"This industry has become increasingly polarised, with more higher-budgeted productions that rely on formula and commercially viable concepts on the one hand, and more very under-funded struggling independents on the other. Today, the middle ground that spawned a film like Dead or Alive simply no longer exists. The yakuza genre has essentially become dormant once again - it certainly will never again be what it was during the 1990s. Production and distribution companies from that middle tier are going bankrupt at an alarming rate."
We are seeing this market condition since last year - something Bill Martell and I discussed over the phone on my bus ride back from the American Film Market.
It's not pretty and it's certainly convoluted, but it points a way toward a possible future for media. Part of the problem of the middle ground markets for indie films falling away is the belief on the part of the companies that there would always be a middle ground.
Hollywood and its indie offshoots has always been notorious in its ability to run something into the ground, wring every last penny out of it and discard the dried husk (One too many cliche's this morning guys, sorry). Then they move on to the next big thing. They don't develop new markets until a gun is absolutely, positively pointed at their temple and the hammer is pulled back.
But life doesn't work like that does it?
I am bullish on new technologies and platforms to get movies into the hands of consumers. I don't think that's going to include theatrical exhibition unless you've made a movie for over $5M. I just don't see the return on investment being equal or greater than cost.
(Of course I'm the guy who, if given $10M would make 10 movies for $1M each instead of one movie for that $10M).
So, the key is to move onto other platforms and systems and develop them yourself before you are forced to do so by market condition and you're trying to save your job. The old saying applies here:
The time to look for a new job is before you need one.