In less than 120 years, the motion picture has experienced phenomenal penetration into worldwide culture. Louis Lumiere created the Cinematographe in 1895; a portable device that would photograph, process and project motion pictures.
“The cinema is an invention without a future.”
In 1896, Thomas Alva Edison introduced the Vitascope projector, the first commercially successful projector in the United States. Edison had an equally low opinion of the commercial prospects for the motion picture. He thought movies were a passing fad, a novelty suitable for amusement arcades and nothing more.
Between 1900 and 1920, enormous enterprises arose around this “novelty.” Studios like Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox exploited this “invention without a future” and soon dominated the realm of moving pictures domestically and internationally.
Sound, Color, 3-D, Television, Sexploitation, Exploitation, Home Video, Digital Technology and the Internet have all been milestones in the evolution of this rapidly transforming, unpredictably evolving technology, business and art.
“I began making movies in the mid-80s. Home video was booming and I felt there were opportunities for a low-budget independent to make a buck. I wanted to produce the oddball, strange, gritty, imaginative sort of films that I’d seen at drive-in theaters and at fan conventions. Between 1984 and 1996 I did produce a few.
“A beat-up VHS copy of one of my early efforts recently sold on eBay for $90.00. A small base of collectors and fans are willing to pay substantial prices for unusual little films, especially if they are rare and unique.”
– Bret McCormick
While the motion picture matures as a technology, business and art-form, new methods for marketing and distributing indie productions must arise, otherwise these films have no exposure in the big marketplace. Gritty little horror films like Blood Feast, Dungeon of Harrow and Don’t Look in the Basement were once screened in theaters. Later, they were re-released onto cable TV and Home Video. Now, they are found on YouTube, which is good for the fans, but it does not generate income for the filmmaker.
Movies, even cheap ones, are expensive to produce. These indie budgets usually do not even factor in time, labor, creativity and the innate value of intellectual property; things that successful Hollywood artists take for granted. Indie film makers in America have been led to believe that somehow their efforts are not worthy of the same consideration. So, the question is; how does a film maker specializing in low-to-no-budget, indie films make money from his efforts, and what would motivate the fan to buy that film? Considering these questions, I came up with the following solution;
Limited Edition Collector’s Releases.
In my business plan, only 1,000 units of each film are released to collectors. That’s not 1,000 units of one particular packaging or “edition” of the film, but 1,000 units total worldwide for the life of the film maker. Once the 1,000 units are sold, the master elements will be vaulted and no further release in any format, anywhere in the world, will occur for these titles.
Let me explain why this is an excellent strategy for independent, low-to-no-budget films. These movies will sell 1,000 units at a price established by the film maker. This provides income and enables the artist to continue creating. Since only 1,000 units will exist EVER, the value of these units, especially unopened packages, will increase in a short amount of time. Within two years, these units will most likely be trading in the fan community for more than twice the retail value. This is good for both filmmakers and fans. These DVDs become not just great collectibles, but the sort of collectibles many consider an investment opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, a worn VHS copy of one of my early horror films recently sold for $90.00 on eBay. Units from limited edition offerings could easily sell for over 200% of original cost in the next 10 years. This too is good for both film makers and collectors.
With Limited Edition Collector’s Releases, each unit will be numbered and registered to a particular buyer. Should a collector decide to sell his unit(s) we ask that he register the sale with our office, so that we can keep track of the units and their downstream selling prices. This will also help to protect against piracy. Anyone questioning the authenticity of one of these DVDs can verify through our registry that it is in fact authentic.
The filmmakers reserve the right to hold units to sell as they see fit at a later date.
For years fans have been asking me when they will be able to get their hands on some of my more obscure movies. The answer is now!
And through Limited Edition Collector’s Releases it’s a better deal than it’s ever been for both the fans and the filmmakers.