Over the last few months, I had the pleasure of collaborating with my friends at VHX on this video. It provides context for the company’s mission: a glimpse into how film has changed and how distribution should change with it. The truth is, the future of the film business merits more than one minute and 45 seconds. Two talks worth listening to are by Jamie Wilkson, a co-founder of VHX, as well as Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, who made Indie Game the Movie. (An awesome movie, btw).
I loved working on this video because I believe in its purpose. Whenever a job requires me to think and write and ask, “Why are we making this?” and “What is our actual goal?” — I relish the opportunity. The challenge here was definitely how to boil it all down, to voice the most tangible and urgent aspects of film distribution today.
I hope this video stirs you to think that self-distribution might be viable — either as a filmmaker or a consumer. I think self-distribution can work. For me, it taps into the same ethos that makes kickstarter tick. As pirating persists and it has become cheaper to deliver movies to my home (1010101 vs. DVDs), I want to think of spending money as a way to reward and sustain the work I enjoy.
I don’t think everyone will choose to solely self-distribute in the future. I love netflix, will always be surrounded by pirating and will always go to the movies. Rather, self-distribution is an additional option. It has a shot at making “indie” more viable — for both an emerging filmmaker as well as someone more seasoned who seeks a no-strings-attached way of working. Just as there are box office flops, self-distribution won’t necessarily provide a golden key. It comes down to giving those who make more leverage: meaning filmmakers absorb more risk and a broader workload, but stand to gain larger returns.
To be an optimist — especially about technology — is an active choice. Craig Mod, a popular guy on the internet who talks about publishing, put it well:
I believe technological change is like a freight train of a certain unstoppable momentum and we have two broad choices:
> Stubbornly stand in front of the train and try to push it back or
> Accept the train and be a force laying railroad ties which place it on a nourishing course
I choose the second option as often as I can, without buying into too much hype or losing sight of what’s being sacrificed. If I believe anything, it’s that VHX is trying hard to genuinely embody that second option.
Thanks to Casey, Jamie, Kathleen, Adam, Chad, Michael, Steve and Kevin at VHX. They are an amazing group of people, who frankly, know their stuff. Big thanks also to the talented Ross Wariner and Cody Uhler who worked on the music (as Upright T-Rex), as well as Bryan Pugh who mixed the sound.