Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pioneers, Oh Pioneers

Ted Hope is a very well know film producer (American Splendor, 21 Grams, Adventureland and about 60 other features). He is also a leader in the new media approach to indie filmmaking. This guy shoots 50 setups in a day, then gets home and writes a 1,500 word blog post, and blasts off on Twitter for an hour. His latest blog post really caught my eye as it relates directly to a lot of the inspirations behind Self Helpless. You should take a look at Ted's Blog here. I am re-posting my response below so that Self Helpless fans can have a look at it.

My response:

Wow, I can't believe someone is finally talking about this! This was a huge part of the motivation for creating Self Helpless. We are four guys in our twenties who are equally at home watching "Kisses" or "Lovely By Surprise" and "Caddyshack". And there are TONS of people like us out there. We have often discussed our dissatisfaction with indie films insistence on making heavy, emotional, esoteric films that are so steeped in art that they are rendered inaccessible. Films like that can be great, but there needs to be more diversity out there.

Self Helpless is definitely a low-brow comedy. It is full of guns and drugs and mexicans and farting. But there is also some really original stuff in there. The plot is absurdly twisted as are most of the characters. And, the movie feels completely indie! It has excessively long flashbacks, homegrown animation, and plenty of classically comical motifs.

I am not just trying to plug my movie. I really feel that there is room for people to start making more indie films that will appeal to a young audience. It is clear that internet basted, tech-reliant distribution is the future of indie. Young people are the most interweb-savvy customers out there. They are willing to go through twitter, and itunes, and blogger, and dig… just to follow, find, and support something they think is cool. “Trailer Park Boys, “Always Sunny”, “Flight of the Conchords”, the networks have it figured out, now we need to play catch up.

We have based our entire release model for Self Helpless on our faith in the young indie audience. We are running a seven day bittorrent-only release. We WANT people to download the movie because we know they will support it. This is how you access the young indie audience: young filmmakers make great films directed at their peers, they provide the fans free access to the films, and they create quality merchandise that people will want to buy (instead of begging for donations).