Tag: Independent Film
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 have a confession to make. Too often, I’m doing it all by myself. I’m here to tell you, it’s much better with a partner. Or even a big group. You can try more stuff that way, do it more often, and have a lot more fun.
I’m talking about filmmaking, of course.
It’s no secret, I strongly believe that independent series are the sweet spot for filmmakers/visual storytellers/narrative creatives—pick your moniker. But it’s May in Seattle and that means it’s time for the biggest little film festival in America to kick off again—the Seattle International Film Festival. I have a long history with SIFF—My short Full Disclosure won the Golden Space Needle Award in 2006, I was on the Short Film Jury in 2008. This year I’m back with two films—I wrote the original screenplay for Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas, which is playing in the festival and Coffee & Pie, a short film I directed with Amy Seimetz and Sophia Takal is playing as well. I’m also speaking on a panel about short films—which just proves that the minute to publicly proclaim your lack of interest in something, you’ll be asked to speak about it!
I don’t want anyone to take my excitement about independent series as a disdain for independent films. I think series are the better option for the future, but features (and even shorts) are a great form of entertainment and artistic expression and are the right format for certain stories. I have attended film festivals for over a decade and I’ve made a lot of great friends on the film festival circuit—filmmakers and curators/programmers who I really admire and enjoying knowing. When I think about my focus on independent series, I get a little lump in my throat knowing that I may be removing myself from the film festival world to some extent. The logical part of my brain knows I’m making the best decision, but at the emotional level, it’s hard to distance myself from participating in something that I’ve enjoyed so much for so long.
You hear the phrase on film sets all the time, “Fix it in post.” Maybe a C-stand or the mic boom crept into a shot. With the current level of post-production technology, it’s possible to solve almost any problem in the edit bay—if you have enough time and money.
“Fix it in post,” is the unofficial motto of independent film production. But look around and ask yourself–how many of the people saying, “Fix it in post,” are actually going to be there in post-production with you? Probably none of them. (continue reading…)