The History Student: A YouTube Film Distribution Case Study

The History Student: A YouTube Film Distribution Case Study

Tweet Below award-winning Irish filmmaker Graham Jones talks to Beyond the Box Office about his new film The History Student and his decision to release it on YouTube, for free. BTBO: What was the budget for The History Student and how did you fund it? GJ: It was the summer holiday budget, which was extremely small. Our son Aidan hadn’t seen his hermetic grandfather in Poland for many years, so we traipsed out to his forest hut in W?oc?awek over the summer. I thought it would be really nice to document the experience on camera, for when my son is older. Within days I found myself making a film not only about his childhood, but also sort of about my own and actually one that others might relate to as well. It became more of a drama than pure documentary. I’m not sure how impressed Aidan was, to be honest, because he doesn’t have much interest in acting and had to be paid in Lego – but I think he makes a nice protagonist for other Irish/Polish children who are growing up on this island. BTBO: You released it for free on YouTube. Take us through your process for deciding on both free and YouTube? E.g. what other methods of distribution did you consider? GJ: The process of considering other methods of distribution and ultimately deciding to release movies for free and selecting YouTube was a very long one, which began in the nineties when my debut feature went theatrical around Ireland and continued in the noughties when my second feature was released around the world on niche DVD – by...
From Crowdfunding to Digital Distribution: The Down and Dangerous Story

From Crowdfunding to Digital Distribution: The Down and Dangerous Story

Tweet You may recall some time back we spoke with Zak Forsman about his crowdfunding campaign for Down and Dangerous (and yes, that’s would be a royal we I am using) about how he raised $10,000 in just 2 days. Well, in an incredibly enlightening follow-up interview Zak breaks down the journey from crowdfunding to the film festival circuit to evaluating and deciding on a distributor for his film. DOWN AND DANGEROUS (2014) // Trailer from The Sabi Company on Vimeo. BTBO: Since crowdfunding Down and Dangerous how long has it taken you to bring it to its first audience? ZF: Well, we started filming it almost right away. We crowdfunded at the end of 2011 and went into production in November, shot through December and then did a few pick ups in January. We were in post for about 9 months that included editing the movie, as well as all the visual effects that I was doing, the sound effects, editing and finally mixing it, so that encompassed most of 2012. 2013 was our festival run starting in phoenix going right up till the end of the year. Toward the end of the year is when we started negotiating our distribution opportunities. That lasted 4 – 6 months. Because we were given some advice by a friend who saw the movie that said, “Look, if they like your movie now, they’re gonna like it 6 months from now, so just keep asking for what you want,” and it worked! Every time we sent a contract back with changes they would nick some stuff but most stuff would stick and the deals just kept getting...

Infographic: The Economics of Netflix and their Big Bet on Big Data

Tweet When I heard about the astronomical amount it cost to make House of Cards I have to admit I was pretty perplexed. Maybe it’s my humble Jamaican beginnings but $100 million for 13 episodes of a new show seemed like an awful lot, Kevin Spacey (one of my favorite actors) notwithstanding. The folks at greatbusinesschools.org take a stab at understanding Netflix’s strategy in their handy infographic below. What the nerd in me found most fascinating was their analysis of Big Data on viewing preferences to cut 10 different versions of the trailer for House of Cards. Do you think Netflix’s model is...

SXSW ’13 Interview – Fandor BONUS

Tweet Part of the fun of SXSW is not just the sessions, the films, the Chevys and the parties but the people you meet, waiting in line for films. Such was the case for Jonathan Marlow of online distribution platform Fandor and me. We were waiting to see press screeners at this year’s SXSW and voila an interview was born! Check it out below. It’s in 5 parts. This is Part 5. Check out Parts 1,  2 , 3 and 4. Sometimes the unexpected happens during an interview. This one was no exception. The good folks at SXSW Music were kind enough to let us use their interview room to conduct ours as the Film Fest began to wind down and Music began to ramp up. Listen as Jonathan Marlow and I take a quick moment to geek out over a mutual idol we spotted in the room So hopefully you’ve read all of the interview parts. Would you consider using Fandor to distribute your...

SXSW ’13 Interview – Fandor on Digital Distribution

Tweet Part of the fun of SXSW is not just the sessions, the films, the Chevys and the parties but the people you meet, waiting in line for films. Such was the case for Jonathan Marlow of online distribution platform Fandor and me. We were waiting to see press screeners at this year’s SXSW and voila an interview was born! Check it out below. It’s in 5 parts. This is Part 4. Check out Parts 1,  2 and 3.   JM …That is one of the issues with the complexities of rights. Unless you’re working directly with the filmmaker and they’ve retained all of their digital distribution rights, it becomes necessary to piece the assorted rights together from numerous locations. For instance, we’ve recently licensed the short films of Jay and Mark Duplass. I’ve adored their short films since the first time that I saw them. I would like to license their features, too, but each one has a different distributor. It is rather difficult to create a comprehensive selection of their works. The same is true with David and Nathan Zellner. We have nearly every short film they’ve ever directed. We also have their second feature on the service. Their third feature is available from IFC and we do not presently have a licensing pact with them. The Zellners’ latest film, Kid-Thing, is in theaters now through Factory 25. We have a great relationship with them and, at some point, Kid-Thing will debut on Fandor, too. But the entire process is particularly convoluted. To do this correctly, it represents a ridiculous amount of work. BTBO: So you tend to get films after somebody else has them?  JM: Not necessarily. I noticed that...
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