There is much talk in the indie world about how to launch a film, secure an audience, and achieve profitability. It has been, with few exceptions, a murky and arduous road.
We are committed to finding solutions and modeling better outcomes for future filmmakers.
We envision a time when filmmakers can drive their own destinies, stream films direct to audiences, share revenues with partners, and find sustainability.
There are a few key parts to this journey: accepting filmmaking as entrepreneurship, emulating standard business practices from non-film product-based businesses, doubling-down on each filmmaker's unique voice, building niche brands aligned to the work, nurturing audiences, developing revenue-sharing relationships with partners, streaming direct to customers, and implementing tools to track metrics, sales and marketing data.
Very few of these items, and rarely all, are consistently done by indie filmmakers. They are not often learned in film school or even in the early years of a filmmaker's career. For the first time, content can be streamed direct to customers with increased visibility into sales metrics and the customer acquisition cycle.
As we move through the release of Above The Trees, we will continue to improve our streaming platform. In doing so, we hope to build tools for other filmmakers.
These are big dreams. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to deliver films straight to our audience. During the release of Wow & Flutter, I taught myself html and built my first website. During Calvin Marshall, I fiddled with one of the first clunky online shopping carts and sold DVDs to a handful of customers. During Black Road, I experimented with Gumroad using web hooks to connect to their API. On Phoenix, Oregon, out of necessity born from the pandemic, I stitched together several technologies to set up a streaming service. Not all of these efforts worked perfectly, but they provided experience and laid the groundwork for what comes next.
Finally technology has caught up with my dreams, and what was impossible for an individual filmmaker fifteen years ago is now possible. We see a glimmer of hope for a time when filmmaking becomes a sustainable business model, when it's viable to create a career outside the studio ecosystem, and when indie filmmakers can sustain creativity over a lifetime, directly serving and impacting their audiences and communities.
Much of our work will happen behind the scenes these next six months, but you may see clues as we share news and events.
For example, after the initial release, we will add a lengthy window just for streaming the film in collaboration with partners, where we share revenues with a wide range of entities - theaters, festivals, small businesses, and individuals.
As the release progresses, we will share insights into technology, outcomes, learnings, and future plans.
We love to have you here, and we welcome your feedback as you follow along!
If you are a filmmaker out there, please be greatly encouraged. A new day is coming for indie filmmaking, one full of opportunity, permission and possibility.