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By Chris Mason Johnson
I don’t have any statistics on this, but from what I can gather anecdotally, forming a non-profit to make a fictional feature film is a pretty rare thing, but it’s what I’ve done for my new (second) feature, Test, and it’s been a great experience. Mostly great. At first I did have to endure snarky questions from my non-filmmaking friends, along the lines of: “Aren’t you just admitting your film won’t make any money?” Well, no… (more on that later). From my filmmaking friends the response was more of a blank stare, followed by: “I don’t know anyone else who’s done that.”
There are a lot of filmmakers out there who make one feature and then stop. They didn’t break through to that magical “next level,” and there’s no way they’re doing the same thing all over again. But for those of us who are determined to keep making films on a small scale, truly independently — and who actually enjoy it — it makes sense to explore new models in a distribution landscape that’s in the midst of its own creative destruction and reconfiguring. [...]
By Emily Best
I hold this apparently really unpopular view that without an audience, it can’t be art. “Art” is a social label, a negotiation between the artist, the object (or performance) and the viewer.
This is history’s fault. Art was reserved for the rich or those with access to the rich. We didn’t see how it was made, conceived, choreographed, or staged until it appeared in front of us. And mostly, everyone liked it that way. Artists got to create with very little interference. Audiences had very little interaction with the artists or processes that created what they saw in museums, theaters, and on stage, so they were happy to pay their hard earned money to witness that “magic.”
But now we live in the age of the digital download. [...]
By Roger Jackson
Previously: Indie Film Inspiration
Quarter Million Views
I thought I’d share some results — as in numbers — for a feature that is having a nice run on YouTube Movies. The film is called Time Expired, and won a silver award for Comedy Feature at WorldFest Houston. It was submitted to KinoNation last week. And in fact the master ProRes file (71GB) is currently being uploaded by the filmmakers to our cloud storage servers. What immediately caught my attention is that Time Expired has almost a quarter million views on YouTube Movies since it was placed there by director Nick Lawrence 12 months ago. That’s the full length (93 mins) movie, not the trailer — an average of 20,000 per month, and accelerating. Nick has kindly agreed to share the extensive stats that YouTube provide. It’s interesting and quite instructive, I think, as YouTube Movies becomes an increasingly significant — and profitable — option for indie filmmakers. [...]
The link between madness and creativity is undeniably there. If you are, or know anyone in the indie film world, you know this is true without needing to see any further proof: it just goes with the territory, right? And every day I try to get more movies made, seen, and appreciated, I see it clearer and clearer still.
My best advice to get a movie made remains to keep doing the same thing again and again, and expect to get a different result — which I believe is one of the standard definitions of insanity. I take it a bit further with my metaphor though, because you aren’t doing it right unless it really hurts a great deal. I suggest that if you want to get a movie made you have to do something akin to running full speed towards a brick wall, sans helmet or pads, and expect that wall to open miraculously. That’s how you get a movie made: commit to do something that has no logic and expect your passion and commitment to change the outcome. It’s nuts. But…. [...]
By Roger Jackson
Sometimes it serves us to let our dark paranoia run rampant. I have always had a love affair with conspiracy theories, but it is one of longing more than indulgence. If only governments and people in general cared enough about other people to actually strategize to the extent needed to control things to the level most conspiracy theories fantasize. But maybe instead of politics and community being the focus, the conspiracies exist in the pursuit of profit. Sometimes looking at the result of business structures as their intent instead of their coincidental effect sheds further light on a complicated situation.
We all know that there is a substantial flaw to our film infrastructure: artists and their supporters are not rewarded for the work they generate. I speak of this as a problem. If the industry actually tried to make sure that the people who made the work benefited from the work, we’d have more money in the system, and it would probably be smarter money (that knew enough to let the filmmakers have creative control — or at least more of it) at that. But all evidence points to the fact that the film industry wants to prevent creators from financially benefiting from their work. We can change that (and I am going to try), but that’s for another post about why I have chosen to work for a not-for-profit.
Let’s let our dark side work for us for a moment: if the model is not broken, but actually works, what is it trying to do? Why would the film business not want creators to benefit? Is it to give more people the opportunity to become filmmakers and investors since the current system virtually drives out all the experienced filmmakers and investors? Ah, alas, much evidence exists to show that access and opportunity is not of interest to film business leaders (like the disproportional representation of white males — such as myself). So what could it be?
What happens to those that survive in the film business? If filmmakers can’t survive by making feature films, how do they survive? There’s been one business strand that long has been there with a helping hand to the creative class and it seems like even our greats have long had to indulge in their offerings. Is the whole of film culture designed to create cinematic masters who then must be slaves to Madison Avenue and their international equivalents?
Evidently these bank commercials were the last films Fellini ever made, and they aired after he died.
I don’t think commercials kill directors, but I do think [...]