Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Reality of Theatrical Releases in the Indie World


Our dear friend Jonathan Marlow (who I always like to say his name out loud in a British accent even though he's not British) over at Green Cine released this article on the state of indie film distribution. It's rather morbid, but completely and utterly realistic. And those of you who think different either a) Have a movie with huge stars and a studio backing you or b) Have never tried to release a truly independent film.

Recently in putting together a business plan for a new indie film of mine, the reality for this film is going straight to DVD and bypassing the coveted theatrical release. It's not the most celebrated path for a film, but it's the most realistic and sensible. It would be awesome, awesome, awesome to get picked up for a $10 million dollar ticket at Sundance. And that may be a reality if I'm backed by some heavy hitter name actors, Steven Spielberg's son as a producer and Bob Yari in the wings giving me a thumbs up for encouragement.

Over the fall of 2006, Stacy and I learned how hard it is to be a film distributor. You can check out a small recap of that adventure in this article for Filmmaker Magazine. I won't go into much detail because you can read it for yourself, other than saying I wouldn't want the life of a film distributor. It's no wonder they're looking for an easy sell. Duh. Yeah, as a indie filmmaker it sucks. Yeah, it makes me want to hurl when I think about getting picked up in the indie world with any other film. Just last night I had a short bitch session with a friend who's also put out two feature films and had the same struggles that we all go through. The empty promises, your movie staring at the empty walls of the distributor's shelf. It feels like a hopeless battle. But screw that. If you want to make movies, dude, you'll figure it out. You'll find your audience and you'll work your ass off to get it to them. I'm not a big fan of sitting around and waiting for someone to give you the golden ticket. If you're gonna sit around and wait, at least get out of the way and go sit on the sidelines. If you want to make movies ... you learn how to get them out into the world. Unless you're one of those tortured souls who makes something and then destroys it. That's cool or whatever. But I'm not like that and I don't have many friends who are either. So understand the business, understand the hardships and then figure out another way to make it work.

2 comments:

Jennifer Gandin Le said...

Thanks for the incredibly useful links. I've bookmarked them all and will definitely be giving those articles several re-readings.

Lorie said...

We're in the middle of another watershed in indie film (as well as commercial movies, which is another topic). Green Cine covered it; Filmmaker's covering it in their next issue. Just because we've all grown up with theatrical as the "brass ring" of movie viewing/success, doesn't mean it is the definitive for future movies finding their audiences (and revenues). And, thus, it is not the only and best validation for a movie's merits as art and commerce!