Last month I spoke about the myriad of changes that render the major platforms useless for most of your films. But it’s not doom and gloom. During times of great change come great opportunities. So let’s talk about potential solutions and the many opportunities that are available to you as an indie filmmaker. INTERNET VOD PLATFORMS: Since the major VOD platforms have reached critical mass and either don’t want your film, or are not a viable option due to your inability to build critical awareness among their audience, you’d think this is a bad thing. But, in the same way we saw the boutique / mom and pop shops emerge from the big box retail landscape, we’re seeing boutique / specialty platforms appear online daily. Each of these VOD sites has a targeted and loyal fan base. You also have DIY platforms such as Vimeo On Demand, Reelhouse, VHX, and DotStudioPro who enable you to have your own VOD platform and reach your direct audience. You have more options than ever that are perfect for your film. All you have to do is a little research. These companies want your films! SMART TV, WEB, AND MOBILE APPS: There are more platforms emerging daily than you can count and it’s difficult to resist the desire to be everywhere. Focus on those platforms that hold the audience you know is right for your film. Consolidate your efforts in those few places to maximize your revenue and begin a trend of success. These apps are connecting you with an audience who will love your film, but may or may not have been willing to watch on a computer! SOCIAL MEDIA: Although not effective in the way social media [...]
2015 is the start of a new era for Independent Film! (Part 2) By Benjamin Oberman February 1, 2015 Thanks to advances in technology, access to equipment, and education, DIY (Do It Yourself) Filmmaking is a reality. However, DIY Distribution is not as clear cut. Assisted distribution and hybrid distribution strategies are a more accurate description. From my experience as a filmmaker and CEO of Film Festival Flix, here are a few points you should know and understand to give your film the best opportunity for success… INTERNET VOD PLATFORMS: For the past 10 years the indie community mistakenly believed digital platforms were the Holy Grail, able to save Independent Film. What we failed to realize was they were stocking the shelves with the most plentiful and cost efficient content available while building their audience base to critical mass. The shelves are now more than stacked, these platforms serve and must satisfy tens to hundreds of millions of customers, as public companies are focused on films that move the bottom line for multi-billion dollar corporations, and as of December 2014, the release of THE INTERVIEW proved they can get studio films, “day-and-date”. Indie films, barely able to recoup the cost of the intern hired to onboard the film and metadata, are lost in the digital ocean. SMART TV, WEB, AND MOBILE APPS: The proliferation of the Smart TV, Mobile and Web Apps and the TV /Internet connectivity devices (Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, etc.) has made the internet accessible to everyone, not just kids and tech geeks. As new digital platforms emerge daily, filmmakers and many distributors falsely believe they need to be everywhere. All marketing dollars are your burden to bear! People don’t accidently discover your film. [...]
THINK INDEPENDENTLY and satisfy your craving for quality films at the Film Festival Flix Farmer’s Market. 2014 has been a year of massive change within the Independent Film Industry on the marketing and distribution front. DIY Filmmaking has been a reality for the past 10 plus years. However, we’ve been lulled into a false belief that distribution via the emerging Internet and Digital platforms for Indies is the Holy Grail. In the early stages of growth, these platforms had to stock the shelves, yet didn’t have the critical mass to garner studio level titles. Thus, they turned to the least expensive and easiest to acquire content… Indie Film. However, they must now satisfy audiences in the tens to hundreds of millions and support multi-billion dollar bottom lines. Films that appeal to tens of thousands don’t warrant the space on their servers much less support marketing. The platforms are declining new acquisitions, slashing thousands of titles from their servers, ending output deals as they’re up for renewal, and moving more and more to TV content, specifically originally produced, exclusive content. Aggregators are exiting the business in droves no longer to even earn back their onboarding costs. Social Networks, which were thought to be the marketing savior for the Independent Filmmaker have also become Studio domain. The day the social networks went public and had to start generating revenue, Algorithms were re-written, positioning the companies with the deepest pocketbooks as the favored competitors. These networks are now little more than digital billboards. There’s more content being produced than ever before in history, but proportionately not more quality content. We’ve gone from approximately 12,000 films a year being produced to more than 50,000 [...]
HOW TO CONSTRUCT YOUR FILM FOR FESTIVALS AND DISTRIBUTION… by Benjamin Oberman, CEO - Film Festival Flix Viewer habits have changed. If you want your film to have a chance to break out, here are five elements you need to be aware of... I could not have built the distribution system I have without having spent 14 years producing, but I sure wish I had the knowledge I have now when I was producing; I would have done everything differently. The world has changed, festivals have changed, and viewer attention span has changed. It’s important to understand how the world works to give your film the best opportunity to succeed in the marketplace. You ask… How can major festivals process 10,000 submissions each year? What do distributors look for in films? Below are five points to consider when developing the structure of your film to help you with the festival process, distribution process, and building trust with your audience. 1. Festival screening committees watch 2-5 minutes of each film to determine if it is worthy of progressing to the second level of selection. (Protocols are being talked about to ensure all films are watched completely, but not all festivals may be able or willing to institute such practices.) To be noticed, you must have something good happen in the first five minutes. You have a very short window of opportunity to engage your audience. This is often why you see selected films start in the middle of the story, go back to the beginning, and proceed to the resolution with some twist or reveal. Take a card from TV and save the title sequence for after the opening teaser. James Bond films open with [...]
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