In contemplating two of the film projects I’m currently writing, I told my wife that I’ve been thinking about embracing new models. With raised eyebrows, she demanded an explanation, and the more I tried to explain “new models” in the sense the internet industry has used the expression since the days of Napster, the more I believe she wished I’d meant hugging attractive, young women.
“Embracing new models” is generalized malarky that’s hard to condense because it refers to an argument constructed as an elaborate house of cards. Suffice to say it begins with justifying mass online theft of creative works and circles around the the opportunity creative professionals have to bypass the evil “gatkeepers” and sell work directly to consumers. But two pieces in today’s news caught my attention. Both from The Wrap, the first and most important story is this one about YouTube’s biggest producing partners coming to realize that their revenue doesn’t exactly coincide with increases in viewership. I can’t say I was surprised to read, “These partners feel that YouTube’s business approach enriches YouTube without making them nearly as wealthy.” Presumably, this is simply a failure of the partners to embrace the new model of “you make product, we make money.”
On a somewhat related note, filmmaker Kevin Smith affirms something I have tried to explain to many a deaf ear — that crowd-funding is not a tool for every filmmaker working on any project. Smith seems to agree that Kickstarter is a great way for a relative unknown to get something started, kinda like the name implies, but it is not the new way to finance motion pictures across the board. For what it’s worth crowd-funding is often a constituent of the “new model” prophecy, and Kevin Smith is a favorite example of the hucksters who pitch it.