The Future of Feature Film Making:
The cost of Independent Production is limiting. The days of ‘cheap’ (less than $5million) independent film making is dwindling, and without a big budget behind them, high listing stars aren’t attracted by them and the thought of making money back on an independent film is dim. Unless the actor(s) have a branch to the independent film cast, be it the writer, producer, director, they are unlikely to make a point being part of that film production as it would mean a significant pay reduction on their part. UNLESS, there have been independent films which have skyrocketed such as Marigold Hotel, where big celebrity names attached themselves to the indie film and investors flooded towards the production.
Who Holds the Power?
© Richard Miller
So who really has the power here? This is a question that was previously answered earlier on in the course, now with further knowledge my answer has changed.
Through this course Ive come to realise a lot of things are different as the age of cinema and film watching has evolved. This power triangle needs balance for it to work, or rather the other two sides needs to feel like they in some way have control when one spear heads the lead. With talent the ‘creative’ can take power to demand a higher payment, royalties or rights. But anyone is replacable, yes having that ‘A-list’ name attached to the film can make it go far, but not so far as to take the lead. The Distributors could demand more rights and power due to the way our latest generation of film watchers decide to watch films, through digital downloads and streaming to cinema and nights out. They are seeing a lead which they hadn’t anticipated before. And yet I truly believe the Power lies with the Money. With money comes control, don’t like a chosen scene done? change it, that actor kicking up a fuss? drop them. Like we saw in the previous chapter with Dr. No, as soon as the ‘Creative Talent’ had a problem with the budget, the Film Finances came in and ‘fixed’ the problem. With Money comes Power and Film is a Business at the end of the day.
What’s the Tipping point for Independent Production?
In this chapter Charles Moore believes that the Industry is going to experience real change soon. He believes that it will become quite difficult for independent producers to have a future. This being because indie projects can be just as expensive as larger studio based film projects, yet the indie ones are less likely to make a profit, as mentioned before, unless an actor has ties with the independent studio working on the film, they are unlikely to join. Its not cheap producing or distributing these films and this will eat into their small budget, making money is difficult meaning finance is limited. Yes distribution has changed now with Digital Distribution – opening it up to wider audiences with channels such as Netflix and Amazon, this could bring digital audiences out into cinemas to see independent films. But it is hard to market these films for cinema distribution when big seller studio films are guaranteed to bring in the audience and sell seats.
The Future of Distribution:
I feel that soon in the next 5 years or so the world of Film will change, most likely due to a shift in Distribution since online streaming is becoming a large part of film watching in newer generations. With companies such as Netflix and Amazon becoming producers in their own rights for smaller productions and independent films (that can still be fairly large) I don’t feel like we will lose independent films, maybe there will be a new branch on the film production level as Distribution produced film takes off and we need another ‘thing’ to take its place. With the world constantly adapting especially in the digital side of things, we may be watching films in a completely new way soon and maybe that will be the new indie film.
Is Independent Feature Film Making Sustainable?
Film makers need to respond to what audiences are doing, now in the digital age we can’t sit still. We are constantly watching more than one screen, never giving ourselves the pleasure of concentration on one story line for longer than 10 minutes before we are on Facebook or twitter. How are films responding to keep our engagement.
With the inclusion of Digital Streamers like Netflix Independent Feature Film had a new way into production studios, although at first it seemed like the new FOX or Paramount Studios with limiting access to them. Yet within the 2 or 3 years these Digital Distribution Studios have become a disruptive force to the film industry – for the good? – they have laid havoc to the ‘window system’ demanding earlier release dates and shorter dvd release time.
How will this effect the future for independent films? Audiences will always want to have that ‘movie experience’ and with some films (Like the Greatest Showman for me) you just can’t experience that at home, it has to be in the dark enclosed space of the cinema where the sounds are stronger the screen is bigger and the action has greater impact.
The bigger and harder question to ask is how will this future effect the Value Chain in which we grade films by? Although people will still be paying to watch films on one way or another the cost in which we view films has been suggested that:
“the basic economics of the film industry may not be substantially altered by these changes.”