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  • @kronstadt the Euro version, though it's so much more than AFM, would be Cannes. I went with a big group of colleagues for the fun of it, and to support the premiere of The Fifth Element the year it opened Cannes and have looked forward to returning since. It's a great experience. Their film market, I think, is the most important in Europe.

    @matt_gh2 yes, I'm having an offline discussion with one of my producer friends about "four walling". Even in the big ones that are associated with the majors you can set up your own screenings, generally. They'll charge a flat rate depending on whether it's totally private or not. They get raped by their own affiliation with the major studios who take the lions share (sometimes all, like opening day or weekend) of ticket sales on the biggest, most expensive films so the individual theater is more dependent on concession sales than anything for survival.

    Some famous, successful examples of "four walling" would be the original horror classics of the '70s Texas Chainsaw Massacre and John Carpenter's Halloween, before they went wide release, perhaps the original Night of the Living Dead too if I'm remembering right. Then of course you have the notorious Deep Throat which made millions at 1970s ticket prices going this route.

    As a ballpark reference, having done two of these types of bookings for crew screenings here at Austin's famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, I'd expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 as a starting point. That figure is both scary and exciting at the same time. Exciting in the sense that you couldn't get commercial television time during the wee hours of the infomercial for this kind of money.

    Scary, if you start doing the math on how many people would need to attend to recoup your costs through ticket sales. But, take heart, that was for a totally private screening where no money was collected and shared with the theater. The price comes down when there is money to be made through ticket sales, the trick being it's on you to get the word out and get people to show up.

    edit: oh, and anyone can attend these film markets, you just need to get you a badge by paying the entrance fee as an exhibitor or buyer, like any convention.

  • @burnetRhoades

    Great posts, man. I'm curious what the Fangoria write-up will do for you, or has done for you. In relation to the story I couldn't tell which picture that favor was for specifically.

    We've had our feature trailer on several websites, comic and film related, but we need to go back to the well because that was over a year ago and we're just now finishing up.

    I'm also curious about the explanation of your budget on the last trailer. Any specific reason why you listed it?

    It's going to be great to actually go through the distro process and come out with solid information, like yourself. For better or worse, it's the info that carries over to the next project what remains valuable.

    EDIT: Okay I re-read, had a late night. The same thing happened to us when we got to Slash Film and Big Fan Boy, a number of emails in regards to distribution rights but we were nowhere near finished. >.<

  • @kholi thanks, and I'm taking the tact of listing the budget simply because I'm proud of it. I was proud of what we did in Xtracurricular @ $135K in-the-can, being that we did absolutely crazy stuff like open the film at a football game, shoot at all sorts of locations, were one of the first ever 24P narrative features to use the Sony F900, etc. but Sick Boy feels like an even bigger accomplishment given that it's SAG, shot in half the time, production was professionally catered (rather than us buying Subway for the cast/crew everyday) 3X meals a day and the stated budget includes all post production costs as well.

    We had to raise an additional $65K to finish Xtracurricular, mostly for the online HD editorial. Just the 1.5Tb SCSI-III array (raw drives mind you, not their full-tower-PC-sized-cases) was $16K back then where now it's no big thing.

    It's kind of a dare too, and a statement of what we can do for practically nothing. Our reps at Raven Banner had me take the "snipe" off the head of our promo screeners to not adversely influence what was being offered by foreign buyers but I think the time to be coy about what was spent is over.

    edit: SYFY + The Asylum spend somewhere closer to $1M for their monster movie abominations. They don't even try and that bullshit costs that much to produce.

  • @BurnetRhoades

    I know for a fact that Nazi's at the Center of the Earth was 1.5M. On the other end, though, I do know that Asylum doesn't spend 1M on everything and sometimes it's 150-250K. It's a range. I've got a friend that shoots some of those pictures and his budgets fluctuate, he's a fantastic resource and an inspiration in the sense that he just gets it done, and he's doing what he loves for a living.

    Can't really complain.

    We're less than 50K in the hole on our feature and just finishing 5.1 and Color, part of that was raised on Kickstarter so it's not too bad but lately I've been worried about recouping investment and actually moving on to the next project. That's why I don't consider four-walling an option: it reduces time spent on moving on and doing better.

    Don't be surprised if you catch an email or something from me wanting to pick your brain as we zero in on the final leg.

    Good ol GH2 in there all over the place. Haha.

    Oh, I know what I wanted to ask: you don't have to give numbers, but has Sick Boy been Profitable for you? If you can't answer that then no prob.

  • @kholi we don't know yet how profitable it's going to be. The returns don't trickle in on a constant stream we have to wait until set periods for revenue reporting. That I'm aware of, only one market gave any money up-front (things are tough all over) and most of that was instantly spent before it got to us recouping the sales team's costs for taking it to global film markets, etc. (those are now paid and done moving forward).

    This is where self-distribution and partnering with a high bandwidth, streaming vendor, has its definite advantages. You would, ideally, have a much more immediate, up-to-date sense of how things were going. Dealing with "the establishment" you're kept in the dark most of the time, either intentionally or because you're not their most important client and they're busy guys, unless they need something from you.

    There, sorta back on topic ;)

  • @BurnetRhoades

    From all of the research I've been doing the past two years, that's sort of what I've gathered as well. It's interesting, because it seems like the mid range has dropped out and that only leaves the Sub 100K to recoup from small victories (as someone put it, I think it was you) or the major money to do theatrical and everything below.

    I think it's all relevant to topic, though, and a lot of this information you would have to pay for... this site is lucky to have someone like you spending free time dropping knowledge like this. I'll jump off of the stand though and let others jump in. Don't be alarmed if I email you!

    Thanks man.

  • Cool. Yeah, I figure, if nothing else all the info on traditional distribution is fuel for the fire of interest in these new, alternative paths that are showing up. The Establishment is slow, clumsy and full of cliques and passwords and all sorts of other challenges to outsiders. Most of the information you get even in the "indie" film press tends to leave out information that's actually useful for us because it's not sexy.

    edit: and just so we're clear, even though I've worked on major films for almost twenty years now, that was visual effects. Post production, like all service industries, are still very much "outsiders". They used Tim's association with big films on the cover and in promotional material for Sick Boy but nobody in film buying or selling or production gives a warm squirt know...for below-the-line vendors they simply see as labor.

    To put things into post-Civil War America terms, VFX vendors are like The Irish, who, in certain parts of the country, was considered a lower-class human being than The Negro. The Irish didn't even rate being given a mug at the pub, they had to get their mouthful for a nickel, cry over what got spilt on the ground and bugger off.

  • @kholi okay, gonna have to check out that film, it looks like fun. Comedy is the hardest genre to pull off and you look like you've got some comic gold in there.

    edit: also, big ups for the Girl Talk. I love that album.

  • Great thread, thanks for sharing everyone.

    Perhaps we may put a list of potential online options available to film makers? Some of the names already mentioned in this thread, and a few others I found yesterday as I went along: < This may be world wide, not only US and Canada territories ??? < potentially many US providers, for a fee, conduit to iTunes. < Pay Per View feature, seems to relate to sport/event live streaming. < Tip Jar only < ???

    I am sure there are many more, please share. I have no affiliation or knowledge if the above entities are suitable and/or reputable.

  • @WhiteRabbit @BurnetRhoades @kholi @DouglasHorn @matt_gh It seems like Vimeo is planning to introduce Pay-Per-View for users who want to put their films online. This could be one of those solutions that I was talking about. Interesting article here:

  • @kronstadt , the Vimeo option evolving looks promising. I am interested to see what general guidelines they publish in early 2013, or in due course. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Yes, very interesting indeed. Especially considering they seem to offer some of the highest quality streaming of the freely accessible sites out there. Maybe this means it'll be less of a hassle to stream VIMEO on my PS3 now.

  • I was unable to get a straight answer from Vimeo about what they will allow. I am writing a script that has several moderately explicit scenes, and their published guidelines appear to forbid that. So, my plan is to run the trailer on Vimeo and find another streaming service for the finished film.

  • @CurtisMack hmmm, you might want to take a look at what they allow on there already. I'm subscribed to a group called "nudie cutie" which, while artistically bent, features videos where nothing is held back as far as straight nudity goes. I've also seen short films on the site that feature at least partial nudity during the course of a sex scene (at least one that was what I'd consider sCinemax explicit and non-Missionary, which does make a difference with censors, and even State laws).

  • I am interested in what deliverables Vimeo may request in respect of legal matters. Such as, will they be asking for copies of production agreements, etc? Also, a few sample rent products available now include multiple territories, such as US only, and world wide, so this also may open up a global market option, providing content around the world, together with content providers from around the world providing their product to a potentially global market. Interesting.

    I am surprised YouTube has not popularised this model already, since everyone knows YT and they have such a big base to tap into. I read an article from back in 2010 where YT explored some PPV movie titles, however, it did not appear to be profitable. This may have been partly due to not promoting the service the correct way, who knows. 3 years later, perhaps things are changing. I hope Vimeo provide an option that is simple enough for an indie production to release their product to a global market.

  • The question of deliverables is an interesting one. I guess the easiest way for them is to leave the responsibility over the deliverables onto content authors. And maybe this is why YouTube's PPV program never went beyond deals with some distributor companies.

    The news with Vimeo is that it is supposed to open anytime now "beginning of 2013". Exciting indeed. But Vimeo is really a playground for video-geeks like us, which is fine, but it's a small crowd (albeit a crowd that understands how much effort goes into filmmaking and would therefore not mind paying something like $4). YouTube, on the other hand, is much more accepted by the masses, and it is also a "social network" of sorts, so a rumour about a video on YT can spread and snowball. On Vimeo, however, I'm not so sure.

    @BurnetRhoades I also wonder if having a limited (1 month) online release (e.g. on Vimeo) would compromise the chances of striking any deals at events like AFM and Cannes?

    @CurtisMack did Vimeo tell you how much of the proceeds are they going to keep and how much will the content author receive?

  • If the streaming site is sharing in any PPV revenue or charging anything at all, or even facilitating you and another party exchanging money, you can bet they're going to want copies of all agreements and releases. The same as any distributor. They can only plead no culpability in any violations found in a video if they're completely hands-off and not involved.

    What they likely won't ask for are cue lists and spotting lists and dialog, etc. because it will likely be up to the filmmaker/producer to generate any alternate audio tracks, closed-captioning, subtitles, etc. They also likely won't be needing all the publicity photos, etc. that a normal distributor needs to go to print or create new artwork. All the legal stuff though, the stuff you should have anyhow, they'll need that.

    Going all "wild wild west" in a new type of distribution channel is the surest way for it to get shut down and independents completely locked out by folks like the MPAA and RIAA, right quick.

    @kronstadt dilution of the market potential in other traditional distribution channels is a concern, yes, but I think perceptions are changing. HDNET has been experimenting over the last several years, since the release of Soderberg's BUBBLE with simultaneous or pre-theatrical streaming video release. I can't say whether foreign markets are as evolved though.

    Simply having your film shown in a theatrical venue for an arbitrary minimum time, regardless of whether or not anyone actually sees it, can mean a completely different tier of negotiation from certain foreign markets, before even beginning (France maybe, I forget which).

    Money talks though. A demonstrable success (even a small one) streaming can likely erase any hesitation with a home video distributor. That's just me speculating though. I'm often surprised by the illogical mechanics I encounter in all manner of business practices.

  • @WhiteRabbit you can still watch full features on YouTube through their partnering with some of the folks that provide similar streams to Hulu and Crackle, to name a couple. There's exclusive content on each site for sure but I was surprised to find, at least by appearances, there are lots of TV shows and some movies that are common among these sites with near identical streams and duration of availability. The Networks as well.

    Part of the reason for YT's failure in this enterprise is similar to Yahoo's continuous failure: poor interface design. Most people likely, to this day, have never known about all the movies they can watch on YT (that aren't pirate rips that users upload) because they've never properly emphasized this on their homepage or the user's personal homepage. It's a pain to go look for them.

    Here, let me see...pop over to, it takes me to my home page showing me my feed. No side menu for movies. No top menu for movies. I'd have no idea they were there. So, let's see if there are still some YT Movies...hmmm, go click on the main YT logo in the upper left...will it take me someplace other than my personal homepage? Nope. Still no movies. Hmmm, maybe "browse channels"? That makes me initially think it means browse other people's accounts since, internally, they call these "channels". Oh look, there's Movies and TV Shows. And they say the have a million of the former and almost that much of the later. Whodathunkit?

    $6.99 for a Rob Lowe movie I've never heard of? Pass. $14.99 for Paranormal Activity 4? Pass. And then they have free movies all mixed in with stuff they want you to pay for (some of which you can see for free or as part of a subscription elsewhere that's less money for a whole month of unlimited streaming).

    That's why they fail. They're not actually trying. If they are, actually trying, then they need to give the project over to someone other than a receptionist.

    edit: oh, that reminds me, yeah, they've got monkeys working at youtube. We were already distributed over in Germany when YT opened up some of their "partner" functions on our page, one of which being ad revenue sharing. They wouldn't let us turn it on for our trailer and sent us a message that they needed proof that the bits of original score, which their Shazam software couldn't possibly have flagged for copyright notice, were licensed to us. Even after the film, with the score, was already on sale in the US, meaning it's been vetted internationally at this point, they still haven't allowed this function to be turned on when they've had copies of the music releases for months now. Monkeys, I tell you. Monkeys with the lowest stream quality streaming of any other vendor in their marketplace.

    One of the few reasons I haven't abandoned my account already is they're ubiquitous. That just means they can be lazy.

  • @kronstadt, good summary, YT is globally known, and Vimeo may not even be known to exist to many out there. YT being so big, it is unlikely they would try to provide a method for indie productions to be recognised, it would be too much effort for too little reward, if any. Yes, YT are competing with multiple streaming vendors, and then there is the subscription options, so YT has a different monopoly to focus and maintain. Vimeo may still provide an opportunity for some people, niche market may be ok with the right product and self promotion skills that direct people to the content for rent/sale. Thanks for your feedback.

    @BurnetRhoades, wow, your input and sharing your experiences is appreciated. I was thinking Vimeo will have to do their best to clear and confirm content, so as to avoid being joined into potential legal proceedings, as a result of their streaming of the content in question. While many will be able to produce legal documents required, there may be some people who can't, for various reasons. I guess the Vimeo Tip Jar is the only option for these people caught between being creative and business operators.

    Funny you mention having content blocked. My friend is a musician, creates world music from recordings he gathers around the world (fee/release/agreement mostly, some split, etc), coupled with his own performances and music he creates in the studio. Well, it is not funny, when he uploaded one of his songs with a video edit to YouTube, the video was blocked and they said he did not have authority/copyright. Nothing to do with a claim against him, just YT triggered this somehow. Not sure if this is a result of the recording having digital signatures in them, a process he had completed after mastering, and the album/tracks are for sale on iTunes. He holds all ownership and control rights, etc. I am not sure if that has been resolved yet, it does highlight the complicated nature of this somewhat new and evolving digital world we live.

    Limited hours in a day, so much content available.

  • Wow, they blocked the actual copyright holder. That sounds about right. Hopefully he gets it resolved. The process to do so is like emailing a black hole and hoping it notices your existence.

  • Yes, I think that is where it is at, in the black hole. It is not causing disruption, as sales and interest base are mostly related to other sources and iTunes sales. I'll find out where he is at YT and if there is now a known reason this happened to him, when I see him later this week. Stranger than fiction.

  • This is such a venomous area. My mentor who AD'd on Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies overseas has been completely screwed by distributors the past few years. He's had movies on all On Demand venues as well as selling overseas territories and still has barley seen a dime. He knew it going in because he said it always happens. You have to fight tooth and nail for every dime but since the market crash, it's been much worse and the amount of movies available to distributors has increases so much in recent years. In turn, they take more of the pot since they know film makers just want their stuff out there. If you're looking for any kind of profit in the $250,000 to $400,000 budget range movies, it's almost impossible now. Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity are the vary RARE cases.

  • @vicharris Interesting info. When you say On Demand, do you mean Cable TV On Demand and iTunes (vs the online on-demand rental/purchase from sites like Distrify, Yekra, etc.)?

  • @vicharris sounds about right. A great book that's sort of a primer for the kind of people you're likely to deal with is Down and Dirty Pictures, which is mostly about the birth of Miramax. After reading that I crack up every time I see some celeb give thanks to the Weinsteins in their acceptance speeches and you see folks like Kevin Smith come out so loyal. Who knows, maybe they changed their ways and/or are trying to get into Heaven nowadays or something.

  • @Kronstadt - I didn't ask about deliverables, just content guidelines.