The Future of Film: True Independence

The Future of Film: True Independence

Tweet This is a guest post by Emily Best, of Seed&*Spark a new community/platform for crowdfunding and distributing your film online. My introduction to the world of film distribution was nothing short of terrifying. At a distribution panel at SVA in early 2009, I sat in the audience and watched three out of four panelists, defeated, their heads in their hands, saying, “There just is no silver bullet like iTunes for film. The numbers just don’t work. We don’t honestly know what to do.” It was pretty dire. But the fourth panelist, attorney and sales agent Steven C. Beer (the only one who didn’t look scared) said, “Look, filmmakers are going to have to work harder for less money.” I thought maybe I didn’t want be be in film after all. But over the last few years I have come to understand that what he was saying was, in fact, the great hope for film: true independence that might mean smaller “box office” numbers but much larger returns directly to the filmmaker. Making movies is hard! Fundraising is hard. Production is hard. Post-production is more inundated with digital options every millisecond. But nothing, NOTHING is harder than actually getting an audience to watch your movie, no matter what the budget is. Today, the market is more fragmented than ever. Tens of thousands of independent films are made per year. To be sure, not all of them are necessarily worthy of an audience, but they’re competing for it anyway. About 1% of those films get picked up for traditional distribution. That means more than half of the films that premiere at...

6 Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Tweet Here is a guest post by Pyung Kim, writer and producer of the film I Hate You (bio at the end). Looking to Kickstarter to finance your movie? Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful crowd funding campaign. 1) BEG YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP YOU You’ll definitely need the help of friends to pull this off, especially if you’re starting without any resources. Running a successful crowd funding campaign – much like making a movie – is ultimately a collaborative endeavor. And I’m not necessarily talking about help in the form of donations. Remember that support comes in many other forms during the campaigning process that are just as important. Do anything you can to encourage endorsements or activity such as link sharing and retweeting. And I mean anything that will bring more attention to your campaign! Maybe don’t do what Anthony Weiner did…but almost anything else! 2) CREATE GOOD, VISUALLY DISTINCTIVE ARTWORK This not only means the poster or screen shot you’ll use on Kickstarter – having a film website is part of this. And it serves as more than another opportunity to drive traffic to your campaign. If you have a website for your film that is well designed and visually appealing, it adds credibility to you and your project. I personally don’t have the know-how to create a cool website, but my partners and I were fortunate to have a great web designer in Devin McKeon. As an example, check out the website he did for our film, a romantic comedy called I Hate You. 3) SHOOT A TRAILER (IF YOU CAN)...
All Alone on This Yellow Brick Road: The Trials of Crowdfunding Part 1

All Alone on This Yellow Brick Road: The Trials of Crowdfunding Part 1

Tweet Here is a guest post by Anthony Williams who has raising funds for his film Absolutely Positive. Here he talks about the realities of crowdfunding. When you are done (or before) check out his campaign on Kickstarter.  I knew the walk down the yellow brick road of crowdfunding was going to be a long and tough one, but I didn’t know how much until I put my foot to the pavement. But still, in the midst of it all, my eyes are set on the Emerald City. I started a Kickstarter campaign for the post-production needs of my film, Absolutely Positive. Absolutely Positive is a film about four characters who decide to get tested for HIV. The film follows them and shows why they decide to get tested, the thoughts that go through their minds while waiting to get their results, and how they decide to live their lives after finding out their results. It displays a truthful insight into the many worlds and faces of HIV and sheds light on the importance of personal accountability as well as lack of discrimination, showing that HIV has no limits and knows no bounds. It only takes one person, and it only takes one time. Before production, there was crazy enthusiasm that had been building throughout the community around the film. Friends and fans were excited; buzz continued to generate; all was swell. After completing the film and hosting a few screenings, I did my research about effective crowdfunding, took a lot of advice, and seemed to have a good grasp on the whole crowdfunding thing in the beginning. So...

5 Ways a Filmmaker Could Use Broadcastr to Promote Their Film

Tweet As some of you may have seen from my tweet during DIY DAYS I was impressed by Broadcastr and its capabilities. Scott Macauley, editor of Filmmaker Magazine (who was nice enough to allow me to pick his brain for a bit after the talk) had a fireside chat with Scott Lindenbaum of Broadcastr and Electric Lit. Broadcastr is a mashup (remember when those were novel?) of audio recordings and a Google Map and you can access it on the Internet, or an iPhone/iPad/Android application. From the site: “Users can take a GPS-enabled walk as stories about their surroundings stream into their headphones, like a museum tour of the entire world. Users can record their own content, create playlists, follow their friends, and share on Facebook.” It just launched recently and already they have some impressive partners. A search in the area of Haiti will pull up several UNICEF broadcasts, a search of Chapel Hill, broadcasts by live storytelling organization, The Monti. Fodor’s and MTV personalities are also using it. Lindenbaum talked about it as a great way for local businesses to drive traffic or to just be more interesting by having people record stories about the place. The other Scott said Broadcastr is “what Foursquare should have been.” The benefits are obvious I think for poets, orators and comedians, but what about filmmakers? Don’t worry, I got you. This post will focus on 5 ways I think Broadcastr can be useful to filmmakers. 1. Create a Director/Producer’s/Somebody Important’s guide to a location I’ll go ahead and get this example Lindenbaum gave out of the way. The idea is...

Sell Your Film on a TV via Paypal?

Tweet It might be possible. This article from the Inquisitr (via @InShot) breaks down a very exciting initiative from PayPal. They want people to be able to easily make purchases using their remotes. I had kind of ruminated on the possibility of this during NewTeeVee Live last week. This seems to make it closer to being a reality. It could definitely change advertising. From an indie filmmaking perspective to give a person the option of purchasing one’s film right after watching would be...

What Google’s Chrome web store means for independent filmmakers

Tweet Googlers realized that web application developers were plagued with two problems: discovery and monetization. You see with the plethora of web applications out there it's really hard for developers to have their really good applications discovered, worse, besides littering them with ads, it's hard to find a monetization model that works, because people are used to using web applications for free. Sound familiar? Enter the Chrome Web Store. A place to download (and pay for) applications that run on a browser. Google wants to collect premium web applications in one place, have a consumer see ratings and reviews, much like iTunes does for movies, Amazon does for books, Apple app store does for iPhone/iPad apps. As we all know, Google's greatest strength is search so finding good applications is likely very easy. You know, good applications like your awesome movie packaged as a web app, enhanced with the capabilities of the coolest mashups. Or maybe an online game related to your film. According to the speaker, games are the most popular type of application on any app store. So how do you get in? The details are very sketchy right now, but if it's anything like their Android app store it's completely open and anyone can put anything up. On the Android app store they tend to be more reactive, pulling down a harmful app after the fact. It has one obvious advantage over your film as a YouTube rental, psychologically consumers are used to paying for apps from an app store, while they are not used to paying to watch videos on YouTube. It's too early to...
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