A great look at social medium from an actual teenager

As independent filmmakers it is VITAL that we understand social media. And, if you are not in your target demographic, you may not have a full understanding of how the various social media elements are being used. Or worse, you may have a ‘professional’ social media consultant ‘helping’ you – and they also have no clue.

On Medium (increasingly becoming a valuable longer form news service) is an article about how teenagers use social media. The reason it’s a valuable article? It’s written by an actual teen.

If you are looking to capture any of the under-25 market in North America then you should be ingesting this info asap!

Who needs movie theaters?

Over at the Washington Post Dominic Basulto makes an interesting point:

By initially refusing to show “The Interview,” did the big theater chains shoot themselves in the foot and reminded us of their weaknesses.

It’s true. Millions wanted to watch a movie – and millions did – all without the aid of a theater.

Basulto quotes pro-theater folks like Christopher Nolan (who, for a man who eschews social technology seems to be everywhere!). But there is another reality. People are going less. But watching more (at home).

It’s a fascinating article with some points that should spark discussion, or at least contemplation, in filmmaker circles.

Netflix vs VPN users – how they don’t really want to crack down

Over at investment site The Motley Fool they have an article about the recent news that Netflix was cracking down on VPN users (i.e. members who access the service from outside of their subscription zone). This whole issue is a double edged sword for Netflix. Of course, the terms they have with the content providers specify what regions they can let people watch in. But, the people who are using simple computer trickery to get around this are paying customers – so Netflix is making money.

What to do!

Like Sky Digital satellite service in the UK – that has millions of subscribers outside of the UK in places like Spain and Italy – the best thing to do is to appear to crack down but in reality to turn a blind eye.

The reason is obvious – Netflix makes money from these people. And, I am sure it could be proven, that clamping down on these people doesn’t make them sit at home and stare at a blank TV screen. They turn to piracy.

How many more different use-cases do we need to show that the ‘regionalizing’ system of releasing content doesn’t work and fuels piracy?


NoBudge’s 2014 winning films

I’ll hold my hands up and say I’d never heard of ‘NoBudge’ until this posting on NoFilmSchool (as an aside, I now see that using a negative title for your site or domain is in vogue).

I am going to assume that NoBudge focusing on films made without a budget? Or a budgie? Or are immovable? Their ‘about’ page doesn’t give much away. All they say is

NoBudge is an online screening venue for new indie films.

Anyway, they’ve released their awards and it is a good showcase to see ultra indie films to get a feel for the ‘market’. I think it’s important to get an understanding of what people are doing. With the democratizing factor of low camera prices we see all kinds of people expressing all kinds of things on film.

Below is the link to the NoFilmSchool article, but you can also go to NoBudge’s ‘Awards Page’ here (NoFilmSchool has a better looking version of the page!)


An Analysis of Internet Trends for Indie Filmmakers

Over at Medium.com Marc Schiller has what he calls an ‘evolving document’ where he takes a look at what the internet has to offer – and NOT offer – the independent filmmaker. The article has a great format – each point has a headline and sub-headline that accurately tags his thoughts. You can read deeper on areas of interest to you.

He points out, for example, that blogs like this one – ‘curated’ content – are a thing of the past. This is the story of my life. A day late and a dolla short.

But Schiller covers lots of things in film promotion and gives lots of what to do and not do. Definitely one of the most insightful articles of the year.

From sleeper to creeper-outer – Australia’s The Babadook finds life abroad

It must be tough. You make a great film and no one in your own country wants to see it. You sit at home and have a good moan about it…and then find out you’re doing great everywhere else!

Such is the situation with ‘The Babadook’ for first time feature director Jennifer Kent. The film, made for a nice $2.8m (USD or AUD I’m not sure), took home…$258,000 domestically. Ouch.

But, as this article from Business Week explains, The Babadook proved to be a hit overseas. A rare thing – a female-directed horror film – has captured the imagination (and fear) across the globe.

It’s an uplifting read. Nice, for a change!

Will you board this Vessel? A new platform takes its first steps

Over at Digiday the kick around some ideas about the yet-to-be-launched video platform Vessel. Vessel is well-funded ($75m from VCs) and well staffed (led by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar).

Their model is interesting – creators but their new content exclusively onto Vessel for a short-ish period of time. Users pay a small monthly subscription fee to get access to that content early. Then, after a few days, everyone will get that content as normal, through the normal channels (YouTube, Vimeo, etc).

It’s an interesting idea.

Vessel is pulling in some top YouTuber content creators by cutting big checks. What this means for smaller creators is unclear. The Digiday article focuses on YouTube’s reaction and that of other big content makers. But for me, YouTube is a platform for smaller creators too… will Vessel and YouTube’s battle squeeze them (us) out?

Time will tell.

Read on….

Big Data – a potential future for indie film revenues?

Over at VentureBeat is an interesting article about melding Big Data into music services – in much the same way that targeted advertising and branded content have been integrated into Instagram (and other) feeds.

Can this also be a source for indie movie makers… beyond what is currently offered by platforms?

It’s an complex issue – and article! – and I haven’t fully got my head around it. But, whenever I see people talking about creative, forwarding thinking ways to generate revenue in other sectors I always wonder… why not film?

Read on! Comment if you have any ideas!

Suffer no illusions – for most of us there is no ‘film business’ any more

It’s pretty grim reading.

Modern cinema icons like Spike Lee, David Lynch, John Waters and more can’t get movies made. As detailed in this somber article from Flavorwire.com, there is no such thing as a mid-budget film any more.

If you think you are going to get into this business and have a career like you imagined your cinema heroes had, you are wrong. Simple as that.

Am I saying don’t try? No. But be aware of the situation out there. And make the most amazing, incredible films you can for the money you can find. Films that appeal to the masses, or a big enough mass, that will get you noticed by studio, press and audience alike.

But it’s going to be tough. For the foreseeable future.