In this show I go in a different direction and discuss the concept of self-publishing films rather than books. I have to admit until recently I didn’t think it was possible for anyone apart from a multi-millionaire to create a film.
But on finding that Amazon Prime allows you to upload films via Createspace to Instant Video I decided to try and find an independent film maker and interview them on the show. I ran into Alex Fodor at a local business meeting and discovered he was a seasoned film director, who used to work on a UK TV series called the Bill, a long-running cop show and now produces his own films. He has now moved away from the traditional model of getting funding after frustration with distributors and is now moving towards self-publishing his own films on Amazon Prime and other electronic platforms.
How feasible is it for someone to self-publish a film?
Alex stated that it is perfectly feasible to self-publish films, in fact he recommends it, mainly due to his poor opinion of most distributors.
In terms of the costs or skills required, how much effort does it require to produce a reasonable quality film?
Like many things this depends. When pushed, Alex stated that if you made a careful effort to cut costs, such as using one location with a very few actors, it would be perfectly possible to produce a very good quality film for about $20,000. The thing not to skimp on was the quality of the actors though: this is where the real quality comes from.
Is it possible to get a self-published film into cinemas, or should people focus on things like Amazon Prime?
While Alex suggests releasing to Amazon Prime first, according to him, in the UK at least, it is perfectly possible to get your film released into a few cinemas from a chain. If it is successful there then they may roll it out nationally. Another option, more used in the US, is to actually hire a cinema and run the film sales yourself. He does not recommend this as it is a lot more work. Like with print books, cinema releases are more of a prestige device than actually a money-making venture.
Is it better to start with a short film than going immediately into making longer features?
Alex says that short films are quite a separate beast than feature films, so he recommends only using them as marketing devices for the longer films, but not as a way to start in the film business. They won’t help you get funding for feature films, so your best course of action is to start with a feature film you can finance yourself and then work up to bigger budget films from earnings or by demonstrating to investors that you can produce good films.