Indie film producer Ted Hope sent out an email blast yesterday about Good Movies and What You Can Do to Save Them. Of course, I had to stop what I was doing and read and respond. Ted works hard to bring awareness to the current indie film plight:
- distribution has dried up -- even on movies with known celebrities
- distributors have folded
- movies aren't selling
- advances are smaller
- investor money is hard to come by
- pre-sales are nonexistent
I always like an opportunity to think about what we can do to make our situation better. I don't claim to have the answers. Neither does Ted. But maybe all this talking can lead to some answers. We hope you respond too!
Here is a link to Ted's email blast.
Here is my response:
I think the message is being heard but there are no real stand-out viable solutions on the landscape so everyone is talking and some are doing but no “real” solutions are being endorsed.
I feel we need to be reaching out to the masses on a global scale about our problems. We need to push out beyond the panels at film industry functions and the filmmaking community and reach our audience with our dilemma and our films. I was happy to see your interview on Fox Business. More of that needs to happen. We need Oprah and Larry King, etc. And we need exposure on a big level for our projects. How do we get our stars of our small films on The Today Show?
Before, we relied on the distributors to reach the audience and entice them to see our films. They have stopped doing that so we have to take that on and how does one filmmaker with one project really reach a large audience without help? I fear it’s impossible and breeds such inefficiency. This means filmmakers are re-inventing the wheel of reaching an audience over and over. How can we come together as filmmakers and build on our efforts of reaching an audience — a wide audience!
The ones with the power here is clear: the audience. If they want us, we will survive. Now, how do we get them to want us?
We need a Facebook or Twitter-like phenomenon that grabs the world’s attention — not just the filmmaking community. We need the audiences to stand up and support the indie filmmaking community and show they want to see these films. They need to start going to the theater more and renting indie film more. I think indie film was able to survive off its novelty for years but the novelty is gone. We flooded the world with indies and we have to figure out how to survive now that the novelty is gone.
The world is changing and we need to change with it. We should be focusing on audience awareness on a much higher level than just individual filmmakers blogging about their films and having a Facebook, MySpace page and Twitter account. Those efforts are great but are they really going to get the returns we need on our films to survive? I think we need to get out there in front of our audiences more. Just like politicians, we need to shake the hands of our supporters. We need to get in front of the media. Give the audience a reason to support us!
I know that’s hard because many of us don’t even have the means to finish our films much less do a marketing/publicity launch. But maybe if we realize that is what is needed for our success, we will start building public awareness funds into our projects and develop real ideas that work in reaching the masses. Marketers for the studios have figured out how to reach the masses. We need marketing ideas that help us to get the word out on a global scale with real results that don’t get drowned out by the studio megaphones.
We can do this. We just have to embrace the key to our survival: the audience, and really focus our efforts on reaching them. And I think it needs to be teamwork. DIY or Do It Yourself gives me the chills. It’s too small, exhausting, and inefficient. We need DIT or Do It Together.