This year Dances With Films is featuring something brand new that I think you'll be seeing on the festival circuit around the world in the near future. Remember, you saw it here first.
What is this new feature?
The Dances With Films Alumni Store.
Why will this become a mainstay on the festival circuit?
Honestly, it might not, but it should.
People see the digital revolution hit an industry and they thinks it's one & done, but in fact it comes in waves. A first wave will radically change everything, then a second wave rides in on those changes. Then a third, forth, etc.
Right now, the indie film industry is probably on it's 3rd or 4th wave when it comes to distribution. Remember video stores? Remember when watching something on Netflix meant a DVD was delivered to your house? Remember when scripted TV shows were actually on TV?
Okay, I'm maybe a year or two ahead on that last one - but the point is, things have changed. For the uber-indie filmmaker those changes mean they are not only the filmmaker, but also the film seller. Distribution now means having a film thrown up on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. with no PR or marketing support. Like novelists have had to do in the last few years, filmmakers now have to do their own shilling.
Well, Dances With Films is here to help.
At the Dances With Films Alumni Store, alumni can sell their DVDs directly to this year's DWF audience. If customers don't watch movies on DVD anymore, they can get information on how to download the films. These instructions will probably come with a request to post a review on Amazon. Reviews are a huge help to anyone selling anything online, so if you like a movie, book, song, etc. make sure to give it a review.
What does a filmmaker get out of selling a few DVDs at what amounts to a trade show booth at a festival? Well, for one thing, cash. Not a lot, but face-to-face sales are what work best in this business and building a fan base starts with one person at a time.
They also get a promotional opportunity. Pictures of them with their DVDs at the Festival to post on MySpace (sorry), Facebook (sorry), Instagram and Pinterest (with an auto-link to Twitter)! So for each face-to-face sale at the festival, they might get one or two more online sales from the promotion.
And remember those Amazon review requests? Online promotions are often based on software algorithms. Once an item gets a certain number of reviews, they begin to be recommended to customers who buy similar stuff. "Because you watched..." etc.
So, if you are an alumni, contact me about adding your films to the store.
If you're an audience member or current-year filmmaker, buy a movie (or... you know, a book like Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand) from an alumni. Get it autographed.
And next year, someone will do the same for you!
See you at the store.