Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Indie Film's Survival Strategy: 2009 and Beyond

Ted Hope over at Truly Free Film has a Top Ten List here outlining what it's going to take to survive the next couple of years:

(Note: I'm going to tweak it a bit here and there)

1) Cut all your budgets by 60% -- but recognize your fee is going down by an even greater percentage;

2) Meet all the marketing, distribution, publicity, social network, widget & app designers, web strategy, & transmedia story world builders you can possibly meet, because "producing the marketing and distribution" of all your films under $4M has become part of the producer's job description -- but recognize that is going to be a major time-suck on your schedule;

Develop contacts above you in the financing and venture capital sectors of the business. Meet people outside of film. Learn.

3)Aggregate viable projects under $500K to build a new media distribution apparatus, recognizing the lack of fees and time suck involved -- but that the low budget is required to experiment with new platforms with unproven financial models and a multitude is necessary to learn;

Experiment. Learn. Repeat what works. Publicize the results. Build the audience for the next one.

4)Continue to try to get one of 10 or so available slots for prestige specialized film budget over $10M so you can actually earn a fee, but recognize the odds are really really low that yours will be the one out of 500 or so that are competing with you;

Yes. The odds are low, but keep submitting anyway because it builds your contact base every time you pitch a project.

5)Do everything you can to get a studio picture and/or television series since they are the only ways to legitimize yourself in the industry's eyes, the quickest ways to promote your brand to potential new fans, and the most likely ways to earn enough money to sustain yourself;

I would also say that a successful web series would do the same thing. If promoted well to the right people it will have the same effect.

6)Spend some time every day building your own audience and deepen their level of commitment to you by you giving back to them regularly -- so that ultimately they will follow you and help promote your work, because you aren't going to be doing it alone;

Blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube muthafucka!

7) Find some other way to earn money on a regular basis since the film industry will remain unstable for a very long time and we all need to pay the bills;

Something like this. Low commitment high return.

8) Fight for affordable health care and education because if you have to go into substantial debt to pay for what should be available to all then you will never be able to consider a career in the arts to begin with or ever again;

Use the resources you have - the internet, local services that are free, etc... Save, save, save. Be thrifty and frugal and learn that you don't need to spend to have fun. Use the library to rent movies and read helpful books.

9) Try to give back to a younger generation who are much different than you (other than their interest in film) because if things don't make some substantial changes soon, their won't be a film industry for you to work in either (i.e. we've all done the same things for too long and the system is broken and we don't seem to know how to fix it) and besides, maybe you will learn something;

Draft these people into service. Put them to work. I would have killed to work on a film set or with one of my mentors when I was a young student. Give them the benefit of your hard-earned experience.

10) Keep your overhead as low as possible forever and ever and ever, as you will need to remain very flexible in the days and months to come.

It's the pulp way isn't it?

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