2014 Artist Resolution: Separating Egos

IndieStreet believes that 2014 is the year the cracks widen in the film distribution system. These cracks will make room for entrepreneurial artists to take back deserved revenue generated from their own content. In 2014, Filmmakers will begin to eliminate middlemen, customers will support more creative talent directly, and at least one studio will fall due to its lack of preparation for the cooperative artist revolution. By nature, an artist who looks to distribute their work is an individual with an ego. Someone with a unique vision who feels passionately that other humans will be impacted by looking at the world through their lens. This inner confidence is the artist’s, “Creation Ego”, and it’s surely prevalent in Indie filmmakers. This ego is not only healthy in an artist or filmmaker, it is actually necessary to maximize creative potential. If you did not think that your vision as an artist was special or worthy you would not take the necessary risks that make you shine creatively. The creation ego must be preserved and celebrated in the artists of our time, but it should be contained to the process of creation. When looking to distribute, we urge Independent artists to acknowledge this ego, but then temper and separate it when it comes time to distribute your beautiful story to the world. Creation is a time of solitude, distribution needs to be a time for connection and togetherness. This is true now more than ever for the Independent Artist who lives in a dynamic age of social networking. It has always been difficult for artists to find a balance between the creation & distribution ego, always searching to maintain artistic integrity but also maximize number of eyes on the product. In the past, channels were in place that stimulated a competitive (kill or be killed) philosophy between professional independents, but we now have the technological resources and platforms that can maximize audiences without fighting amongst ourselves and without giving up as much control our artistic forefathers. Here are three things to remember when reinventing your “Distribution Ego”. 1.Unique Vision does not mean your audience is only yours. Unless you have invented a whole new form of media, it is likely that people that have consumed other stories or enjoyed other art might also like yours. Consumers of creative products typically don’t pick one creator and stay faithful only to their works. Even the most die-hard David Lynch fans have still at least checked out a Christopher Nolan film, no matter how traditional or mainstream his stories may feel in comparison. Honest acceptance that audiences are overlapping and must be shared between artists (whether you cooperate or not) is your first step to separating your egos. 2.Be proud of your work, enough to put it along side of other talented creators. As an artist you are undoubtedly a fan of other artists out there. Some of them have larger networks than you, some have smaller ones. Regardless they are most likely a fan of talented story tellers as you are. Sending your film to other filmmakers you admire or to a group platform like IndieStreet can start your exploration on what you can do to promote the works of others and what they might be able to do to help get your stories in front of more eyeballs. No matter how you slice it, when you start cooperating with another filmmaker you are creating a sort of brand. There are thousands of sites that are either social networking or film related or both who are grouping and recommending filmmakers based on their audiences. Why not use these social groups of fans to find other filmmakers like you as well. Your film deserves your additional effort to put it along side of other great films, making your film stronger and making it easier for your audience to find similar impactful stories. 3.Staying flexible, supportive, & long term. Group Distribution needs to be a philosophy that is adopted for the long term but declaring a dedication to cooperating does not mean that any filmmaker in a group of Independents would be expected to turn down a great third party deal if presented. Being incredibly flexible is something an artist would never accept during creation, but it can free us during distribution to see that options are not limited to a black and white choice between “studio” or “alone”. Finding other artists in any creative industry to support in a group can open up your distribution and marketing plans to a number of hybrid efforts across communities. At the end of the day most of us want the same thing: For innovative filmmakers to keep making films. For this to happen their films have to reach interested audience members in ways that the creators can have sustainable careers. And everyone in the film community should want at least that for other talented filmmakers. Even if one of your film projects gets picked up by Fox Searchlight with a huge advance, that is no time to abandon your new group mentality. Just because this film was marketable, be honest with yourself. Do you think that all the amazingly beautiful and risk-taking stories buried deep in your mind will all be so marketable? Use your personal success as an opportunity to help your group and brand of storytelling, even if it is in incremental ways. It will further fuel the collective approach and will come back to you in the future for less mainstream products. And other artists in a distribution support group need to check their egos as well if one group member decides to go with a larger company for one film project. Be elated for them, as their success can only be good for your group brand’s awareness and reach. By combining the networks of a multiple artists & staying flexible, the overall support of your personal creation ego will also be an inevitable side effect. More aggregate eyeballs for your work means some of those eyeballs will be in the investment, grant, or fundraising space. As many of you reading this are Indie artists or professionals in the creative world, we urge you to join this resolution and embrace the new distribution ego that can ultimately lead all you wonderfully innovative individuals to preserving your creation egos that make your work so remarkable. IndieStreet 2014 “The year Artists Unite” Jay Webb www.indiestreet.com @indiest_films

Contributing Writer: Jay Webb

 

Contributing Writer: Jay Webb