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June 28, 2013

'Some Girl(s)' Becomes First Feature to Release Day-and-Date in Theaters and Vimeo On Demand

Some Girl(s)There has been a considerable amount of buzz about the play-turned-feature film Some Girl(s), both because of its unusual narrative structure (long scenes complete with conflict/resolution catharsis), narcissistic (but darkly funny) content regarding the sexes, and its nascent distribution strategy. It also doesn't hurt that the project has Hollywood big-hitters like Adam Brody and Kristen Bell. Now that Some Girl(s) has released exclusively on Vimeo On Demand today, what can we draw from the involvement of successful A-list actors in terms of the future of film distribution and exhibition?

Earlier this year, Vimeo opened up their pay-per-view service, Vimeo On Demand, for Pro users to sell their work, and today we mark another milestone for VOD distribution -- Some Girl(s) is the first feature film to be released globally on Vimeo On Demand on the same day, or “day-and-date", with a theatrical release. And this film has some big names attached to it.

Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, who has helmed projects like Party Girlas well as episodes of shows like Mad Men, Chuck, Nurse Jackie, and Shameless, the film touts a great cast: Adam Brody, who plays a narcissistic, successful, young writer who travels across the country (a day before his wedding) to make amends with his ex-girlfriends, played by Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Emily Watson, Jennifer Morrison, and Kristen Bell. Check out the trailer below:

Does this mean that celebrity actors and actresses are sensing that this distribution strategy is the wave of the future? What could be the pull on such an unconventional and risky distribution option? Brody commented on how fast the film's few month turnaround was (from production to release) saying, "Normally there's like a two-year incubation period." Bell isn't a stranger to being involved in unorthodox methods of filmmaking, seeing as her film Veronica Mars was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

The film was made for $500,000, and after it premiered at SXSW in March, the filmmakers were offered a distribution deal to release it theatrically (with a wider release if it did well,) but still chose to take a chance on this promising, yet still burgeoning VOD platform. (They still decided to go ahead with a limited theatrical release.)

A film like this, with notable stars and a lot of press, should excite the indie film world, since we're just a bunch of lovable no-name hopefuls, using this method to hopefully find our audiences -- for cheap. Having a star or two could definitely help your project.

But, as we know, virtually anybody can make a film and put it up for people to see, and once the market becomes saturated, your project risks fading into the dark abyss of VOD released indie films. (It brings to mind that Groucho Marx quote, "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.")

Some Girl(s) still_01

Indie filmmakers will have to go above and beyond to get their films noticed. As it usually goes with the underdog in any scenario, you have to do twice as well to be considered half as good. Indie films have to be well-made, well-performed, and well-told, or else they get nothing -- unlike in Hollywood. And perhaps having a star isn't going to cut it if your movie doesn't stand out in other ways. Von Scherler Mayer explains:

It’s always going to be competitive, especially with technology being cheaper. It means there are more movies being made which means there are more bad movies being made. It’s just going to be better for the audiences because having a film on Vimeo doesn’t necessitate that you have a big star in your film. There’s just too many indie films being made; having a star isn’t enough, it has to be good.

Some Girl(s) is available on Vimeo On Demand now. Watch it here.The cost of streaming is $5, or you can pay $10 to download and own. (Did you ever imagine you could own a movie (legally) on the same day it was released?)

What do you think about Some Girl(s) being released on Vimeo On Demand? What do you think will happen in the future of distribution?

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21 Comments

You stole Reg Harkema's's RCom ... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0188634/ of course movie plots gets recycled eh... .

June 28, 2013

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Is there a way to see the number of views/buys for Vimeo's VOD movies?

June 28, 2013

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hansd

I'll quibble whether the cast is A-list or not - Adam Brody is not an A-lister and he headlines the flick - but any attention brought to a new release VOD is good. I am more interested in how it was made for $500K. The above-the-line talent was obviously working for scale ... as to the rest?

(btw, the reviews have been so-so, as is IMO the trailer but, at $5, it might be worth a punt for many)

June 28, 2013

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DLD

Looks like a 500k movie to me. Most of the cast were only on set 2 days (possibly 1), main actor takes mostly back end, 99% interiors. Smart.
Looks nicely made too. I doubt it will do big business, particularly on the Vimeo side, but well done them.
Would probably watch on Netflix.

June 28, 2013

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marklondon

Scouring the net, it seems like the producers are hopeful that Bell's 1M Twitter followers will help market the film. If they can, it'd be a "new paradigm" and a "game changer". The actual numbers will probably not be released. I do recall Ed Burns saying with regard to his movies being downloaded on iTunes that he made a pretty decent sum but far less than a similarly distributed Louis CK's (purported) $1M concert gross. Of course, Burns' budgets are microscopic and he's the only one with the back end.

June 28, 2013

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DLD

I like Burns' model. His budgets are so low that as long as there's a master he'll make some money, or at least enough to make another one. Don't forget the international cable TV market - those small sales add up.

June 29, 2013

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Marklondon

Burns apparently refuses to even use lights. It's all au naturel (or all practical) with him. Now, given the low light performance of a modern full size sensor, going all practical has become ... eh, practical - if you want the very basic look. (that, of course, leads to another question - will there be lighting rigs that one can show on camera .. in other words, will someone make a rig that looks like any household light source, just a lot brighter?)

June 29, 2013

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DLD

Um, you didn't even mention the most important feature of this film: it's written by Neil LaBute, based on his stage play. Currently Jenna Fischer is starring in his stage play "Reasons to be Happy" Off-Broadway.

June 28, 2013

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Paul

I personally believe this is an awesome plan. Vimeo on demand and theaters simultaneously increases viewership, especially when marketed well.

As far as the film is concerned, it feels really bland, judging by this trailer, of course. I could be wrong, but it just feels uninteresting overall.

June 28, 2013

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It's being released in four theaters, and it wouldn't surprise me if this was just four-walling. You'll never see a theater chain agree to slot a major film in their precious time slots when anyone can watch that film for free at home on the same day for a third of the price.

June 28, 2013

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Ed Z.

I think that's kind of the point. People aren't going to theatres to see films like this. With big flat panels and even bigger home projection screens, you get 99% of this movie at home, so why not just release it for home from the start.

June 28, 2013

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Kevin

That might just be for marketing reasons, especially since they seem to make a limited release. Films released in theaters have less of that direct-to-video spell that makes you think it's going to be crap. They may quickly pull the plug on the theaters but the film would already have gotten some of the 'prestige'. In any case, it's going to be interesting to see how it performs.

June 29, 2013

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Stephane

I'm with you. This is a film I'd watch at home if I ever watched it. No way I'd drive in to see it. It's the anti-competitive behavior of the theatre chains that prevent this. They'll hang on for a while yet, but eventually that model will have to change.

June 29, 2013

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Marklondon

Hey, it's Patty - one of the producers of this movie... watch this new longer trailer and tell us what you think: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/somegirls/69277800

June 30, 2013

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Patty

hello, Patty the Producer ... can you update us on the number of views/downloads off Vimeo? ... a ballpark will do ...

July 11, 2013

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DLD

Hi DLD,

We are doing 3 months exclusively with Vimeo and we just started on 6/28. Perhaps will publish numbers at the end of that period?

July 18, 2013

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Patty

more interestingly, more ambitious and just a far more interesting film-
Ben Wheatley's new film "A Field in England" is doing all this plus airing on UK tv the day of its release this week....

July 1, 2013

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andy

This just looks a dull, unflattering and an eye sore of cinematography. Just looks another "drama".

July 4, 2013

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andrew

I wonder what types of cameras they've used to make this film. If only you can share . . .

July 9, 2013

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Nyunt Shwe

Hi DLD,

We are doing 3 months exclusively with Vimeo and we just started on 6/28. Perhaps will publish numbers at the end of that period?

July 18, 2013

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Patty

Hi Nyunt,

We primarily shot on the Arri Alexa, but also shot a little on the Scarlet. Here are a couple things you can read from the DP: http://www.studiodaily.com/2013/07/some-girls-bows-on-big-screen-and-small/ OR http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/dv/feature/spotlight-rachel-morriso...

July 18, 2013

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Patty