Indie films and HAPPY WTF? 2020 could still be your year!
December 31st, 11:59pm, 2019 and you’re thinking of all the indie films you plan to make this new decade. You’re huddled around a small T.V in a friend’s garage to watch the countdown, or perhaps you’ve adorned your most lavish attire to brave your town’s most trendy pub. Either way, New Years 2019 boasted its own special brand of enticement, a promise of not only a New Year, but a new decade of opportunity, big plans, revision. We were justifiably excited, hopeful, and unwittingly fools.
So here we are, 2020. And we’ve spent it dutifully locked inside our homes, getting our beach tan from our televisions screen and watching more indie films than making them. Visual narratives have always been a part of our lives. But now, people are witnessing the true power this content holds in renewing a sense of normality, empathy, and escapism in their lives. COVID-19 has not only changed the way many people regard their films, but also will drastically alter the industry and methods in which produced that media. Let’s explore how:
Overnight, the biggest companies in our industry became huge liabilities for a number of reasons:
1.) Stakeholders questioned the returns of the studio without the power of the movie theater or box office to promote their investment. This means producers considered ways to make films at a diminished financial risk.
2.) The days of “large Hollywood productions” were essentially outlawed, with many states forbidding congregations of more than ten people. They needed to think of ways to create content with less crew, and in a quicker time frame.
3.) With limited avenues for distribution, many “high end” production companies turned their marketing eye to the ever-hungry-for-content streaming service: Netflix, hulu, Amazon.
What does this mean for you, the Indie filmmaker? This might be the best news of your whole 2020:
-The Brave new world of filmmaking 2020 now requires the “indie” touch: new, inventive stories to tell, creative and budget efficient ways to tell them, and fresh minds. The big studios are now trying to play the same game we’ve been practicing for years!
-Audiences are now accustomed, and perhaps even prefer, the style and themes of the microbudget film. That makes your film easier to sell and more marketable.
-Streaming services are in an ever growing frenzie to purchase content to feed their almost constant viewership. And lucky for you, the indie filmmaker, you have
that content to sell them! Almost anyone with a solid proof of concept, spec script or indie film can garner interest from Netflix or Amazon.
New Years, 2019. Three seconds left on the countdown, you adjust your cardboard party hat. 2020 was going to be your year. And it still can be! Despite the hardships of COVID-19, political insanity, social readjustment, and an increased amount of killer bees, these hardships have caused us to hold a mirror to our old ways of thinking, social structures, and industries. The world of filmmaking and indie film is curving in a more sustainable and accessible direction.
Lean into the curve! If anyone can do it, it’s the Indie Filmmaker.
For more information on how to get started on your next project check out my last book, What Film Schools Don’t Tell You. It’s available on Amazon.