VODO is a small but growing company. We began as a group of creative people (filmmakers and musicians mostly) who were inspired by the idea that P2P distribution could power a sustainable future for content creators. Just over two years in and that belief still holds. We also know that we have a lot to learn, bold experiments to make and a great deal to discover.
We try to bring the same positive energy that powers us as people into our dealings with everyone we interact with through VODO: artists, designers, filmmakers and partners. We do our very best to promote films and filmmakers and make their VODO experience positive. Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes, or that disagreements won’t occur from time to time. In this context, we are particularly concerned that our creators and supporters understand the following:
Accounting & Payments
We provide complete transparency on all our transactions. Artists can see their Audience Sponsorship contributions as they come in via their Publisher Dashboard, and they can request a payout via PayPal at any time. We also provide full PayPal logs on request – including a complete list of donors’ emails. (In the future, we will automatically provide regular PayPal logs to all our main releases in addition to the information available on the site.)
Having had problems with cheques, we now pay larger payments only via bank transfer or PayPal. These are processed when we grab our PayPal reports or when a publisher requests it. As far as we are aware we have no outstanding payments with content creators who’ve requested payment. If you haven’t: please do!
Our Split With Content Creators
We operate a one-size-fits all split with Content Creators: everyone gets the same deal. In the past, artists got 25% of any advertising revenue and 75% of any audience sponsorship – after PayPal’s cut. As of 2012, creators receive 70% of audience donations made through VODO. 5% is used to cover payment fees, and another 5% goes to the Free Film Fund (which is designed to help new filmmakers make films specifically for sharing online!)
We do our best to make all filmmakers aware of this split, and we have only had one instance of confusion. We have taken steps to make sure this never happens again, by drafting a clearer agreement document and creating an artists’ guide that explains things in plain language.
From time to time in 2011 and 2012 we’ve had trouble handling the amount of traffic we receive. You can imagine that dealing with a million plus downloads in each two week period (as has recently happened with our new show L5) can be tough: between the load on our BitTorrent tracker and our Web application, sometimes things go awry. This stresses us out massively. We’re working hard on setting up a new server, and rewriting large parts of our web application to deal with it.
Although we now dedicate all of our time to development of VODO, we are all indie creators at heart. Most of us continue to make music, write and, when we have time, make films. It delights us to be working with passionate people like Stanley von Medvey of L5, Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith of Pioneer One, The Yes Men, Zeitgeist, The Tunnel and others. We really do consider their successes to be our own, and we take each and every criticism of our work very seriously. Let me end with notes from Josh Bernhard (Pioneer One) and Mike Bonano (The Yes Men) about their experiences working with us.
”I’ve found VODO very easy to work with, willing to accomodate, interested in getting the best for the artist and trying to make the best arrangement possible. From my own experience with The Lionshare and Pioneer One, I was aware that we were trailblazing a lot and learning as we went along, so any bumps in the road I attributed to that… But those were few and far between, and I plan to continue putting out content through VODO since the process is only more streamlined and efficient. We’ve always been paid when we requested the funds. At one point VODO even made a special point of paying us before the funds would be cleared at their end because we were in a bind. It was appreciated.”
“Releasing a P2P edition of our last film with VODO was a great experience. It was also–if you consider the effort-to-income ratio–the most lucrative distribution deal we had. Every other deal that we had required tons of work and money to promote it. With file sharing, the users do if for you. And for us, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in donations was not the end of the story, because we now have a long list of people we can return to for future crowd-funding. We highly recommend it, it worked very well for us.”
We hope to be able to continue to provide you with a great service through VODO, whether you are a sharer or a creator. Please don’t hesitate to write to us with any questions or thoughts.
Jamie King (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7 March, 2012.
We are excited to announce the second release in an ongoing series of films specially selected from our online catalogue, including a great competition with a beautiful artist’s-book up for grabs in exchange for your comments!
Sneeze Me Away is an enchanting animation for people of all ages, especially fans of Studio Ghibli-style animé, as fun for young children as it is charming and psychedelic for adults. Prepare to open your eyes to a fun filled, exciting adventure, as Thomas accidentally discovers one of the worlds little known mysteries. Thomas enters a fantastic, magical world full of unexpected occurrences and wondrous sights by sneezing with his eyes open, and now must enlist the aid of strange creatures to help him find his way home again.
Directed by Ryan Grobins, Sneeze Me Away is a short animated film aimed at young children, but people of all ages will enjoy the engaging storyline, wonderful sights, thrilling sounds and moving music, scored by Nicole Brady––winner of the Brian May Scholarship in Film Scoring, 2010-2012. This is the first film directed by Ryan Grobins, who has been working in the CG animation and VFX industry for over fifteen years. Nearly two years in the making with only two full-time creators and a handful of dedicated part-time helpers, it has won 9 awards and nominations and been selected for over 25 festival screenings worldwide.
Enjoy Sneeze Me Away as a free download, or support the artist and get streaming tickets to share the film with friends and family via immediate, private streams, in addition to a 13-set mp3 collection of award-winning composer Nicole Brady’s beautiful film score.
COMPETITION: FREE GIVE AWAY – THE ART OF SNEEZE ME AWAY!
Win yourself a copy of The Art of Sneeze Me Away. This book showcases the rich art made during the entire production of the short animated film. Inside you will find 80 full colour pages filled to the brim with concept art, final backgrounds, information about the film, and much more. Printed on higher quality Premium Paper, this book is perfect for lovers of animation, independent film and art.
All you need to do to be eligible to win is visit the Sneeze Me Away page on VODO and tell us your favourite thing about the film. On the April 1 2012 a random draw of all of the user names will be made and the winner will be declared in the comments section by the Director, Ryan Grobins. Good luck!
FILM AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
Hyart Film Festival – Best Animation
Park City Film Music Festival – Jury Choice Gold Medal for Excellence
High Desert Shorts International Film Festival – Best Animation
California International Animation Festival – Director’s Choice Award, Anime Section
Canadian International Film Festival – Award of Excellence
Kids First! Film Festival – Second, Independent Short, Ages 5-8
Australian Effects and Animation Festival – Finalist
8th Annual iP Short Film Contest – Finalist
Rome International Film Festival – Nominated, Best Animation
VODO Spotlight is a new initiative promoting specially selected works from the VODO free-to-share film catalogue, celebrating the spectrum of compelling, weird, wonderful, stark, humorous and innovative talents behind them. Spotlight releases provide the same kind of support opportunities as headline releases, offering viewers the chance to share private streaming tokens as gifts and pick up great production memorabilia while supporting independent film and the free-to-share ethos.
L5 is a slick, dark and compelling new Sci-Fi series that premieres free-to-share today on VODO in partnership with BitTorrent Inc. The crowdfunded production raised its pilot budget through the generosity of donors from sites such as kickstarter and indiegogo, and will use direct support from viewers to realise each new episode.
The show follows the unfolding drama of the crew aboard the spaceship Argo as they awake from hypersleep into a nightmare. Having spent the last twenty years searching for a new home to salvage humanity from a dying earth they return to find something has gone terribly wrong. They have been mysteriously impelled 200 years into the future and find not a trace of any human life. The Argo’s Commander, Dr. Richard Adams, is determined to find some answers and, aided by the ship’s surgeon, Rod Lewis, and onboard Artificial Intelligence, Clarke, decides to explore the one clue to the massive floating O’Neill colony named L5. After an exploratory skiff goes missing inside the colony, Adams and Lewis venture inside themselves to find the answers they seek, but nothing can prepare them for what they are about to find…
L5 is directed by Stanley Von Medvey, written by Tom Ptasinski and realised in full digital splendour at Studio Hemogoblin in Chicago. The team’s goal was to create a compelling, high-production-value science fiction on a small budget. After endless hours in post production were volunteered by a talented team of visual effects artists all over the world, and with the spit and vinegar of home grown construction methods for building props, sets and costumes, as well as the unrelenting support of their families and the local art and business community in the Chicago area, the result was accomplished inside a budget of $15,000.
L5 now needs your help! Check out what the production team can do with so little. They want to multiply that, and do even more. They want to build a unique production environment that will enable them to continue creating more episodes of L5, as well as other original science fiction content. There are lots of great goodies to snap up with our L5 support incentives including private streams you can gift to friends, limited-edition production items and even Producer and Executive Producer credits on future releases and iMDb page if you’re inclined towards the heavyweight investment!
PLUS: ZENITH – SPECIAL GIFT-STREAMING AND LIMITED EDITION SUPPORT OFFERS FOR OUR VISIONARY CYBERPUNK MINI-SERIES
L5 follows hot on the heels of our groundbreaking made-for-torrent Sci-Fi series Pioneer One and the cool stylings of our three-part cyberpunk thriller Zenith, which have together racked up over 5 million downloads to date. In conjunction with the launch of L5 we’re running a special Zenith promotion with a range of incentives on offer, including gift tokens for private-streams of all three episodes you can share with friends when you support the show with $5 or more.
Produced and directed from an improvised script brought exquisitely to lustful life by a cast whose listings read like a Who’s Who of the New York City performing arts scene, These Showers Can Talk has won several awards including Best Director from My Lesbian Radio and Independent Filmmaker to Watch & Best Supporting Actress at the New York International Film Festival in 2011. Official selections include NYIFF, the Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival, and the Anthology Archives New Filmmakers Film Festival.
VODO Spotlight is a new initiative promoting specially selected works from the VODO free-to-share film catalogue, celebrating the spectrum of compelling, weird, wonderful, stark, humorous and innovative talents behind them. Spotlight releases provide the same kind of support opportunities as headline releases, providing viewers the chance to gift private streaming tokens to friends and pick up great production memorabilia while supporting independent film and the free-to-share ethos.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Yours, as ever,
We are pleased to announce the release of our latest film in partnership with BitTorrent Inc.
Honest Man: the Life of R. Budd Dwyer (Director’s Cut) is a film about politics and corruption, suicide and survival. Four years in the making, it explores the scandal that led a hard-working man to take his own life. This independently produced feature-length documentary follows Budd Dwyer, a Pennsylvania politician who infamously committed suicide at a televised press conference.
Free-to-share on VODO now, The film chronicles Dwyer’s meteoric rise to political power and examines the bribery scandal and subsequent trial that pushed him to his breaking point. It also delves into the controversy and consequences of the uncensored airing of Dwyer’s death on television stations worldwide, revealing a story that has remained untold for over 24 years.
The film features exclusive new interviews, including William Smith, the man whose testimony convicted Dwyer, and Dwyer’s widow Joanne––her last interview before her death in 2009. Was Dwyer venal, or a victim? Did he kill himself because he couldn’t live with being guilty, or because he couldn’t live with being innocent? Honest Man allows audiences to judge for themselves.Director/Producer: James Dirschberger Producer/Editor: Matt Levie
“Honest Man builds its case meticulously, bringing to mind Errol Morris’ best work. An overpowering achievement.”
Kurt Dahlke – DVDTalk.com
“Poignant moments abound… an incredibly riveting documentary.”
Clinton Stark – The Stark Insider
“It is a fitting tribute to a man who deserves better than the legacy that has been built around him. Watch it, and change your mind.“
J.Hurtado – TwitchFilm.com
GREAT SUPPORT INCENTIVES
STICKERS, DVDS, LIMITED-EDITION ARTISTS’ PRINTS AND T-SHIRTS
Along with the gift-streams that we give you to share in our great support options, the producers of Honest Man are providing an array of great extras and special items in exchange for your support. As well as stickers and signed DVD copies of the Honest Man Director’s Cut, they have commissioned a series of five brilliant limited-edition film-posters by artists from the San Francisco Bay Area using the highest quality giclée printing and paper stock. They even made some Budd Dwyer T-s! See incentives information for details.
James Dirschberger is originally from Buffalo, NY, a few short hours north of Budd Dwyer’s hometown of Meadville. Dirschberger moved to San Francisco in 2002 to pursue filmmaking. Since then, he has teamed up with numerous Bay Area artists to create successful collaborative animations, music videos, short films and documentaries, eventually making a move to Los Angeles in early 2011. His films have screened around the world and have accumulated over one million views online. He is currently developing an animated series for television. HONEST MAN is his first feature film, developed by his production company, Eighty Four Films.
Matt Levie has been a professional editor for almost twenty years. He has been lucky enough, in his career, to cut a wide variety of films, including feature films like “The Guatemala Incident” and “Sleep Furiously,” and documentaries such as “97 Orchard Street” and “Curandero.” He has taught editing at the Academy of Art University, Stanford University, the Bay Area Video Coalition and the University of California at Berkeley.??Mr. Levie has studied with Ralph Rosenblum (Woody Allen’s first editor) at the Film and Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine, and holds a master’s degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research in New York.
In a GIGAOM article out recently, VODO and its distribution partnership with BitTorrent Inc. is mentioned in a list of key players shaping the growing phenomenon of original content commissions for online platforms, as Hulu and Netflix each prepare to launch their own original series in the coming months. News of these commercial releases indicates growing recognition of online-exclusive distribution, bringing new approaches to funding, development and production. As the article puts it:
a larger movement toward a new Hollywood, where content is produced for online-only properties, money is raised differently and networks aren’t the only game in town anymore. It’s a new golden age of content.
The success of VODO’s P2P-exclusive series Pioneer One is referenced along with Kickstarter to illustrate the importance of crowd-funding as a resource in this emerging sphere, and YouTube and Amazon Studios are cited as examples where online-exclusive commissions form a growing trend as both beneficiaries and relays of online advertising success.
While budgets involved in alternative development and distribution methods might not compare to the heady figures ploughed into conventional film and TV production, the piece highlights how the move towards developing on-line exclusive content demonstrates a power-shift in which web-based distribution is increasingly recognised on its own terms and not as a step toward theatrical or network success. With viewing figures hitting the million and a half mark for our main serialised and feature releases before their wider dispersal through the torrent-sphere, as well as reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers for our short-film compilations, we at VODO are inclined to agree!
In addition to supporting creators and the distribution of new work through our platform, we’ll also from now on be allocating five percent of all VODO income to the Free Film Fund – a new online fundraising forum for the development of free-to-share productions. With a continuing schedule of high-quality releases lined up to feed into this resource, we hope it won’t be long before we can follow our pioneering P2P-exclusive commission success with distribution for the first Free Film Fund offering.
OTHERWORLDS is a new series of Sci-Fi and speculative fiction short-films, lovingly curated by VODO in partnership with BitTorrent Inc. for your enjoyment. Celebrating the power and tradition of the short story to explore the limits of the present, the shape of the future, and the unstable terms of human reality, OTHERWORLDS gathers compelling works in live-action and animated forms, showcasing the talents of new and emerging creators and inviting you to share their provocative, off-kilter and often dark visions.
Following the success of VODO’s first short-film collection Mixtape #1, and the impact of Legacy – the Sci-Fi hit boasting over one million downloads – the highest number for any VODO film outside our main release programme, the time of the short-film is now! The first installment of OTHERWORLDS includes an inspiring array of works, from the rich textures of special-effects luminary Grzegor Jonkatys in The Third Letter and the stark spaces of 3D animator Christian Schlaeffer in The Return Of John Frum, to the dramatic and poignant calm of Nikita Ovsyannikov’s Candy.
This is the first release in series that will be developed throughout the next year thanks to your support, funding creators in the next OTHERWORLDS release. Our fundraising target is $15k and there are some great incentives for your contribution, including supporter and producer credits in addition to stream gifting and a free BtGuard license, giving you a month of secure torrent sharing. Details can be found on the Otherworlds landing page. Enjoy the films!
Our Gaming Partner
Get your copy of indie-hit ‘To the Moon’ today and the developers will donate 50% of the proceedings to the next OTHERWORLDS release.
Pioneer One DVD/Blu-Ray
January 2 Deadline For Special Credits
We’re super-close to hitting our $100k target for our made-for-torrent hit series, Pioneer One, but not there yet! The Season One finale is now live on VODO, but there is still a great supporter incentive with special thanks credits on the forthcoming DVD/Blu-Ray release, which comes with a host of other goodies including stream gifting, music, soundtrack and commentary extras. The deadline for the credit incentive is January 2, so why not start the new year by putting your name to this shiny piece of media history? Details available in the incentives sidebar here.
“It’s been an incredible journey. From progressive P2P experiment to massive global online success, Pioneer One is finally wrapping up.”
“Today is the launch of Pioneer One Episode 6: War of the World. (Download the episode here.). It’s the final episode of an iconic series, created especially for the broader BitTorrent/P2P community.”
“We’re definitely feeling a sense of nostalgia here at BitTorrent HQ. All the credit and our infinite respect go to filmmakers Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith, and to Jamie King at VODO for his tireless efforts. We are extremely proud to have offered promotional support for such a worthy venture. Pioneer One was one of our original Spotlight Artist ventures, before we even formally created the program.”
“When we partnered with VODO and released the first Pioneer One episode last June, we had no idea how popular the made-for-torrent sci-fi series would be. Today, as we help unveil the much anticipated six and final episode to our users, the Pioneer One series has collectively been downloaded over 3.5 million times and raised almost 100,000 in fan donations. Want to express your thanks to the filmmakers? Donate here.”
“’War of the World”’begins as Taylor prepares to go to the public with Yuri’s story, and everyone discovers the consequences of their actions in this wrenching finale. What will happen? You will just have to watch and see! We know we can’t wait to find out.”
“Congratulations to the entire team at Pioneer One and VODO for all of your success, and a huge THANK YOU for believing in the BitTorrent community. Your efforts have opened new doors for independent filmmakers everywhere. A toast to you.”
Of course, we’d like to offer a huge round of congratulations from the VODO team to Josh, Bracey and the team as well, with thanks for all their vision and hard work! Special thanks too go to BitTorrent for their unbending commitment to growing the backbone of the peer-to-peer ecosystem and taking it from strength the strength, enabling and supporting the distribution of innovative new works by talented creators – cheers!
Josh Bernhard, creator of VODO’s first original series, Pioneer One, has an insider perspective on alternative approaches to TV production and distribution as the show’s worldwide success climbs on toward the Season One finale. Equipped with determination, innovation and a wealth of recent experience in sharing work and insight with an online audience, Josh shares his thoughts on Indie TV in the digital world for the Tribeca film blog:
Episode 5 of Pioneer One, Season One – “Sea Change” – is now available for free download on VODO in partnership with BitTorrent, with an array of special extras available for supporters. Credits in the concluding episode of the viewer-funded show supported by .tv are available until Monday, December 5 for supporting contributions of $100 or more. Episode 6 goes live on VODO on December 13 after a special premiere screening on December 5 at The Anthology Film Archives in NYC.
Subterranean indie horror, The Tunnel, released as a free-to-share download by VODO in partnership with BitTorrent Inc., has passed the 1 million downloads mark. Described by Rolling Stone Magazine as “A cunningly crafted exercise in suspense”, The Tunnel was produced by Australian independent innovators Distracted Media. Their massive success with free-to-share distribution has scored them a worldwide fanbase and thousands of dollars in viewer support, followed by a collection of shiny festival awards and a DVD distribution deal for North America this December with Blackrock Films.
Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi cites the influence of an earlier BitTorrent/VODO success in deciding to go free-to-share: Pioneer One, the world’s first torrent-only serialised drama. “This show was a huge inspiration for us when we were pulling together The Tunnel,” says Tedeschi. “What they were achieving on the platform put a lot of wind in our sails… We have loved the whole exercise and intend to hone it and do it again once we nail the right project for the model. You just can’t argue with millions of downloads!”
Episode Five of Pioneer One, the penultimate installment of the first season, is available now on VODO for download and streaming and is set to add to over $80k raised in direct audience support so far. The show won Best Drama Pilot at the 2010 New York Television Festival and its creators, Last Sat Productions, are fielding significant interest from commercial backers for the second season.
The Tunnel and Pioneer One are part of the growing success of free-to-share distribution as a vital link between creators and audience. In partnership with BitTorrent Inc., VODO’s online distribution platform is already responsible for over 12 million film downloads and is attracting increasing attention among movie, documentary and serialised drama creators for worldwide distribution and development of their work. With a growing catalogue of titles from emerging filmmakers, VODO provides an effective revenue model by enabling viewers to support creators after experiencing their work, often in exchange for limited-edition goodies and production memorabilia.
The Tunnel is available now to download and support at http://vodo.net/thetunnel.