The next trend in real indie film - filmmakers creating distribution companies or similar, larger entities beyond 1-person DIY distribution
But on to the lower levels financially, to the DIY world - this same approach - creating more robust distribution operations for independent/off-Hollywood movies - can be done also by DIY filmmakers.
The difference between this approach - I am calling it Distribution Crews when we apply it to DIY filmmakers & our projects - and DIY self-distribution from 2 years ago is that the former one relied exclusively or mostly on the filmmaker having to get the distribution work done. But in this new approach, the filmmaker would take the role that a DIY/indie writer/producer/director would take during production - organizing & directing several other people in order to accomplish a complex task.
How would this actually manifest in the real world? Let's say I finish a movie, and I want to show it for a week in NYC, and right afterwards I want to sell DVDs of the movie. A year ago I would just have tried to do all the marketing & organizing & the overseeing of screenings work myself - maybe with the help of an occasional volunteer or the hired help of a part time publicist. But for my next fiction feature's release, I am going to look at approaching the release in a fashion similar to production: create division of labor - just as one person is tasked with doing boom mic operation during production, one person or a small team (2-3 people) would be tasked with doing media outreach during distribution. Just as one person is assigned the task of being the Director of Photography during production, one person or a small team would be given the task of creating all promotional material (trailers, ads, posters, etc.) for the release. So on and so forth.
Some filmmakers have wondered how the Distribution Crew will be paid. I guess we solve that problem the way we solve the problem of recruiting & keeping the production crew - working with people who want to support & make the project happen for whatever reason (including developing their own filmmaking & distribution careers) & some pay (from filmmaker/distributors day job, donations, grants, etc.).
Another way to cover the expense of the Distribution Crew is to make less films and use the savings to fund the Distribution Crew's work for an already completed work. So, let's say a given DIY filmmaker plans on making 2 films in a given year that would cost about $3000 each to produce. That filmmaker could just produce one of the two films & then use the remaining $3000 to fund the distribution work on the one completed film.
The Distribution Crew for a DIY feature will not have to be a full time, 5 days a week, all year around operation, as far as I see it now. DIY filmmakers need help when they are about to do the theatrical premiere of their work (whether at a small run, a single DIY screening, or at a festival premiere) & they/we need help when we are releasing the DVD. So, once the work that needs to be done has been clearly identified, the Distro Crew can be pulled together for a couple of weeks perhaps to prep everything, have everything ready to go, when the time comes to promoting the premiere or the launch of the film - or the Distro Crew can be pulled together for work at two separate times - a couple of months before the launch of the film, for a week or so of work, and then the few days or the week leading up the launch of the film and a few days after - to help the filmmaker properly disseminate all the material that has been created to promote the film, do follow ups with media & audiences & business partners, etc.
Will have more, & experience based, info. on the Distribution Crew approach to self-distribution of DIY movies once I do it with my next fiction feature later this year or early next year.