Writer Leigh Buchanan scribbled a hum-dinger of a piece of in the latest (July oh-twelve) edition of Inc. Magazine on aspiring Silicon Valley start-up maven Kurt Varner (pictured above), a man so determined to succeed he’s been camping out in his car chomping Cheetos, doing his ablutions at a local 24h fitness gym, and meeting with practically any Silicon Valley VC, bad man, or business innovator will meet him about his video-blogging site currently in development.
In short, the man is my fucking hero.
Rather than repeat the obvious, have yourself a read of the article before carrying on.
:: done yet? :::
Something stood out for me towards the end of that piece. Something Sir Varner said about the flexibility start-up players have and about their infallibility. Those two items really stood out for me. Said he:
“People who aren’t successful yet can do anything they want.”
Sing it brother. Sing it loud and proud.
I’ve written before about the flexibility indies must have as they go about their various marketing two-steps. About the need to keep the ultimate open mind, realizing that marketing and promotion on the DIY tip can be precarious indeed – armed with or (more often than not) without a marketing plan – willing to jettison approaches that clearly aren’t working, substituting others in their place, all the while maintaining a positive outlook on what’s coming down the pike, which might entail yet another round of adjustments, the entire process to be repeated yet again.
It’s relentless, grueling, occasionally disappointing, and it’s potentially expensive as sin.
But this is the good news…
Just about the finest part of DIY marketing and distribution (The M&D) today is the very fact that there are no rules.
It means you’re not shamelessly beholden to the distribution companies’ outdated marketing plans who squeeze your sac whenever they want you to sing soprano.
It means you can devote all your juice on any given day to any marketing task you wish…or not.
It also means your film receives all the attention it deserves, all of the hosannas you’re lavishing upon it, with your energies unsplit between competing projects across a variety of genres as would typically be the case as part of one of those bigger rosters, where more for yours means less for theirs.
But the indies I’m talking to aren’t seeing the advantages here. They’re still terrified by what they’re not getting, instead of what they’re gaining. They’re constantly worried by the prospect of not becoming one of the cool kids. About being left out in the cold without a distribution deal (cue nailbiting to the quick). About not being able to name-drop like a silver-tongued studio executive.
Come to think of it, it’s almost like that line Tom Hiddleston’s Loki says in The Avengers (paraphrasing): Freedom is the biggest threat to the human race, because it seeks nothing more than to be ruled. Choice is anarchy. Limitation of choice is bliss.
The future of indie film is a warm golden, but we’re still battling it out in the muck- and vermin-infested WWI trenches. Friend, foe, and comrade alike are mired in the soupy viscous odoriferous inertia of it all. We’re diseased, addled, limbless, stressed, festering, exhausted, and craving our former idyllic lifestyles surrounded by green flora, warm meals, buxom partners, immaculately clean sheets, and the absence of the reek of cordite or mustard gas, but still stranded in the middle of this damn once-field until we make that next ridge just over there. It’s so close we can almost taste it…
All of us – soldiers in the battle to shatter the staid, outdated ways of engaging fans for our particular brand of peppy snarky schmaltz – can see the high objective just off along the destoryed horizon, just a mortar-shot away, but we’re helplessly indoctrinated by the way we’ve been living our lives in this dunghole for the past three years of our unfortunate young conscripted lives.
We’re indoctrinated by incessant battle cries, by the invasive barking of drill sergeants shouting orders of “once more over the ramparts” (in whichever national language, preferably English), by the hellish shrieks of our gruesomely-mauled colleagues who are now missing fingers, ears, lips, and eyeballs, who dared to take the risk and expose their sensitive, but filthy, organs above the lip of the cave only have to have it nearly blown off by a sniper’s bullet or Fritz Haber’s mustard gas clouds. By the incessant rat-rat-rat of Gatling guns which ceaselessly fire bullets into our position. Damn.
But it can’t last forever. Even the lowliest of low rank G.I. Joes knows that.
Economies can’t sustain their nationally-lead wars of attrition indefinitely. Grunts are not immutable machines: they depreciate and deteriorate. They decline and suffer from post-trauma. They are fallible. They long for glory, but they also crave sustenance and the most basic needs a human can desire.
And when those amped-up sentries loses concentration for even the slightest of seconds, gently lowering their rifle, it provides our sharpshooters with an opening and that’s when we move. We fire at all. It’s when indies rally themselves once more, digging down deep within their humanity to hurl their living scraped lice-ridden carcasses over that crusty parapet once more to storm the enemy’s gates. Ooh-rah!!!
They leap over the razor wire emplacements as they dash across the shifting tides of muck, galloping one after the other over dead war horses, remnants of men, abandoned canons, Lee-Enfield rifles, shrapnel, and fire, fire, fire away, establishing a new reality.
It’s this vision I want my client-cum-charges, as PMD, to keep in mind as we make our way to the next objective. It’s so close, yet seems so far. But I keep telling them they’ve got to know that by the end of this battle it will indeed be ours, and ours alone. We will storm their fort and earn their high ground. We will win and establish the new rules by which the game is played.
If you manage to survive long enough, you’ll live to see the day.
So who’s with me? Let’s DO this!
Adam Daniel Mezei, PMD | Producer of Marketing and Distribution
Indie Audience Engagement Services for Independent Feature Films and Documentaries
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