Thursday, July 31, 2014

The New "Market-Driven"

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The new "market driven" is really a developing science of how individuals create relationships with communities.  I think what the average content creator would love to have at his side is an army but how in the world, full of ADD and apathy, do you get anyone to care?


I don't mean to say everyone should go to hell.  I mean to say that you have to have a baseline faith that their are others like you and they will come if you speak loud enough and long enough.  Don't try to make people care.  Just you care and learn how to express that effectively with what you have available.

I think that what's market driven for studios is passion driven for no-budgets and the difference is that traditional marketing applies administrative organization to what they define as audience where the no-budgets let passion run its course without attempting to capitalize on the long-game.

A Conversation with A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES Writer/Director Scott Frank

There's a website called Slack where I'm trying to organize a group around story development.  It's tough going.  There's no immediate incentive as with all things creative, and it takes an internal drive which is often confused against the day-to-day distractions and external obligations.

While trying to find articles to inspire that undertaking I came across an interview with Scott Frank pushing his new film.  In this discussion was some insight, perhaps a little jaded, on writing in the film industry today. There's a nod to the strength of television and the viability of independent production.  There's also a sense, though likely far removed as he's a long-time studio guy, that the new financing models, and we'll go ahead and add digital filmmaking and online marketing tools, have changed the way films get made. Both long time professionals and emerging artists have gotten wind of it and its making a difference even in career consideration and things have become more flexible and more complicated.

For what it's worth 'A Walk Among the Tombstones" looks just as dark, disturbing and ultimately cool as I'd hope a noire today can be.  But Scott is worried about the audience turnout.

Seed & Spark has been championing the move to crowd-funding with best-practices advice that is now not uncommon.  Though there are helpful reminders and new spins on the advice which urge us to take some things more seriously (e.g. don't plead, once you launch you should launch hard and don't stop, figure out your tone by talk to members of your core audience, etc.).

What's being explained here is what the Studios and the their like can't wrap their head around because it's too close to the ground floor.  (I'm comparing Scott's insider insight and his interest in doing things differently with the phenomenon he's obviously becoming aware of that Seed & Spark is advocating).  YOU, with nothing little left to lose, save the skin off your back and maybe your mind, can be as flexible and as involved with your people  as you want to be.  There are less rules to follow but also less guidelines.  In a way not having direct guidance, the Hollywood machine to set you on the conveyor belt, is a real opportunity to make non-fatal mistakes as often as you need to.

[Disclaimer: I think ^^ up to a certain point.  Small communities will be more forgiving than larger ones as debate can upset momentum and is easier to forgive when less mouths are chatting.  Not sure what the number is but maybe an indie filmmaker needs to set follower milestones to reassess his audience.  And remember you can't please everyone.  There's a cool game called Democracy 3 on Steam where you play a global leader and it's actually quite tricky not to be assassinated, let alone re-elected.]

Biting the bullet to get started is much harder.

I myself have been breaking my head over how to effectively communicate for my story-verse in development and in truth trying to figure out each day where to start - do I spend the first four hours learning photoshop or illustrator for my materials or do I spend the first four hours writing new backstory or do I spend this time having an epic grudgematch with some NLE or another or do I record outreach videos for the community.

You need an audience but just as important is that you need a team that believes in you and you have to believe in yourself enough to go and recruit one.

Reminder: if you're going to lead your vision has to be big enough to fit the visions of others within it.

You might not be able to pay, you might not be able to make a guarantee of pay or some other ROI but this business is about risk from the start and the biggest risk of all is when you bet on someone that may quit on you.

Image Credit: "Where is our Million Man March"
Don't be a quitter.  No matter what, when you find something to go after and its important enough to ask for help, you better be prepared to make every day count and go down with the ship because the only excuse an investor/crew member/ business partner/audience member shouldn't have to hear is that you gave up.  They signed on because they found something in you they needed and wanted and finally, that admittance given, your purpose is stamped.

The hardest part of being independent, is that you traded being a slave to someone else's cause for being a slave to your own.  The road is damned-tough but often just as equally glorious if you can pull through.