Interview with Cullen Conly of the Sundance Institute

Cullen Conly serves as the Manager of the Feature Film Program at Sundance Institute. In this role, he manages the Screenwriters, Directors and New Frontier Story Labs, supporting emerging filmmakers and artists through creative workshops. Prior to Sundance, Conly worked at Paramount Vantage and the William Morris Agency. He is based in Los Angeles.

What will the latest donation of $1 million from the Annenberg Foundation be used for?

The Annenberg Foundation has awarded a $1,000,000 three-year grant to Sundance Institute to provide general operating support for our year-round creative and tactical programs for independent film and theatre artists. These funds will support our labs, grants, #ArtistServices initiative and public programs, including the Sundance Film Festival. We are, of course, very grateful for their generous support!


What is the importance of grants and donations made to the film industry?

Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization, so grants and donations are critical to allowing us to continue supporting independent artists and audiences that enjoy their work.  Oftentimes these artists don’t have access to resources, or can’t secure funds to produce their work, and they need organizations like us to support their work.  In a larger sense, I think the importance of supporting the arts is critical to ensuring a thoughtful and well rounded society, not to mention contributing some beauty to our world.


What is your favorite part about working in the film industry?

I grew up in a small town in Louisiana, so I learned a lot about the world and about people through film and television. I think film is an incredibly powerful medium – to expose ourselves to other cultures and ideas, to see our own experiences reflected on screen, to challenge ourselves to see things in new and interesting ways. On a more personal level, I’m able to work with artistic and creative people every day, and I’m not behind a desk crunching numbers (no offense to accountants). It’s challenging at times, but it’s equally exciting and thrilling to have a hand in entertaining people across the globe.


What can we expect from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival?

Our Programming team is hard at work finding the best new work for us to share with audiences.  I personally believe every Festival gets better than the last, and I think audiences can once again look forward to discovering thought-provoking stories by emerging and established filmmakers and artists.  I know John Cooper and his team have more than a few new ideas in the works. Oh, and ideally, snow!


Interview with Vendini

Vendini is the leader in cloud-based ticketing solutions. Thousands of organizations utilize Vendini’s solutions for event promotionticket salesbox office management and mobile ticketing and scanning. The company’s suite of applications includes a fully integrated marketing system to promote events via email and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  With over a decade of experience, Vendini is the preferred provider for thousands of organizations including Folk West, Arena Theater in Houston and Irvine Barclay Theatre.

 How do you think online ticketing software has helped music and film festivals world-wide?

Online ticketing has allowed festivals sell more tickets by giving fans an easy way to buy tickets when they decide they want to go.  Lost sales are reduced while waiting for the box office to open or someone to answer the phone.   Costs are reduced as box office orders, printing and fulfilling of tickets is moved to print at home and electronic tickets.

How has film and music festivals impacted Vendini?

Music and film festivals have helped Vendini to expand our product in many different ways to support them, including multi day passes, RFID support, and on site services.

How has Vendini’s ticketing system helped increase ticket sales at film and music festivals?

Vendini not only helps festivals with online sales but also with marketing solutions via multiple channels including email, online, social (Facebook and Twitter), and friend to friend (see Walletini in the mobile app stores).

Has the presence of social media and the ability to share information with your peers made a significant impact on ticket sale growth for concerts?

We have seen our customers percentage of ticket sales through social channels grow over 50% in the past year alone.  As commerce through mobile and social channels becomes mainstream, we expect this growth to continue.

What is your perspective on the future of film and music festivals?

Our customers are seeing growth in their festivals as fans are gravitating more towards events versus single acts and films.  We expect this trend to continue and see a bright future for festivals.

Interview with Ticketfly

Ticketfly is the fastest-growing, independent ticketing and social marketing platform. Ticketfly offers event promoters next-generation ticketing and powerful website and social marketing tools, saving them time and money. Ticketfly was created by the team who first brought event ticketing to the Web. Recently, Fast Company named Ticketfly one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Music and Billboard called Ticketfly one of the Five Hot Digital Music Companies to Watch.

How has social media changed the face of ticket sales for concerts?

Social ticketing has not only made it easier for fans to drive a large percentage of sales by providing social sharing opportunities throughout the purchase process, but for promoters to save time on social marketing by automating their efforts, freeing them up to focus on other aspects of their business. The analytics behind social ticketing means promoters can see exactly which channels drive the most sales and even reward their most active and social fans.
In emerging consumer markets like EDM ticketing, it’s more important than ever to be plugged into the social media behavior of fans and provide opportunities for them to buy tickets wherever they are, including mobile, Facebook, Twitter, and email. 16% of all time spent online in the U.S. is spent on Facebook; when you see a number like that, the importance of Facebook as a marketing and sales channel becomes obvious.

What are some trends you have noticed in the ticketing industry?

Social media has taken a front seat in the ticketing industry, and event promoters are starting to expect a strong set of social tools from their provider. We’ve also found that as the live music industry booms, and more upstart companies are taking on planning festivals and opening venues, promoters are looking for more of a complete ticketing solution. Rather than a company that will just handle the sales, fulfillment and financial aspects of ticketing, promoters need an “all-in” partner that will also help drive marketing, branding, and operations.
The rise of social media has meant that fans are asking for more. As active marketers of our events, fans are savvy, and have come to expect a return on their loyalty and the sales they drive. As a result, fan rewards and VIP programs are becoming prominent as well.
On the artist side, a few very vocal acts like Louis CK and LCD Soundsystem doing DIY artist ticketing have put a spotlight on independent ticketing solutions for artists, and called the exclusivity of major ticketing deals into question.
And finally, as more promoters move away from legacy ticketing solutions, more than anything they want an independent provider like Ticketfly that’s scalable for every size of event, from high demand General Admission club shows to reserved seating venues, amphitheatre events, and non-music festivals.

What does the future of Ticketfly look like?

We are building a long-term, sustainable company, committed to continuing innovation and finding new ways to help our partners sell more tickets and build their brands. We started with a strong base of relationships and expertise in mid-size rock venues, but as we have grown over the past three years we have seen great interest and adoption across a broad set of verticals, including fairs and festivals, EDM, sports, performing arts, and more. We are also in the early stages of looking at new markets beyond the United States where we could make a big difference and shake up ticketing and event marketing for the better. Our goal is to be the leading platform for events of every size and type, and to unseat legacy providers who are relying on outdated technology and business practices to hamper progress in the industry.

What tips do you have for music and film festivals looking to start online ticket sales?

When choosing a ticketing provider for your festival, be optimistic! Plan to have an annual festival that lasts more than a year and plan to sell it out. Select a ticketing partner like Ticketfly that will be able to scale with your success, with an experienced team that not only understands what it takes to market and sell your tickets, but can help you run your operations smoothly on the day of the event. It may seem like a good idea to use a self-service ticketing provider, but with so many other aspects of planning a festival to worry about, you will be better off going with a partner that can take marketing, ticketing and entry management work off your plate and keep you focused on bringing the best possible experience to your fans.


Interview with Todd Rogers of CrowdTorch

 Todd Rogers is a co-founder of CrowdTorch, leading provider of mobile applications for consumer and social events. CrowdTorch recently joined Cvent—the leading provider of cloud-based event management solutions and mobile applications for event organizers around the world

How has cloud based event management solutions changed the face of music and film festivals world-wide?

Organizers of music and film festivals can leverage event management solutions to market the festival via email campaigns, collect attendees’ contact info and fees well in advance, track the festival budget, and make sense of all the data via robust reporting.  Ultimately, organizers can free themselves from burdensome event-related chores and, instead, focus more on tasks that add value like choosing great venues, music or film line-ups, food, sponsors, etc.

What are the advantages of using mobile apps for film/ music festivals?

Mobile apps are a powerful way to connect with your festival audience as they offer a way for attendees to access scheduling information, artist bios or film synopses, interactive maps, news updates, and rich media on their mobile devices.  By allowing your attendees to stay connected with you before, during and after the festival, we see an app as a way to improve that attendee experience and extend the life of the festival.

Can you explain how your new eBook “Mobile Application Marketing Playbook: A Guide to Increasing Mobile Application Adoption” works and why should people download it?

Our eBook outlines ways to spread the word about your app to help you reach your download goals.  “If you build it, they will come” does not hold true as it relates to mobile apps, so we’ve put together a really helpful guide that showcases some effective strategies festivals are employing to gain maximum exposure for their apps.

How has social media impacted online registration for events?

Social media has completely redefined the role of registration & ticketing. Historically, registration has been a point solution at the end of the marketing chain. Once the event has been advertised, fans have been driven to the registration page, and data and fees have been collected, that’s typically the end of the loop. However, integrating social media gives extra life to events as every fan can serve as a marketing engine. This happens not only during registration, but at the event as well. For example, we’ve integrated Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare into our apps to encourage fans to exponentially spread the word on behalf of the festival they’re attending.  Ultimately, this results in a dramatic impact on ticket sales and fan engagement.

What is your number one piece of advice for film or music festivals that makes the process easier?

My number one piece of advice to any festival organizer looking to make the leap into mobile is to really consider your audience and what type of content would be most useful for them at the event.  At CrowdTorch, we focus on making our apps really intuitive and unique, while ensuring the audience can make the most out of their festival experience.


Bio from CrowdTorch-