Author Topic: The House, The Yard and The Fence  (Read 1662 times)

Offline chickman

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The House, The Yard and The Fence
« on: January 30, 2011, 11:52:25 am »
Hey so I had drinks with some friends last night and next to us I started a very interesting conversation about the subject of this post.

I'm a 32 year old American American male who has been able to help create an Internet company that has grown into 120+ employees across 7 offices worldwide.

While I love tech I have always had this other side to me that loved entertainment more. My first step was to help out a struggling band try and use my Internet company to drive hundreds of thousands of people to their youtube and myspace (yes that probably dates this event). We were able to bring in more users to listen to their music for the week than the number one artist on myspace at the time Akon. With all of that steam behind them it was still impossible to "break" the artist.

This would be the start of a problem that would follow me for the next 4 years.

Distribution. No matter how many people we could interface with to push the music if they could not go to their local stores and purchase it meant nothing. Yea sure the CD was released in BestBuy but 2-4 copies each store waaaaaaay in the back. We were unsuccessful before we even had a chance to realize it.

Music business was built on very unique taste... maybe we just had the wrong band...

From here we went into the big leagues Movie Making! Its got to be easier right? Where music is very selective for people, movies tend to appeal to a broader spectrum. Looking back yea I was younger what can I say. Produced the first film Mary Hatchet: The Legend of Blood Night, it was fun to make and I was sure it would at minimum it would be good enough to make back its budget.

I was hyped!!!

Then I realized it was 2 years later and we were struggling to get distribution. The movie had all the ingredients for a throwback horror film but that wasn't enough there seemed to be something else working adjacent to us.

My excitement deflated but it didn't stop me, screw it I would produce the next feature more closely and squeeze the budget to lower the risk of return. Kill Katie Malone was created in short time, under budget and ready for action. This time sales agents were all over the film but once a contract was signed they made every excuse under the stars as to why they were having trouble re-selling the movie, getting distribution.

In the midst of creating two movies I went back to my very first love Comic Books. I had two series created, scoured the Internet for talent and hired talent who worked for Marvel/DC/Wildstorm/Top Cow. The first book Empyreal (http://www.legendarypress.com/wordpress/) looks and reads amazingly. What was created was a very Chinese centric book with all of the action and mysticism from the movies I loved while growing up.
Repetitive yes but I was stooked!
I went with BlackLine Comics to publish the book. They rocked a good vibe and were excited by me using my Internet marketing company to promote the hell out of the book.

Instant success story here right? Up to a month ago this is where my head was up until...

Diamond (basically the only distributor in comics) said that this "type" of book traditionally does not do good on the market. Now having been around the comic convention scene I kind of can see their trepidation for the genre but this book is a different beast. I could promote the book online to hundreds of thousands of possible readers but if its not on the comic rack; point = moot.

So back to my Subject Title : The House, The Yard and The Fence

See its like this you got this House where it only fits a certain amount of people in it, its invitation only and if you cant get in then you are out in the yard. The yard is a big yard where people who come to the house wait and wait assuming that at some point they will get in the house. But the yard is surrounded by a pretty fence. Outside the fence people gawk at the house and the lovely yard and sit along side the fence wanting oh so bad to get inside the yard.

Any industry is like this, these layers of who's in and who's out. You can have the greatest product but if someone inside the house doesn't recognize it then at max you will always be secluded to the yard.

Ladies and Gentlemen I'm stuck out in the yard, if you think that I've done some really cool stuff then you might be viewing it from the other side of the fence or standing in the yard with me. However if your in the house and what I've done sounds interesting how about letting me in.


Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: The House, The Yard and The Fence
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011, 12:00:20 pm »
Welcome to the forum.  Great post.

All of your problems seem grounded your reliance on traditional distribution. 

Young people don't buy CDs, so why bother dealing with big box retailers?  Just sell the music via downloads?

Release the comic book digitally, and add bells and whistles that you can't get on a piece of paper.

The economic model for recoupling the production cost of a movie is a lot harder relying solely on digital distribution, but did you try and cut a deal with a DVD distributor and/cable outlet? 

There's a glut of entertainment product in film, music and comics.  But if you have commercial product and effective marketing, you can make money. 

Offline chickman

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Re: The House, The Yard and The Fence
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 08:13:08 pm »
Thank you Mr. Hudlin reading around the forum I like what's being discussed by your users.

The CD was released right at the beginning of the itunes revolution ('06) and its a victim of right thinking wrong time.

On the film side we actually tried to release BloodNight digitally and while we sold some (about a thousand copies dover three months), thats paled in comparison to when Anchor Bay released it in Australia and knocked out 20K in a month.

So the digital comic book funny you mention it, I had a system architected over the past couple of years and its packed with things you simply can't do on paper. The biggest thing about the system is that it allows for purchase or ad-supported comics. Good news the system is done and I'm close to basically testing out the theory. Will a user pay for a digital comic book? Or on the other side can you add enough value for an advertiser to engage this "reader" that it pays for the cost of the book. Honestly I'm hoping to go the ad-supported route and add in "extras" for cost to the user. To note I've gotten a lot of opposition from traditional paper comic book readers.

So over the course of these projects my approach has been schizophrenic at best, where I'm all gung-ho about kicking tradition and going digital but I end up having to go back and try traditional means of distribution.
I'm 100% certain that digital is the way to distribute but I also feel that the market hasn't caught up yet. People are totally into the idea of getting content via the Internet if they are comfortable with how they get the content.


I agree there is a glut of content out there but take for instance music, basically everyone knows an artist that should get play however no matter how good, trendy, similar they are to the mainstream they are not as big as they should be. You turn on your radio and its the same people in rotation being played on the top stations.  You've got a lot of content being produced behind the scenes but only a very very small percentage is being presented to the audience. You can leapfrog this bottle neck but oddly thats when even the audience starts looking at you funny. Its as if not being part of that machine makes users/audience surprisingly uncomfortable.

The next thing is trying to get theatrical movies to launch at home simultaneously at a premium price. I'm cooler than the average user and i find even myself going, well I'm good waiting 4-6 months after theatrical to watch it on DVD/BLURAY/DOWNLOAD. The industry is going to have to break my habit which is funny because I'm fully aware of it.
So my advice in going digital is to watch how you do it because if you buck the trend and go left just a bit too much you will loose the possible engagement with the user aka freak them the out. 

Thanks for the advice Mr. Hudlin,

Always a pleasure

Carlton Hickman

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: The House, The Yard and The Fence
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 08:23:25 pm »
Ah ha!  I had a feeling it was you.

Let's talk tomorrow.  I have been seriously meaning to talk to you for months, at the least. 

Your market experiments have been interesting.  I have some specific questions.....