Mark Gill, who's rather large in indie film, spoke during the LA Film Festival about the challenges of producing independent film in a narrowing market. Amongst the thirteen reasons he sighted as proof that indie film is just the wrong business to be in these days, number ten struck me:
"10: Movies now routinely fight with really compelling leisure alternatives that nobody in the last great era of cinema--the 1970s--even imagined: from iPods to Xboxes to Tivos to You Tubes to the radically improved behemoth that is cable television."
This sad song echoes that of everyone over forty in Hollywood. I would be bummed if I were them too. Sure, it was way funner when you put money into a movie and made it back at the box office right away. Now we have to put more money into a film that has a much smaller change of making any back if at all when it hits viral and mobile content sites who might pay you once their "advertising" dollars come in.
Yes, it is a different business model. Indie film is really the last place I'd like to hear the lament over changing platforms. As a genre that fancies itself the last bastion of explorative, imaginative and informative cultural commentary, indie storytellers could look at the changing media market from the vantage point it provides to reach wider audiences. If one is that concerned with surpassing the "moronic, homogenized piece of lowest-common-denominator drivel" that is mass media, in order to bring singular narratives and quality storytelling to audiences, then the platform your message arrives on shouldn't matter so much. New media technologies make informative content more tangible to the greatest number of people. It's the messages that need to reach viewers and the voices that need to be heard, not the platform they're seen on or the money made from their consumption.