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Guest post by Sheri Candler.
Yesterday we ran part one highlighting the problem. Today, Sheri points to how distributors will benefit financially from the new model.
It may be that while you are in audience building mode, you will be spending more than making to develop a truly exceptional experience for your community. If you start this now before your entire business collapses, you will fare better.
-Create an online experience that makes the lives of your community better, easier, richer and be the number 1 site they visit for news, information, resources and community tailored to what interests them.
-Fill the vacuum of the lack of curation. People are confused by where to find things they like and overwhelmed by the choice. In a sea of content, be their favored destination. In this way, you can take on the likes of Netflix, a company that offers a huge range that makes finding content specific to personal interests nearly impossible because they don’t intimately know who their customers are. You will know this.
-Lock in the community by maintaining a dialog that will turn their initial attention into a revenue stream for your brand. A subscription model is what you should aspire to, but you cannot rush to that without first showing what you have to offer and reeling them in. First offer the ability to sample, share and then buy.
-Innovate in the online experiences you build to keep the community engaged and interested in making the circle bigger for you and for them. Incentivize those who are the most active at enlarging the community. Take the money you would have spent on outside marketers and use it to think of interesting incentives for your tribe. [...]
Guest post by Sheri Candler.
In this second post, I want to focus on how to rehabilitate the film distribution entities so that they may continue to exist. I know what you are thinking “What’s she on about? We’re fine. We survived the latest shake out and are all the stronger for having less competition.” I am here to tell you that is fallacy. The old ways of bringing films to market are fading fast and it is time to reinvent your business. I want to acknowledge my gurus Gerd Leonhard, Seth Godin and Clay Shirky (though he is more my go to guy on all things having to do with immersive storytelling and audience collaboration) for being a constant source of inspiration for me in looking toward the future of media.
When Ted announced on his Facebook page that he would take part in a panel discussion at the upcoming Woodstock Film Festival concerning the new distribution paradigms, I had to look at who would be involved in this discussion. What people and companies would be taking part who are practicing radically changed business models for film distribution? It was as I thought; none. I posted a link on his page (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100326/1452138737.shtml) asking all involved in the discussion to read it and then talk about how they see the new paradigms. I don’t know if anyone did, but I did get a response from Dylan Marchetti from Variance Films explaining to me how his company functions to actively engage audiences for films they’ve booked in the theater. It was a lengthy exchange that resulted in my writing this post. I don’t think he read the article before he spoke because the point of that piece was to inform on how businesses need to form ecosystems around their companies, not continue only to sell copies of the content they distribute. Distribution companies should not be focused on selling copies, either for viewing or for owning. They should be selling access, creating networks of devoted fans around their brand and developing customized experiences instead. In other words, selling things that cannot be copied. This means they must first gather and cultivate a community of engaged followers and then develop, acquire, produce, and source material with only these people in mind.
Guest post by Jeffrey Ballagh, lead strategist for Novacut (Note from Ted: I have not used Novacut, but heard what they were aiming for and asked Jeffrey to explain it to all of you.)
The future of distribution and funding for independent film relies on the Internet. The technology to forge a new business model for independent film success is out there, but it needs nerd champions to build a venue where artist-to-audience commerce can thrive. To thrive, that venue must be the condensation point for the independent filmmaking community. For that to be possible, that venue needs a strategy for reaching critical mass and a damn good draw for filmmakers’ attention. This is what we know, and this is Novacut.
The spark? A pro-grade video editor that’s free and designed from the ground up to exploit recent advances in technology and community – to name a few: digital production, HDSLR cameras, online collaboration, and cloud computing. [...]
Sunday September 19th, as part of Independent Film Week, the IFP invited me to a “Cage Match” with Jeff Lipsky on Indie Film’s relationship with youth culture. The discussion was spurred on by a post of mine “Can Truly Free Film Appeal To Youth Culture “, and the robust discussion everyone had in our comments section to that post, and then still further by discussions on Filmmaker Mag Blog and Anthony Kaufman’s column. It was a good discussion before IFP even proposed the CageMatch, but I appreciated the opportunity to give it more thought.
You might have missed it but it’s been summed up pretty well by Robert McLellan on GlobalShift.org (thanks to Shari Candler for tipping me to that), Ingrid Koop on the FilmmakerMag Blog, and Eugene Hernandez at Indiewire (although I don’t agree, or believe I said, that Indie Film is aimed at white women over the age of 45 — although they are the dominant audience — but that we have to prevent Indie Film from being the province of the privileged, old, and white (i.e. me!)). Jeff and I could have blabbed for hours. I have plenty more to say on the issue.
As both a community and an industry, it is critical we look at both the creative, infrastructure, and societal factors for answers of why we have so failed to develop the alternative and youth sectors. Every other cultural form has a robust young adult sector that is defined both by it’s innovation and opposition — yet in film that is the exception and not the rule.
To me the issue comes down to the fact that unless Indie Film appeals to the under 30′s, Indie Film will continue to marginalize itself into the realm of elitist culture like Chamber Orchestras and Ballet. [...]
Guest post by Orly Ravid of TheFilmCollaborative.org
Our friend and beloved social network marketing guru Sheri Candler posed a question to me today. She noted that filmmakers are often confused by this issue of “what is the difference between a sales agent or distributor selling a license to your film or selling your film outright for 15 – 20 years?”. She posited a real estate metaphor. So here I go: Sales agents are not like Re-Max brokers only having the right to sell your house for you, if you approve. They usually take your land and then resell it and its territorial clones all over the world, or as much as they can. Meaning, they first take the rights and take delivery (at least usually that is the way they do it) and then they license those rights territory by territory for a term, a minimum guarantee, and usually a royalty split. Sometimes all rights deals are done and sometimes rights are split.
by guest columnist SHERI CANDLER
I will start by giving credit right off the bat to my futurist heroes Gerd Leonhard and Seth Godin who spend way more time than I do contemplating issues on the future of the media business and how to succeed. What I get out of their talks and posts has helped me to formulate this post and bring my thoughts into order on how I see filmmakers sustaining themselves in the very near future.
There is a ton of talk right now on how independent filmmakers can sustain themselves by making their films and how independent film can be “saved.” So much talk, without many answers. I felt maybe I should take a stab at providing one. This is purely my reaction to all of this talk and I fully expect that I will be challenged for what I propose. It isn’t going to be palatable to the vast majority of filmmakers or others who profit from their work in the industry.
First, let’s address why we need a new business model. [...]