Monday, June 14, 2010

The Canada Media Fund Transition...the buzz continues!

Great news for digital media producers! The CMF Experimental Stream deadline has been extended from June 21 to July 5, 2010, at the request of its stakeholders -

The extra lead time appears to be very welcome because the recoupment policy for this stream will only be announced this week, and somehow, many producers are still trying to wrap their heads around the new guidelines. Frankly, I don't blame them. I've been chatting with a group of digital media producers over the past few weeks and at in Kelowna last week, and while I thought most have been just apathetic towards investigating CMF funding - as it doesn't fit kindly into their independant business model - I'm slowly beginning to realise that there's more to it...

With $27 mil available in funding for the Experimental Stream alone (they unfortunately never did get around to changing that misnomer), $13 mil on Development and $324mil on the production of "Convergent" projects, it's hard to ignore the opportunities available. So is it just awareness that is lacking or are producers just wary to dip their toes in at the first round, so that the the administrators can iron out the kinks in the new set up before attempting to apply? My guess is that its a case of both contributing to the lethargy. Does there need to be more clarity and awareness? I think yes - on the part of both funders and producers alike. But who's responsibility is that? Hopefully, Banff will be a place where some of the kinks are straightened out and confusion clarified.

A website developer I know was flummoxed when he was asked during an Experimental application interview what his "Distribution Channel" was for his online project and was driven to further confusion, when "www" was not regarded as an acceptable response. Are we just trying to insert square pegs into round holes? Have we moved from the traditional paradigms or are we merely regressing? Will this experiment succeed? I truly hope so. It would be a major shame for the digital media industry if this window of opportunity closes, just because no one was really paying attention.

So if you're not part of the elite admiring the snow capped Rockies and are the humble digital media creator still hacking at his keyboard to complete your application for the Experimental Stream, or are just finding it problemsome understanding the ROI or navigating the application process, please do drop me a comment below with your thoughts.

Let me know how you think we can navigate this transition better. I'm reaching out to get feedback to feed into an industry initiative to help producers come closer to understanding the business of convergence and hopefully access available CMF funding. It may be just one step towards providing an open platform to allow digital media developers to connect with their traditional media counterparts - but its much better than apathy.