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Indie Film Premieres On BitTorrent Before Cinema

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-y'-have-a-benediction-boyo? dept.

Movies 93

An anonymous reader writes "The first part of A Lonely Place For Dying is available on VODO while the filmmakers are getting ready for a theatrical run in early 2012. Viewers are asked to donate if they like what they see and if enough cash is raised they will be able to watch the film again on the big screen. In return for their contributions, donors are receiving digital downloads or credits in the upcoming release, you can even become an Executive Producer and get your name listed on IMDB. This is a brave move challenging Hollywood and their traditional 'release windows.'" "Indie" in this case definitely does not mean a Grade Z student film; James Cromwell knows his crime drama. The movie is being released serially, and BitTorrent donations are to be used to "complete a theatrical mix of the motion picture, create a digital cinema package, and get everything else ready to position the film in U.S. movie theaters."

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Jury begins deliberating in Casey Anthony trial (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655312)

Jurors began deliberating Monday in the Casey Anthony murder trial after hearing prosecutors argue the woman killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee because the toddler interrupted her carefree partying and love life.

MUHAHAHAHAHAH !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655344)

Because it's funny !! Goddamn thieves around every corner nowadays !!

$10K and $50K (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655358)

for the credits. steep.

Re:$10K and $50K (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655544)

$35.00 is for a credit.

MPAA quaking in their boots? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655372)

The internet and cheap recording (relatively cheap; the biggest cost of a professionally produced, recorded, and pressed CD is the cost of the musical instruments) has rendered the RIAA labels entirely obsolete. RIAA lables are of no use to anyone in the 21st century.

I can see the same thing happening to movies. Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning is certainly fat better than any B-movies I've ever seen. The South Park movie could have easily been "shot" for practically nothing. As of now, the big money the MPAA provides is still a prerequisite for a blockbuster action flick; smashing three dozen cars ain't cheap. But with improved CGI even that cost will be brought to effectively zero.

Bye Bye, M.A.F.I.A.A.. and good riddance.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655416)

Keep telling yourself that, while those companies get billions and even their worst failures still put more in the seats than the indies.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655612)

Average movie-goer doesn't give two shits bout how it was made, or who made it. Just has to appeal to the common public to be successful.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655462)

I've seen a couple of the productions on this VODO site, namely Pioneer One [vodo.net] , and The Tunnel [vodo.net] . Both were watchable, but I would say they are both not quite as good as a Hollywood production. The acting seems to be noticeably worse. I'm not sure what it is, but it seems that in these low budget movies, they seem to just keep the shot as long as the lines are correct as per the script, and don't seem to worry about whether or not they are delivered properly. At lot of the dialog seems really unnatural. Whereas in hollywood they would make the actors redo the scene until it was perfect, it seems that in indie films this just doesn't happen. Overall, I think that indie movies have their place, but that big budget movies aren't going anywhere. Although they may change their distribution model a little bit.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655486)

Considering this has an Academy Award nominated actor maybe it's worth judging this movie on its own merit.

There was a time when HBO made crap. That's where all new distributors start out. Now, they make the best "TV" on TV. How about judging this for itself rather than someone else's movie?

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655552)

HBO has the advantage of being able to put plot points anywhere in the episode that it wants. TV shows for networks with ads are constrained by placing them in places which maximize the ad revenue. On top of that by virtue of being a pay station, they're bound by significantly fewer restrictions in terms of what they're able to show without censoring it.

Not that it negates the success they've had, it's just important to keep in mind that most channels don't have that luxury.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (3)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655780)

Now, they make the best "TV" on TV.

And that's because they are attracting and using very large chunks of Eeeeevil Corporate Money. You know, the sort of financing that makes large scale, professionally produced and acted works possible. People have no idea what it takes to put together something HBO's Game Of Thrones episodes, for example. The set construction and horse wrangling alone costs more, for legitimate reasons, than most bad "indie" productions will ever muster. And it shows.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657942)

I found "A lonely place to Die" to be pretty well acted, Pioneer One seems like a good story, but the acting was too bad for me to watch more than 15 mins of it, and I really wanted to watch the whole thing.

I donated to "A Lonely Place" because I found it so good and appreciated the method of distribution.

I wish them all good luck and really appreciate their efforts.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36659188)

Reshooting takes time and time is money.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660396)

they seem to just keep the shot as long as the lines are correct as per the script, and don't seem to worry about whether or not they are delivered properly.

That's a dead giveaway for a overly-short shooting schedule with little coverage. You see that in a lot of indies. The lower the budget, the faster the shooting schedule. And beyond a certain point, the movie does suffer. An experienced producer will start out pre-production by determining the minimum budget, based in large part on how many shooting days they will realistically need. So either the producer didn't do his job here or a foolish director thought he could cut corners and ignored his producer's recommendations.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655668)

>The South Park movie could have easily been "shot" for practically nothing.
I dunno, there's quite a lot of music in SP:BLU

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655784)

Crashing CGI cars cheap? How much do you think the var crash in Transformers 3 costs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7kcqB3thJM [youtube.com]

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36656168)

Crashing CGI cars cheap? How much do you think the var crash in Transformers 3 costs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7kcqB3thJM [youtube.com]

Why pick the most expensive example from a pure CGI-wankfest? Why not ask a gaming company how much it costs to render their scripted cutscenes to CGI rather than pump it through a realtime engine?

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659568)

CGI is still expensive now, but computing costs keep dropping. I'd say in ten years anybody with the talent will be able to do a movie exactly like that on a laptop.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659986)

Blender 3D isn't the ugly duckling it used to be. It seems to have really picked up some good winds with its UI revamp, and there's a new internal rendering engine on the way. There are also nice tools for soft body deformation and other physics, a community render grid, and integrated teamware. But more importantly the user community produces a lot of video tutorials and they're friendly to newbies. With all the money to be saved through all of this, a small studio can buy beefy workstations and do GPU rendering instead.

tl;dr 10 years? More like 2.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656400)

Actually I think you are partially correct and partially incorrect. while I believe that indie is the way to go (after seeing what kind of "contracts" the labels offer new bands I'm going DIY myself, digital recording and cheap powerful computers for editing make it pretty painless) I think it won't be standard CGI as much as game engines and machinima leading the way.

Look up the video "Escape from City 17" for a video that sadly is better IMHO than a lot of the Hollywood crap, with decent looking effects that I could easily see making grade B movies affordable. Lets be honest McGrew if the story is good you won't care about CGI as long as it isn't so cheesy it distracts from the story. With today's game engines that is quickly becoming the case, and as soon as the next gen consoles hit the streets so that the *&^%*&^% game companies will update their engines the graphics will only get more realistic and lush.

So I'd say the future is integrating game tech into the TV and movie realms, just as we musicians have integrated PCs and digital recording into our trick bags. it is pretty obvious TV is ruled by shitty reality shows, simply because they are dirt cheap. I think Joss Whedon had it right when he said quirky offbeat TV will go to a "buy our shit" model, where you will by T-Shirts and mugs ( and like above credits) to pay for production and if you like the output buy the DVD to help ensure more episodes are made.

Personally I'm ALL for this idea, as it lets us the viewers decide if there are gonna be more Firefly or Faith TVS or whatever. And the really nice part is the ever improving game engines will make it so that it will come down to storytelling again, not which SFX house did the latest boom fest. Sure there will always be AAA money fests, like I doubt anyone would have been able to film LOTR without an assload of money, but there is no reason why good stories can't be told with current tech at a small fraction of the cost. And that means more new ideas, more new storytellers, and more choices for all. Sounds good to me.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659738)

if the story is good you won't care about CGI

That's very true. The only problem I see for the little guy is the insanely long copyright lengths. Art is like science and technology, in that what is here now was built on what has come before. There was that one guys, for example, that wrote a sequel to... I can't remember which book, Catcher in the Rye maybe? Any way, the original authou's heirs sued to stop publication, even though it was a completely different book, and the original should have been in the public domain anyway.

I maintain that the RIAA is against P2P not to keep their stuff from being uploaded, but to keep guys like you from being heard. They have radio, you have P2P, and you're a threat to them.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661696)

That's very true. The only problem I see for the little guy is the insanely long copyright lengths. Art is like science and technology, in that what is here now was built on what has come before. There was that one guys, for example, that wrote a sequel to... I can't remember which book, Catcher in the Rye maybe? Any way, the original authou's heirs sued to stop publication, even though it was a completely different book, and the original should have been in the public domain anyway.

Or you could just, you know, use your imagination a little bit and not blatantly copy someone else's work, It's not like you can't ever write another book about annoying fucking teenagers, for instance, you just can't piggyback on the original by calling it "Catcher in the Rye 2: the Holden Caulfield Ultimatum".

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664516)

The problem is, you might come up with a line or an idea you saw or heard decades ago. ZZ Top was sued by Howlin' Wolf for La Grange (a how how how). George Harrison was sued for My Sweet Lord (similar chord progression). Eddie Money was sued for Baby hold one to me ("whatever will be will be"). Again, art is like science or engineering; there's no such thing as "completely original". Hell, Douglas Adam's heirs could concievably sue me for today's journal, because I have a cloaked asteroid destroying the earth, or Niven and Pournell could sue because the asteroid collision is deliberate, even though there are no other similarities.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (2)

geniice (1336589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656588)

RIAA labels offer marketing. The general failure of myspace bands to ah "make it" suggests this is important.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657954)

It is possible that RIAA marketing is necessary to become obscenely rich making music, but there are a lot of artists who make a decent living doing nothing but playing gigs. What are the odds of "making it big" with the RIAA? One in a hundred thousand? I have a fair number of friends who are musicians who have recordings released by RIAA companies. They aren't superstars, but a couple of them are internationally well known in their area. None of them make any money at all from their recordings. The recording companies pocket it all. I've suggested to them that they might actually be better off giving their recordings away for free, given that they don't make any money anyway, but they are always chasing that pot of gold.

Why does "make it" imply making millions of dollars and being a household name everywhere in the world? Why doesn't "make it" mean having a good job that you enjoy and making enough money to live comfortably and bring up a family? Like I said, the former may require the RIAA (although I actually kind of doubt it), but why should we encourage that kind of thinking? Let's have more musicians making a good wage rather than a handful making megabucks (and putting 10 times that into a distribution system that isn't necessary at all).

mod parent up (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658480)

exactly what I was going to post. For comparison I work in software (like most people here, I suspect) and I'm very happy being a developer with no managerial responsibility. Is this "making it" in software or is it mandatory to strive to be the next Linus?

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659910)

I know a couple of guys who were offered RIAA contracts, read them, and told the label to go fuck themselves. Cory Doctorow credits his status as a New York Times best selling author to the fact that he gives his ebooks away for free on boingboing. As he says, nobody ever went broke from piracy, but many artists have starved from obscurity.

I agree with you that "making it" shouldn't entail any more than making a decent living. I know I'm happy as long as I have food, transportation, beer, a roof over my head and utilities. IMO the most important thing I ever did in my life was to raise my two kids (also the most rewarding).

There's something wrong with someone who needs mansions, Porches, and bling.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660806)

I credit Cory Doctorow's succes with the good publicity associated with giving away his work for free. What i've read so far appears to be more like "let me see how many neat ideas I can cram in here under story lines that are written to be painfully obvious predictions of society's future" than actual stories.

Then again,I have precisely zero published books (and if I keep crafting sentences like the one above I never will) -- and it's easy to be a critic ;)

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661840)

One thing I will say about Cory Doctorow, once you've read one of his stories, there's no mistaking it when you read another.

Take that as you will.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664442)

You could say the same of Terry Pratchett (and I need more Pratchett books, damn it!)

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661808)

Nobody's saying you have to make zillions of dollars to be happy or a great musician, it's just that you can't say the RIAA/music industry don't do anything for artists. They make a few of them rich. I couldn't give a flying toss, but it's silly to pretend that it doesn't happen.

I don't like multi-millionnaire rockstars any more or less than multi-millionnaire electronic gadget manufacturers or multi-millionnaire footballers or multi-millionnaire oil company executives just because they are multi-millionnaires. The thing is, you can't fake good music. Something's either worth listening to, or it's not. The money's irrelevant either way, except that it's hard to get away with the "poet starving in a garret for his art" way of living once you're out of your Twenties unless you're earning at least something.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659256)

Depends what you mean by "make it". If you mean become a superstar and get the record label very rich then yes, they still control radio and TV playlists well enough to suppress anything else. If you mean "can make a good living" from it then that is certainly possible to do without a major label. In fact indie labels do it all the time, but now you don't even need one of those.

I can think of a few people who were doing okay pretty much on their own, such as the aptly named Example.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659972)

Yet only one in twenty RIAA artists ever make any money at all on their recording, so their marketing is pretty poor. The RIAA's strength is that they have radio.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661874)

Yet only one in twenty RIAA artists ever make any money at all on their recording, so their marketing is pretty poor. The RIAA's strength is that they have radio.

Commercial music is effectively a closed marketplace, in that if there are currently (say) 100 popular acts, you can't just keep adding 25 more each week and making money off all of them at the same rate.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

jsfs (1329511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657070)

After taking an animation class in film school, I will never consider animated features "cheap." There's a lot of work involved, and trained animators' time isn't free, either. If you're doing it all yourself in your spare time, then it's just the cost of the computer and the program you use. But that's not exactly the same thing as a full production.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659798)

Yes, it does take time. Back in the late '70s I did some animations on onion skin paper so I know how long it takes and how much work. Sadly, they were lost before computers and scanners came about or I'd have them up on youtube.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

Alimony Pakhdan (1855364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657662)

The internet and cheap recording (relatively cheap; the biggest cost of a professionally produced, recorded, and pressed CD is the cost of the musical instruments) has rendered the RIAA labels entirely obsolete. RIAA lables are of no use to anyone in the 21st century.

You got upvoted by the adoring hivemind, but damn that is so full of wrong. You've never had first hand experience with the process of a "professionally produced, recorded and pressed CD" have you?

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36657670)

"But with improved CGI even that cost will be brought to effectively zero."

Insightful only to some one that never set foot on a film set in their lives. I've dealt with CG since the late 80s and effects since the late 70s. Even if this laughable fantasy was true and artists were worthless slaves not deserving of pay a single computer will cost 20 grand to properly outfit, that's one machine. That's one machine. Yes I know you can buy a computer for $500 and Blender is free so what's the problem? I made an animated feature by myself and found that for feature level work the only machine up to the task was a Boxx workstation. All the consumer level machines I tried crashed constantly. You can add in professional animation software, compositing software, tracking software not to mention things like Photoshop. Yes there's Gimp but virtually everyone still uses Photoshop for good reason. Just to get a couple of guys working and cameras and editing hardware and software you are talking between 50K and a 100K to make the no budget films you dream of. Also you may be happy with things like Star Wreck but most including myself aren't that excited with it. Iron Sky looks very cool but they are spending something like 7 million not the zero budget you are talking about. Films will never cost zero. Where do the hard drives and tape come from if everything else is free? They will always cost something. What you are talking about is you'd rather some one else pay for the films you watch so you don't have to pay.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657746)

As of now, the big money the MPAA provides is still a prerequisite for a blockbuster action flick; smashing three dozen cars ain't cheap. But with improved CGI even that cost will be brought to effectively zero.

On the one hand you have a point here, but on the other hand there is a large visual difference between a practical effects with a little touch up and straight CGI.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661528)

Yes, anyone can make a movie because they've got Final Cut Pro in the same way that anyone can write a song if they've got Garageband or write a novel if they've Word.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664588)

Like I said, you neet two things: tools and talent.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664500)

The internet and cheap recording (relatively cheap; the biggest cost of a professionally produced, recorded, and pressed CD is the cost of the musical instruments) has rendered the RIAA labels entirely obsolete. RIAA lables are of no use to anyone in the 21st century.

That's stupidity at its best: the slashdot crowd getting marked for going with the flow. The ratings were a political thing which the industry discovered can be used also for controlling the distribution channels. What a moron like you calls "they cut 20seconds to get the rating down from R" actually means some large bribes (in the States they call it lobby). Either way they get a cut of the profit. Same thing happened with the Internet distribution, the same players wanted their cut. As a side effect idiots got the whole thing about trials and papers and judges and whatever. Panem et circenses! Use your Wikipedia to find out what it means. It means that somewhere somebody will take care that you have them both. This political junk is the second part. The first part is called food stamps.

Re:MPAA quaking in their boots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665636)

Well said, and quite true but for the shirtloads of cash spent by industry groups to entrench their obsolete position. In Australia, for example, I have no right to allow a TV station to use my music for free (or pay me directly), they still have to pay a royalty to APRA/AMCOSS who take their cut and spam the shit out of me "collect your money, collect your money, collect your money, collect your money..." all $2 of it. It's law that royalties be collected in Australia by APRA/AMCOSS even if an artist is not a member. Once you're a member you can never NOT be a member, either.

So, big media quaking in their boots? Not yet, not while they keep pissing in the politicians' pockets.

That's not a movie (2)

imunfair (877689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655384)

Length: 27m

Looks like a short film to me. Do theaters even show something that short? Maybe they could replace all those trailers with that, because it seems like they show half an hour of those before each movie now.

Re:That's not a movie (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655406)

That's just the first installment. "To be continued" was the worst part of the second MATRIX movie.

Re:That's not a movie (3, Insightful)

reeno49 (1558221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655432)

There was a second Matrix movie?! Why didn't I know about this?!?

When's the 3rd due out?

Re:That's not a movie (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655512)

I got here too soon. I was going to moderate, but there was only one comment, and it was an offtopic AC at -1 (starting 0, AC -1 modifier) so I posted instead. If I'd been slower I'd have modded your comment funny, good work, sir!

Re:That's not a movie (1)

reeno49 (1558221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655570)

Oh, but had you not posted, I would have had nothing to reply to, giving you nothing to be too slow to mod funny anyways.

So now that your mind is blown, what are you doing for dinner?

Re:That's not a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655614)

That one is an oldie (I mean the joke, not mcgrew), beaten to death on Slashdot. You two really seem to be made for each other, good luck in your freshly blooming relationship.

Re:That's not a movie (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36661984)

rmcgrew and reeno49 sitting in a tree
K - I - S - S - I - N - G

get a room guys

Re:That's not a movie (0)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655630)

Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]

Re:That's not a movie (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655734)

There was a second Matrix movie?! Why didn't I know about this?!?

When's the 3rd due out?

See that black cat that just walked by past? That was the Matrix rebooting itself from a horrible error.

Re:That's not a movie (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36660440)

There was a second Matrix movie?! Why didn't I know about this?!?

No one had the heart to break it to you after you awoke from the coma. We all thought it best for you not to know.

Re:That's not a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655770)

Which part of "The first part of..." didn't you understand?

Re:That's not a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655900)

Which part of "The first part of..." didn't you understand?

The part where it talks about "five episodes" separately from "the film". Clearly "the film" is not all five episodes, because it supposedly goes to theaters before the fifth airs. Maybe they're going to combine three episodes and call it a film? TFA doesn't really specify.

Re:That's not a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36657188)

In China (I've been living here for years) they actually put normal advertisement (not trailers) you could see on the TV, so we actually go at least 10 minutes later to the movie to skip that, and still has to see some of the shit.

Distribution Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655412)

Fighting them in court is difficult and not the best path towards a resolution on the brewing intellectual property conflict.This right here is how it'll happen. Technology advancements constantly drive cost of production down, and increased communication allows people to discover more content better suited to their tastes on their own. You already see the beginning of record label death, as high end studios are largely obsolete these days and artists begin releasing their works independently. It's farther off with movies, since it's hard to do avatar-grade effects in an indie setting, but it'll happen. But not without our support of quality releases. We've gotta start waking up ourselves and those around us.

You can't fight your way to peace. We've just gotta strike out on our own path. Peace and love...

Or something like that...

Free like beer or free like speech? (2)

achlorophyl (2205676) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655418)

Open-source is where it's at... Who's to say a _film couldn't be open-sourced? The initial developer would post digital of her cut, maybe even zip archives of scenes, sound effects, and alt versions -- then secondary directors could "have at it"..! But it would be like the GNU license -- if you screw with this free, raw film, you have to make _your version free also..! Basically, I'm thinking that the whole "copyright/piracy" system is dead in the water. With the Earth on the brink of being destroyed by humanity, we rebellious elements of this humanity need _lots of freedom -- both like beer, and like speech -- if anyone will have a chance to change anything!

Re:Free like beer or free like speech? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655572)

The problem is that it's an extremely limited concept. I suppose you could offer up stock footage on that basis, but you'd still need an incredible amount of actual footage to go with. Probably the best bet would be to offer up Blender models for rendering with a permissive license.

And stock footage rarely if ever looks good, I've seen it in all sorts of places over the years and probably the only place that it seemed to work was on the Muppet Babies.

Re:Free like beer or free like speech? (1)

achlorophyl (2205676) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655626)

I'm talking open source. What I mean by that, is that additional dialogue recording, music (and rights), alt cuts of scenes, raw footage, would all be available. It's a matter of link speed. If we could all have megabit links, downloading this stuff would be no problem. We could then mix and mash to our hearts' content... Down to the granularity of Pro Tools sessions all tracked out... Total control, total freedom. What if you had all the alt takes to The Matrix? Don't tell me it would add up to a Muppets effort. IF it did, it would be your directorial skills to blame...

Re:Free like beer or free like speech? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657084)

Sure, you can do remixes, but if you want to move much beyond parodies, it's not going to happen. As somebody that's apparently into movie making you ought to know better than to suggest that you can mix in clips from some other source and have it work. Sure you can do that, but the work necessary is hardly trivial and unlikely to be of sufficient value to justify the effort.

Re:Free like beer or free like speech? (3, Informative)

Baron Eekman (713784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655850)

The Blender showcase film Sintel [sintel.org] has all source needed to render it freely available.

Re:Free like beer or free like speech? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36662018)

Yes, the more differen auteurs that work on a movie, the better it always is.

No, it's not 'brave'; it's just an attempt at PR (3, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655474)

No, this isn't brave or any such nonsense. It's just a way to get publicity for a low-budget film that nobody would hear of otherwise. The odds of this succeeding are pretty close to zero. I'm a wannabe filmmaker, so I keep up with this world avidly. It might very well be a smart strategy that will attract the producer enough attention that he can leverage it into some financing. But it's not likely. Even if it worked, it would be a one-trick pony. I'm just surprised that some people are falling for something this obvious.

Re:No, it's not 'brave'; it's just an attempt at P (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655832)

No, this isn't brave or any such nonsense. It's just a way to get publicity for a low-budget film that nobody would hear of otherwise.

Everywhere on /. you hear all these people harping on about file-sharing's potential as free advertising, here we have some artists experimenting with ways that can be exploited... and here you are, a

wannabe filmmaker

judging the choices of those who are out there trying new things and innovating. I'm sorry to say this, but until you are out there gambling with your own work, and can offer a better idea about how to leverage the internet (without passing censorship and surveillance laws), I suggest you keep quiet.

Re:No, it's not 'brave'; it's just an attempt at P (1)

m4ktub (2333996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658934)

Publicity, smart strategy, ... you can call it whatever you want but VODO is really interesting as a movie distribution platform. I've been following the Pionner One series and, from what I could read, they would not make the series without the support of platforms like VODO. I don't know the producers so I would never be in their living room watching the raw home edit of their idea for a series. Instead I'm in my living room watching the entire series, and kind of anxious for the 4th episode, ...

In short, having $70K funding and a 6-episode series out there seems better than having an idea in your head. Still, the idea must be worth something to succeed anywhere.

Re:No, it's not 'brave'; it's just an attempt at P (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36659290)

Their plan is to release episodes and keep the finale back for a TV broadcast early next year. That sounds like a good plan and has worked before for shows like Sanctuary. Start off for free on the web and build up some interest, then when you have proven the viability of the show you can get a TV channel to pick it up. The biggest problem for TV shows is convincing the execs to air them because there is so much risk involved.

It is the same technique that has worked for bands. Put out demo material, maybe a self published album, get lots of friends on Facebook and Twitter to prove you have an audience and try to get noticed. A TV show or a band is basically a business proposal and the people with the money view it exactly that way - what are the chances of getting a return on my investment?

Very impressed (2)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655556)

This is quite well made, and I recommend it. Note that it's not technically a film, as this appears to be the first episode of a mini-series, with the second episode coming in a few weeks. That said, my favourite movie on Vodo is still by far The Tunnel [vodo.net] .

Re:Very impressed (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657274)

+1 The Tunnel is my favorite movie this year - from ANY studio.

So? (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655606)

That is all.

What I dislike about TV format. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36655648)

Promos and credits. I understand ads, they pay for the thing. But to waste airspace on promos and credits, that is valuable time that could be used for the content. And anyway, promos ruin the story for upcoming episodes. I prefer not to know anything before watching something. What's the point of watching something if the promos have already given away half of the story by then?

And in movies, I hate intros. Useless. I hate the "brought to you by" sequence. I hate the "a XXX film" thing. Start the movie, and GO! Don't even put the title, it is really not important. I'll look up your website if I have some fierce need to know who the cockroach wrangler was, or who the executive sub-producer to the on-call janitor is.

Bravely challenging Hollywood? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655754)

He's not being brave and challenging Hollywood. He's being brave and challenging his audience to tolerate this method getting a film in front of them. He's being brave and running the risk that box office receipts, reduced in advance by the long availability of the work at no charge, won't be so reduced that it spells too much financial trouble. He's being brave in taking the chance that there are enough people both vain enough to want to see their name on IMDB for bankrolling three frames of the film, and simultaneously able to hang onto the willing suspension of disbelief required to ignore the fact that dilution of production credit by large-scale credit-bloat will make that as silly as it sounds, on the face of it.

There are plenty of people with very deep pockets. If he can put together a persuasively compelling package, he can concentrate on getting the project financed up front, in one shot, and then concentrate on - without interruption - actually doing the creative work. The results will be far better than a project put together piecemeal during the equivalent of non-stop campaign fundraising and glad-handing that will pepper the entire life of the production effort, the way he's doing it now.

Re:Bravely challenging Hollywood? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657588)

He's being brave in taking the chance that there are enough people both vain enough to want to see their name on IMDB for bankrolling three frames of the film, and simultaneously able to hang onto the willing suspension of disbelief required to ignore the fact that dilution of production credit by large-scale credit-bloat will make that as silly as it sounds, on the face of it.

Producer and production credits in this film are just as valid and meaningful as in any other production for any television show or movie. The credits who see for these roles are largely meaningless and are for vanity - whether in a little indie film or at the beginning of Lost on television.

Much less here then meet the eye (4, Interesting)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655796)

A huge part of the film production chain is in distribution. It is so critical that, for non-major studio pictures, distributors must be found before the film is started. Independent films can get made, find no real distribution, and are never heard from again.

So saying that you are distributing you film over bittorrent is like saying that you are self publishing a book. Good luck with that. You have about as much chance as success with no theatrical release as a self published book has of getting on the NY Times best seller list.

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

achlorophyl (2205676) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655844)

They actually refer to self-publishing, when books are concerned, as "vanity publishing"... But I think the net has opened this up a bit. In the past, writers had to _beg for their readerships. They had to pander to the reading public. No more. You can get your crap out there, and truly let it spread. Call this "vanity" -- or call it freedom? Publishers, like Harvard, have an interest in business-as-usual. A revolutionary author shouldn't get swept up in that.

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

import (40570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656448)

Cursory search for "successful self published book" gives:

"Supposedly......the most successful self-published book of all time would be "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield. According to Publishing Trends, The Celestine Prophecy was the #1 international bestseller of 1996 (#2 in 1995). It spent over 3 years on the New York Times bestsellers list. As a completely self-published bppk it solf more than 100,000 by word of mouth, and was then picked up by Warner Brothers Books."

ALso, wasn't Accelerando (Stross) self-published or did he just release it after the fact with a copyleft license?

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657580)

For now, maybe.

Think of the level of involvement necessary to get someone to watch your film.

I have to be willing to set aside an entire evening. Drive to the nearest theater. Pay $10+ per ticket to see the film. Deal with people, their kids, talking, cell phones, sometimes poor projection jobs, sit in uncomfortable theater seats, focus my attention on nothing else but the film, get back to the car and drive home.

Or, I could turn on the laptop, desktop, iPad, home theater, etc. Watch at my leisure, pause when I need not deal with jackasses in public, not spend time driving and parking and getting gas, and enjoy my home theater which easily matches the quality I'd get at a theater, these days. The only hurdle left to over come is to get this shit to me sooner, instead of telling me that the only way I can see the film is at the theater unless I want to wait three or five months (and offering me a stupid home service where I can watch it for $10-$30 right after it hits theaters isn't a solution, either -- I don't give enough of a shit about anyone's film for that).

People need to remember that we consume media differently, today. We have and want instant access to anything anytime anywhere in our own way at our own convenience in our own format at a cheap price. It's not 1980, when it was a big ordeal for the whole family to pack up and head to the movies. Kind of the same way my grandparents probably got all dressed up in fancy outfits to make a big deal out of going to a fancy restaurant in the 30s or 40s, but most people just eat at home or throw on some jeans or slacks and hit a restaurant, today.

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658214)

What about Dr.Horrible's Sing-along Blog? wasn't that initially distributed mostly via bittorrent?

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

jnpcl (1929302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665182)

Dr. Horrible was streamed free, in its entirety, from the website. They also had a Torrent going. They made back all the money from donations via PayPal...

Then they removed the free version, killed the Torrent, and made it available only through iTunes for whatever price.

I'm glad I kept my downloaded copy, because I wanted to show it to friends and discovered that you couldn't just go and watch it anymore..

Re:Much less here then meet the eye (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666264)

It would be interesting to see the revenue chart for when it was free vs after it became pay only.

I kept my old downloaded copy too.

Occurs to me to wonder if there's a business opportunity here ... dollar-a-seat theatres that are absolutely minimal, and show streamed free content such as Dr.Horrible, with revenue sharing to the filmmakers on a basis of how many fannies are in the seats for each showing. This would be suitable for small, old, otherwise-outdated venues, especially in small towns that can't support a namebrand theatre anymore. I can imagine this being a use for an old motel that's no longer viable due to being bypassed by the interstate, etc.

If you want to make it really attractive to a cash-strapped market, maybe a buck to get in the front door, stay as long as you like, charge a quarter for each film you watch, and have cheap concessions, maybe even auto-vendor machines.

Obviously this isn't practical with high-cost films, but for cheap indies? Quite probably would compete well with streaming, for kids and families who want a cheap night out.

Hmm... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36655874)

Viewers are asked to donate if they like what they see and if enough cash is raised they will be able to watch the film again on the big screen.

I'd be curious to know how many people who torrent movies have actually gone into a theater within the past year to watch a movie - or in the last five years.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Kotiya (2340914) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656986)

Everyone I know, myself included, who have utilized torrents will go watch a movie at the theater if it is an experience worth the time and money invested--there are a lot of movies I would not watch even for free, at least not silently. Something that has really reduced our downloading by quite a bit, however, is the improved selection available for immediately streaming through Netflix and Hulu.

Getting something for free is only part of the reason people torrent. There are other prominent reasons, such as getting something quickly, replacing material from a purchased CD/DVD that has been damaged, and getting the desired version, i.e. a subbed version instead of dubbed for foreign productions--and in such cases, sometimes a fan-subbed version is more true to the original story than a company's translation, further encouraging piracy of that material.

That aside, if there is a show or movie I enjoy with replay value, I will want to buy a hard copy, for the higher quality, transportability for social viewing, and to support the creators of it. Many brilliant TV shows have been prematurely cancelled due to inadequate advertising and attention, and because the television programming model is antiquated and going out of use.

Similarly for albums--most of my favorite current artists will release a vinyl of their album, with a digital and/or disk copy, bonus artwork, and similar goodies. It is something I gladly pay $20-$60 for, something I will likely have my entire life. It may be worth noting that while CD stores have closed for good, record stores are seeing more and more business as people want to enjoy an analog format of music as an experience, not just background noise from a crappy mp3 file.

Long-winded, but I think punishing fans and prospective customers for trying to enjoy something is the wrong way to go about this, and it's not going to be prevented by putting kids in jail and suing their parents, nor by passing laws that adversely affect all web users. The industry needs to change along with the rest of the world, not impede progress in futility.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36657562)

I haven't seen a movie in the theater since X-Files, in 1998. If you want me to see your film, you need to stream it to my home theater as soon after theatrical release as possible and for a reasonable price. I'm not going to pay $5 to watch it once or $10 to own it (like I'm ever going to watch it again?) and if you wait too long (more than a month or two after release), I'm probably going to forget about it and never see it.

I don't remember when Inception came out, but I wasn't going to pay $10 on iTunes or Xbox Live several months after it was already in the theater and it isn't on Netflix and I'm certainly not going to buy a physical copy just to take up room on a shelf, so . . . you can be pretty sure I'm never going to see that movie and they're never going to make a penny from me, as a result.

Brave or copycat? (2)

Dr Black Adder (1764714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656014)

This is oh so similar to the Australian movie 'The Tunnel' which raised funds through a pre-release 'buy a frame from the movie' approach. Regardless of something similar being done before, it's still great to see people solving piracy without lawyers and punishing the consumer! Go FTW!

Re:Brave or copycat? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656708)

The Tunnel was/is on VODO as well. And it was a very good film, I really enjoyed it. Either way I really like what VODO has done and hope it drives a whole new indie industry. I also hope that people who enjoyed the film will actually donate.

Please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36656032)

I'm tired of reading about how everyone who goes into business for themselves is 'sticking it to the man', and challenging the very foundation of their business. This is just a low end indie flick trying to drum up some publicity. Is the local band selling CDs out of their trunk bravely challenging the record companies and threatening their business model? No...

Here in Europe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36656108)

every movie first premiers on bit torrent!

Not going to dethrone Hollywood (2)

leamanc (961376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656570)

Yeah, this is neat, but I already thought a lot of movies premiered on Bit Torrent before the cinema!

In all seriousness, filmmakers have been working around Hollywood since there has been a Hollywood to work around. There have always been independent filmmakers getting their movies made, and then using non-traditional means to exhibit them. In the past, this may have meant selling directly to the home 16mm market, with hopes of getting enough money to strike some 35mm prints and distribute nationally. Or they could have taken it in on the college circuit, or the art-film circuit, first. Later on, public access and more traditional cable TV were outlets to get films noticed. Just a little more than 15 years ago, The Last Seduction premiered on HBO, and later became a cinema box office success.

These developments just represent the latest technology coming in to play. But sorry, this is not going to dethrone the MPAA or any other part of the Hollywood machine in our lifetimes. It's just a way that will potentially mean more people can see the films than before. There may be access to more finances for the filmmakers, but do you seriously think that the Bit Torrent downloading community is going to cough up serious bucks? No, they want their stuff for free (read: they think they are entitled to free entertainment). The only people who are going to cough up tens of thousands of dollars just to see their name as an "Executive Producer" on screen are people who want to be in the film business anyway...just like the guy who funded Manos: The Hands of Fate 40-some years ago.

So yeah, this is neat, but don't read too much into it. It's not a revolution. And if it were, Hollywood soon swallow it up, just like they did with Easy Rider and its progeny in the late '60s/early '70s, or like they did with Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino, and all the other Miramax filmmakers that broke indie filmmaking through to the mainstream in the late '80s/early '90s. The great thing about capitalism is that it eventually swallows up all threats to it.

Re:Not going to dethrone Hollywood (1)

achlorophyl (2205676) | more than 3 years ago | (#36656630)

Hollywood can do anything it wants. When you have millions of dollars, you are powerful in a way an indie can never be. Just the cameras alone are beyond the reach of normal people, and the film, and lights, and casts, and effects... But like you say, this is good..! We wouldn't _want our film-makers to be economically crippled... We are _glad they're multi-millionaires..! In "capitalism", who tends to succeed? -- > The best and the brightest. It's "social darwinism".. Yes, it's exclusive... A lot of wealth is inherited. But you have to be damn smart to hold on to your riches... Avatar had the best battle scene ever seen by mankind, and there have been a lot of battle scenes..!

Re:Not going to dethrone Hollywood (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658506)

Actually, it's interesting that you mention Soderbergh - he has a great method of working with Hollywood (Nolan seems to be taking this approach too) - where he makes a big blockbuster on behalf of hollywood one year, then because he's made them a bunch of cash they let him make whatever film he wants to make next. A kind of give and take setup, cunning way to work the system IMO

Nice acting, how does donation work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36657042)

I downloaded this show and must say the acting is really really good. Not too much happened in the second half but the lead actor is definitely quality, better than what you see in many Hollywood films.

Does anyone know how the donations work? I'd like to get my name in the credits list for the next part.

A Lonely Place For Dying / Free-to-share (1)

Lenni Lens (2342420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36658732)

This is a slick indie production packing some great stylings. There's a little puzzlingly fast dialogue editing in the opening phone-call scene, but thereon-in the scripting's fun and compelling and the combination of minimally placed but well stylised CGI, expansive cinematographic moments and well-chosen location shooting make this worth following. I don't think it says anywhere on VODO that this method of distribution is meant to be a 'challenge to Hollywood' distribution, but there's no harm in framing it that way if it exposes the limitations of studio and festival hierarchies. P2P, or 'free-to-share' is an innovative solution to parallell demands: a way for independent filmmakers looking to expand their audience (who isn't?) to make their work available to a potentially substantial on-line public looking for new content. There are no claims that the donation model will totally finance a production, or necessarily come close, but generating an additional revenue stream is useful: I doubt the Yes Men turn their nose up at the additional 700,000+ downloads or $35,000 Vodo has earned for them so far, nor the producers of Pioneer One at the 3,000000+ downloads and $73k it's earned them so far by going down the Creative Commons route (figures are published on www.vodo.net). This means of distribution doesn't represent a 'revolution' in the sense of turning away from conventional distribution models, so much as an innovative, parallel channel enriching the possibilities of dissemination and discovery. Vive la Free-To-Share!

efqvs (0)

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