If you want to be an independent filmmaker in today’s rapidly changing environment, you face a very steep learning curve. Even experienced filmmakers are throwing up their hands in despair, and if I see another death-of-cinema article in a national magazine I think I’m going to scream.
There is a big disconnect going on in the film world right now. More films are being produced than ever before in history, but movie theaters are going out of business like crazy, particularly in smaller towns and cities that don’t have art-house cinemas.
Our view of the movie industry is warped by the Hollywood blockbuster mentality and by the celebrity-worship that passes for arts coverage in the major media. Unless it has mega-millions behind it, unless it has some kind of celebrity endorsement, we think it’s not worth paying attention to. So, theaters go dark while great movies go unseen.[ Read More → ]
It’s sad that so many good films never get beyond the festival circuit. They get a buzz, some nice reviews, maybe even win an award, but they don’t get distribution deals and then they disappear, never to be seen again. Many filmmakers still think that their job is finished when the film is done, that it’s somebody else’s job to promote it. That’s where they’re wrong.
I’m writing this in a noisy hotel lobby at the Americana Music Association festival/conference in Nashville. It’s a market, like film festivals used to be, where music buyers and music sellers meet and try to do business.
In the music business, the major record labels have imploded, radio doesn’t have the impact that it once did, physical record sales are at the lowest point in 40 years, no single distribution platform has emerged to take the place of CDs, live performance is a more significant source of income than recordings, and artists are learning to do everything for themselves.[ Read More → ]
When I finished Troubadour Blues in summer 2011, I had big ideas about getting into film festivals, and I wasted a lot of time and money on festival submissions. I got a lot of rejection letters before deciding to go it alone. I don’t want to knock festivals in general, but they seem very closed to “outsider” entries like my film.
Instead, I’ve been booking my own screenings in small non-theatrical venues (music clubs primarily, but also coffee shops, bars, public libraries, classrooms, and, once, a yoga studio). I try to get one firm booking nailed down for a given area, and then try to fill in around it by contacting likely venues to see if they’re interested. There is a lot of reinventing the wheel involved as I learn to be my own booking agent, but there don’t seem to be any booking agents working with films on this level.[ Read More → ]
MOVIES TRY TO ESCAPE CULTURAL IRRELEVANCE New York Times article on what it means to have a big-time TV producer as host of the upcoming Academy Awards celebration.
IS FILM DEAD? The Guardian’s film critic Tom Shones thinks not, and lambastes critics who have been wringing their hands over the “death of cinema.”
ARE THE MOVIES FINISHED? Review of new book by New Yorker film critic David Denby, who argues that Hollywood needs to start making movies for adults.
HAS HOLLYWOOD MURDERED THE MOVIES? Denby’s article in The New Republic sums up the main argument of his book.
THE DISTRIBUTION STRANGLEHOLD Interesting post about the politics of theatrical and DVD distribution on Pete Roberts‘ DVDActive blog.