Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't join Withoutabox

Any festival organiser or film maker will come up against Withoutabox.
Now owned by Amazon, they are causing real harm.

Withoutabox is a monopoly that is causing serious harm to independent film using unfair and anti-competitive business practices to drive up entry fees making it harder than ever for film festivals to survive.

Here is the ugly truth you may not know about Withoutbox. This information is taken directly from their website or information they email to festivals.
They demand nearly 20% of the entry fees that they get from the festivals! This causes festivals to dramatically raise their prices to make up for this incredibly greedy commission. Even if your festival attracts people, you may not have all your operations costs covered, and many festivals have gone bankrupt after using Withoutabox.
They charge a mandatory set-up fee just for a festival to be listed on the site, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2000. Again, this causes festivals to jack up their entry fees to compensate for these costs.
They force festivals to buy a “Marketing Package”, the cheapest of which starts at $750 and goes all the way up to $3,500 per month. Most festivals can barely survive as it is without having to be forced to buy so called “marketing packages.” The majority of these “marketing packages” are basically are just a very spammy email that they send out to an aging database of filmmakers.
For non-profit festivals that do not have entry fees, Withoutabox charges $2000 to be listed on their site. From non-profits!
They force festivals to place a link on the festivals’ website as prominently as the festivals’ own Call For Entries link so that they can poach submissions from organic traffic that originates outside of Withoutabox. Why should festivals be forced to redirect organic traffic to Withoutabox and then pay 20% of those entry fees to them?
From their rules: “A link to the Withoutabox submission form must be placed prominently on partner websites, call for entries materials, and any related email announcements. Placement of wabLINKs on partner websites must be as prominent or more prominent than any in-house submission method options
Withoutabox stifles competition and severely limits the options of filmmakers by requiring complete exclusivity and monopolistic control. If you dare use another third party submission processor other than Withoutabox, they will send you a letter demanding that you immediately cease using any competitor or you will be kicked off their site.
Withoutabox partnerships are exclusive so no other third-party submission sites may be utilized concurrently.
This drastically restricts competition and perpetuates a monopoly where festivals are forced to charge higher and higher entry fees to make up for these severely encumbering rules.
By the time festivals pay all the mandatory fees and the nearly 20% commission, it is very possible that Withoutabox will have made more money than the festivals who work tirelessly to promote and foster independent film.
Withoutabox forces festivals to give mandatory “discounts” to filmmakers that pay Withoutabox membership fees. This causes festivals to raise their entry fees to compensate, which is passed on directly to the filmmakers. They then require filmmakers to pay costly membership fees directly to them in order to have access to these so called “discounts.” The worse part is that if the filmmaker does not pay for the discount then Withoutabox just keeps the so called discount anyway. Some say this is tantamount to fraud.
Withoutabox holds the festivals entry fees they receive for up to 45 days so they can earn interest on the fees before paying festivals their share.
Withoutabox does not allow festivals to offer entry fee coupons or discounts to filmmakers that might undercut the prices offered on Withoutabox.
Buried in their terms of Service, Withoutabox makes outrageous claims on the intellectual property rights of entrants. This forces festival organizers have to deal with the fallout of such hidden consequences of using Withoutabox.
From their Terms of Service: “You grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license right to use, copy, reproduce, transmit, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display any information, data, Work, or any other information associated with your Work (collectively the “Submitted Materials”) you submit to us via the Services in any media or format.
They have a hostile and unresponsive customer service model. In fact, Withoutabox has one of the worst reputations of bad customer service you are ever likely to find. Try calling them. Oh, that’s right. They don’t list a customer service phone number publicly and they can take over a week to reply to a single email. Basically, their approach toward customer service reflects the contempt with which they treat their festivals and filmmakers.

And much more...find out more here

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sheffield Live! TV Recruiting now...

Sheffield Live! TV
Recruiting now...

Want to work in Sheffield's new cross-platform media operation? We're recruiting Enterprise Advisors, a Technical Manager, and a Head of News.

For details and how to apply see:

Our goal is to establish an inclusive and sustainable local media service which will inform, educate and entertain - encompassing television, radio, and our website, that shows what is vibrant and distinctive about Sheffield, that meets the public interest in local news and information, and that offers a platform for local opinion and creative expression.

With a planned launch date for Sheffield Live! TV of autumn 2014 on Freeview, and a news operation starting from July via our new website and through Sheffield Live 93.2FM, we are seeking to recruit talented, passionate staff committed to help make our vision become reality.

Full job descriptions for the above roles as well as details of how to apply at

Closing date: 19 May 2014

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

From online popularity to mainstream TV

One of the popular online series I produce is A-Z of Bushcraft which showed how to enjoy the woods in style.
Filming for ITV
Our presenter Andrew Price had many offers from mainstream TV to take part in their shows. He has now landed the main presenter in ITV's Coast & Country.
Andrew Price on left on ITV
In the most recent series, Andrew Price travels to North Wales and discovers all about the brewing process at the Purple Moose Brewery. Watch here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

How the mainstream media lies..

Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes fact..this is the line that so many of the main newspapers take. Here are just 2 high profile examples in which the newspapers print lies but luckily the subjects had the money to fight their corner (and win)

Russell Brand has accepted "substantial" libel damages from the Sun on Sunday's over the false claim that he cheated on his girlfriend Jemima Khan.

The paper's publisher has apologised and agreed to pay Brand his legal costs and damages, believed to have been at least five figures. Brand has said he would put these towards "what he considers to be diverse, just and decent causes".

The Daily Mail has printed an apology to the author JK Rowling in which it states that it has paid her substantial damages over an article that claimed she had told a misleading "sob story."
The article, published on 27 September 2013, suggested she had falsely accused churchgoers of stigmatising her because she was a single mother. It was headlined "How JK's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her.
Brand and Rowling have the cash to fight but what about all the campaign groups who don't and are labelled anarchists, terrorists etc by papers?
Don't believe all what you read is the mantra.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

A very clever advert

Some of the most interesting videos/music/cultures emerge when 2 styles blend.So this advert makes a clever use of that..

New York City fashion models came prepared to shoot a sexy commercial. Then the director asked them to do the impossible...

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Friday, May 02, 2014

My first film- in 1994

The first film I worked on was You've Got to be choking in 1994. The photo above showed me (in the red wearing a green and white hat which I lost in the Police scuffles) and 300 people occupying the houses to stop the demotion to create a new road.

Our film won the Okomedia award in Germany and was about the M11 link road protest. This was a major anti-road protest in Leytonstone, London in the early to mid-1990s opposing the construction of the "A12 Hackney to M11 link road", also known as the M11 Link Road.
Me in 1994 filming on a very cold roof in January
In 2007, the BBC reported that the cost of the M11 link road doubled due to the intervention of protesters. The road is now one of the most congested in the UK.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Heavy duty Cherry topped Desk for sale

This desk has served Undercurrents for 10 years and now sadly has to go. It has a cherry wood top and is sturdy, unique and hand made.

It was made 10 years ago and apart from a sanding and re-oiling it is good to go.
Size is 6feet (183cm)lo g x 49inch (125cm) x32 inch (82cm) high

Would suit a work bench as heavy duty legs
It is bolted with steel bolts so comes apart easily. £350 Ono
More details on Gumtree here

Collect Swansea centre. Contact me on 07973 298359 or to view

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Pitch your film in 10minutes Submit by: 28th May

10x10, the doc-in progress workshop for indie filmmakers, is back for 2014.

Screen up to 10 minutes of your non-fiction work-in-progress and receive 10 minutes of directed feedback from the discerning Doc/Fest audience. It might be a fundraising trailer, a key scene or excerpts from a rough cut; you might want feedback on character, story or approach.

Crucially, 10x10 is:
 - not a pitching forum, or a financing workshop 
- ALL about the filmmaking

Submit by: Wednesday 28th May 5pm
For full details on how to enter, please see here

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.

Russell Brand aims to bring down Government on June 21st

Comedian and activist Russell Brand has announced he will speak out against spending cuts and austerity at a huge march being planned against the Coalition Government on 21 June.

Brand, famous for his “don’t vote” spat with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman, has now thrown his weight behind the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Britain’s fastest growing movement against cuts - saying he will speak at its first national demonstration in London.
And he has laid down a marker to Ministers and MPs, warning:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity.”
He will join tens of thousands of demonstrators who plan to start their march from outside the BBC headquarters in London in protest at the broadcaster’s lack of coverage of anti-austerity actions, nationally and regionally.

The protest then heads for Parliament Square, where Brand will join other speakers calling for millions to join people’s assemblies across Britain, and attacking what he condemns as the “toxic swindle” of austerity.

He will demand an alternative to the Coalition Government saying the people “can organise a fairer more just society than they can”. 

In a hard hitting statement announcing his plans to speak at the demonstration, he told his seven million Twitter followers, and Assembly activists:
“The People's Assembly will bring down any government that doesn't end austerity. Austerity means keeping all the money among people who have loads of it. This is the biggest problem we face today, all other problems radiate from this toxic swindle.
“We can organise a fairer, more just society than they can, these demonstrations are the start, it will be a right laugh.”

In a new move to keep the no cuts movement high on the agenda, the People’s Assembly is also holding a “Stand Up Against Austerity” comedy benefit night at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 7.
Tickets are already on sale for the gig featuring the country’s best and most influential comics including Jo Brand, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Stewart Lee, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Jen Brister, Jason Manford, Marcus Brigstocke and Robin Ince.  
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions.