» Posts Tagged ‘meta’

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Help NoFilmSchool Grow!

08.27.10 @ 4:26PM Tags :

Since re-launching in January of this year, NoFilmSchool has received over 500,000 pageviews from 200,000 visits. With an average time on the site of 5 minutes, that accounts for one million minutes collectively spent on this site in 2010! Compared to the largest web sites out there, this is nothing in terms of traffic. But for a one-man operation — there is no marketing department, no ad sales team, no dedicated designers or developers — it’s been eye-opening and very pleasantly surprising. However, sometimes it feels like I’ve spent one million minutes working on the site myself. My eventual goal is to bring in other writers in order to A) take the content here to the next level, and B) keep the site going when I’m off shooting and can’t post something every day. But that’s still a ways off, so in the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about a page I’ve added. The Support NoFilmSchool! page includes B&H and Amazon search boxes — if you use them to buy anything, NoFilmSchool gets a small percentage of each sale (the percentage comes out of the store’s margin; it won’t cost you a penny more). There are a couple of kinks to work out — why is the B&H search box messed up? — but by all means, please think of this page anytime you’re planning on buying anything from B&H Photo or Amazon.com — it’s a great way of supporting NoFilmSchool at no additional cost to you. Thanks as always for reading!

Support NoFilmSchool! »

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Because of their low prices and dual-functionality, DSLRs are going to be around for a while — regardless of whatever new cameras come out in the next 12 months. To that end, I’d like The DSLR Cinematography Guide to be the #1 resource for anyone interested in making movies with DSLRs. If you’re reading this site you’ve already discovered the guide, but there are millions out there who haven’t. So in an effort to improve the guide, I’ve been working for quite some time now on a new eBook version (PDF or ePUB), that will be updated, expanded, full-color, high-resolution, 100+ pages, and will be perfectly portable and perfectly printable. How much will I charge for this longer, offline version? You might be surprised: More »

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Ryan Koo is now Koo

07.21.10 @ 4:40PM Tags : , , , , ,

UPDATE: I’ve ended the one name experiment and gone back to using, as far as credits go, both first and last name (Ryan Koo) like the rest of humanity. I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the one-name thing, though plenty of people still call me “Koo” and always will. The post below is my original experiment with self-branding. More »

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NoFilmSchool is “a site for independent creatives,” and to that end I’d like to make it about independent creatives other than myself. If you’re a writer, director, producer, artist, designer, programmer, blogger — anything, really, as long as you are supporting yourself without a day job — I’d love to hear your story, and I think the NFS readership would too. More »

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It hasn’t been easy writing a blog about filmmaking without having a project of my own to show since my 2007 fly-by-night production of The West Side. The main reason for this? I tried to get something made in the studio system. 200 pages of screenplay and twenty-something meetings later, I arrived at the conclusion that I should’ve stuck to the DIY route. However, there’s another reason you haven’t seen a new project from me in a while: I haven’t had access to a camera, to actors, or to much of anything, because I’ve been living out of a suitcase for a year. Why did I decide to do this — and why do I recommend others do the same? More »

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You may notice things look a little different around here today (if everything looks the same, you might have to hold Shift and click your “refresh” button). Note there are no major aesthetic changes — I switched the titling and typography (I was always more of a sans-serif kind of guy, whatever that means), and there are now Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon badges on single posts. I’ve also created a NoFilmSchool Facebook Page, which now has a home in the sidebar. Many of these changes have been driven by a look inside the analytics of this site, so let’s look at NoFilmSchool’s recent stats: More »

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Full Disclosure

06.28.10 @ 3:19PM Tags : , ,

Last year the Federal Trade Commission passed legislation [PDF link] requiring bloggers to disclose their connections to products, advertisers, and other sources of income. I’m not exactly raking it in with NoFilmSchool, so I didn’t write the disclosures page for the government’s sake, but rather for anyone who’s interested in methods of web site monetization. For example, on the page I mention that I’m using Pretty Link Pro, which is a great tool for shortening, managing, and tracking links. As I find more and better ways to monetize the site, I’ll update the page accordingly. Disclosures »

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Thanks to my guide on DSLR cinematography I have the opportunity to get my hands on some filmmaking equipment for review purposes. This is also possible because I’m moving into an apartment July 1, which will be the first time in nine months that I’ll have steady access to my 5D (not to mention a physical address to receive things in the mail). In light of this, I started wondering, “what gear would people like to see reviewed?” And then I realized I should just ask you! So please leave a comment with any gear you’re wondering about. This could be a category of tools (e.g., tripods, viewfinders, steadicams) or a specific item (e.g., Zacuto Z-Finder, Genus Matte Box, Shoot35 Follow Focus). Let me know and I’ll do my best to get ahold of it and let you know if it’s worth your hard-earned dollars!

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A couple days ago I posted a poll asking readers what they would prefer: more daily posts culled from around the web, or less posts focused on original content. As an experiment, I asked the same question here on the blog and on the DSLR Guide — but made them separate polls, to see if different visitors wanted different content. As it turns out, the opposite of what I expected was true. More »

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You may have noticed the posting frequency increase here over the past two weeks; I’ve been posting 3-4 times a day instead of once. I didn’t announce beforehand that I was going to do it — I just wanted to experiment with writing more posts to see if traffic grew organically. I haven’t yet done a traffic analysis, but I’m more concerned with what you want as a valued visitor. So please take this quick poll:

I’ll post the results in a few days. Thanks to reader Andrew for writing in about this very issue.

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To date, all of the ads on NoFilmSchool have been Google AdSense ads, which means that Google is filtering the keywords on my site — along with your browsing history, apparently — to serve ads that the big G thinks are most relevant to you (NoFilmSchool is no different than millions of other sites in this regard). In the history of the universe Google has never shared how much of a cut they take for being the middleman between advertiser and publisher; today, that changed. More »

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Thank you to everyone who took the NoFilmSchool survey I posted a week ago — you’ve confirmed that we are indeed a bunch of multi-hyphenates. Only 13% of respondents had one answer to the question, “what do you do?” More »

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Can we please just call them DSLRs?

05.11.10 @ 11:44AM Tags : , , ,

I have noticed a disturbing trend, and I am here to quash it! Ever since Digital Single-Lens Reflex cameras started showing up with a movie mode, people have felt the need to call them by a new name. The DSLR acronym was no longer descriptive enough, so shooters started adding on a “video,” “hybrid,” or “high definition” moniker to their camera to feel superior to the poor souls stuck with last year’s DSLR, which was limited to shooting sad, unmoving photos. Thus the acronyms VDSLR, HDSLR, and, confusingly enough, HDDSLR, have been bandied about far and wide. I’m here to stop this, or at least, give you the chance to vote on it once and for all! More »

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How I lied my way into MTV

05.7.10 @ 5:12PM Tags : , ,

Up until now I’ve never really told the truth about my career as a graphic designer — namely, that it was a complete sham. Sure, I’d dabbled in Photoshop once or twice in college and a few times as a corporate video producer after graduating. But everyone dabbles in Photoshop — I’d certainly never had a job as any kind of designer. In 2005 my main goal was to start a film career in New York — by any means necessary. It’s a long story, but thanks to starting this blog I ended up going from unemployed in NC, living with my parents, to having my own place in Manhattan and working as a graphic designer at MTV. How? MTV was hiring graphic designers, so that’s what I said I did. Now that I don’t work there anymore, I can confess it was a total lie! I created a fake portfolio for the interview, and after I was hired I did Photoshop training on my laptop on the train every day to and from work using Lynda.com. I figured as long as they didn’t give me anything hard in the first two weeks, they’d never know. A year later when I was designing a bunch of high-end web applications as a Senior Designer, no one was the wiser. Suckers!

Just wanted to share how I got myself to New York. Back to your regularly-scheduled content!

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I’d like to make NoFilmSchool into a better daily resource for creatives, so please take this quick survey so I know who you are and what you’re interested in!

For most of these questions, you can choose more than one answer (this site is for multi-hyphenates, after all). The survey is totally anonymous and you don’t have to answer every question. If I’ve left out something that you’re interested in, please let me know in the comments! More »

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Can a blog like NoFilmSchool be self-sustaining? As a blogger you can make money by being a contributor to a huge tech or political blog, wherein you’re one of many staff writers churning out content every day — which I’ve done — but can you turn a profit by writing about what’s important to you, on your own site, in your own way? In my recent manifesto I talked about blog revenue being one (small) slice of the self-sustaining pie, and on this site’s about page I wrote, “a big part of figuring out how to be independently creative — and by this I mean, being able to work on your own creations, for yourself, without having a day job — is figuring out how to derive value from the content you create.” Here, then, are the traffic and revenue stats from NoFilmSchool for the just-concluded month of April: More »

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Here is how many in my parent’s generation spent their careers and made their money:

They got paid by one company, and there was an assumption that the company would take care of them, providing health care, a retirement plan, and eventually, some sort of tacky gift to celebrate their 30 years of service.

But this isn’t the case for my generation; I don’t know anyone my age who’s going to work for one company for 30 years. Times have changed and no (large) corporation is going to take care of anyone, except maybe its executives. Indefensible golden parachutes. Fading pension plans. Growing income inequality. The writing is on the wall: it is up to us as individuals to take care of ourselves and forge independent careers. More »

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Previously I was writing the DSLR Guide offline and then posting a new version once a month. That doesn’t really make much sense anymore, so now I’ll just be updating it on a section-by-section basis whenever I can. I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date, but please do let me know if I’m missing out on new developments.

While we’re on the topic of DSLRs — and when are we not, these days — check out the most recent winning entry in Vimeo and Canon’s ongoing Story Beyond the Still contest, shot by my Middlebury classmate M. Keegan Uhl on a Canon 7D.

Submissions for the next chapter are open until May 3; prizes include a 7D or 5D Mark II — your choice (choose the Mark II!).

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Once again, I’ve updated and expanded The DSLR Cinematography Guide to the tune of 5,000 words — it’s gone from 10k to 15k. While I’m tossing out numbers: according to Google Analytics, the guide has had 70,000 page views, with an average time spent on the guide of 11 minutes. That’s 770,000 total minutes, or 12,800 hours collectively spent reading the guide! I will take this as a confirmation (in addition to all the comments!) that the guide is helpful to a lot of people. Onto what’s new in this version: More »

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I’ll have more from this weekend’s terrific Script to Screen conference in the days to come, but for now, a meta-update.

On the web, my name is often misspelled, and in person, no one knows how to pronounce it (even though it’s phonetic). So at the start of the panel I spoke on, Writing for a New Landscape: New Media & Cross-Platform Opportunities, I ripped my name placard down the middle, eliminating the “Bilsborrow.” I placed the two end pieces together, and in doing so, changed my public-facing name to Ryan Koo (I’m not legally changing it). My logic: “In terms of personal branding, you have to have a name that people can spell.”

Mobilizing audiences from project to project is an increasingly important component of realizing a self-sustainable career, so this move seems like a no-brainer. As a filmmaker, or as any kind of artist, your name is more important than any corporate brand. The music industry is learning this the hard way: “Nobody really cares about Sony records or Universal. You don’t seek out stuff that’s being released on Universal as a fan.” But you do seek out a band or individual’s work. When I saw a recent article that attributed Avatar to “20th Century Fox,” I just shook my head; no one outside of the film business cares that it’s a 20th Century Fox film. They care that it’s a James Cameron film.

Afterward, I opened the guide to read about the next panel, and immediately realized I’d done the right thing: there in the conference guide was my name misspelled as Ryan Kilsborrow-Koo.

[Photo from eisenw]