Film Entrepreneur New to Forum Looking to Do Big Things

Hello. My name is Matt and my brother and I have been writing and making films for over 7 years around the Baltimore/D.C region. We recently decided to take the plunge and pivot into creating a new business model for the film industry using Web 3.0 technology that's rolling out.

It's an ambitious goal, but we feel that the central model in the film industry is antiquated and severely limiting to creators and consumers alike. It's true that the current model is very effective in making films, but there's a major cost to this. More leveraging power ends up falling into the hands of a few, which gives creative people less control over their work or the kind of work they want to do. And, it makes them more dependent on others who may not always have their best interests at hand.

The central model is a safer way to make films and get a return on people's investment, but with safety comes limitations in the kinds of stories that are made. It also limits the opportunities for new creatives to rise and it hinders existing creatives from attaining a deeper sense of fulfillment in their work. That’s why we often see the same movies with the same talent over and over again and it’s also why a lot of creative people who made a name for themselves end up going independent.

A lot of us accept these limitations because we feel there’s no other recourse. Filmmakers need stories, talent, money, and resources and the major studios have them. So, we fight to “break into” the industry and accept the price of doing business this way. But, what if there was another way to make films; a new way that allowed people to invest in movies or shows for a return; a way where any filmmaker with a great idea was able to connect to the right professionals and raise funding for their film; a way where people could find jobs on the projects that mattered to them most, not in some far off place, but right at home? What if professionals stopped “breaking” into the industry altogether and instead decided to form their own?

That's what we're looking to solve. We want to build a film eco-system that decentralizes the entire film industry so that instead of having big studios or agencies we have independent professionals coalescing and collaborating on the projects that not only matter to them most, but also maximizes their chances of advancing themselves. Again, it's ambitious but a goal we feel is worth fighting for because to be frank...we just can't stand another reboot. We want our stories back and we want our creative professionals to be free to work on the things they want instead of existing IP that's given to them like a contractor given a project.

Anyway, that's who I am. Feel free to PM or message me on here. Love to discuss these things!
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Welcome

how does filmpeople collaboration translate into the tens of thousands of dollars you need to pay for insurance, location, etc before anything can get made ?

and as much as people might love my writing they aren't going to get punched in the face for it. you have to pay your stunt people too. everything costs money. its all about money. thats why the system is the way it is.
 
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Welcome

how does filmpeople collaboration translate into the tens of thousands of dollars you need to pay for insurance, location, etc before anything can get made ?

and as much as people might love my writing they aren't going to get punched in the face for it. you have to pay your stunt people too. everything costs money. its all about money. thats why the system is the way it is.
Exactly! You touched on the fundamental problem of why it seems impossible to change. That's why we're working on that.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Exactly! You touched on the fundamental problem of why it seems impossible to change. That's why we're working on that.
im very skeptical that there’s an answer

but hey I’m all ears
Also I’m in the Baltimore area and give props to usual suspects.
 
I've been in this business for a very long time... I'm also one of the first people to say that it needs to change. Hollywood eats its young in more ways than one but as @sfoster said, it all runs on money. Even micro budget indie projects almost have to come up with SOMETHING for the people that get involved to help a filmmaker (writer or writer/director) see their vision come to fruition.

I'd be interested to hear how or if your plan/idea somehow resolves this.

At this late stage of my life? I know I could very likely ask at least 15 or 20 friends to help me with making a film and they'd most likely help me as much as they could for free and with some of their spare time... Yet at the same time? After having been in this business for so long? I almost feel like I'd be disrespecting them by asking for such a huge favor because quite honestly? That's one hell of a favor to ask of anyone... Not to mention the idea of paying people on deferment. I just no longer feel I can be that person anymore.

Which brings up the problem of the vision itself... LOL. I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone on this forum or anyone attempting to get into this business or trying to make their own film but by and large? Most concepts and screenplays and ideas I see and hear about from people wanting to break in are just not the kinds of concepts that people are going to be willing to invest an hour and a half of their time for. Sure, there's always going to be people like US who are willing to read and watch just about anything as a way of showing support for others involved in this endeavor... But the average audience member just AIN'T like that at all. LOL.

So combining that truth with another truth... That even if the concept is AMAZING? What if the execution is NOT? This is why, at a complete minimum... I feel like I certainly need to be able to PAY anyone and everyone involved in helping me create MY vision. That way... As in 99% of the time... If it's a bust? At least everyone got paid.

Short of taking out a second mortgage and maxing out the old credit cards or wiping out one's savings (assuming they actually have any), I'd love to hear any ideas, suggestions, or recommendations on how we, as filmmakers can figure out how to pay our crew. Trust me... I know it can be done with a ton of hard work... We can hit up family, friends, and associates... As well as hit on all the usual suspects... But by now? I'm sure even Dentists are pretty WARY of filmmakers who come to them looking for money. LOL.

Last but not least? This is NOT me criticizing your post... Not in the slightest. I myself have been working on an idea like this in many shapes and forms for over a decade but obviously, I haven't quite figured it out yet.

Always more than willing to discuss it though.
 
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im very skeptical that there’s an answer

but hey I’m all ears
Also I’m in the Baltimore area and give props to usual suspects.
Woah, that's awesome you live in Baltimore! Great place to reignite the film industry in the East Coast since there's a lot of activity and resources there.
 
I've been in this business for a very long time... I'm also one of the first people to say that it needs to change. Hollywood eats its young in more ways than one but as @sfoster said, it all runs on money. Even micro budget indie projects almost have to come up with SOMETHING for the people that get involved to help a filmmaker (writer or writer/director) see their vision come to fruition.

I'd be interested to hear how or if your plan/idea somehow resolves this.
Everything you said was totally spot on. Social capital can only go so far. You need a mechanism in place that can produce financing, which is one of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome. Unfortunately, I can't really get into the weeds about that part, but looking into the new stuff that's rolling out, it's becoming apparent that this might be solvable.

On top of that, the new type of recommenders they're developing along with their enhancements to machine learning intelligence means that we could not only have more fine-tuned recommenders that can better predict what you genuinely want to work on and with whom, but using a different kind of analysis we could create a way to help writers and filmmakers better flesh their ideas out and sell them to other professionals more effectively without having to have that extra edge of talent you need in order to make a sellable story.

Like, you notice how most ideas have potential, but as soon as the writer or filmmaker fleshes it out on-page, it becomes flaccid? I think there's a way to solve that issue so that a writer or a filmmaker who is okay and able to structure a script on page with all the basics can better flesh out their stories to make them into the thing they intended to make them into. So our goal is to not only turn this into an eco-system, but also an incubator for new talent to better hone in on their craft. Film and writing school is just too costly for a lot of people, plus it's not as effective as actually writing and filming. So ideally, further into the future we'd like to have a wide range of users from people who have no idea what they're doing to high-level industry professionals so that there's both a learning and growth component as well as a stable and meaningful career component to the site. Tall order given that the two elements have a tendency to butt heads.

This is definitely an evolutionary task more so than revolutionary because it's not as if we build it, launch, and suddenly the industry changes. We need to build the right foundation and layer in the components over time as the technology matures. Furthermore, it will be a huge marketing effort to convince people to produce films differently, sort of like how people had to be convinced that the Internet could be used for more than just viewing pictures and information.

Thanks for the points you made. Absolutely spot on and a major reason why the industry is the way that it is. But maybe it can change?
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
On top of that, the new type of recommenders they're developing along with their enhancements to machine learning intelligence means that we could not only have more fine-tuned recommenders that can better predict what you genuinely want to work on and with whom
I actually laughed out loud at this part.
And I have a computer science degree from college park MD... back when the program was extremely challenging with c++ as the primary language.
(much easier now with java curriculum)

Those algorithms are the types of pie in the sky ideas people love to pitch in business meetings but when the rubber hits the road are not actually effective and do not resonate with end users.

Even if you could help to find other people to collaborate ... thats exactly what this website already does (indietalk)
we come on here, we help each other with scripts. we collaborate. i found a camera guy on here.

youre not going to disrupt a trillion dollar industry that runs on large financial investments.
 
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I have to agree with @sfoster more or less... Even if you were to create a platform like Stage 32 where they have partnered with tons of people in the industry to give webinars on a variety of different subjects... That money is split with the person working in the industry and the platform itself. The money that goes to the platform is how the platform SURVIVES i.e., that money pays for all their overhead which I happen to know is quite high.

The interesting thing here to me of course is the people in the industry... Just to make it clear? I am NOT a member of Stage 32. I do not advocate for them or against them. It's not a lot unlike Indietalk as far as I'm concerned but where they seem to shine is how make they their money and you can take the word SHINE any way you want... LOL. Meaning, without all their on demand classes and webinars? They would in fact just be a social networking site for people wanting to make films; be that writing, directing, producing, acting, composing, or simply being part of a crew.

Taking a closer look at the people who put these webinars on... Much of my research into them identify a majority of them as smaller players attempting to become bigger players in the industry. Low level producers who really can't make a decision outright without running it up through their chain of command. Agents and managers (mostly) putting on a webinar with a side gig of allowing those that paid the ability to pitch them to them whatever screenplay(s) they've written. Managers mainly looking to become producers. In a lot of ways? It's pay to play. Not that that in and of itself isn't a bad way to break into the industry IF you have the money but... I know for a lot of screenwriters, it tends to go against the grain.

The reason I mention them? They could very well likely be a model for doing something like you said... They boast over half a million members so an entity like that could probably very easily finance micro budget features by allowing their members to submit their material and then the platform selects the best of the best... Assuming they even know how to do that. From there, the platform could even allow other members to help out on the winning concept to be turned into a film by hiring those members for all the necessary departments of production and post production.

The platform could essentially produce the film... The important part of THIS production of course would be a production blog keeping all members up to date on its status. Since the platform is online and already has an established portal for viewing video? They could even sneak preview the film for a small viewing fee to all its members. Of course, the platform would really have to push the marketing aspect of that... Like, you know... We're all in this together and we all need to support one another and if we do well on this one? We'll keep doing them... Yada yada. If even only 50K members watched the film online for say... $5? That's $250K already returned and of course, if you keep the budget to say... No more than $50K? It's already a success. That film could be in their library and remain as an ON DEMAND film that new or old members could watch anytime they want and continue to make money and hopefully launch a lot of talent that participated in the production.

Meaning... It would be like the RED digital cinema camera when it finally came out. A lot of would be filmmakers went to go see the first film made with it just to see if it was ALL THAT. In a weird way, you can call that SUPPORT. I think a lot of platform members would do the same as long as the platform kept the idea in front of them consistently before, during, and after the film was completed.

These are all pie in the sky ideas of course... I haven't read anything about that platform doing anything like I've just mentioned and the only reason I mentioned THEM instead of Indietalk is because I happen to know the other platform makes a lot of money because of their classes and webinars. In fact? I think creating SOMETHING like I just mentioned would tend to legitimize them a little more with their members. Maybe throw in some FREE CLASSES on screenwriting and other content to help members who don't have a lot of money to spend at least get some decent instruction within their filmmaking interest.

It could be done... It's an idea I've been playing around with for years and I just painted some broad strokes here. It's doable but even getting that off the ground with an entirely new platform or even with a website like Indietalk would take some fairly heavy financing to make it work. I've even considered creating a non-profit around the concept which I think would be of real benefit.

Still... All comes down to M O N E Y. LOL.
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I love it when filmmakers try to reinvent the wheel. I don't mean
that in a pejorative way – I honestly love to see people trying.

One of the repeated issues I have seen over the years is the focus
on the filmmaker. Today anyone with a smart phone can make a
movie. And they can get it out there. Making a movie is no longer
a prohibitively expensive venture. Even getting that movie to the
public is no longer a prohibitively expensive venture. We can tell
the stories we want. We are free to work on the things we want.
And the equipment to make those movies is readily available. A
creative filmmaker can make an excellent film for almost no money.

I see between 20 and 50 independent films a year at film festivals.
Each film festival (and I'm not talking about the top 10) get 200 to
2,000 entries. In any year there are five to eight thousand films made
by independent filmmakers with an idea they think is great. In my
experience I know there are many films being made. Getting a movie
made isn't the issue.

The problem that needs to be solved is how to get people to pay to
watch. The only way to get a return on the investment is for people
to pay to watch the movie.

In your new business plan how do you hope to solve that issue?
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Getting a movie made isn't the issue.
Shit maybe its easy for you. Nobody is giving me a dime.
I get such little help I have to hold a boom pole and direct at the same time. It's awful.

Actors will not work unless i buy them food and pay them, etc..
I only get a small amount of money each month from disability.

What if I want to make a fantasy sci-fi with a CGI villain ? I definitely need money. or like .. a year+ of research and effort to make a mediocre result myself?
 
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Today anyone with a smart phone can make a movie. And they can get it out there. Making a movie is no longer a prohibitively expensive venture. Even getting that movie to the public is no longer a prohibitively expensive venture. We can tell the stories we want. We are free to work on the things we want. And the equipment to make those movies is readily available. A creative filmmaker can make an excellent film for almost no money.
While this is in fact a very true statement? I'm no longer in my twenties or thirties when this would have been the way I would have flown... As a matter of fact, it was the way I flew back then... LOL. But now that I've had enough real life experience in this business and have seen what it takes to succeed? Now that I've made friends of people in every aspect of this business? I no longer feel CAPABLE of asking professional friends to help me make my film without paying them SOMETHING worthy of their time. Especially, on the very likely off-chance it goes NOWHERE... LOL. I used to love getting friends to act in a short and one feature I never got to finish because of the DIVORCE FROM HELL but the truth of the matter is... I had to say their lines for them to show them exactly how I wanted them said. I just don't have that kind of energy anymore... LOL. Especially when, with some actual MONEY? I could have some amazing character actors put in a great performance.

But I do get your point... Unfortunately, I just don't want it as bad as I used to. LOL. Age and experience can do that to ya.
 
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I actually laughed out loud at this part.
And I have a computer science degree from college park MD... back when the program was extremely challenging with c++ as the primary language.
(much easier now with java curriculum)

Those algorithms are the types of pie in the sky ideas people love to pitch in business meetings but when the rubber hits the road are not actually effective and do not resonate with end users.

Even if you could help to find other people to collaborate ... thats exactly what this website already does (indietalk)
we come on here, we help each other with scripts. we collaborate. i found a camera guy on here.

youre not going to disrupt a trillion dollar industry that runs on large financial investments.
100 percent agree. Recommenders and machine learning have turned more into buzzwords that do work, but only insomuch as really collecting data on views, interests, and facts about you that can only infer so much about you and only about who you were and not who you are real-time since we change pretty much every second and behave differently in different settings with different people.

Current recommenders aren't that great at determining the nuances such as career goals, who you like to work with or don't like to work with, or what really interests you specifically about a story instead of taking concepts about the story and connecting them to your interests. Like, how can you determine that this person prefers a spiraling structured story with these kinds of tones, pacing, and character journey with data collected from their digital footprints on social media?

I've had the pleasure of meeting some very forward-thinking experts in this field who are actually solving these issues right now so it'll be exciting to see what the next-gen recommenders can do for us. Right now, I agree. It's pretty basic stuff that derives superficial meaning from facts about you. But even then, they're good enough to create meaningful connections that you might find on a site like this and they're only getting better.

The real difference, though? Ideally, our system will be cleaner and easier to connect because instead of having to find people or stories, the site finds them for you and they can be global or localized as well as in your network so the people you connect with are people who know people that you know. As a filmmaker it will become easier to collaborate. Plus, there will be a resource sharing component similar to borrowlens, only instead of just having gear, it'll have numerous kinds of resources available to rent, purchase, or borrow such as locations, wardrobe, props, etc.

The goal is to try and mimic what naturally occurs at the ground level within indie film communities. What's fascinating is the fact that there are tons of filmmakers and writers who have day jobs doing commercial work, but on nights and weekends, they go off with their friends and make creative films. There's no monetary incentive.

They just do it because that's what they originally signed up for, but due to the lack of opportunities in places outside of Hollywood and other major centers and the fact that it's very challenging to find places that are cheap and effective in helping you develop and hone in on your craft, a lot of these films end up nowhere and everyone keeps working on commercial gigs to pay the bills as they continue to make creative films on the side for fun. A lot of times the execution of the story on page is bad. Other times its because they just didn't meet the right people at the right time. Then, there's just the simple and MAJOR fact that it costs time and money to make films.

All of this limits our abilities to make films where we want, when we want, with the people we want, on the projects that mean the most to us. So, why not try to solve these issues? These are all extremely challenging things to overcome if they're even possible, but it's worth fighting for to me and with the stuff that's rolling out, it's actually possible.

Plus, anything is better than accepting the norm because the norm is why so many talented writers can't get their spec scripts made that might otherwise be really good. The norm is why it's so rare to see fresh new movies that are great and meaningful like Fight Club or Inception instead of films that are just cheap thrills that induce dopamine. The norm is why we had to create unions and guilds to give us collective bargaining power and is why the unions and guilds that were intended to protect us are now exploiting us as they protect us. The norm is why we constantly put up with shitty people who are abusive to creatives because they're "too big to fail". It's only when they're exposed for doing really horrible things like Spacey or Weinstein when they get booted, but until then people like my friends have to deal with those toxic environments and if they complain about them, they're generally fired.

So yeah, it's a longshot, but it's a worthy longshot because to not do something about it means to not do something about the very medium that helps us better process, understand, and mitigate the issues we face in our everyday experiences. Adulterating the film industry is analogous to adulterating our dreams and that's not a very wise thing to do if we want to become better people.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
100 percent agree. Recommenders and machine learning have turned more into buzzwords that do work, but only insomuch as really collecting data on views, interests, and facts about you that can only infer so much about you and only about who you were and not who you are real-time since we change pretty much every second and behave differently in different settings with different people.

Current recommenders aren't that great at determining the nuances such as career goals, who you like to work with or don't like to work with, or what really interests you specifically about a story instead of taking concepts about the story and connecting them to your interests. Like, how can you determine that this person prefers a spiraling structured story with these kinds of tones, pacing, and character journey with data collected from their digital footprints on social media?

I've had the pleasure of meeting some very forward-thinking experts in this field who are actually solving these issues right now so it'll be exciting to see what the next-gen recommenders can do for us. Right now, I agree. It's pretty basic stuff that derives superficial meaning from facts about you. But even then, they're good enough to create meaningful connections that you might find on a site like this and they're only getting better.

The real difference, though? Ideally, our system will be cleaner and easier to connect because instead of having to find people or stories, the site finds them for you and they can be global or localized as well as in your network so the people you connect with are people who know people that you know. As a filmmaker it will become easier to collaborate. Plus, there will be a resource sharing component similar to borrowlens, only instead of just having gear, it'll have numerous kinds of resources available to rent, purchase, or borrow such as locations, wardrobe, props, etc.

The goal is to try and mimic what naturally occurs at the ground level within indie film communities. What's fascinating is the fact that there are tons of filmmakers and writers who have day jobs doing commercial work, but on nights and weekends, they go off with their friends and make creative films. There's no monetary incentive.

They just do it because that's what they originally signed up for, but due to the lack of opportunities in places outside of Hollywood and other major centers and the fact that it's very challenging to find places that are cheap and effective in helping you develop and hone in on your craft, a lot of these films end up nowhere and everyone keeps working on commercial gigs to pay the bills as they continue to make creative films on the side for fun. A lot of times the execution of the story on page is bad. Other times its because they just didn't meet the right people at the right time. Then, there's just the simple and MAJOR fact that it costs time and money to make films.

All of this limits our abilities to make films where we want, when we want, with the people we want, on the projects that mean the most to us. So, why not try to solve these issues? These are all extremely challenging things to overcome if they're even possible, but it's worth fighting for to me and with the stuff that's rolling out, it's actually possible.

Plus, anything is better than accepting the norm because the norm is why so many talented writers can't get their spec scripts made that might otherwise be really good. The norm is why it's so rare to see fresh new movies that are great and meaningful like Fight Club or Inception instead of films that are just cheap thrills that induce dopamine. The norm is why we had to create unions and guilds to give us collective bargaining power and is why the unions and guilds that were intended to protect us are now exploiting us as they protect us. The norm is why we constantly put up with shitty people who are abusive to creatives because they're "too big to fail". It's only when they're exposed for doing really horrible things like Spacey or Weinstein when they get booted, but until then people like my friends have to deal with those toxic environments and if they complain about them, they're generally fired.

So yeah, it's a longshot, but it's a worthy longshot because to not do something about it means to not do something about the very medium that helps us better process, understand, and mitigate the issues we face in our everyday experiences. Adulterating the film industry is analogous to adulterating our dreams and that's not a very wise thing to do if we want to become better people.
It sounds like youre trying to solve the problem of sorting out who should work with whom.
But there's not a plethora of people looking for partners like that.

Like theres just SO many people looking to work with me that I need an algorithm to sort them all out? lol. come on now.
I have to hold my own boom pole while i direct. nobody is chomping at the bit to work with me.

and my brother isnt interested in making films.
he has two children and runs a cyber security company. more than enough on his plate.
 
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Still... All comes down to M O N E Y. LOL.
Exactly. As I grow older I'm also finding myself a lot more squeamish asking friends to help me with my films for free. And with strangers online? There's no way I can get their help for free unless they're so green they need the experience and will work for free or super cheap.

That's why the problem of funding must be solved for any online platform to be able to compete with the current industry. Soon. Very soon, my friend.
 
Well... While I dig your prose? I really don't understand HOW you may be trying to change things. Eloquently said but where's the beef so to speak?
Thank you! I really want to delve into the beef, but my constituents would kill me! I'll be sure to share the prototype once we launch, though. Even then, it'll be a few iterations before the solutions are fully realized. The tech is there, but it's so new that it's not necessarily feasible to integrate and scale-up effectively. But, we do have a plan!
 
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