Tim Roth on VOD: Why the Distribution Alternative Doesn't Affect Him as an Actor
Now that the most recent murmurings regarding our industry indicate that, despite some of our big screen dreams, VOD is slowly becoming the future of film distribution. With VOD gaining popularity among low-budget filmmakers and being sold as a "good alternative" to a theatrical release, let's be honest -- VOD is kind of considered, quite literally, the "poor man's theater." But Oscar-Nominated actor Tim Roth says that this platform is something to be embraced, and actors that are reluctant to take roles in films that go straight to VOD are "dumb." Hit the jump for more.
Roth gave an interview about his latest film Broken, which was released on VOD as well as in select theaters. In it, he shares his thoughts on the platform, stating that it's as difficult as ever to afford to get a film a wide theatrical release. Roth says:
Our chance of getting into a theatre, especially if you’re a tiny budget film, is near impossible. The idea that you slide into a theater nowadays, past "Iron Man" or "Despicable Me" or past these big budget movies, is a joke. It’s the hardest thing to do. You have to go the VOD route and with a limited theatrical release, if you’re lucky.
Let's admit it -- releasing a film on VOD isn't the same as releasing it in theaters. There is still something glamorous about a theatrical release -- it gives the immediate illusion of success. At times, VOD seems like a filmmaker's Plan B to their distribution strategy.
I think for independent filmmakers, the VOD alternative can be disappointing because they say, “Ah, I just want it to get to the cinema and be on the festival circuit,” but it’s also a way of getting their message out. Sometimes it’s all they’ve got.
However, VOD is also a welcomed alternative for many filmmakers, but does that leave a bad taste in the mouths of actors? Have actors shied away from pursuing roles in films that have a direct-to-VOD release? Roth says, "Well if they have, they’re dumb."
I don’t think the VOD alternative really affects me as an actor. I shouldn’t come into the equation, to be honest. If that’s where the film is going to end up, that’s where it’s going to end up. If I have read the script and want to do it, then that’s why I want to do it.
It seems, at least to me, that independent filmmakers struggle with this idea that their work is somehow illegitimate in the eyes of moviegoers, who are used to theatrical releases. And "straight-to-VOD" sounds an awful lot like "straight-to-DVD" -- or even "made-for-TV." But supporters of the platform, like Roth, help instill a little more faith in audiences, investors, cast, and crew that a film's quality is not measured by its distribution strategy.
What do you think? Have you fully embraced VOD, or do you have some reservations? Let us know in the comments.