A year ago, I launched my website to release my short film, “Song of Relations”.
At that time I didn’t know most of you who might be reading this now and even less about whether I was starting anything that was actually going to go anywhere. The goal wasn’t to make a million dollars, or to get so many hits that my site would crash. It was to see if, as someone that nobody had ever heard of, I could release a film online, promote it through nothing more than word of mouth and aggressive (but not freakishly invasive) social media use and have people who had no reason to follow me before become followers. I wasn’t even on Facebook. 100 people who had no idea who I was are now following me on Twitter, a social network I wasn’t using. And that’s not counting people like those social media “marketing gurus” that pop up out of nowhere and attach themselves to you for a week to see if you’ll generate them some traffic.
I started writing at a time (watch now how I make the late 90s sound like we were all driving around in “Model T”s) when the ideology was, ‘if you wanna make it as a writer/filmmaker bad enough, you’ll make it and if you don’t make it it’s cause you really didn’t want it bad enough’. Well, that was a load of crap because it was basically impossible to make it as an independent filmmaker in the 90s and most of the people who did make it at Sundance or Moonjig or Raintwirl aren’t around anymore. No amount of wanting it bad enough can erase the reality that a filmmaker who didn’t have a place to show a movie, very simply wasn’t a filmmaker. Not in the generally accepted meaning of the term. This experiment with my site was really important to me because it proved now that we can not only make our films on our own, which is all independent meant 10 years ago, but that we can actually have people watch them now too. Trust me, for people like me, a finished film in a closet and a finished film with an audience online no matter the size isn’t just a huge thing. It’s everything.
As a kid, by the time I was old enough to have a birthday party, I was way beyond the point where I was able to enjoy seeing a big, fat “1” on top of a cake. Well, to be fair, all of us were. I think my first cake was 10 or 11. I don’t really love sweets and birthday cake was never really something I pushed for on my birthday. Quantity of actual hang-out-outside-of-school friends had something to do with this as well, but that’s another story, maybe even a potential script. So as my site turns one, I think about how I promised myself that if it became evident that my little 11 minute film that was up for free on my own site with no promotions went nowhere and wasn’t seen, I’d seriously consider how much more to push this. So it was a bit scary. It would be hard to ignore being… well, ignored. I am not only happy, but extraordinarily lucky that someone watched. Really, it could have been embarrassing. There’s a lot of content out there online and we eat it up in North America faster and in greater quantities than any other place in the world. It’s tough to be noticed, let alone stand out. So, again, thank you. Thank you for watching, for writing and following, and for helping me blow out a virtual, but nevertheless giant number “1” birthday candle.
I also want to use this post to announce that there is rather big news coming very, very soon.