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in Filmmaking
on May 26, 2008

It is a sign of insanity to do the same thing over and over (like make an independent film) and expect different results? At GreenCine, Jonathan Marlowe re-poses the question of the moment in a piece entitled “Studios didn’t build their sales models for you”:

Under these circumstances, why are filmmakers still holding out for the legendary promise of a theatrical release? When the likelihood of success for films made on spec (that is, a film made with private money on the hopes of selling it to an established studio or distributor) approaches the same statistics as the chances of winning the lottery, why do so many filmmakers persist? Why do they essentially follow the same established patterns? Why, for instance, are otherwise intelligent people still playing by the studio rules? The whole (to oversimplify) festival-circuit-followed-by-theatrical-release-followed-by-video-debut-followed-by-television-sale – the notion of cascading windows of availability – was created to benefit the multiple-sales cycle of the studios, in essence carving out different periods of time to sell the same “product” again and again. Conversely, this process rarely benefits independent filmmakers at all. For just-starting-out directors, playing by these tired rules generally does more harm than good. Don’t expect to hear this angle from the old hands of the business because they’ve often bought in to the basic storyline.

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