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06-28-2007, 06:26 PM
We just came back from the debut of an independent film called I Was There. It was a interesting concept about a student filmmaker whose Dad buys him an old video camara at a garage sale so that he can fix it up and sell it. In the camera is a video tape of a kid's birthday party and a guy who looks like a 60-yr-old John Lennon, playing guitar and singing. The rest of the movie is about the filmmaker's quest, along with his filmmaker girlfriend, to find the guy in the video and determine whether he is really John Lennon. I Was There is filmed as though they have filmed their own documentary of this journey.

It was actually quite a good film, although it ran a little slow. I was surprised at the end, to find that it was only about 1.25 hours long. It felt longer.

My post isn't actually about the film. It's to ask, what do independent filmmakers do with their film after its made? This guy spent two years making this movie. He wrote it, co-produced it, directed it, and even wrote all the music himself (and it had a very impressive soundtrack!). This movie was his dream, and he's made it. But now what does he do with it?...

BTW, tonight's show was not a public viewing. It was by invitation only and we didn't pay to see it, so there was no profit (or recovering costs) to be made.

06-28-2007, 07:29 PM
Try and find a buyer/distributer and get it played perhaps in a circuit or if a major studio gets the film than perhaps it can get some serious recognition and such. Oh and one last thing....spend the next few years trying to pay back all of the people that they had to borrow money from just to get the darn thing made.

06-28-2007, 07:33 PM
I know a guy that makes documentaries.

Yeah, the object is to get it seen, create even a little buzz that you can then use to leverage a distribution company.

That's the old business model, who knows how it works now. Put it on youtube.

06-28-2007, 08:11 PM
This thread remind of film director Robert Rodriguez back in 1992 which made his first movie El Mariachi on budget of $7,000. That movie got such a buzz that Columbia Picture put him on the contract to remake movie with much bigger budget.

I guess that is dream of most independent movie makers that just starting out.

06-29-2007, 04:14 AM
So would this be like the equivalent of an EP in the music biz? You don't expect to make money off that project on its own, but you hope that it shows off your talent enough that someone will sign you for something bigger and better?

06-29-2007, 09:37 AM
So would this be like the equivalent of an EP in the music biz? You don't expect to make money off that project on its own, but you hope that it shows off your talent enough that someone will sign you for something bigger and better?

I suppose that's a pretty fair comparison. A lot has changed in the world of Indy filmmaking over the past decade or so, mainly because of digital filmmaking becoming more popular and the fact that now a student can make an entire film for a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand. Back in the day it was nearly impossible to make a film on your own without the pre-existing help of a studio, and the studio system. Directors worked exclusively for certain studios, almost like baseball players playing for a certain team. Although, just like in baseball, sometimes it doesn't work out and the director has to find a new team to play for.

Things like YouTube are exposing a whole new medium of filmmaking as well, in which quality is not a factor as much as creative content. There are some really gifted people out there that are getting exposure via the web and the opens up the floodgates for new things. What better way to get your film out there than by millions of people on YouTube, it's free!

07-09-2007, 08:50 AM
i'll chime in my two cents.

i don't think the indie world has changed as much as people think it has. what was once indie is now considered guerilla, and what was once indie is now considered "studio light" for lack of a better term. when you have sony pictures classics, or Warner Independent footing your bill, it's a little different than maxing out the cash advances on 10 credit cards to pay for your movie and shooting at nights in a locked in convenience store.

the 'career fair' for the indie world of actors/directors/writers/etc is the film festival circuit. however, within that circuit there are only a handful of festivals where deals actually happen. for the most part, most film festivals are shams or just major vanity projects on a big scale (big being relative). if you want to sell your movie, you get into the festivals.

documentaries however, have a different route. there is the IFP forum/festival where documentaries and works in progress can be shown. this is a true market place where the works are shown specifically to the people who will buy them or help guide the work into a sellable state. my director friend sold his documentary here.

to take the rodriguez (and kevin smith) example. they both made their movies (on film btw) on shoe string budgets and submitted them directly to studios and to the film festivals. Clerks (through fortune, luck, whatever) got into Miramax. harvey weinstein watched it and walked out in the first 10 minutes. the movie was thrown out of miramax. however, clerks was championed by a (i forget the technical name) Selling Producer who took it under his wing and helped get it into sundance. harvey was invited again to watch it with a live audience and saw how much everyone loved it. he walked with kevin smith to the cafe across from the theater and made him an offer right then. and... the legend continues. however the Clerks that you rent at the movie store is not the same Clerks that was shown in sundance. miramax added the multi-million dollar soundtrack and cleaned it up (technically speaking, not content)

rodriguez had a similar route with el mariachi, and rodriguez truly revolutionized guerilla filmmaking imo, taking the story telling medium in a whole 'nother direction.

sundance is pretty much the gold standard for film festivals. the only problem now, is that it is no longer independent. if your movie plays In Competition at sundance, you are pretty much guaranteed a distribution deal. however only 16 movies play In Competition. They show an additional 90+ (i think it might be 200 total) movies at Sundance, and if you're movie shows there, it's still a big deal, but... you have to hussle waaaaay more to build any hype or get any business out of it.

What was once an open competition for those 16 spots however, is now a competition for 1-3 spots among the indie community. The rodriguez's and smith's of the world now, will not be competing with Little Miss Sunshine et al for the main 10-12 spots of movies In Competition at Sundance, they are competing against each other for those last few spots. The competition has gotten even more fierce now.

Cannes, being more of an international festival, has usually 1 or maybe 2 spots for an american movie to make it in. If you want to submit to cannes, you'll be competing against the likes of tarantino, robert altman, clint eastwood etc. for that spot. good luck.

With the advent of digital however, nothing has truly changed in the main stream of the industry. so much so, that if you submit your movie to any of the main festivals, and check off that "DV/Digital" checkbox as to your medium, you have a HUGE HUGE stigma attached to your movie before the judges even view it. Film still rules in hollywood, and in the film festival circuit. HD is making a push, and has some recognition now. But if you are not shooting on at least 16mm film, you are in trouble.

The film community has a bit of a snobbery view on dv and the digital push. the quality is not there yet, and HD has gotten extremely close to film, but film is still king (imo, and in the opinion of anyone i've ever worked with or talked to, wit hthe exception of Robby Rod (not that i've talked with him, but everything i've read on him) he's the pioneer of digital and the way he works, it suits him and his style and his stories, AND, most importantly, he knows how to use that medium the right way, unlike 99.99% of people who shoot digital.

alrighty, i've bored ya all long enough :)