CASE STUDIES: The Best 14 End-of-Year Film Industry Lists of 2014

Among the many traditions that befall us throughout the month of December, the end-of-year-lists can not be avoided. Whether we read them or write them, lists are everywhere. Film magazines and blogs partake in that tradition by putting out their best/worst list of films for the year. I have nothing against them, personally, but I wanted to go deeper and probe the news and trends in the film industry for my own list which would be of strategic use to filmmakers and producers. However, my trip to Cuba for the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano and the usual holiday fanfare put to sleep all that. Still, my Catholic guilt insists that I share something with you. Since I did read some really good lists that go beyond the fun but banal topic of what film was the best/worst in 2014, I have compiled them here.  The 14 lists below can either help you understand the industry better, give you a glimpse of where the industry is going, or deepen your love and knowledge for the art, history, technology and techniques of cinema. 

Oh yeah, and why 14? 
To honor the outgoing year, of course.
  1. Let's start off with the bad news for the film business with Ted Hope's the really bad things in film biz 2014.
  2. Now let's revisit Ted Hope and see why it's not all doom and gloom with the really good things in film biz 2014
  3. Moving on to the topic on every one's mind: distribution. Here are 5 distribution lessons the Film Collaborative has learned throughout out 2014
  4. As a lawyer, I take it as my sacred duty to counsel my clients on how to avoid legal disputes. But some disputes can't be avoided; hence, we have Hollywood's top 10 legal disputes of 2014.
  5. Filmmakers, your movie poster is usually the first thing someone will ever see of your film. Don't be generic and rely on overused colors and themes... instead be original and compelling like the best movie posters of 2014
  6. I said I wouldn't post the best/worst films of 2014 but I didn't say anything about posting the ten best films of 1924. Check it out: Bordwell goes back 90 years from 2014 to give us the best films of 1924 and through his analysis shows us why we should still appreciate the beauty and art of silent films. 
  7. 15 ways indie filmmaker's roles will change in 2015. 'Nuff said.
  8. Another Ted Hope article sneaks in (yeah, I like his work), the 10 best articles on the film business in 2014.
  9. The 3 best HD video cameras for filmmakers on a budget. 'Nuff said.
  10. If you can afford it, here are the top digital motion picture cameras of 2014 (essentially, an overview of the higher end stuff). 
  11. It's amazing how something so vital to the success of a film is so easily overlooked but if you're a filmmaker, you should be thinking about sound. Even if you don't know sound or find the thought of just listening to sounds overwhelming it's still a good idea to check out what sound designers considered their favorite sounds of 2014.
  12. The opening title sequence of a movie or a tv show sets the mood and tone, check out these top 10 title sequences of 2014. Then take notes.
  13. Keep taking notes on the best summer movie marketing campaigns of 2014: even a blockbuster can have lessons for low budget indie filmmakers. 
  14. Ok, so I did end up putting a list of best/worst films BUT only because this particular list serves a higher purpose. This list gives you, the filmmaker, a way to get inside the heads of decision makers and film buyers by perusing through the best films of 2014, according to indie studio execs and film festival programmers. At least if you run into one of these people in an elevator, you will have something to engage them with before you pitch your project.
HONORABLE MENTION: A collection of "top 10 list of films" by critically-acclaimed filmmakers, actors, editors and directors.

HONORABLE MENTION: The top 10 emerging technologies of 2014. Especially promising are the screenless display, quantified self (predictive analytics), brain-computer interfaces and the wearable electronics since I can foresee how each of these can impact how filmmakers create content and how audiences engage with them.

and finally...

SELF-PROMOTION PLUG: the ultimate list... THE FILM STRATEGY FILMMAKERS TOOLKIT for every stage of production from development to preproduction to production to post to distribution/marketing.


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