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"1998 --  Off to a Good Start" 
The year is off to a good start. I just finished with the LA Location Expo, Post Production Expo and the AFM.  Lots to digest.  Some of which is worth a comment and some thought.

With mega-budget success stories like TITANIC and 1997 being an unfavorable year for the indies, makes international distributors become more choosy. This spells out clogging on the indie film channels. Studios buying theater chains with the current no anti-trust interference environment means less opportunity for small distributors who might have been more willing to take a risk on indie product, if they would have had more screens to work with.

With high definition digital movie cameras nearly here, along with very speedy consumer computers already here, and cheap 16 gigabyte disk drives on the horizon, add an Adobe Premiere like editor, and you have a complete affordable production system -- coming soon, to anyone who wants one. (As an aside, imagine what would happen if Adobe were to buy AVID -- you heard the idea here first!)

MTV graduates, film students, contributors to the Starbuck Indie Channel, cable access alumni, or anyone with a story to tell or an image to share, can with some modicum of effort, save up or borrow for their basic components.

In Hollywood, when output is no longer determined by relationships, but by anyone with a good story to tell and a modest small fortune, we will see a real variety.

With this high definition "small studio" product being beamed down to PCs in mass on Surfview's "TipABuck Theater" (TM). This is the 1-900 pay if you liked it mechanism which splits donations with the producer and other contractual elements.
(See http://www.surfview.com/seedt003.htm, where 1-900 TV is covered more thoroughly.)

The DirectPC like broadcast and the interactiveness of selecting allows viewers to pick their content or to choose auto-play, which is like watching tv.The viewer can watch along with everyone in the world. Unicast and Multicast arbitration is being worked out as we speak on systems across the Web. The idea is to broadcast to one address and allow many to receive it. This eliminates clogging the internet with unnecessary traffic. With this resolved, a good business plan written, a company could emerge as an independent film Web channel, without much starting capital.

Many DirectPC theaters will be in a homes or in Starbuck-like places, shown on a large high definition screens or perhaps blown up unto a large reflectant surfaces using state of the art presentation projection equipment, like that made from companies like InFocus, or more industrial strength like those at large conferences.

PC(or MAC)-produced projects broadcasted digitally, with a shareware-like payment system, could be a viable alternative to the current studio favored distribution system where particpation seems unlikely.

There was a funny movie called "UHF" (with Crazy Al), that hints at the fun that a bunch of high spirited creative types can have when running a shoe-string budget network.

Add DirectPC and eventually DirectTV to the equation and then capacity will increase the number of efficiency budget indie products seen.

Save your money.  Polish that script.  Practise your non-linear editing. Breakdown that script. Do the budget. Master the labor guide.

Get busy, but -- stay tuned.

Financing, cameras, post-production and distribution are changing as you read this.  Http://www.surfview.com will hope to play an even greater roll in the financing and distribution of indie films as the years continue.

Get ready to leverage the new technologies and innovations in marketing.

James E. Tessier
Editor, Surfview Entertaiment (TM) http://www.surfview.com

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Copyright © 1998  James E. Tessier. All Rights Reserved.