writing & research

Nicol Wistreich

Nicol co-founded in 1999 the weekly web-magazine, and later open platform, Netribution, exploring the bridges between moving image, web culture and new technology - with thousands of pages of free resources to help independent filmmakers. Co-author and editor of three editions of the Film Finance Handbook, author Digital Asset Management (Informa) and co-author International Film & TV Rights (MTI), he has written for Adbusters, The Times and Ethical Consumer, and led R&D funded by Innovate UK and Creative Scotland. His web development and creative work is at visuali.st.

In my own words…

Over 20 years my focus has evolved from indie film and the open web, via print publishing, to open source and the monopoly web. Through this trajectory I've tried to balance research with engaged practice — making documentaries and writing at the start of my career — and contributing to open source software and supporting a range of charities' digital needs at present.

I co-founded in 1999 the weekly web-magazine, Netribution, exploring the overlap between moving image, web culture and new technology - with extensive free resources to help independent filmmakers. This led to several books, including an early look at digital asset management for the creative industries for Informa Media, three editions of the world Film Finance Handbook; and the co-development of Shooting People's profitable crowd-driven online community from 2002. The success of this email-list-turned-global-community inspired the relaunch of Netribution in 2006 as a fully open publication, generating 1000s of user contributions of film news, diaries and interviews, but didn't solve the question of how to pay people for their work. With the growth of free and pirate video online this question became more urgent. Following the third edition of the Funding Book in 2008, which covered 1000 funds in 50+ countries, and also promoted the concept of crowdfunding, I explored alternative and emerging funding for moving image a series of public funded research and development projects. This included in 2009 an exploration of pop-up, immersive and alternative cinema backed by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), development of a cinema-on-demand and second-screen playlist tool, supported by Creative Scotland in 2010, and a multi-year, multi-feature project with Scottish Documentary Institute looking at the use of CRM with digital distribution to help filmmakers connect with their audience to become a kind of vertically integrated indie/micro studio.

With the rise of web monopolies over the last decade, my research and practice has increasingly focused on Open Source, Coops and their links, while participating in the most-popular open source CRM/community for non-profits, CiviCRM – as front-end developer/UXer, implementer and researcher.