Perhaps people in this situation - filmmakers who are working outside of Hollywood methods (financing from studios, budgets in the millions, using guild labor, etc.) or indiewood methods (smaller version of Hollywood methods) should think about forming an association - a coorperative or a co-op - where labor & resources (including money) can be exchanged in order for each member of the co-op to be able to make & distribute his/her features.
This is how this NYC DIY filmmaker co-op could work:
- Let's say there are four members in the co-op - all writer/videographer/director/editiors who also blog and have some experience with self-distribution and are capable of filling in for any production or distribution role on an ultra-low budget DV feature.
- Let's say I need a sound recordist for my feature shoot in March. Co-op member X can put in 40 hours in March recording sound for me. Let's say I can pay $500 for her services. We come to an agreement on an hourly rate for her sound recording services - let's say $20 an hour. Let's say the film requires 30 hours of sound recording work - so, that would be $600 worth of work. So, me & Member X agree that I would pay her $500 for the work, & that I would owe her $100 worth of work on her project (or I can pay her cash for that if, by the end of the year or some agreed upon point in time, I have not put in $100 worth of work on her project).
- Then let's say Member X needs to promote the DIY screening of her feature in the fall. Let's say 300 media outlets need to be contacted. I owe Member X $100 worth of work, we set my hourly rate at $20, and then I spend 5 hours contacting media outlets & helping Member X publicize her screening.
So on and so fourth.
The four members in this hypothetical co-op will have four times the resources for DIY production & distribution than just any one member of the organization - and that is a major difference in the amount of resources & talent & skills available.
If any NYC based DIY filmmakers (not filmmakers whose career plan includes just being rescued by indiewood or Hollywood - or not people who are solely gambling on indiewood or Hollywood, but artists who already have or are deeply interested in making & distributing their own movies themselves, regardless of whether they end up collaborating with indiewood or Hollywood on some projects in the future) are interested in exploring the idea of a co-op further, get in touch (email@example.com).
We could try it out for a year, & if the experiment is a horrible failure, we could go our separate ways. On the other hand, if the experiment is even a mild success, then we would have a much better way to make & distribute movies than just all of us working alone.
Also, the need for a lot of funds, gear, crew, and possibly even actors would be greatly reduced (or, for some projects, may disappear entirely for some categories of need) if a filmmaker is a member of a healthy & well-functioning co-op. Meaning, if you are a part of a co-op, making movies would be far easier for you.
Here's part of a definition of a cooperative or a co-op, from Wikipedia:
"A cooperative (also co-operative or coöperative; often referred to as a co-op or coop) is defined by the International Co-operative Alliance's Statement on the Co-operative Identity as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. It is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. A cooperative may also be defined as a business owned and controlled equally by the people who use its services or who work at it."
Read more about the concept at Wikipedia. And get in touch if you want to try to start a new DIY filmmaker/self-distributor co-op in NYC.