Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The elusive $60,000 feature

I had lunch with a friend last week and we were talking about the state of films and film making (I'm conflicted on the grammaticality of the elision of those two words into one in our popular culture) and distribution and the prospect of making films in the future that are not under the umbrella of a studio - major, mini or otherwise. The subject specifically turned to the idea of a $60,000.00 feature film. Now in the past this was easily (well, not easily - my $85k film was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life) done and there were distribution avenues available - to some degree theatrical and certainly home video. But the world is changing and the studios are getting out of indie like rats leaving a sinking ship. Video stores are going the way of the typewriter and Netflix has filled the void in essence, by itself. Of course the prospect of online distribution had us engaged for a little while, but the question arose : is it feasible to make a $60,000 feature film? Of course it's feasible if one doesn't intend to make a profit, but given that there's not much of a future in producing a stream of calling card films, that would seem to be goal. But where and how can these films make money? Who's showing them and more importantly, now that the indie world has been co-opted and then abandoned by studios and theaters, and perhaps re-directed by YouTube and the interweb in general, who and where is the audience?

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