The L.A. Times had an interesting piece run a few weeks ago about the declining availability of funding for film projects. It’s not pretty, and with the current economic crisis, it’s not going to get better anytime soon. So how do we fund new films? Dawn Hudson from Film Independent was interviewed in the story:
Hudson’s group advised one filmmaker who was discovered later to be financing his film with the profits from his hydroponic pot farm and another who was trying to raise money from the Russian mob, though she declines to name them for obvious reasons.
“We had a filmmaker who mortgaged his grandmother’s house. That’s a sad story,” Hudson says, but not uncommon.
“We do a whole forum around these cautionary tales.”
The only other option for small filmmakers is to push the budget lower and lower. But, speaking as one of those people who have to work with the lower and lower budgets, at some point, I throw in the towel. A low budget usually means people work for free or drastically reduced salaries, and that doesn’t put food on the table. Again, from the article:
Hits made for less than $1 million dollars include “The Blair Witch Project” and “Napoleon Dynamite,” not to mention cult and art-house favorites. But the financial failures are too numerous to count, particularly because many of these films never get distribution.
So with The Fair Trade movie, we have cleared one hurdle: we actually have (home video) distribution. But how do we market the thing, when we are working off even less than a shoestring budget?
I’m spending the rest of the year attempting to figure out our (HCS‘s) business model. Because this past year hasn’t worked. Books I have been reading are Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. Made to Stick is encouraging, Crowdsourcing is completely discouraging because essentially every industry that I have taken the business into is being invaded by amateurs. And, while I don’t necessarily think that the word amateur is a bad word, I still hate the fact that people are giving away services (design, photography, film, music, etc.) for free (or almost free) while I am attempting to make a living for my family from those same services. Hence, it’s time to figure out HCS’s new business model.