As our filmmaking colleagues from around the world prepare for the Cannes Film Festival, over here in Raindance HQ in London we filmmakers and screenwriters watch the Cannes festivities with bemusement. What originally a celebration of film has turned into something of a circus,
Filmmakers the world over can pause for reflection each May. Here are fourteen reasons why:
1.There’s never been a better time to make movies
Everyone is screaming for content. The traditional distribution platforms of TV stations, webcasters and movie theatres are all looking for movies. They are joined by the internet powerhouses of Youtube, Vimeo and now Netflix and Amazon Studios. They’re all looking for content or product. The trick is, of course, to monetize one’s content at an amount greater than the production budget.
2.VoD is really taking off
Netflix is soaring past 100 million subscribers in 40 countries. Now filmmakers can try and figure out how to use VoD sales projections in their film finance packages.
3.Crowdfunding is coming of age
Zac Braff and Veronica Mars were so hugely successful that millions of more people became aware of crowdfunding as an alternative film finance source. This means more funders for YOU!
4.Raindance launches Raw Talent
Still in the soft launch stage, Raindance’s production arm, Raw Talent is slowly edging higher and higher over the parapet. This means more opportunities to get your movies made than ever before. Currently, we are about to launch production of Amber.
5. New super lightweight cameras
Not only are the new electronic cameras small, but the image quality is sublime. My guess is that a third of the movies we screened this year at Raindance were shot on cameras so small they literally fit in your palm (if not your cell phone). Add onto that, they are super cheap to own – opening up an moonlighting career as a camera owner-operators.
6. Phones and tablets – the new cinema screens
Board any commuter train at rush hour in the UK and you will see commuter after commuter with their noses buried deep in their hand-held devices watching everything from the news, sports and movies. What’s great about this is that it allows filmmakers to push their movies out to new audiences through iTunes, Youtube and Distrify – not only to get seen but to earn money as well.
7. Super small projectors
New small projectors can be carried easily in a backpack and can project from your cell or tablet using battery power. Now you can set up a screening anywhere you happen to be: in a park or a pub. Get some great content and a kicking sound system and the world’s your theatrical oyster.
8. New visions of collaboration
New technological advances have sparked new collaborations between artists working in different genres. Check out Montrealer Vincent Morisset’s work and marvel at the possibilities. It’s the new frontier where few have ventured yet. Be a collaborative pioneer!
9. Second screen
Speaking about frontiers, what about making apps that go along with your movies? Dubbed ‘second screen‘ which means a second screen, like a cell phone or tablet that you watch along with your TV programme to enhance the experience and interact. Programme something exciting and your content will zip to the head of acquisition director’s shopping list. Here are 5-second screen apps that are shaping social TV.
10. Social TV
TV isn’t dead, it’s become social TV. Apps and interactive features that allow you to fiddle with your remote, your cell or notepad are exploding on the market. Can you be the first to integrate this into a narrative movie or documentary? For example, BBC current affairs series Free Speech incorporates a Twitter-based panellist approval platform called the Power Bar. Watch and tweet in your approval or disapproval of the panellist’s comments. Figure out how to integrate these features into a dramatic storyline and you (and your banker) will have much to be thankful for.
The gaming industry has developed storytelling to the point where it offers viable alternatives for filmmakers. Not only has the gaming industry’s animation techniques spawned technology useful to filmmakers, so too has gaming influenced storytelling. Watch. Play. Learn!
12. Social media
Thank the gods for social media. Loathe it or love it, social media has now enabled anyone with the ability to tell a story, to be able to sell a story. Check out Ryan Koo’s Nofilmschool.com or Philip Bloom’s excellent blog, or screenwriter William C. Martell’s scriptsecrets.net. Each of these blogs provides interesting information and stories, and earn the owners money.
The beauty of the internet also means that filmmakers can now sell directly to the public. Earn money from ads served against your movie on Youtube, like the British filmmaker, screenwriter and entrepreneur extraordinaire Dave Reynolds with his micro-budget genre masterpiece Zomblies now earning enough from Youtube to pay a salary of a production assistant. If you want to see a Who’s Who of Youtube’s money makers, check them out here.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s just too damn tough out there in the indie film world. Tough, it may be. But there is much to be thankful for.
Have I forgotten anything? You can always comment below