October 27, 2009

The rapid ascent of crowdfunding and DIY distribution

The world of film distribution is changing so rapidly that it's worrisome for many and exiting for the rest. Among the many advances in DIY distribution in the past few months are the announcement and launch of OpenIndie and Indie Screenings, both sites focused on allowing filmmakers to screen their films more easily. OpenIndie is an Arin Crumley project that aims to help filmmakers geotarget their audiences, whereas Indie Screenings allows anyone to put on an DIY screening of a film and share proceeds with the filmmaker; the latter site has been brought about by the Age of Stupid crew.


Along with a rapidly changing distribution landscape is a rapidly changing finance game. OpenIndie is not yet a reality, but it's being crowdfunded with the aid of Kickstarter (currently an invite-only service), which is similar to IndieGoGo in that it is a platform for creators to solicit donations to fund projects. It will be fascinating to see what, if any, the limits are on this type of funding -- The Age of Stupid raised 1.5 million (USD) from donations (and, perhaps more importantly, investors) using a brilliant plan they outline in very helpful detail in their article How to Crowd Fund Your Film. You're going to see a lot more of this going forward (perhaps from our own Exit Strategy), and my feeling is that the micro investment scheme has a much more intriguing future than does the micro donation model. Zack and I have some ideas in this space that we'll hopefully be able to make a reality... perhaps by initially using Kickstarter or IndieGogo.

I'm not attempting to offer further insight into "the future of distribution" as I did with, say, "the future of cinematography," as I'm less qualified given my last project was self-financed and distributed for free. But I wanted to post this ASAP in case anyone reading it can help Arin make his $10k goal (if he is a dollar short, the project doesn't get funded). The minimum donation is $1, so please help support independent filmmakers!

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