WHAT’S THE OVERALL GOAL:
Every answer changes if my goal changes.
My goals are to (1) ensure a way to continue making films*, (2) have this movie seen, and (3) make a little side income. 3 becomes less important if 1 happens. 2 becomes easier if 1 happens. So, how likely is 1, and shouldn't that be my primary goal?
*This means getting paid in some way to make films, in order for it to be sustainable. It could mean getting hired to be paid director on slightly higher budget indie films, or building a following to the point that I could continue making $2000-10000 microbudget films that would have a paying and excited audience.
What is the future of filmmaking? What should I do to make sure I am making films in the future? [I am a filmmaker. It’s what excites me, it’s what comes naturally to me, it’s what I’m good at. I can and have used it for making political change. I’ve been able to do it repeatedly on no budget, creating high-quality results, so I have a track record. For all these reasons, I can’t stop making films.]
I listen to a lot of podcasts about indie filmmaking, distribution changes, and the changing game of selling directly to audience. It seems true that the artist today that wants to make money on his art (or show his art or influence the world with his art) must collect fans and a following. What is the best way to do that? Regardless of everything else, it seems that building my own audience makes sense. [So, do I for example release A Dark Souvenir for free far and wide, in hopes of building large audience for the next film??]
I could keep making no-budget movies, and could make some money off of it, and that may be more than slightly higher budget indie directors who might go under as the whole system changes to a direct-to-audience approach, requiring lower budgets, artist self-marketing skills, and a following of some kind.
[Pause for a coffee re-fill and open a letter from my friend in prison.]
And I’m sitting here worried about myself, my career, my contentment, and then I look through a stack of mail to find a letter from Leonard Jefferson, in prison for life. What does contentment mean? Am I so selfish? Or does my contentment mean I can do more for friends like him? If I make an easy living, with work I love, it would mean more time and energy for organizing. That was certainly true when my income was coming from Broken On All Sides tours. And prominent movie making would allow for more political films as well. I like to think it’s a little of both. I cannot go on living without some form of nourishment (including art), but it also seems pathetic to say “I cannot go on living” for any reason in my middle class existence as compared to my friend rotting away in a 100 year old prison with pneumonia. Life is not easy to comprehend.
Then there is family to think about. How do I contribute to my family? Karen and I will be having a baby soon by adoption. How can I position myself to provide for my family, with income and with love and support and presence? I want to be a better partner. I want to be a good dad.
Overall it seems like I want to position myself to be doing things that make me more contented and leave me more energy and aliveness. This is both selfish, in that I will feel better in some way, and selfless in that it will allow me to be a better partner to my wife, a better father to my children, and a better citizen of the world. It’s OK to want that for both those reasons.
That position would be doing some “day job” steady work of divorce mediation (but cut back), some filmmaking, and some organizing around criminal justice reform. And flexibility for each, as well as flexibility to maintain a healthy family dynamic. Karen and I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and are trying to move her into a job position that will allow more flexibility, work from home, and less stress without major pay cuts. We think we have figured that out, without totally abandoning her family’s 5th generation small business. It’s all a balance and a hustle and a shuffle to try and get this life right. But we keep making adjustments and are getting better and better about prioritizing the right things and enjoying things along the way.
Now, for the actual ideas I was trying to brainstorm for tonight’s call:
VHX, Seed & Spark, Vimeo on demand, Filmboogie, Indieflix.
DVDs to distribute, still selling among horror fans. My experience with BOAS dvds.
Special higher quality, interactive prop DVD package.
SCREENINGS: to spread the word early on, to sell DVDs later.
4 walling, renting my own theater, for local premier. Do 2-3 nights in my home town, which we live next to. Make it an event.
FILM FEST SPECIFICS:
Ways to promote with no money?
So far, using twitter and facebook to reach people, offer free seat in exchange for some help on ground promoting.
Contacted festival publicist but not too much help.
Twitter, facebook. Using film festival screenings as an excuse to stalk people on facebook and get them involved with the promo. Help galvanize a local audience
In person-- at festivals and at horror shows? Only so much I can do, maybe get some people to help with this. I have friends with boring dayjobs and not much time for creative work, who have expressed interest in helping support/promote some of my projects.