I was cleaning my office the Sunday before Sundance. The kind of cleaning where you throw out files, mementos, festival passes and things you’ll never need. I came across some old photos, journals, letters and a file of ideas I had jotted down called brain drains. These are rapid fire, often times poor grammar pure unaltered brain dumps. I read it and got goosebumps. We had not launched IndieFlix and yet the vision was crystal clear. I was then reminded about how we came up with the name IndieFlix (which I’ll save for another post) and how I envisioned Netflix acquiring us. Coincidentally my second day in Park City I was standing in line for the film Gleason and the man next to me was none other than Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. We shook hands and chatted. We’d met 10 years earlier when we were both on a panel at Sundance. I am now reliving the birth of a whole new IndieFlix which launches next month. I’m excited to write my next brain drain on what I believe the next 3-5 years will look like for our industry and I can’t wait for everyone to incorporate the new IndieFlix user experience into their lives. I think it’s game changing.
Below is the copy from the brain drain I wrote in June 2005 before we launched IndieFlix.
This was just a little more brain drain I had over the weekend. It may mean nothing but it feels a little different in its approach to explain who we are (especially to filmmakers).
Rx for DISTRIBUTION THE EQUITABLE REAL DEAL
June 20, 2005
Once a filmmaker always a filmmaker, even when it comes to distribution.
Where did the idea come from that filmmakers know only how to make films but not how to sell them, or that if a filmmaker couldn’t secure distribution that their film wasn’t good enough? That’s like saying a parent only knows how to give birth but not know how to raise the child or that if your kid doesn’t get into the best school, that has limited openings, he or she isn’t good enough?
Today’s filmmakers are more than just storytellers who artfully and skillfully put their vision on tape or film. They are also digital technicians, effective publicists & distributors who already know their audience. They know how to network and they persevere with a passion nothing less than that of a mother protecting her young.
When Plan A’s lottery method of securing (pie in the sky) distribution fails. Plan B can oftentimes be more successful providing access and exposure and some return. Plan B is usually more attainable & realistic while reclaiming the control, power and rights we as filmmakers give up when we dream of a theatrical opening.
We all know the landscape of our business has changed dramatically. Filmmakers are now armed with an arsenal of technology that allows us the opportunity to reap what we sow.
Remember when you had to book a plane reservation through a travel agent? It was fine we really didn’t know any differently. Now we book our trips on line and have more options and control. It’s so easy and anyone can do it. No one is excluded. IndieFlix will have that same effect on the film world.
After waiting around for decades for a company like IndieFlix; we decided to build it ourselves. IndieFlix was found by filmmakers, for filmmakers and their audiences. We have created a company that clearly allows the filmmaker to get back what they put in – no gimmicks, no punch lines, no hidden agendas, costs or surprises. It’s the means & the way to finish what you’ve started with the same passion, enthusiasm & support you may have experienced when you shot your film.
If you have a finished film then you know the industry, how it works and how it should work. We can’t change what’s wrong in the world of standard distribution but this is a good start.