24 June 2009


I asked this on Twitter a couple of days ago:

  1. Lucas McNelly
    lmcnelly I know everyone thinks giving your film away for free online is the future, but I'm not convinced. Does it help the filmmaker?
  2. Lucas McNelly
    lmcnelly It seems like it essentially turns the film into a commercial

From what I can tell, people who've done this successfully fall into a couple of categories:

1. Radiohead, etc.

Radiohead could put out a blank CD and still sell 250,000 copies and get glowing reviews. I'm sure I'd buy one.

2. Four Eyed Monsters

FEM made something like $125,000 from DVDs and YouTube ads, but not until after they'd played festivals and shown in 31 different cities and been sponsored by Spout and YouTube.

3. Stuff on Hulu

What I'm having trouble finding is evidence of single feature-length films that started out free online and then were able to translate that into something more tangible than a view count.

And the more people I ask, the less possible it seems. Perhaps it's a myth?


Bob Turnbull said...

The only thing that comes to mind is Sita Sings The Blues, but I really don't know if it has generated any immediate or direct income. It's also a different story due to the rights issues that the filmmaker faced and could not immediately handle.

Of course, getting an article by Roger Ebert about you and your film certainly can't hurt in the long run.