It all started from my own personal experience and an eagerness to overcome frustration. I’ve been producing and directing films since 2000. Many of them were broadcast in TV channels around the world, some of them won prizes in film festivals. But my true passion, both as filmmaker and viewer, was to connect with people around the world.
As an independent filmmaker, I used to rely on public funding, which is quite developed in Europe, especially compared to the system in the US. Receiving $60,000-$100,000 for a movie just by preparing a written proposal and a short trailer can get your movie project started, but there are drawbacks: competition is fierce, and you have to abide by implicit tough rules regarding both your movie topic and the way you make it.
There’s not much one can argue about when trying to define ‘artistic considerations’, even when you know that art is a personal choice. But since I owned my first Final Cut Pro 2.0 in 2001 at home, I could allow myself to make my own movies from time to time, even without public support.
In 2007 I decided produce a documentary about Apple fanatics, a DIY effort that I’ve put to the test. I wanted to make a movie I was passionate about knowing it will never get public support. Finally, I produced MacHEADS
totally independently from pre-production to distribution. Back in 2007 it was not the traditional route to skip film festivals and go straight to digital distribution. The stigma back than for going digital, was “straight to DVD” strategy, admitting you couldn’t find a distributor to buy your movie, not something every filmmaker wants to be associated with. iTunes movie service started only in 2008. I knew I could get more audience to see my movie the digital way, so I went for it, and fortunately I was right.
From Tel Aviv in my studio apartment I was marketing and distributing MacHEADS
to the world. No film festival could have achieved the same buzz created on the Internet. At some point I made a decision not to apply to film festivals, paying $50 to a small film fest didn’t make any sense.
We premiered the movie on iTunes and MacHEADS became number one in its category and number 8 at the 2009 top 50 documentaries. Hulu made 585,867 views, and also became number one top movie in all categories/ Than the Netflix deals came. Finally MacHEADS was broadcast on CNBC
My personal experience with digital distribution and marketing was quite a learning experience. A lot is unknown to filmmakers even today when stats are coming out and the “wall of fear”, as I like to call the barriers that sales agents are putting on filmmakers not to put forward their films online , is slowly overcome by many filmmakers who are sharing information with one another.
I made some fatal mistakes. A small sales agents company in Spain sold us the idea that they will know what to do with our film. It turned out they had no clue what is the film subject and how to get distributors to buy the film not to mention they had no idea what iTunes was. We were stuck with a contract for 15 years (!) without the ability to get out. The world distribution rights were sold to the Spanish agents, and that hurt us a lot. Our digital distributors in the US at FilmBUFF Cinetic
did what ever they could to promote MacHEADS to every digital platform and also pitched in with marketing.
In the end MacHEADS success and failure depended on my marketing efforts. Had the film been on iTunes without me pushing the movie in every possible effort, it would have never gotten the same response. So if you like it or not, filmmakers today are their own distribution and marketing managers This is where and why I set out to found Gobuzz, to help filmmakers and creative storytellers to gain control over the digital distribution means, and get rewarded financially as they should have been in the first place. I wanted to offer the indie film community the best possible solution I can give them.
VOD portals are not new, the main problem with any indie sales platform is still discovery. Without marketing effectively your content won’t be discovered. So we are not settling on a distribution tools only, we are also putting an emphasis on marketing.
The ability to tell your story to your audience, investors, crowdfunding backers, film programmers, is critical for your success.
We work with creators to reach their audience and to maximize revenues potential