Fix Google Analytics Spam

Bottom line up front: Prevent spam in your Google Analytics with only 2 filters

Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics service today so it is a target-rich environment for spammers to get eyeballs. They hope that web masters will see their URL and check out where the traffic is coming from. The reality is there is no new traffic, it’s all bots manipulating the system.

Google Analytics spam is only bad for the site owner. Users never see the consequences, but the owner’s stats are full of junk, devaluing the data.

After long neglect I’m busy behind-the-scenes with this and other websites. My painful reality is bad guys hitching a ride on my corner of the web. Take care of your neighbourhood unless you want to it to go bad.

Change iPhone Backup Location

I have a 64GB iPhone 5S but my MacBook Air only has a 128GB SSD which is not enough to regularly hold a backup of my phone. iCloud offers 5GB free online space so I have to pick and chose what gets synchronised via iCloud.

I decided to move my iTunes iPhone backup location to a 2GB external drive called Seagate1. This is a really easy process for Mac and Windows users.

There is no way to change that within iTunes. I am sure there must be tools you can get online to configure it but I used the Terminal to create a symbolic link to make iTunes to use the external drive.

By default iTunes stores iPhone backups in ~/Applications Support/MobileSync/Backup on Macs and \AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup on Windows. If you already have a backup you wish to keep, move the Backup folder to the new backup location on your external drive. Otherwise rename the existing Backup folder to BackupOld.

The symlink links the folder from ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup to a backup directory on my external drive – in my case /Volumes/Seagate1/iOSBackups/Backup.

Mac OS X
Open Terminal either by searching for Terminal in spotlight or use Finder to navigate to the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

Terminal will normally open in your home folder with a $ prompt.

Type the following command create the symlink, change Seagate1 to your external drive name.

ln -s /Volumes/Seagate1/iOSBackups/Backup ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup

That’s it! Connect your iPhone and back it up.


Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt.

Type the following command to create the symlink ,change SEAGATE1 to your external drive letter.

mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" ":\iOSBackups\Backup"

That’s it! Connect your iPhone and back it up.

ZagZ redesigned

Symbol home from hands isolated on white
Symbol home from hands isolated on white

During a hasty server relocation I discovered that the database that stores was slightly corrupted. Not badly enough to affect the performance of the site. But enough that the backups didn’t notice it and reported themselves happily complete.

The actuality was that the posts and comments tables where horribly damaged and it was only while trying to restore the backups that I discovered how hosed those tables were. Now if this site was my main focus I would not be running it the way I was. But it is my little plaything so them’s the way the cookies be crumblin’.

So I’ve recovered all the posts, and most of the comments. There are definitely missing comments, but they will take more time than it’s worth to find them and reintegrate them in to the new site.

Meanwhile I’ve redesigned and am reworking the backend so that it is the starting point for all my online identity.

Let me know if you stumble across something more broken and lost than normal.

Crowd Funding for Independent Film (Series)

Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,
Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,

I am writing a huge series of articles on crowd funding for independent productions. The emphasis is on international projects outside the USA. Taken together they form a comprehensive plan you can follow to launch your own crowd funding campaign.

Crowd funding works even when it doesn’t. Huh? Lots of films have failed to meet their crowd funding target but got made anyway. I’ll cover that.

Even more indie films were not made because they couldn’t get enough fans to back them-andmaybe that was a good thing. If you can’t get enough fans to commit to buying a ticket, download, screener or DVD of your movie, maybe it doesn’t have an audience. If you can’t convince people to give you money for a god-damned postcard or other tsotchke quit.

We’re doing an MBA for Film Producers here.

The last bit of advice – it will take more work than you thought, probably as much as you will put into making your film.

Topics include

  • Does your project needs crowd funding?
  • 10 things to do before you launch a independent film crowd funding campaign
  • 5 great things that from missing your crowd funding target

If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments and I’ll respond.

Good Review for Beijing Punk by The Impaler Speaks

Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford – Poster
Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford – Poster

Truly insightful analysis of the movie matched with deep knowledge of history & currency of punk. This guy gets it.

‘Beijing Punk’ is fast-paced and fun, with a fantastic selection of music from the cream of the Chinese punk scene being heard the majority of the time, and an engaging visual style that maintains a steady focus on the subjects at hand at all times.

The Impaler Speaks is a local music blog supporting indie music, indie film and indie life. Local is wherever you are. In their words

The Impaler Speaks… supporting local music worldwide, from Austin TX to the United Kingdom and everywhere else. The Impaler has been a member of the Mass Movement creative team since it was a cut-n-paste fanzine many years ago. This is a way to add some depth to the coverage I am able to provide in MM, and so much more…. Support indie music. Support indie film. Support indie life.

Thanks to Beijing Punk’s US DVD distributors MVD Visual for supporting Beijing Punk and getting press attention.

The review is at The Impaler Speaks – Beijing Punk Review

Disclosure: I’m a producer on Beijing Punk

If I did pull quotes out of context for marketing purposes (something I’d never do) I’d go with

dissecting the lifestyle under the Chinese government in a hilarious fashion

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word

I’m enjoying the spoken word piece I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate by Suli Breaks. It’s a great track with an amazing video.

Follow him on twitter at

I’m a father and have raised my kids (I hope) to value self reliance and life long learning. I have never been asked for a copy of my high school results. Until one job about 5 years ago, I have never been asked for a copy of my university transcript or testamur. With hindsight I should have run away from that job as soon as they asked for a copy of my degree, as they were more interested in proving they covered their arses than turning the business around.

Don’t self host your website

Gesture 2 by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia
Gesture 2 by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia

Should you use a free website from Tumblr or WordPress or Wix for the early days of  your indie film? You should register on those free services to grab your brand name. But I wouldn’t go live with that for anything other than a teaser or short.

What about getting your own hosting account and running something like WordPress self-hosting? Things have changed, don’t host your own software or blog.

If your film is a short you can select the free hosting from Tumblr, WordPress, Wix or any of those free top level domains. However if you are going to make more than one short film or a bigger project, you should get a top level domain at least in your production company name. So if your making “My Edgy Short” for the ProdCo Philberts Phantastic Philms you should register a domain name PhilbertsPhantasticPhilms (.com or whatever).

For a feature film or series you should register the brand name you are promoting MyEdgyIndieFilm (.com or whatever).

Until now the best advice was to then get a hosting provider for up to $10 per month and self host your website on that. WordPress was probably the easiest software to self host with and most hosting providers will install it for you. However I no longer recommend doing that.

Instead you should should pay or or Wix to remove the ads and point your domain to their hosted solutions. Why? Automatic security updates! When you self-host software someone has to make sure it’s constantly up to date, because bad-guys are always looking for insecure sites to hack or worse to host their phishing scams from. Even if you are a competent sysadmin or website admin you have better things to do with your life than checking for updates all the time. No it’s not hard to do, but every minute you spend not making your movie, promoting your movie or aggregating your audience is time wasted.

So don’t buy plain generic or typical web-hosting to run your website. You wouldn’t set up your own web-server, so why would you run your own software? Pay a big player and point your own domain to their infrastructure. It will handle attacks better as well as scale sudden popularity.

Another solution is search on “Managed WordPress Hosting”. Read about the companies that specialise in that space.

Photo credit Gesture 2 by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia

French Hours

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, as seen from the Allee Leon Bourgeois
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, as seen from the Allee Leon Bourgeois

One of the films I’ve worked on did “French Hours” for one day of the shoot. Chances are unless you’re a film production geek you don’t know about it. Worse still you’ve come here to find out just what French Hours are all about. Hopefully you read this before you vote on the request to work French Hours.

French Hours while most certainly not French, are when a film crew is asked to give up their meal break in return for grabbing something to eat from the craft services table or catering area on the run-in between doing other things. There is no lunch break and lunch is handed around while the crew works continuously.

This is most often requested when the production wants to get a lot of shots in a difficult situation in a very fast time. I have no problems with that. Phone Booth was famously made in 10 days by Joel Schumacher thanks to the crew agreeing to work French Hours.

Traditionally, the 1st AD asks the crew if they are willing to work French Hours and the crew votes on it. The vote must be unanimous for French Hours to be be imposed. Technically union members should vote no then call their union rep and the union will go to war with the production company. You don’t historically get retirement benefits and health coverage in the entertainment business by giving up long-fought-for work entitlements like lunch.

However what happens when you are working on a independent non-union shoot?

The Production Company must pay you more for agreeing to give up your lunch break. And not just  a one-off meal allowance. In Australia, you should earn penalty rates from the 5th hour after call without a lunch break. Five hours since call or the end of an earlier break is longest stretch of time without a meal break. The Delayed Meal Break penalty rate is 1x normal pay.

On a 10 hour day with French Hours you should be paid 10 hours normal time (x1 = 10 hours), 5 hours Delayed Meal Break (+ x1 = 5 hours) plus 2 hours overtime (+ x1.5 = 3 hours) so a 10 hour day means you get paid for 18 hours. In Australia, superannuation is payable only on the normal 10 hours.

Make sure you get paid to give up your lunch break.

Why would a I as a Producer want to incur this added cost? My location or other element may only be available for that day or week. It is a financial calculation and sometimes it’s worth paying 80% more labour to get the shot.

How to find unrated movies on any IMDB list

I was trying to find which movies I hadn’t rated yet on my IMDB list of movies I’ve seen – at least the movies I remember seeing there are lots of Westerns and SF movies whose titles I have no idea about.

Anyway the trick is to add the following characters to the end of the list’s URL


That will leave all movies that you’ve rated out of the list. If you want to see my Seen It list and exclude the movies you’ve rated go to

I think you have to be logged into imdb for it to work.

7 Mistakes Filmmakers Make in Online Promotion – Video Extras

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

All filmmakers want to get their shows seen, right?

Uploading additional, extra and behind the scenes footage of your movie is a good opportunity to promote your project, aggregate an audience and create a moment of connection with fans and followers.

However many filmmakers make these beginner mistakes

Newbie Mistake #1: Upload to proprietary, obscure, restricted or unreliable video hosting services

New audience may checkout your video once. Don’t make them register, signup, click-thru or share your video before they see your clip. Don’t use a service that crashes regularly.

Don’t self -host your video unless you are in the video hosting business. If you are a filmmaker, make films don’t work on becoming a hosting expert. What if you already are a hosting expert breaking into films? Go make more movies.

Do use YouTube, Vimeo, Kaltura, iTunes and/or other reliable, popular service to share your content in each market.

If any of your URL’s get popular and the server dies, you’ll never get all those eyeballs again. Make sure your video player works like all the other players out there.

People like to pause, restart, skip (forward and back), view later, and see how long the video is. Obscure services miss some features and often make it harder for people to share the videos they like.

Newbie Mistake #2: Fail to include “Share” or “Like” tools

YouTube and the popular video hosting services already have these tools built in – never disable them.

If you embed your video somewhere else allow fans to share or otherwise promote it to their group of friends.

Do you want to limit your audience to only those you personally invite? Unless you’re already famous, this is the age of abundance. Stand out from the crowd.

Allow embedding of your extra content on other sites. Let the damn thing go viral.

Newbie Mistake #3: Upload with no description

How many YouTube/Vimeo videos have no description? Too many! If you’re uploading extra material to build an audience take a moment to write something about the clip and more importantly, about your movie.

Put your title and log-line in. Include actors and key crew names.

Describe the footage as a pitch to your audience to watch it. Search engines also index the description.

Make it compelling. You are in the creative business. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, but it needs some work. Why should I watch your clip of bloopers?

Newbie Mistake #4: Try too hard to be funny, sarcastic or clever in the description

This is the opposite of #3, but essentially the same. If I can’t tell why I should watch your video, it’s a #fail. “Ted takes one for the film” is not a meaningful description to anyone but the 8-10 people there at the time. And they already saw it live. Try this

Angie Someday (who plays “Friday”) slaps Ted Hasbeen (“Famous”) in this out-take from our new 8-minute web series “Famous on Friday“. Ted was so shocked, he tripped over a lighting rig. Luckily the rig and Ted avoided serious injury.

Famous on Friday” is a 6-part dramedy web series due in January 2013. Follow Jeff Famous, bipolar publicist, as he struggles to stop Erica Friday, his first love and rock ‘n’ roll client, from retiring to a convent to repent her sinful life.

Wouldn’t you like to see 30 seconds of that?

Newbie Mistake #5: Disable comments

I know, right? This shouldn’t even be in the list. But too often I see “Comments are disabled for this video”.

What are you afraid of? Don’t you want questions, encouragement or accolades? It’s user generated content!

Newbie Mistake #6: Pick a dumb, boring or obscure title

Titling your clip “Ted takes one for the” screams amateur. Yes it’s the default setting on YouTube but look around, most popular clips don’t use the filename + .mov

Find a compelling or descriptive title for your clip. Put the show/movie name in it. People want to find others in the series.

Newbie Mistake #7: Forget a vanity card, production logo or URL in the footage.

You know people will download your video and hopefully share it around.

Do you think it will always be linked to your cleverly planned YouTube account name? If it’s a promo for “Famous on Friday” put the title, prodco and URL in the footage.

Let me know of any other newbie promotion mistakes you see in the comments below.