Empty-theater-3-by-pinprick-224x242We live in interesting times when it comes to content creation and distribution.  Whether it's movies being simultaneously released for a fee and free, or using web apps for content delivery, creators are experimenting with ways in which they can maximize both exposure for their films as well as returns for their investors.  Amanda Lin Costa gives an overview of some of the main new types of digital distribution, from iTunes to VOD, and the experience filmmakers have had with them -- both the good and the bad.  Great food for thought for anyone considering their project's digital distribution options:

Among the projects highlighted are the Polish brothers' For Lover's Only (a HDSLR no-budget success story) and PressPausePlay -- which in addition to playing festivals and being available to buy on iTunes and rent on Amazon was put out in full, for free, on Vimeo last month:

The result?

Marthinsen [...] believes that the hype they received in January on Vimeo increased their earnings on iTunes. Just last week, the documentary was the 46th most rented/sold film on iTunes. The positive word of mouth on Vimeo also helps boost their IMDB rating, which he believes in turn helps sell more on iTunes.

But as the Polish brothers found out, there are also challenges that come with bypassing traditional theatrical distribution:

"We were considering a small theatrical run just to qualify for the Independent Spirit Awards," he said. [...] "The disturbing fact is we couldn't find theater space that didn't cost us a fortune. Hopefully, award qualification will adapt to the digital age."

Of course, with new services like Tugg coming on-line, it just goes to show how quickly the independent distribution landscape continues to morph.  Perhaps if Tugg had been available to the Polish brothers last year they could have leveraged all the great word of mouth they had generated on Twitter to book a few theaters  at little to no additional out-of-pocket expense.

Now that's pretty cool.

For more, check out the full article at PBS MediaShift.  Are you weighing the pros and cons of different digital distribution strategies?  Share your thoughts below!

[via FilmmakerIQ]