August 22, 2016

Why Release a Feature for Free? 'collective: unconscious' Sets the Trend

The creators of a new dream anthology are releasing their film for free on BitTorrent. What's in it for them?

BitTorrent just awarded the first installment of its new initiative, The Discovery Fund, to collective: unconscious, everyone’s favorite dream omnibus feature. Two free BitTorrent bundles are available for download, featuring shooting scripts, pre-visualizations, soundtracks, storyboards, and all the goodies a filmmaker could hope for. 

Best of all, this new model could prove that giving it up for free can actually pay off.

The collective: unconscious model is something we could all hope to emulate: raise all funding through crowdfunding, release for free, grow the audience, and crowdfund the next film. ​​

As contrary as it may seem after sinking money and manpower into a film, you may have considered releasing your feature for free. Ultimately, you want people to see your film. But there’s no guarantee anyone will watch your film even if you release it for free. And the prospect of having nobody watch your movie while also making no money off it is sobering.

Enter collective: unconscious.

BitTorrent knows a thing or two about building audiences, most recently acquiring lots of successful titles for platform BitTorrent Now. The recently launched Discovery Fund is hell-bent on getting creative work seen; the free model could be close to becoming more viable for films that don't already have a built-in audience. 

Releasing for free doesn’t mean you get nothing back

Dan Schoenbrun released collective: unconscious for free on a few different platforms. And while the film has already gotten over 100,000 views on Vimeo, using a platform like BitTorrent offers the prospect of getting something back from those free views. You can download the entire film in the BitTorrent Standard bundle— no pay gate, no email, no nothing. Then there is the Deluxe Edition bundle, which you can download for the price of an email. (And you should!) This bundle shares a ton of cool production materials to get you thinking, including the NFS podcast with the talented filmmaking team and yours truly at SXSW.

The idea, of course, is that people who sign up for the email list may very well become the champions and future commissioners of the filmmakers' work. And with the infrastructure and marketing aid of the new BitTorrent initiative, the bundle experiment is likely putting the film in front of the people who will actually appreciate it the most. 

With over 21,000 downloads already, that’s a robust email list for the filmmakers to use to power their next film projects. The collective: unconscious model is something we could all hope to emulate: raise all funding through crowdfunding (i.e. presale to the audience), release for free, grow the audience, and crowdfund the next film. 

The Discovery Fund: open to you

Just because you get on a platform and release for free doesn't mean hordes of people will begin downloading your film. It's a big problem that many of us face: how do you get as many eyeballs as possible on your movie? That's where the partnership with BitTorrent comes in. According to BitTorrent, the initiative will dole out between $2,500 and $100,000 in marketing and distribution funding to storytellers in a plethora of genres.

There’s more information available on BitTorrent about the whole plan, as well as why they launched it, so go on and scour to see if this might be something you would try. The initiative is open on a rolling basis, and you can apply here.

And while you're at it, download collective:unconscious in all its BitTorrent bundle glory.      

Your Comment

3 Comments

I actually think this is a great idea. Like any good business, filmmaking should focus on community growing and audience building first, which helps create the 'need' for the product/film. This is a great way to do this. They still can look to monetise in other ways, merchandise or bonus content etc, but the huge trust they could build in offering their film this way with an audience could really pay off for them in the future.

August 22, 2016 at 7:00PM

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Nick Kelly
IBeAFilmDude
226

It's XXI century, bitch! Yes, Mr. White, science!

August 23, 2016 at 3:17PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
879

It's all good, especially if you include "pay later" option on the site. Liked the movie? Give some coin. It's fair.

August 23, 2016 at 3:16PM, Edited August 23, 3:16PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
879