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The New Auteur

Independent Film in Times of the Internet

I just watched this video of a panel at DIY Days in Philadelphia. The discussion was around independent filmmaking and the internet, and, like so often, the question came up: How do we uses the internet to be successful? Nina Paley (who made Sita Sings the Blues) summarized her winning method with: luck. Well, that’s very selfless too say but not really what a researcher – who believes a bit more in measuring things – wants to hear. No luck for me here.

Arin Crumley (For Eyed Monsters) put it a bit better. He said that, in the future, the audience might decide how high the budget of a movie is. And I think that might be a great thing. Surely this might not happen for every film. Big budget productions will still rather control the audience taste through marketing than the audience controling them. But for low budget films this might just be the case. Though this still is not an answer to ‘how do we earn back our production money online and also make a living?’, Arin’s thought forbids this question. Maybe filmmakers should not put idea and script first and then raise the money they need to make their idea come to life. Maybe filmmakers should rather see what an audience wants. Let the idea be there first but then lets see who really wants to see such a film. And then decide about the budget. In other words, let the audience decide the budget (not literally though, but check the interest before deciding on the money part).

I like that thought for two reasons: First, it democratizes the film process a bit more. It is not a filmmaker who decides what story is told in what way but it is a decision based on interaction between a bigger group of people. Secondly, it might lead to less financial failures in filmmaking and more financially responsible movies.

Here is the video:
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