What history can teach filmmakers

As is hinted at by the comments attached to my last post (Musings on the future of independent film distribution), all of us in the “indie” filmmaking arena are alert to the fact that everything is changing, and that this is especially the case at the distribution end of the pipeline.

A myriad of good ideas are being floated around (thanks to all who are joining the conversation), not the least of which is the need for all of us to continue sharing and discussing what we’re discovering as we march forward. I couldn’t agree more. In a very real sense what we’re all in the middle of is history repeating itself in the entertainment industry albeit in new and digital 21st Century terms. Let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 24: Musings on the future of independent film distribution

Since the release of The Sensation of Sight in the summer of 2008, the independent film industry has been pretty much turned on its head.

And this is especially true regarding distribution. It comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following the independent film business that the last couple of years have seen a long-awaited and much-anticipated disintegration of the old distribution model and the beginnings of a new era in terms of how filmmakers are finding access to the global marketplace.

As I sit here writing this post, I find myself thinking back to when we first launched Either/Or Films five years ago and how different the landscape was then. It’s pretty amazing all that’s happened since. Putting together a distribution strategy when we were raising financing for Sensation, our first feature film, was a no-brainer: Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 13, Post production continues in L.A.

buzz_mclaughlin_producerAs Aaron and Mario were ensconced in their house in the woods editing, we also began making arrangements for moving our entire operation to Los Angeles where further finishing work on the film would commence once we had a “locked picture” in hand. The reason for planning this move from one coast to the other was because, after much research and investigation and receiving quotes for the work that needed to be done, we realized we could finish the post work on the film less expensively in Los Angeles than anywhere on the East Coast. The sheer volume of post production work in L.A. actually made for lower quotes and therefore a favorable cost Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 10, The day from hell

buzz_mclaughlin_producerLet me give you a taste of what I mean by that.

During the morning of the second day, the shoot was scheduled for outdoors. But about 9 a.m. a steady sleet suddenly began falling, so we decided to turn to our contingency plan and shoot inside the bed & breakfast.

This also happened to be the day that most of the crew was grumbling nearly to the point of mutiny because the hot water wasn’t working that morning at the Maplehurst Inn in nearby Antrim, where most of them were staying, and they came to work feeling miserable to begin with.

Then, about 10 a.m., our one gigantic generator Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 7, Preparation, preparation, preparation

buzz_mclaughlin_producerNeedless to say, the key to any successful enterprise is good planning and preparation–planning and prep down to the last detail–and that’s what the pre-production phase is all about.

We were fortunate to have made an early connection with producer Mark Constance, who for many years had worked in L.A.  as a second assistant director on major films like Being John Malkovitch. Some years prior Mark and his family had moved to New Hampshire, while he continued to work both coasts on films. When Aaron and I first met him at a small coffee shop in downtown Keene, we hit it off right away. Mark became “Mr. Prep” for us, serving not only as a hands-on producer, but Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 4, Locations, budgets & legal stuff

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Another aspect of the development phase was deciding where we would shoot the film.

This actually was not an issue for us because from the beginning we knew that if our first movie was The Sensation of Sight it had to be shot in Peterborough, New Hampshire–the setting Thornton Wilder used for his famous play Our Town. Our story and this lovely, small New England town was a match made in heaven.

Since Peterborough was only a half hour’s drive from our film company’s home office, we were able to case out the town in depth quite early on and realized that we could shoot the entire film Read the rest of this entry »

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