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Tag: Independent Film

Three Lessons in Crowdfunding Films from Seed & Spark

by on Oct.07, 2014, under Filmmaking

Seed & Spark's Emily Best offers a lot of great insight about funding indie films

Seed & Spark’s Emily Best offers a lot of great insight about funding indie films

Last night, SIFF brought Emily Best to Seattle to talk about crowdfunding for films and my pal Brad Wilke of Smarthouse Creative was able to get me into the sold-out talk. (Thanks to the Seahawks Monday Night Football game and Joe Biden’s traffic-snarling tour of Seattle, there were a few seats still available.)

Emily is the CEO of Seed & Spark, a unique platform for crowdfunding and distributing independent films. While I haven’t done a crowdfunding campaign (yet) I’ve been tutored by the best—Zombie Orpheus Entertainment‘s Ben Dobyns who has the whole Kickstarter thing down to a science. (Seriously, ALL of ZOE’s projects get funded and successfully delivered. I don’t think anyone has a track record like Ben.) Even so, Brad ensured me that I would learn a lot from Emily’s presentation and he was absolutely right.

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How Actors Can Get Clips for their Reels

by on Apr.04, 2014, under Uncategorized

On almost every film and video project I work on, actors ask me to get clips of their work for their reels. Actors are wise to constantly update their reels—or at least have the material  on hand. However, it seems like there is a lot of misunderstanding on both sides about when and how clips can be provided. So I thought it might help actors and producers to clarify this. Also, I do have a secret way to pretty much ensure you’ll get all the clips you reasonably need.

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A New Look at Independent Film Financing and Distribution

by on Mar.21, 2014, under Distribution

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Here’s a quick hour on why indie financing and distribution is the least broken it’s been in 5 years, and how to make the most of it.

The Seattle Office of Film + Music has a monthly speaking series. In September 2013 they asked me to talk about some of the new developments in film financing and distribution. At the time, I had been giving a lot of thought to why I had not made a new feature film in some time and whether the conditions that had made financial success in independent feature films nearly impossible for the past few years were possibly changing, and if so, what new tools and strategies might help create success today. When I mentioned this to then Director of the OF+M James Keblas and Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard who had asked me to speak, they were very interested in the idea.

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VOD for Independents in 2014

by on Mar.16, 2014, under Distribution

VOD keeps getting better for independents

VOD keeps getting better for independents

Updated 3/18/14 – clarifications about IndieReign. Updated 4/4/14 – clarifications about Distrify and Reelhouse.

One year ago I wrote an article about the VOD platforms that had the greatest impact for independent film and series creators. It quickly became one of my most popular articles. As I prepare to release several of my own films on VOD, I am struck by how much has changed in this area in just a year. So here is the 2014 edition of the VOD rundown.

The 2013 article covered about a dozen VOD platforms and services in a number of sectors of this space. Much of that has not changed much in a year: you still (mostly) need an aggregator service to get onto iTunes; Netflix still seems to me like a platform that will kill your hopes for any VOD sales elsewhere. Rather than rehash that article, I’ll point you to it to read for yourself. This article will focus on VOD platforms that offer direct filmmaker to audience platforms. (I plan to cover how to get your film on iTunes in another article soon.) (continue reading…)

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The Age of the Producer-Distributor

by on Mar.13, 2014, under Distribution, Filmmaking

Self-distributing means you're in business with someone who actually understands your film and wants you to make money.

Self-distributing means you’re in business with someone who actually understands your film and wants you to make money.

The film industry loves hyphenates: Writer-director; Actor-producer; Actress-model-whatever. (Television just runs words together turning producer-editor into “preditor.”)  It’s time for a new hyphenate to take the stage: the producer-distributor.

Of course studios have distributed the films they produce forever.  They split things up these functions into separate entities to help the creative accountants hide where the money goes, but essentially one company does both functions.  However, for a long time when independent producers have done the same thing—distributing the films they make themselves—they’ve been labeled with the rather pejorative: “self-distributed film” stamp.

Self-distributed films tended to be seen as films that failed to find a “real” distributor. (This may have been an invention of the distributors themselves.) And perhaps there was some truth to this in the heyday of independent films. For the past several years, however, I’ve seen self-distributed films as more progressive and often more successful than those who partner with traditional distributors. (continue reading…)

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