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By now I think you know that creating a Sustainable Investor Class For Indie Film is a priority for me. I have been sharing my thoughts on a weekly basis in this regard for some time now. Today is a good time to collect those thoughts and take stock as to where we are. Our future depends on us.
If you want to make films for the rest of your life, you not only need to help increase the pool of capital for such creative practices, but you also have to make sure that the money behaves in a smarter fashion than before. You can’t expect people to just do something because it makes sense. Knowledge rarely influences behavior. To make change, you need to create a system. That is the next step.
Right now, we can improve the knowledge base, and it is time we focused on the investor base. [...]
In my quest to create a Sustainable Investor Class for Indie Film, it is easy to get bogged down in the numbers. When one says “investor” hopefully we think first of “profits”, but that is not the only thing that positive choices can generate. After all, we are talking about investing in culture, right?
American art film is under threat. Independent film that is not based on the “Oops, I Farted!” template (thanks again to Mike Ryan for naming this category for me) is currently at risk. That which has been deemed commercial is not only what gets the most traction, it often seems all that people want to talk about. Generally speaking, the industry aims to create what will sell; the harder that get,s the lower they reach. Independent film was once about what we aspire to be; now it frequently seems to be focused on what we wallow in.Do you really want to be part of that? It is not just about the money, is it?
I remain convinced that we all entered the film biz driven to make something great.
How do we [...]
Potential film investors need to be educated about what is working and what is not, where it works, and what could be done. No one likes to look foolish, but most film investors come to the industry having made their wealth in other fields (or having not actually generated it themselves) and thus often start with a paucity of the necessary and a surplus of the inapplicable.
Investments should be made based on educated choice, not an impulsive or biased guess — and certainly not on the advice of conflicted advisors.
The problem here is [...]
If you don’t enjoy what you do you won’t stay with it.
Freud and The Ancient Greeks all recognized that you need a balance between work, love, and play. For a system to be sustaining, it should have an equal balance between all three. It has be something you care about, that your labor and time can improve and produce just rewards, and it has to deliver joy. Film investment can be [...]
The Film Industry has historically sought out “dumb money”, people willing to make the sucker bet. This is akin to basing the global transportation system on fossil fuel — at a given time ,you run out the resource and have the joy of having destroyed your planet or culture in the process. Why are we doing this? Isn’t it time this process stopped? Can we just find the photos of those responsible now, put them on the wall, and say “These people destroyed what we once loved?”
It is as if The Studios make sport of trying to make sure that the creators and their supporters don’t earn their fair share. By now everyone knows both the tales of [...]
Your parents taught you to cover your ass didn’t they? You like to be prepared, right? You can’t expect to have dinner if you haven’t put food in the refrigerator, right? How come then we make films and don’t have any distribution options lined up in advance? Are we expecting others to always take us for dinner?
When someone is encouraged to make a movie and bring it to market without having any backstop distribution or marketing plans in place, that advisor clearly has another agenda at hand than the investors’ (or filmmakers’) best interest. [...]
Surround yourself with smart people who know different things than you do.
That’s good advice, isn’t it? Common sense, really. Other than changing environments, nothing else will spark creativity so well. It will help you in everything you do, from making better decisions to discovering new passions. [...]