Ina Fried

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Students Tap iPhone to Film, Distribute TV Series

From practically the moment they first got their hands on the iPhone 4, Michael Koerbel and Anna Elizabeth James set out to explore the device’s potential as a filmmaking tool.

The USC film students saw in the iPhone 4 a way to produce low-cost, high-definition movies. And because of its small size, James said, she also knew it could go places that other cameras just couldn’t.

In a span of less than 48 hours, the pair, using only the iPhone, created a video, which they called Apple of My Eye. The short movie was posted to Vimeo and quickly got half a million hits.

From there, the pair, both screenwriting majors, set up their studio, Majek Pictures (named for the first letter in each of their first and last names). They had a script for a TV pilot and figured the iPhone opened the door to make it on their own.

Now they have an ongoing series, “Goldilocks,” that is not only filmed on the iPhone, but also distributed via the App Store. New episodes come in as updates to their app, which runs on the iPhone and iPod touch. The app, which is free, includes some Apple iAd advertising, though Koerbel said that hasn’t been a huge source of revenue.

Although they have been happy with their work on the very small screen, the pair would also like to see “Goldilocks” available on DVD via Netflix.

James and Koerbel were at Macworld Expo on Thursday to give a talk on mobile filmmaking. Ahead of their session, the pair talked to Mobilized in a video interview:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work