II- How's my follow up letter + Production Outline

I got some good advice on my query letter. I'm much less sure about this... I've never really written a follow up letter or production outline before so I wouldn't be surprised if it's riddled with mistakes. I have a feeling something's off. Please just cut to the chase and tell me how to improve it. Better I get told here than send off something bad.


This detailed document offers an overview of the project so far, and gives an outline of a production plan for the next few months.

Contents

1.0 An Open Source Documentary
1.1 Creative Open Source
1.2 Localization

2.0 Initial Public Response to the Script
2.1 Changes to the Rough Draft Since September 09

3.0 Progress to Date
3.1 Equipment and Software
3.2 Narration and Soundtrack

4.0 Business Model

5.0 Strengths and Weaknesses
5.1 Strengths
5.2 Weaknesses and Solutions

6.0 Production Plan




1.0 An Open Source Business Model

What is an open source documentary?

The business structure of the documentary will be open source: Local entrepreneurs are free to sell DVD's, arrange home viewings, and generate income using the film any way they wish. In the developed world, we will operate a simple honour system: Sellers send around 10-15 per cent of their profits to us if they so desire. In the developing world, no percentage will be taken.

1.1 Creative Open Source?​

Artistically, the film cannot but true open source, as it leaves the ideas wide open for myriad fringe groups to corrupt and distort the ideas. Unlike Wikipedia, a director cannot revert someone elses edits on a documentary at the touch of a button! However, there is an interesting middle ground....

1.2 Localization​

The ideas in the film are not one-size-fits all. An agricultural solution for Malawi will not work in the Russian Steppes. Atmospheric Water Generators and Solar Panels are ridiculously cheap in Qatar and astronomically expensive in Africa. A diverse world with wildly varying incomes needs localised solutions. Therefore, after the English release, the production team will hold a web-competition in each area for the best local narrative soundtrack. Any submissions could be graded using a website member flag/star system. Local musicians and cinematographers could even contribute soundtracks and footage, making the film a true pioneer. The narration could morph and evolve in response to criticism, current events and evolving technology.

Providing there is a degree of control and centralised editing power to ensure quality, the sky really is the limit.



2.0 Initial Public Response​

A working draft script was released on 'conspiracy' site www.abovetopsecret.com on the 13th of September 2009. Overall, it received a superlatively positive response, high flag + star ratings and enthusiastic support from staff.

2.1 A Few Positive Comments on the Rough Script​

After browsing the entire work I have no objections in an overall sense, nope. This is one of the most visionary works Ive ever seen at this site. The only thing I might add is that all these things, the good and the not-so-good, begin in consciousness/mentality. But adding that to your write-up might make it appear "impractical" for potential investors/supporters.
A part that I very much agree with is doing away with the false assumption that one mans riches = another mans poorness. Thats an important lesson. I will have to review my opinions on overpopulation after reading your thread though.

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I agree with Skyfloating that this is perhaps the most intelligent and informative thread ever put together on ATS or anywhere, my compliments to you.

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Decentralization....that's the key. Right now much of green energy is just massive corporations taking advantage of huge subsidies...pushing rural people off the land and gaining land rights to millions of hectares of land. Not kosher.

Great post, by the way.

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It has been a while since I posted, but seeing this I had to.

Great and inspirational.

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ATSers and their threads are Magnificent! Is this not the most intellectually stimulating forum ever? Thank you HiAliens for a wonderful contribution.

And now for my limited attention span....mind putting all that in one or two consise paragraphs? Just kidding...sigh...I guess you're making me have to read.

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Thank you for this...It brought so much joy to me...

I have looked at this page for a bunch of years now..posted rarely...but this is the BEST thing I have ever seen on here...

Thank you for taking the time to do all of the research and uploading.

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Bravo Beautiful Awesome

Wow, Hi Aliens, what a wonderful post. The word will spread, we will do this.

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An Incredible post, possibly the best I have ever read.

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S+F.
excellent post. uniquely creative. well done

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Great Post!

I couldn't agree more about the hydroponic solution to our food shortages. I'm glad someone was able to explain this in this format this well and precise

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Well done HIAliens
Beautifully presented, informative, on target.....
This is without a doubt the best thread on here!!!!!!
Deserving of its own forum!!

I saw your first post and literally held my breath for the remainder; and, after lurking here for almost a year, joined today to reply.

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This is one of the most incredibly thought out and practical vision that needs to be translated and shared grass roots everywhere. TY for this wonderful contribution and for your vision. There is so much more that can be done by people with or without our "leaders" consent, if we only have unity.

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A master piece of a thread I am very impressed and had to say thank you for it.

I would like to ask how you think we will be able to move on and make this kind of information mian stream but not only that exceptable thinking?

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I think that the point being made here is that through promotion of these technologies, the rest will sorta take care of itself.

And all that takes is the courage of enough people to dive in head first and get the systems going. I envision a large greenhouse using solar and atmospheric water sources to power it.

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WOW !! S and F - that was simply an amazing thread of information you put together!!

I can not wait to see your film and I will Definitely pass it along!!

I am in awe of what you compiled!

Thank you!

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From this initial market test, read by over 100,000 people, I conclude there is a very strong desire for this type of film. Most 'truth documentaries' are overly negative and rarely offer coherent, practical solutions. Furthermore, they do not offer the broad spectrum correlative thinking needed to present a total argument as a coherent, digestible whole.



2.1 Changes to the Rough Draft Since Spetember 09​

A number of changes have been made to the initial script:

- The somewhat negative introduction has been largely done away with.
- Overly pompous and wordy writing has been extensively toned down.
- Many improvements have been made to the second section.

Visit the initial thread here:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread500968/pg1



3.0 Progress To Date​

-So far only the narrative section of the first half of the film film has been shot. The production budget for a 40 minute plus first section, minus living costs comes to less than 1500 Euros.

3.1 Equipment and Software​

-The rough cut has been filmed on a Panasonic DVX 100AGb, a prosumer cam used to great effect in Iraq in Fragments and some recent Steve Buscemi films. Some shots in the rough cut are somewhat amateur, this can easily be fixed with reshoots and simple post-production over the next few months.

-The rough cut was edited on a basic consumer level program, Adobe Elements. I will upgrade to professional software for the final cut.

3.2 Narration and Soundtrack​

-A high quality electronic soundtrack was licensed for 500 Euros from ambient artist Selffish.

-A narrator for the first half was recorded for 500 Euros.

4.0 Business Model​

The business model for the film was one of the things makes us think we are aligned with Wikimedia's ideals. In contrast to many indie filmmakers, who jealously guard their film from being put on online sites, we are happy to have the final product:

- Released on many online video portals.
- Uploaded to torrent sites.
- Copied and burned onto DVDs.
- Shown in private home viewings.


It's our intention that entrepreneurs stimulate their own bank accounts using the film as a source. In our online distribution model, a pirate is not a criminal, but a volunteer viral marketer.

To recoup production costs, an extended cut or downloadable extras package could be sold online for a few dollars. Alternatively, sponsorship could be obtained (I am talking to an eco-tech company) and accept advertising revenue on the main website for the film. Other entrepreneurs would be free to set up their own websites and sell the package themselves. I do not believe these revenue models compromise the vision in any way.

There would be a loose agreement among vendors to keep the price of products to below a certain price. There are specific details to be worked out but I hope this gives an overview of the general idea.

5.0 Strengths and Weaknesses​

As this is my first film, as diretor, I have come up against a number of issues. However, I have time on my side. 90 per cent of budget goes towards living costs, meaning that the film can be improved, editied and recut at my leisure, over time, with no great expense or looming deadlines. The supportive and intelligent community at www.indietalk.com provides enough honest feedback, advice and talent to eventually perfect each section and hopefully bring the final product to a high standard.

5.1 Strengths​

1. High quality soundtrack mixing modern ambient electronica with classical pieces.
(La Gazza Ladra, Pachebelles Cannon, Beethoven.)
2. High quality camera used in award winning films.
3. Highly praised script market-tested on more than one discussion forum.
4. Competent young filmmaker with small, enthusiastic group of collaborators.


5.2 Weakness and Solutions​

1. Amateur Camerawork

As you will see from the demos, some of the shots are poorly taken. I hope to remedy this by improving my own knowledge through study, and recruiting a highly skilled student from the considerable pool of talent in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

2. Lack of Equipment

- The software I used to make the demo is limited. I hope to obtain a faster PC or Mac with a professional editing suite, such as Final Cut or Adobe Elements.

Both these challenges can be overcome with patience and a focus on steady improvement. I am capable of making a high quality film with only a little assistance. The only commodity I really need is time.

6.0 Production Outline, How Wikimedia can Help​

In order to bring the film to completion, I need to upgrade my software and possibly hardware, employ one or two assistants locally, shoot part two, oversee international street interviews, edir classical music sections, include interviews with cutting edge technology pioneeers, obtain the rights to various photos, footage and music, and conduct a few internet based test screenings.I estimate this will take 5-7 months.

Breakdown of steps:

Upgrade Software/Hardware​

1. Obtain copy of either Final Cut or Adobe Elements.
2. Obtain Pro level Apple Mac or upgrade current computer.

(Perhaps Wikimedia has the connections to borrow this equpiment without buying it new, minimising producution costs)

Employ Assistants​

- Chart and streamline workflow between myself and other collaborators. (As they are based all over the world, a major challenge is finding a fast upload connection in Guangzhou. Based in China, assistants can be employed for 15 to 25 dollars per day.

Shoot Part Two and Reshoot some of Part One​

- The Cities of the Pearl River Delta; Macau, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Zhuhai offer a near limitless landscape for the photographer. I have found that I can shoot a scene that illustrates nearly any point or conjures any atmosphere just half an hour from my house.

Oversee International Street Interviews​

- The narrative needs to be broken up with street interviews illustrating contemporary attitudes and beliefs.

Are people in general aware that 500 dollar machines can extract water from air?
Do people think the world is over populated?
Are people aware that nutritious foods can be grown in as little as five days?
What are people's hopes and fears for the future?

I can easily get collaborators in New York, Canada, and possibly Australia, Japan and Indonesia to shoot street interviews, giving the film an international, expansive flavour for zero-cash.

Make Classical Music Sections​

The new generation of youtube directors have shown that you can make an effecive, compelling video packed with life-changing information with only words on the screen and text. I hope to further break up the narrative with 'blasts' of information: Words on screen over pictures backed by classical music tracks.

Interviews with Cutting Edge Technology Pioneers​

Again, no need to waste money flying all over the world. Local filmmakers can be employed to shoot and record interviews with Farming, Energy and Water pioneers. In many cases, quality interviews have already been recorded, so it is just a case of contacting the respective parties and clearing the footage. This is an easy but surprisingly time-consuming task.

Obtain Footage and Copyrights​

This has proved to be the most gruelling and time-consuming parts of the pre-production process. Wikimedia has been used extensively for photos that illustrate key points in the film. I would like to upgrade from photos to footage. I have an assistant in China that I can employ to do the bulk of the
work, but perhaps Wikimedia can assist in speeding up the process of searching, downloading in high quality and then clearing copyright on each shot.

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The fact that the film script has already received a great response, and the first draft of Part One has been made shows that the filmed means completion of the project is not a grandiose, pie-in-the-sky vision but an attainable, realizable goal.
 
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