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 four bucks.
In Your Eyes is a sweet little romance wrapped in a paranormal dressing—starring Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David as telepathically-crossed lovers, and ably directed by Brin Hill. Check it out. It’s worth a watch.
Anyway, 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 may be transformed forever.
And that could change everything.
Have you watched any movies online lately? What’s your favorite? Any streaming issues? Please leave a comment and join the conversation!
Steve Schwarz says
A problem with this is the exclusion of people who either don’t have computers (I know, who doesn’t have a computer nowadays? But, look at the over 65 population!) and people with data limits on their Internet connection.
I live in a rural area that is not serviced by any cable company or any broadband connection. My only solution for connectivity (with any kind of reliable speed) is satellite and I have data limits. As soon as I start downloading movies, my data drops like a rock and I am forced to suffer through reduced speeds for the remainder of the billing period. There are so many movies/shows/series on Amazon Prime, NetFlix, Vimeo, YouTube, the list goes on… that I wish I could watch but cannot. You may say I choose not to watch them, but when you are dealing with data limits, choices must be made and daily browsing needs outweigh two movies a month that deplete the data.
I don’t know the number of people on the Internet with data limits, but my guess is about 10% or 15 million households. And let’s guess half the 65+ US population – that’s abut 30 million. So let’s use a round number of 50 million people that are being left out of the streaming entertainment world. Not sure that’s a good thing.
Steve Gannon says
Great points! We can only hope that data continues to get cheaper and access to streaming facilities continues to grow. It is certainly difficult for people living in some rural areas, but things are changing. Thanks for commenting!
fred bieker says
I look forward discussing this with you
Steve Gannon says
Should be an interesting discussion, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I’ll get together with you when we return from the river.