Monday, June 6, 2011

Why Support A (yet ANOTHER!) Filmmaking Website?!...

As you may know, our Kickstarter fundraising campaign is in full swing. And we are always looking at ways to make it more effective, so I solicit feedback as much as possible. One of the main pieces of feedback I've been getting is people asking - just filmmakers, ironically - why filmmakers need yet another filmmaking website!

They are right to be suspicious of our plans. Although, the campaign title (The Greatest Filmmaking Website Ever Imagined!!!) was meant to be humorously (or so we thought) a bit-over-the top, we do indeed intend the site to be a one-stop shop. But not because we will be creating/building everything under the sun. It's because the site will be an organized, curated repository for everything a filmmaker needs to manage their filmmaking lives. And all the tools for creating it already exist out on the web right now.

Still, why support a (yet ANOTHER) filmmaking website?!

Well, the main reason is...NONE exist!

How can I say such a ridiculous thing? There are thousands of them. Really? I suppose it is all in how you define "filmmaking". To our minds, there are thousands of filmmaking-related websites offering all kinds of different cool (and sometimes, not-so-cool) things. And there are many that offer resources for some piece of the filmmaking puzzle. But there are no sites that we know of that help you manage the actual filmmaking process - from start to finish. But that's just a part of what the site is about. There's so much more.

However, it's clearly tough for people to have enthusiasm for something they cannot even conceive.

So, let's break it down, then. First of all, on a practical level, the very fact that there are so many websites for filmmakers is why ours is so necessary! Yes, you can grab bits and pieces of what you want/need all around the web, but that means you have jump between numerous sites, numerous logins, incompatible apps, unexportable content and data and docs and many more issues that make seamless management of your filmmaking work very challenging.

Secondly, as you know, I'm a filmmaker and Filmmakers Alliance has been around since 1993 providing resources and education to filmmakers. We've worked with many, many filmmakers over the years who've never been shy about articulating their needs. Through them, we've developed a pretty strong sense of what filmmakers need and how they need it. There are some very basic, intuitive ways to structure support for filmmakers that we're just not seeing in other sites. Even the good ones are incomplete. Our site will support the full spectrum of the filmmaking process - including distribution. The site will have an abundance of resources organized intuitively and for maximum ease-of-use, allowing filmmakers to access them easily and manage their projects. And we will be acting as curators for what is up on the site, insuring that everything there will be the best possible option for filmmakers.

Thirdly, and perhaps the most exciting thing about the site, is the creative connectivity we will encourage and facilitate on the site. Filmmakers Alliance is a collective and bringing together filmmakers in a way that gets films made - and made well - is what we do. And we are VERY excited about bringing that spirit and energy to our website through all kinds of collaborative tools and apps. Of course the site will be a connective hub - a matrix for the best of what's necessary for filmmakers that will grow in vibrancy and relevancy due to the contributions of the filmmakers themselves. But what's even more exciting for me personally, is that it will be a home for creative collaboration on a global level, facilitating the creation of all kinds of exciting new work. All of the resources and contributions will be tracked for geographical relevancy much like sites that offer discounts and benefits are doing now.

On top of all that, we are designing mobile apps, that will allow filmmakers access to resources on the go and, among other things, help filmmakers harness the power of social networks to get their films made AND build their film's niche audience. The new site will:

Connect filmmakers around the world with each other AND their potential audiences.

Connect filmmakers with special discounts, deals, incentives, promotions and other programs to benefit filmmakers.

Facilitate the creation and management of projects, resources, connectivity, and commerce.
Aggregate online resources for filmmakers while constantly seeking and/or developing new ones.

Organize and integrate filmmaking tools, resources, networks, projects, databases, and more in an intuitive fashion that creates maximum ease-of-use for filmmakers.

Provide a one-stop informational hub for all important activity in the filmmaking universe.

Educate filmmakers about all aspects of filmmaking.

We have a project manager and developers to produce our apps and web resources. They've had experience heading up and producing major sites. So, of course, all this does take some expense. We must create a foundation for it all, then to access resources, license them, build technological bridges to them or recreate them, when necessary. And what we are raising is a pittance compared to the millions often spent developing some of the stuff that's already out there. Conversely then, you may be asking how will we do all of this for $35k ($70k if you count the back-to-back campaigns)? We won't. We'll get it started and structure it in a way that will allow for 3rd party development, "white label" tech partners and user content contribution. In short, the filmmakers/users will help it become fully realized.

But why is any of this important? Simple. It will make filmmaking easier. There are many filmmaking orgs out there (along with the filmmaking-related sites), and they are there for a reason. Filmmakers need help. Lots of it. To this day, I get tons of calls and emails daily asking me for everything under the filmmaking sun. Clearly, filmmakers still need help educating themselves and accessing resources - anything from grants, to production insurance to good crews, to good marketing tools, etc. The easier we can make the filmmaking process, the faster we can move on to a conversation about the kinds of films we're making and how they can have a social and/or aesthetic impact on the world. And that conversation, too, will happen on the site.

A website is NOT going to save Independent Film, I'm told. That is not where the focus needs to be. Perhaps, it's not - in and of itself. Great independent filmmaking that is well-distributed will do that. But education, intelligent discourse, access to funding and resources, shared creativity and inspiration are all tools to help create those great, well-distributed independent films. And a site that provides and/or facilitates all of that will indeed do it's part to create an Independent Film renaissance.

And, finally, if you're asking "why should I care about independent film?", then you shouldn't even be reading this.

Please send me an email ( if you want a more detailed overview of what we're creating. We want to track those requests. We don't want that particular document out in the world for people to view anonymously.

Finally, if any of this has stimulated more thoughts and questions, please send them my way. If you are a filmmaker or film lover, we're doing this for you, so what you say to us is very important. Perhaps more valuable than you know.

To donate to this campaign, click HERE.


  1. Thanks so much, Peter!!

    Donate as much as is comfortable for you and get others to do the same. Spread the word! Send filmmakers who need more info to this blog post.

    It's a lot, I know. You have your own life. But you asked. And we really can create something special if enough of us get on board.

    In the meantime, check us out at