Please welcome Stacy Cochran to my Blog a fellow Author, and Filmmaker
Stacey Cochran Guest Blog Post
Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog today. As you know I’m in the midst of a Blog Tour to help promote the release of my new novel CLAWS 2. If folks are interested in the book, it is available exclusively from the Amazon Kindle store for reading on digital devices.
Because of your background in indie filmmaking, I thought I would write today about the connection between emerging technologies, writing, and filmmaking. I’ve worked a fair amount in the past three years in television and have even started producing and directing my own short films.
At the same time, I’ve started making progress as an author independently publishing my own novels and short stories. I believe we are in the midst of a cultural renaissance of sorts. To date, I’ve had over 40,000 book downloads through the Amazon Kindle device. Prior to the Kindle, I podcast my novels to listeners through Podiobooks.com and had even higher numbers of downloads of my books in that medium.
What I’ve learned is that there are audiences for independent authors, writers who have stories that don’t quite work for traditional mainstream publishers. In fact, what Kindle has shown is that there is a ready and willing audience of readers interested in stories that don’t fit the traditional mold and they’re willing to pay money for them.
My hypothesis is that there is a similar scenario in place in filmmaking and TV production. As summer box-office numbers slump in 2010 with big budget traditional movies, I wonder if part of that is that audiences are looking for something different, something innovative, and something that breaks the mold of what we conceive of as “a movie.”
While I’ll admit it’s risky to push this parallel between Kindle and filmmaking too far, the hypothesis warrants exploration.
With my own short film, I produced, directed, wrote, and distributed it on a shoe-string budget. The film is available via Amazon.com
The problem in this scenario is that audiences don’t go to Amazon to buy movies from independent filmmakers… at least not in the same way that Kindle readers do so for buying and reading stories.
However, if a future Kindle device enabled users to instantly download (or “rent” a movie), I suspect a lot of Kindle owners would start looking for films to download. For the savvy independent filmmaker with the right kind of content (i.e., a good story), this potential market could be very hot because of low initial competition and high audience interest. It’s certainly easy enough to distribute a film through Amazon.com as both a DVD and a Pay-for-Download rental or purchase.
Until the two markets (Kindle device and Pay-for-Download movie rental) connect, this may a moot point. In the meantime, a savvy indie filmmaker could certainly use other emerging technologies to push out in front of the new wave.
I, for example, have become addicted to instant-streaming movies through Netflix. I watched two films last night. If you haven’t experienced the power of instant-streaming film rental on your television, you should definitely give it a shot. The Netflix database has tens of thousands of films available for instant download and “renting” costs nothing. With Netflix, you pay a monthly subscription (e.g., $9.99) and you can download as many movies as you want, whether it’s one or 500 or 5,000. The monthly subscription stays the same, and you can watch any movie any time you want.
Very soon, a tech-savvy company like Netflix or YouTube or Hulu is going to open the doors to indie filmmakers the way that Amazon Kindle has done for indie authors to upload and “rent” their movies to a wider audience. When this happens, the handful of independent filmmakers in place with good product could stand to be in a competitive position.
I think the key is to continue developing good content and to explore innovative methods of distribution. If you’re an indie filmmaker, you should have your content available through Amazon both in DVD form and in Pay-for-Download form. It would be great if Netflix allowed indie filmmakers the same ease of access to get their content in Netflix’s database; as yet, they have not. But keep your eyes open because it would be in their company’s interest to do so, and so they may very soon.
Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University.
Visit him on the web at http://www.staceycochran.com