The Filmmakers Channel approach to indie film distribution is articulated clearly in the quote below from Filmmaker Magazine. We completely agree that in the internet multi-verse world audience aggregation is the best way for filmmakers, film festivals and distributors to connecting films to their audience. Regardless if your a filmmakers, festival owner, or operator or a film distributor this is what you’ll find as our singular focus; connecting the creators of content to their target audience.
The future of independent film is not in content aggregation, which is quickly becoming commoditized, but in audience aggregation. Filmmakers need to find ways to create an ongoing conversation with potential viewers…one that will start early in the process and continue long after the film is finished.
About The Filmmakers Channel
The Filmmakers Channel is dedicated to providing an alternative to mainstream media by creating low-cost indie film distribution mediums for filmmakers, artists, teachers, trainers, video entrepreneurs and others to expose their messages and expertise to a global audience. Through a unique mix of video display technology, proprietary software and the power of WordPress, The Filmmakers Channel seeks to take advantage of the promise of the Internet by connecting content creators directly to their audiences.
Indie Film Distribution -Reinvention Starts Here
Indie Film Distribution and The Internet
The internet is having an impact on film and video distribution in ways that are profound and it’s happening so fast that it is difficult to comprehend. It”s hard to get your hands around if you try and make the internet and film relationship fit into a movie theater, popcorn and Hollywood posters paradigm where film is simply entertainment. The internet is the inter -connected world mind, where everyone’s brain is extended through a website, blog, or some type of net identity and is taking this simple entertainment notion and making it the one dimensional limitation that it is.
The internet and the connected one-world mind is so much more complex because it is an extension our body/brain/mind and the information flow across synapses is not any different the information across networks and what this means is that to the extent that we can imagine now is that films become information media expression that is moving back and forth within and between networks not just for the purpose of entertaining people but also for informing people and growing the world mind.
What this pragmatically means is that filmmakers and the modern video entrepreneur will better serve their self interest if they think outside the film entertainment box. Don’t get me wrong I love to be entertained as much as the next person but the time has come to start thinking beyond big aggregation destinations such as Amazon or Netflix.
- How Many Websites Are There in The World?
Lets say I have a personal blog, or a business related blog that is all about baseball and I sell old baseball cards, or t-shirts, hats, etc. My target audience, the people I cater to, like me love baseball. They love the old heroes, such as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott and alike and they especially love the folklore that goes hand in hand with those memories.
Well, as the owner of a baseball paraphernalia website, one day I encounter an independent film about Babe Ruth, or maybe some unknown minor leaguer who just has a great story to tell; real powerful baseball folklore. Now as a baseball card website owner, I am always looking for new ways to get more traffic, get the traffic I do get to stay longer and get the traffic I get to buy more of my baseball stuff.
Getting more traffic and targeted traffic means high quality content that people like. So after watching this baseball movie about Babe Ruth, I think how it would be a great idea if I could offer the film to my audience. Then in the middle of my wonder, notice that there’s a button below the film labeled “Adopt Film”. My curiosity gets me and I click and within a minute, find an email in my inbox with the text and the code I need to place the film on my website. Now I can offer this great Babe Ruth movie to my audience. I get great content, my visitors appreciate it and maybe I sell more of my stuff!
Every film or video listed via our channel, or through a website we provide is supported by our “Adopt A Film” software that allow anyone within ear shot to click a button and get all the text and code sent to them by email. They only have to copy and paste into their website. If you know anything about article marketing it’s a very similiar concept except with film.
Now here’s a question. How many websites are there on the planet? They all want traffic. They all need and are competing for really good high quality content and I can guarantee that there has to be a lot more websites then there are available films.
- Filmmakers Building Their Own Distribution Network
So I can hear you saying; “Yeah but why would they want to adopt a film unless they’re going to get paid?” I agree there are going to be some who will not want to put anything on their website unless they get a slice of the pie (or film can). In our world the decision to share or not to share revenue starts and ends as a business decision by each individual filmmaker and the system we have put together can support both models.
The Adopt-A-Film software is fully integrated with auto responder technology so any act of adoption will notify the filmmaker and if the adopter has traffic large enough quantities of traffic it would only make sense to share revenue from the sale of their film. So it only makes sense when someone does adopt your film that you get on the horn with the adopter, talk to them because now you’re building your own distribution network.
For filmmakers trying to grow their business the number one consideration is leverage and “Adopt-A-Film software will help you leverage the greater power of the connected global mind by developing a network of distribution that will expose your film to a sympathetic, appreciative audience.
Adopt A Film software is included with every site, channel, or as a stand alone software system that Word Press based site owners can put to use immediately.
- Niche PPV Movie Channels
Tony likes to say; “Theres Riches in the Niches” which is not to be confused with riches in the britches. (bad joke sorry). But he has a point and the concept he’s describing says that there are other ways to skin the distribution cat then getting a film, or video on a big, bad ass aggregation site like Netflix, or Amazon.
As I was writing the paragraph about where I’m pretending to be an owner of a baseball paraphernalia website, I jumped over to IMDB and did a search using keyword ‘baseball’ and I was amazed by what I found. Hundreds, and hundreds of titles.
So thinking still as the baseball card website owner again, it’s not a big, big leap to go from adopting a single film to starting my own baseball movie distribution channel. Now I’m not sure what it would take to get the distribution rights to some of the baseball movies on IMDB but I’m betting that it wouldn’t be all that difficult. Either way as a website owner passionate about baseball, I’ve got a built in audience who might love to watch some of these movies and now I have a completely new way to deliver content to my existing traffic and get them to buy more of my stuff and another way to grow my business!
This entrepreneurial spirit is what The Filmmakers Channel, “Channels” is all about.
When we put spec’d our own aggregation platform on The Filmmakers Channel Dot Net we wanted to make sure that it was something that could be extended quickly and inexpensively to any niche, so video, or film entrepreneurs with a niche to satisfy could address their market needs without a lengthy, or costly development cycle.
So as the smart baseball entrepreneur that I am I just might want to start my own version of Netflix as it were only with films totally and completely centered on baseball. It meets my audiences needs and gives any filmmaker making movies about baseball a way to connect directly with their audience.
(the smart filmmaker making baseball movies, or any niche subject matter would be smart to start their own channel).
- Niche PPV Instructional Channels
Now continuing on the baseball theme (I do love baseball) I went and did a search on baseball instructional videos and man, oh man isn’t there a ton of instructional baseball videos and since I’m such a baseball entrepreneur I might want to have an instructional channel to go along with my movie channel because I know some of the visitors to my baseball paraphernalia website are also players, or coaches and they just might be interested in teaching their team how to turn better and faster double plays or how to hit a curve ball.
An example of this is “The Martial Arts Channel” where any martial artists, or martial arts student can come and grab a full length instructional video via Pay Per View and then if they like it, buy the DVD – “Try Before You Buy” and if they own a website also “Adopt” any of the listings for use on their own website.
- Niche Membership Channels
Taking another jog around the old baseball diamond, you could be a baseball coach of some skill and just might want to have your own instructional channel, I’m willing to bet that there are at least as many baseball instructional videos as there are baseball movie titles. The only difference in this model is the fact that the offering is not on a per video but anytime, day or night access to an entire library of baseball instructional videos for a very small monthly fee. This is the model used by Belly Dance Village. Not a channel model, but a site we developed as well which illustrates the business model perfectly.
The bottom line in all of this: I might find some or most of the same content on Amazon, or Netflix, but why as a baseball fan(atic) would I not want to be a patron of a website business that is all about my interest in baseball? Content is easier to find, there’s more of it (and maybe some I can’t find on Amazon or Netflix), not to mention the fact that it’s a website I visit frequently as part of my natural interests.
I think you can see the power of this concept. This approach is becoming more and more of a trend in the media distribution food chain and “The Filmmakers Channel” Word Press powered platform with adopt a film capability is positioned to enable and extend the opportunity of this trend so that anyone can be a niche distributor of media.
- The Filmmakers Multi-Use Film Festival Channel for Better Film Festivals
Film festival owners are some of the hardest working people in the whole indie film food chain. Many of the tier 2 and tier 3 film festivals get by on a hope and a prayer each year looking for sponsors, volunteers and films so that they can put on a worthy film festival and richen the lives of those living in their community.
Interestingly enough a film festival business for many festival owners is a business that is based on pure passion and not too dissimilar to a non profit organization. It’s kind of a tragic story because many worthy film festivals struggle year over year just to survive and many good ones simply don’t!
It takes a lot of work to put on a film festival. This is surely a very short list, but you can get the idea –
- Finding sponsors
- Finding volunteers to help (please!!!!!)
- Managing volunteers
- Creating an offer that will attract films.
- Finding and arranging for venues
- Take in and track films.
- Get them sent to judges (snail mail usually)
- Following up with judges
- Following up with judges
- Coordinating all support for the day of the event.
For the smaller festivals much of this work is done by volunteers or the festival operators themselves. When is there time to have fun. You have to really love film enough (a lot actually) to put yourself through this type of self abuse. I’m speaking tongue in cheek but the festival operators I know (and Tony is one of these) all have somewhat the same story. Of course for the high profile tier 1 festivals like Sundance this isn’t a problem but there are over 1500 festivals year round.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Festivals don’t have to be a somewhat thankless labor of love. With The Filmmakers Channel Film Festival Channel festivals no longer need to deal with snail mail. All films can be submitted, judged on line and then following the festivals conclusion, the channel can be extended to enable year round exposure and with year round exposure for your festival films (where the filmmaker gets paid by the way) gives ample incentive for sponsors and filmmakers both to line up for next years festival.
The Filmmakers Festival Channel uses the same core functionality as all other channel applications. Festival Channels can be configured and rolled out in a matter of days. There’s no long drawn out development cycle and because it does use the same core functionality the cost is embarrassingly inexpensive.
- Solutions for Individual Filmmakers – Website and Film Hosting – One Place, One Price
I have talked to many filmmakers in the recent past and my heart goes out to them when they start talking about the trials and tribulations they’ve experienced with getting a website up. Things that I consider to be fairly basic and easy are challenging to Filmmakers.
Many of them end up going to Go Daddy, or Network Solutions, get a domain name, start using their website builder and hack away. Or, they get a friend of a friend of a friend who does something for them and it shows. Some actually pay (good money) to have one put up but at the end of the day have no control, no ability to make changes on their own and get slapped with a bill from their webmaster whenever they need a change made.
Offering both unlimited film from our aggregation site and website hosting in one place at one price makes life a lot easier for filmmakers. Rather then dealing with the likes of Go Daddy or Network Solutions, or a company who is the business of web hosting for everyone, they get to deal with a company that is focused on just film.