More on The Wave of the Future

Snarklings, polish your surfboards, the wave of the future is near at hand.

From the Sunday New York Times, art section, page 27, an article by John Anderson, ONCE IT WAS DIRECT TO VIDEO, NOW IT'S DIRECT TO THE WEB.

Here's part of the fourth paragraph about independent movie makers trying to get their work out:

What about more general fare with no stars, budgets or hope? That's where IndieFlix, founded by (Scilla) Andreen and her business partner, the filmmaker Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi comes in. Directors submit their films, which are then posted on the Website (www.indieflix.com). When users log on and click to buy the films that capture their interest, IndieFlix burns them onto a DVD and ships them out. The price for a feature length film is $9.95.

Is this going to replace big budget blockbuster popcorn and date night movies at the cinema? No.

Is it going to replace art house features? no

It's going to EXPAND the market. People who go to the movies on Friday night with Miss Congeniality are likely to also want to see a movie on Tuesday with Fido on the couch. With this set up, the DVD arrives at your door.

Right now, if you want to see a movie at home you can order HBO on Demand, or from a couple online providers. That's like having access to one library of content.

This IndieFlix system gives you access to an entire library system because people who can't get
distribution deals will be able to list their movies here.

Will there be more schlock? Yes.
Is that a bad thing? not my concern. You get to make and live with your own choices here.

The implications for publishing are clear. If we can't see this, we're not paying attention.


Daniel said...

I'm sorry but after perusing your blog I must state that you appear to be somewhat bonkers...


Maya said...

Daniel, I disagree. The enormous popularity of podcasting in less than a year suggests that there is potential for independent-minded writers to move outside the traditional agent/publisher relationship. With access to the appropriate recording equipment AND the Internet for marketing, what's to stop a group of scifi writers or eroromance writers from recording and selling their own material to be downloaded by subscription?

Robin said...

I think this is inevitable. There are undoubtedly many creative people out there, for instance, who aren't able to take the chance of halting their careers to run the publishing gauntlet. Given an easy-entry, level playing field to submit work on-line with little risk, I believe we will continue to see a coming out of sorts. True, a lot of it is and will continue to be crap, but not all of it.

For someone like me, who's very interested in becoming a better writer -- programs like Amazon Shorts could be invaluable. Right now I send stories out for months per shot, only to receive little or no feedback from one person, or from no one (who ever knows?). I've had it take five months to find out the magazine has folded, or that entire piles of submissions have been 'misplaced,' including mine. Throwing a story up on-line in a place where people have immediate access and have to shell out a little money to read it, would give me instant feedback. And instant feedback makes for very happy and prolific fingers in my case. It would also allow me to try different marketing tools (not that I'm that on top of things), different genres -- you name it. Hell, I'm tempted to publish a book with LuLu just to be allowed to sell stories on Amazon.

The implications for books is similar. Sure, there will be (is) a lot of sludge, but as it catches on there will also be scientists, professors, successful business men and women, and otherwise talented and knowledgeable people who can put their material out there without going through the old school hurdles the publishing industry has established. And, hopefully, people who don't care for what crosses the current finish line might become readers again when given less industry-censored choices. Then they might go back to buying books, thus helping the publishing industry, who can also learn and adjust to what's selling on the internet market. That's already happening, as publishers pick up bloggers and top-selling self-published books.

Sorry to be so long, but there are many angles to this topic. Like I said -- inevitable. I wish I was clever enough to be more on the edge of it.

E. Dashwood said...

It's interesting that podcasting of visual/auditory media has a kind of hip respectability, but in print it's considered to be a scam, e.g., Publish America--even though the quality of the former may be no greater than that of the latter. Or is it?

I could see quality writers going this route, but first they would have to overcome the sleazy reputation of pod-publishing as well as the failure of Steven King's web publishing.

Maya said...

Dashwood: Podcasting is less than a year old; give it a break.

And Stephen King was ahead of his time. To hear his experiment referred to as a failure surprises me. In 2000, before most people even knew what e-publishing meant, King realized the potential. He had TWO experiments on the Internet. In the first, he sold 400K copies of his novella, "Riding the Bullet" in a very short time through his publisher, Simon & Schuster. That woke up the publishing industry in a big way. A few months later, he tried to sell "The Plant" directly to readers via Amazon (leaving S&S out of the equation). He chose to sell the serialized novel on the honor system and was forced to pull the plug when readers did not play fair. I think both efforts were bold and helped to move e-publishing forward. Those 400,000 (hello?) sales of "Riding the Bullet" had people who had never downloaded anything trying it for the first time.

Dave Kuzminski said...

The problem with reading or listening to books online is not that they're all bad, but that there are simply not enough RELIABLE sites providing ACCURATE reviews of those books as to style and content.

Likewise, readers need to have some idea of which actually have been checked for quality in the form of editing and such that printed books go through with the trade publishers.

occasional_anonymous said...

Presumably Google Print, who hope to make millions in advertising dollars off other people's ip without, you know, paying the copyright holders a cent, are also bonkers?

Maya said...

Anonymous: Take a look at what Google is really doing. They want to print the same amount of material used in doing book reviews--an excerpt. They are NOT making the entire book available to people doing a search. Many new writers and those whose books are out-of-print believe they will actually benefit from Google's search engine suggesting their books to readers who would not otherwise find them. See the article "Writers Side With Google in Scrap" in the 10/25 edition of Wired News (www.wired.com)


Harry Connolly said...

Okay, this post finally made me register.

There is already a publisher or two using this model. Wildside Press is one, and they're prefectly legit. They handle mostly reprints and very few originals. The latter struggle for sales.

Here's why I posted: I have a novel that I'm trying to place. I also have a micro-budget horror movie in post-production. They're really two different worlds. By the research I've done, almost no one wants a dreadful book, but there's a reliable audience out there for certain kinds of dreadful movies.

I know, someone's going to chime in and say "What about X, who writes really dreadful books?" I'm not talking about that. I'm not talking about people who buy books you think are bad. I'm talking about people who buy books they think are dreadful.

Very few people tune in to Sci-Fi Originals on Saturday nights because they're expecting a good movie. They don't rent DARKWOLF expecting a good movie. They enjoy it for its awfulness. They buy it for that.

In part, that's why we made a horror movie (mostly, it was because we love the genre)--if we blew it and made a seriously screwed up movie, there was still a chance we could earn the investors' money back.

People don't buy books the same way. They carve out time for reading, or read when they can't do anything else (like on a plane). They don't have the tolerance for bad entertainment in books that they do for films. Readers like light entertainment, but not bad.

I think book buyers, on the whole, want filters.