more, but You’re fu***ng far from doing that…

    PS. Think I just got it. You’re afraid of making something that will not stand up to Your expectations, or would not stand out in the stream of what is being released. And for this moment I can tell You one thing, it is totally far from easy to make a sports drama, but If You’d make it… congrats!

    Just my opinion/hints.

    As maybe I’m going on the same patch.

    Greetings from Vietnam.

  • Ryan,

    Promote, promote and promote!

    Overall I liked the short. The story and acting was nice. So few things here and there that one may not like doesn’t deter us from liking the overall film.

    I think you should not limit promoting this to only basketball fans and journalists. I hope and believe that your script and final film will go beyond basketball and talk about the human story. When the film delves deeply into the psyche of the various characters, it transcends boundaries. Don’t limit yourself. You can do it.

  • Inspiring for budding filmmakers Ryan.
    I will share it in my circle.
    Will keep an eye on your project mate.

  • Koo, what are you trying to achieve? Why do you want to get it in front of sports people? Are you trying to raise more money, if so then just say so. However given the subject matter I’m not sure the basketball world will fall over itself supporting a film that highlights the preditory aspects of the sport. I don’t see a big market for this film. Sorry.

  • Contact us. We have a two hour live radio show on BlogTalkRadio and would enjoy having you on our show to promote your art.