Friday, March 25, 2011

Russian Roulette

Fans, Friends & Followers, 

we're marching well into 2011 and making things happen one day, one step at a time here at Reflektiv. We're making a film. What does that even mean? It means different things to different people and it means something different today than even just five years ago, let alone over the last decades and its first century before that. While I'm not trying to confuse you, the technological advancements of the last ten years spawned a whole new spectrum, a whole new breed of filmmakers. Or contentmakers.

Over the last decade the modes of production changed, the ways films are distributed changed and most of all the ways films are exhibited, consumed changed, which gave birth to a new range of genres and outlets; your computers and laptops, iPhones, iPads, Androids, car stereos, toilet seats and bathroom mirrors. And the beauty of it all is that everyone making a film, everyone producing content does it differently. There are commonalities of course and in "Hollywood" there still isn't a whole lot of experimentation going on, that's industrialization right there, assembly line steez - but they're not making "films" there anyway - its a processed candy bar. A Twinky. But you know, I dig that too. Not Twinkies but candy bars.

Anyway, where was I? As a filmmaker it is an interesting time right now because there really is no certainty how things will turn out. How will we consume media in five years, 10 years? Six years ago YouTube wasn't even on the radar! If you develop a film right now you can't really know how it will find its way into the world. You can only decide to go for it, to expect Mt. Everest highs and Mariana Trench lows, bite the bullet and give it all you got. A sort of Russian Roulette type thing no doubt, except that in our case the gun is filled with bullets. (well, there is a gray area, there are different levels and different kinds of success, and your film doesn't have to make billions to be a success, just a couple bucks are fine from the hopefully many people that will see it).

However, I strongly believe as a young filmmaker to enter the scene this time around is the best thing that can happen. With all the big unknowns, the next big set of rules haven't been written so there's an enormous amount of opportunity. It is anarchic out there and just like the French New Wavists Godart, Truffaut and their peers did whatever the heck they wanted to create a new film scene, today it also requires a certain arrogance or at least a healthy mound of scepticism towards existing structures, arrogance in view of the odds that are against you, due primarily to the lack of a proven alternative distribution system for independent, niche films.

But that's what we're working on here. That's what more and more are testing out. Different approaches, different combinations of releases and it all depends on how your audience, how YOU want it. And who plays the one and only central role in this? The Internet. While still required to get reviews from traditional press outlets or to be considered for an Academy Award, theatrical releases, although the holy grail of possibly every filmmaker out there are sadly becoming economically questionable if not impossible for low-budget filmmakers. Theatrical will never die, it won't - look at Theater, one of the oldest forms of communal entertainment, resilient as a Twinky - but it will change. As we move past the advent of the Internet into a digitized age of all-encompassing connectivity, new ways of communication and media consumption, the theater will have to find its place.

As an independent filmmaker, it really, really became about the audience over the last years. Finding your audience that can, at least in part, support you in exchange for more extraordinary content. And that means building a community - a symbiotic community - where the creator/audience relationship (for those who seek it) can become more of a collaboration. Power to the audience!

To the ups and downs in life and the thrill of just letting go! (That should mean something coming from me being the control freak that I am)


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