Thursday, March 25, 2010

Piracy And The Indie Filmmaker

Let's take a break from all the recent horror blogger interwebs drama, shall we? If you aren't privy to it, good. You've saved yourself a splitting headache.

I'd like to direct your attention to a bit of a rant and opinion piece about internet piracy and the indie filmmaker, written by director Lee Vervoort, creator of the film Gun Town.

As most of you know, we support indie horror filmmakers (and indie filmmakers in general) and are sensitive to the plight of Lee and filmmakers like him. We've become friends with filmmakers that we've brought to your attention, whether it be through reviews, interviews or networking and postings on other blogs in order to get their names and films out there. We feel a personal connection to them, some of them even following up and asking our opinion (yes, our dopey little blog's opinion) about their upcoming projects. Quite simply put, we are disgusted by the actions of those who download their films and the films of others, raping the directors and compromising their ability to make a dime off of THEIR OWN MOVIES.

Lee's opinion piece is fair and lacks any sort of finger pointing. What it's motivated me to do (and it should to you as well) is to buy a copy of the film. At the very least, you should seek it out and rent it. Hell, the guy is even donating proceeds from the film (which comes neatly packaged and presented) to United Cerebral Palsy. If that doesn't say something about the character of the filmmaker himself, then I don't know what does.

Much respect and admiration to Lee and all of the indie filmmakers out there who work so hard and tirelessly to bring their passion to life.

For more information about Gun Town, clicky here.

Cortez the Killer

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The Film Connoisseur said...

Piracy is one of the main reasons why I havent given a copy of my most recent film to anyone!

Ive kept it to myself so I can show it in different venues. Until Ive made as much money as I can from it,then maybe Ill start making copies and selling them!

Totally agree, on all points Cortez! Piracy must die!

Chris Hallock said...

Good post, man!
I live for helping out indie filmmakers in any way possible.
If our little blogs makes even one person know about an outstanding but unknown filmmaker, then I am happy to accomplish that.
Hopefully horror fans will realize that the tiny bit of money they're saving by downloading films can help an upcoming filmmaker make his or her next movie. At least paypal a few bucks directly to the filmmakers if you don't want to give money to distrubutors.

I actually just ordered a collection of shorts by the filmmaker of "Fantasy" Mike posted a few days ago.

Planet of Terror said...

@TFC, its a shame that you can't share what you've created with individuals who have some sort of integrity for fear that they would turn around and post your film for the world to grab. I'm a fan of your blog so if you ever want me to post about your upcoming projects, I'd be glad to do so. And you can know that you have a trusted friend in me. Keep doing what you're doing.

@Chris, thanks. You and Mike were my inspiration so I should actually be thanking you guys. We really should be rallying around these guys and ladies and use our public forum (as small as it is) to bring attention to their works and stay away from all the petty stuff that just bogs us down. But thats a whole other blog post.

Chet Of The Undead said...

I normally dig Pirates with their flamboyant fashion sense and their collection of festive pet parrots to go as an acessory with any of their many designer raping and pillaging outfits ;) BUT...

This is indeed one cast where Avast'er'me'hardies is NOT COOL!

These fllmmakers need all the help they can get.

Damn to the depths movie stealing scullywags and the ones who invented Yahtzee...err...I mean Parlay! :)

Mike Snoonian said...

Here Here Cortez!

There's a film I very much wanted to screen as part of our film seires-it's one of the films I'd caught at the NY Fest and was one of the inspirations for starting the night. Their in the middle of selling the film and the writer was too nervous about piracy and the film leaking online to send us a copy and I even though we wouldn't upload it in a million years, I can't blame him.

Planet of Terror said...

Such a shame and a total catch-22. These guys, who rely on smaller venues and media outlets to get the word out, are scared even on a smaller scale for fear of having their works copied and distributed for mass consumption. Crazy. And I can't blame him either. Hopefully, for the sake of his work (and sanity) he takes a risk. And hopefully he finds a friend in us horror bloggers :)

the jaded viewer said...

CTK - Same thing happened to Ink (which I think we all saw)(

The weird thing is that the piracy created a marketing buzz for the film that the regular marketing (some promotion and us the horror blogosphere) were pale in comparison.

It goes both ways. How do you get exposure for a film to increase the profits? Well file sharing sites have a bigger community than all of us combined and sometimes whats popular helps the indie filmmaker.

I'm not taking sides but I can clearly see how piracy might help in some ways.

Lee Vervoort said...

Thank you PoT for taking the time to post the article link and thank you everyone for your comments. While standing my ground with the editorial content, I still recognize that improvements can be made on my end. I suppose the final trade-off is producing a better product that people will actually want a copy of.

Wish me luck.

Planet of Terror said...

@Jaded, an interesting point. But if it grows in popularity, won't people continue to seek out the 'free' version of the film and not opt for the paid copy? Not sure I understand the logic.

@Lee, thanks for stopping by. You bring up an interesting point. Even if you had a product that everyone wanted, would you still be running into issues of piracy? I just reviewed another indie film (see 'The Commune' above) where the director starts things off by acknowledging the viewer may have received the film via a bit torrent. Anyways, its a fantastic film that's received a lot of praise. I don't know how her DVD sales are doing but for all intents and purposes, it is a great product.

Anyways, best of luck to you. I just got my copy of Gun Town and I can't wait to see it.

Planet of Terror said...

I guess my other point would be about distribution. If the perception is there that an indie film may not have great distribution, hence the need to download, does that make a difference? If people think that a film can't be had via Amazon or other retailer does that force them to go the bit torrent route (a lot easier) than researching where they could potentially buy it via non-established retailer or directly from the filmmaker themselves?

Kieth said...

Your opinion counts there and is certainly relevant. The thing is, I can't figure out why someone can't simply type in "Gun Town" and find it.

I mean really, is everyone that LAZY that they have to have a freekin "easy" button??? Push a few more and give this guy a chance will ya.

Planet of Terror said...

Kieth, I wholeheartedly agree. I was just trying to spur additional conversation, not saying the bit torrent route is the most favorable at all. But point well taken, give a hardworking filmmaker a chance and don't take from him what he's worked so hard on.