Jon Reiss: Think Outside The Box Office
In this exclusive video for The Garage’s Production Journals Jon Reiss, director, filmmaker and author of ‘Think Outside The Box Office’, delivers the keynote speech at the 2009 Copenhagen Documentary Festival Forum, talking about the future of independent film distribution, the collapse of the festival acquisition model and the wider marketing challenges facing the contemporary filmmaker.
I’d like to use this film as a starting point for a series of Garage threads and a wider debate on independent film production, distribution and marketing. The crisis of industry that Jon describes in this speech is accurate: but are his proposals for change definitive? We are clearly at a juncture in the development of global film culture: the means of production have been democratised (to an extent), but getting control over distribution remains a serious difficulty for many many filmmakers.
Anyone who’d like to take part (and take this debate seriously), please watch the film and drop your thoughts back into this topic. We have more interviews with producers, distributors and independent filmmakers coming— this is simply the opening shot.
I just got Think Outside The Box Office, and I am modeling my career as a filmmaker with his ideas and experience.
I can see that Jon Reiss has strong vision. There are books, seminars, blogs, websites, advise columns, opinions and classes galore, however, Think Outside The Box Office is different. Vision is important for me so I can create my own decisions. I don’t follow what people say regardless of their fame, success, or guru charisma.
I will post more comments and I love to read comments by other people. Thank you very much for starting this thread.
It is funny Elemenopii, I am finding that some filmmakers think the choices in distribution and marketing are so vast that they want to be told exactly what to do, not make their own decisions. Jon’s book lays out various scenarios and paths to be taken depending on the film. While I think this is great and it would be impossible to dictate the exact path of ALL films, some don’t agree. What do you think?
Also, you may want to talk to Orly Ravid of The Film Collaborative about their non profit venture to help filmmakers navigate distribution. They take no rights to do so. more info www.thefilmcollaborative.org
OK ^ good. I’ll contact Orly, see if we can get an interview.
Sheri, re: filmmakers being overwhelmed by choices and wishing to relinquish responsibility/decision… yes. I hear that. Mentoring filmmakers (esp. documentary filmmakers) is part of my work: day in day out I am faced with the same emails: lost rights, contracts signed without reading small print… what interests me about Jon’s approach is that he identifies marketing and distribution as part of the process of filmmaking, not the afterthought. Organic thinking.
This has been very helpful. As someone who is going to attempt their first feature in the next year, this is the time to start thinking about all of this.
Thanks for posting these and other resources. Please inundate us with them!
T, you got it right. He sees no separation between filmmaking and film distribution/marketing. They are part of the process now and the sooner filmmakers realize it, the better off they will be and the more successful their films will be.
There is an audience for every kind of story, maybe not a big one, but an audience. Know who they are when you are writing. Be able to say to yourself and them, “why am I telling this story, why does it HAVE to be told, in this way?” and that will help differentiate from all other stories. If you can’t answer that question, if you don’t have a differentiator, stop until you can/do have an answer. That is the very beginning of your product development process, basic marketing 101. All products have to do this, film no exception. Then consider who would be interested in it and how do you find them to tell them about it? Online, through organizations, through businesses, through publications, through influential people? and start that process, early!, because it will take time to build up that relationship.
Full disclosure, I am a film marketer and I work with Jon to help promote his book (because I believe in it and it was a book I would have written myself, but he did it first and well!) and I help promote awareness for The Film Collaborative because I believe in their mission to help filmmakers without taking rights away. Both entities promote filmmaker empowerment and I strongly believe in this.
Thank you for the link to www.thefilmcollaborative.org Sheri.
“Organic thinking” is a great way to put it T, and documentary filmmakers are the more self-sufficient and soup-to-nuts kind of people out of all filmmakers. It’s the new landscape I must adapt to, even if I want to have business savvy people do all the business-side of this “Show Business.” My new day job will be internet marketing related from now on.
What I think about: “some don’t agree (that) it would be impossible to dictate the exact path of ALL films,” the genie that grants that wish will give them a collection of books as vast as the number of film ideas in every filmmaker who wants that kind of help. An empty Library of Congress could not accommodate this wish request. You’d be able to see the stack from satellite imagery. They need/want a person-to-person guide.
The choices facing filmmakers in the Industry are too vast already. With old school apprenticeships and studios long gone, the free-lance, corporate jungle is sink-or-swim. The self-taught, self-made stay afloat. It’s a titanic task. Throw in a sinking indie studio system, and everybody is afraid, some in a panic. Especially if you never taught yourself all that the Craft of filmmaking demands of you to tell a compelling story (From Story design and structure, directing actors and performance, dramaturgy, blocking, camera set-up and angles, editing, continuity etc.) Not just by attending seminars and workshops or film school, but by research, study and experimentation by your lonely self. Very few people are willing to do this basic, foundational work. It’s takes extra time, energy, using your noodles. Plus a lot of people look like they are “making it” without doing this bull shitty sounding “building a strong foundation stuff.” The mirage, illusion, delusion and urban myth.
Reading between the lines of Think Outside The Box Office, Jon is encouraging due diligence, hard work, getting creative, adapting to change and good old fashioned ingenuity. All you need is a strong work ethic, an open mind, commitment to the long haul, and (what I think is most important) vision. Long range vision.
Networking with people with common vision strengthens and clarifies my own vision. I may be reading too much into it, but I own it. It will help me when the time comes for large productions, team-working and starting my own legit studio/production company. Creativity is all about making my own decisions with strong and clear vision.
A mouth full, but that’s what I think about what you asked me. Thank you Sheri.
Excellent overall points, Elemenopii. Excellent… As an aspiring filmmaker developing a first feature, I understand.
We are in a huge transitional time with much still up in the air. Personally, I spend 3-4 hours a day trying to wrap my head around what’s going on. So thank you to people like John Reiss who are boiling things down and pioneering the way.
A couple points:
1) John and Sheri (above) advocate a quasi-product development approach to making films. This is where I get stuck with John’s approach. I’m an artist. Yes, I unapologetically claim to be; the dreaded “A-word” in film. Personally, I don’t care, absolutely don’t care who my audience is, will be, will never be, when I am developing my film and even creating it. In the end, I believe, my filmmaking is a personal process, which I hope to share with others. I believe the best films (and all of art) are intensely personal and not catering to any particular taste or preference. During his wonderful speech, John mentions Renaissance artists who worked for commission, yet made their work their own. That may be true, but Michelangelo fought day in, day out with the Pope himself. In fact, the Pope struck the recalcitrant artist with a stick many times. And, in the end, Michelangelo’s work was censored, some parts of the FINAL JUDGEMENT were painted over.
My point is that there is a huge danger when a creator begins considering the tastes and preferences of an anticipated audience. You can do that, but in the end, it will invariably hinder your personal expression, which often leads to the best work!
2) COMMUNITY: God bless John for not only including community in his manifesto, but concluding with it. I love that he proposes we support each other and even buy one another’s movies!!! How great is that. Let’s do it. Let’s stop the competitive, win/loss, Western individualistic limited good mentality. I’m so sick of it…..
Going to respond to some of the comments in turn:
T – totally agree on making the process organic. As filmmakers begin to conceptualize their projects in this way, my hope is that the work will be shared, understood, and made more manageable.
All the points above are great! Another resource that I am working to build is www.ultimatefilmguides.com which is kind of a distribution and marketing yelp for filmmakers. It is still in alpha mode – it has been very DIY in its development – so please bear with us. Over the next few months we will be loading up resources. Check it out – tool around in it. And if you have a resource to submit, comment to make about a service, or even have a story to tell, there should be a place within the site for that. The idea is to provide a place where filmmakers can centralize this disparate knowledge within these changing times.
Please let me know what you think about the site! :) (and if you perhaps have problems using it!)
Ok – so one note above I wanted to address specifically – from Chris at Follow My Film: In the book I make your case, I understand your point of view (being a filmmaker myself). I have created much work with this in mind. I have 2 main responses:
1. Most importantly – using these techniques are about finding the audience that already exists for your film. The web allows you to access about a billion people right now. Eventually more and more. There are people with like minds out there – but you need to connect with them. The earlier you start engaging with them, the easier the process will be.
2. Completely being blind to the marketplace makes it a tougher road for you. If you just make your film – then try to find an audience, it might take a long time. You might also find that the audience for your film, or who you can access, might be very small. So it just might be hard to make some $ back on your film with this approach. However, if you keep your costs low, don’t care about recouping, and are not really worried about if you reach an audience – then who am I to say otherwise. In fact who am I to say otherwise to anything you wish to do. Seriously! My goal is to give guidance to people who want to make this potentially arduous process both easier and more productive for filmmakers, to help their work find an audience.
I also think that some of the best work has come out of constraint – indies work with financial constraint. Michelangelo (and many incredible artists before and after) have dealt with one form of censorship or another. Even if parts of the Sistine Chapel were censored, it is still an amazing work of art. My point is that there is no one way to create, however there are some new methodologies and tools which might make your life easier as an artist.
What do you think?
Chris – I’m posting your comment and my response in my blog – I hope you are ok with that – if not let me know and I’ll take it down.
Thanks for the reply, Jon (and sorry for the misspelling above!).
Of course posting on your blog is cool – I appreciate it.
1) It’s funny you recommend “finding the audience that already exists” for my film. Michelangelo famously believed his sculptures already existed in the slab of marble and he simply needed to release them. I thought your words were quite apropos to the conversation at-large!
And I totally agree. I love that you say that. Personally, I’ve come up with an arbitrary figure of 5,000. I believe there are 5,000 people “out there” who would take serious interest in my current project, which I am chronicling/sharing on-line at FollowMyFilm.com (You may actually appreciate my site and what I’m up to). It’s taking your core principle of finding one’s audience from the start. I’m doing my best….
2) Again, I totally agree with your point about keeping costs low, which I am. I am a huge No Budget Film School/Mark Stolaroff fan and am using his approach, which is basically making a film WITHIN your means, rather than raise money and borrow. And he, like you, believes restrictions often lead to unique solutions that strengthen the project…
3) I haven’t checked out your site Ultimate Film Guides yet and am planning on it. Yes, there are a lot of tools to be used today for marketing, but it’s so overwhelming. At times, I feel like just one of many screaming fans in a giant stadium full of screaming fans. However, I agree with your operative word: CONNECTION. Rather than keep screaming, I’m making an effort to connect with one fan at a time, starting with the painted face man next to me!
Thanks again so much Jon for your passion and genuine desire to see filmmakers like myself thrive!
Jon, I just checked out Ultimate Film Guides and it’s great, thanks!
An awesome resource….
Community. I love this word also. I am grateful to be included. This is our community and the more we make a stand for it, own it, and support it, the stronger it is. I respect Christopher’s value for community, obviously a person of integrity. I wouldn’t be part if I didn’t start reaching out to artists through Facebook. The digital social network got me to enter this “vast and expanding landscape.” Filmmakers and Marketing experts like Jon and Sheri avail of themselves (only 1 Friend Request click away), and serious filmmaker artists like Christopher, Josh and T. are here.
The Follow My Film website is impressive. The entries are thought provoking and have strong aesthetic drive. I enjoyed the Werner Herzog interview by Henry Rollins. He’s got a great show and a great artist himself. Werner Herzog is a Director of the highest caliber. In your meeting with him you discovered his choice to forgo convention and write from instinct and personal experience. That is a sign mastery. I agree with you. You also point to the Impressionist Painters. A beautiful analogy. This is your aesthetic choice also. It’s evident that you know your craft, and have a great mentor in Mark Stolaroff of The No Budget Film School. Now I understand your comment above. You do not compromise your artistic integrity. You also have a firm grasp of technology and the business-side of things. You’ll get your 5000 core followers.
Now I address readers who don’t have Christopher’s solid background. First example, Vincent Van Gogh. Christopher’s Follow My Film website mentions the master of Impressionism with paintings posted. At his start he did not draw well. Those drawings look awkward. He self trained for years to master the Representational art form. He mastered this form, and became part of an aesthetic revolution. Now known as Impressionism. His career was financially supported by his brother, and he died unrecognized, poor, a sort of social leper. Second example, Alain Resnais, high caliber Director of L’année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad). His policy was only spend what he knew he can recoup and break even. He never wavered from his aesthetic vision, was his own boss, and created masterpieces. He broke from convention, is part of The Avant Garde and is well recognized. He broke from convention because he mastered it first. His mastery gives power to his unique, highly personal style. Just like Christopher, he was not catering to someone else’s tastes. Readers, if you break from convention for the sake of breaking from it, and rely on intuition and personal life experience exclusively, history shows you won’t be a free and independent artist. You’ll be a master of stereotype and unoriginality. This topic is discussed ad nauseam by many books in libraries and bookstores.
I equate this to Jon’s point of going into the market place blind. Christopher’s Website Follow My Film has a link to Producer Ted Hope. The forward to Jon’s book Think Outside The Box Office is written by Ted Hope. Jon quotes Ted in his book: “filmmakers have to get beyond the old art-versus-commerce divide. It’s all part of the same process. The sooner we collectively realize that, the better.” To quote Sheri: “Jon’s book lays out various scenarios and paths to be taken depending on the film.” It’s a great resource, buy it and see.
I have a Marketing question for Sheri Moss Candler, but anyone please feel free to answer.
I see internet marketing will develop my filmmaker career. My initial goal is to acquire PMD web marketing skills and market creatively on the internet. My question is what companies and divisions within those companies do I need to target.
Last night I attended a Media Networking Night offered by the Columbia University Center for Career Education. I’m an alumnus so I jumped at the chance to scan the lay of the land. They had eight areas of Media, each represented by a handful of companies, freelancers and alumni. The eight areas were Book Publishing; Broadcast Journalism; Entertainment; Film; Freelance; Online & New Media; PR, Marketing & Advertising; and Print Journalism. I went straight to the PR, Marketing & Advertising table. I met a woman who works for Underscore Marketing LLC. She described digital versus traditional, and how digital targets specific niche audiences, is more effective and flexible than traditional. This sounds perfect. Her client is Chapstick. I realized that I need to narrow my search to a field of choices that serves my career. A film/entertainment audience niche targeting company within the PR, Marketing & Advertising industry. I did not meet a representative from such a company.
Can you please suggest companies and the specific departments and divisions within those companies that I must target. Thank you very much.
Hey Guys, so much great food for thought here. Thank you, Chris, for your generous shout out. It’s exciting to follow your process through your blog. While many filmmakers have blogs that chronicle their filmmaking journeys, I think everyone here will agree that yours is something special. There’s a place you go, an introspection, and an appreciation for the art of it all, in addition to the logistical steps, that makes your blog unique among filmmaker blogs. It’s not much of a leap to imagine that your film will be something special, too.
To your point about thinking about “selling” your film while you’re making it and how that may hinder the creative process, I don’t think you need to worry. I have to imagine, somewhere in the back of your mind, you are imagining someone taking in your work. I know when I was directing, and even now as I collaborate with (writer/director) Henry on our film “PIg” as a producer, I am thinking about the folks who will like our film and making sure that we are delivering to them. This is a natural process, almost unconscious, and I’m not talking about the typical producer-type of audience decision making, (“we need more tits!” “we need to blow something up!”). It’s the reason I got into all of this in the first place—to turn someone on to something I know they’re going to love. Whether I created or I discovered it, there’s a joy to doing that. It’s what inspired me at Next Wave Films and it’s why I created No Budget Film Club.
The good news is that no matter if you’re thinking about who will like your film or not, if you make it for a small enough amount of money, you now have the opportunity to find the audience who appreciates it (appreciates you, your rigor), and that audience doesn’t have to be very large. And that audience will sustain you and your career. Jon says it very well. I have another way of saying it, related to how hard it is to make a good movie. Or in your case, a movie that isn’t designed for a broad audience. Every film has a core audience. And the definition of a core audience is the audience who doesn’t care how good your movie is. It’s the audience that for whatever reason likes your movie no matter what. Your job as master of your distribution destiny is to figure out what those reasons are and then find folks with those reasons. It’s that simple and that hard, but at least the tools are out there to help you dig under rocks for your particular niche, and there are also guides like Jon and Sheri to help along the way.
Very good insight above, ELEM. Thanks for the very thorough reply. It was a joy to read. And thanks for checking out FollowMyFilm!
And thanks for the serious encouragement Mark. As you said, it’s “simple and hard” to find the folks that will appreciate my work, but the tools are available and I need to learn to effectively use them. Even with something as simple as my site, I make intentional decisions every time I post, knowing very well that the content and style of the post may attract someone or it may turn them off!
I’m believing more and more that the key is authenticity and exposure. That’s all you can do and those who resonate will support you….
First of all, great speech, Jon. I’m glad we filmmakers have someone such as yourself out there on the front lines taking bullets for us.
There is some very astute and engaging commentary going on in here – and I say this without the slightest bit of cynicism, but this is exactly what we need right now to shake people out of a communal coma. The digital revolution has indeed arrived, yet I find most filmmakers desperately clinging to the old rules still, a disconcerting truth to say the least. So is it the fear of the unknown, the much maligned theory of digital distribution which has everyone scared stiff and immobile, or is it all remaining unsung for lack of real talent and engaging film ideas? I definitely would have to personally claim it is the former as I know I’ve seen people, armed only with the scraps they’ve fought tooth and nail to obtain who are producing engaging and honest films on their own terms (see The Garage for a great example of some of these films). Yet, perhaps therein lies the rub; the filmmakers are able to truly produce work that looks just like a legitimate film (thank you generic color correcting program) with an actual budget completely independently now and they have access to the entire world as an audience thanks to the proliferation of the internet, so perhaps the fact that filmmakers are now suddenly able to produce the films they want how they want and still have thousands upon thousands of viewers, it negates the need for any sort of “professional” distribution and/or release? Has the entire game shifted so that the inherent value in the work will once again be judged purely on artistic sensibilities and not on a manufactured sense of legitimacy and importance? You can still garner an audience, this has been proven through and through by this new, digital model, but it still remains, what of the filmmakers who are not able, willing or wanting to play in the, more often than not, filthy and crowded sandbox of studios and big money? Where does the true independent find himself in this sea of digital ebb and flow? Follow My film hit the nail right on the head above by saying “I’m believing more and more that the key is authenticity and exposure. That’s all you can do and those who resonate will support you….” I absolutely, whole-heartily agree with this sentiment, but it begs the question: support you how? How can one find a way to make a living off of his work, how has the value of one’s art been displaced by the concepts of file-sharing and free downloads which permeate every nook and cranny of the internet nowadays? How can the average film viewer, who watches and procures the majority of their films from “online” be expected to pay for one particular film, from an unknown filmmaker, when they can simply go and find another film for free? How can one express the value inherent to their work? The distribution model here doesn’t really trouble me; whether the filmmaker is producing and selling physical DVD’s, offering digital downloads or is on a VOD service of some kind – it doesn’t really concern me – and obviously not the consumer either if the statistics concerning piracy can be taken at face value, what does concern me though is the ability to generate some revenue off of your hard work. How does one become a ‘professional’ filmmaker outside of the studio system, even the independent studio system?
Is social networking the key; creating a wide internet presence and identity that will establish you as someone who should be listened to due to the sheer fact that many other “virtual identities” do as well in a virtual world? Perhaps, it is undoubtedly a most important piece of the puzzle, but as for the full answer to the overall question I can unfalteringly say ‘of course not’. the community which Jon speaks of is an essential key and we in the Garage recognize this and have been rabidly trying to facilitate a means to the community at large that was not available to them before, so in that sense the “social networking” aspect is indeed utterly important and without a doubt part of the answer to my question posed above. Yet what i believe it really comes down to is this: Do you offer compelling reasons as to why someone should spend their hard earned money to own or view your film? I think you have to. You have to instill some of the value usually associated with physical goods back into the 1’s and 0’s of your digital content: there has to be a selling point other than your brilliant filmmaking talents. That sounds defeatist and condescending perhaps, but I honestly believe it to be true, whether you’re Fellini or Ed Wood – you have to have offer some compelling reason for a consumer to purchase your work. There needs to be content outside of the film, it may sound like a sad compromise, insinuating that the work cannot stand on its own merits, but I do mean that at all. People have simply become more stringent with their money, we are still in a glaringly obvious recession still in the USA after all, so why shouldn’t people be more particular about who they give their money to? There needs to be value to your product in a very literal sense, they need the most ‘bang for their buck’ and you need to offer it to them to stand out from the crowd. What is this ancillary content supposed to be? the requisite “bonus materials” that are found on most DVD’s? The usual suspects of deleted scenes, commentaries, trailers, etc., ad nauseam? Yes, yes of course, that is all par for the course – but I think it misses the bigger picture of the revolution these new works are being created within – there is and must be a new type of content that we independent filmmakers can offer up to the audience that films produced through a studio system could not due to various avaricious legalities which shall (and should!) remain unmentioned. We need to offer people something they cannot get anywhere else, something which transcends the passive nature of the accepted forms of ancillary content – we’re using an interactive and limitless digital medium to deliver these films to the world – so our options are limitless as to what we can offer up to enhance that experience. Who is going to be the first to wow the ‘world’ with a new and exciting experience attached to a film and what will it look like exactly? Who knows, but the point is we need to point our mental compasses towards what I see as the new true north. We need to figure out not only the why of our own personal artistic processes, but the how of truly engaging a new type of audience that has been led to believe an artist’s output can be freely taken and dispersed to anyone they desire simply because it is has been made available somewhere, in some form which can be copied and reproduced.
But these are just my rambling thoughts rolling around in my head as I consider the ideas that Jon has brilliantly and succinctly proposed.
What up, SG? Lots and lots of thoughts! Thanks for sharing….
First and foremost, call me an idealist, but I truly believe people deep down want to support others, help others. However, there is a caveat: there usually needs to be something in it for them and/or some bigger purpose.
You mention digital theft. Well, people will always want tangible items and personal appearances, which cannot be copied. People want originals and will pay handsomely for them. Jon mentions such things in his speech: original artwork associated with the film, posters, autographed stills, personal notes, etc.. And appearances are always welcomed too. Even with Skype, Twitter and all that, we still prefer flesh and blood and will go out of our way to meet the real person we support.
And now the “bigger purpose” I speak of. There is something deeply rewarding about supporting a cause much larger than us. The millions that were raised for Haiti is just one example. But what about a filmmaker? I believe a filmmaker him/herself can become larger than life. And I believe a film can become that way too. I believe this is what Jon means when he recommends the creation of an “event.” But whereas he speaks of one literal event, i.e., a kick-ass screening of the film, I feel the filmmaker him/herself and the film can be an ongoing “event.” With continual buzz developing and the whetting of people’s appetites, filmmakers and their films can become ongoing events. And people want to get involved, follow along, and support in all ways. It gives their lives meaning, excitement, and inspiration. They want to read the filmmakers’ journal, meet him/her, watch their film and tell everyone about it.
To me, the challenge is creating this type of larger, on-going event. For someone like me, who hasn’t made any notable films, it’s so seriously hard. Very few care about me and my films. And that’s the way it ought to be. I believe if I am good, original, audacious and intelligent, I will become an event people will follow and support. Of course, I need to be intentional and implement strategies like those Jon advocates; however, as we all know, I won’t amount to crap without the “goods.” I can wow and lure people to a screening of my first feature, but if it sucks, then the event is OVER immediately. But if it resonates with a few people, hopefully most, then the event continues. They will follow along, stay in-touch and subscribe to my outlets. But I must continue the event. That’s my responsibility. I need to continue delivering the goods.
But as I said, the beginning is so stinking hard!!! And that’s where COMMUNITY comes in. I need help! I can’t do it alone in my apartment. I need fellow filmmakers to inspire, mentor, support me. I need friends and family to do the same. I need to develop a core of support and catapult off them. They will be my springboard. But, again, without the goods, I’ll be diving straight into the shallow end!
What an incredibly affirmative video, and how timely. All of my recent jobs in the independent film industry have been specific to marketing and distribution, but I’ve been having a minor crisis as of late regarding my future in those fields, so it was really nice to hear Mr. Reiss talk about their importance so eloquently. I’m particularly interested in his discussion of the general stigma against marketing, as well as the other economic vectors of filmmaking. It’s something that I’ve encountered not only externally (e.g. the pervasive assumption that marketing or distribution is a temporary stepping stone to the ultimate goal of directing or acting) but also an internal anxiety – the sense that marketing, distribution or any other economic vector is something that separates us from the process of authentic filmmaking, or even the process of authentic film criticism. I very much appreciate the idea of integrating marketing and distribution strategies into the production process, since it could help solve the problem of proximity and its surrounding anxieties, and create space for these fields to exist as necessary elements rather than necessary evil. I’m not sure, however, that I agree with the claim that marketing and distribution figures shouldn’t be trained in the technical elements of filmmaking, not just because I think it could further the sense of distance (and consequent negative evaluation) between marketing and filmmaking but also because I think it would prevent the possibility for a model of film education that integrates all the necessary components of filmmaking – I’d much prefer a model in which marketing professionals were trained to operate cameras and camera operators were likewise educated on the role that marketing and distribution play in the filmmaking process.
@ Follow My Film : EXACTLY! Yes, now we’ve got a full plate of meat and potatoes…
The event, the “ancillary” feature I side-stepped in my original post – that is what the internet can give you which a DVD cannot – something which extends beyond the physical product you can hold in your hands and complements the film as a further digression, a more tactile experience to live along with it. Now of course there are and always have been events for film and filmmakers, I’m not proclaiming this as something special – but someone who has stature, who has prominence can do that, even a minor celebrity. But a completely unknown filmmaker, with a few short films to his credit? No way is a theater manager or a bookstore or a whatever going to sit down with you and discuss hosting an event, unless you’re really damned charming that is… but see, this is where the Garage comes in. Allow me to explain.
I referred to the internet rather petulantly, I didn’t mean to portray it as a bastion of Piracy and ill-repute – I love the internet and think it is the most powerful tool an artist can be blessed with these days, besides his art of course… but that probably goes without saying. Anyway- back to the crux of what I’m getting at here – what you called “…(a) larger, on-going event.” is precisely what needs to be advocated, so thank god that Jon had many greatly informative things to say about it – and more importantly, that many people listened to him… hopefully they take note of its true pertinence. This is what Garage is all about though – from the beginning we’ve wanted to extend it beyond the internet, turn the “digital community” into a real, flesh and blood community that just so happens to also be meticulously connected and supportive in the online world. All focusing on film, and not just film – but independent filmmakers who have no other outlet that seems as open and as accepting of your ideas… we like to spend the time considering your work, we like to try and find the next Kubrick.
As you said, “…the beginning is so stinking hard.” and that is precisely why Garage is here; we want to give you guys the power to walk into a real life brick and mortar cinema and arrange showings, give speeches at events, “market” the hell out of it and draw a crowd. I don’t mean to sound like a pretentious braggart, but it is true. We have some power and we want to distribute it to those who do not currently have it. Shake up the entire system. That’s what this new cinematic revolution is all about; snatching the keys away from the gatekeepers who have turned art into cheap, disposable commerce. Don’t take that as a slanderous comment towards the necessity of commerce and ‘professional’ film, far be it from me to have the gall to make such a ridiculously naive statement. Money and commerce will always be a part of making films; we just want new gatekeepers – actually we just want to prop the gates open, let some of the rebels run about unchecked for a while, see what comes of it…
So yes; the event – the event that we can help people like you and I create. That is the new “extra feature” the power to the people, for lack of a better term. Screenings for even the most unknown and novice of filmmakers in real life, meetings, conversations, festivals, inspiration, personalized physical goods, access and collaboration. This is what people want, this is what this revolution is here for – to truly connect the fans to the art in very literal ways. By leaving the gates open so fans can wander in, we want to foster this communion with the authors themselves, to take down all the curtains and display candor and a real personality with the audience. Not to destroy anything, but to evolve beyond the little plastic discs and color photographs, word made flesh. Help us make it the rule and not the exception.
Also, as an aside, I should clarify that much of what I’m saying is parroting things Jon said in his sublime speech, so please, go watch the speech if you haven’t yet, so you can see the muddled points I’ve attempted to make above in a much more succinct and unambiguous way. Giving the audience the option to consume your art in the forms they want, is the decisive point that artists who find themselves working in this new internet based distribution world need to be able to clearly discern.
Thanks for the reply, S.G. The Garage is out of the womb now and in its infancy. And I’m glad to be in the crib! Looking forward to all that the future holds for Garage.
You state, "That is what Garage is all about though – from the beginning we’ve wanted to extend it beyond the internet, turn the “digital community” into a real, flesh and blood community…"
With that, hopefully there will be physical Garage screenings set-up in the future around the world. I know, one step at a time, we’re still in the crib! :)
Thanks again for all your contribution to Garage and for all others who are working so hard to make it happen….
User name update: ELEMENOPII has changed user name to JUN KITATANI
Advice from SHERI MOSS CANDLER to me: Elemenopii use your real name, it helps to build your brand.
@ Jun Kitatani
What brand are you?
LOL is a very popular brand, you must be an excellent marketeer.