MovieMaker.com Interview Questions: Vince Di Pierro/INDIEROAD.NET
Submitted by Jessica Wall
As any independent moviemaker knows it can often be an uphill battle to bring a film to audiences. After years of attending festivals and watching great movies fall victim to lackluster distribution deals, Vincent Di Pierro created INDIEROAD.NET. The groundbreaking website takes advantage of a new avenue of distribution by allowing users to stream or download selected independent films and soundtracks off of the Internet, often for less than a dollar a film.
The films featured on INDIEROAD.NET are all independently produced and must be reviewed by a panel of judges before being accepted into the online distribution network. Di Pierro believes that “the site will provide a channel for fresh new talent that deserves to be recognized by connecting them to fans, industry leaders, and film festivals around the world.” Charging less than Blockbuster (and featuring a free weekly short series) for films handpicked by experts INDIEROAD.NET is great opportunity for movie-lovers as well as moviemakers.
He has spent over three decades working in the entertainment industry as everything from top executive to comedy writer and now Di Pierro shares with MM how his experiences on both the creative and business end of moviemaking inspired the founding of INDIEROAD.NET.
1) Not only did you spend 24 years as a Warner Brothers film executive, but you’ve also served as a unit production manager on The Deep (1977) and a location scout manager for Midnight Express (1978). In what ways did your own hands-on film experience contribute to the founding of INDIEROAD.NET?
Being involved in production with a large studio machine I realized how many facets of a production are so critical for the final product. Having experienced this, I can appreciate what an independent filmmaker has to endure, using only a fraction of the production budget of a studio. When judging at a film festival, I was able to understand what the independent filmmaker was able to utilize based on his slim to non-existent budget. Although many films were screened, few got distribution. Unfortunately this was bitter reality. There needed to be a profitable alternative distribution channel. INDIEROAD.NET’s philosophy shares a portion of the streaming/download fees as well as a percentage of the individual original soundtracks with the filmmaker. Future plans will include a share of all advertising revenue as well. The revenue sharing model is what separates INDIEROAD.NET from all the others.
2) What makes a film right for distribution through INDIEROAD.NET?
I believe that the following criteria are essential for a film on INDIEROAD.NET:
1. Expression of imagination
2. Risk taking
3. Controversy/pushing the limits
4. Not necessarily a mainstream subject
5. High production values
3) Online film downloads and streaming are great ways to bring exposure to independent moviemakers. In your mind is online presentation a replacement for traditional distribution or a means to get often overlooked films better distribution deals?
INDIEROAD.NET is both. It is an alternative means of distribution/exhibition for lesser-known films as well as, what I believe to be, the new medium for film delivery.
4) From your days as a Director of Merchandising for Casablanca Records to the years you spent as a script doctor for the sitcom “Friends,” you have a wealth of experience in the entertainment industry. Of all your many jobs, which one do you feel taught you the most about how to handle the industry? Why?
The combination of hands on physical production and marketing/merchandising that product to the market has allowed me to synergize the two. I appreciate the filmmakers’ artistic intent as well as their financial limitations and struggles in today’s marketplace. INDIEROAD.NET provides the filmmakers the opportunity to have their visions seen over the widest possible pipeline, giving them the marketing conduit to capture countless eyeballs and also realize direct financial gain.
5) Although you appear to be booked to capacity right now (besides being INDIEROAD.NET’s Creative Advisor, you are also on the advisory committee of the Arizona International Film Festival and are often a guest lecturer at film schools) are you involved in any future moviemaking projects?
Currently my focus is dedicated to the success of INDIEROAD.NET, however, we are looking to expand our market by creating our own in house productions as well as webisodes for our site.