What is a distributor but someone who has a proven track record at reaching an audience. Maybe they have connections with theaters or the companies that press DVDs and Blu-rays. Maybe they have connections in various media outlets, or sub-distributors throughout the world, that will then have similar theater, pressing, and press relations.
Movies are not films. They are not DVDs or streaming videos via Netflix. They are an experience that will be consumed. The method of that consumption has changed over time, but to make movies more or less than that is to take them and change what they are in themselves and alter them in a way that is only a subjective reality that the one who alters can experience.
Therefore, the distributor is a marketer. They get as many people as possible to pay for the experience in as many formats as possible in as many places as possible. As marketers, they are almost always run from a business point of view, and that’s the way it should be.
I had a recent conversation on Twitter with John Sandel, among others. John tweeted, “Hollywood is built on exploiting licenses. Movies are gigantic commercials promoting the income streams from those licenses.”
I responded with, “I see licenses as a way to fund a uniquely expensive form of art.” I liked Sandel’s perspective and started following him on Twitter. I hope our conversation continues because, based on his bio, he and I are trying to do the same thing.
The fact is, making movies is more expensive than any other art form. That money must come from somewhere. And, just as I want to work with the best actor, or DP, so to I should want to work with someone who is going to bring in the most money. It’s not greed. I don’t care about money. Money, to me, is a means to keep doing what I love doing. The two categories of people who make the most money are bankers (I’ll include stock brokers, etc. in that category) and people in business.
* * *
And, that segues into why I should want to be working with Shoreline. They are good at what they do. They’re not the best, but then, I can’t get the best to respond to emails so I have to take what I can get. They’re good enough to do what I need right now.
* * *
It’s funny, the way the mind creates realities in the absence of hard evidence. It dreams, on its own, and as often as not, those dreams create negative emotions.
Over the weekend, when I didn’t really have access to my computer to actually read emails, I imagined that Darren at Shoreline sent me an email saying, “I’m not sure how much time we have.”
My mind twisted that into meaning one of at least three possibilities: 1) I’m not sure how much time you’re allowing us; 2) I’m not sure how much time we want to spend on this project because it’s not really worth it to us; 3) I’m not sure how to tell you we don’t want to buy or license your movie and yet still maintain a relationship with you in case you explode and become the next “it” director, so I’ll just leave it ambiguous.
I didn’t have access to email. I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t even read the emails to make sure that’s what Darren had typed. All I could do was manufacture realities and feel sad for myself. I’ve been getting pretty good at that last part over the past few days. I suck at marketing. I’m afraid of it. I really would like someone to come and take it over for me. But, if there’s no one there, I have no choice but to do it myself.
* * *
The reason I’ve been feeling sad is because not licensing ALGORITHM, or not making enough money from my own marketing leaves me feeling like I’ve let my wife down. She has financially supported my artistic endeavors for the past 10 years. She believes in me more than anyone ever has, and that belief manifests itself practically. On top of that, she doesn’t make enough for her to retire, ever.
I have to make enough money with my movie career to fund our retirement. Though, I never intend to retire myself, she can’t keep doing her job much past when she is 60. It’s too physically demanding.
And then there’s the cast and crew of ALGORITHM. They all put their faith in me when I told them the movie would make money.
I’ve been pretty consistently depressed since the evening of July 23rd, when I made all the links that allow people to purchase ALGORITHM live.
* * *
The harsh reality is that there is no one else in my life who can do the things I need done to the standards I need them done for the money I can pay (read: none). There is only me.
It’s way too much work for any one person to do and there’s a very real possibility that I’m going to burn out if I continue. And I can’t quit. I have to succeed in whatever ethical way I can. If it means I learn yet another skill, one which I have consistently failed at in the past, then that’s what it means. I simply have to keep going, regardless of how sad or depressed or defeated I feel.
I’m very nervous and scared. I’m filled with doubt and I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I didn’t get to sleep until 4:00am this morning because my fears kept me awake. I’ve been running all day on four hours of sleep. And, I’m not that tired now.
* * *
I’m back home now. I have access to my computers and can search my various email boxes. And, I searched for the email from Darren so I could ask him for clarification on what he meant. I need to know what to do with Shoreline in order to know if I have to suck it up and learn marketing.
The email said, “I’m not sure how much time you’re giving us.”
Most of my fears that Shoreline wanted nothing to do with ALGORITHM were imagined.
I feel tired now.