Thursday, 25 September 2008

Not Quite DIY

Gettting others to distribute your films is one road to go down. You may feel that through word of mouth, luck or just the enormous friendship circle you have that this method might be the one to get your film into the public peripheral. One such site offering distribution in this way is Creative Space, go and have a look at their interface, terms and what commissions they take before you hastily package your Indie flick for Online distribution. Creative Space is an Amazon company and so possibly a good start for setting up shop.

Other places are Film Annex, Cafepress, Tunecore (the music and video arm of iTunes).

I guess this is the tough pill filmmakers are going to have to swallow, as musicians have been downing this one with hard liquor since the 1950's. How many musicians are scrambling to make friends and sell albums on various social networking sites. Before that, you'd go to a gig and buy an EP for $10 bucks. Will filmmakers turn up to their festivals with bags full of DVDs and cart them round the punters offering a paltry sum for years of effort? Perhaps, but you can't just slap a bunch of movies on your iPod and go for a jog. You actually have to sit down and watch films, so that bargain priced printed movie of yours may very well sit gathering dust on people's movie shelves until they get around to loading up a bag for St Vincents or Cash Converters with your movie in it.

So what is a good marketing strategy for self distribution? Well I don't think there really is one unless you can convince audiences or buyers that there is something in your film worth wanting. If you can jerk a tear, cause a hernia from hysterics, or just 'wow' people with some deft incite, who has the time to watch independents apart from film buffs and possibly other filmmakers?

What kind of film channel or movie shop would you build Online? Well, it also depends on what the terms and conditions are of the Online distribution site. I know that the kind of shop in the physical world I would like to run would be a kind of musty Black Books sort of affair. Would that exist efficiently in the virtual world? What is the equivalent? I'm asking a lot of questions here, and mostly because when there is time, I would like to collate some of my previous efforts and make back all the postage fees and production costs that although faded in the back catalogue of my banking transaction records, still must have left a smudge on my pocket lining, at least on the thread.

If anyone is having adequate success distributing independently, let us know, share your wisdom or just tell us how much it sucks out there because without the festival circuit, independent filmmakers are sort of stuffed. Sites like Film Annex need to become more Web 2.0 savvy and connect with other social networking sites to prevent isolation. YouTube are going down the live cam streaming route, and it wont be long until they merge Online distribution schemes within their framework, somehow dodging the rippers who God knows why, bother to rip what they can watch at any time and share at any time, off the net.

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