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Guest Post: Jason Brubaker "The Modern Movie Making Movement"

by Ted Hope
July 22, 2011 3:00 AM
8 Comments
  • |

Times HAVE changed. In many, many ways. But what we call Indie Film is an era gone by. The opportunity to create and connect has never been greater -- and it means other changes are afoot. Jason Brubaker reached out to me with what I felt was an important idea, but like many I encounter, I was too busy to participate unfortunately.

Jason recognizes that filmmakers no longer need "discriminatory distribution" and can reach audiences with their work in new and different ways. But Jason also recognizes we need to share the info on how we do it. Most importantly, he recognizes this is a community effort. He has done a great service to our community and deserves our thanks. But I am going to let him tell you all about it with a guest post. Thanks Jason!

When I started out, getting a movie made seemed super impossible. Like
most independent filmmakers, I was inspired by the news of Kevin
Smith, Ed Burns and the other indie filmmakers who were finding
innovative ways to get movies made, seen and sold. These guys inspired
me to take action and gain experience. But instead of staring my
career in Los Angeles or New York City, I decided to produce a short
film in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

To accomplish this, I saved up all summer and bought a used Arri BL
16mm camera and a few rolls of film. I spent an entire weekend
producing my movie. And after buying some beer for the wrap party, I
promptly ran out of money. So for the next six months I worked to save
enough money to process the film and transfer it to video. I remember
coming home each night and gazing lovingly at three 400’ rolls of
exposed 16mm film presently collecting dust on my bedroom floor. This
was proof that I was indeed a filmmaker.

While I did eventually get the movie processed, transferred and edited
– I couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. I mean, if it took
me a year just to finish a short, how long would it take to get a
feature made? To answer this question, I moved to New York City, where
I ended up working alongside the (then) twenty-something year old
entrepreneurial producer, Seth Carmichael. With Seth, I learned what
it took to make features. But I also learned of the next hurdle –
discriminatory distribution.

This was a time when most independent feature filmmakers based their
business on the Sundance Dream. “I’m going to make the movie, sell it
at Sundance and live happily ever after.” But the reality was, very
few filmmakers realized this dream. Instead, most traveled the
festival circuit to exhaustion. And in place of a dream distribution
deal, many of these filmmakers forwent money and relinquished their
rights for the mere validation that comes from seeing their titles on
the shelves at local video stores. “At least my movie made it to
Blockbuster.”

I eventually transferred to Los Angeles, where my team and I produced
our first feature, a silly zombie movie. As expected many traditional
distributors contacted us, offering crappy deals. And just prior to
losing all hope of income, we decided to set up shop in Amazon. At
first, none of the producers liked the idea. I mean, aren’t we
conditioned to believe that self-distribution sucks? But then we made
our first sale. We thought this was an anomaly. We had no movie stars,
our production value left a lot to be desired and most people on earth
had never heard of our title (including you.) But then we made another
sale… And then a dozen…

That was five years ago.

Since that time, it has become widely accepted that HDSLR camera
technology, crowdfunding and internet movie distribution marks the
democratization of independent filmmaking. But in order to prosper,
modern moviemakers must now master a whole new set of skills revolving
around audience engagement and one-off sales. And this creates some
questions. Namely, how the heck do filmmakers source a paying audience
large enough to justify a movie budget?

To help the answer these questions, I reached out to TEN of the most
inventive filmmaker thought leaders in the world and asked them to
share their best practices on how to survive and thrive. Suffice it to
say, the responses were overwhelming. I didn’t just receive a few
bullet-points, but I got over 100 pages of extremely NEW and extremely
valuable filmmaking information!

In organizing the material, I realized that what we had was more than
just another how-to filmmaking book. I mean, while many fundamentals
such as screenwriting, production and film finance obviously remain
essential to getting a movie made, the material also emphasizes new
strategies, like how to create a crowdfunding campaign, how to
leverage social media and how to sell your movie without the
middle-man. Because the information is useful, timely and modern, we
simply called it, The Modern MovieMaking Movement.

And this begs a new question: What does it mean to be a “Modern MovieMaker?”

While the philosophy is evolving, Modern MovieMaking is defined by an
era of entrepreneurial filmmakers who do not ask permission to make,
market or sell movies. Instead of making movies and hoping the movie
will get seen, picked up and sold through traditional distribution
channels, the modern moviemaker makes movies, directly engages with
the audience and builds community around his or her movie titles. In
releasing The Modern MovieMaking Movement, we also decided to do
something else revolutionary – the contributors all agreed to give the
material away, for FREE!

So if YOU would like to download a copy of The Modern MovieMaking
Movement, you can do so by visiting the official site:
www.ModernMovieMaking.com

Wishing you all the Modern MovieMaking success in the world!


---
Jason Brubaker is a Hollywood based Independent Motion Picture
Producer and an expert in internet movie distribution. He is focused
on helping YOU sell movies more easily by growing your fan base,
building buzz and creating community around your title. For more info,
check out Filmmaking Stuff, at: www.FilmmakingStuff.com



8 Comments

  • sam sabawi | August 26, 2011 9:51 AMReply

    nice guest post jason brubaker "the modern movie making movement

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  • Mac | July 28, 2011 2:51 AMReply

    My story is very similar. Thankfully, tecnology has saved me the headache of ever having to deal in film. I think it's important for us producer/director's to learn the art of film, but in today's market filled with cheap alternatives to film, it's not reasonable to believe you could afford to make your first movie on film. Thanks for sharing.

    I've recently set up a store to help anyone interested in starting a career in film at http://moviemaverickblog.com

    Thanks again.

  • Bunch of bullcrap | July 26, 2011 3:17 AMReply

    Scam Fest the Movie and this site is bullshit
    http://sundancefilmfestival2012.com/

  • Ron Merk | July 24, 2011 7:04 AMReply

    And, Joseph, one more thing, as for "there must be some exceptionally talented filmmakers out there," I totally agree with you. There are. But they are rare.

  • Ron Merk | July 24, 2011 6:59 AMReply

    While I don't normally respond to people I don't know who make statements and assumptions about me, I will in the case of "Joseph." First of all, you know nothing about me, and your very presumtuous judgment of me really is not fair or accurate in any way. Lots of independent filmmakers are asked to be jury members of film festivals, and they are hardly gatekeepers, but spectators like everyone else. To say that getting back to basics characterizes guys who are afraid to change, simple makes no sense, unless you have a problem with common sense, and if you do, well then I'm wasting my response. What you don't know about me could fill volumes. Did you know that I've helped hundreds of indie filmmakers get their films made and distributed though the Filmmaker Resource Sharing Group I and Dan Gomes created in San Franicsco? Did you know that I was a 30 year member of Film Arts Foundation and helped keep that filmmaker support organization going? Did you know that I've spent 40 years in the film business, as an independent filmmaker, struggling to keep my nose above the water line, just like every other indie filmmaker? Did you know that I've written many magazine articles to help filmmakers get their films out there and making money, in particular, the "Distribulation" series? No, you probably didn't know any of this. But now you do. I know it's really easy with e-mail to send out a "blurt" like the one you did, because e-mail is so easy and fast. But sometimes, it's better to know what you're talking about before opening your mouth and saying something that has no basis in reality and that's kind of hurtful. I am dedicated to helping filmmakers like myself get their films made, and get something in return for their efforts. I guess that makes me a really bad guy in some people's eyes. The thing is, they need to open their eyes and maybe get past their frustration and anger, and see me for who I really am.

  • Joseph | July 23, 2011 10:11 AMReply

    @Ron - I'm not surprised to hear you're a festival jury member. "Back to basics" characterizes all those guys who are afraid of change. In my opinion, the price we pay in democratizing content (which includes literature, journalism etc.) it worth the hassle. Just think about all those who were stopped by gatekeepers like you... - There must be a few who are exceptionally talented.

  • Ron Merk | July 23, 2011 4:58 AMReply

    Now filmmaking is a movement....hmmm....I remember when it used to be a business, an industry and a living for many of us who considered ourselves film professionals. The democratization of the film business is in some ways great, and in other ways, not so great. So many people who think they are filmmakers are making films and videos. I've had to endure many of these as a festival jury member. In fact, the most often heard comment at screenings is "who made this piece of "movement?" (replacing a four letter word). I love the new tools and opportunities, but we need to get back to basics, at least those who consider the film industry the source of our bread and butter. We're all waiting for that shoe to drop, and to march forward. Ron Merk

  • doghouse | July 23, 2011 4:58 AMReply

    "Since that time, it has become widely accepted that HDSLR camera technology, crowdfunding and internet movie distribution marks the democratization of independent filmmaking."

    "Widely accepted" by whom? Given the failure of these tools to turn filmmaking into a financially sustainable or readily accessible at the professional performance and production level, in what sense have they "democratized" independent filmmaking?

    You could argue that micro-budget movies acquired for theatrical release are competitive on the art house circuit with the celebrity-vehicle indies beloved by Sundance, but this has nothing to do with new tools; it's always been true.

    There's a better case that it's the amateurization of screenwriting -- largely intentional in the case of the studios and TV networks, but inadvertent in the case of indies -- which has been a strong democratizing opportunity for years. But since you don't need instruction to write badly, the indie marketing consultants have a poor day of it.

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