Yesterday morning at 6am, I rolled into bed after spending the night travelling back to the Toon from the Big Smoke on the (not so) Mega Bus - but that hellish journey could be a blog post in its own right and I’m not going to into it here... No, this blog post is about the most eye-opening experience I have had as a filmmaker. I spent the weekend at the Met Film School (at Ealing Studios) hearing the Gospel of Jon (Reiss) delivered by the Mighty Jon Reiss himself, the superb Sheri Candler and the Godfather of Guerilla Filmmaking Mr Chris Jones of Living Spirit Pictures. If you are an indie filmmaker and you haven’t read or been influenced by The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook(s) (or indeed the ALL NEW Guerilla Filmmakers Pocketbook) then you’ve clearly got no soul.
Again maybe you want to know why I’m posting a blog about a training weekend that I went on...(or maybe not) - well I’m gonna tell you anyway - ‘cause that’s how I roll baby and yes I know that makes me sound like a twat... but I don’t really care anymore - because I have seen the light! No not that light, I’m not going all religious zealot on you! But it did kinda seem like a crack in the clouds with a HUGE ray of light and some dodgy Cecil B DeMille music... so maybe it is really a kind of zealotry (wow zealotry is a word!) - but it’s not really religious (even though so far this ramble has been full of religious imagery!) I know I certainly feel a little messianic about it all and know how an unbelievable urge to share and use my knowledge.
For the fans of Pissheads this means we will endeavour to engage more fully with you in our journey and hopefully share some really cool stuff with you - that will make the film a more worthwhile experience for you. For filmmakers this means you can follow the journey as I document the process and hopefully learn a trick our two that will help you a. get your film made and b. get your film in front of your audience.
So what’s this all about really? It’s about us filmmakers REALLY understanding that making the film is only ever half of the equation, it’s about what Reiss calls “the new 50/ 50.” It’s about engaging with your audience on a whole new level with benefits to both you AND your audience. It’s about changing your mindset and using tools that are already in existence to take control of your destiny! WOW I’m even starting to scare myself a tad now.
Seriously though there can’t be may filmmakers out there who aren’t aware that the current system is crumbling before our eyes. Access to digital technology originally lowered just the barriers to entry into filmmaking, now that technology is allowing filmmakers to interact with and distribute directly with their audience. It has changed the way people value and consume content and really as an industry it’s time we woke up and smelled the coffee - or at least learned how to play the new game. A good starting point is Jon’s book, Think Outside The Box Office. This amazing book will guide you through the whole process in an easy to read no nonsense manner. I would do a full review but I’m too lazy and I’ve got a mooooovie to make. And my mate Oli did a review of the weekend on his blog, oh and if you're on Twitter you can find out more using #dist2010.
The key to all this is to remember that DIY distribution is never really DIY - you need a team, distribution and marketing need to be considered as part of the filmmaking process so include the cost of distribution in your budget and remember every step of the way to think AUDIENCE, AUDIENCE, AUDIENCE!