Knocking down the walls of territories… a good thing or death to indies?

I’ve not been silent in my opinion that the concept to geo locking releases is hated by consumers. It comes about because a different company is responsible for each territory and some may take longer than others to release a film in their area (for whatever reason). Geo locking is (in my opinion) the #1 factor that drives piracy – people want a film (or worse TV show) they have no other access to.

So in Europe there is a plan afoot to put an end to this and to create Europe-wide licenses. Great, right? Well, now we see the flip side – pre-sales. As detailed in this article from the Hollywood Reporter, many mid-budget films rely on pre-sales to numerous territories to generate cash to make the film. Hence the term ‘pre’ sales – the film isn’t made yet.

There seems to be the feeling that if licenses are now Europe wide the combined sticker price is a) going to be lower than splitting it up and b) few companies will be able to stump up enough cash, thereby reducing the buying pool to bigger concerns who are probably making their own product and thereby less likely to buy from outsiders.

Faced with the possibility of, on one hand getting what they wanted, producers have come to the shocking realisation that there is no such thing as a free lunch! Whereas before the geo system was the reason that smaller areas were not getting films, now the absence of geo locking seems to be that smaller consumer interests will not be catered to.

I have to call ‘bullshit’ on this. I’m sorry.

What is now being said is that this is another move by multinationals to strangle the little guy. That prices and budgets will be driven down. That films for niche audiences will not get sold. That smaller communities will not be considered in programming.

In other words, the same shit that producers have been complaining about will continue. Which I find hard to believe. Maybe it will get worse for some and better for others. Maybe the consumer (who? what?!) will be happier because the film they want to see they can see right away and the piece of shit low budget dredge fest will not be available.

What irks me is the inability for producers to see that this is a natural extension of the current situation and if you want things to change then propose a solution. Perhaps another distribution method, or finance method, needs to be looked at.

When Amazon.com started growing other bookstores had a chance to take them down. The reason they didn’t? In essence because they could not re-tool their distribution from shipping to their stores to shipping to the customer.

Right now every producer gets a hard on for selling to Netflix/iTunes, which is the modern equivalent of getting a cinema distribution deal. i.e. nothing has changed, ever, in the cinema world.

I don’t have a solution, but, for the consumer – who is whom we should be servicing in this ‘film business’ of ours – will be better off. Or at least the majority will be. We need to focus on the customer. If we do that right then the profits might come but just because there is a gap in the market doesn’t mean there is a market in the gap.

Distribution is a fact of life. It is a free market economy. Prices go down for the majority and up for the minority. And you are not owed a living.

Sorry, I’m rambling.

Here’s your article.

On being a producer in these times…

I love this article. Mostly because it validates what I have been saying. 🙂

The article is well worth a full read, but, in short

  1. Master multiple disciplines – or if not master, at least be well aware of. Not just your area of interest, but all 4 keys areas: Creative, Technological, Finances and Relationship building (read: distribution!)
  2. Do stuff. Don’t take too long.
  3. Expect it to be a long slow lonely road.

For details, click the article below.

Gene Simmons is back in the movies – partners with WWE

Thankfully not as an actor, the Kiss frontman has formed a new movie ‘studio’ (read: production company) that will focus on ‘elevated’ horror films.

Interesting announcement over at the WWE site, most notable for its inclusion of both parties legal advisors names!

Could Netflix be using logic? End geo restrictions on content

A rather surprising article over on TorrentFreak, reporting on recent comments from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Recently, Hollywood has been asking Netflix to do more in preventing people who are accessing Netflix via VPN from non-approved locations from seeing content. Hastings has a simple answer: remove the geo locking!

Now, clear thinking like this never lasts long in Hollywood, so I’m curious to see how it plays out!

Great Collection of Videos from the Film4 Innovation Forum

I haven’t heard much being said about this, so, even though it’s a bit late I think it’s worth mentioning.

Back in 2014 Film4 hosted an Innovation Forum which did an indepth look into the films ‘Frank’ (which I love!!!!) and ‘20,000 Days on Earth’. There is a page about the event here, but, I want to hilight the below-linked article which summarizes the day and gives you a series of amazing video links to talks from the event.

This kind of insight into real-world experiences is hard to come by in this business.

The Envelope Please: The winner is irrelevant

A rather damning article over at the NY Times website about the growing irrelevance of the Oscars.

I love me a good Oscars show, but, despite that, this article does point to a glaring problem: winning – and often nominated – films have been seen by very few people. Everyone now knows that Oscars are seemingly decided through a combination of lobbying (i.e. buying) and elitism.

Now, I’m very interested in the movie business and perhaps I look for more interesting pictures (but still ‘commercial’), so I was surprised to read that both ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Birdman’ were not exactly box office successes.

I am not saying that the Oscars should simply be a reflection of box office results. But they were supposed to reflect the ‘best’ pictures of the year. In fairness, the Oscars have always made questionable choices. I think the reason for the NY Times article is as much the poor viewership of the Oscars this year as it is for a growing problem with the whole she-bang.

The Palette of Bilbo Baggins

The mark of a great film is a consistent ballad…

er…palette

Over at the exciting Cinema5D blog they’ve got a very comprehensive article on choosing a palette and some fine examples of how a palette can influence the mood (of the film and ergo the audience). It’s a very visual piece that should get you thinking about your colour choices the next time you light a scene.