Distributor Neglects Indie Filmmaker's Movie, So He Asks Fans To Pirate It

from the creators-versus-gatekeepers dept

As all sorts of creators, from musicians to authors to filmmakers, have been discovering for decades, being scooped up by one of the entertainment industry's big-business gatekeepers isn't always the career-changing windfall that popular romantic notions believe it to be. Whether through crafty accounting, creative interference or a total lack of support, doing business with big labels, distributors and publishers often fails to deliver the financial and career benefits that creators expect. Once upon a time there was very little they could do, but with the direct-to-fan communication potential of the internet, we're seeing more and more artists publicly turn on their supposed partners and implore their fans to route around them. Recently we covered the indie band Streetlight Manifesto, who encouraged fans to either buy the music directly from the band or just pirate it, so long as they don't give their money to Victory Records. Now, via Twitter, @cephyn points us to a similar story in a blog post from indie filmmaker Jordan John Michael Thomas, asking fans to please pirate his movie Corpse Run. Thomas explains how, after success on the festival circuit, he came head to head with the unfortunate realities of getting a film distributed the Hollywood way:

The first thing we had to do was get a Rep for our film, this Rep would then try to sell it to different distributors and take a small fee. We had many offers for Representation and ended up going with the most prominent one that had the lowest fees. They took a retainer fee to pay for their expenses. – of course this retainer would never be returned.

They did find us a few different distributors and we ended up going with the one that they reccomended the most. This was exciting, as our film was about to get released, we would soon see it on netflicks, on some cable stations and in video stores!

We didn’t get any money up front, which is the general practice in the indi world – I know you hear about these million dollar deals, but they are by far and away the exception to the rule, as Cicero would say, “You can’t hear the prayers of the dead on the ocean’s floor.” So we had a backend deal, a completely fair backend that I was happy with.

And then what happened? Our film was shelved. We had no recourse, it just sat on the shelf doing nothing, sitting there for years! In fact, They still have it for two more. Recently it has been released on Amazon as a print on demand title. And that is it. Well I don’t think my distributors should make any money for doing nothing.

So I am asking you, begging you, please steal my movie.

Entertainment industry gatekeepers have long profited from the cultural myth that once an artist has their blessing (a record contract, a distribution rep, a publishing deal) then they're on the fast-track to success and possibly stardom. That's never been true for any but the tiniest minority of creators, and now that the rest have the tools to expose the reality of these deals, gatekeepers are rapidly losing their status. Some will default to criticizing Thomas for encouraging people to break the law, and he is, but that is missing the broader lesson: contrary to the claims of groups like the RIAA and MPAA, entertainment gatekeepers are not all about protecting and benefiting artists. Their vilification by the creators they exploit is long overdue, and as it gains momentum, the myth of artists "making it" by hitting the "big time" is going to be swept away for good. And make no mistake: that myth is at the core of what sustains their dwindling relevance.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    But by making their film so scarce they're vastly increasing it's value! Imagine how much a single copy of it would sell if 20 million people wanted to watch it, and there were only 100 copies!

    So what if there's that inconvenient fact that no one has ever even heard of the film, so there is no demand for it? The studios are STILL helping the artist make it big by preparing them for such a high demand low supply situation.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: You're Right.

    You're absolutely right.

    I think I'll download it and see if it's any good--maybe share it with some friends if it is--even buy the DVD (if/when it ever becomes available) if I really like it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    sarcasm right?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:00am

    Well, let's see.

    The movie is from 2008. It's a pretty narrow market movie (making fun of video games) and appears to be as much animated as live action. The title sequence is pure 8 bit life, not sure that is really appealing.

    The only review on IMDB pretty much points out some of the flaws, including missing scenes to "making fun of computer games which are often released unfinished".

    I would say that the distribution company picked it up only as possibly a filler for an empty screen somewhere, found no use for it, and has parked it.

    Sounds also like the guy made a series of bad deals and bad choices, like choosing the cheapest rep possible.

    Pirate it? Sounds like it's a classic in the "Sita Sings The Blues" category, which pretty much means giving it away won't get that many takers.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    I can kind of understand why the distributor wouldn't want to spend a ton of money promoting a minor film - but what was the point in getting the rights if they were going to do nothing at all with it? Why waste their time?

    Or was this just a clever way for the distributor guy to get to peronally watch the movie for free?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    So, we agree that this guy got screwed by the gatekeepers. I think we are on the same page then.

     

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  7.  
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    DanC (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    A distributor that won't distribute is little more than a parasite, disallowing the creator from finding a distributor that will actually perform their job function.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    Sounds also like the guy made a series of bad deals and bad choices, like choosing the cheapest rep possible.

    Apologist excuse #1:
    If the traditional model doesn't work for someone; they were stupid enough to sign a bad deal.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Here is a couple of suggestions...

    1. Insist on a clause that requires specific actions of promotion and distribution be performed within a given time frame otherwise the artist retains the right to nullify the contract.

    2. In the tradition of Roger & Me make your next film about the entire experience with dealing with the legacy industry.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re:

    I suspect if he actually had taken the time to read the contract, he would have understood that signing with a distributor doesn't mean sudden and instant distribution.

    It's not unusual for a distributor to pick up a bunch of movies for filler use, for dead weeks, empty screen days, etc. His distribution deal is probably nothing more than a "we will distribute it if we need it" deal, one that he should never have signed.

    He appears to have made all the classical errors, using cheap help, signing ANY deal he could get, and not paying attention.

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    yep

    I heard many stories like this on the "festival circuit." They're a big reason I chose to free Sita Sings the Blues (which consequently earned me more money that any distributor would have). Getting a conventional distribution deal was just about the worst thing that could happen to an independent filmmaker in 2008.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    > "that myth is at the core of what sustains their dwindling relevance."

    This line was perfectly cromulent. Loved it.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: You're Right.

    "-even buy the DVD "

    He respect the wishes of the creator, don't buy this DVD. Send the man a birthday card if you like the movie.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So its ok that he got taken advantage of because he fell for it when the people took advantage of him? That is your argument?

    It is ok to screw someone if they fall for your tricks and let you screw them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Classical errors"? If these "errors" are so common, as you seem to imply, then screw the MPAA and RIAA. They are the ones that should be helping out the artists avoid these kinds of pitfalls. Instead, they spend their time and money trying to pass legislation that no one else wants or needs.

    Which brings us to the real point of the story: that the MPAA and the RIAA are increasingly obsolete, and are no longer capable of catering to the needs of the ascending artist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    They did find us a few different distributors and we ended up going with the one that they reccomended the most. This was exciting, as our film was about to get released, we would soon see it on netflicks, on some cable stations and in video stores!


    They went with the distributor the rep recommended?! That seems naive. His job is to field offers, not give career advice. Personally, I'd go with the contract suggested by my LEGAL COUNSEL's advice.

     

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  17.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You do realize how idiotic you sound:
    "he would have understood that signing with a distributor doesn't mean sudden and instant distribution."

    Then why call themselves Distributors? Thats the point of a distributor.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/distributor

    Err.

    "I suspect if he actually had taken the time to read the contract" You haven't either.

    "His distribution deal is probably" Speculation to make your point.

    appears? probably?


    Her is how that works:

    It appears that Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:17am is probably making up stuff to make his point that this guy is dumb, I suspect.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    How do you know, tho, how well it will do.

    I hate to break it to you, but not only are there gamers out there, there are female gamers out there (40%)!

    10 million people play World of Warcraft.

    The average age of the game player is 35 and has been playing games for 13 years.

    In 2007, the best-selling game (Halo 3), took in more revenue in the first day of sales that the biggest movie opening weekend ever (Spider man 3).

    How do YOU know what WE want, or what we will enjoy?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Uh... hate to break it to you, but the RIAA does in fact help connect young artists with legal advice.

    They can't make a band seek legal advice, though. They can't stop people from signing unfavorable contracts. And it's not exactly that labels "screw" artists. They are in the business of selling records, it's only natural that they seek arrangements that favor them. Artists are generally not in a position to leverage an advantage.

    However, all successful acts are free to renegotiate the terms of their deals. You should read this: The Ballad of the Mid-Level Artist.

    Even retro-actively. Famously, Kurt Cobain renegotiated Nirvana's contract, which was originally an even split, to go predominantly to him, with a smaller split to the bassist and drummer. And this was retroactive, effectively taking money from the pockets of his bandmates. Don't believe for a second that only labels screw artists.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Then why call themselves Distributors? Thats the point of a distributor."

    They signed for the rights to distribute, not the obligation to distribute. They are distributors, but that doesn't create an obligation to distribute everything the sign up.

    ""His distribution deal is probably" Speculation to make your point."

    Yes it is. But in absence of this information, we have to make assumptions based on the outcome. By your standards, the original post shouldn't be up on Techdirt at all, because it isn't 100% proven facts, just opinions.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    Translation: "I assume I don't like his art, so fuck him!"

    Always nice to see the what the industry shills think about the little guy.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    There is no way to know with absolute certainty.

    However, Since 10% of the population buys 50% of the movie tickets, you could look who is in that 10% group and get an idea what might sell and what might not sell.

    Then you can look at the quality of the movie, the plot, etc, and see if any of it matches up to people's desires.

    Then you can look and see that the movie is already 3 years old, and isn't going anywhere any time soon. So you shelf it.

    I would say that they signed the movie, possibly as part of a package of movies from the rep, on "speculation" with no assurance of distribution. Then they did their home work, checked the market, checked the movie, and decided that they really couldn't do anything with it. But since they have it on contract, they shelf it for now and maybe they can distribute it later if the market comes to them.

     

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  23.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Gentle ribbing

    covered the indie band Streetlight Manfiesto

    Think you crossed the i and the f there. Although I was wondering what a manfiesto would be...don't think about it too long.

     

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  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And it's not exactly that labels "screw" artists. They are in the business of selling records, it's only natural that they seek arrangements that favor them. Artists are generally not in a position to leverage an advantage.


    So the labels have all the power and use that power to get them the most advantageous deal. And how is that not screwing artists?

     

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  25.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He appears to have made all the classical errors, using cheap help, signing ANY deal he could get, and not paying attention.

    Or the classical error that a distributor is needed at all in this day and age.

     

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  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They are distributors, but that doesn't create an obligation to distribute everything the sign up.


    But it should. Otherwise, what good is the distributer?

    That the argument can even be made with a straight face that you can hire a company to provide a service, but have the company not obligated to provide that service, tangibly demonstrates how awful the system is.

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would say that they signed the movie, possibly as part of a package of movies from the rep, on "speculation" with no assurance of distribution. Then they did their home work, checked the market, checked the movie, and decided that they really couldn't do anything with it.


    Yes, this seems likely to be the case. And shame on them for doing it. They should do that homework first.

     

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  28.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, the movie is old, yes the title sequence is all 8 bit glory and yes it makes fun of video games which may limit the audience.

    It does seem that it was well received on the festival circuit so it can't be a total dog.

    All that you say about distributors is true though he seems versed enough in Hollywood hijinks to know to read the contract so I'm doubting that he was expecting the get rich quick scenario or wide distribution for that matter.

    Though I can immediately think of where the "target" audience would exist who may love this film and that would be theatres near or on university campus's which are often showplaces for indie film to start with and would be very receptive to a film that takes the mickey out of games and gaming given that a significant part of the student body are likely to be gamers to start with.

    More likely this distributor just chose to sit on it because the couldn't think of anything else to do with it or never intended to distribute it in the first place.

    It's so common for AC's to "blame the victim" when, as in this case, the "victim" is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He can't get his movie distributed without a distribution deal and, in this case, he can't get it distributed with one.

    Very similar to the games played by the recording and publishing industries which more or less force authors and musicians/composers to sign over their copyrights to them before publication or recording. Another damned of you do, damned if you don't if they want their work distributed. At least pre-Web days.

    So now he's turned to the web to distribute a film the distributor seems to have had no intention of doing across the internet. Instead of "Steal This Book" it's "Steal This Movie". Unlike Abby Hoffman, Thomas seems to have given up the idea of profit on this he just wants to get something he's proud of seen. (No knock on Hoffman, BTW)

    Nothing wrong with that. Creators don't create to have what they create gather cobwebs in a basement somewhere. They want to share it. That's why the sign publishing, recording and distribution deals that are loaded against them from the start.

    You seem be be missing that critical point.

     

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  29.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Re:

    Sounds also like the guy made a series of bad deals and bad choices, like choosing the cheapest rep possible.

    And it sounds like (yet again) you are making assumptions rather than using FACTS to make it sound like the studios are all innocent and cuddly and "only there to help the artists honest guv'nor". It doesn't say what his deal was other than that he was HAPPY with it. Unless you happen to have a copy of his contract you're assuming and guessing.

    And also (yet again) it looks like you (deliberately) didn't read the article:
    We had many offers for Representation and ended up going with the most prominent one that had the lowest fees.
    That doesn't mean they chose the cheapest, there are TWO conditions in the sentance. It means they picked one that had a good reputation but not astrominocal fees.

     

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    TDR, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course, John. Missing points is what our AC trolls do best!

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re: yep

    And this is how the indie film movement died. They managed to produce great films, but failed to control the distribution system, and Hollywood moved in an took it over. Hopefully the internet can solve that problem.

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I suspect if he actually had taken the time to read the contract, he would have understood that signing with a distributor doesn't mean sudden and instant distribution."

    And why the hell doesn't it? I don't expect them to make a big production of every movie they get the rights to, but if they're not going to sell DVD's, then at the very least they could've put it on Netflix.

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As I've already pointed out there are natural places where this movie could have been shown and would have reached a potentially large market.

    If university students liked or loved it then word of mouth would carry it to the 35 year olds who are also gamers, though with disposable income and the female gamers.

    Those places existed three years ago, you know.

    It seems more like the distributor didn't even do any cursory market research and always intended to sit on it after the fee was paid, after all they had their money already.

    I wonder what will happen when the market does what the creator wants and download it.

    Probably yell "piracy". Industry shills either excuse this kind of thing or yell piracy. It's about all you know how to do.

     

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  34.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re: Gentle ribbing

    Seeing as a fiesta is a party, a fiesto would be a party consisting only of males. It logically follows that a manfiesto would be a fiesto containing The Most Interesting Man In The World and Old Spice Guy.

     

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    anon, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Easy to find the torrent for corpse run, just need some people to upload it to some video streaming services now.

     

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  36.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Uh... hate to break it to you, but the RIAA does in fact help connect young artists with legal advice.

    So the RIAA or MPAA gets a cut (give it whatever name you want, dues, consultation fee, whatever) for the connect to pointing an artist over to a lawyer. That lawyer will then charge the artist to give advice on common pitfalls cooked up by other lawyers working for other members of the RIAA or MPAA. You call this standard practice.

    You don't see how much of a tremendous waste that is? And a huge hurdle to new and creative content? And you get angry when we call these organizations gatekeepers who hold back innovation? These observations are as obvious as a two-by-four with rusty nails smacking into your face and yet you still try to defend them.

     

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  37.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > They signed for the rights to distribute,
    > not the obligation to distribute.


    Worse than useless.

    That's like a bakery that signs for the rights to provide you with a cake, but not the obligation to.

    But you are locked into an exclusive arrangement preventing you from using another bakery.

    It's not that the distributor can make your film successful, but they should be obligated to get it into the market. There should be some performance guarantee.

    If your real estate agent doesn't sell your house in 90 days, the exclusivity ends.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    The guy had a series of bad deals and bad choices put in front of him. Why should he even have to choose a rep? What good did having a rep do? If the distribution company isn't going to follow through and actually distribute the movie, what have they given him in exchange for that exclusive license?

    Justify it however you like, the guy got scammed, and not even for a good reason. They think so little of screwing people over that they do it by default, even if it doesn't help them in any way.

    If you can point to any distributor offering better deals (up front, to a first timer) then sure, he made a bad choice in choosing the distributor he did and we should name them and make sure they get no more business. If no one is offering anything better, then it is the industry as a whole that needs to be held to account for this.


    Making one-sided deals should leave you out of the game. That is the whole purpose of things like anti-trust laws, so that no one ever has the power to dictate all terms.

     

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  39.  
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    cephyn, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    NOT making fun of video games or gamers

    just wanted to say it is NOT about making fun of video games or gamers. it's about the gamer generation.

    Also, if you've ever heard of Brea Grant, she has a major role in the film, so it's not like this was a backyard production. It's low budget indie, but it wasn't filmed on someone's iphone.

    The director is also John Michael Thomas, not Jordan.
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2680915/

    I am not him, though I submitted the story.

     

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  40.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If that is the case:

    A) They need to provide services (like say, a simple web site) that allow them to avoid these reps.

    B) They need to do the work first before signing any deals.

    C) They should garner favor with authors by coming back to the affected one, explaining their mistake (see B) and singing a contract to nullify their exclusive right. Such a simple little thing for them to do, really, if they actually cared about the artist one whit.

    Excuses, even reasonable, are meaningless if you won't take the smallest of steps towards solving the problem.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your cake example sucks, for a whole bunch of reasons. The best of all is that this guy already made the cake, he is just looking for a store to sell it for him. What he found is a company that distributes to stores, and they will move his cake if they have someone who wants it. Nobody wants it, so it sits in a warehouse until it goes stale.

    That's his choice.

    The distributor shouldn't be obligated to spend money on something that won't make it back. I really think that this movies was signed over "unseen", and once the distributor saw the work, the realized they didn't have any market for it.

    Do you notice a shortage of things like details of the rep's name, the distribution company name, etc? So many things missing, it almost makes me think that this is sort of one of those internet fables, dreamed up to get attention to an out of date movie.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, this seems likely to be the case. And shame on them for doing it. They should do that homework first."

    Both sides should have. Sounds more like a guy with his first movie willing to sign anything that came in the door, without research.

     

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  43.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    Re: NOT making fun of video games or gamers

    The director is also John Michael Thomas, not Jordan.

    Woah, weird - I don't know where Jordan came from... I could have sworn I checked that like three times versus his Twitter page. Fixed - with my apologies to John!

     

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    John-Michael Thomas (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    This is John-Michael Thomas - Director of the film.

    I wanted to clear up a few things stated in the comments here. - And that my Name is not Jordan as the article implies =)

    Any critique of me, or the decisions I made are completely justified. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did I sign a bad deal? Yes. Was I naive? Yes. And I am sure I am not alone, this was the first film I ever directed. I did not know what I was doing when it came to distribution, and in hindsight made lots of dumb decisions.

    And I am asking that you not take those bad decision out on our film. I may have been the director of "Corpse Run" but over 50 people were involved in the making of the film. This was a very low budget movie, almost no one got paid.

    Also, the indi film world is a tough business, we aren't given very many good options. I was talking to Lance Hammer who directed the film "Ballast" which won top awards at Sundance! And he actually went through a similar experience. In hindsight he said he would have never signed with a distributor and just made the deals himself. My case is by no means an exception, these are standard deals in the Indi Film world.

    Distributors often literally do nothing. They are hoping that they win some sort of lottery and that one of their films pops out because an unknown actor makes it big, or it gets some sort of attention. I know this is often the case even at the top houses.

    I half made this blog post so that any new filmmakers may not make the same mistakes as I did. Unless you get a large sum of money upfront, don't sign. You will see nothing. So distribute your film yourself, you have absolutely nothing to lose.

    Thank you all for your time and interest, and check out the film. I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't, I am greatly humbled that you even took the time to watch it. I have had more people watch the film in the past 24 hours than the past 3 years, and that makes me feel great, that's the reason I became a filmmaker.

    Thank You!

     

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  45.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the cake sits in a warehouse, it'll be difficult to see how many people want it, unless someone had a way of knowing beforehand that that was the particular cake they wanted, and even then they won't be able to get to it while it's in the warehouse. Maybe if they put their warehouse stock on the Internet people would be able to browse around and maybe find it, but even that was apparently too hard for the distributor. If they decided not to advertise it or fund a DVD run, then they could've put it on Netflix for practically nothing, and succeeded in their stated purpose of distributing the work while not making a huge investment. That they did not shows negligence, not good business sense.

     

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  46.  
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    Watchit (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re:

    No, we are dead serious people here, talking about serious business

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    DC, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Movie tickets? WTF? Who buys those?

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    DC, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Forgot: Rampant speculation on the details of the deal and motivation of the distributor. As others have noted, if one sings a deal with a distributor, they should do their damn est to distribute.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    DC, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    You really are ridiculous.

    So in the current model, he has to get a distro rep to get a distributor. Then he has to get a second rep, a lawyer, to make sure neither one has screwed him over?

    So none of them aside from his personal council have a fiduciary responsibility to him?

    Or he can go label, where the label will entirely refuse everything his lawyer requests.

    So there are no choices between playing completely within the system and completely outside it? And if you play at all within the system you are screwed.

    Sounds like a particularly broke system.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    DC, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    Oh ... by the way ... forgot ... the rep was on retainer.

    Which means if he was not looking out for the best interests of his client is not only signs that he is human scum, but probably also criminal.

     

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  51.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The distributor shouldn't be obligated to spend money on something that won't make it back.


    If the distributor won't make money on it, they shouldn't pick up the title. It's as simple as that. Once they've picked it up, ethically, they should work their damndest to market the thing. Anything else is giving the filmmaker the shaft.

    That's why they need to do due diligence before picking it up. Buying the rights sight unseen is no excuse.

    That this appears to be standard practice in the industry simply highlights how unethical and awful the industry is, and highlights how much the legacy players just need to go away to make room for people who have at least some ethical sense.

     

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  52.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, well, I've actually read contracts from major film producers and distributors. It's not like they can actually be understood by people who aren't experts in entertainment industry contracts (and oftentimes they can't be understood by the experts).

    Maybe he didn't read the contract, but even if he did, and even if he got legal help, the odds are still good that he'd have got bit anyway. I have a hard time faulting the filmmaker too much, except insofar as people should clearly not do business with legacy entertainment companies at all.

     

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  53.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: You're Right.

    Send him a birthday card with the best present of them all... Cash.

    If you liked it, send him a few bucks.
    If you REALLY liked it, send him more.

    I wonder what would happen if more people just supported artists directly like that.

    Many people will by the DVD of a movie they saw and liked, not understanding that the artists might not see anything more than they sold XXXX copies. Putting money directly into the hands of the artists you think are good means they are quite liable to produce more.

    We have seen this work in other fields. I wonder what it would be like to have a website for "indies", where you get to view what you want and if you liked it there is a simple button to contribute to that artist(s). The reward for contributing is getting a DRM free high quality download so you can show your friends this awesome work, and they might seek out the artist... and then they make more... and it repeats.

     

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  54.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

    Re:

    As I said, creators, like you, don't create to have what you did collect cobwebs in a basement. You create it to share it and THEN to collect the money it might bring in.

    I'm more intrigued now than I as at first to see your movie. Time to go find a torrent seed!

     

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  55.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "...the RIAA does in fact help connect young artists with legal advice.

    They can't make a band seek legal advice, though. They can't stop people from signing unfavorable contracts."


    And why would they? Why would the RIAA act in a manner that's not a label's best interest? They wouldn't stop someone from signing an unfavourable contract because the label wants them to sign an unfavourable contract. You admit as much in your next line:

    "They are in the business of selling records, it's only natural that they seek arrangements that favor them."

    Which is why we an scoff when they start their latest anti-piracy, pro-legislation attack with the line "It's for the artists"...

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 12:22am

    Re:

    Thanks, John, for your comment. We can see that you have been on a steep learning curve. You now know a lot of things, that had you known them years ago, you would have been able to make very much better commercial decisions regarding your film.

    What is very puzzling though, is why did nobody warn you? You must have been talking to industry experts. You must have talked to a lawyer at some stage. But yet, you were allowed by your friends to walk into the lion's den and get savaged. Why is none of this stuff taught at film school? How come artists have to learn their lessons the hard way?

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Prisoner 201, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The distributor shouldn't be obligated to spend money on something that won't make it back."

    If the distributor can't commit to distributing, then the distributor should not sign a contract to distribute.

    If the contract to distribute does not in fact contain a commitment to distribute, then that is basically screwing the artist over with a scam.

     

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  58.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "However, Since 10% of the population buys 50% of the movie tickets"

    So we are all held hostage by people willing to put up with feet sticking to the floor, cell phones and texting deciding what is going to be good? FSM help us all.

    The really sad thing in all of this is, we have the technology in place already to be able to offer every single movie ever made... but we are still relying on companies who need to sell little plastic discs.

     

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  59.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 2:50am

    Re: Re: yep

    I think there is a place out there for the model Kim Dotcom was pitching for selling music. Running a sales site that took a flat % (IIRC 10%) from every sale and turned the rest over to the artist.

    Imagine being able to head to a website of indie films and rent one for a nominal fee. Or pay a set price to get your own digital copy. Add a button so people can donate to those artists they like... (or saw a friends copy of the movie and liked it enough to want to give the creator something). Don't be dumb and go DRM crazy, just politely point out this is by artists for artists. Asking nicely they not share the whole thing tends to work better than people would think. And even if it was shared, giving those people a way to easily show appreciation would mean more money.

    I think a system like that would flourish, with people being able to see and explore hundreds of indie films and know that a majority of the money they paid went directly to the people who made it.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Uhh... He got taken advantage of because he made a series of mistakes. HE made the mistakes, he wasn't pushed by "the gate-keepers" to make those mistakes...

    Re-read the article. He clearly states the mistakes he made and makes no attempt to hide them. Now he's mad. I understand him, but he should have made different choices, keep his options open and not sign any exclusivity deals until the contract was to his liking. There are ways to negotiate, even if you're a little guy.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re:

    Because... you know... no one ever declared bankruptcy using traditional models. It must mean they're all stupid and all sign bad deals. Nothing else could possibly ever happen.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    You, sir, are doing it right. We learn from our mistakes and grow from them.

    Is there an official page for the movie (or your own personal page) where we can donate (if possible via direct credit card payment)? With your attitude I'm fairly sure ppl (including me) will want to help fund your next experience (hopefully with the same great crew that actually work for little profits). Tell your story, spread it and maybe the intertubes (the ppl, really) will open their hearts to you. And their wallets.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is this a mere statement of fact or do you think it relates to the guy asking people to pirate his movie? If the first, fine, though I think it's ridiculous that the distributor couldn't even be bothered to put it on Netflix. If the second, no matter who made mistakes in the deal, there are no lost sales when someone pirates something that isn't being sold.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    Thank you all for your time and interest, and check out the film.
    Didn't care before, definitely checking it out now. Thanks for dropping by and contributing. Come back and plug your next project and I'm sure you'll have a lot of supporters...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Gomer (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    If he wants us to download it, he should put it out there for us. Then, provide a donation link.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    cephyn, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Gomer

    He did, on his page. Feel free to download it.
    http://witmityl.com/2012/03/26/please-steal-my-movie-corpse-run/

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re:

    Not informing anyone of the risks, I think, is another characteristic of modern-day frat hazing or character building; both of which are pretty bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    John-Michael Thomas (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re:

    It's not so much about being warned, there just aren't many options for Indie Film makers. However this is now changing, people can self distribute and should unless their distributor is offering them good money up front. There was another comment on here about kinda making a netflicks for Indie film, or even a place where people can rent their films through apps for a very small fee. I hope this is made soon. I think through the mass of Indies now out there, this model really could work well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
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    John-Michael Thomas (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re:

    Thank you sir,

    I am currently working on two TV shows that I am pitching the traditional way. However I will most likely do a kickstarter campaign for a doc I want to do out of love. I will twitter about it once I have the logistics in place - and the logistics are crazy as it involves a 300 mile walk across some pretty crazy terrain!

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 10:48am

    I feel every grain of your pain. I'm in a similiar situation with my movie and it keeps me up at night plotting some sort of revenge for being hustled into the worst deal of the century.....It sucks!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Jack Schempsey, Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 10:50am

    I feel every grain of your pain. I'm in a similiar situation with my movie and it keeps me up at night plotting some sort of revenge for being hustled into the worst deal of the century.....It sucks!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Linda Nelson, Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 11:19am

    There's still hope - please don't recommend piracy

    Everyone deserves to have their film out there for someone to find. We love working with filmmakers that have gotten a raw deal, but we don't encourage piracy. There are many options for this film.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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