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The Simple Present

Several web sites & blogs are very deep into the various complexities that indie filmmakers will have to deal with at some point in the future. But, luckily for many of us, the present situation for people who want to make movies outside of Hollywood, distribute them, and run the thing like a small business is still pretty simple - and probably will be so for at least the next couple of years or longer (until everyone stops buying DVDs at least). Stuff I learned about the present moment recently, as it relates to indie filmmaking:

1 - People still like movies, and will pay to see something that interests them, will make time for it
2 - People still buy DVDs
3 - People still go watch movies in movie theaters
4 - The Internet is still free - there are a lot of sites that you can join to build networks, fan bases - and of course you can also blog for the same ends - & blogging is still free
5 - Making movies - real indie movies - is still cheap
6 - Standard Definition shot video can look pretty good if lit well - still - in these days of HD, and can look even better than not-so-well shot HD or HDV when made into a regular DVD, played on a regular TV. Also HD or at least HDV is getting cheaper (saw a great HDV camera for $3K recently, which was and is the cost of several SD MiniDV camera models)
7 - The DIY Path still works well - it is totally possible - still - for someone with a dayjob to make a movie, promote the movie on the web & through word of mouth, set up screenings, make & sell DVDs or pretty much be a working real indie filmmaker.
8 - People are still interested in investing in indie movies.

And maybe, the most important simple fact about the present is that maybe it is not the time period that matters - but the type of person who is dealing with the realities of a given moment - some kinds of people - whether it is the Oscar Micheaux type in the 1930's or the Amir Motlagh types in the tail end of the first decade of the 2000's - find ways to get movies done - regardless of obstacles. So, perhaps what's needed at all times is the simple & overwhelming desire to get movies made & out - & perhaps all else becomes small & manageable. So get that going in your head if you seek to make & distribute indie movies right now - look at the world with a "nothing is too difficult/all things are possible" attitude.

Also, living in NYC or another big city helps :) - lots of creative & personnel options when it comes to making indie movies. Also networking, exhibition options.

So the present situation for making & distributing indie films is still pretty simple. So get working on that movie - it's a brand new year yo. I think this is still the best time period ever for real indie/DIY filmmaking & distribution.

- Sujewa


Anonymous said…
Hey I think your interview is really good and important but I recommend that you don't interrupt your subject when your interviewing them because its distracting to the viewer and the subject. The least amount of interruption is essential to allow the free flow of thought. You are not supporting the interview but guiding it. Also its good if we don't hear your questions and affirmations in the form of uh-huh etc... I feel that hearing just the subjec "feels" more neutral and journalistic and less biased. It also allows us to focus on him or her. I hope you don't take this in the wrong way but I read your blog and I feel your excitement for movies and docs and I want to contribute with my opinion. Peace and the best of luck.
The Sujewa said…
In the blogger doc what's presented are conversations - with the focus mostly on various other bloggers. Yes, they are interviews, but more conversational interviews than just straight Q & A interviews. Just hearing the subject is one way to do an interview doc, but I chose to go another way. Thanks for reading the blog.
Price Jaccobi said…
The one thing I don't feel is so solid for any type of filmmaker is being able to rely on sales of the film alone to get by.

The internet's ability to copy anything you make without your permission seems to make it necessary to build in other ways to make money to be able to continue making films.

I see filmmakers in the future needing to add to their repertoire, maybe taking a page from musicians: touring, selling merchandise.
The Sujewa said…
Yeah Price, true - however - anti-piracy efforts by film studios seem to be stronger than those carried out by the music industry - & such a stance could be carried over to indie work. However, yeah, some people will steal - & that could also lead to more sales
of DVDs - for people who want to own the physical object.

Re: merch & touring - DIY filmmakers have been doing that for decades (John Moritsugu, Greg Pak, etc.) More recently David Lynch has started doing it with his recent projects.

Filmmaker Kelley Baker tours & shows his movies & teaches workshops & sells DVDs & other merch for a living.

So yeah, all potential revenue streams should be explored.

- Sujewa

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