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DIY Days NYC: You Missed An Incredible Gathering Of Incredible People

DIY Days NYC: You Missed An Incredible Gathering Of Incredible People

Why does it still feel amazing that a whole group of people come together to share knowledge, organize that gathering, and take the resulting inspiration out into the world — and that they do it for free? That question is worthy of a future post, but for now we are here to celebrate DIY DAYS, the event that we must now ordain as a necessary institution. I was a keynote speaker last year. This year Christine Vachon and I discussed our past and hopes for the future. Earlier I ran a post on Chuck Wendig’s presentation he did this year on “Where Storytelling & Gaming Collide” . Today we are happy to offer you Zeke Zelker’s overview of the event, which at the very least should make sure you plan on joining us next year. Check it out. I promise you will leave wiser and inspired.

It is always exciting going to DIY Days, It’s like main lining a shot of learn-to-know-how adrenaline straight to the heart. There were many things that I took away from last week’s conference, many of which we will be implementing for as we push out the site. is a virtual radio station where bands submit their music to be a part of the playlist, the playlist is created by fan interaction on social media sites and votes.

A couple of highlights from DIY Days that still resonate. Newman’s tell it like it is approach to reclaiming DIY, I just sewed new patches on my britches and am rolling up my sleeves, getting down and dirty with making stuff. Hope and Vachon’s fireside chat on their amazingly prolific careers as the top indie producers, that’s right, each of them have produced 70 films. That’s absolutely amazing. Johnson’s chat about NFC technology that I feel will be another outlet for filmmakers to further expand their storyscape. Weiler’s review of Pandemic 1.0 that we produced at this past year’s Sundance. Chirls introduction of html 5, I’m still wrapping my head around the possibilities of this new programming tool and Clark’s discussion on how he has worked with brands in the past, this opportunity needs to be explored further. There were many others who presented and their insight was worth much more than the price of admission.

The only thing I wish is that more presenters would have been more straight forward on how they do/did things not what they did. I think this would be extremely valuable to those who attend these types of conferences.

When it was my turn with Vlad, who has a really great project, Zenith, it was interesting to see people’s reactions as we discussed our transmedia projects, Vlad’s is wrapping up, mine is just getting started. I take the capitalist money making approach to my filmmaking efforts, where I always encounter push back from the indie film/DIY community. I never understand this. This is show Business people, with a capital B, which is a true balance of art and commerce. Shouldn’t we all take more of a money making approach to our filmmaking? It is truly empowering. Instead of playing the “I hope I can sell my film for big bucks at a festival that I hope I can get into lottery.” Shouldn’t we be more fiscally responsible to our funders? Really. I fund my projects by whatever means possible. Right now I am raising equity, seeking donations, and forging brand partnerships.

I believe that the story telling experience can be augmented for the better with brand interaction. Brands can enable artists to further their storyscape, something that I’m doing with Billboard an Uncommon Contest for Common People! as well as my next three projects. I like giving a big fat hug to responsible corporate brands who can help me further tell my story. We all have those products we love, why not make them a part of, and a device in, the story telling experience? For instance I love my Radius toothbrush, a company with ergonomically correct handles made out of recycled material. Right now I’m brushing my pearly whites with a handle made from recycled U.S. currency. Just living the dream! The company is also from my hometown and these types of things excite me. A great product from my hometown that I’ve partnered with to help tell a story. You can’t get any better than that. How does a toothbrush support a story? Just wait. You’ll see.

Hope now here on IndieWire. Archives at

– Zeke Zelker

Zeke Zelker, filmmaker/entrepreneur, has embarked on his latest transmedia project, Billboard an Uncommon Contest for Common People! a story that transcends various medias as it empowers various artists to be a part of the story telling experience.

PS. If you need a bigger fix, before the DIY DAYS NYC event, way back in 2008, Lance Weiler hosted a DIY DAYS DINNER. I was there and we had the camera running. Check it out here.

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mike newman

i guess the first place to start is with action. instead of having conferences where it’s all TALK, how about having conferences that involve ACTION and require the speakers to collaborate with the attendees in some way, shape, or form.

it would also be good to have speakers that are genuinely interested in helping others, instead of have egomaniacs that pretend to want to help when in fact they only speak at these conferences for the attention and the chance to hear themselves speak about themselves to a large group of people.

Zeke Zelker

Thanks for your candor Mike! People get things out of the different sessions that DIY Days offers. How do you propose conferences such as these be more beneficial? I feel it’s a big learning experience for everyone involved. I’m pretty much an open book and enjoy empowering other filmmakers to help tell their stories. Is there any way I can be of assistance to you?

mike newman

i’m sure this is going to piss off those people in the indie film clique, but i don’t give a f#ck. what’s the point of these conferences? what they aim for and what they truly accomplish are two very different things. they hardly ever amount to anything educational for the people attending. rather they just fill people’s minds with noise and false hope. as you say so yourself, most presenters aren’t straightforward and they don’t want to give away their knowledge b/c knowledge is power and they want to keep as much power as they can.

in the end theses conferences are a waste of time b/c they are nothing more than a platform for the self-indulgent presenters to hear themselves talk about themselves. these conferences are fuel for their egos. how is this productive? what is there to gain from spending a whole day of listening to people brag about their own accomplishments?

if i am wrong please show me proof of something valuable coming from past DIY days for those in attendance. is there any tangible evidence?

in the end these circle jerk sessions don’t do anything for opening up this industry to outsiders or improving its infrastructure.

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