Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kinonation - My final thoughts - AVOID



So I've had my flick Bounty on Kinonation for over two years. They claim they will send you a "quarterly" report.

Not sure what quarterly means to them, but I didn't receive ANY report until I contacted them about 16 months after the movie was live. Roger from Kinonation sent me an email claiming surprise that I hadn't received one.

One got sent to me. Said we'd earned like $15. Whoopee, lemme take a vacation.

Also, they're still using this "beta" website three years after they launched. WTF is that?

So in April of this year I still haven't gotten another quarterly report. One report in over 2 years.

I send Roger an email asking them to remove my title from their catalog. After all, their web site and contract claim you can "cancel anytime".

It's now June, and I haven't gotten a reply from Roger. I got a new email saying they've revamped their web site. It's not the beta anymore. I went and looked at the site. It looks a little better, but now you can't even see what outlets they've placed the movie in.

Tonight I sent an email to Roger to let him know he has 30 days to remove Bounty or I'll be contacting my lawyers about it.

My final opinion on Kinonation is DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR MOVIE TO THEM. While I wouldn't say it's a scam, it's clearly not something that is organized very well. It doesn't appear to make much money, and its dashboard and reporting is TERRIBLE, especially when compared against Amazon.

Maybe someday they'll get their shit together, but since they haven't done much in over three years, I wouldn't count on it.

UPDATE: Roger contacted me the day after I posted this to tell me he would remove Bounty from their catalog, and that the probably reason that we didn't receive any other quarterly reports was that there was no additional money.

That may or may not be true, as I told him, because I never received a quarterly report until I complained to them, and then they DID deliver a report...and it had money on it. So the reason I hadn't received a quarterly report in roughly 6 quarters WAS NOT because there wasn't money to report in that instance.

So they ask that you just believe there's no additional money.

When you deal with distributors, it doesn't matter whether there's no money. They are still bound to deliver quarterly reports for at least the first couple of years(the contract you sign typically tells how long they have to deliver them...in the case of my first film, "Hunting Humans", the contract stipulated that they would deliver quarterly reports for the first three years, and then after that quarterly unless there were no new sales to report.)

In this case, from a distributor online that doesn't have any kind of dashboard that gives you any information whatsoever about what's happening with your film, I'd expect to get a quarterly report regardless.

Either way, I repeated that I wanted the movie off, and he says it should take up to 7 days. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little worried about them perhaps still trying to license my movie to some tiny distributor without me knowing.

I'll keep my eyes open for any reports of this, because if it happens then it means a big lawsuit against them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Terrortory 2

So...what next?

That's the question after finishing Terrortory.  The movie got as high as #6 on Amazon's horror chart, stayed in the top 10 for three weeks, and was an Amazon Star--meaning it's one of the top 100 movies on Amazon, PERIOD for the month of October.


Wanna see the movies we were beating?









It also means we got a monetary bonus from Amazon. All in all, in just one month we earned nearly double our production budget from just Amazon.

Sounds great, right? But when you count the taxes that get taken out, nobody's going home rich. And personally I spent nearly two years on the movie, so if you break it down in years...

We can still pursue a distributor and other options, and we may, but it's a time consuming thing and I'm a creator, and that's my first interest. Sending out 100 screeners and/or engaging an aggregator who will cost us up-front money seems like a lot of wasted time.

Back to my original question...what next?

During the making of Terrortory I had an idea for the wraparound for part two. Not because I necessarily was going to do it. Hell, I've written two sequels for "Hunting Humans", and have started the sequel to "Bounty", but not because I'm planning on doing them. I'm a writer, and I go where the story takes me.

And if the story interests me enough, I will write it because all I lose is time. Besides, the more you write, the better you get, so in the end it's a win/win.

The wraparound would expand the mythology of Terrortory, and reveal a few notions I had in the back of my head as I wrote my segments. The original pitch for Terrortory from Mark was basically a Bermuda Triangle/Twilight Zone type place in Maryland, where weird things happen. It was wide open enough that we could basically do anything there. Like Buffy's hellmouth.

But now I want to hone in on the WHY a little bit. Why does it exist? What's the deal with those creatures? Like, are they all the same creature taking different forms, or are they different creatures? And if different, do they interact at all? What happens if Smiling Jack runs into the Midnight Clown?

I had finished the wrap and was pretty happy about it, so I sent it to my main brain-trust, Zig and Luke. Both seemed to like it. Had a few notes that I integrated, and a couple I ignored.

Thing is, though, I didn't want to work with other filmmakers on this one. I know it sounds dickish, but you have to understand how much work I end up putting in on the finished product, and at a certain point it simply makes more sense that if I'm going to do THAT amount of work, I might as well have directed the whole thing in the first place. It also will end up being a much more cohesive, consistent movie.

The final reason is that if I'm doing everything then there's less time with me waiting on other people to find out if they're going to actually finish their segment and/or turn in something good enough to put in the flick. I usually hit my deadlines when I make them, but a lot of others don't.

But that lead me to think...I KNOW there are other people who want to work in the Terrortory arena, because I've talked to them. I know Mark wants to do another segment. Dan probably does. My brain said...hey, why not do a Terrortory 2 and 3 nearly back to back?

I could do part two, and the other guys could do part three. If they need me to do a wraparound, I could do that...especially because I can explain just WHY Carly has a psychic nightmare about going to the Terrortory in part 1. (and it ties in to the wrap in part two)

I talked to Mark, who talked to Dan, and they seem to dig the idea. Mark will be taking the reins on part three though, which is a huge responsibility, so hopefully he understands how much weight is going to be on him.

That's why it appears that Terrortory 2 is my next gig. I always pursue the story, and that's where the story is taking me. As a filmmaker who invests at least two years of time in every film I do, I HAVE to be excited enough about an idea that I will stick with it for that long, and right now, Terrortory 2 is it.

Not that I don't have other scripts I'm just as excited to do. But when you're working in the micro-budget realm you have to take what you can do, and some of those scripts simply can't be done for peanuts.

Terrortory 2 is going to be much more ambitious than the first movie, I can tell you that. It will see the return of Smiling Jack and the Midnight Clown, plus a host of new baddies, some that were on the map, and some that will be added this time.

So if you haven't seen the first Terrortory, go check it out. We'll probably be doing a very limited dvd run soon, or you can rent it cheaply on Amazon still.

Hope you come along for the ride.

----

UPDATE:
I actually wrote this a month ago. I hesitated to post it because I've still been waffling about how hard it is to do. Like, maybe I should just forget it. I have other things I could probably do that would be easier.

Then this past weekend I was out of town for business, and heard that a snow storm was coming.

See, I have a quick scene in Terrortory 2 in the snow. Technically it was set during the day. And I figured I just wouldn't get to do it because there was no snow this year.

So I'm in Florida hearing about this snow coming. Sounds like there will be too much by Tuesday to get anybody but me to go out, so I think...maybe I can do it Monday night.

It's going to be brutal, I know. After a hard, sleep-deprived work weekend, to fly home Monday afternoon and get all the equipment ready, and line up actors(I only needed two)...would be tough.

But  we did it.

We went out at about 9pm. The snow had just started. I needed a nice coating on the ground, so we went into the woods and shot some tests as the snow fell.

Met a friendly guy named Patrick who was nice enough to come out and help us with some creature FX.

It took about 2.5 hours of waiting to get an okay layer of snow/ice on the ground. Wasn't as white as I wanted, but we were all freezing.

Shooting in sleet/ice is not fun. The equipment was getting wet. I couldn't see the viewscreen well, and when you have to focus in the dark...

I think we got it, but won't know until I sit down to edit.

But we're not going to launch into the heavy shooting until it gets warmer.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Not done here, I promise.

I'll have some stuff shortly, but I had to take a break for a while and had some paid editing work that I had to do over the holidays.

News and updates coming in the next two weeks...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Couple interesting notes about independent distribution

Joe Falcon was nice enough to point out this case study about another aggregator I'd never heard of called Quiver. The article is here:
http://nofilmschool.com/2016/11/cents-feature-film-distribution

Also, Jason got back to me again about Distribber. There's a podcast about one of their better-selling low budget zombie movies here that I haven't listened to yet, but am planning on it.
http://filmmakingstuff.podbean.com/e/ep-100-how-self-distributed-film-range-15-leveraged-distribber-to-access-itunes/

He says that Hulu is in a bit of a transition period right now--changing their deals up, so they're actually holding off making new deals there I think.

I really would like to find some other filmmakers with super-low budget movies who have tried Distribber, just to see what we might expect. Haven't found any yet though...

And as a note--you may have noticed me removing numbers in the other posts. The powers-that-be really don't want any metrics shared as far as minutes and whatnot. Getting kind of dickish, but don't wanna bite the hand that feeds, you know?

Especially when it's currently the only hand that's feeding...

As for Terrortory--while it's going down quite a bit in the minutes category, it's falling far slower in the countdown. It's still #16 in Horror, still top 150 overall.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

So...What Now?

No, not that. Not yet.

(Though I HAVE finished writing the wrap-around in case I do it)

I'm still talking the first flick. I think we're still on course to do about REDACTED minutes for November. Sure, it's a big down-tick, but it's NOVEMBER. People are getting into the OTHER holiday spirits...

One thing slightly concerning is Amazon's dashboard states it's all "estimates", and they don't appear to be kidding. Bounty in its first month, according to their dashboard, did 1.1 million but on the actual earnings chart they claim it's actual 957,000 minutes...

They also sent me this regarding a DIFFERENT month than that:

This message is to notify you that we made an adjustment to your estimated revenue for the month of September to be more accurate and align with the actual payment you can expect to receive. The royalty revenue displayed on the Dashboard report is an estimated amount. From time to time, you may notice an adjustment has been made to your estimated revenue, like the one in your account for September. 

As you might expect, that adjustment was not in my favor. Not a HUGE difference, but still less.

At a certain point, sure, you start wondering WHO'S auditing these guys to make sure they're honest...

ANYWAY

The question now is, do we pursue a distributor? (I've technically sent one screener out to a company I heard still gives advances, but haven't heard back yet)

Or do we use an aggregator to get the movie out elsewhere? I contacted Jason Brubaker on Distribber. He's always been a pretty upfront, reachable guy. I had talked to him before when he was working on Chill, another distribution service.

I asked him about Netflix, and submitting Terrortory to them now. He said that if it was exploited on Amazon Prime it probably won't get picked up by Netflix.

Now, it's not a big deal to me. I mean, let's say Netflix is going to give us $10K for 6 months or a year...and believe me, it could be less than that. Guess what, we just made that on Amazon in ONE month. So if I'm only going to put Terrortory on one of those, I'd just as soon it be Amazon.

He suggested trying Vudu or Hulu. Vudu costs around $1200 to submit through Distribber and Hulu costs $1000. If the outlets don't accept your movie, Distribber gives you all but $120 back(for processing).

I have NO idea what Vudu pays--doesn't seem to be details on the percentage. I don't like that they set their own prices(you can recommend, but it doesn't necessarily matter).

Hulu pays by the view OR by ads in your movie--if it's per view it's eighteen and a half cents per view...which is actually worse than Amazon unless your movie is under 70 minutes long...

Is it worth it to go through the rigamarole for those two outlets? Let's say I submit to one and they accept...am I ever going to make that $1K-$1200 back?

Questions I'm mulling over now...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Amazon Video Terrortory Finals

So we got to #6. Pretty incredible.

We're currently at #8, still hanging in the top 10.



In-freakin-credible.

We had a talk and decided to leave it up for free until we all decide to make it pay-only. At this point it still looks to be on track for a lot of minutes in November, and the odds that we're gonna make that much money on paid-streams...just not sure.

And to take the chance and make it pay-only, and then have to wait for Amazon's analytics to tell us how it's doing(and they've been up to 5 days behind on minutes, and they're currently 3 weeks behind on Earnings)...it could be dangerous.

What happens if we get very few paid streams, and we drop out of the top 100 super fast? Even if we switch it to free again, it's not likely we'll catch it in time to stop the drop.

And at this point it should all be profit, so why not make what we can? I'm thinking about sending it to a couple of distributors to test those waters. I'm sure they will frown at us exploiting the film on Amazon already, and I'd give a shit if they were paying any kind of reasonable advances nowadays, but...they're not.

---

On my other movies' front, Hunting Humans continue to out-perform Fear of Clowns 2. I really can't explain it. To be honest, FOC2 is the least-watched of ALL of my movies on Amazon when I was pretty sure it would be the most-watched.

Not sure how to explain it, especially when it's still selling on DVD.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#7? #7? WHAT'S HAPPENING?

Uh...man. Just when I think we REALLY can't go any higher...

It's going to be bittersweet if we push Tremors down to move up to #6, because I love that movie. (I totally won't mind pushing Zombie's Halloween out, FYI)

On top of that we've almost broken into the top 50 popular movies, which is way harder to do since you're competing against ALL movies, not just horror(as you can see, over 9,200 movies).

On every front Terrortory has exceeded our expectations.

Big thanks to everybody who has checked it out and left a review!