Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indie filmmakers distribute for themselves

As John Anderson explains in The New York Times, independent filmmakers are increasingly looking to distribute their films for themselves.
With their hopes for conventional movie deals increasingly dead on arrival, more and more indie filmmakers are opting for a do-it-yourself model: self-distribution, once the route of the desperate, reckless or defiant, has become an increasingly attractive option for movies otherwise deprived of theatrical exhibition.
A recent blog post by screenwriter and director, John August, offers further insight into the economics of independent filmmaking in the USA with his reflections on making The Nines.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have made the same movie but completely rethought how it went out into the world. I would have challenged a lot of the standard operating procedures, which seem to be part of an indie world that no longer exists. The Nines would have likely made just as little at the box office, but could have made a bigger impact on a bigger audience. Ultimately, I think that’s how you need to measure the success of an indie film’s release: how many people saw it.
This post was followed by another, and then a guest article by filmmaker Todd Sklar about self-dsitributing an indie feature.
Along with some of my cast and crew, I accompanied the film on the road for 3 months in order to help market the film in each city. We basically set the whole thing up like a band would do for a tour, supplementing the screenings with intensive grass-roots marketing and also using social networking sites to create a viral buzz prior to our arrival.

Our entire model was conceived around the concept of using the theatrical release as a tool for the ancillary benefits it can provide: building a fan-base for future projects, acting as a platform and catalyst for DVD and download releases, and providing a ton of press exposure and validation for the film to name a few.

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