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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New distribution - idea one

Less moaning - more creative thinking. Lets go...

Now might be a good time to mention an event that I am heavily involved with. Its called the Landcrab Film Festival and is an annual event in the Bournemouth area. Its been going for 8 years now and has built slowly up to an audience of 210 movie fans. We show about 15 shorts from film makers with many levels of experience. Our only criteria is that films must be exciting, fresh and entertaining. We are the largest fully independent screening in the South.

So who cares about another old film fest in southern England? Firstly there is the business model. No arts funding, no sponsorship, no fees to enter. We only cover our costs through entrance fees. So for it to continue we need to deliver a top-notch evening of entertainment. We have to compete with TV and regular cinema. Which we do. The theatre where the event is held says the Landcrab night is the busiest night of the year.

Secondly there is the spirit of the festival. Film makers have to stand up and introduce their film (if you're not there we don't show it) and in the bar afterwards there is plenty of opportunity to talk about it. Very immediate and highly direct.

What is the moral of this story? That people love a good night of films and the immediacy of discussion and feedback. Let's look at my chart again. With the landrab method we are halfway between the top and bottom route. As hard as we try to keep out of the way - we do in fact provide the distribution. But its a good start. Could we go further and ever achieve the top route?


Paul Draper said...

Landcrab Film Festival - an outstanding event. I'd urge anyone who hasn't been to go.

A note of query with your model, the ambition of a direct communicative link between writer and audience.

Is this to be used in the collaborative writing process? If a writer ends up writing based on feedback from an immediate audience, perhaps we'd lose the edge of a tale well told?


1. Is an audience really qualified to comment on structure and content? They can appraise, but perhaps no further than its "good" or its a "pile of nonce".

2. Isn't this a bit like asking newspaper reader what news they want and how they want it written? Perhaps some processes should be one way.

3. Sometimes a writer sitting in his shed will come up with something extraordinary and best off untouched by any kind of appraisal until release. I'd like to propose that The Werckmeister Harmonies is such a work ( Extraordinary.

The Constipated Writer said...

I like the cut of your jib.

Tim Clague said...

I'm not sure if it represents a good change - but a more direct audience participation model is on its way (in my opinion).

Perhaps this is best illustrated by your Q2. The front page of Yahoo or MSN works exactly like this! You say what type of news you want. Of course, all blogs work like this with the agenda being set by all participants - not just an editor.

Q1: Its not so much around the creation of materials, but more around the feedback and reaction. An answer is brewing in my mind. The problem as I see it is that marketing is now costing more than the films do to make! Do film makers want budget spend like this. Does the audience appreciate it? Is there another way? A cheaper way?

Q3: Good shout. This will get its own post soon.

Paul Draper said...

I'll pick up on Q2 as its a pet theme of mine. As you know I work in internet circles and I'm not sure I'm as big a fan of the sorts of "My Yahoo", "My BBC" bespoke page offerings as I might be.

Let me explain my concern, and this could with the advent of many more channels on digital be an issue for TV also.

Back in the 70s and 80s, we had 3 or 4 TV stations and no internet. media was single direction, you picked it up from a limited set of trusted sources, such as your favourite paper or TV channel.

This gave communities great commonality when it came to a world-view beyond their immediate lives, their model and interpretations of the world were shared by most other people they spoke to, this sort of glue is the stuff binding communities together.

Take Saturday night TV. Everyone would be talking about the Two Ronnies, or whatever else was popular at the time, and the news was spread throughout all topics.

Now with a custom "world view" I can say right, I want only news and info on Kate Moss, flans, Guyana's tapir extinction issue and textiles. I only want to watch reruns of Bergerac. So each day that's all I see. Where is the commonality?

Actually the commonality is there, but its across cyberspace rather than geography. Instead of physical communities we have ideological or character-trait communities.

This is fine, but if it leads to us having nothing to say to our immediate neighbours a shame (and possibly dangerous).

I need a cup of tea and a scone, excuse me whilst I catch up on the tapir thing.

Tim Clague said...

Again. All this is true. That's why I said I wasn't sure if it was a good change. People ending up in boxes is pretty bad. In their own world. But at least they don't get trapped in their own geographical world. At least we don't all end up being the only gay in the village!

I disagree with the digital TV model pretty much. Its still one way after all. I have a phrase I like shock people with 'Choice is bad'. When politicians say that choice is good they feel they are on safe ground. Who could argue with a statement like that. Well, me for a start. I don't want to choose a hospital. I want ALL hospitals to be good.

Same goes for TV.

But perhaps we look back to the past through rose-tinted glasses. Low choice can also mean lowest common denomintor rubbish!

Tell you what though. The BBC might be currently the single most important organisation in the UK.

Overall message - don't know. Might need a scone as well. More blogging will sort it out!

Anonymous said...

An interesting if somewhat wordy discourse from you both.

Of course you right to question the collaborative process of tale telling between audience and writer. It’s already true that Hollywood movies are changing the ends of their movies based upon audience reaction, and there is always an argument for the writer to tell his/her own story without fear of reprisal from those whose viewpoint differ. However, you will never get away from the fact that those less creative than yourselves (me for example) but who having seen a story being told, will often be inspired to consider a different potential outcome (for better or worse). This is no more or less valid but shouldn’t necessarily be cast aside. Sometimes you can get too close to your own work to be objective.

Having made this argument however, I still find myself agreeing with you more than I do with me. How’s that for an ending. I’m all out of scones, might try a bit of Battenberg.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, that last comment of mine was annonymous. I'm so forgettable :-(

Richard Stannard said...

Funny how that last comment of mine was anonymous. I'm so forgettable :-(

Richard Stannard said...

bugger, did it again, i'm off...

Paul Draper said...

Wordy is the new brevity.

Tim Clague said...


Tim Clague said...

So are you coming to the landcrab then Rich? One of my films will be at a rough cut stage. So you could come up with a better ending for me and there's still time to change it before it goes into final release.

Rich S said...

Wow, i feel like i've entered into a secret opinionated world that only you two inhabit. It's a bit like when Homer found the secret world of the tiny Jockeys who were evil and conspiritory.

Yes Tim, I will be at the landcrab, and no doubt i'll think of a different, valid but not necessarily great ending to your film. More than likely i'll just think the whole thing is rubbish though.. Y'know, in a Daily Mail kind of way where I never create anything but still feel that I have the right to critisize and destroy...

Fig Roll anybody? (is that a cake or a biscuit?)

Paul Draper said...

Come on Rich, let's have a picture.

Tim Clague said...

Says Paul... sounding like the Daily Mail paparazzi!