Archive for July, 2017|Monthly archive page

Coincidences No. 405-409

Clairefontaine logo French stationery

“The world is a raging torrent of coincidence, flooded with rivulets of serendipity, cascading into a waterfall of creative connections.” Hedley Lamarr

18/7/17

I receive a proposal for a documentary from a new UK indie. It is about an event that happened in 2013 in Africa. I wrote back to the indie saying:

  • although one of the two protagonists shares my surname and lives in the same suburb of London we are not related…
  • …but the other protagonist (best friend of the first) I have known since she was a child and I was in partnership with her father and mother when I set up a dot com business in 2000
  • meanwhile, his business partner in the new indie is the father of my son’s oldest friend and they’ve been going to the local school together for years.

19/7/17

I’m working at Little Dot’s offices in Shoreditch and pop out for lunch. I walk over to Rivington Street where I worked at a new digital start-up, Forma, a bit before starting up that dot com business, so in the late 90s. I duck into a yard to sit and read my book, ‘Sick Heart River’ by John Buchan. The adventure starts in a town at the edge of the Canadian wilderness called Clairefontaine.

I get back to the desk where I’m working (I like moving around so usually work at the desk of someone who’s away shooting or something) and on top of the pile of hard drives at the edge of the desk is a packet of index cards I hadn’t noticed earlier. The brand on the packet is Clairefontaine.

Mission BX 415 bande dessinee comic book cover

It’s a numbers game

4/6/17

I check into Jury’s Hotel in Sheffield for Doc Campus where I am working with director Leslie Lee on her feature documentary ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ (w/t). I get allocated Room 415.

I move hotels at the end of the week when Sheffield DocFest starts to the Metropolitan Hotel on the other side of the city. I get allocated Room 415.

26/5/17

Our new book group book gets chosen by Martin Bright who circulates the title. It is ‘Men Without Women’ by Haruki Murakami.

A few days earlier I am walking through Bloomsbury with a production manager/old friend when Hemingway’s book of short stories ‘Men Without Women’ comes up in conversation and I draw the title to her attention. It is not a book I have read or am even familiar with.

25/6/17

Someone I know has a health issue and a documentary director friend of mine kindly refers me on to a family friend who has experience of the problem. The father of the family it turns out is a prominent film/drama director.

That evening I go over to watch a box set with the person with the health issue, one they have singled out from reputation. The director of that particular episode (of 10) is that same prominent film/drama director (the only ep he directed of the series).

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Little Dot hires Adam Gee for YouTube push

From today’s Broadcast

Broadcast magazine online homepage 2017-07-13

Little Dot hires Adam Gee for YouTube push

13 JULY, 2017 | BY ALEX FARBER

Former C4 commissioner to invest £200,000 in originals

Little Dot Studios has hired former C4 multiplatform commissioner Adam Gee to oversee a £200,000 YouTube commissioning push.

The Shoreditch studio is planning to order 10 films of 15-20 minutes for its Real Stories factual channel, which has built up more than 750,000 subscribers and 175 million views since it launched in 2015.

To date, the channel has been populated with content licensed from backer All3Media, as well as distributors including DRG and ITV Global Studios, but it is now keen to order original programming from producers.

Gee has been drafted in as Real Stories commissioning editor to oversee the portfolio of human interest one-offs.

He promised to make quick decisions, unlike the “glacial progress of broadcasters”, with the slate of projects scheduled to be live by November.

Authentic, shareable, intimate and upbeat stories about overcoming adversity are on the agenda, with those exposing child poverty, ‘out-there’ parenting or extreme medical cases proving popular on the channel.

Topics such as sex, terrorism, racism, suicide or surgery are not of interest.

The first project, Brittle Bone Rapper, is a story set on America’s East Coast. It was ordered from Andy Mundy-Castle’s fledgling firm Doc Hearts last week.

Chief executive Andy Taylor said the move into originations was driven by a need to experiment on the Google-owned platform.

“The budget for this will come out of our innovation pot,” he said. “The data tells us that human interest stories are working and we are always looking at ways to respond to the algorithm.”

He added that while the available data could inform the programming, there is no substitute for the “sheer gut instinct” of a commissioner.

Content lessons

Little Dot, which will retain the rights to the shows, does not expect to turn a profit from YouTube advertising, but Taylor is approaching the project with a longer-term strategy.

“We will learn more about the type of content that works, how to leverage our brand and audience – as well as the commercial opportunities beyond YouTube. We could end up licensing them to a VoD platform or securing a six-part series for Channel 4.”

Gee said it is important to think “holistically” about any projects pitched. “What is the life of these stories beyond a 10 to 20-minute midform show?”

Separately, Little Dot has hired former Liberty Global exec Kevin Gibbons as chief financial officer and brought in Maria Fernando as director of partnerships, based in LA, to grow its West Coast offices.

Broadcast magazine 14 july 2017 cover

{text courtesy of Broadcast magazine}

 

Coincidence No. 404 – Black Card

12/7/17

AMEX centurion black card American Express

Only $2,500 annual fee to have one of these babies

Went to a meeting with the boss of System 1 Group on a sun-drenched terrace behind the British Library. He mentioned that he had been involved with the development of the American Express Black Card for Amex customers who spend over $250K a year.

Earlier in the day I had been sent some footage by producer-director Dan Edelstyn of UK indie Optimistic Productions (with whom I made WTF is Cosplay? at Channel 4) of an American artist who was talking about the way super-rich Americans (eg her “hedgies”) buy art flashing their Black Amex Cards as a way of saying “loadsamoney me!” – she contrasted this with the charming thing she’d encountered in Europe called Cash.

The System 1 CEO had just come from a meeting with marketing guru & fellow Clash-lover Mark Earls who happens to be an old work pal of mine and whose birthday it happened to be, meaning he’d cropped up on dear old Facebook that very morning just before the Black Amex footage came in.

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