There is a revolution coming in the world of filmmaking, and the first shots have already been fired. This coming revolution will transform the way feature films are financed, produced, and especially distributed—exerting as profound an influence on Hollywood as eBook publication has had on the world of publishing.
I just watched an example of cinematic things to come—Joss Whedon’s sci-fi love story, In Your Eyes. And I viewed it on Vimeo-on-Demand for five bucks.
In Your Eyes is a sweet romance wrapped in a paranormal dressing—delightfully acted by Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David as telepathically-crossed lovers, and ably directed by Brin Hill. Check it out. It’s definitely worth a watch.
But what’s more important is the way in which In Your Eyes was distributed. Online. Worldwide. And direct to the consumer. But you can already watch plenty of videos on YouTube and Vimeo, right? So what’s the big deal?
Just this: For those who don’t know, Joss Whedon is a heavyweight Hollywood screenwriter-producer-director best known for his 2012 film, The Avengers (third highest grossing movie of all time at $1.5 billion plus)—not to mention his numerous hit television productions including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse, and more.
The point is, Joss is a multitalented Hollywood player. Following a debut of In Your Eyes at the Tribeca Film Festival, Joss elected to distribute his new film online—making it available directly to the public worldwide. His words at the time were, “This is exciting for us because it means we get to explore yet another new form of distribution.” Damn right, Joss. It also means sidestepping traditional distribution and its huge associated costs, so you (and other future artists) keep a much bigger piece of the pie. Which is a good thing for filmmakers. And maybe for viewers like you and me as well.
Think of major publishing houses and traditional bookstores before the advent of eBooks, publish-on-demand, and Amazon. My first novel, A Song for the Asking, was traditionally published by Bantam Books. It took almost a year to grind through the process, and although the book was a critical and commercial success, publishing and distribution expenses ate up much of the profit. Today, as an indie author, my works are available in all formats almost immediately upon completion, and eBook publishing costs are nil. It’s a seminal change that has resulted in writers retaining more money from their writing, as well as making the future of mainstream publishing questionable.
Now think of Hollywood studios, independent production houses, and nationwide theater chains—presently the accepted outlet for quality, first-run feature films. Don’t get me wrong: Major studios, independent production houses, and theater chains will always exist. But with the opportunity to view quality, first-run feature films online, which Joss Whedon has now made a reality, movie distribution will be transformed forever.
And that will change everything.
Have you watched any movies online lately? What’s your favorite? Any streaming issues? Please leave a comment and join the conversation!