July 2nd, 2008
Welcome to the new Gallant Films website and blog! This is my inaugural post (granted, it’s not as fun as an Inaugural Ball, but we’ll have to wait until Obama’s sworn in next January for that!). My hope is that this blog, and this site, will be more than just an internet presence for my film marketing and distribution consulting business. My intent is to provide regular updates on my observations on the state of the film industry, media in general and what’s going on with me.
My perspective on the current state of film can be summed up as follows: Technology is the great democratizer in the creation and dissemination of content, but good luck paying your rent.
For creative people, advances in digital technology have all but erased the traditional barriers to entry — just about everyone can get their hands on professional-quality camera equipment and editing software. Website are cheap, and YouTube is free, so distribution is easy. If your goal in life is to be able to have people see videos you made, life is good. However, if you are planning on a career (or even a subsistence living) in film, these are not the best of times.
Why? Since I assumed a lifetime of student loan debt to get a fancy-pants Ivy League MBA, I’ll express it in economic terms: Because the two key metrics of the marketplace — supply and demand — are out of balance, and getting further out of balance every day. We are producing more film product than ever before, while the marketplace for films is diminishing. The competition for eyeballs is intense, with people spending less time in theaters and video stores and more time gaming, logging onto the internet and/or on cell phones. The public perception of the movie-going experience has never been more negative, yet Hollywood is producing and releasing more and more films into theaters every year.
Because the market is flooded, the studios have to pay more per film to market each film — again, in economic terms, this is an unsustainable model, since the marketing costs per unit for any product should go down as the output increases. Plus, Hollywood is cannibalizing its own product — the studios choke off the long-run prospects of each of their theatrical releases by opening so many new releases each subsequent Friday.
So, in this bleak climate, why do I work in the world of independent and documentary film? Good question! My next entry will answer that question, plus talk about my experience last week at SilverDocs. So stay tuned!
Entry Filed under: news