So apparently this has been a rough summer for independent films. You know, the low-budget, little gems that many of us prefer to the formulaic blockbusters. The filmmakers are fretting and debating whether to simultaneously release films to theaters and as video on-demand. I don’t know if that’s the answer, but I have to admit that I haven’t been to a movie in months. And that’s primarily because having survived the arctic winter, I relish every opportunity to be outdoors this summer. So is it all about the weather?
A few thoughts for our indie film friends:
- Keep producing your wonderful stories; there will always be an audience for the unofficially branded “independent films.”
- You have serious competition from the solid productions being produced by Netflix, Showtime and others. But binge-watching a series is a completely different experience.
- The seasons may faithfully repeat themselves, but just because it worked last summer doesn’t mean it will work this summer. Pay attention to more than the calendar as you plan your release schedules.
- Make better use of grassroots marketing. So many decisions are made based on peer reviews (think Rotten Tomatoes). Maybe offer more sneak previews or opportunities to develop a trusted peer-to-peer fan base that can advocate on your behalf.
If you’ve been to a movie this summer, you probably disagree, but maybe you didn’t spend your winter in the Northern tier of the U.S.! As for me, I hope some of the Sundance standouts are still around when I return to the theater on a rainy weekend or in the fall!