Filmmakers making a living with Free

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How can filmmakers and other artists make a living in a world of free content? Some possibilities are explored in this presentation I gave at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

How can filmmakers and other artists make a living in a world of free content? Some possibilities are explored in this presentation I gave at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

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  • How do filmmakers make a living in a world that seems to be increasingly trending towards free
  • free content, as in no money
  • Chris Anderson wrote in wired that everything was trending towards free. Email, phone calls, music, air travel, video, magazines, everything And that more and more business models would be built around this. Give away the razors, charge for the blades.
  • We know what it’s meant for music
  • And lately this change, coupled with the decline in advertising, has decimated the print industry. According to Paper Cuts , a Web site tracking the newspaper industry, more than 120 newspapers in the U.S. have closed since January 2008 and at least 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers have vanished.
  • And we’ve talked about how this is hitting film Sometimes with ad support, sometimes not If they can find all of this free content, why should they pay for yours? Can’t find it on pirate bay, it doesn’t exist Wasn’t the old world better?
  • Now before we bemoan this situation, let’s have a reality check.
  • Old world scenario
  • But it never worked this way for most people, and it’s working even less so now
  • Looks like the old/current system is free as well
  • I think we all know a bit about this, so I won’t elaborate, but I don’t think free is bad. I think we should be focused on building a better business model that allows for both, cause this ship has sunk folks.
  • The famous maxim that information wants to be free was only half the statement, Stewart Brand actually said, it also wants to be very expensive. I think there’s a medium
  • So why would anyone pay
  • When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable. When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
  • Immediacy – Here’s just one example In November of 2005, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain got word that her short film “The Tribe” was selected for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The short documentary film, a jazz-like riff on the history of Barbie, the history of Jews, and Jewish Identity, would be playing one of the more prestigious film festivals in the world, but there was a catch. In order to play Sundance, she had to agree to have her film screen for free on iTunes concurrent with the film festival. For free. She was fine with this as it was a short. She was still selling DVDs from her own website and then had an interesting unplanned experiment She later got into Tribeca, and they asked her to pull the film from free online for just one month. She agreed and her sales went to zero. People wanted the immediacy of being able to sample it and buy it. Shortly thereafter, she became the #1 film on iTunes.
  • Personalization – rick prelinger story - Free versions on Internet Archive, but if you want it personalized (finding clip, getting rights info for distribs, etc) you pay from getty and sales have increased even while same content available for free – sales up by 60%
  • Josh freese – session musician and drummer
  • Josh freese – session musician and drummer
  • Interpretation – Tiffany created a book that helps tell the story. Your study guide could be another example
  • Authenticity – people paid for Dead albums even though tons of concert tapes exist
  • Embodiment – film free, lecture costs
  • Patronage – radiohead, model or “Steal this Film” donation model
  • Patronage – radiohead, model or “Steal this Film” donation model
  • Patronage – radiohead, model or “Steal this Film” donation model
  • Accessibility – easier to let someone else store it for you
  • Findability – trusted source curation. Speak a bit about our Reframe project
  • curation
  • Immediacy – get it now, early Personalized – to your rating Interpretation – free code, manual 10K – or gene understanding Authenticity – from the Dead Accessibility – someone else stores it for use anywhere – gmail Embodiment – Book is free, lecture with author costs Patronage – support the artist, radiohead Findability – finding it in the sea
  • Another way to think of this is Mike masnick’s formula, and I think all of understand how we can connect with fans through facebook, twitter and other social networking tools
  • There’s an old marketing theory that says people don’t go to store to buy a ¼” drill, but because they want a ¼” hole. don’t go to the store to buy a hammer. They go there because they want to hang a picture, to get something done, and the hammer just helps them do it.
  • I love seeing a movie in a theater, but let’s face it – that was a tool for Hollywood to pack as many people into one space and make money off their desire to escape. It was a tool to have a fun night out, but it was only one tool. People can collect around your film, watch it and interact with it in new ways now.
  • We now have new tools, and we can’t fight it, but need to embrace them to our benefit. The audience wants to build something – they can get your hammer for fre, or you can give them a reason to buy it

Transcript

  • 1. Living With Free
  • 2. $
  • 3.  
  • 4.  
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7. Old World $
  • 8. Old World $
    • Play Festival
  • 9. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
  • 10. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
    • They sell to audience
    • Who pays for film
  • 11. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
    • They sell to audience
    • Who pays for film
    • $ to distributor
    • $ to filmmakers
    • $ to investors
  • 12. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
    • They sell to audience
    • Who pays for film
    • $ to distributor
    • $ to filmmakers
    • $ to investors
    • Everyone is happy
  • 13. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
    • They sell to audience
    • Who pays for film
    • $ to distributor
    • $ to filmmakers
    • $ to investors
    • Everyone is happy
    MYTH
  • 14. Old World $
    • Play Festival
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s)
      • advance
      • percentage of revenues
    • They sell to audience
    • Who pays for film
    • $ to distributor
    • $ to filmmakers
    • $ to investors
    • Everyone is happy
  • 15. Old World $ -- Reality
    • Play Festival Maybe
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s) Maybe – forever, everywhere
      • advance $0 - $15,000 avg
      • percentage of revenues 30% - 60% after expenses
    • They sell to audience Hopefully
    • Who pays for film If theaters book it or buyers buy
    • $ to distributor But,
    • $ to filmmakers
    • $ to investors
    • Everyone is happy
  • 16. Old World $ -- Reality
    • Play Festival Maybe
    • Sell to Distributor/Broadcaster (s) Maybe – forever, everywhere
      • advance $0 - $15,000 avg
      • percentage of revenues 30% - 60% after expenses
    • They sell to audience Hopefully
    • Who pays for film If theaters book it or buyers buy
    • $ to distributor But,
    • Marketing, P& A, staffing,
    • cross-collateralization,
    • fees, delivery,
  • 17. Old World $ -- Reality
    • $0 to filmmakers
    • $0 to investors
    • No one is happy…and you don’t even own your film anymore
  • 18. $
  • 19. Free (Plus fee)
  • 20. “On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” Stewart Brand at the first Hackers ' Conference in 1984
  • 21.
    • Why Pay?
  • 22. When Copies are free, you need to sell things that can’t be copied. Kevin Kelly, Better Than Free
  • 23.
    • Like What?
  • 24. IMMEDIACY
  • 25. PERSONALIZATION
  • 26. PERSONALIZATION
  • 27. PERSONALIZATION $500 (limited edition of 15) 5 Sold! Only 10 left! * -Signed CD/DVD and digital download. * -T-shirt* * -Signed Cymbal and sticks. * -Meet me in Venice, CA and we go floating in a Sensory Deprivation Tank (filmed and posted on youtube). * -Dinner at Sizzler (get your $8.99 Steak and "all you can eat" Shrimp on)
  • 28. INTERPRETATION
  • 29. AUTHENTICITY
  • 30. EMBODIMENT
  • 31. PATRONAGE
  • 32. PATRONAGE * $10 - Unpolished Rock (but with potential) Level: A free digital download of the album, when it's released. * $25 - Polished Rock Level: An advance copy of the CD. Weeks before the masses. … * $2,500 - Emerald Level: Mentioned as an executive producer of the album -- whoop-di-doo! * $5,000 — Diamond Level: I will come and do a house concert for you. Invite your friends, serve some drinks, bring me out and I sing. Actually, this level is a smart choice economically. I've played many house concerts where the host has charged his guests and made his money back. I'd go for this if I were you. * $10,000 - Weapons-Grade Plutonium Level: You get to come and sing on my CD. Don't worry if you can't sing - we can fix that on our end. Also, you can always play the cowbell.
  • 33. PATRONAGE
  • 34. ACCESSIBILITY
  • 35. FINDABILITY
  • 36.  
  • 37. Generatives
    • Immediacy
      • Give them something now
    • Personalization
      • To their needs
    • Interpretation
      • with study guide, or commentary
    • Authenticity
      • From you directly, signed by you
    • Embodiment
      • Speaking Fees
    • Patronage
      • Support the artist; Radiohead model
    • Accessibility
      • Make it easy to get
    • Findability
      • Work with partners who make you findable
  • 38. CwF + RtB = $$$ Mike Masnick, TechDirt
  • 39. CwF + RtB = $$$ Mike Masnick, TechDirt Connect with fans, give them a reason to buy and make money.
  • 40.  
  • 41.  
  • 42.  
  • 43. Blog: www.springboardmedia.blogspot.com Email: [email_address] Twitter: @Bnewman01