After a couple weeks on the road, the latest ATF mini-tour came to a smashing close last night in Brooklyn. The good folks at Playground Detroit– a NYC-based non-profit who are drawing ties between the Big Apple and the Motor City– were gracious hosts and brought in a nice crowd with all kinds of interesting questions afterwards. Once again, the Q+A lasted longer than the film itself– a sure sign that something about the film is resonating with people. After stops down south and now in the Northeast, it’s good to wrap things up with an empire state of mind, and head back to the homeland. Home is where the heart is.
Check out some photos from the road, a visual journal of the last couple weeks of our little Detroit roadshow.
Campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
A room full of incredibly smart MIT’ers watching ATF
From big brains to the big apple. NYC!
Promo posters spotted in Bushwick for our Brooklyn screening
A blurry Brooklyn crowd. Cool venue!
Graffiti in Brooklyn. Call your mom for Mothers Day this weekend!
See you back in Detroit, can’t wait to get back home. We have some cool work to be rolling out in the next few weeks!
Been on the road the last few days screening “After the Factory” in New Orleans and Austin tonight. We’ve been having some good conversations– in NOLA, particularly about looking at the devastation via Katrina and how folks from Detroit/NOLA can learn from each other in there ability to see through the struggle. Powerful stuff. Tonight will be great to have another film added to the bill in “Lemonade: Detroit”, directed by Erik Proulx. Next week we’re in Boston (MIT!) and NYC (see all the dates here). As I move along via trains and planes, I can’t help but think about coming home and getting back to work– in a good way.
DL! has been growing up these days. What started with creative work doing projects of our own (t-shirts, murals, films, etc) has morphed in to a situation where now people are coming to us to design stuff for them. I kind of like to think of DL! these days as a creative agency and social brand. We’ve grown a ton in the last 4 months or so taking on about 300% more work than we did last year. That’s pretty cool. And it’s leading to us being able to take bigger steps in the community which is obviously important– like building that race car track for the kids at the Georgia Street Community Garden.
But all I can think about is more! MORE! How can we continue to grow, to be inventive with the way we blur the lines between a traditional creative agency and a social brand. The next step of course is getting space– an office. And all I can think about is how we can put a refresher on the traditional agency model whereby it’s not just strictly production space where we make films for clients. What if it has some sort of user-generated component? What if it had a cafe attached to it with a performance space like 1515 Broadway? What if it became a hacker space where people could dissect content from pieces we developed to fuel their own projects across a variety of disciplines? What if the “office” became some form of a new-wave civic center pairing traditional consumer behavior (buying/selling) with philanthropy (commoditizing goodness)? At the end of the day, how can we create a valuable retail and experiential model abutted to that of a traditional ad agency? I know some of this stuff is vague, and slightly unclear. But that’s by design.
Stay tuned. How will DL! grow up and stay relevant by refreshing the way we do business and perhaps inventing a new “system” for others? I ask all these questions so that all of you can hold me accountable for moving forward with it down the road. And if you’ve got some thoughts– give me a jingle.
See you in Austin tonight if you can make it for the screening of “After the Factory” and “Lemonade: Detroit.” Tickets and info on the event (tonight, 7pm) here.
Ohhh baby, you wanna talk excitement? We’re hitting the road again with “After the Factory.” First stop? Tomorrow– in the culture capital of the south, no less. New Orleans! So pumped to be playing at the Zeitgeist Theatre, of which we found thanks to Alan at Civic Center– a really great organization doing some pretty unique and innovative stuff in NOLA.
After a stint in NOLA, we’re headed to Austin-town, Texas where we are more than honored to be screening as a double feature alongside the likes of Erik Proulx, director of “Lemonade: Detroit“, the film you’ve certainly heard about in the last year. We are screening at Austin Studios, part of the Austin Film Society, on May 2 at 7pm. Tickets are only $5 so if you are in the area, you should really consider coming.
Then it’s off to see the big dogs at MIT where we will be doing a special screening on May 8 with various faculty members and students at one of the most prestigious research universities in the country. Again, we are so honored to even have the opportunity to screen the film and connect with some of the brightest minds that higher education can offer. After Boston and MIT, you guessed it, we’re off to the Big Apple.
If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere, right? Well, we’re trying. We’re doing two screenings in the city, the first of which being at the offices of ?What if!, a really innovative consulting and creative agency that helps companies develop their brands and come up with cool ideas to roll out products. We are screening at their offices with a convo to follow about innovative distribution models in the film industry right now. Hopefully we’ll get some cool ideas on ways in which we can push the film forward. That following night we are then screening again alongside Erik Proulx and “Lemonade: Detroit.” Follow all the details at afterthefactoryfilm.com.
You’ve heard me talk about the film Lemonade: Detroit. It’s a story of Detroit goodness– “hope porn” as it was called in director Eric Proulx’s TEDx presentation– chock loaded with stories about the people and places that are making this city so exciting. You’ve also heard talks here of Jerry Paffendorf and LOVELAND whereby folks can purchase inches of real Detroit land for $1 a piece and do with it what they please. Well, get ready, the two are teaming up for a new micro-fundraising adventure to help cover the costs of producing an entire Lemonade documentary (as it stands right now, the film is a trailer only).
So, ala LOVELAND’s approach to real estate, for $1 you can buy a single frame of the future Lemonade film, get a producer credit that would even be logged on IMDB, and the rest is history. With folks paying $1 per frame, and with something like 24 frames of video shown per second in the film, they would like to raise about $120,000. This would cover the costs of producing the entire feature film and help make the project a reality.
Back with a vengeance, TEDxDetroit proved to be another example of the line of people, places and events that are supporting the idea of innovation and looking at the inspirational side of Detroit— a city of pioneers with the DIY ethos etched in its lifelines, a city of opportunity, a city of importance, a city that will not just survive but thrive. The efforts of those behind the gathering– Charlie Wollborg, Hubert Sawyers III, Elena Wollbor, Terry Bean and a whole lot of others– need to be commended and supported. With more efforts like this to shine a light on the thought, ingenuity, dedication and innovation coming from Detroit, the quicker the city will move forward.
The day was a mish-mash of presenters discussing their ideas worth spreading. The came from all backgorunds– visionaries, entrepreneurs, writers, poets, technologists, teachers and even 13-year olds. See a full list of the speakers here. Webcasts are available of the afternoon and eventually every talk with be available on YouTube. In the meantime, here are some insightful (occasionally lightly paraphrased) snippets indicative of the discussion going on over the course of the afternoon.
“When you’re almost dead, companies tend to innovate the most” – Jeff DeGraff, Professor at UofM
“The younger I start with entrepreneurship, the more time I have to make it perfect.” Will Smedlein, the 13-year old entrepreneur
“You know, we’re all beautiful in a lot of ways and good enough in the others.” Steve Kahn, director of the WSU Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics
“We’ve got to sensationalize hope.” Erik Proulx, director of the film “Lemonade: Detroit”
Films ‘n films. Kind of like Tapes ‘n Tapes. Detroit’s ripe for the filming these days. A lot of people are telling a story about Detroit right now. It therefore seems logical to throw a few of them out there on this lovely hump day. Check out some of the latest.
Hah. Surprise! Detroit is cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But what’s really perplexing is that the AHA! moments that make me think to myself, shit, what a cool town! sort of happen a lot. At least every few days. Right, this is something you come to expect from someone that consistently writes about good things in Detroit. I remember moving back to Detroit and being almost overloaded with palpable coolness, and I would think to myself eventually this will fade away slightly, that is, some of sex appeal would wear off. But by God, nearly two years later I still feel like I am AHA’ing the shit out of so many days. Today it came via a website called Lemonade Detroit. Well, the website for a film called “Lemonade Detroit”– a film about the “disarming resilience of those who are moving Detroit beyond automobiles and into an era of entrepreneurism.” Ummm. Cool. So I read more, and more and more. I mean, holy crap. Lots of cool stuff. I think that “Lemonade” film is on to something though. The fading of the automobile and the rise of Detroit’s creative and entrepreneurial culture is fascinating. It just feels like there is a consistent energy building. Momentum is gaining. We are gaining traction. Something’s gonna happen people! There are too many things mixing together right now for us to not experience an explosion of sorts. The kind that will make us look back and fist pump.
Breaking News: In the Detroit City Futbol League, Woodbridge clenched the league championship after edging out a 2-1 victory over New Center last night. The squad looked good on the pitch, getting through the rain and slippery field to pull out a victory and taking the crown as league champion for the inaugyral season in the DCFL. Quite an accolade after all. See the final standings here.