Archive for March, 2013
In my first post on storyboards, I mentioned that that can serve a number of different purposes from a production tool to a way to get people excited about your project. I recently posted an example of some storyboards I drew just before shooting—and the videos that they inspired. This article looks at the other side, using storyboards long before you ever hope to shoot to help advance a project so that it can get funding.
Any time you’re trying to sell someone on backing your vision—whether it be for ten or twenty bucks on Kickstarter or millions from a film fund or high net-worth individual—you want to create a vision of that film for your backers—even though, for the moment, it that still exists only in your head. You need to help people visualize the film you would make. If you can help them visualize it—and if it’s worthy once you have—then you have a better chance of getting their support.
Vimeo has just launched its new VOD service that offers an exciting new potential for independent filmmakers to release their works online for pay. But how good is the deal really and where does it fit in the landscape of existing services? Let’s take a look.
Why VOD matters
Not long ago, VOD was a little throw-away right that got included in film sales but often didn’t even get exploited, let alone bring in any money—at least where independent films were concerned. So why the growing interest now? Because DVDs are dead.
Because DVDs are dead.
I had to say it twice. It’s kind of a big deal. DVDs—essentially the entire Home Video nut that spawned the independent film movement (back in the VHS/Betamax days) and has sustained it till now, is dead. People don’t really buy ‘em anymore. Wait a minute, you say, You are wrong! My cousin knows a guy who bought a DVD just a couple years ago…
Sure, a few DVDs still get sold. For blockbuster films. Or for very niche stuff that is more movement than entertainment. But if you have an independent film without stars then as far as mainstream distributors are concerned, DVDs are dead. You aren’t going to be making any money off them from distributors, but you’re welcome to make your own and sell them on your web site if you want. …And that brings us back to VOD.
VOD will be the new DVD
When was the last time you bought a DVD, then popped it into your player and watched it? I’m willing to bet that you’ve watched a video on your computer or mobile phone a lot more recently than that. VOD—whether it be via iTunes, online, or your cable system—is the future of home video. So why make DVDs of your independent film or series to sell through snail mail when you can sell a link to a downloadable file instead? You can save the postage, fulfillment costs, inventory, and time. And your customers can watch it right away and on whatever device they wish to.
I was going through some storyboards for old projects recently and thinking about how they progressed into final videos. Sometimes the storyboards are remarkable predictors of how the end video will look. Sometimes there are very significant changes in the translation. I think we can learn a lot as filmmakers from both.
Lately, I see a lot of green squares in place of people’s Facebook photos. This is meant in solidarity with Hollywood VFX house Rhythm & Hues, responsible for the look of such films as Snow White and the Huntsman and The Wolfman. The outfit has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and fired its 250+ employees. To add insult to injury, the producers of the Academy Awards gave them the shark music then cut off Bill Westenhofer’s mic as he was accepting the Oscar for Best Visual Effects on The Life of Pi.
“The most important person in the motion picture process is the writer, and we must do everything in our power to prevent them from ever realizing it.”
–Irving Thalberg (kind of a big deal producer long, long ago)