Wednesday, February 02, 2005

[Film] Future of Film

Is it smart to make films? Me, I want to make money* and I want to create. Best case, I create something I really love that other people desperately want to see.**

Assuming I’ve cut a good deal with a producer – or that I’m the producer – I can then earn a very decent living from my work.

Assuming not so many people want to see what I’ve made, then everyone before me in the food chain gets fed first. Exhibitors, distributors, marketing, then financiers, and then producers. Creatives get paid last. That’s the model.

So there are currently 3 tiers to earning money from film:
1) The film makes too much money to hide (Creator gets wealthy);
2) The film breaks even (Hey you’ll get to work again and earn a damn good yearly salary); and
3) No one sees the film . Whether because of distribution and marketing SNAFUs or your failure to come up with a good idea in the first place, you’ve just spent 3 years of your life working for $2.50 an hour.

2 questions: How do I change this model to make money even in a worst case scenario? What can I do outside the model to make money?

* And by ‘money’ I mean ‘a living’, so that I can create.
** A thought about franchises like 007, The Matrix and Buffy. They seem to be partly about a cool setting and mostly about a cool character.


Anonymous said...

Chage the model ?? That would mean getting rid of Hollywood. Or changing the greater part of developed world mindsets in regard to what a good film is, I think.

Good luck man. We're living in a world of TWO Blade sequels and another Anaconda film.

I hear that international arms dealing is pretty lucrative. You could also try and make it into organised crime. There's always teaching ... ( heh heh heh ..... )
- Seraph

Anonymous said...

Svend here - you know, I'm tempted to make LJ and Blogger accounts just so I'm not Mr Annonymous. :)

You've got several options. One is to move higher up the food chain - which is, in many ways, what web distribution is all about. The problem with this solution is that you get to deal with the headaches of that level as well as your own, and there's often a reason why you're paying these people.

Another is to address the issue that there is an overabundance of supply at your level. Either institute a mass-poisoning of film-school graduates and aspiring scriptwriters, or become distinctive enough to not be part of the rest of the supply. Acheiving this is left as an exercise for the reader, or the reader's marketing department. :)

Another is to separate the "make money" from the "create". This is the easiest and least satisfactory solution, and tends to compromise the second goal in proportion to how much you succeed in the first.

Yet another is to change or widen your definition of "create" - advertising, music videos, web animation...

Competing in a saturated market is difficult and risky. That's why I'm a programmer. Uh, DBA. Whatever the hell it is I do. :)

hix said...

Seraph, LOL.
Svend, mass-poisoning. Excellent. I'll have a think on how to implement that.

In the mean-time, your idea suggested someting else - moving into some new type of media or way of making films. It'd be another way of 'poisoning' reputations of people who weren't working in the field.

The reason I'm thinking like this is I'm reading the biography of Jim Clark, internet pioneer. He's described as trying to invent the 'new new thing' and he describes his money making process as looking for fields of anarchy and then imposing order on it.