Greetings! Here is an interview with Ryan Stoner, CEO of MoPix, a turn-key platform to enable filmmakers to create their own mobile film apps. They appified the BitTorrent released movie, The Tunnel. The Tunnel garnered a lot of press for selling frames of the film as funding. MoPix is currently in private beta.
BTBO: What inspired the founding of MoPix?
RS: MoPix was founded as a solution to the problem many of our independent filmmaker friends are currently facing here in Los Angeles and around the world and our desire to help them.
How do I distribute my film?
Outside of the film industry, most film fans think that if a filmmaker can easily raise funding through Kickstarter or other platforms, they can surely distribute their film.
But that is not the case. The distribution model is still based upon opening box office performance as the critical indicator of a film’s success and influences all downstream contracts regarding DVD, international, network, satellite, cable television, and Internet and mobile sales.
As a result, most filmmakers must either give up control of their film to secure distribution or keep control and distribute it through an online platform where there is no proven revenue model.
So our solution is to give power to the filmmakers by allowing them to be the distributors and directly release their film as an app through our MoPix platform.
If independent filmmakers truly believe they don’t need Hollywood to make a film, shouldn’t we also believe that we don’t need Hollywood to distribute our films?
For more info on why we started MoPix, please read our first blog post- http://www.getmopix.com/blog/we-are-mopix-and-we-are-here-to-give-the-power-back-to-the-filmmaker/
BTBO: What mobile devices are you targeting?
RS: Initially, we’re creating apps for iPad and iPhone with Android, Facebook and Web apps on deck. Filmmakers can upload all content they would put on a deluxe “Special Edition” DVD. They set all their own prices and can use the APP merely as a marketing tool for the film OR, if they’ve carved out the rights, can also make the film available for viewing through the app.
BTBO: Why should a filmmaker use you instead of a freelancer or a company like Stonehenge Productions?
RS: We are a company of filmmakers and app developers who recognized there is more value in creating a platform for filmmakers, rather than doing individual customized app development, which is why we have spent countless hours focusing on offering the best filmgoer experience.
When we launch MoPix it will be the first ever turn key, self-automation platform that makes it as easy as humanly possible for a filmmaker to distribute and manage their film as an app, and directly connect with their audience.
Filmmakers will be able to upload endless content, from behind the scene footage to photo galleries, have access to a suite of tools to help them distribute and market their films to the audience they specifically made the film for, be in complete control of their price structure and retain 100% of their revenue.
BTBO: How much do you charge for a film app?
RS: MoPix is not taking any fees of the film distribution. MoPix charges to make the app through our turn-key platform (about $1k -$5k depending on features selected) and for maintenance fees. The final app can then be completely self-managed through the MoPix platform.
The app is then published by the filmmaker who controls the price and takes 100% of the revenue, after Apple’s 30% fee.
BTBO: Do you have a selection process for the films for which you will make an app or can anyone have one made?
RS: We are currently in private beta, but still looking for a dozen more high quality, great potential pictures to be featured on the site at launch. The first MoPix app has already been created with an early version of our platform. Australia’s “The Tunnel” app went live in Apple iTunes last week. More on “The Tunnel” iPad app can be seen here in this demo.
Once the MoPix platform is fully launched, our turn-key system will allow anyone with content to create an app in just a few hours.
BTBO: Do you give any guidance to filmmakers for price setting? Is there a minimum or maximum amount you think a filmmaker should charge for their app?
RS: We have market data to support our recommendations and we are willing to work directly with any MoPixer to assist in setting the most attractive pricing terms.
One of the most valuable lessons we learned last year while creating the Dark Prophecy app with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker was to price your app relative to the value you think it deserves and not to sell yourself short. We priced the Dark Prophecy app at 12.99 in a world of 3.99 interactive books. It quickly out performed all other apps, climbing to a number 4 ranking of top grossing books for the iPad. If we had not priced the app at what we thought it was worth we would have left potential revenue on the table.
BTBO: Is there a minimum number of features a film app should have to avoid Apple app store rejection as simply a movie that should be submitted to iTunes?
Our platform was not created as an alternative to the iTunes store and many of the films we are working with such as, Transcendent Man, are utilizing both iTunes and our platform. With MoPix we enable a filmmaker to distribute all extras, additional content, and much more. I would recommend that a filmmaker approach a VOD streaming solution if they are looking to release only the film.
BTBO: Any closing thoughts?
RS: Tablets have the highest adoption rate of any technology ever introduced. I urge filmmakers to carve our rights and make it a part of their distribution strategy. Tablet technology allows viewing and engagement experiences for the consumer to explode beyond the small screen limitations of prior hand held devices. And we are planning on being the leading company to provide those solutions for filmmakers and ultimately scale to other platforms.
Power to the filmmakers!
So what do you think, is MoPix something you might use for your current project? By the way, Transcendent Man mentioned above is using a number of avenues, iTunes, MoPix and Dynamo for instant rentals.