Sitting inside the Made in NY Media Center (MINYMC) by IFP’s airy, 20,000-square-foot collaborative workspace on a quiet cobblestoned street in DUMBO, Michelle Carollo might be talking to a web series producer, a video game creator, or a tech entrepreneur who’s working on a new VR app. That’s because she’s the Community Engagement Manager for the MINYMC, a space for digitally-focused entrepreneurs and content creators to work, collaborate, and network.
Stareable is honored to be one of this year’s Media Center Fellows, and we can attest to the fact that networking is an important part of the entrepreneur’s toolbox. We also know that it can be awkward, a series of forced transactions that are easily made, and forgotten, over cocktails (though we do appreciate the Center’s bar.) We asked Michelle to share some tips for getting your application noticed, building personal relationships, and what she thinks is the technology of the future.
Carrie Mullins: We’re so excited to be part of the Made in NY Media Center Fellowship. Can you talk a little about the program’s origins?
Michelle Carollo: Sure, most great ideas happen over coffee and our conversation went something like this, “How can we support New York Entrepreneurs to bring their Media + Tech projects to the next level?” The result of that conversation was the Made in NY Fellowships, a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and the Independent Filmmaker’s Project (IFP). The IFP was founded in 1979, and is the largest and oldest not-for-profit dedicated to independent film. We are in our second year of the program which aims to foster a diverse media industry, recognizing that different experiences, perspectives, and cultures are critical to advancements in innovation and creativity.
CM: The NY Media Center champions young and up-and-coming artists. You see a lot of applications come through the door. What gets you really excited about the filmmakers that you end up selecting/working with?
MC: The most exciting applications are the ones that feel genuine. Some may call it a trained intuition but more so as a reader you can feel the excitement for a project or company jump right off the page. That kind of focused passion is what gets me behind a project. It ultimately fuels my desire to support the many voices that need to be heard in a crowded marketplace.
CM: As community engagement manager, do you have advice for filmmakers trying to use or create a network in NYC?
MC: My best advice to filmmakers is to build personal relationships first. The idea of networking in itself can be very daunting, if you let it be. Rather, think of connecting with people as people.
think of connecting with people as people
If you are excited about what someone is doing and they are outside of the film industry, reach out and say hello. Often times, the people that you connect with in all areas of life will be your first supporters when you set out to make something. Networking is not just about showing up to events and awkwardly starting a conversation. I recommend taking a holistic approach by thinking about how to connect with someone you value everyday on a personal level.
CM: We’re trying to help new content creators gain exposure, but web series are just one way technology is changing the media landscape. What developments have you seen and do you have any thoughts on where we might be headed?
MC: The industry is changing so rapidly that what seems to be a trend today can be gone tomorrow. This can be very exciting and also intimidating for both seasoned professionals and media entrepreneurs just starting out. The current trends that I have personally witnessed are in the VR space, both from the content creators and distribution perspectives.
The industry is changing so rapidly that what seems to be a trend today can be gone tomorrow. This can be very exciting and also intimidating for both seasoned professionals and media entrepreneurs just starting out.
Technology platforms like Sketch Fab are focused on the democratization of sharing VR/AR content and Neo 360, a current fellow in the space, have a patent-pending technology that provides users with a new way to interact with professionally captured high-speed video on any mobile device that can fully control the speed and the direction at which the video is played back. There is also a demand for quality and thought-provoking VR content from companies like iNK Stories (a former grantee) who developed a game called 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, acclaimed by UNESCO for its empathy driven gameplay, bridging cultures and advancing peaceful conflict resolution.
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