Stop Making Features – Sheri’s response

Earlier tonight we posted a blog about Sheri Candler’s recent tweet, and she wrote a response within the comments section, which, quite frankly, deserves a  published response on the blog. So here, for the first time ever, by accident, is Sheri Candler’s guest blog on The 72 Project:

Thanks James for mentioning the Twitter discussion, which did get quite heated. I’ve been reading the (online) news recently about some very high profile figures in film world who are either investing in short online content networks or leaving their posts at the studios to run some of these networks.

To me, it is a very early indication that the future does not lie in long form, feature films and the theatrical experience. It lies in the online global reach of short content found on MCNs and independent channels. Disney just lost an exec to AwesomenessTV while investing $33mil in it last Spring, Canal+ just invested in MCN Studio Bagel, Maker Studios is now headlining the MIPTV Digital Fronts, Zefr raised $30mil for its digital rights management company…the future is not in the cinema, not in long form.

But that doesn’t mean storytelling as an art form is in danger. And it doesn’t mean that collaboration is dead either. Freddie Wong and RocketJump just used crowdfunding a 3rd time to make their episodic Video Game High School (total raise for 3 seasons in 3 consecutive years? over $1.9mil) which one single person doesn’t make. There is a team.

That isn’t the only money they make either. That kind of crowd support makes his work very attractive to sponsors and he also distributes it via Blu-ray DVD, iTunes, Netflix, Microsoft Xbox Live, and Sony’s PlayStation Network which is revenue.

What I hope to encourage is thinking beyond one format, beyond one budget level. It is entirely possible to create new material EVERY DAY. What feature film director can do that? And you can make money at it as opposed to the constant begging for investors or film fund money and waiting for the yes before creating and hoping someone will distribute it and you see money from it. That is very dated thinking, now there are many ways to get work out there, create it for very little, and many more ways to make money at it.

Stop clinging to the ideas from childhood, thinking that storytelling is only legitimate if it is in feature form. That will be a one way ticket to Irrelevant Town.

My suggestion is to carry Sheri’s comments into the debate next Tuesday and discuss. Sheri raises some serious points here that make sense, especially about the ‘dated thinking’ within film, yet some are already moving beyond it.
Thanks must go to Sheri for taking the time to reply and for taking such an interest in the community in the first place.

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