You people, the audience writ large, could hold the key to the future of the motion picture industry.
The whole Reinvent Hollywood six-part series is geared to envisioning an alternative system that could work for almost everyone better than the current studio system of superstars and generic blockbuster movies.
The audience, the focus of the third roundtable of the series, came across as one game-changer with the power to shake up the current system. What they want and what they will pay for is critical in the decade ahead. Everything else really follows: the artists who connect with them will succeed. The businesses that cater to them will grow.
The biggest manifestation of the new power of audiences is the crowdfunding of films and that’s what much of the roundtable conversation focused on. What do today’s crowdfunding experiences tell us about the future?
1) Niche audiences are now viable.
Feature films targeted to smaller audiences are more viable than ever and can now be made without shaking down relatives to fund them. Gillian Robespierre, director of the new hit Obvious Child, laid out her story as a prime example.
2) It’s all about communities.
Ivan Askwith had a long list of lessons gleaned from his involvement as Associate Producer for Veronica Mars, the film. The secret is to authentically engage the community and become one of them so that by the end everyone involved in the crowdsourcing considers it “our film.” Once you make that connection, then it’s not just about having the money to make the film, but about having an engaged community to promote it as well.
However, Sheri Candler, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at The Film Collaborative, warned that true online communities are savvy at figuring out who is authentic and who just thinks about them as wallets.
3) Communities could finally support independent artists for the long haul.
Anne Thompson, Editor-in-Chief of Thompson on Hollywood, built off the current world of one-off support for a single film and pointed the way towards a world where a community supported an artist for his or her whole career, almost like the rich art patrons of old.
To be sure, crowdfunding is no all-purpose solution. Marc Schiller, CEO and Founder of BOND Strategy, consistently argued that for an artist to thrive and a system to be sustainable, a film must break out of the niche and reach wider audiences. That’s even more the case to reach foreign audiences.
But the future looks promising. Many technology and demographic trends are pointing in the right direction. Marc Hofstatter, Head of Film at Indiegogo, reminded everyone that the new wave of directors are coming from the Millennial Generation, roughly in their 20s and early 30s, with Gillian being a prime example. And the audience for most movies are in that demographic as well.
This is the generation that came of age immersed in online communities. This is the huge generation, 80 million of them in Ameirca alone, who ultimately will drive what the new system will look like.
The entertainment industry better hang on for this ride. Full Post →
The Reinvent Hollywood series continues on June 24 with The Audience. The 90-minute episode — the third part of a six-part series — will feature great thinkers from the world of cinema discussing exciting new ways to reach and involve film-lovers in new ways and on a global scale.
“Increasingly, audiences are built, not found,” said series host Ted Hope. “It’s a new collaborative era. The barrier between creator and audience is dissolving. Film-goers will not only applaud from their seats, but participate in the creation of the movies and the buzz-building that happens later.”
Here are some of the topics we will hit:
• How new-found access to global markets means rich opportunities for makers of both niche films and big-market pictures.
• Why creators no longer need to suck up to major studios to fund their motion pictures, as new crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter play an important part in financing new moviemakers.
• The many ways in which filmmakers can build tighter and more long-lasting bonds with their fans, turning them into a community that builds buzz.
• The emergence of a new creative class through increased cinematic experimentation. Filmmakers now have the ‘freedom to fail’ in their endeavors.
• From passive to participatory. How relationships change when fan culture becomes patron culture.
• The blurred lines between creators, producers and funders. Massive increase in media literacy and skill.
• How can the audience get a better return on engagement? And what tools and techniques can we use to adapt to this new reality?
• How much control do you give the audience in the creative process?
Participants of the roundtable include Marc Hofstatter (Head of Film at Indiegogo), Tim League (CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and Drafthouse Films), Ivan Askwith (producer), Gillian Robespierre (writer and director) and Marc Schiller (CEO of BOND360).
Join us, at 11 a.m. PT on June 24 for Reinvent Hollywood: The Audience. Full Post →