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07:31 pm: Getting on Amazon and IMDB (now that everyone is making goddamn movies)
It has been an interesting year for me in a bajillion ways, not just as a film maker. This post is for anyone who has made a movie and has questions about getting it "out there".

What has it been like having one of my films distributed by a professional company? I'm sure everyone's experience is different depending on what kind of deal you get. In my case, our short "Blood Witch" was included in a feature-length anthology patterned after "Creepshow" and so forth. The producers commissioned me and a couple other film makers to do individual 20-minute pieces for the project, and asked that they be completed and delivered by May 2008. Due to a lot of false starts and technical issues, I ended up being the first one finished, so I decided to self-release the movie just like any of our other titles. In short, I made back all the money I spent on it and got to see it play a couple film festivals way before any ink was put on paper for our final deal. The eventual DVD was made available on Amazon.com, in FYE retail stores and has popped up on enough pirate sites to choke a hippo. What did I learn? You'll get mentioned on a lot of websites and a few will even write reviews (now and then, even intelligently), but I wouldn't expect to see any money from it unless people suddenly start buying DVDs again. You can watch my movie for free on any number of the aforementioned ripoff sites, so I don't see that happening anytime soon. Kind of sad, really, because the folks who put out the DVD were genuinely cool and supportive of the project. They can't help it if people don't care about no-budget directors and distributors surviving. We're just dumb-asses who can't figure out how to survive in the digital age, right? Right.

What about alternatives like Amazon's "Create Space"? You get a couple options here. You can send them your movie and they can make the DVDs for you, plus make it available for rental or purchase via their "On Demand" service. Since I now know DVD is pretty much fucked, I decided to test out the On Demand thing with our 2007 feature film "Fake Blood". I love the movie, it took us a year to complete, but sales were never that high. Let's face it: it's a movie for people who make movies, and that's where it ends. Still, I hear people say all the time that it's their favorite of my films, and I think it could win over anyone who gave it a chance. Amazon made it real easy: all I did was fill out a bunch of stuff online (including tax information so I can get royalty payments), upload the cover art, and mail them the DVD. The movie was "accepted" in just a few days, which surprised me, and will be available via their service in a month or so. They let me name my price, so I set rental at $2.99 or something like that. We'll see what happens. Amazon On Demand is a service I actually use, but I don't know how popular it is. Honestly I'd rather not be on Netflix, as their users are notoriously unkind to microbudget films like this.

How do I get listed on IMDB? Just a few years ago, it wasn't too hard. As long as you could prove your movie actually existed, they'd put you on there. Not so anymore. Your best bet, as my friend Val stated, is to submit your work to a film festival that IMDB supports. Where is this list? There is a service called Without A Box that many festivals use to accept submissions and collect entry fees. Apparently, they are partners with Amazon and IMDB now, so it's all linked together there. If you sign up for a free account at withoutabox.com, you can make a page for your movie and go through the list of film festivals to see which ones are IMDB legit. I sent in our film "Erotic Couch" to the CineKink NYC festival, and about three weeks later, a notice came to my e-mail saying that IMDB had created a page for it. I was allowed to upload the trailer for free but adding the poster costs $35. Wild! So it's on there now, apparently regardless of whether or not my film actually ends up playing the festival.

It is an interesting time to be making movies. What I can tell you for sure is that DVDs are going away, and I can see myself uploading my own stuff to some kind of digital streaming or download service to make sure Gonzoriffic films can still reach people who want to see them. Getting a distribution deal used to be the Holy Grail for people on my level, but now it's just a fast track to hundreds of shrink-wrapped coasters with UPC codes and Chinese websites offering your work to "WATCH ONLINE NOW". I'm not trying to break into showbiz, I just wanna make movies. But I also want to be able to share them with anyone who wants to see and also be able to afford to make more. The majority of my costs comes from making DVDs and shipping them out. If Amazon works out and they'll keep taking my stuff (must be 20 minutes or more), I see that as a viable alternative. And if it costs less to submit my movie to a film festival and get listed on IMDB than it does to upload the fucking poster art (Wild!), that's still pretty cheap. And YouTube will get the rest, I suppose.

What is the future of movies? Whatever kind of movies you give your money to, that is what will get made. The end.

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