Hit up “The Conversation” Saturday up at Columbia. This year’s topic: Social Media, Digital Distribution and the Future of Film.
There was a fair amount of jargon and generic/ conservative advice from panelists, but hidden amongst that were some gems of real conversation about the challenges of independent film specifically and entrepreneurship in general.
One of these was a lunch session led by Caitlin Boyle – founder of a grassroots and community distribution company film.sprout. A company that refreshingly champions thoughtful planning, clear communication and leveraging super-fans to help get the word out – film.sprout has helped to organize hundreds of community screenings for films like King Corn, End of the Line and Pray the Devil Back to Hell. The filmmaker’s and entrepreneurs curse it seems is that so often we get used to doing everything ourselves, we forget that with a thoughtful step back and a little planning, we can mobilize resources and achieve much more with others’ help than we ever could on our own.
Another was a seemingly simple assertion from Ari Kuschnir and Scott Thrift from M ss ng P eces that the story and message of a piece should come first, the audience building and business second. The morning sessions had seen a lot of talk about keeping your audience in mind when you make a film. Though yes, practically evaluating the business viability of one project versus another may be a factor in choosing your direction, it should never, ever be THE factor unless you want the work to feel vacuous and forced.