The independent film space has always been churning innovative, fresh, and frankly, watchable ideas onto the screen. Filmmakers often put their heart and soul into their films, combining their passion for storytelling with a visual medium. You would think, with so much talent in the area why aren’t indie films being pursued more vigorously by movie enthusiasts.
Since its inception, the indie film industry has seen a few challenges. Here are some of the most persistent ones which never seem to resolve.
- PerceptionWhen you think of “independent film”, you immediately picture scenes which are somber, dark, or serious. Independent films are developed “independently”. They are not a genre, but merely a method of making films. There are a plethora of genres which the industry deals with ranging from comedy to horror. The perception that independent films follow a serious tone alienates audiences who prefer more light hearted films, which the industry also produces.
- FundingFilms, no matter how small, require a certain amount of funding to be made. Large studios will only fund a film if they see a profit in it. Entry level filmmakers especially find it difficult to secure enough finances and often dip into their life savings to pursue their passion. Even low-cost equipment runs into hundreds of dollars which a novice or student filmmaker may not be able to afford. Public funding is a popular method of obtaining finances, but it is not the same as being backed by a wealthy studio.
- Distribution and marketingThere are hundreds and thousands of films which spend all their life in a canister waiting to be picked up by a distributor. Making a film is easier than taking it to your target audience. Film festivals are becoming a popular place for finding distributors. Then again, getting into them can be a challenge as well.
Social media is a great space to market your film and find a distributor and an audience. Paranormal activity was picked up by Paramount only after seeing its social media hype. However, if you are not active in this space, it is unlikely your film will go far.
- ActorsA great number of moviegoers watch a film for the actors in them rather than the content. Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawrence etc. have large fan bases who watch their films irrespective of the content. Independent filmmakers work with actors who, like them, are trying to break into the industry. Therefore, the audience may not be interested in watching a film featuring relatively unknown actors.