Smelling The Coffee and Connecting The Dots

“Today you have to be like Leonard Bernstein,” said Mr. Kallman, “making sure everyone is hitting the right notes at just the right millisecond. The tipping point, if you will, is when everything converges and your timing with everything is impeccable.”

Finding the new business model for truly free film is not going to be easy.  It is going to take a lot of effort in all directions.  It is going to require developing new revenue streams where previously there was nothing.  It is going to take experimentation.  It is going to require a lot of trial and error.  And it is not going to happen overnight.
Truly Free Film and Indie Film has always been different from Hollywood product.  As an industry the specialized divisions have missed how significant the difference is.  The glue that might have kept an Indie ArtHouse Truly Free film community together has withered away.  Without this support there will be no gradual shift into the new paradigm.  It's been a brutal year in terms of traditional film sales worldwide, and I don't suspect it will get better.  Our "business" has to become something altogether different, something new.
This blog was started to help recognize what the steps could be to develop a new business model.  The I.A.T.F.F. community has to move faster than Hollywood as our margins have always been smaller and what might be small adjustments for Hollywood are seismic shifts for us.  It's fortunate that we can learn from the hardships that the music and newspaper have had to endure.
It was reported in the NYTimes two days ago, that one record company, Atlantic, claims its digital sales have now surpassed its CD sales.  Furthermore Atlantic seems to have done this without any significant revenue drop in CD sales.  It is not clear whether this is the start of something positive or the exception to the rule.  Either way, there is going to be more hardship, before we get to harvest the real fruit.  The NY Times points out:  
With the milestone comes a sobering reality already familiar to newspapers and television producers. While digital delivery is becoming a bigger slice of the pie, the overall pie is shrinking fast. 

In virtually all these corners of the media world, executives are fighting to hold onto as much of their old business as possible while transitioning to digital — a difficult process that NBC Universal’s chief executive, Jeff Zucker, has described as “trading analog dollars for digital pennies.”

The reality that we all will have to work harder and move in numerous directions at once necessitates teamwork.  Not only do we have to work together, we will have to share what we learn along the way.  Many in the film industry have felt that privately held knowledge has been necessary for individual success.  If we don't truly share information, there will not be an industry to work in.  Atlantic's success optimistically can be viewed on what a concentrated effort might bring all of us.  It also illustrates what a vast undertaking it will be:

“I think we’ve figured it out,” said Julie Greenwald, president of Atlantic Records. “It used to be that you could connect five dots and sell a million records. Now there are 20 dots you can connect to sell a million records.”

Truly Free Filmmakers have more than those twenty dots to connect and that can not be done by working alone.  For each of those filmmakers fortunate to be selected for Sundance this year, they each need to reach for a different dot and pass it along to each other.