What Keeps Filmmakers Up at Night

This is a guest post by Jade Waddy of Mutinee. United Kingdom based Mutinee is an independent film sharing network.

Over the past decade, the art of film making has changed radically in line with the nature of technological advancements. The independent filmmaker today faces a wider set of challenges than ever before. In the face of declining cinema numbers, the proliferation of video websites such as YouTube and the speed with which content can be shared via social media, it is harder and harder for a film to gain the attention it needs, firstly to be created and secondly to be watched by an audience.

Innspilling av film i Riksarkivet/Shooting of the film "The Nation's Memory" in the National Archives

There are three common problems which an independent filmmaker may face. These are exposure for fundraising, production and marketing. Let us examine each in turn.

Exposure for Fundraising

Nowadays, many independent films are funded through a process known as ‘Crowdfunding’. This is where many different people contribute to the creation of a film. With even a low budget film costing thousands of pounds to create, edit and finish in post production, many individuals or organisations are required to fund a film. So, a filmmaker will have to devote much time to firstly raising awareness of the proposed film and then persuading people to chip in. In a world where many things provide instant gratification, explaining why a low-budget film is worth investing in to those not versed in the art of storytelling is often a tricky task.

Election night crowd, Wellington, 1931

Production 

Once filmmakers have secured funding, they are then faced with new challenges on set. Digital technology has advanced so rapidly that in order to prevent the film from looking dated, the most up-to-date special effects must be used. DSLR, for instance, has dramatised image and sound capture in films. Likewise, 3D technology has meant changes in the expectations of how an audience will wish to view a film. Choosing a good cinematographer and editor on a budget is also another problem facing filmmakers. As with any creative process, how a film is planned and how it turns out can often differ. Costs can quickly spiral out of hand and many filmmakers end up running out of budget by the time they reach post production.

Marketing

YouTube has radically altered how people view films. Likewise, the illegal downloads of films has increased in recent times. It is commonplace to distribute films online, hence taking away the traditional audiences who would view films in the cinema. Without a strong social media presence, an independent film can struggle to raise the awareness it needs to even break even. For instance, Paranormal Activity was a budget film, made for $15,000. It was Orin Pelli’s use of a social media strategy which made the film so successful.

Currently tens of thousands of independents are made each year, with around 1% being successful when distributed traditionally. As filmmaking is so competitive, film studios are less likely to look to budget films to find new talent and are more likely to watch the bigger, ‘blockbuster’ films for this purpose.

How Mutinee Can Help

mutinee

Mutinee is an independent network of filmmakers. It is designed as a free platform where anyone can show films to friends and the wider community. Mutinee aims to harness the digital revolution, in order to create an online, global audience where independent films can gain the recognition they deserve.

Whilst Mutinee cannot directly cut down on the costs of producing a film, it can take away the worry of finding sufficient exposure for your film to be produced and for your film post production. Hopefully, gathering a supportive crowd via film pitches and teasers shared on Mutinee will help you to raise the support needed to make the film. Post production, Mutinee can host your film and attract viewers. Mutinee is hoping to attract the attention of film studios as it becomes the place for them to scan for new talent. Hopefully more traditional distributors will be in touch to promote it to an even wider audience, thus ultimately enabling the filmmaker to reap the rewards.