Kevin Smith's Red State Movie Nearing Profitability... Even Prior To Regular Theatrical Release

from the not-bad dept

We've written a few times about filmmaker Kevin Smith and why he's a content creator (not just filmmaker) you should be paying attention to if (like most of us around these parts) you're interested in new business models for content creators. That's because he's really done an amazing job (for years) combining the two key elements that we believe are at the heart of any new successful business model: connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy. The key thing is that he doesn't go through the motions on either part (as many do), but really goes to great lengths, both in connecting and in giving really powerful reasons to buy.

Lots of folks panned him for his plan to take his latest movie, Red State, on a nationwide tour this spring, followed in the fall with a standard theatrical release -- but via his own distribution efforts, rather than teaming up with a US distributor (they're still working with foreign distributors due to lack of familiarity or simple feet on the ground in those markets). As we noted at the time, the plan didn't seem all that crazy when you looked at it. He's done very successful Q&A tours where he just performs by himself. This time around he'd be doing the same thing... but with a movie. And, part of the reason why all of this works is because he's made a real, rather than superficial, effort to connect with his fans.

It seems like the plan is working so far. At the very end of a (somewhat touching, if slightly fawning) blog post about Quentin Tarantino, Smith mentions in passing some details about the economics of Red State, concerning the tour and other deals in place, which show that the film is pretty close to being out of the red (no pun intended, really) and into the black:
Over the course of the 15 shows of the Red State USA Tour, we made almost one million dollars from ticket and merchandise sales. A few times, we had the highest per screen average in the country. We started out with a record-making show at Radio City Music Hall and went on to average 1100 people per screening. Had we booked ourselves into smaller houses, we couldíve SOLD OUT every show; but being in the larger houses cost us nothing extra.

And apparently, we managed to pull 1100 a night solely from our podcasts: when asked nightly if they heard about the show from a show at SModcast.com, an overwhelming 85/90% of the audience indicated yes (Jon swears it was 100% in Seattle). That bodes well for SIR.

You take what we made on the tour, you add that to the $1.5mil weíve pulled in from foreign sales thus far (with a few big territories yet to sell). Add to that $3mil weíre on the verge of closing for all North American distribution rights excluding theatrical (which means VOD/HomeVideo/PayTV/Streaming).

The flick cost $5mil to make, but $4mil after the California tax incentive. One of the only things Jon and I promised the Red State investors in exchange for letting us handle American theatrical distribution ourselves was that their $4mil would be covered as soon as possible Ė something very few other production entities can promise or even offer. Invest a million dollars in almost any production, and you rarely if ever get your money back within five years, let alone the one year itís looking like itís gonna take for our guys to make their money back.

Add up all those figures above and youíll notice our gains are higher than our spending. And without any dopey marketing figures to have to recoup, once we close the aforementioned deals (which Jonn Sloss & LawCo are working to close as we speak), simple math dictates Red State is in the black Ė long before any wide release. Thatís music to the ears of any investor who only put up their money in September.
Now, he claims that "this business bullshit should only be important to the investors," but I disagree. I think it's important and helpful for those who are blazing new trails to share whatever they're comfortable sharing so that others can learn from it. And, by learn from it, I don't mean to mimic it. I'm not talking about cargo cult copying. But learn from the general concepts, and see what can be applied to other situations.

And, given a world with Hollywood accounting, where most movies are designed on purpose to "lose" money on paper, it's quite interesting (and nice) to see a different path being taken.

Now, there is one element that I'm not clear on and perhaps some of you with experience in the movie industry can help out. I tried to reach out to Kevin himself on Twitter, but the man's busy (and sick) and (from the sound of it) getting even less sleep than I do. Here's the part that I'm confused about: I'm familiar with startup investing, where investors (generally VCs) plow a bunch of money into a company in exchange for equity. In those cases, they don't ever expect to get paid back out of revenue, but through the eventual sale of their equity (hopefully for many, many, many, many times what they paid for it). However, in this case, Smith is talking about getting the investment back to his investors quickly (out of the revenue). So, if that's the case... do they still have a financial stake in the later success of the movie? Is it structured as a combination of loan and equity, where they have to pay the investors back first, but then there's also upside on the latter part? Because if they're just getting their principle back, that's nothing special. No one invests in something just to get their money back. They invest for upside. Does it work like a record label deal? Where the "investment" is really an "advance," and the first chunk of revenue all goes to paying back that advance, and then after you "recoup" (as is about to happen here), there's a royalty split? I'm guessing it's something like that, but it would be nice to know the details.

But, even without that information, one thing that is nice to see is an experiment in trying something different with how a film is marketed, distributed and monetized is already working. That's exciting.


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  1.  
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    bob, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:30pm

    Yes, but...

    While I'm happy for Kevin Smith and overjoyed to watch Hollywood accountants be cut out of the loop, I'm not so sure I understand what's so different. The "reason to buy" is because the theaters will call the cops if you try to sneak in without paying. There's no free video on P2P. There's no one singing Kumbaya with the fellow P2P seeders. It's just cash on the ticket counter or take a hike.

    And yes, he is doing a better job connecting with fans by visiting each theater in person, but it's not much different from doing a Q&A on the "Tonight Show." I know it's different when he's there in the flesh, but I don't see any evidence of some of the more radical ideas that are normally celebrated around here. He's not letting people pay what they want or anything like that.

    Oh wait. There is a big difference. An appearance on the "Tonight Show" is free and broadcast to everyone in what you might call a primitive, time-limited file sharing mechanism. Kevin Smith is putting his Q&A behind a paywall and if the bouncers at his gig are anything like the bouncers I've seen at many concerts, they'll be big and beefy and unlikely to be as kind or porous as the NY Times paywall.

    So I guess my question to you is: why aren't you picking on Kevin Smith the way that you're picking on the NY Times? Why don't you haul out the old blah blah about how Smith is losing relevancy? Why don't you accuse him of "not getting it?"

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:33pm

    CwF

    It's pretty amazing that Kevin Smith has managed to leverage a free podcast into a motion picture. Sure, he's got a track record which gives him a head start over, say, me, but it's still just a matter of connecting with fans. I've seen this happen on a somewhat smaller scale (Chris Hardwick's outings) and on a vastly smaller scale (a watercooler podcast that managed to hold several international meetups for its fans.)

    If you don't think you can compete with free, you probably haven't considered competing *with free.*

     

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    bob, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    And a few other things

    * He used Ticketron to sell the tickets. That's different? They're the evil empire.

    * The reason he was able to make so much money is because the price tag at the Music Hall was pretty steep. I can't be sure but there are 6200 seats and he claims a BO of $160,000. That's an average of $25.

    BTW, I think the whole show was definitely worth it. He's a great artist and some of his movies have been amazing. ("Chasing Amy")

    This is really about the triumph of the pay wall.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Kevin Smith is only following the old Gene Roddenberry plan, Take it on the road with lots of collage kids and make money and create demand.

    I remember Gene' black and white print of the Cage and his Star Trek blooper reel. Back before the Star Trek movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock came out.

    What I admire of Gene in retrospect was his continued connection with fans even after the re-establishment of the Star Trek franchise.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Yes, but...

    The "reason to buy" is because the theaters will call the cops if you try to sneak in without paying.

    That's not 'reason to buy.' I can think of a dozen movies released this year that wish they had to keep people away.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Yes, but...

    "The "reason to buy" is because the theaters will call the cops if you try to sneak in without paying.
    ...
    It's just cash on the ticket counter or take a hike.
    ...
    Kevin Smith is putting his Q&A behind a paywall"

    No one here is against charging people for theater or concert admission, a point that you seem to conveniently overlook.

    "An appearance on the "Tonight Show" is free and broadcast to everyone in what you might call a primitive, time-limited file sharing mechanism. "

    A: It's not free, we pay in the form of watching commercials. and, in the case that it's broadcasted over Cable, we pay for that too

    B: People have recorded and distributed these videos on Youtube

    I don't see Kevin Smith suing anyone.

    C: Despite the fact that broadcasters broadcast their content for free over the airwaves, they still make money, not so much because of copyright, but because of advertisers. and why should broadcasters be allowed to benefit from the widespread broadcasting distribution of monopolized content while others who would be more than willing to distribute their permissibly licensed content can't benefit from such distribution without going through some broadcasting gateway? I have just as much a right to those broadcasting spectra as the government/corporate complex, they have no right to take my right to broadcast what I want and then to tell me that I can't freely copy, modify, and redistribute what is broadcasted. Granting a monopoly on both content and distribution is wrong.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: Yes, but...

    (and I'm not necessarily against having some sort of broadcasting laws, but what I want is for a government that passes laws that act in the public interest. A government that passes broadcasting and copy protection laws that result in artificially inconveniencing us to consume relatively and substantially more monopolized content over monopolized distribution channels at monopoly prices is not a government that even comes close to acting in the public interest. It's a government that's passing laws in the interests of its corporate sponsors and if the FCC is going to do that then we're all better off without an FCC and without broadcasting laws).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 7:18pm

    Re: And a few other things

    You can download Chasing Amy from here

    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5318265/Kevin_Smith_-_Chasing_Amy_%281997%29

    and here it is on youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKoeRM5Aw-Y

    he doesn't seem to care much. I don't see him suing anyone over it.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 7:18pm

    Interesting...

    Where can I found more information about vc capital expenditure?

     

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  10.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Independant film financing

    Mike,

    There are couple of different ways a film can be financed. I am only familiar with the independent production way.

    In the films I have worked on where I was close enough to the production to know what was going on, each film is setup as a limited partnership where the producer (or production house) is the general partner, and the investors are the limited partners.

    So you could say - in a way - that each film is like a VC fund of its own, where the whole fund goes into one investment.

    As limited partners they share in the revenues, but also -as with startups and VCs - there can be a liquidity event of some sort, where the property gets bought. For example a distributor or studio might buy a successful independent film to add to its catalog. (Later on the property might even get sold again, and again) Then the limited partnership winds down. I have also seen cases where the producer has bought out the property and wound down the LP.

     

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    Jason, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 9:38pm

    ...

    You over use parenthesis out the yingyang. You might want to look in to a way to stop using them two times, in every paragraph. It's off putting, and makes you look like a bad writer. I would expect this sort of thing from a kid that just learned about parenthesis; not from an adult writer.

     

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    Jason, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    ...

    Honestly, I don't think I can say I have ever seen so many parenthesis in a single article, in my entire life.. Seriously..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: ...

    You suck at using periods.

     

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    Jon Lawrence (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Independant film financing

    To add to this, I've done two indie films this way, with investors in LLC's. Adam's structure is about standard, though I'll add a bit more detail.

    In indie-land, we'll usually pay back gross receipts minus some minor approved costs like very, very minimal overhead, accounting fees, and union residuals to investors first until they are made whole plus a set return (recoupment for the investors on my last film outperformed the S&P 500 by about 16% over 5 years from 2004-2010, which ain't sayin' much, but hey, at least it didn't *lose* money).

    After making the investors whole "plus," the profit split shifted to a 50/50 with producers and investors (which, was as it turned out, just about um, zero... the film did no more business). But the deal itself was fair, and scalable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: ...

    I'm more critical of his comma use. I guess it's the combination of his comma - period use. Bottom line, he needs improvement, period!!

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Yes, but...

    While I'm happy for Kevin Smith and overjoyed to watch Hollywood accountants be cut out of the loop, I'm not so sure I understand what's so different. The "reason to buy" is because the theaters will call the cops if you try to sneak in without paying. There's no free video on P2P. There's no one singing Kumbaya with the fellow P2P seeders. It's just cash on the ticket counter or take a hike.

    I love this, because it so baldly demonstrates why you don't get what we're talking about here, bob. Your brain stops at "free." As we've said many, many times, "free" is only a part of what we're talking about and we only talk about it where it makes sense. Nothing in "CwF+RtB" says anything needs to be free.

    Yet, because you don't understand that, all you care about is "where's the free stuff?"

    And, no, that's not the reason to buy. But he IS selling a scarcity, which is seats. That's what we always talk about: finding the real, rather than artificial, scarcities.

    And yes, he is doing a better job connecting with fans by visiting each theater in person, but it's not much different from doing a Q&A on the "Tonight Show." I know it's different when he's there in the flesh, but I don't see any evidence of some of the more radical ideas that are normally celebrated around here. He's not letting people pay what they want or anything like that.

    Weird. It's like you've decided what you THINK I say is the proper business model and then get upset when it's not. I've never said "pay what you want" is the business model. In fact, I've regularly panned it, as not being appropriate in many circumstances. There are some areas where it makes sense, and I'm happy to point those out, because I think it's important to learn from them.

    And, honestly, if you think that a live Q&A is no different from going on the Tonight Show, you REALLY don't get how this works. People pay to see someone live and in person. A lot. Because it's a scarcity. Which is the whole point. The one way way way up there over your head.

    Oh wait. There is a big difference. An appearance on the "Tonight Show" is free and broadcast to everyone in what you might call a primitive, time-limited file sharing mechanism. Kevin Smith is putting his Q&A behind a paywall and if the bouncers at his gig are anything like the bouncers I've seen at many concerts, they'll be big and beefy and unlikely to be as kind or porous as the NY Times paywall.

    Um. No. I don't understand why this is so complex and difficult for you, but it's really quite a window into your inability to comprehend.

    We're not against paying, as you seem to assume. We're in favor of finding smart business models that get people to pay. But that's around selling *REAL* economic scarcities. Like seats in a theater.

    What the NY Times is doing is trying to artificially limit an infinite resource.

    That's the difference.

    So I guess my question to you is: why aren't you picking on Kevin Smith the way that you're picking on the NY Times? Why don't you haul out the old blah blah about how Smith is losing relevancy? Why don't you accuse him of "not getting it?"

    Because he's actually *connecting* with his fans and giving them a *scarce* reason to buy. That's what the NY Times is not doing.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:40pm

    Re: And a few other things

    * He used Ticketron to sell the tickets. That's different? They're the evil empire.


    Does Ticketron even exist any more? But, um, who said "they're the evil empire"? And what does that have to do with anything.

    * The reason he was able to make so much money is because the price tag at the Music Hall was pretty steep. I can't be sure but there are 6200 seats and he claims a BO of $160,000. That's an average of $25.

    Um. Your point? That seems to support my point. He connected with fans and gave them a reason to buy. Also, FYI, he didn't sell out RCMH, and ticket prices were more like $60 - $100. But people are willing to pay.

    This is really about the triumph of the pay wall.


    Heh. Not a paywall. A paywall is about putting up an *artificial* barrier on an abundant good. What Smith is doing -- and what we've always recommended (but can't seem to comprehend) is *connecting with fans* and then giving them a *scarce reason to buy.*

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Re: And a few other things

    he doesn't seem to care much. I don't see him suing anyone over it.


    In fact, he's specifically said he's happy if people pirate his movies:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090908/0132166123.shtml

    When asked about if unauthorized copies made him angry, he responded:

    "See, I think 'How many more converts did I get from piracy?'"

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 10:43pm

    Re: Re: Independant film financing

    Adam, Jon,

    Thanks for the info... Very useful.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: ...

    What, the cyclic bleeding from a woman's uterus? How can you possibly misuse that?

     

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    IronM@sk, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:38am

    Re: Yes, but...

    TechDirt 101: How to fail at reading comprehension and excel at misdirection in four easy paragraphs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 2:18am

    His time is currency to him. Going at it without some extra help requires shouldering more of the burden. What will end up being the ROI of his time?

    Let's see if he does this for more than one project. Radiohead apparently would have some insight for him...

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:25am

    It is a paywall!

    Uh, he could take out a $50 Flip phone, video tape the Q&A, and put it on YouTube where everyone could see it for free. The old-line movie studios that get pilloried on this blog day in and day out were quite happy to give away the Q&A on broadcast TV.

    This is a completely artificial scarcity in this day and age. He could be taking questions from Twitter and live streaming his response but he's not. It's anti-innovation and if you try to circumvent it, the bouncers will clench together the digits in their hands and give you a little digital rights management.

    Hah hah. It's wonderful to have you come over to my side, even though you'll try to come up with any rationalization to pretend that you're not celebrating a PAYWALL!

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re: And a few other things

    It's easy to be blase about the piracy of movies that you don't own any more and don't stand any chance of making any money. It's another to embrace piracy of a movie that still has some commercial prospects.

    Tell you what. As you seem to think that P2P "sharing" is a gift to artists, why don't you "share" his new film and see how he feels about high quality copies floating around the net especially now that he's not taking his pay up front. Why don't you ask him if he's really cool about sharing now that the future size of his bank account depends heavily on ticket sales.

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:33am

    ticketmaster

    My bad. He used TicketMaster. And if you want to know who worries about their domination, just search "ticketmaster" and "evil empire" with your favorite search engine. You'll get 58,000 results.

    My point is that he's not doing anything new or different from the bazillion old and tired media companies that you constantly like to say "don't get it." He's signing a contract with a semi-monopoly, putting up a PayWall and hiring some bouncers to deliver DRM.

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Yes, but...

    Looks like we're at an impasse here. We have the technology to use twitter and live streaming and make this an infinite good. That would be innovation. Yet here he is retreating to a centuries-old technology of hiring out a theater, burning fossil fuels for transportation, boosting prices to the roof, marketing to rich people, and employing bouncers to deliver a five-digit version of DRM. Yet you love the anti-democratic, anti-green, anti-handicapped, and anti-innovation plan. Go figure.

    This reminds me of the way that the late governor Huey Long reportedly said, "When Fascism comes to America, it will (be in the name of/come under the guise of/be called) anti-Fascism!"

    Yup. It's a paywall all right. But you're happy to here trying desperately to pretend that it's an anti-paywall.

    Oh, BTW, the NY Times has been charging for admission to talks for some time now.

    http://nytimes.whsites.net/timestalks/

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    Yes, this point isn't discussed much here. Not only is he doing much more of the producing and marketing, but it looks like he's deferring his fees until the investors are paid. While I like that idea and think it's a good business practice, I'm sure he's gotten more iron-clad contracts in the past.

     

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    @ThatKevinSmith, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Financial model questions

    Once again, thank you for noticing what we're doing over here. You guys make me blush.

    To answer the question: once the $4 million goes back to the investors, all revenue above and beyond that recoupment figure gets split with the investors.

    It's a fairly common investment model in the movie business; but since industry math can be byzantine, investors rarely see their investment back for years (in some cases, a decade). Since we have no marketing to stand behind in recoupment (and since the budget was so low in the first place), once the DVD/BD/VOD/streaming deals close, we're in the black. Basically, that means all money that comes in beyond the budget recoupment is now profit for The Harvey Boys to split with our two investing partners. So from now on - so long as we incur no future costs in releasing the movie, like television or outdoor marketing - the loot from every purchase of RED STATE (theatrically, VOD, BluRay, etc) now serves as the spoils of a small experiment that probably doesn't really matter to anyone else but me.

    As mentioned (lots), this next flick HIT SOMEBODY is gonna be my last theatrical effort (and believe me: I'll be putting forth every effort to make it rock). Before I leave this business, I wanted to honor the curiosity of a frustrated younger version of me, who'd study the advertising costs and lament "I wonder if I could successfully release a flick with no traditional paid-for marketing?"

    After years of trying to understand financial participation statements for the movies I've directed, I wanted the math on RED STATE to be so simple and easy to track, even a second grader could distinguish revenue. So far, so good...

     

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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Re: Financial model questions

    Dude, you rock. The accounting innovation is wonderful, but the most amazing achievement is getting Mike to embrace the paywall. I'm just glad to hear that you're able to bring in fans and get them to share in the costs of creating the movie.

    BTW, there's been some speculation here that you're okay with piracy. Do you think you could pull off this project by releasing the movie for free on Pirate Bay? Could you use Twitter and live streaming so fans could see the Q&A for free? Do you think a tip jar and t-shirt sales would suffice? Just asking because you obviously have plenty of experience.

     

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    Michael, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:08am

    Re: Yes, but...

    Actually, Kevin and Jay Mewes do a TON of live shows outside of Red State and have massive twitter presence and web presence. Mewes even plays COD online with fans on a regular basis and I have to say they are the most accessable people in the industry. You want to ask Jay or Kevin a question? They usually answer in minutes on twitter. Its like being in the loop on what they are doing 24/7.

     

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    Michael, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Re: It is a paywall!

    Uh, Kevin is responding to people on twitter daily, he connects with fans 24/7. He does podcasts (smodcast) and is more acessable than anyone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, but...

    You really are dense aren't you? People want to pay because they want access to Smith in person. He can (and still does) twitter and everything else.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Re: ticketmaster

    "My point is that he's not doing anything new or different from the bazillion old and tired media companies that you constantly like to say "don't get it.""

    The point is that making money without copy protection laws is possible. Contrary to popular IP maximist beliefs (and I know IP maximists don't parrot this so much anymore, but they used to), art and music and movies can and will continue without these protections. These copy protection laws aren't needed for these things to continue, and frankly, I don't want these copy protection laws to exist. I honestly don't care how much art or music, if any, is lost as a result of these laws being abolished either, there will be others who will create art and music just as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re: It is a paywall!

    "Uh, he could take out a $50 Flip phone, video tape the Q&A, and put it on YouTube where everyone could see it for free."

    He could, but it's not necessary. If he can make more money not doing so, then that's fine too.

    "This is a completely artificial scarcity in this day and age. He could be taking questions from Twitter and live streaming his response but he's not."

    No, it's a genuine scarcity. People getting answers from him in person, people being able to ask him questions, is a genuine scarcity. An artificial scarcity is a scarcity that relies on (IP or other) laws to reduce abundance. That's not what he's doing. He's creating who's scarce nature isn't a result of IP.

    No one here is against people making money by requiring payment for their questions to be answered in person. We're against IP law being used to provide scarcity.

    "It's anti-innovation and if you try to circumvent it, the bouncers will clench together the digits in their hands and give you a little digital rights management. "

    Again, no one is against charging for admission. Admission is a genuine scarcity, only so many people can fit into a limited space (I can't believe I have to explain this). The day that infinite people can fit in a limited space without inconveniencing one another with large crowds is the day that your argument has merit.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: It is a paywall!

    He's creating something who's scarce nature isn't a result of IP. *

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Re: It is a paywall!

    It's amazing to see IP maximists constantly back track and change their position.

    "The movie costs money"

    "No it doesn't"

    "Admission costs money"

     

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  37.  
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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: ticketmaster

    Without copy protection? He's got walls around the movie hall. He could be showing this thing for free in Central Park and holding the Q&A for free but he's not. The walls create artificial scarcity. They prevent people from sharing the experience.

     

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  38.  
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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: It is a paywall!

    It doesn't have to be scarce at all. The space doesn't have to be limited. They don't need to have walls. He could hold the screening in a public park and answer questions in Grand Central station. (Simon and Garfunkel filled Central Park.) But he doesn't. He's charging money for a reason. He needs it to pay for the production. So it's just as artificial as any DRM.

     

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  39. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    icon
    Montezuma (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:55am

    How about we talk about how Mr. Smith's movie, Red State, sucks horribly? That and it has only made, to date, at least, $815,832 towards its reported $4,000,000 USD budget. Better yet, let's talk about how Kevin Smith is nothing more than a rabid hater of those of us how exist on the right, or have a belief in God.

    This movie is nothing more than one of his wet dream rants about things that he hates. It seems like Mr. Smith should hook up with Michael Moore and commiserate over their hatred of the better humans in the world(i.e. those that are not filled with ridiculous hate).

    Perhaps Kevin Smith was diddled by a catholic priest(which would make since, with movies like Dogma), so he believes all Christians, or all of those on the "right", should be persecuted. Either way, Mr. Smith, leave us the hell alone.

    Regardless, a 29% Rotten Tomatoes rating, along with other, very bad reviews, are going to do nothing more than sink this horrible movie. It would be nice to see other move away from big Hollywood distributors, but I would rather see better films do this.

     

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  40.  
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    Dustin, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: ticketmaster

    So is this turning into a "turtles all the way down" scenario or something? I fail to see how having a Q&A screening is the same thing as DRM just because he didn't go out of his way to show it to as many people as possible.

    How is it even a debatable issue that one-on-one interaction with a content creator is a scarce value service? Your argument is stretched beyond the realm of credibility, please pull it back before your brain falls out.

     

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  41.  
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    Dustin, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    You, my friend, have just convinced me to find any means I can to put money towards this film and in Mr. Smith's pocket. Congratulations. Now crawl back under whatever rock you crawled out of, if you would.

     

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  42.  
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    bob, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: ticketmaster

    One on one? Nope. There are 6200 chairs at Radio City although he didn't sell out. Try several thousand to one "interaction".

    And it's not that he didn't go out of his way. It would have been much simpler to stay home, ask Twitter for the Q&A and then stream the answers out through some P2P feed. The technology is here.

    Do you know the argument that DRM is "breaking" a book/song/ movie by reducing the functionality? That's what he's doing here by using technology that's hundreds of years old. Je is going out of his way to hire the hall and staff the doors with beefy bouncers who are quite happy for some one-to-one action with people who don't pay.

    If this succeeds-- and I hope it does because he's a great artist-- it will be validating the paywall model.

     

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  43.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re: It is a paywall!

    Uh, he could take out a $50 Flip phone, video tape the Q&A, and put it on YouTube where everyone could see it for free. The old-line movie studios that get pilloried on this blog day in and day out were quite happy to give away the Q&A on broadcast TV

    First of all, he regularly *does* do stuff like that, and yet people *still* want to pay to see him in person (a real scarcity).

    I'm having trouble believing you don't understand this basic point. Broadcasting is not the same as live.

    This is a completely artificial scarcity in this day and age.

    Um. No. It's not. Seeing someone in person is a scarcity.

    He could be taking questions from Twitter and live streaming his response but he's not.

    Actually, he is. That's part of how he connects with fans.

    And, you know what, it makes them MORE interested in paying lots of money to see him live. Which is the point. The one way up over your head.

    Hah hah. It's wonderful to have you come over to my side, even though you'll try to come up with any rationalization to pretend that you're not celebrating a PAYWALL!

    You know, I have already explained to you why you are wrong. Repeating your wrong statement does not make you look smarter. It makes you look foolish. The first time it could have been ignorance. After you'd been taught, however... well, then we have to conclude something else entirely.

     

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  44.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: And a few other things

    It's easy to be blase about the piracy of movies that you don't own any more and don't stand any chance of making any money. It's another to embrace piracy of a movie that still has some commercial prospects.

    I'm not sure what that even means.

    Tell you what. As you seem to think that P2P "sharing" is a gift to artists

    Please show me where I said it was a "gift" to artists.

    You can't, because I haven't. You really seem to have decided in your brain that I believe something completely different than what I actually believe and say. No wonder you're so confused.

     

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  45.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Re: ticketmaster

    My bad. He used TicketMaster. And if you want to know who worries about their domination, just search "ticketmaster" and "evil empire" with your favorite search engine. You'll get 58,000 results.

    So, because some people hate Ticketmaster, *I* also have to think it's the evil empire? Weird.

    My point is that he's not doing anything new or different from the bazillion old and tired media companies that you constantly like to say "don't get it."

    And yet again, you show how badly you don't understand what's happening. No wonder you bitch and complain all the time. You're willfully ignorant by your own admission.

     

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  46.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: And a few other things

    In his ads for the Red State tour on the SModcast network, he ended each ad by saying, "...and if you don't want to see it then [wide October release], well, you know, Bittorrent. It'll be on Bittorrent pretty soon."

    He doesn't encourage it, per se, but he recognizes the reality of it and also seems to understand that bitching about it is pointless, since most of the people who won't pay to see it just wouldn't see it in the first place if denied to opportunity to pirate it. And he's said multiple times that he'd rather have people see his films for free than not see them at all.

     

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  47.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    That and it has only made, to date, at least, $815,832 towards its reported $4,000,000 USD budget.

    Way to not read his blog post, chucklefuck. That figure you're quoting does not include foreign and (upcoming) domestic distribution, nor potential home video revenue.

     

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  48.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: It is a paywall!

    Wow. So, because he's able to monetise his personage, he's making an artificial scarcity. Here's a hint - facetime is a natural scarcity. And as space is sometimes limited by things beyond Smith's control, it becomes an external scarcity, rather4 than an internal scarcity, which is what windows (and Windows) do.

     

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  49.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ticketmaster

    What the fuck? He makes an expenditure out of HIS OWN POCKET to hire a hall, and sells tickets at the door or online, and that's DRM? DRM is Digital. Facetime is not.

    The fact that you are currently making my retarded nephew look intelligent should tell you a lot about your arguments.

     

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  50.  
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    Huph, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ticketmaster

    I find it very hard to believe that you actually have a mentally-handicapped nephew who you call "retarded".

     

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  51.  
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    scarr (profile), Apr 24th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Financial model questions

    I'm late in seeing this, so you might not see my response, but at the top of the podcasts where Kevin talked about this tour, he specifically said he realized the entry cost to these Q&A+movie sessions was expensive for some in this economy.

    He openly invited those who couldn't pay the added cost to see the movie in theatres this fall, or wait until it comes out on BitTorrent a little later and grab it for free.

     

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  52.  
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    sidewinder, May 17th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Monty Zuma's Revenge

    "..29% Rotten Tomatoes rating.."

    Whatcha doin'? Freeping Rotten Tomatoes?

    Perhaps Kevin Smith was diddled by a catholic priest, but then again perhaps you were, & that explains your incoherent rage.

    "..the better humans in the world.." I suggest you go see "Atlas Shrugged". Sounds like your cup of tea (heh).

    Then ask yourself "Who is John Galt (and why is he such a douchebag)?"

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    J. Neil Schulman, May 25th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Independant film financing

    The basic investor's agreement for an indie film is that the investors receive 100% of the sales revenue until 100% of their production investment is paid off, and 50% of the sales revenue thereafter.

     

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  54.  
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    Loki, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re: ticketmaster

    OK, so he used Ticketmaster.

    For many years Ticketmaster has locked up most of the major venues with exclusive contracts. The ONLY way to get tickets for those venues was to buy them from Ticketmaster (in many cases even if you bought them at the door you still had to pay Ticketmaster). If you use those venues, guess what? You HAVE to use Ticketmaster!

    The odds are pretty good that many, if not most, of the venues Smith used are under Ticketmaster contract.

    If you argue "well he could have used different venues", just ask Pearl Jam (and a few other bands) how well that went (and how many corn fields they ended up playing in).

     

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


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