There's been a lot to say regarding self distribution recently, and that's a very good thing. We're in the midst of what could be a renaissance of decentralized creative efforts, with film at its forefront. You can now, more than ever, literally do everything yourself -- and that's very important to us. We've heard from the creators of Indie Game: The Movie, and there's a lot to learn from their success. Now, VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson has presented the common misconceptions of internet-based self-distribution, why the old studio ways of thinking are obsolete, and what powers the new media ecosystem puts directly into your hands.
Here's Jamie's full presentation at the XOXO festival, a conference featuring a wide variety of pioneers and thinkers in both art and technology -- and how they can mix (James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajoton also spoke):
I think it's important to hear from one of the makers of a system such as VHX, because these are the people literally making the future happen -- they're conceiving, designing, and implementing the tomorrow of what we do, or at least a significant part of it. Many of "the old ways" are bloated, sluggish, or stubbornly entrenched -- there's a lot to be said about the robustness of studios, they obviously have a lot of capital behind them -- but their future (continued as they are now) isn't certain if they resist major changes outright -- adapt or die, like anything else. Everything is so quick and fluid nowadays that studios may have to break from long-standing traditions to stay relevant. The studio system has, of course, gotten a lot of movies made, and widely seen, from a historical viewpoint -- but a parallel model of making/watching is certainly coalescing, and it looks bright.
I reiterate this point because it's just staggering that anyone could make an analogy such as that above, never mind the idea behind it -- and as Mr. Wilkinson points out, it's a powerful example of how not to think. Resisting changes that are already in the process of being globally embraced probably won't see you emerging into the field in question as a leader. Furthermore, I think it's heartening to hear the that three biggest concerns about internet self-distribution are untrue, if not representative of obstacles to be overcome. Once again, these 'myths' (having since been busted) are:
- People aren't willing to pay for content on the internet
- Self-distribution and traditional distribution are mutually exclusive from one another
- You must already be famous to achieve self-success with a direct-to-audience model
Untrue, false, and not so. What this all amounts to, of course, is what you do with it. To me, it basically reads as 'anything is possible' -- like any success: in order for it to happen, you have to get out there and make it happen.
What thoughts do you have on Jamie's presentation? Will old 'video store'-style models continue to prevail, or do you think more direct distribution will overtake it? How do you think studios can adapt to such a changing environment?
Link: XOXO Festival