Independent Filmmakers are actively searching for a credible online distribution solution for their finished projects. They yearn for an honest, clear and straight forward approach to the myriad of options. Also filmmakers simply want to make thier films, and don’t want to worry about dealing with distribution. They need a digital home that understands all the media outlets and distribution options, a destination to not only show their projects off but to actually make a profit. Enter: Indieflix
With our own film, “Art of Suicide” part of the Indieflix catalog of movies, we recently had the chance to sit down with filmmaker relations & acquisitions and online community builder Kyle Boynton and discuss in depth the solutions Indieflix has to offer. Please enjoy…
Please tell us more about Indieflix.com? What do you guys do? How did you guys get your start?
Well, IndieFlix is an online marketplace and distributor for film festival selected independent film. We are a community hub for filmmakers and film lovers world-wide. We strive to empower filmmakers and enable truly independent film to reach audiences around the globe. We believe that every story has an audience and it is our mission to help filmmakers and film lovers unite. IndieFlix was started back in 2005 by filmmakers Scilla Andreen and Carlo Scandiuzzi. We are a company of filmmakers who works with filmmakers, helping them in the huge world of film distribution.
As a filmmaker myself, I love making connections with other filmmakers. It’s a great resource to talk about what we are all working on next. Hearing stories from others makes me feel like I’m not alone when scrambling for a budget or actors or locations. It’s nice to know these problems happen to everyone. And it’s a great way to get or give advice. Even for filmmakers that don’t work with the company. Check out the website, communicate with one another!
The distribution landscape is ever-changing and credible outlets like yours are crucial, tell us the changes and various evolutions that you guys are seeing? What should filmmakers be doing now to better to prepare?
Honestly, stay educated. It may cost some money, but a good idea is either to become a member to these sites, buy a stream or DVD from them. Get educated on the types of films they work with and the quality. Know the market. Know that once you finish a festival you have other options then signing your rights away to an exclusive company. Know that there are some companies who would gladly have your film on their site. In fact, do research on what kind of companies are out there before going to festivals. Know the kinds of places and the names that will be looking at your film. Are they exclusive or non-exclusive? *I always love hearing filmmakers say they at least know a little about IndieFlix. They don’t have to be a pro, but some familiarity is helpful.
Most importantly, know what you want to do with your film. Find out a way to use the current outlets to your advantage. And don’t let anyone pressure you into something you’re not comfortable doing. I’m always upfront on this. I am all about no-pressure approaches when it comes to film distribution. Although, it’s easiest for me, since IndieFlix is completely non-exclusive.
Most indie film producers say they always get screwed in distribution, you guys seems pretty upfront, why should a filmmaker consider indieflix.com? Any other benefits of choosing indieflix.com
For one, we are completely NON-EXCLUSIVE. You aren’t giving up your rights, like some other companies. You control what your film does – whether you want us to just have it available for streaming, or DVD sales or both. There aren’t any hidden fees in working with us. It’s a no cost to filmmakers model.
We work with third party distributors such as Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon VOD and have a fair amount of content on these sites. While, working with us is not a guarantee to be on these platforms, it is an possibility.
And, we’re friendly and easy to get ahold of. I’ve heard a lot of filmmakers compliment us on how filmmaker friendly we are. That’s our motto.
OK, so you guys, I’m sure, seen a ton of indie films! Anyway you can give us a list of things NOT to do to make a successful indie film!
I was hoping you would ask this question. Three things come to mind. White balancing, audio issues, and trying to do too much with your film.
White balancing errors is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It’s something that distracts me while watching a film. Especially if it happens more than once. Another similar one to this is boring camera set ups. Using the standard wide shot, medium shot, and close shot over and over again gets boring. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Use your knowledge of film to help tell the story visually. Rack the focus, track the camera, NEVER ZOOM, etc. The best advice is to watch more films (sounds awful doesn’t it?). I find that if I pick one director I admire – we’ll use Martin Scorsese for this example – and watch his keystone films. Look at how he uses camera movement, space, editing to help the story he’s trying to tell move along. It’s brilliant. Alfred Hitchcock too. And Rian Johnson’s Brick. Brillant.
Audio issues is another huge thing. My film professor always said, if your film looks amazing and sounds terrible, it is terrible. I understand that some filmmakers don’t have the budget for fancy sound kits, but honestly, educate yourself on the audio kits you have available. It’ll improve the quality of the film greatly if the sound is stellar.
***Before I explain this one, I want to make something clear. I am in NO WAY of trying to discourage you from your vision. This is just something that I have seen go terrible wrong before. BUT, I have seen this go amazingly. Just think it through. If it suits the story, go for it!*** –Trying to do too much in one film can be distracting. Really distracting. Especially when working on an independent film. Think about what you are trying to do and don’t over do it. I’ve seen films that have awesome chase sequences, fight sequences, dramatic scenes, artsy production design, and hilarious jokes. They are great, especially for ultra low budget films, but then they take it one step further and add that second chase scene, another dramatic fight that doesn’t make sense to the plot, some crazy light filter, or a repeated joke to rehash laughter from before. Keep it simple. You’ll be more memorable if you have those three key elements that are fantastic. You always want to leave them wanting more. Because, in this business, that person watching might be someone who can hire you to direct another feature with a bigger budget.
Once a film is accepted, what are some marketing strategies you have seen be successful?
I get this questioned asked quite often, actually. IndieFlix is working towards bringing more quality films to the site. Why? Because in 2011 we are focusing on expanding our subscriber base. We already have a great subscriber base, but we want to double, triple this number by the end of the year. With specific films, we like to market WITH the filmmaker. Whatever you’re doing, please let us know. We’ll share it on facebook, twitter, and write about it on our blog. Obviously, the more proactive filmmakers will see more success. Let the world know where to buy your film.
What I’ve seen successful are films that still have a presence at theaters, festivals, etc. If enough people can see it and talk about, buzz will hopefully build. Be out there directing traffic to your film’s page on IndieFlix.
A film I just finished bringing to the site, features stand up comedians. A couple of them are touring and doing performances around LA. The filmmaker made sure that they mentioned the film and its availability on IndieFlix. I know of another filmmaker that has bought ad space on TV and some websites. Another filmmaker pitches their documentary to school libraries to bring in EDU sales. Plain and simple, you gotta get the word out there. Any way you can.
Thanks so much for your time, and for people that read this and want to learn more what should they do next?