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November 27 at 8:15am

10 Simple Fixes To Improve Film Biz

By Ted Hope

"10 Simple Fixes To Improve Film Biz" Do Your Best!

“10 Simple Fixes To Improve Film Biz”
Do Your Best!

It’s time to start your holiday gift giving.  I assume you are giving all of your loved ones memberships to film support organizations or community theaters, right?  But there are some things that money can’t buy, and we should all make sure our giveaway goodie bag is filled with them.

This list are some of my gifts I have gathered specifically for you. I want to thank you for being part of this, for reading and contributing to this community.  You appreciate. You support.  You read.  You share. You do.  You give me hope and courage and faith.  

How can I give back?  I ask myself this all the time.  We all should. Can I do more? What can I provide?  How best to show my thanks?  

Consider each of these #SimpleFixes a small token of my appreciation for you. Each will make our lives better. Each of these can be built and we will all be closer to a world we want, one that supports the culture we love, the culture we want to contribute to and be part of.

I am donating my ideas to the world. I want nothing back — although I would like them to happen.  Call it a Potlatch. I am giving away these babies, these cherished goods,  but this should be a group effort.  Imagine if we all generated a “simple fix” to enhance the things we care about?  Even each of us giving one #SimpleFix a year would move us forward far faster. We may even be able to alter our course so we and IndieFilm don’t fall off the cliff into oblivion!

It’s time we used our cognitive surplus and made some things happen, don’t you think?  

Most of these Simple Fixes have not yet been done.  You may have noticed that I have done some of these though, but need your help with them still.  If you join in, we are going to start to gain momentum.

I recognize it’s not enough just to list them as I now have. We must build them, and soon. Maybe a whole bunch of us need to gather, together with our friends in tech, and start to solve it.

If we ran together, I think we’d have enough speed to really fly. Check out the list below, and let me know what more you have to add. I have written further about each of them if you click through the links.

  1. Listing What You Love (In Film).  I believe in this for everything, but building such a list will give you something to fall back on in times of chaos or confusion.  It will lift your work from mediocre to good and from good to great.  You can start this one alone at home in your room.  You should not be able to leave film school until you have done this exercise. You should not be permitted to make a film unless you know what you love.  If I had my way, you could not be in the film industry without having had described what makes up your pleasure.  I have expanded my list from the original 32 to include five more.  Where’s yours at?
  2. List Of Where You Can Get Funding For Your Film.  This one I have built.  Check it out here. It is no doubt missing a whole bunch, so please suggest what to add to it.
  3. List Of People You Recommend We Hire. Where is this?  It should be a simple thing to build.  Can someone tell me where I can recommend some people?  It needs to be more specific than LinkedIn.  It should require a bit of work, a sincere and detailed recommendation.
  4. Generate Music Playlists For Your Films.   This is just Best Practices. But it isn’t done. It should become habit.
  5. List Of Recommended Keywords For All Films To Choose Between.   Imagine if we had an agreed upon list of 100?  It would make search and discovery so much easier.
  6. Lock Your Hashtag Early.   Again, this is Best Practices.
  7. List Where Your Film Elements Are On Festival Applications.  Think of it. If all festival applications just listed where you stored your elements, the question of preservation would be one step closer to being solved.  Great films have been lost forever already, in terms of having the elements to create a true archive version.
  8. Train Filmmakers To Budget The Full Lifespan Of A Film.  This is the concept behind the initial A2E OnRamp (the Direct Distribution Workshop).  But again it is what should be taught in filmmakers.  We have trained people on halfway.  We need to know how to budget a film through release.  I have hopes of franchising the A2E Onramp Workshop and bringing it all over the world.  Let me know if you’d like to bring to your school or community.  Of course we need a sponsor to do that, so if you know one of those too, please let me know.
  9. Identify Film Images As “Film Images”. If we want to build the necessary tools for discovery and sharing we have to be able to find what it is we want to talk about.  If I understand this world correctly, a simple identifier written into the code for all film images will do the trick quite nicely.
  10. Organize Celebrities/Movie Stars To Tweet In Support Of Specific Indie Films.  Everyone wants to give back, right?  And this will only take them a second.

Okay now that we know what needs to be done, let’s do it.  It’s amazing what can happen when you put good people in a room.  We can build it better together.

I have to imagine that some of you reading this right now, have a similar list to mine.  I have shown mine; won’t you show yours?  Or maybe just add to this list in the columns below.  Or if you want, I will give you this blog to post your simple fix.  We have to get moving.


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  1. krismckay / Nov 27 at 8:15am

    This is the concept I wished I could tweet Ted.

    James Cameron needs to go to the studios and say: “if you want a piece of Avatar 2, you must do this, I want 5% of the gross put into 20 independent films with budgets from 250k to 2million.”

    He and the studios will produce those films together and split the revenue with the filmmakers, or they do not get a piece of Avatar 2. Nolan could’ve done the same thing with Batman imo. When the public market is monopolized, which can be predicted with such mass franchising, the power is in their hands to demand a deal for the small films. I ask them, do they just want to gain more power for their own, or be the godfather that potentially saves cinema? Ha.

    Furthermore, If just one out of those twenty films becomes popular, they make back all that was risked on the others, and profit, and the industry is flooded with risky, edgy, indie content, it would break the mold in a million pieces.

    Eventually every big titan filmmaker should do this. Joss Whedon projects, Fast and Furious 6 could have done it, just %5 from that film creates it, and if this system gets public, then everyone will go see all the blockbusters because they know the money is funding Woody Allen’s next, or mine, or something new, that studio execs by large would pass on normally, filmmaking could be fun for everyone again. They would make even more cash off the blockbusters.

    Television shows creators for content like Breaking Bad can have an agreement to secure other content with its revenue, Just a small %. Essentially it is crowd funding done from the monopolized seats of the blockbuster/tent pole market. I have been to the movies with you on opening night of a franchise film, its the only packed house on Friday & Saturday night split with the latest commercial horror film. They could run commercials alerting the public before the film thanking them for their contribution and that it is going toward producing alternative content. A percentage of every ticket bought for a blockbuster/tent pole goes back into indie cinema in some form is the concept that needs to become a reality.

    If one filmmaker could do it and show the example, it can become a reality in my opinion. It will not work with the marginalized filmmakers, it can eventually, but needs to start with James Cameron on Avatar 2, Christopher Nolan/Batman, Pixar films could do it, whatever film franchises are super secured leverage, that is where the model can be used. I don’t believe studio execs have the taste nor the ability to do this through their positions they hold, so it will have to be pushed by a filmmaker that has power of the people through a project that can demand change.

    There could be so many more David O. Russell or Nicole Holofcener type storytellers if the gates would open just a bit more. I believe a filmmaker is going to have to bend those bars for the idea, that is we always need to be thinking of what’s next even when our own light goes green, this can sustain and build.

    Kristian McKay

  2. Out in the Street Films / Nov 27 at 8:15am

    I would add that filmmakers have to pay themselves in the budget as part of production. Indie filmmakers do not make back-end money. And yet all I hear is talk about how hard it is to sell your film. If you get paid up front, that’s not a concern. Move on to the next project. Let the distributors work out the distribution, and if you can get a percentage stated in your contract then that’s icing. But don’t hold your breath.

  3. Out in the Street Films / Nov 27 at 8:15am

    Here’s another one; and you mention this as leaving the status quo, in your 32 points. But I think it’s important to not only leave the status quo in terms of the film art, but also in terms of business. Indie filmmakers are not studios. They don’t have $20M to market a film. So why do they continually emulate that model? Why do they look to traditional distribution outlets, which are always behind the times in terms of knowing what sells. Why bother with the paltry returns from streaming platforms? You’d do better standing on Hollywood Boulevard with a cup and a sign that says ‘need money for film.’

    Think in terms of generating demand for your film even before you make it. This is also a key to crowdfunding. You have to have an audience before you launch a campaign. We have the internet YouTube, social media. Certain YouTube videos get millions of hits. The potential is there. We have to figure out how to go viral on the net, and turn that exposure into demand for a film, perhaps in the form of a viral trailer. If you can get that demand, you won’t need distributors. They will need you.

  4. Out in the Street Films / Nov 27 at 8:15am

    And one more. Go global. I discovered on my own that by opening up to other countries and other languages on FaceBook ads, my fans increased by ten times and continue to grow. It’s a global marketplace. When you get to the distribution phase, foreign sales are part of it. Why not include that from the start.

  5. krismckay / Nov 27 at 8:15am

    I also did not mention that the theater system can get a much needed boost from this model. The notion of us and them needs to exit, the mainstream can produce the margins and everyones taste can be met. I would see every Michael Bay, Joss Whedon, Disney, Pixar film and would leave with a smile on my face knowing that I just helped other filmmakers projects get made. The studios will not take chances on film as art unless they are made to imo. Whomever has that undeniable revenue stream please come forward and up the stakes for more than a few with your power.

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