INTERNET STILL AN OUTLET FOR MOVIES ?
Two years ago, the word on the street said
that all the undiscovered talent was on the Internet. Sites like
Ifilm.com and Atomfilm.com were getting unknown talents onto A-list
movies. Lately, we aren’t hearing anything like that. Is the Internet
dead for distribution? Hardly. Broadband, and other faster Internet
connections are making it even MORE viable to get your movie seen.
Everyday more people get faster Internet which means you can put higher
quality movies on the net and generate an audience.
Movies like “405 The Movie”,
“Troops”, “George Lucas In Love”, showed that the Internet can
elevate unknown filmmakers into the stratosphere. All of those
filmmakers landed feature movie deals. And the BMWFILM.COM lot starring
Madonna, Clive Owen, & Mickey Rourke showed that Hollywood bigwigs,
like directors Ang Lee, John Frankenheimer (R.I.P.), and Guy Ritchie are
willing to do short films for the Net in style.
Is the Internet good for feature films? Not
yet. There are already some – www.movieflix.com
and www.cinemanow.com already
streaming feature length films, but the quality is dreadful. They do
both buy the distribution rights to indie films, but the price is so
low, it’s not gonna reimburse your craft services bill.
The Internet is still ripe for SHORT FILMS,
even movies shot on DV. Since they are shorter, you can make a
manageable, easy-to-download sized file that even people with a 56K
modem (you know, the Amish) can download. Virtually every single editing
software package now includes some kind of OUTPUT FOR THE WEB feature.
WHY PUT MOVIES ON THE INTERNET?
No, you won’t get rich, at least that
isn’t likely. There is no easy money scheme for movies on the net.
The allure of the Internet has always been the “free” stuff.
Only a couple movie sites charge, and they are not as widely viewed as
the free sites. Which is more important to you, getting the movie seen
or getting paid? If your goal is to make money, putting it on the
Internet is NOT going to help.
People are leery of the pay sites, unless
it’s a porn site. If there is a site offering you money for your
movie, that’s cool, but it won’t be much. Most pay movie sites offer
a “REVENUE SHARING” program, which means with the number of paid
views, you get a percentage. That means you have to share that $5 a
month with that company & their overhead. Don’t lose any sleep
waiting for the check.
So where is the power, you ask? The power is
in getting EXPOSURE. You need to be visible to be discovered. If you
have that magical talent that Hollywood is looking for, you need to be
somewhere they can see you. You can send you movie to hundreds of
micro-film festivals & never even come close to a movie exec’s
radar. And it costs a lot more in Film Festival fees to find out IF they
will play your movie. Submitting to most web sites are free.
Even if they don’t see your work online in
horrible REAL video quality, there is a validation that SOMEONE,
SOMEWHERE liked your work enough to host it on the Internet for you.
Much like on a resume, you list all the film festivals that selected
your movie to play, the internet is better because they can actually SEE
it whenever they want. The goal is the same – convincing someone
important that you’ve got the goods. The Internet is a lot cheaper and
more beneficial (if you’ve got the goods).
It’s not the same when you host all your
own moves on your own web page. Any moron can do that. To get
“selected” to have your movie played on someone else’s makes a
movie exec or an investor think, “someone else liked their movie
too”, and that means they are more likely to consider you & your
work. Putting movies on your own web page is no better than a life
Your movie is a product, and you need to make
it more valuable. If
someone other than your own self made web page likes the movie so much
they will play it on their site. That means someone other than you,
yourself liked it. Hence, other people might like your work too.
Congrats, you just made your product more valuable.
Will putting the movie on the Net instantly
make you a star? Hell no. Getting your movie on the Internet is only the
half way mark. Getting people to know it’s there is the other half.
A whole other article can be dedicated to
getting people to see your movie.
At the very least, on a movie web site you
will get unadulterated feedback. It’s funny how the Internet can
empower people. Some little weasel of a guy in Iowa who’s never been
assertive in his life will make up a screen name like
“BUBBA_BAD_MUTHA” and rip apart your movie on these websites because
he can safely hide behind anonymity. Get used to bad reviews. Not
everyone will love your movie. But
you might learn something from these relentlessly honest viewers.
There is also a benefit of ownership. If some
other site, other than your own hosts your movie & someone else rips
off the idea, or steals elements, you have an unbiased third party that
can prove WHEN you had your movie online. It establishes YOUR idea with
a date & time.
Some sites (like Ifilm.com) want to get you
to “buy” your exhibition package. It’s only $150 for 3 months of
hosting ! What a scam. Since several other short film sites went under,
they started charging EVERYONE to host their movies (unless it already
made them money like 405 the movie). You are a filmmaker, and you should
never PAY someone else to host your movie.
The thing to be careful of are the websites
with EXLCUSIVE contracts. Read the contracts carefully. Some of them
want ALL rights to your movie (like www.atomfilms.com
want DVD rights, TV rights, theatrical, and everything, PLUS you can’t
have any other web site EVEN YOUR OWN show the movie). If you are
willing to give these up because it was something simple you did in the
backyard with a camcorder, then go for it, but be aware of the
consequence – you just lost all rights to a movie you wrote &
directed. READ the contracts carefully on their web pages before signing
& sending. Each site is different with different needs & wants.
Increase your exposure, get honest reviews,
have an excuse to let the media know you have a movie, and virtually
every site let’s you submit for free.
Why WOULDN’T you get your movies online?
that restrict your movie forever, losing rights
sites cost $$$
Why WOULD you put your movie online?
exposure, better odds of being “discovered”
excuse to send press releases to media
that a web site saw fit to add your work to their roster
What I can’t stress enough for aspiring
filmmakers seeking the big time, you have to be visible to be
LIST OF SITES
- Showtime Channel’s ALTERNATIVE MEDIA FESTIVAL
- Bijou Flix , also does a “BEST OF” DVD
- the big baddy of short film sites Ifilm boasts the most shorts &
the best success ratio of filmmakers going from rags to riches – see
their “success stories” articles. It’s also the most annoying with
horrendous pop up screens, and unless you have an Oscar for your short
film, expect to pay a hosting fee.
- Internet Film Community
- Movieflix is one of the coolest new sites and has a broad range of
titles of royalty free old movies and new Indie short films
- a French run web site
- the British web site run by the magazine TOTAL MOVIE and TOTAL FILM
– several submissions wind up on their monthly DVD that goes with the
- Rewind Video Magazine reviews & links to movies online
- Robofilms is silly, but fun. Check out the “robo-manifesto”
- Short TV out of New York also has a TV show counterpart on TV in NYC
Studiocities.net has a ton of movies & a great layout.
- INDIE FILM from HOLLYWOOD.COM, anyone who’s been in an AMC theater
in the last 18 months will recognize the name “Hollywood.com, theater
listings, theaters listing, showtimes…..” and the rest of that
wretched song. They bought a small formerly Cincinnati based short film
site called “alwasyi.com” and converted it to their own.
- SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST, recently purchased & soon to be run by
the University of Southern California, Underground Film is one of the
best indie film sites in the world.
- viewing only, but well worth it
There are more sites, and stuff, but these
can get anyone interested started.
for more info and feedback, contact Peter