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Pay Per View

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:16 am
by fraught
I know this discussion has come up before, but wanted to raise it again. What are your views on using Pay Per View sites with your films?
Making movies is a costly business, and for those that self finace the films like myself, often run out of cash!

Using Crowd Funding sites seems to be the current trend to get your films financed, it's an often sticky affair, but it does help soften the blow on your wallet. Or if you are really good, not touch your wallet at all!
You could always go to your local authority or another organisation for funding/financing/support. Or pehaps receive a government grant or something?
All of these, if you are succesful, can provide a decent amount of money to cover the costs of getting your production made. But the point here is 'if you are successful'. All of the above options are quite tough, a lot of work, and very rarely fruitful.

What if you wanted to ask the public to just give you a little cash when they watch your finished film to help put the pennies back in to your film making pot? You probably won't get as much cash as you would doing the other options, but it does feel a little more fairer. What do you reckon?

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:30 am
by Dave Watterson
One of the top films at this year's BIAFF is on a pay-per-view site and I see more indie films coming that way.

But how many of us would pay 80 pence or more to see a short film about which we know little? When we pay umpteen pounds to sit in a cinema at least we have had a chance to read reviews.

The problem will not go away. Those who want to take their filming to the next level know that it is expensive.

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:30 pm
by fraught
The reason i posted the question is that i put 'Addict' on a Pay Per View site late last year... only ever had 2 rentals mind. I also put 'Karen's Room' up there. I haven't removed KR from Vimeo or YouTube where you can watch it completely free, but i did put it on the PPV site to see if anyone would pay to watch it knowing that a % of that money would go to the film maker. So far i've had about 12 rentals... which equates to about £5.

I've been contemplating doing the same with 'Selfie', but doing more aggresive promoting on Social Media etc. I fully intend for the film to go completely free on the web this year, but thought about putting it on a PPV site for a limited period to see if could make any of the money back that i spent on the film.

Just interested to see if people think it's worthwhile, or not to bother?

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:33 pm
by ned c
More proof that the entire film making scene is constantly changing. The IAC began life in the day of the "Gentleman Amateur" who had both the funds and the time to indulge an expensive hobby. With the democratization of film making there are many who have something to say and need financial support as well as material and human support to say it. It is impossible to self fund ambition productions; the theatrical market is saturated with films and the new methods of viewing are growing apace.

What to do? I feel that PPV is a route that will grow and Fraught is an early adopter so watch progress with interest; please keep us up to date, don't give up.

My view of Crowd Funding is that too many of the projects are desperately under explained; there is no detailed budget breakdown; how much is going to the applicant; how much to the other aspects of the project? Surely this where the "club" can survive and prosper by being the funding agency; by applying for grant money, by raising local funding from business and individuals and acting as Producers for local film makers.

What does this do to the "amateur"? In my view the traditional amateur film world is now in steep decline; it is time to redefine the world the IAC serves. Look at the most successful UK club I am aware of in Bristol and meet professionals making movies for the pleasure of making movies. This is not something new; for many years BBC professionals were an active part of major clubs that regularly won awards. There is a role for clubs but it is not serving tea and biscuits whilst watching members holiday films!

ned c

see you at Sittingbourne

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:14 am
by Michael Slowe
ooooo Ned, be prepared for a warm welcome in Sittingbourne!

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:57 am
by fraught
Cheers Ned. I use a site called You basically upload your film, create a page, put it live then advertise it in anyway you can.

I want to wait until 'Selfie' has done a few film festivals before putting it online, i have 3 screenings this month, so maybe early May would be a good starting point. I'll post a link and then keep you up to date on how things go.

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:05 pm
by TimStannard
It's an interesting development. In answer to Dave's question, I suspect many of us would pay a small amount (I'm thinking of a couple of quid) to see a film that has been highly recommended by our peers or based on a film maker's reputation. I'd gladly risk that on watching one of Fraught's films because (a) I would expect it to entertain me and (b) I like to think I'm supporting him (in the same way that I contributed a miniscule amount to one of James Webber's crowd funding projects.)

From a viewer's point of view, I prefer the PPV as I will get an immediate return. One problem to be aware of is how you promote it. I will get rapidly p****d off if Fraught tweets every day urging me to crowd fund or to pay for a view (and to be honest it was this sort of "pestering" that prevented me contributing to James' later film - Sorry Jim!) But this is all part of us all developing an etiquette for social media.

Ned raises an interesting point about whether the film is "amateur" if it then goes on to PPV. It would seem crazy for a film which has been funded by crowdfunding or an Arts Council grant, but is not for profit, to be allowed into BIAFF, but one on which the maker is primarily concerned in recouping his costs not to be allowed.

Of course only established film makers are likely to recoup even part of their cost via PPV. (I'm not exactly sure what my definition of established would be.)

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:59 pm
by Dave Watterson
There is a nice clause in the rules for AIFVF - the American International Film and Video Festival ...
Productions made solely for fun and pleasure, for artistic expression or to make a statement about society with no profit motive in mind, have not been subject of any sales or rental agreement prior to entry in the Festival nor expect to be after the Festival and have not been made as a part of a college course. No person working on any aspect of the production may be paid for their services nor may the production be sponsored by any commercial organization. Entries may be made by individuals or more than one person, such as a club or group, provided the financial conditions set out are met. This Festival is for non-commercial productions only and we ask that the makers respect this requirement

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:15 pm
by fraught
It would be interesting to know how many of the films entered into BIAFF were completely self-funded, or had monies coming in from grants/sponsorships/crowd-funding campaigns etc? How many would not be eligible for entry if that clause applied?

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:52 pm
by TimStannard
fraught wrote:It would be interesting to know how many of the films entered into BIAFF were completely self-funded, or had monies coming in from grants/sponsorships/crowd-funding campaigns etc? How many would not be eligible for entry if that clause applied?
Indeed it would be interesting.
One interesting aspect of the talk given to Staines Video Makers a week ago by Alan Robinson. "The Partners" first film, where they did pay actors was funded by the film makers themselves. About £7,000 split between the seven of the. That seems a lot of money, but then again they looked at it as £500 each per year (or £10 per week) for their hobby. Doesn't seem so bad put like that. We can all fund stuff.

This thread has raised the spectre of "professional" help. It is beginning to strike me as strange that we do not allow into BIAFF films in which actors were paid, yet we quite happily allow everyone to use professionally composed and recorded music (and sound FX) assuming copyright criteria have been met.

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:15 pm
by Willy
Please, do not kill me. I do not like films on my laptop or on my computer. Ok, it's fantastic that we can watch films on the IAC-website. That's unique! But I still prefer to see films on a wide screen.

In some weeks I will show some films in the village hall on a wide screen. I have invited my neighbours, friends, members of family and clubmates. I have also asked an other cultural organisation to arrange everything together with my filmclub. Free entry. I didn't have to rent the village hall. Everybody can buy a drink before the projections, during the interval and after the film show.

Only my documentary "Breendonk" (2005) can be seen on Youtube. Being paid to see my films? I myself would never do it, but I don't mind if other amateur filmmakers do it to cover all expenses.

The last few weeks I went to the cinema again. It was very impressive to see the films "Pride" and "The Imitation Game". Entrance fee 10 euros, about £8. By the way have you seen these films? "Pride" is about a group of gays during the Great Mining Strike in 1984. In that year I was in Wakefield. I visited miners at Sharlston Colliery. I guess it does not exist anymore. I offered their children a holiday in Belgium. They suffered quite a lot. Most of them were children of Crofton High School. I can also buy these films "Pride" and "The Imitation Game"on DVD (9 euros each, about £7), but I am not eager to see such major productions on my computer screen. In only want to buy films made by friends.

It's just like reading a book or a magazine. After all it is not so good for your back to sit in front of your computer all day. Ouch! I've got backache again! I must stop now! :(

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:39 pm
by TimStannard
Willy wrote:Please, do not kill me. I do not like films on my laptop or on my computer.
I don't think anyone is suggesting films might only be seen on pay per view (and you could always stream it to your 65" Ultra HD screen anyway), just that this provides an additional means of presenting a film. Given the choice between watching Karen's Room again on a PC or not at all, I know which I'd go for.

Having said that, whilst I think many, many films are best on the big screen, I don't go along with the idea that this is always the case - indeed Karen's Room is a film that sits well on a TV screen being an intimate domestic setting (perhaps it's years of being brought up on 60s and 70s sitcoms that makes this association in my mind)

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:45 pm
by ned c
Some background regarding productions here in the SW of the USA. SAG (The Screen Actors Guild) frown on their members working for free on anything other than bona fide student films from film schools. They have a greatly reduced scale of fees for "low budget" and short films. The film "The Sister Wives" (you can view it on my Vimeo site) was made under the short film rules and the four SAG members were paid by the Producers, the time limit then for SAG short films was 38 minutes. Obviously this film was never entered into BIAFF.

The Space Between Theatre Company (TSBTC) - is the equivalent of a UK charity; it is a 501 c (3) not-for-profit; offers film grants of $150 (not exactly a huge sum) but it must be spent on props. food, transportation etc and cannot be used for personal payment and also fully funds the winner of the annual script writing competition. A BIAFF successful film made under the grant system is "Over the Hill", the walking cane used as a prop cost $80 so the grant didn't go very far and the vintage car was a gas guzzler; the balance met by the film makers and crew. Dan Fowlks "Stan the Man' (5 stars last year) was a TSB script contest winner and funded by TSB; the total expenditure was $500, we had to pay for the use of the restaurant room after hours, food, transportation for a number of actors and extras and Dan's suit (it was a jumble sale item). I was the supervisor for TSB on that film and took huge pleasure when I was asked just who I was and was able to answer "the money". This year, Dan's "A Tale Told Heart" was funded by a local dentist who loves film and acting, although he failed the audition! "The Wild Misadventures of Jesse James and Billy the Kid" was funded by the makers.

These are films made by young people with young families, mortgages, and all the expenses we remember from the earlier times of our lives. Not all their films will be winners but they have skills and creativity we mature (my wife tells me this will never happen to me) members of society should support and create organizations that do the work - the IAC?.

ned c

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:30 pm
by Willy
Yes, you're right, Tim. I can watch films on my TV screen as well which is already much better than on a computer screen. I must tell you that my wife and I live a bit seperated. We are not divorced you know. On the contrary! But most of the time Vera watches TV and I watch my computer screen. Tonight we both watched "The Iron Lady" on TV. What a fantastic actress Meryl Streep is! A wonderful docu-drama.
But of course we must think of Fraught's question. I've strayed from his subject again. My apologies, Fraught!

In the first place we make films for fun, not in order to make money. For the love of it, Tim says. It does not mean that we must not try to find a solution to cover all expenses. That's my opinion. In the course of the last decade I have changed my opinion a little bit. I know that some films have been subsidized and they have been shown in competitions for amateurs (Sorry, Ned, I remember you don't like the word 'amateur'. I think you prefer the word 'non-professional'). Actually that is unfair.

I remember a film made by a Belgian colleague. He spent more than £5,000 to light up one very spectacular scene in his fiction film. He could afford it because it was subsidized for one or another reason. It was successful, but it didn't win the competition in Belgium you know. Justice had been done. There was something wrong with his storyline. :roll:

I think there are limits. Non-professional filmmakers create low budget films or non budget films. Imagine that you love playing tennis. Then you buy a tennis racket, tennis shoes, etc... Every year you pay your membership, your drinks etc... That's also very expensive. Twenty years ago playing golf was a hobby for the lucky few. You can't win any money unless you are a successful professional hobbyist. 8)

Today I looked at the titles of all the films I have made in the last decade. "Dancing in the Air"... for instance... I only bought a bunch of flowers for the old lady who offered her lovely voice for my film... Or "Waiting for Godot"... One of my best ever in my opinion. I didn't spend any money on it.

Next year I will make a very expensive film, but crossing the Channel many times will be a pleasure. Other friends go to China or Chili to make a documentary. I am not sure that mine will be successful at BIAFF. The cost price of a film is not essential at all. And you must always cut your coat according to your cloth.

Re: Pay Per View

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:19 pm
by fraught
No problem Willy. :)

I've remembered the film that first brought this question up. It was a Diamond winning film called 'Rex', the makers were selling copies online to try and recoup some of their costs. It was discussed somewhere in these forums. I don't remember the outcome, but i do remember that some people didn't think it was right.

Has time changed? Is it more acceptable to do now? Especially in light of all the methods of raising money to make a film.