Go on, Click the Play Button above… isn’t that a Game Changer?
The last two years have seen more change in Indie film than ever before.
There have been THREE major developments,
First, the DSLR revolution and the Canon 5D MkII. This put high quality, low cost cameras into the hands of film makers. That changed how we could shoot.
Second, there has been proliferation of knowledge through social media, online resources and connectivity through Twitter. Ask on twitter or Google it. Either way, with a little work, you should find the answer to pretty much any film making question.
The third is Vimeo. The ability to upload and share your work, while retaining high quality… that was a major evolution.
But for the entrepreneurs, there has always been a missing link.
How can I effectively sell my film online?
I have the tools now. I have the know how too. Vimeo is great to share work, but I can’t effectively charge for it.
Sure there are other ways monetise.
You can give it away free and harvest advertisements, but that’s SO tricky.
You can give it away for free and use it as a way to foster a ‘tribe’, or perhaps get millions of hits and get ‘noticed’. There are some who would argue this is a great tactic. It may be for some films, but not all.
You can go to iTunes maybe, but there are expensive barriers to entry (aggregators, the new name for distributors who can often do very little and still take a lot).
You can sell it on DVD / BluRay on your own site using PayPal for a payment service. That does work (or it has for me) but it’s limited to ‘buy it now and we will post’. It lacks immediacy.
And form what I can see, there’s very little else to choose from.
This is astonishing given the power of the web. The internet has promised so much but delivered so little when it comes to online commercial film delivery tools. This is even more surprising given the ease of financial transactions (PayPal proves that) and given the thirst for online content (BitTorrent proves that). People use credit cards on the web and regularly download and watch films in great volume.
Recently I became aware of a new technology called DynamoPlayer. And it’s a gamechanger of immense significance.
What is it?
It’s like Vimeo, only you can charge a rental fee to watch your film.
YOU upload your film.
YOU set the price (from 99c to $11.99)
YOU set the rental period (up to 30 days)
YOU then embed the player on your pages and Dynamo does the rest.
YOU PROMOTE YOUR FILM.
THEY supply the player and encoding technology.
THEY supply and pay for all storage and bandwidth
THEY take care of financial transactions.
THEY DO NOT PROMOTE YOUR FILM
When a visitor comes to your site, they will see a big and familiar video play window (the one at the top of this blog is a DynamoPlayer video). When they click play, the window comes up with the rental offer. They can then choose to pay, or watch a preview. That preview could be a trailer or it could be the first five or ten minutes of your film. Either way, they get to sample your film and if they like it, they can rent it and watch it immediately.
The video will play in SD or HD and in a window or full screen.
And here’s the best bit. YOU GET 70% of every sale! That is right. SEVENTY PERCENT. And there are no long accounting periods, you can withdraw your money almost right away.
You see what I mean? It’s a gamechanger.
Of course now we are back to where we have always been. How do I drive traffic to my site? How do I convince people to buy? Effectively, how do I get punters into my store and when they are there, how can I convince them to buy? But the key part here is ‘I’, that’s ME. With DynamoPlayer I am responsible for my success or failure.
I am REALLY excited about this as I am back in charge.
Believe it or not, I was expected to drive traffic to the iTunes store myself where Apple could sell my film. Apple would take a cut of every sale, then pass the balance to Shorts International (the aggregator) who would deduct expenses and take a cut too. If there was anything left, they would pass that balance to Network Ireland (my sales agent) who would take a cut and pass on the final balance to me. A familiar story?
After six months I have seen ZERO from Apple regarding ‘Gone Fishing’. No-one has even given me a report (and I know Network Ireland have asked several times). So as far as I know I could have sold one copy, ten, one hundred, a thousand, ten thousand… Whatever the income, it’s either in Apples bank or Shorts Internationals bank. Plus, iTunes does not deliver short films in HD (in the UK), only SD.
(UPDATE, 15 days after I posted this blog, I got the first report from SI – you can view the PDF here – Download Gone Fishing Statement001)
So now consider what would happen with DynamoPlayer…
With DynamoPlayer, if you buy my film from wherever I have embedded it (my sales page, my blog, Facebook, anyone else’s site I can convince to embed it), I get 70% of that sale pretty much right away.
Sure, I don’t have a big and swanky iTunes store, but I do have 100% control. And let’s face it, for me at least, iTunes represents zero income after one year. Maybe it will be better in another year? I wonder if Shorts International will ever report to us? (and as I am reading this back, I am pretty sure I will now get bumped out of iTunes).
OK, so it’s no surprise to find that I have already setup the sales site for ‘Gone Fishing’ over the weekend.
Of course I will leave ‘Gone Fishing’ in iTunes, they have a customer base who may ‘browse’ and find the film. And assuming Apple/SI actually report to me one day, that should represent a revenues stream, no matter how small. It’s also good to be seen in the iTunes store.
I will also continue to sell DVD’s and BluRay disks from my site (I wonder if I will sell more disks now people can see the film for $1.99? This could boost disk sales).
I will also continue to work with Network Ireland who have done terrific work selling the film to broadcasters.
So here is the official site where you can watch Gone Fishing and get all the extras for $1.99…
That’s less than the price of a coffee, and you will also get over two hours of film making extras thrown in. And you also know that Team Gone Fishing will get 70% of the sale. The balance goes to the DynamoPlayer team (who are themselves film makers who got hacked off with the state of play so built their own system) who will then get funded to develop and improve their service.
DynamoPlayer is still in public Beta phase, so there are some wrinkles, but from my end, it works, and works REALLY well.
There is a cool stats tool inside the player and I will share with you all the results over the coming weeks and days. This will show ‘player loads’, ‘preview views’ and ‘purchases’ etc. It will be fascinating to see just how it performs.
So please, go to the site and rent the film, or rent the film on the blog here, and email all your friends about it… Let’s see just how far we can take this!
It’s VERY exciting times!
PS – I am also amazed to discover that with 154 votes on IMDB, ‘Gone Fishing’ has a rating of 8.4 which, if it were a feature film, would rank it around the 55th most popular film of all time! That’s crackers! You can see that on the new Gone Fishing page here.
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author