Friday, June 29, 2007

Bootstrap Film Subgroup Meeting

The Film Subgroup met for the first time this Tuesday and it consists of Bootstrappers working on various projects in film from Documentary to Narrative. Some of the participants are working in preproduction and raising funds, while others are in post production, finding ways to complete their films and searching for creative ways to distribute their films.

We discussed several of the current traditional ways that films are funded and distributed and then we also talked about some of the newer companies that are distributing product through the internet.

What the #$*! Bleep Do We Know? is an example of a film that has a built-in audience or a group that is very bought in to the content of the film. The filmmakers went to the target audience and asked them for funds for production and accomplished their task with great success. If your film has a strong message with people that support that cause, then they might be a great resource for funding.

There are several streams of income available on the web for short films. Break, Superdeluxe and several other similar sites pay for content that get a certain number of hits. OnNetworks is paying for content for several web tv shows.

We talked about an idea for marketing films and projects that could help the whole community by creating a website or maybe a web channel where independents from Austin could post clips about their projects and give updates about what is going on with the film instead of having individual sites.

The barriers that the group identified were:
  1. Raising funds for production
  2. Finding ways to market the film once it is complete and have it be unique and stick out in a market that is filled with content.
  3. Distribution
Areas that the group would like to gain more information:
  1. Viral Marketing
  2. Four Walling and the local theater outlets
  3. Budgeting with independent distribution or self distribution
  4. Web design and creating the best quality files for the web

Allen from the Art Subgroup was able to identify the similar barriers that filmmakers and artists are up against. He invites us all to check out the Art Subgroup meeting on this coming Monday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tim League and kicking off the Film Subgroup

Bootstrap Austin had a great speaker at our June 11 meeting - Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse. He shared with us how he bootstrapped his company to success. He also let us in on the obstacles he had to overcome and endure during his journey. Examples included reducing his living expenses to nearly nothing by setting up living quarters behind the movie screen and being a master of many tasks by running all facets of the theater himself with the help of his wife. Tim's talk helped kick off the Film Subgroup, which will be meeting the fourth Tuesday of the Month at Waterloo Icehouse/38th Street. Our first meeting will be June 26 at 7pm.

One of the traditional methods for breaking into the film business involves the following formula:
  1. Make a film
  2. Get it into some festivals
  3. Make a name for yourself
  4. Get your film distributed
Sounds so easy! But when you start doing it you realize that there is a lot more to it. It is often a game of luck predicated on who you know. Filmmakers find themselves wondering which person will be the right connection that makes a difference and find themselves having to wait to see which festival will accept their film. It seems quite out of our control and being hardworking and talented seems not to be enough. I personally found this game quite frustrating.

When Bijoy posed the question: "If you didn't take the traditional route and submit your films to festivals, how could you still gain the notoriety and make money on your film?" - I felt a huge weight lifted off, because that was something I had ideas for. I had total control over that and knew what steps I needed to take.

It is my intention to lead a conversation in the film sub group specifically about what we can do instead of simply relying on luck. I'd like us to explore different more creative and non-traditional means of distribution and ways of funding projects along bootstrap lines. Ultimately, I hope we can together invent new ways for filmmakers to become successful.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Nassim Talib is author of of a fantastic book, "Fooled by Randomness." In this article, he explains the "meaning precedes action" myth that pervades current thinking on innovation and entrepreneurship.