[font=Helvetica, Arial, 'Droid Sans', sans-serif][/font]
I wrote this a few months ago but shelved it for some reason, but after seeing the news article about David Lynch damning the current state of cinema I thought I'd share it. I decided to have a bit of a rhetorical spitball session on some ideas I had bouncing around on how to fund films in the future.
One of the ways that a lot of people are looking at now is crowd funding through services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there have been some recent success stories like that of the Veronica Mars film and Zach Braff's follow up to Garden State. However Zach Braff did receive criticism, which was down to people thinking someone in his position should not be asking for money when he has plenty of his own connections. So how would crowd funding work if it became the norm? Let's play the scenario through and see where it leads. If you can imagine that film studios have closed the doors on funding films and it is now up to Actors/Directors to find their own funds. They band together and put their film ideas on crowd funding sites to raise the required capital. The ideas start flowing and a number of campaigns are set up to fund films, now the general public can decide what films get made. The situation will have changed and the risk of making an original film has gone, that means ANY film idea can have a shot. How great would that be? Maybe not.
The same problems might still exist, with people supporting the same type of films that come out now and the same films would continue to be released. The status quo will have changed but the problem will still exist. The silver lining would be, films don't need to get the green light from studios to exist, an idea could be added to the web for crowd funding and once up there it would be determined whether or not the public was interested.
Then we move on to what happens with the cinema experience, do people who paid for the film get a free pass for the film or must they pay for it again when it is released? The other option which has been present in some recent crowd funded films is the option of downloading the film and watching, that would remove the issue of paying to see it in the cinema. Following that thought, would the cinema die or could it become a luxury for people who want to see the film on the big screen instead of their downloadable version. Recently Sony and Disney announced a trial run in South Korea for streaming films concurrent with the cinema release, if that is successful it will add merit to the home streaming/downloading idea.
If streaming is to be the modern mode of releasing films then why not skip the whole crowd funding process altogether. We could call this, option number two. Companies like Netflix could segway into the film making business, making films isn't much of a leap from making a tv series. This would remove the cinema experience totally, remove the need for paying for individual films and bring back the issue of a studio deciding what films to make based on what they think will be popular. So..back to the beginning.
I'm sure that I have not thought of everything, I've probably missed pros and cons and just skimmed over the surface of the potential from some of these possibilities. Through this I've come to the conclusion, it probably doesn't matter what way things go, the same issues will probably exist in any new model if it is used absolutely. read