Archive for the ‘Distribution’ Category


Blockbuster is Finally Dead – 6. November, 2013

Three years ago I wrote about the end of Blockbuster. Yeah, I know, now that they’re really dead everyone is getting all misty and pancake syrupy remembering their local Blockbuster but I live in LA. We have (had) great video stores that carried foreign, independent and adult (non-porn) films. Blockbuster, they had 500 copies of Life is Beautiful for exactly one week. Yeah, thanks for trying. NEXT!

Do I miss video stores? Yes. Do I miss Blockbuster? Hell no.

If you’re in LA, go to these stores (I sure hope they’re still open):

Ciao Blockbuster – 23. September, 2010

If you saw the writing on the wall, it should come as no surprise that the Blockbuster video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 today. Personally, while I’m saddened that a lot of people will lose their jobs, many of them folk that love movies or video games, I’m not sorry to see Blockbuster go down in flames. I hated their discrimination against adult orientated films. I’m not talking about porn, I’m talk about the fact that Blockbuster would never carry Henry & June. Also, they had a pitiful selection of independent and foreign films.

But I understand the convenience of gabbing a video as you’re racing from Starbucks to the supermarket so if you’re in the LA area, allow me to offer you some alternatives.

Do you have a local gem of a video store you’d like to recomend?

Gimmie More Streams – 22. July, 2010

Goddamn those Euros, I’m so jealous they’re getting this!

A bit of background to help you understand my response. First, I don’t subscribe to cable. It’s a cost I cut a long time ago and I don’t really miss it. Then television got great. Suddenly I was hooked on shows like VERONICA MARS and FRINGE; my latest addiction is MAD MEN (I blame my former roommate for that).

For a while it seemed that for $1.99 iTunes could give me what I needed but damn if those files aren’t huge and season passes are expensive (and what if the show starts sucking?). Hulu seemed like the answer. Just a couple of problems: the window of viewing and the window for viewing. A couple weeks of “nose to the grindstone” and I end up with 20+ hours of NBC sitcoms and Fox animation I wanted to watch but they’re expiring in 14 hours.  Plus I was locked into watching episodes on my laptop. Sure, I could always get the DVDs from Netflix but…

But then Netflix introduced streaming on the PS3 and it was as if a whole new world opened up to me.  Suddenly I could follow my whim and watch a movie or a documentary or an episode of KING OF THE HILL and all I had to do was start buffering while I cooked dinner.  I consider that a big win but instantly I wanted more.  I wanted more than a handful of THE OFFICE episodes and why do I still have to use that stupid disc?

So when I heard that Hulu was offering a paid service that would show current shows and allow access to their back catalog, I was interested. When I learned that I’d be able to do this on my PS3, which is hooked up to a sweet TV, I immediately signed up for an invite.

(Still waiting for that invite.)

So obviously I’m excited for streaming services that let me view quality content via my PS3. Therefore, it should be obvious that a film nut like me wants a service showing Criterion like programming (plus I’m dying for something to tear me away from BORDERLANDS). Those are the movies I love, the kind I need to be watching, discovering.

Here’s hoping Mubi & Sony make this happen in North America.

Friday Fun: Musicians Make How Much Online? – 23. April, 2010

Actually it’s more like “how hard do I have to work?”

Nothing says “Friday Fun” like a graphic, especially one that’s kinda depressing, right?! Anyway, I found this and had to share.

Pretty sobering, especially when I think about how I’ll probably have to release my first feature solo and online. How I wish the ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS guys would release their data.  I wonder how they’re doing.

John August Hawking OTMM – 24. March, 2010

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I have a feature film I hope to finish this year. In our day and age, making a film has never been easier (The Believer tells you how to make a $15k feature).

No, the trick these days is getting it seen. If your film doesn’t have bankable stars, a high concept or fall into one of the genre barrios (basically horror or sex thriller) then forget about getting picked up by one of the mini-majors. No, these days you’ll have to distribute it yourself.

Which brings me to John August and the film ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS. This flicked premiered at the Sundance NEXT section for micro-budget films (a few of which had stars) and then the filmmakers did something unique–they released the film via download and DVD the day after their Sundance premiere. Soon John August was blogging about the flick and he even hosted a screening and moderated the Q&A at The Egyptian last week.

So why write about this now? One, I’m curious about the fate of this film. If this works for them I have greater confidence in adopting this model for my film. Two, thanks to John August, the HD download of this film is available for $2 until this Friday. I bought this film because John seems so jazzed about it and you should too. Christ, that’s less than a latte at Starbucks.

And now I sound like I’m preaching so I’m out of here.

What’s NEXT at Sundance 2010 – 21. January, 2010

Okay, I’m not anti-film but continuing from an earlier riff Sundance 2010 doesn’t excite. Maybe I’m grumbling because I have my own film and I’m frustrated with the speed of the post process (so f**king SLOW!) but I did see one film that’s playing at Sundance and it’s just more of the same… with one exception.

I’m very curious about the Sundance NEXT category. As far as I can tell, this is for no/low budget films (although how you have one starring Dax Shepard is beyond me) and I hear that a couple of these flicks have decided to use the festival to launch their DIY distribution. In other words, they’re not looking for a distribution deal, they’re doing it themselves.

If that works, I think that’s where truly independent films are headed.

Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Spying on My Neighbor’s Netflix Ratings – 9. January, 2010

Curious what’s a popular DVD in your area? Then check out this New York Times Map which details Netflix rankings by zip code for 12 major cities.


Muy interesting!

Posted in Distribution

DIY Days LA 2009: Wrap Up – 23. November, 2009

“Welcome to the future. Nothing is as it was. Everything is new so no one knows anything.”

In a sense, that was the working thesis for the recent DIY Days in Los Angeles. I’m not bashing the event. Truly, we’re at a time of cutting edge change and what’s true today might be bunk tomorrow. Plus, as my mama always said, “seek those that seek the truth, distrust those that claim to have found it” but I digress. These speakers gave us a snapshot of where we are and what the future might hold. What follows is a seminar by seminar review of the night.

Social Media for Storytellers
Lance gave us a brief introduction and overview of social media. As always, Lance was clear, concise and inspiring.

I gotta say, I thought this talk was total bulls**t when it started. Jerry Paffendorf seemed disorganized and discombobulated on stage. By the end, I was completely charmed and I wanted to invest in LOVELAND. Hey, Jerry, so there’s a mayor of LOVELAND? Can I get a title? Make me the “Ambassador of Fun” and I’ll invest $35. Deal?

DIY and Why?
I took at class with Jon Reiss at Film Independent earlier this fall and it has to be one of the best I’ve ever taken there. Go buy his book. It’s a must for any and all truly independent filmmakers.

Evolution of Storytelling
In the past year I’ve become a bit obsessed with transmedia (damn, I hate that term. I want “multi-medium” to catch on). I love the idea but have been a bit… I wasn’t entirely sure how to get a good grasp on it. Jesse Alexander and Elan Lee did an awesome job of giving us a good overview. Also, they got me to try my first game. Not bad but the ending just fizzled; maybe it was a technical glitch with my experience.

The Art and Craft of the ARG
So if Jesse and Elan provided a wonderful bird’s eye view of alternate reality games, Steve Peters and Jan Libby took us down a rabbit hole so deep I couldn’t make heads or tails of this talk; I think Lance should have moderated this talk. Regardless, it’s obvious I should try my first ARG, especially if I want to develop one for my multi-medium project.

Personal Brands
Marc Horowitz had some interesting things to say but I was taken by Micki Krimmel. She’s engaging, genuine, and turned her internet celebrity into a great business: NeighborGoods. Also, have I mentioned that I’m smitten with her? She showed up later that night at a nearby bar and we chatted. If I didn’t have to deliver a drink to a friend I would have asked her out. Damn. Wait, maybe she’s reading this. Micki, if you’re reading this I’m the handsome, charming, bearded Latin guy you met at that bar after DIY Days.  Hit me back and maybe we could grab a burger and shake soon.

The Eisenstadt Experience
Dan Mirvish talked about stuff but I had to step out for a breather as I was drowning in information.

Phew, what a jammed packed night. If Lance or The Workbook Project or DIY Days come to your town, don’t miss out.

Micki, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


DIY Days LA 2009: Getting Ready – 19. November, 2009

Tonight The Workbook Project is sponsoring DIY Days in Downtown Los Angeles.

Did you just think that I spoke Klingon? Allow me to decipher. The Workbook Project is the brainchild of Lance Weiler. It’s a way for Lance to bring tech to the entertainment folk so they see that the two are more like peanut butter and chocolate, not oil and water.

DIY Days are seminars held to help foster the bridge building.

Tonight, there’ll be a series of talks at the Downtown Independent Theater (never been, excited to check out the space).

What am I looking forward to at DIY Days LA? I’m looking to be inspired. I’m looking for ways to empower myself when I go out with my feature and for new methods to engage with the potential audience of my way overdue web series.

Here’s the schedule.


Here are the speakers.


Hope to see you there.

Filmmaker Forum 2009 – 12. October, 2009

This past weekend I attended the 2009 Filmmaker Forum, an examination of the ever changing face of independent film hosted by Film Independent. What follows is a fuzzy recounting of my weekend.


While Jeremy Thomas has had a successful and varied career, his speech was neither an in-depth examination of the indie film industry nor was it a forecast of the impending doom and the blue skies to follow. it wasn’t terrible but it won’t set the blogosphere afire. Saturday’s highlights were:

1) Linda Lichter. As a panelist, she was frank and honest and always cut through the bulls**t. She also always reminded the other panelist that while their version of indie was a $5 million film with Luke Wilson, most of us  were making films for less than a million, often less than a $100k. Linda, if you’re reading this, I want to tell you that you’re a rock star (too bad I already have an awesome lawyer).

2) Peter Broderick. While every other panel should have been titled “why indie film sucks and it’ll only get harder for you” Peter actually brought us hope and inspiration. He told us that we can still make our films and find an audience. Is it harder than ever? Yes, of course, but the tools are there for us to shape out destiny. Thanks, Peter.

3) Lizzie Gillett. First, she crowd-funded a documentary. Second, she had a virtual world premiere where both Moby and Thom Yorke played. Third, she appeared via Skype from the UK. Fourth, I think she’s really cute and she might be single.

4) Richard Klubeck. If he quits the industry, NPR should pick him up. He has a great radio voice.

5) Ron Yerxa. Did a great job moderating a panel plus he was impeccably dressed. As the weekend progressed I realized he wears the same uniform but I still give him points for trying.


I was a bit more out of it this day. I’ll get into that in a bit but here were my highlights

1) “Distribution Case Studies”, “Day & Date: Three Years and Counting” and “New Uses for Film Festivals” panels. These were lively panels and I actually knew two of the panelists (Steak House & Jon Reiss). During each discussion, panelists started interrupting each other, correcting each other, throwing down. In short, it was the perfect kick in the ass to a sleepy Sunday.

2) The following quote constitutes a highlight: “international pre-sales for indies aren’t dead. You bring me an action thriller with Jason Statham and I’ll get you a ton of money out of Germany.” BTW, that was said sincerely and with a straight face.

3) Finally using hash tags in Twitter. I still don’t really understand them (Marsha Collier explained them enough to me so that I’m no longer in the dark) but I started using them and suddenly I saw some of the power and scope of Twitter.

4) Seeing my friend Abby and getting to wish her a happy birthday in person.


The big difference for me this year versus previous years are the meetings I’d set up. If you read my earlier post, you know I had meetings with a distributor, a CE, an agent and a consultant. So active/charming/fearless was I that I also met with three managers and one more agent. Almost every meeting went well. Sure, not all meetings ended with “send me your stuff”, how could they when, say for example, you only rep directors with Canadian passports, but four of them ended with “send me your stuff.”

Let me repeat: I impressed 4 people enough for them to ask me to send my stuff their way. Will they read/watch my stuff? Probably not; that’ll get farmed out to an assistant or intern, but I got my toe jammed into four doors and I call that a major f**king accomplishment.

Time to rest.

(Ha! Yeah, right. I wish.)