Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Sound of Facebook

Chris Jones, author of The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook, and a fine video director himself, organised a Guerilla Film Makers Masterclass, at the rather wonderful Regents College, just behind London's Baker Street tube station.

Jones is a great motivational coach and inspirational speaker, but there wasn't much in his presentation about finding an audience or making a real profit out of video making. He taught us how to raise finance, but he didn't offer a clear route to actually making a return on any finance a video maker might get. His rather chilling message was make your life sustainable, presumably get a job on a Tesco check out to pay the rent!

His personal experience has been utterly awful, when it comes to getting returns. Yes he's made quite a few films and his recent stuff is wonderful, but the angels who gave him the money to make those films, or at least the early ones, did not fare well.

From what we heard Chris Jones' experience of dealing with sales agents has been utterly dire. They have almost invariably gone bust, disappeared with all the money or both.

Well, no doubt, if he looked at my track record he'd have some pretty awful things to say about me!

Jones came up with a constant stream of good ideas, including the rather excellent thought that a new video maker wanting to create a break through video (one that would get noticed) could do worse than form a limited company and re-make Jesus Christ, Superstar. Since there would be no intention to make money, the fact that it would have been a flagrant breach of copyright would be of no significance. If the copyright owner decided to sue, this would simply force the company to go bust and there would be a lot more publicity for the project.

Good thinking, though I doubt if anyone would be silly enough to sue.

I was there with Tony Coll, a Bristol based video maker I work with sometimes, and met Richard Woodburn, one of the Rose & Crown (Walthamstow) group of video makers.

Tony suggested that the hubbub of the huge audience when Chris Jones invited them to do some networking by talking to their neighbours, was the sound of Facebook, a great idea I think. Richard got a good laugh when he suggested the principle of crowd funding should be applied to attempting to raise enough money to get a round of drinks for everyone.

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