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Monday, August 08, 2005

Thoughts About The Future Of Distribution

Now that the internet has been established as a viable option for distributing information it has been understood that bandwith is everything and video needs a lot of it. Netflix will be adding a digital download service soon. Now Apple will be getting in on it too along with Amazon. Mark Cuban has already established his views on the opportunities that the industry (music and movie) are not taking advantage of. Mike over at HD For Indies has some some interesting thoughts about where distribution for films is being taken.

We are moving into a future of customizable everything. Everything we do will be customized to our specs. It's been a dream for a long time now to be able to download any film, let me repeat, ANY film that has ever been produced onto your hard drive and watch it at your earliest convenience in your living room. How does that sound? Pretty nice, huh? Now just imagine what that means for the poor slobs like myself who want to create a life making films and don't want to wait for the permission to do that. Where we can build our own audience base. That will be a great day.

The sadness to me comes when I think of how the movie going experience is and will continue to be altered. Blockbusters will HAVE to make money to fill screens. Does anyone want to see The Island on a small screen. Does anyone want to see The Island? (that's a whole other blog entry, BTW there are rumors of Michael Bay remaking The Birds). It seems that there will be a bigger gap in what gets financed and what doesn't. The mid-range budgeted film will suffer even more than it has been already. Original material aka spec screenplay sales are down 5%. In other words, that film better be a remake, an adaptation or something a lot like what we have seen already because it seems like those are what Hollywood is really focusing on now.

Hopefully, this form of distribution will fill that gap. We are also moving into a future of High Definition. Within the next 5 years a majority of households will throw down big bucks for a HD set. So that's a High Definition digital signal at home where I will be able to download anything I want to watch whenever I want to watch it. Where does this leave thestudios and theater owners after they've invested in all those digital projectors? It's been documented that less and less people are going to the theater. I think that is attributed to a couple of factors; the dogshit factor and availibility. Until recently there hasn't been anything I wanted to see in the theater. There are a few that look interesting but I know my tastes are very different from mainstream America's. I refuse to drop $10.50 to see The Dukes of Hazzard. I would rather go see Murderball which I plan on doing this coming weekend. Dogshit. Now that we have so many choices at home why do we even need to deal with zero choices and crowds? You can't tell for the fun of rubbing elbows with your fellow man. I'm sorry but the bloated, multiplex movie going experience has changed everything. I live in a big city and can see smaller, sometimes overlooked films but what about those people in Scranton? People want what they want, when they want it, even if they don't know what that is. Availibility.

So ponder a little. Peruse these thoughts and chime in. It's a brave new world....is it?

More thoughts from the New Yorker.


Blogger Jessie Ward said...

While big-screen films might be dying a death, small-screen distribution can support the rarely-funded short filmmaker. My company Wildlight distributes short films via mobile phones. The states are a bit behind in this respect, but it is coming; and you'd be surprised at the picture and sound quality of some of the more advanced phones.

6:19 AM  

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