Friday, December 28, 2007
YOU'VE GOT YOUR IPOD IN MY YOUTUBE
Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com has written an article titled,BEYOND THE MULTIPLEX:THE YEAR IN INDIE FILM 2007 which once again asks the question of whether or not theatrical release will be or should be the distribution target for independent filmmakers. This is truly a confusing time for all media producers. The future is unclear as to what is to be made out of all the possible channels of distribution available and how they are to be integrated into or replace the current model.
Not much has changed since the earliest days of the film industry in terms of distribution. Films are still shot predominently on negative film, from which prints are struck and shipped all over the world to generate mass revenue. As new technologies emerged, they were simply integrated into the system through the creation of "windows" where each piece in the pipeline(DVD, pay-per-view, cable, Network TV) gets a certain window of exclusivity.
Experiments in collapsing the windows will be seen more and more in the coming year. But indie filmmakers should've seen the value of this long ago. With the lack of big stars, a huge promotional budget and wide scale release, most indie films vanish into thin air. Even after I read about an interesting film, it becomes an adventure to find the damn thing playing anywhere. It's only on DVD that it really becomes a viable product.
But DVD shouldn't be the only destination format considered. Once you've shot and edited your film, it has no market value unless it can find a market. Why would anyone want to see your movie when they have so many choices to watch now? What sets your film apart? Of course, the film festival route is a great idea to get your movie seen and talked about. And that's what you need, you need to build interest in the film so that you can market it.
There's no reason not to let people know as much about your movie as you can. There's no reason to avoid the possibility of allowing them to watch it in as many formats and venues as possible. With the right kind of film, breaking it down into smaller pieces to play online as a web serial or series may be one way to get people interested. Of course, your trailer should already be online on your clearly designed website as well as on YOUTUBE, REVVER, IFILM, METACAFE , SQUIDOO, MYSPACE and every other SPACE or FACE you can put it online. That said, the trailer is very Web 1.0-you need to give people more of what they will hopefully be interested in paying for-so, some scenes from the film, some interviews with the actors etc.
Remember, you do not have the ability to just let the film sell itself. Even the studios think that's suicide. The argument shouldn't be whether I self-promote/self-distribute or sell it to a distributor-you should do everything at the same time. Get into those festivals, play the movie online, make a version for Ipod download, arrange for screenings wherever you can, get the movie reviewed by sites that relate to your subject matter, try to exploit every market possible from niches like horror and microcinema itself. Those making their own microcinema epics will be curious as to what you did and how you did it, so sell to them as well. While you do all this, try and sell the film to a distributor for an advance, if not, go for a split. If you can see the advantages, burn those discs yourself and sell it on Amazon etc. through Createspace etc. Keep making films and promoting them and yourself. Making more films is always a good idea since a body of work is more valuable than a single film since an audience can be built through it and the rest will become easier.