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September 30 at 8:28am

How To Make Money With The New Independent Film Distributors’ Business Model

By Ted Hope

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.

I fear the problem for all of you will be waiting to see if another business model becomes successful before you decide to reinvent your own. This is extremely detrimental because waiting only results in being that much further behind. The first ones to embrace a new model win. It is why Netflix beat out Blockbuster. By the time Blockbuster conceded the model Netflix forged was legitimate, they could never catch up. Entrenched companies usually misjudge the speed with which change happens. Now is the time.

Sheri Candler is an inbound marketing strategist who helps independent filmmakers build identities for themselves and their films. Through the use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, online media publications and radio, she assists filmmakers in building an engaged and robust online community for their work that can be used to monetize effectively.

She can be found online at www.shericandler.com, on Twitter @shericandler and on Facebook at Sheri Candler Marketing and Publicity.

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29 Comments

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  1. David Geertz / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    “I fear the problem for all of you will be waiting to see if another business model becomes successful before you decide to reinvent your own. This is extremely detrimental because waiting only results in being that much further behind. The first ones to embrace a new model win.”

    First of all this statement is completely false…sorry Sheri. It has been proven time and time again over the course of history that the first ones to embrace are the NOT the clear winners and that in most cases the early adoption stage of new business models are the people who seek change but are the ones who lose out in the end.

    Lets use the hot topic of crowdfunding at the moment as an example as it pertains to this industry. Kickstarter is leading the way at the moment and they are poised to become the de-facto standard for this type of perk based funding. They were not the first to do this. There was A Swarm of Angels, the early adopter who died on the vine, which led to filmriot the first platform – also dead, which led to indiegogo, and now kickstarter and the rest of the new sites that are modifying and adjusting.

    The same can be said for netflix. They were not the first company to put DVD's in the mail and they were not the first company to provide monthly streaming. They were however the company that poured millions of dollars into tech, analysis tools (netflix prize) and traditional marketing while Viacom pondered the idea of whether or not to make chase in that market.

    Don't count Viacom out yet. They may surprise all of us.

  2. Nwrann / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    As David was saying the Netflix / Blockbuster example is a poor one to make for a number of reasons. First being that Blockbuster still brings in more revenue than Netflix, they just have higher overhead which results in less profit. Even if Blockbuster invented Netflix's business plan a year before Netflix they would have never been able to implement it because of that overhead. Also, it's important to note that Netflix revenue declined last quarter because of their own business model. Subscribers are switching from the higher priced subscriptions to the low priced subscription with unlimited streaming. Blockbuster going into bankruptcy allows them to be able to restructure (something they couldn't do 10 years ago) in order to adjust to new methods of distribution. Considering the studios are far more friendly with BB than with Netflix, I wouldn't count BB out yet.

    Also, this blog post is titled: “How To Make Money With The New Independent Film Distributors’ Business Model” yet the only place that you mention any sort of revenue stream is when you state: “A subscription model is what you should aspire to” what you are implying is that the services should be offered for free at first and then switch to some form of paywall. I don't think there is anyone, outside of the newspaper industry that thinks people will suddenly be willing to pay for something they were getting for free.

    Wouldn't David Lynch be a great example of what you are describing. Someone who built a large, dedicated fan base. Jumped to the web early on with a subscription based website with exclusive content and connection to the filmmaker? Or would he not count because his fan base was built around his work rather than around him as a personality? What are your thoughts on what he did? His success or failure?

  3. IndiePMD / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    This is no solution. Build a better Netflix? Distributors and studios, as much as they would like to be considered as such, are not seen as brands by the audience. No one is ever going to say “I can't wait to see what IFC brings me next”. If anything, the stars and occasionally the director are the trusted curators (of their own work) that audiences respond to.

  4. Nwrann / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I don't completely agree with this: “I can't wait to see what IFC brings me next”. I think that there are some distributors that have this kind of “brand” and actually, IFC is now one of them. One of the ways that they got that way was through their VOD distribution. When I turn on my VOD I specifically go to the section for IFC and Sundance. Another example would be Magnet's (Magnolia) Six Shooter Film Series, I saw an interesting title on Netflix (TimeCrimes), rented it, liked it and began looking for other titles in the Six Shooter Series, almost all of which I have liked so far.

    Otherwise, I agree with you that this is no solution, and certainly not any kind of “way to make money…”

  5. Lee / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    This is ridiculous. There's no real explanation here at all. Face the FACTS. It takes money to make money, and if you don't have any, you're screwed. There is no “magical new model” of distribution.

    You MUST have a Marketing Budget. No one is going to know about your product if you can't advertise it; and with the slew of idiots out there trying to hurry up and throw something together, then acting like it may be the next big thing, the general audience is even more cautious about what they buy.

    Good story, good actors, good camera work, good SPFX, and a marketing budget. Then you might have a fighting chance.

  6. IndiePMD / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I would wager that 'independent film' is the brand, not so much IFC. And that you choose what to watch based on cast, filmmaker, maybe genre.

    I don't know if you use Netflix, but if so, do you specifically seek out films distributed by IFC there as well?

  7. Jon / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Once again, we see the get rich quick scheme (why not add a few $$$ to either side of the title). I'm surprised Sheri isn't selling a book of how-to advice. In all fairness, what she offers could work. But the problem I have with it is that I'm not a fucking full time blogger/marketing mogul. I'm just a filmmaker interested din doing my art – i.e. making films. If I spend the time to do this crap it drains my creative energy and I become a marketing guy instead of a filmmaker. Them people will come to me to help them market their films. Fuck that noise.

    Here is the one piece of advice, the end all – be all, that every filmmaker needs to know to have outrageous success. This is the word of God. This is all you need to ever know about marketing and making money. Ready? Here it is:

    MAKE A GOOD FUCKING MOVIE!

    End of story. Thank you very much. When you get rich send me 10%. You're welcome.

  8. SCandler / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I do think David Lynch counts as an example, of a filmmaker with a brand not a distributor. I am asking distributor to build their own brands, just as has been said above about IFC. The problem I foresee in this is IFC isn't connected to any specific audience, they can't say “our audience likes this” because they aren't involved with them, on a personal level. Do I think this is a good model for studios who are used to and have access to tons of cash to buy an audience with? No, this is for the small guys who are still heavily dependent on guessing the market because they have no idea who they are sourcing films for.

    How to make money? First you have an audience. Period. This model focuses first on them and then on the products and making money. It is a fundamental shift from what is done now, and I fully expect most of you to reject it because you can't see things that way. It puts relationship marketing foremost in the business, not the product foremost. Those who can and do regularly use online tools to connect and build relationships with people, real people not just their eyeballs, will make up the center of this business. Then will come those who can source the products and make deals with partners who also have their own audiences.

    Good point about having high overhead. That has to come down for all of these companies. Actually a lot of the small distributors are heavily dependent on out of house companies to do their work for them and they are dependent on paying what those companies charge rather than doing this work in house.
    In essence, right now they are middlemen and that is a very precarious position.

    Subscription models will work, but only if your audience is highly engaged in what you do. If you are offering something that can just as easily be obtained cheaper elsewhere, then off they go and you can only compete by dropping prices. Newspaper paywalls prove this. If the only thing a paper is giving you is news available freely somewhere else, why pay the subscription? They won't. So you must know what they are looking for that you can give that is valuable enough to pay for.

    What people pay for:
    Customization
    Personalization
    Access to material not found easily (provide less friction in decision making and buying)
    Connection to others that they would have to search out on their own (Troma is actually a good candidate for this as their brand is attractive to a niche, John Waters is another example)
    Experiences-I am thinking live ones here, like special screenings, but it could be an event online

    The main point of these posts is to get you to think of the minds of your audience. Not as faceless people we are guessing about, but as people you know intimately. No distributor thinks like that, they do not have direct connections on a deep level to the audience. As filmmakers, you should for sure be forging those relationships, but distributors can do that too.

    A starting example could be Ovation Channel. http://www.ovationtv.com/
    A very clear audience for their programming (access to exclusive content), they have an online community they have built around their brand (connection to the brand). They have groups for each type of interest within their tribe and actively shepherd those groups (connection to each other). They get fan interaction in the form of UGC uploaded and featured on their site (interaction). They have a Culture Pop section with products sourced specifically for their audience (personalization). I am assuming they get a cut of the sales of those products, as an affiliate.

    In my opinion, they are still focused too wide, that could be narrowed down. They don't charge yet for this part of their business. They still get their money through advertising and licensing on cable networks, but it is just a starting example of how this could work for an independent distributor with an online channel. Or IFC could do this if they narrowed down their focus to a specific audience, sourced content and products specifically for them and actually communicated directly.

  9. Mark Harris / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Sheri, I would like to see these start to go into practicalities. Like maybe a profile of someone like Hunter or Greg. Again, to see what people like them are actually doing, and to start to see how far this model can actually go.

  10. Ashley Meyers / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I have to disagree. I've seen plenty of “great” movies that didn't make money or even begin to get a wide audience. I'm sure as a fan of independent film we could all name quite a few movies in this category. But if those film makers had a tribe ready and eager to buy, rent and spread the word for those projects they might have been successful.

  11. Ashley Meyers / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    The fact that so many people are fighting Sheri on her ideas really makes me think that she's on to something. Keep up the good work Sheri!

  12. Ted Hope / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I wish it was as easy as that Jon. I see plenty of good movies that are still lacking in reaching an audience. Each one that fails to do that, makes raising funds to do another one harder for all the rest of us. If you make a really ambitious film really well but do not successfully connect with an audience the process of making such work gets more difficult for everyone.

  13. Ted Hope / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Too true Lee, but I find that I can raise production funds, but it is even harder to raise marketing funds. Harder still is to resist shooting once you've raised production funds. Often having raised production funds, it feels like you can still raise marketing funds, but then you have so much on your plate just making a movie that you are already done and in a festival when you realize that you didn't yet check that box of raising marketing funds and deciding on a marketing strategy. Oops.

  14. Ted Hope / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    What do you suggest as a solution IndiePMD?

  15. Ted Hope / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I must confess I put that title on there in hopes of getting some attention for the post. Sheri wrote this as a single post and I thought we'd get more conversation going splitting it in two.

  16. SCandler / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    just because no one says it now, doesn't mean that it has to stay that way. I am definitely encouraging IFC or any distributor to start thinking exactly that way. “What can my company be known for? Why would they come to me for films they like?” and then concentrate only on that. Name a company and tell me exactly what comes to mind for you. For most distribs, nothing comes to mind for me, not even a film they distributed. That is really bad.

    To be dependent on stars and director is absolutely giving too much power away. Find out what stars and what directors (most people have no idea who directs films they watch, I think it is a very egotistical statement from those only in the film industry) and source those films. Don't guess based on genre or what is selling in the mass right now.

    I can tell you from what I saw at a screening last night, this will work. The film we screened as part of our local screening series is a film you have never heard of. It is called Back from the Dread, a documentary about a wildly successful local band (Dread Clampitt) with a RABID fan base of all ages. It was our most successful screening to date and the filmmakers sold more DVDs than they ever have. Why? Because they tied themselves into an already existing niche of fans whose needs were not being met film wise.

    This goes to my new independent filmmakers business model, but it could be copied by a distribution company or an exhibition company. This filmmaker is planning a whole series of films on these types of musicians. He loves the music, thinks the story of the musicians needs to be told and he KNOWS his audience on a personal level. I expect he'll be like Hunter Weeks, make more than double his money and do it without the “help” of a distributor taking his rights.

    For studios (which are really all corporate conglomerates who can survive if the film side mostly loses money, they have alternative revenue streams) or a distributor continues to ignore building their own audience around what they provide and filmmakers continue to do this well, what need is there for them?

  17. Jason Brubaker / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I do agree that modern moviemakers need to build a targeted audience list and grow community around individual movie titles – But building community around your project is easier said than done. The reality is, it will take tremendous efforts to make the metrics work, begging the question: How much must a community grow to support a movie budget of at least one-million dollars?

    One-million dollars is not a lot of money in terms of traditional indie filmmaking budgets. And if we assume all traditional distribution will eventually be replaced by some form of VOD, then as a filmmaker, business success really comes down to three economically focused questions:

    1. Who is your movie’s target audience?
    2. How will you reach my target audience?
    3. And how many VOD downloads does will take to recoup the initial investment?

    If you can’t answer these questions, then you know from day one that your odds of success are dramatically decreased. Without a defined market or an established sales channel, it is difficult to justify financing, which makes it very difficult to pay cast and crew – which, by the way, makes it difficult to produce a movie.

    Assuming you can answer these questions, the problem is still economy of scale. If you can’t reach the masses (or reach enough people willing to pay for what you’re selling), how will you ever recoup your initial movie investment? And if you can’t figure out how you’re going to recoup your budget, two things have to change:

    1. Filmmakers will need to make smaller movies.
    2. Filmmakers will need to pay cast and crew less money.

    - – -
    Jason Brubaker
    http://www.FilmmakingStuff.com

  18. nwrann / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    It seems that I may have misunderstood the target audience for these blog posts. I was under the impression that these blogs were geared toward self-distributing filmmakers. But, based on Sheri's responses to some of the posts it appears that this model is intended to be used by distributors in order to distribute more than one filmmaker's work.

    If that's the case I have to ask a question: what comes first, the chicken or the egg? How does a distributor (not a creator mind you) create a fan base without content? According to this model the “audience building mode” happens before content is available, like Sheri said below “first you have an audience”. That would be akin to an empty brick and mortar store opening with an empty shop and the proprietor asking people to be his friend 'cause he's gonna have great stuff to buy later.

    What I'd really like to see from people who propose new models for doing business is an actual business plan with real numbers and real projections. Until then it's all fantasy and makes it really easy for the proposer to say things like: “I fully expect most of you to reject it because you can't see things that way”

  19. nwrann / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    It's laughable to think think that IFC doesn't know what their audience likes. I'm sure that IFC knows exactly who their audience is and what they want, but IFC does it one better and actually becomes a tastemaker and instead of directly catering to what their audience thinks they want, IFC influences what their audience likes.

    In your “What people pay for” section: I have to ask the same question for each of those items: Who is paying for ___________ of what? fill in the blank with each of your items, Customization, Personalization, Access, Connection, Experience. The only one that actually could create revenue would be Experience. Please further elaborate on those items and explain Who is paying for those?

    Like I said previously, it seems that what you are describing as revenue streams are what are commonly referred to as Fan Clubs (check out the KISS ARMY for one of the most successful fan clubs ever) But enrollment in those fan clubs happens after an artist has established themselves, not before. Nobody joins the fan club of someone that hasn't done anything.

  20. Jason Brubaker / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Nwrann,

    You make some good points. In my own filmmaking, I'm working to prefect a model that works like a mini studio, which includes a marketing, distribution and sales channel.

    But instead of trying to fix the freelance paradigm – where we focus all of our investment dollars into one movie in hopes of a capital gains deal, as a modern moviemaker we work to create a slate of movies, resulting in multiple streams of movie income. This model is not perfected by any means, but the initial sketch looks like this:

    Modern Moviemaking Manifesto

    1. Modern Moviemakers will think of movie making in ways akin to how entrepreneurs think of start up companies. Instead of raising investment dollars for just one title, Modern Moviemakers will create a mini-studio, complete with research and development, planning, production, marketing, distribution and sales under one roof.

    2. Modern Moviemakers will focus on producing a slate of at least five genre specific movies. These movies will be created inexpensively and will be delivered to the audience via ALL popular VOD marketplaces.

    3. Instead of paying freelance day-rates, Modern Moviemakers will put crew on a salary, with benefits. Everybody in the company will own equity in the company. So in this regard, someone who owns 10% in company stock will get 10% of all movie profits. This will supplement crew salary with an ongoing, lifelong stream of income.

    4. Modern Moviemakers will work to grow our community (and customer base) bigger. And over time, our fans will begin to know us, know our company and celebrate our work. Only in this way will we eventually reach mass great enough to increase ongoing revenue through multiple streams of movie income.

    5. Modern Moviemakers focus on muti-title diversification, with the goal that multiple movie titles build enough buzz to create long term, sustainable revenue. In this regard, we can begin to focus on creating entire library instead of just depending on one title to support our career.

    + + +

    My background is entrepreneurial. So in addition to producing movies, I've also worked in other industries. To me the one component that always made movie making more risky than other businesses was the lack of a well defined sales channel. But thanks to a non-discriminatory VOD channels, that obstacle has been removed, creating, of course, other challenges.

    I don't want to get too far off topic here. So I put some thoughts together as well as a podcast on my site: http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/2010/10/modern-moviemaking-manifesto/

  21. Nwrann / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Jason, Where do I sign up?

  22. Jason Brubaker / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Nwrann,

    I made the mistake of listening to my own podcast, and realized I may have a been a bit too enthusiastic. Hopefully my passion doesn't make me sound overly pretentious. (Not my intention).

    But like all of us, I'm looking for a way that us fillmmakers can actually make a living making movies. And in terms of empirical data, I can tell you that at least one of our titles generates a nice stream of passive income without the middle-man, and without much marketing. As a result, many of the acquisition folks who formerally rejected our title have circled back with offers. While the new deals are OK (cash advances for foreign territories, complete with performance bumps), after crunching some numbers, the headache of locking up rights prompted us to respond in way familiar to most gate keepers: “Unfortunately we have to pass at this time.”

    The ability to create our own movies, find an audience and make money without the middle-man has forever changed my life. And as a result, I firmly believe this process can be repeated for all subsequent titles. I mean, sure, I'll entertain selling rights to theatrical and retail DVD both in North America and abroad (while these channels still exist) – but from now on, it is my intention to base my business plans on projected returns from our direct DVD rights as well as our VOD rights – because these are the two sales channels that filmmakers can access and control without asking some middle-man for permission.

    If other offers come from other channels, fine. I'll entertain those deals “if” they come. But I'm not holding my breath.

    Keep in mind however, what I'm proposing is easier said than done. It is easy for me to talk about the success of our first feature. It is much more difficult to admit that our second feature bombed miserably. With that project, we did the complete opposite of everything that made our first title successful. The movie was a character driven drama, without any name talent. And while the production value was great, and the acting was good, we had no definable hook. Nothing about the movie separated it from the sea of other, similar character driven movies. Had it been 1995, we may have had a chance.

    So my team and I learned some valuable lessons. Adding to the stuff I mentioned earlier, and in agreement with everything discussed thus far, it behooves us independents to create movies with a strong marketing hook, peppered with a bit of controversy, aimed at a very specific target audience. But adding to Sheri's ideas, the audience must have mass enough to justify the budget.

    And while I have been jam-packing these ideas into the Modern Moviemaking Manifesto, anybody who has studied Rodger Corman and read his book, “How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime” will quickly realize that there is nothing “modern” about this model. Inline with Sheri Candler and Seth Godin's ideas of tribes, Corman was known for his type of down and dirty movie making, complete with fans (“Tribe”) who knew him and knew his work. Additionally, he created a model where movies were made fast, cheaply, and each movie had a controversial hook – the result of which allowed him to create multiple streams of movie income.

    But the one thing Roger did not have was a non-discriminatory sales channel. And thanks to VOD and companies like Adam Chapnick's distribber, we really have nothing holding us back from creating a similar empire. This is why I'm so full of enthusiasm for modern moviemaking. Nothing is holding us back from raising money, making movies and reaching our audience. And instead of simply blowing investor money on compensation, we just have to concentrate creating movies fast, cheap and repeating the process, while at the same time creating awesome profit sharing deals on the back end.

    Over time, diversification and subsequent dividends from dozens of titles can really add up.

    Jason Brubaker
    http://www.FilmmakingStuff.com

  23. Jon Croft / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I actually have to agree with you Jon. Obviously we need REAL filmmakers in this field- less of the Hollywood “money first” mentality. I think there's a lot of desperate attitudes about money in the indie film world… as well as these get rich quick schemes all leading us to ignore the gorilla in the room… which is that good product always leads to a perception of higher value (because it DOES have a higher value). Of course it takes time for that real value to be seen and understood when everyone is thinking about “the opening weekend” of their films. But the sad thing for me primarily is that this get rich quick idea also ignores all the good work of good honest hard working filmmakers. You see here's the key… an artist doesnt worry about money & doesnt want to… he continues to make GOOD work in the faith that his audience will be found one day… yes, it might happen after he passes on but an artist doesnt really care that much about that anyway. Once a person banishes all fear of failure from their lives- what more realistically happens anyway is (if the filmmaker is an artist- which we might assume) that of course his first good film gets no distribution or attention at all. Of course he continues to work & get better as a filmmaker. His second good film gets some recognition. He uses that small amount of recognition to get more help from talent on his third good film -which gets funded due to the critical recognition from his 2nd film and the presence of better talent- regardless of if it makes any money the filmmaker continues to find friends who believe in this thing called his 'vision'. His fourth film is funded without those investors who needed their money back. His fourth good film is a serious hit & makes a lot of money. His fifth good film invites back the investors who never believed in the fourth film. All of his films are then more appreciated by his strong fanbase… which creates more demand for more product… until his films start to royally SUCK.

    Either way if this filmmaker's films suck or they start to suck because he ISNT true to perfecting his artform because he is in it for the marketing & the money & not the art… he deserves failure in my book. Good riddance. This is why when the money is there he can hire some money cruncher who will tell him how to market his film and maximize its potential unless it betrays the artists vision of course.

    As you can see I side with the artist here as artists are not supposed to relegate this process to some numbers and a pie chart. Once this indie film world becomes dominated by those people- its existence will be cut drastically shorter- because Hollywood can ALWAYS crunch numbers better than indie producers ever can. As we all know, indie film is supposed to be about GOOD FUCKING FILMS. period. Make the film great first… of course most people cant help you to do that though… so no advice is offered on that. LOL

    Thats my two cents.

  24. FilmmakingStuff / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Jon,

    Believe it or not, I consider myself to be an artist too. But I also hate working for the man or punching time cards. Movie making always offered me an outlet to be artistic – but at the same time, it's also an awesome way to make a living. But it's an expensive art. Granted the costs of entry have gone down quite a bit since the days when I saved up an entire summer to buy an Arri BL and several rolls of 16mm film. But it's still expensive.

    So the first challenge is finding money to get in the game. But I venture to say this is less challenging than it ever has been.

    In the past, getting money was a much harder challenge because unlike other businesses, the obstacles to reach your customer (your audience), even after you completed your movie, were totally based on getting past a gate-keepr. In other words, you had to make your movie, then sell your movie to a traditional distributor, who would then sell your movie to your audience. (Does that make sense to anybody?)

    These days, thanks to folks like Adam Chapnick and his company distribibber, you no longer have to ask permission to find your audience. VOD distribution makes it possible for investors to finally view your art as a viable business – because you don't have to get past a gatekeeper. You don't have to wait for someone to discover you or wait to make 4 movies until someone finally realizes you are a genus. You can make a movie, push a few clicks on a mouse, and someone can celebrate your movie in days, not years.

    I know many folks would just not think about this stuff and focus on making movies. So if that's you, I'm OK with that. But if I can offer you anything, it's overwhelming optimism. I don't think there has been a better time in history to make movies.

    Jason Brubaker
    http://www.FilmmakingStuff.com

  25. Jon Croft / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I have to say I agree. In all my negativity about the misplaced focus in the current indie filmmaking environment I have to say the light is at the end of the tunnel. Gear is A LOT cheaper than it was just ten years ago and this makes it much more possible for us to start relaxing and start doing what we always wanted to do- express ourselves as artists. Its the ideal time for the real artists to show themselves and for us to get back to what indie film has always supposed to have been about- good films.

    We want to be able to do it without someone breathing over our shoulders- without our fans and execs from all sides telling us how to make films- without all the constraints Hollywood likes to impose on their artists due to the self-loathing, self-doubt and fear that they won't make their money back or they just haven't done enough market research on the subject or their leading lady is no longer a hot item she used to be 3 months ago… its freaking ridiculous. This enormous stupidity is what gave rise to indie film. Make good films- and do 'the alternative' way of doing things that Hollywood can't seem to achieve… something raw & unrestrained by Hollywood's stupidity.

    In other words, art, not industry. MGM's motto said it best… “Art for Art's Sake”. There is no substitute for the real thing.

  26. Jon Croft / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    Yes, I noticed that too. I do think it might be a good idea to address the issue of how to actually monetize these concepts… possibly in a different article?

  27. Jon Croft / Sep 30 at 8:28am

    I have to agree- the smart people wait for a proven model to show itself- then they follow that model and of course typically it is something else (not the business model) but either efficiency, better more unique style, better content, better advertising or something like that that puts them above the rest in the herd. We still haven't had anyone have real success with any of these models… they might be able to 'control' their product and succeed in some modest profits but before we know it some other method comes around to get people to watch our films…

    One thing that bothers me is a lot of people are so certain there will be major changes but look who is making a ton of profit now- the studios. They arent doing much different here either… theatrical, blu-ray, dvd, cable… etc etc. Where is our great new method to compete with Hollywood? In the process we are turning into youtube vid directors… who have to give our work away for free just so people will actually watch it. Its demoralizing.

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