I read once that Independent Films have a 99.8% failure rate, meaning only 0.2% ever make back their initial investment. That sounds exaggerated, but for most of us filmmakers, it’s effectively the truth.

It’s time to adopt a new strategy or get left behind.

For the past couple years, Timid Monster has been feeling our way through the nebulous world of self-distribution, looking for opportunities to set up shop and eek out a living doing what we’re passionate about: blowing crap up on camera and dishing out mad feels.

We’re happy to report that there is indeed a promised land…at least for our fellow sci-fi/fantasy producers: comic book conventions!

Here’s why we think you should join us:

FILM FESTIVALS ARE SO 2012

The old days of sending your film off to festivals in hopes of scoring a distribution deal are ending. Now that technology has made it possible for us plebes to self-distribute, will film festivals continue to be relevant?

I’m sure for the typical festival-fodder type films, yeah, probably. But for the rest of us? I’m going to wager a guess and say no.

But, what about building an impressive array of festival laurels? That’s important, right?

Yes…if you happen win best picture at Sundance.

If you’re self-distributing…it’s a bit of a meh. The average theater patron knows laurels are supposed to be important, but I doubt many outside the filmmaking community give them a second thought.

Besides…if you thought the proliferation of film festivals diluted the value of laurels, these days any amateur who lacks even the most basic concepts of how films are made can walk away from a local 48-Hour Film Competition with a half-dozen laurels.

IT’S WHERE THE FANS ARE

The bread and butter of the self-distributing filmmaker is their connections to fans. And if you want to connect with fans, you have to go to where the fans are. Ask yourself this: how many of your non-filmmaker friends actually go to film festivals? None of mine do. They’re all at the theaters paying $15 to watch Fast and Furious in 3D.

If you make anything remotely related to the sci-fi/fantasy/super hero genres, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity if you’re not spending every weekend at a con. The people there are super awesome and eager to discover the next big thing. Show up, share your heart, screen your film, do something fun to add value back into the con (we do a photo booth), and watch your social-media numbers soar.

THE MARKET ISN’T OVER-SATURATED (…yet)

The idea of having filmmakers tour comic conventions like bands tour dive bars is still pretty novel, especially at the smaller regional cons. In fact, when Timid Monster hits the road, we’re usually THE ONLY filmmaking team present.

All that exclusivity has been good for us. And you know what? Cons are like a big party; there’s room for you, too.

What are you waiting for?

And heck…if you’re in the Memphis-area, we’d like to personally introduce you to all our crazy con friends at our Memphis Sci-fi Cinema Showcase.

Dan Baker

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Dan works out his social anxieties by producing and directing films. He's a proud New Mexican, and prefers green over red.

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