indie Seriously, is it over?

Actually, it's 4,000 watched hours. Aside from my own channel, I've helped a few clients get theirs up and running and 4,000 hours isn't that hard to achieve. On my channel, I had ten episodes of a "survival" show (really just me backpacking) that found their audience and got the 4,000 hours real quick. Then I was able to monetize my $2000 feature and it's made about $10,000 since then and has 1.5 million views.

My point is that you can easily make some throw away content to get the views and subscribers, which will then allow you to monetize the real project. Pick a niche, create cheap, easy content for that niche, and the views will come. Again, I've seen this with my clients too. I've got a financial guy that does a weekly video about the stock market. Every Monday, I go film his update, drop in his power point behind him, and upload to his channel. The whole process takes five hours out of my Monday. In four months, his channel went from 5 subscribers to 9000, and he's had a few of his videos get over 40K views, one of them even has 400K. His channel has easily passed all the required metrics - in less than 4 months! Anyone can do this.
Ok, yes, you're right. I think sometimes these info pages have typos in them.

Here's the page I got as a top search result, which I copy pasted.


but after reading your info I searched again and did find 4k watch hours was accurate.

The strange thing is that before I copied this article, I had read and been told at least once that 10k subscribers were required, so on both metrics, it's 10x easier to reach. Well that's a relief. I was planning on having to loose a lot of money just to get wheels up.

Still, I think that fiction works that can't leverage search terms have an exponentially more difficult time in popping up in search results.

So my fiction is called Labyrinth this time, and there's a famous movie, and 10k extant youtube videos with that word in them, ranked higher from having more views. I doubt it will work the same as time sensitive banking information, or weekly update shows. ,Advertising will be required for it to work, and at 4k or 40k, it's still cash up front. But that does make it far more reasonable. I can probably drive that kind of traffic for $1500.

I've also made 12-13k back on an indie film, but it took 5 months and 10 grand to make it, so basically, a huge loss for me. You know how filmmaking months are, sometimes I was out working 18 hours a day.
 
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Still, I think that fiction works that can't leverage search terms have an exponentially more difficult time in popping up in search results.
I would agree with that. I got lucky in that my $2,000 movie is a Christian flick, so there's a natural built-in audience. And, I've noticed that over the last year, my views dropped dramatically. I used to average 1000 views a day, now I get about the same per month. Something with the algorithm changed.

I think you're right, paying for ads to promote a movie that makes you money from ads, is probably the best way to go.
 

indietalk

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I'm not even sure we're talking about technology. It could be a shift in what constitutes entertainment. I admit that I would rather watch a half hour of cats running and jumping and walking on their hind legs than most movies being released these days. Give me a free ticket to see the latest BLOCKBUSTER or the URL to a good documentary and I'll take the documentary every time.
No, but technology is a big part of the experience, if you are considering the metaverse. Maybe we will be going to festivals in the metaverse and sitting next to our friends as avatars. Maybe I'll throw some popcorn at Nate and maybe he'll sick his cat on me. But I can outrun his cat, at least until he improves the motion. 😂😁
 
When exactly was it profitable to make micro budget films?
I know I'll regret saying this but, the Blair Witch Project. Some say it was a skillfully orchestrated endeavor filled with insider networking. Others believe it was the most successful Micro-budget film ever made. Open Water is an example of profitable micro-budget film,,, from what I've read.
Micro budget (doomed to fail for the crime of being too poor) is around 1 million dollars.
Wow, If we are going to start calling million dollar films Micro, what do we call $30,000.00 films, Home movies?
 
I t
The Blair Witch Project had roughly $500k in post-production sound fixes
But also, this, the aforementioned marketing dollars. In this case 25 million dollars. Keep in mind that this is the single highest profile case study behind the misconception that indie films can be successful. Sadly, the people who actually made the film just got their money back, and a little extra. All the real money went to the studios. Over the years, the legend of the breakout success of the BWP caused millions to believe that a 25k film could make it big. It's never actually happened in this century to my knowledge. That was a one time thing, the actual filmmakers got almost nothing. In example, the guy who played the soup Nazi on Seinfeld for 1 minute and 15 seconds in the 90s, has now received a dozen times the income the Blair witch director received. Once the studios saw that found footage films could make money, they instantly cut out the indie filmmakers, and just shook a home video camera themselves, this time keeping all the money, instead of 99% of it. That was the paranormal activity series, Blair witch 2, etc.

Search Results-

All told, Artisan spent around $25 million on the campaign, and while news of the film's hoax status was already beginning to circulate by the time The Blair Witch Project began its general theatrical run in July 1999, the marketing had already done its job.

Blair Witch and the Rise of Viral Movie Marketing | Den of Geek

 
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No, but technology is a big part of the experience, if you are considering the metaverse. Maybe we will be going to festivals in the metaverse and sitting next to our friends as avatars. Maybe I'll throw some popcorn at Nate and maybe he'll sick his cat on me. But I can outrun his cat, at least until he improves the motion. 😂😁
ok, no 1, That's almost certain to happen. In fact, if everybody has 300 bucks, it can happen next week. We could throw a mini vr film festival showcasing indietalk filmmakers like Sean, Frink, Mara, Buddy, etc. Or this site could have a once a week VR meetup in a huge theater, and make it an extension of IT in virtual reality. We'd probably attract some new site members that way. You can rent and screen movies for your friends in VR as well, or I'd be glad to put together a movie of the week thing, and it could be a way to try and learn something new from one of the great or not so great films each week.

No 2. There's something you don't know about that cat. It has a speed control....... and a size control.

 
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I know I'll regret saying this but, the Blair Witch Project. Some say it was a skillfully orchestrated endeavor filled with insider networking. Others believe it was the most successful Micro-budget film ever made. Open Water is an example of profitable micro-budget film,,, from what I've read.

Wow, If we are going to start calling million dollar films Micro, what do we call $30,000.00 films, Home movies?
lol, I know that you're being facetious, but there's actually an answer to this, though you won't love it.

Small movies around 100-300 grand are often referred to as "vanity projects" because they typically star people who have no box office draw but had some money and wanted to be in front of the camera. I just worked on several in the last few years, just trying to pay the bills. They are horrible though. Some dentist or stock broker decides they are a movie star, then a bunch of pros with no funding sit around and make a movie about Brett Sanderson DDS, playing a daring spy that seduces his IRL wife, who plays a mysterious foreieign agent carrying the doomsday plans in a briefcase they brought from home.

Not every ultra low budget movie is like that, it's just that other professions make enough money to fund them, and filmmaking doesn't, so you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, end up with a person with zero experience ordering around a crew of penniless experts. It sucks.

Stuff like Mara makes is the exception rather than the rule, and if you watch her films they are about the story, but in most cases, it's a discontented housewife with a rich husband talking about how their first film will be a huge hit, and it literally never is.

You'll see people come through here with these projects from time to time. People operating at 2% of our level and talking about how we can all ride their coattails to global fame. There was one a few weeks ago. It is super easy to get rid of them though. You just say, "OMG that's amazing, and you stood by that lamp post by yourself, with no help? Well then if you were doing that, who typed the words on the screen?" They will immediately go into professor mode, and start explaining to you how you can use a free iphone app to add text in post. Next step, tell them that you think you might be able to help them out, for a cut of the future millions. You're home free. They immediately will become aloof and protective of the phantom earnings, and condescendingly explain to you that they are the real thing, and you should leave such matters to the pros. Done! you have escaped the project, and don't have to do any work!
 
I see....
This is a good conversation to have. I don't think I ever said it out loud but it did occur to me, even 20 years ago, that the reason for marketing that suggests the potential of success at a micro-budget level is simply a campaign to sell more cameras and software and magazines. In its own way it's almost like selling lottery tickets. Perhaps it's why micro-budget producers have turned to Youtube. Not producing features but the 10 minutes amusement shows instead. The candid camera pranks. The compilation videos showing all sorts of unusual "caught on camera" things that happen around the world. I do admit I love those shows when I'm in the mood to watch them. Yes, it seems painfully obvious both looking back and looking forward that micro-budget film making has never been much more than fantasy role playing by the people who desperately want to be in the film industry. I don't blame them. I was/am one of them... I don't know. I guess at some point a person might have to accept that they spent a lot of time chasing an illusion. There is value in the pursuit of something you believe in but we've always been told that if we want it bad enough and work hard at getting it, we can have it.. Not true in this case. It looks like you can make a micro-budget feature then feel good about that accomplishment, but that's all. Still, if you stay real about it and realize that the odd are against you in a serious way, you could still make movies for the fun of it.
 
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sfoster

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I see....
This is a good conversation to have. I don't think I ever said it out loud but it did occur to me, even 20 years ago, that the reason for marketing that suggests the potential of success at a micro-budget level is simply a campaign to sell more cameras and software and magazines. In its own way it's almost like selling lottery tickets. Perhaps it's why micro-budget producers have turned to Youtube. Not producing features but the 10 minutes amusement shows instead. The candid camera pranks. The compilation videos showing all sorts of unusual "caught on camera" things that happen around the world. I do admit I love those shows when I'm in the mood to watch them. Yes, it seems painfully obvious both looking back and looking forward that micro-budget film making has never been much more than fantasy role playing by the people who desperately want to be in the film industry. I don't blame them. I was/am one of them... I don't know. I guess at some point a person might have to accept that they spent a lot of time chasing an illusion. There is value in the pursuit of something you believe in but we've always been told that if we want it bad enough and work hard at getting it, we can have it.. Not true in this case. It looks like you can make a micro-budget feature then feel good about that accomplishment, but that's all. Still, if you stay real about it and realize that the odd are against you in a serious way, you could still make movies for the fun of it.
Yes I have struggled with accepting the reality of this situation as well.
No matter how much time or effort i put into something i still can't even give it away for free. it sucks really fucking hard.

Where do you even go from there?

What's the point of putting thousands of dollars and 7 months of work into a 10 minute film and then like, 2 people share it and hardly anybody watches it? It's not wanted or appreciated so what is the point.

Maybe it really is a lottery.
Maybe I don't even have the money to buy a ticket, i couldn't even cast actors in my last film i had to beg a friend to be in it for me.. and that was after doing this stuff for like 7 years. I wasn't even new and couldn't even get people to want to work with me!! it's horrid.
 
I think there's still a bit more to this. For one thing, thinking of it as a lottery, like you might get lucky, is not quite accurate. There is some luck involved, on multiple different levels. The other 75% though can be expressed in math. I'm not even going to try to write a real analysis of this here and now, because I'm not really feeling up to it, but I'll make a cartoonishly oversimplified stab at it that at least conveys some of the logic.

Half your score is based on raising marketing funds. If you are marketing with out funds, you maximum score is 50 or F-

This one thing is the instant death of virtually every project I used to get hired onto. Each time I tell them, half the money for marketing, don't just post on Facebook. Every time they spend all the money on the film because they think people can sense greatness (their movie) without even being exposed to it in any way. Some don't even make a post cut trailer.

Now for the film, again, oversimplified

the talent of crew, taken as an average, with some roles such as director and writer weighted heavier - lets say you're great, and the mean talent rating is 80%

Multiply that by your resources vs what it would take to do it twice without having to compromise anything. After all, everything won't go perfect, ever, and there's reshoots. or just convert the percentage of the ratio really

So lets say for everything to go effortlessly and all the helicopter scenes to have photoreal helicopters, you need only 4 million dollars. So you actually have 1 million, and sacrifices have to be made. Bruce Willis won't bother to act any more, but hey he was famous, and you really can't afford Ryan Reynolds, who would be a far better fit for the character. The big knife fight 120 feet up on a construction beam. Better just do that on a streetcorner near a fire hydrant. Do the cops show up when the house explode? Nope, we watch someone recieve a phone call about how the house exploded and the cops show up.

So you have 25% money x 80% talent, for a total of 20% intended or available talent reaching the screen.

If you had an appropriate marketing budget, another million, you could release a product at 20% of the quality of high performing films. Freakish anomalies lean this way and that, but you can start to see how this all happens. The picture in the directors mind is sometimes so clear and good, but after being crippled several stages in a row, real life results are always a fraction of the original vision. For deep pockets like Disney, that fraction can hit 85% sometimes.

Worse, the most common situation would be either trying to split that million with the ads, and having a 10% movie, or forgoing marketing in favor of hope, which is a bad idea.
 
Here's the other side, indie microbudget as we once knew it may be gone, but there are a lot of new mediums to replace it, and a continually growing pool of viewers. It's always going to be hard to start any business without a loan, mentor, etc, and there are no loans for artists, but now more than ever, there are numerous perforations where we can utilize the same skills to create breakout hits in other more accessible forms of entertainment.

You can probably make an indie animated show if you are dead set on doing it, lol. You can make a youtube show, scripted or non scripted, and if it's great, it's only a matter of time and effort to get it off the ground. I'm not saying the system doesn't arbitrarily doom people at random, but most people I see loosing really aren't applying themselves.

Lastly, the reason I complain about it so much is relative to my aspirations, which have to do with exploring scalability and automation in the coming world of post AI, post real time ray tracing digital art. I think a lot of you guys can break through if you have a good plan and work ethic.
 

indietalk

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Where do we go from here?
You got me, brother..
You go from the same place you referenced in 2006 (Blair Witch era). There was no boom of film buying then, or now. I think you are under the impression studios were snapping up micro budget films (of prosumer quality and >30K) and that was just not the case. It never happened. It's never been about a magic formula. And no filmmaker has the answer. And we've all been asking ourselves the "How do we do it?" question since we started. There was no boom that you missed.
 
Jackass was actually the only real modern indie rags to riches story I can think of, and that's just because they used a cheap gimmick over and over to achieve a gut reaction from the audience. South Park the decade before, with 2 animators working full time and pitching a demo episode, which later led to several studio features. So it has happened, for a very very few hardworking and creative people, and a few exploitative people. Ultimately, this is a puzzle to be solved, and I think it requires innovation at this point. What I often see at film festivals and indie markets feels like when the redcoats used to just march in rows into a hail of bullets. Yes, there's supposed to be a beaten path, but it doesn't work anymore, so it's guerilla warfare again, just like in the old days IMO.
 
There was no boom that you missed.
Maybe it wasn't a boom but there were micro-budget films being bought and distributed. A few that I know of:
War of the planets DVD Blockbuster video
Thumb wars DVD Walmart
SideFX DVD Walmart
Kisses and Caroms (Warner home video)
Star Warp'd DVD
Exile Streaming and available in Japan

So, it did happen enough to energize a lot of us.
 

indietalk

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and I think it requires innovation at this point.
And innovation goes directly back to Blair Witch, as this film spawned a genre (found footage) and the studio knew they beat them to it and that the home movie look actually was the only way to introduce this new genre for the believability of the schtick.
 

indietalk

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And it could only be done once!
 
And innovation goes directly back to Blair Witch, as this film spawned a genre (found footage) and the studio knew they beat them to it and that the home movie look actually was the only way to introduce this new genre for the believability of the schtick.
Actually Blair Witch was not the first. I know that Cannibal holocaust preceded it using the same theme 'found footage' . Sure, it wasn't as mainstream. Infact, it was banned in some countries, but it did present the idea of found footage before BW. In my opinion that bolsters the other idea about finding success; timing. Maybe if BW was 2 years sooner or 2 years later it would not have hit. Maybe the same could be said about Evil Dead. ..... Maybe the same could be said about The GodFather.
 
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