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Adventures in Self-Releasing: Independent vs. Dependent

Adventures in Self-Releasing: Independent vs. Dependent

Blog - Adventures in Self-Releasing

Just wrapped up my first “Business of Independent Film” workshop this weekend. I loved doing it and have decided to offer it again November 21 and 22. I wanted to share just a few things I covered in the workshop and a few other things that have come to my attention this week.

I began the workshop by telling everyone that, more than anything, I wanted to try to teach everyone to be more independent rather than dependent moviemakers. And then I went on to define.

A dependent moviemaker:

a. Doesn’t know how to raise money.
b. Doesn’t know what to do with his/her movie once the movie’s finished.
c. Doesn’t think he/she should have to worry about anything but making his/her movie.

An independent moviemaker, on the other hand:

a. Can take a project from beginning to end.
b. Can do all three phases of the process:
1. Raise the money.
2. Make his/her movie.
3. Put his/her finished movie out into the world.

The upside of being a dependent moviemaker is you have more people to help you, and you have more time and energy to spend on just making movies. The downside of being a dependent moviemaker is that you are always waiting for someone to grant you permission to make your movie and/or the permission to put it out into the world.

I firmly believe that the old way of handling the distribution of independent movies is clearly broken. And that NO ONE, myself included, knows exactly what the new successful model will be.

But I do know that it’s more necessary than ever for moviemakers to take some responsibility in building their audiences. Theoretically speaking, if you’re a moviemaker and build your audience to 10,000 people and make a movie whose budget is congruent with the size of your audience, then you should at least be able to break even financially. And, I believe if you can prove that you can make movies that at the very least break even every time, you can make movies any time you like.

Many of the people inspiring me right now seem to be operating under the same, basic idea. These people are:

Peter Broderick

Jon Reiss

Marc Rosenbush

Ted Hope

I recommend reading Hope’s speech from this week’s Toronto International Film Festival. All of these guys above now, to me, seem prerequisites for anyone who is setting out to make an independent movie.

Also to keep an eye on: A fellow moviemaker this week told me about Fathom (www.ncm.com/Fathom). Curious what everyone knows about them.

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors.

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