14-11-09 Distribution

    “Good times. Bad Times. Give me some of that.” Those are the lyrics from Good Times, by Edie Brickell. It was one of two songs that came with the first CD-ROM distribution of Windows 95.

    That’s what it is to be a creative.

    In case you couldn’t tell, I got some bad news last Thursday. It’s something I should have known already, since Miles Maker had told me the reality of AFM several times. But, hope seems to make me forget.

    Anyway, Mandi brought our One Sheet to AFM and was told that simply handing it out would do us more harm than good. It was completely wrong. It’s hard to say exactly why, but it was. What that meant was that our entire AFM hopes were essentially washed away by a technical error made out of ignorance on our part. Mandi wants to take credit for the error, but ultimately, I’m the one responsible for anything that happens to ALGORITHM. So, it’s just as much my fault as it was hers.

    I’ve already talked about the Star System and how it affects international sales. So, ALGORITHM is shot there too. And there’s something else: Hollywood seems to be under the impression that the world doesn’t want to know what it’s actually like to be a hacker. They want explosions and boobs and super-ninja hackers who can launch nukes in seconds and then turn around and beat up SEAL Team Six, without so much as getting a scratch, except to imply that the threat from the SEALs was real.

    ALGORITHM doesn’t do that. It’s the most realistic hacker movie ever made. And, hackers aren’t super-ninjas.

    My hope for not having to do all of the business for ALGORITHM evaporated like the morning coastal fog of southern California.

*          *          *

    I’m back where I started.

    The difference between now and a few months ago is that I’ve got some rest. I’m no longer exhausted. And, because of the emotional beating of the last few months, I feel stronger, or at least tougher. I feel like I’m capable of doing more.    The real question is what does ALGORITHM’s business model look like? Or, in other words, what does the future of filmmaking look like? Tim League, Founder and CEO of Alamo Draft House said that if anyone says they know what the landscape is going to look like in 5 years, they’re lying.

    Nevertheless, as a filmmaker and now entrepreneur, it’s my job to know. My ability to continue to create depends on that. If I can’t figure it out, then my ability to continue to make movies is over. Movies cost money to make and that money has to come from somewhere.

*          *          *

    Mandi said she thought that a more creative model of distribution would be better for ALGORITHM. The problem is, that model doesn’t include Hollywood, which means that it’s pretty much beyond her expertise. I hate to flip-flop on this again, but it may be something I have to do. I have to keep my business lean. More saved on this project means more to spend on the next project.

*          *          *

    It would be really nice to have a partner in this. It’s hard going alone. Many of the great people I admire to have tread a path like the one I’m now on have had partners. None that I can think of have done it alone. And yet, that’s pretty much where I am. 

    Like I wrote earlier, I feel stronger because of this recent emotional beating. I feel like I have more strength than I did before it started. Maybe I don’t have more strength. Maybe I’m just rested. I feel like I know what kinds of things come and how to deal with them. Sometimes it requires crying. Sometimes a cathartic walk. Sometimes it just means I have to step back and get some rest until I feel strong enough to keep going. All of those are viable tactics. What isn’t viable is quitting. To put it plainly, I simply have nowhere else to go.

*          *          *

    The future of movie distribution may or may not use tools that are now available. It may or may not look like the kinds of “creative distribution” models that are already being tested. But, my next step will almost certainly include those models.

    ALGORITHM might end up on Youtube, with advertising. We’ll also have another version that doesn’t have ads, available for sale on our site. So, it costs time spent in front of ads, or it costs a small amount of money to get rid of the ads. That’s the model I like for websites, though none of the major ones have done it yet.

    I don’t know if that model will work. But, it’s another step forward as I grope for my future.