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Producers - A new payment model?

06 Jun 2018 13:12 #59725 by JonX
Producers - A new payment model? was created by JonX
The normal process:

1. Put together $XXXX, find the actresses, find the location, find the actors, put together the props, the story, etc, etc
2. Shoot
3. Edit and post-production - pay for special effects, etc
4. Upload to website
5. Tell everyone
...
6. Wake up to find the movie you spent $XXXX to make, is now on video websites

It's disheartening and utterly gutting to see this.
We - Producers - have to put up with people (customers) paying for the video and then uploading it for everyone to watch for free. 
But its part of the world we now live. 
And there's nothing we can do about it.

Or is there?

Can anyone suggest to me (and therefore all producers), any alternative payment models?
The cost of creating a movie is high. Especially with special effects, and especially with well-known models 
I think Bluestone are trialling a pay-first model where they have to collect $X before they will shoot? (this is unconfirmed btw)

I don't know... I thought I'd kick off a conversation to see whether anyone may be able to help.

Thanks!

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06 Jun 2018 13:33 - 06 Jun 2018 13:35 #59727 by kikass2014
Replied by kikass2014 on topic Producers - A new payment model?
There really isn't anything you can do, and has been a problem that has plagued digital since its inception.

During the analogue era, copies would degrade.  Thus the customer would be getting inferior copies.  With digital, the copy is the EXACT same quality as the original.  

Also, the distribution method of digital means it can be transmitted around the world.  VHS tapes had to be lugged around in a suitcase.

The way you suggest, pay up front then shoot, sounds like a good idea.  However, your timetable better be crack-a-jack slick.  No one wants to pay upfront and then be told delay, delay, delay, etc. with no idea if the product will be released (I'm not just referring to you, but all producers and even Kickstarter projects).

Short of that, I can't really think of any other option.  Any other just requires one person to put it online for free after purchasing it themselves.  At least the up-front way, you cover your costs/make a profit (before it inevitably gets posted online). 

Just my 2 cents as they say.

Peace.

/K
Last edit: 06 Jun 2018 13:35 by kikass2014.

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06 Jun 2018 13:37 #59728 by JonX
Replied by JonX on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Hey, thanks for the reply. 
I agree entirely.
I'm not 100% in favour of the pre-pay model because personally, I'd want to know what I'm getting before I paid.
But maybe its something worth exploring.
Thanks!
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06 Jun 2018 13:49 - 06 Jun 2018 13:51 #59730 by kikass2014
Replied by kikass2014 on topic Producers - A new payment model?

I'd want to know what I'm getting before I paid.


LOL :D  Thats actually a very good point I overlooked :P

But sure, it is worth exploring.  Though (working in digital) I can tell you, there are, in theory, no ways to totally protect it.  DRM?  Can be bypassed.  Codec-lock?  Can be bypassed.

Take games for example.  CD-Keys, password protection, No-CD patches, etc.  All bypassed.  Thats the reason games now (all in the future), are online client-server models.  You don't pay, you don't access the game. 

I wish you the best of luck.  If you can crack that nut, let me know :P

Peace.

/K

P.S.  Maybe a streaming service?  Just spit-balling off the top of my head here.  Even that probably isn't 100% solid.
Last edit: 06 Jun 2018 13:51 by kikass2014.

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06 Jun 2018 15:58 #59733 by elnovo1234
Replied by elnovo1234 on topic Producers - A new payment model?
That sucks to put a lot of effort and try to make money out of your movie to find that. Try vimeo.

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06 Jun 2018 16:32 #59736 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Sorry to hear your product has been stolen already.
And I do consider this theft and anyone that watches movies on these sites are criminals after the fact.

Having said all that I don't see how paying upfront will change anything.
Lets say I pay upfront and Badguy pays upfront also.
I get a clear digital copy.
Badguy gets a clear digital copy.
I enjoy my video at home.
Badguy uploads video and spreads it around.

Also, I have supported Kickstarter, Indegogo and other crowd funded projects that have fallen away and my money is gone.
Not saying you would do this JonX.
I have also prepaid for a movie and the movie delivered was VERY different than the movie promised.
I don't know which one hurt the most.

Good luck finding a work around.

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06 Jun 2018 16:38 #59738 by JessP
Replied by JessP on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Hiya Jon,
I agree that piracy is a big problem, but it's not THE problem.
I think the biggest hindrance facing us is the "pay-to-play" business model itself. I've been trying to figure this out since I launched Wicked City Girls almost 4 years ago.
I treat every one of my releases like a small movie; I work with a full
crew, professional gear, sometimes hundreds of VFX shots, dozens of
actors, carefully-planned choreography, music...you get the point.
I've never once covered my costs with any of my releases; not even close.
I've spent the last year shooting commercials and corporate videos to keep
the lights on, but trust me, I'd rather be making WCG movies.
The audience is there, but the money isn't. Why is that? How do we break out of this?
YouTube isn't an option. I can't monetize anything that's not G-rated, and even
if I could, my videos would need to pull in millions of views just to
cover my production costs.
Amazon Instant and Vimeo don't pay enough either; not by a long shot.
Crowd funding might work for a little while, but it's not sustainable.
So now what? With Wonder Woman on the big screen and Supergirl on the
small screen, do fans even care about us small-time producers anymore?
Maybe. (I don't think either of those shows are giving us what we want to see...)

There's no easy answer here, but I do have some ideas...
  • We need to be on multiple platforms for starters--streaming, VOD, direct sales; everywhere.
  • We need to promote better: the fans are out there, we just need to reach all of them.
  • Strength in numbers: us producers need to work together...
  • Think bigger: No more random videos; start working toward streaming series, feature-length movies, pilots...stuff that gives fans as much bang for their buck as we can produce...
We can do this, we just gotta think outside the box because I'm not throwing in the towel just yet!
~Jess~

(TKS: You wanna jump in here?)
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06 Jun 2018 16:45 - 06 Jun 2018 16:57 #59740 by five_red
Replied by five_red on topic Producers - A new payment model?
There's a number of alternative ways of funding used by the podcast community. The most popular is  Patreon , which allows people to make one-off or scheduled donations to support an artist. One tactic podcasters use is to release bonus content to Patreon customers, like extended episodes or bonus episodes, while keeping the main vanilla podcast free to download. Rather than fund their work through a small number of buyers each paying $15, the idea is to gather a large community of people who are prepared to regularly tip you a couple of dollars per podcast, plus occasional larger donations.

What might be an option is to release the video itself for free in SD quality, then put up bonus material, extended cuts, and HD versions, for people who pre-paid and/or donated. Bonus materials could include short cast interviews (perhaps the 'heroines' answering questions submitted by pre-paying customers?), cutting-room floor shots and bloopers, deleted scenes, raw unprocessed SFX footage, BTS footage, costume try-on footage, etc. Perhaps even exclusive access for pre-payers to BTS pics just hours after filming ends. The cut-down free SD version then has ad captions at two or three points during its running time pointing people towards the Patreon donation page and its rewards.

My guess is that once the SD version is in free circulation on web sites, there won't be much desire to put up another version of the video, even if it is HD and longer. Even if someone does eventually put up the HD version, chances are it will be ignored and mistaken for the SD version. If you can make the bonus materials really compelling, you may be able to get enough pre-payers and/or big enough army of regular donators to support the production.

Not perfect, but just an idea...

EDIT: Another option for non-pornographic videos is to explore the new market of streaming boxes. Both the Amazon Fire Stick and the Roku are small devices designed to bring streaming services (like Netflix and Amazon) to TV sets -- more importantly, just like smart phone app stores they are open platforms that anyone can create a 'channel' for (so long as you abide by the store guidelines.) The infrastructure to take card payments of various types, including one-off payments and ongoing subscriptions, is built into each platform -- although I suspect you have to give Roku or Amazon a cut of the money (as you do with mobile apps.) A 'superheroine' smart tv channel that brings together paid content from various producers might be something to consider, if not right now, then perhaps in the near future.


R5

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Supergirl: the Life and Times of Kara Zor-El: maidofmight.wordpress.com/
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Last edit: 06 Jun 2018 16:57 by five_red.

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06 Jun 2018 17:02 #59741 by angels
Replied by angels on topic Producers - A new payment model?
The idea of a kickstarter or something is appealing, if only because you put the minimum amount needed to fund the film as the base amount. If it makes the goal, you at the very least break even. Consider stretch goals and different payment levels to entice buyers - photo galleries with the actresses in costume, extended cuts, private vignettes of powers being used for the higher dollar donations, etc. The backers get a high quality video link and you don’t lose money on the endeavor. If it’s shared beyond that, at least it doesn’t affect your bottom line.

I would expect a pretty detailed synopsis of the film plus a minimum length of X minutes (since a lot of that is done via editing) up front, but your previous work absolutely speaks for itself in terms of quality. I would donate right now to something like this if it weren’t for -

Your reliability in this space. Sorry to be blunt, but while you put out the highest quality of content time and time again, you’ve earned a very much deserved reputation of overpromising and don’t even come close to hitting your advertised deadlines. I get that there are a ton of moving parts to this business and a lot to coordinate when working with third party effects, but you won’t be able to make it a reoccurring thing if the product doesn’t get delivered near the advertised date. That would be my reluctance to giving you a dime up front - I have no idea if I’ll ever see a video. 

If you you can put up an enticing synopsis (hell, “gorgeous woman in supergirl costume” would be enough for most people) AND give a detailed plan around why you’ll actually make the deadlines you set, you’d have no problem with funding and wouldn’t have to worry about assholes stealing your work.

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06 Jun 2018 17:31 #59742 by kikass2014
Replied by kikass2014 on topic Producers - A new payment model?

....

  • Think bigger: No more random videos; start working toward streaming series, feature-length movies, pilots...stuff that gives fans as much bang for their buck as we can produce...
...



A streaming service between Jon, Jess and TKS??????

With monthly serialized/cinematic universe supergirl-themed show/movies????

WHERE DO I SIGN UP!!!!! :P



Make it happen and I will be there : ) 

Peace.

/K

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06 Jun 2018 17:46 #59744 by Hidden_78
Replied by Hidden_78 on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Hi Jess,

You might have nailed it with the working together thing.  I think everything you do is gold, and I've bought everything you've released.  I'd be happy to pay for a subscription service to help cover the cost fo production (Patreon etc) but, given the effort that goes into each of these movies, the time between releases is quite long.  If all the producers worked together, coordinating your release dates, you'd have regular new content.  Then you could set-up a shared site to streaming only (no downloads) for regular subscribers.  Maybe leave anything new on there for a few weeks/months before it's released for general sale (or free download for subscribers).  You could then sort the royalties based on the number of views, so that people can't take a slice of your profit by releasing any old crap.  We're such a niche community and you're the only people making what we like, if you can't cover your costs then everyone loses out.

Please, please do keep up the good work though, you're very much appreciated!  Speaking of which, anything new on the horizon?

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06 Jun 2018 17:57 #59745 by erikphandel
Replied by erikphandel on topic Producers - A new payment model?
I don't think you can do anything about other sites uploading your stuff to be honest, other than reporting it whenever you can, and having the proper legal paperwork to produce your movies. It sucks hard, but that's the world we live in.

I'd make a few suggestions:

- Offer higher quality than what is available for free. Usually you find these things on other sites, at most, at 480p. If you offer a HD version of it, you will get more money
- Upload teasers/trailers/short versions on a verified, monetizable account on Pornhub. It may seem counter intuitive, but you'd be taking your product right to the people that are looking for it for free, and you'd get money out of the ads. Put a little message at the end saying "Find the full movie on superheroines.net" and you'll get more clients for sure, and a nice ad revenue boost
- Offer special perks to people who are patrons of the site. Q&A sessions with you and the actresses, behind the scenes photos and vids, interviews, early release of scripts, autographed pictures, any number of things that can be done to incentive people to go to your site instead of going for free
- Keep fighting, don't give up. Your core clientele will always be here for you. We love your shit
- If you ever increase your prices, be very clear and upfront about the reasons. Show receipts, talk about production costs, explain that this isn't your only job, etc. The worst thing you can do is just rise the prices without telling anyone anything. I don't think you'd do it, but it never hurts to say it. Price increases can be justified, but are not always so

Anyways, that's what I have to give you. I hope the support people show you here is enough to keep you going. Honestly, your stuff is amazing, and unique in quality on the internet. I hope you never stop

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06 Jun 2018 18:42 - 06 Jun 2018 18:43 #59747 by JessP
Replied by JessP on topic Producers - A new payment model?
@Hidden:
Yep, Iridium is finished! We're working on a plan for release now :)

Last edit: 06 Jun 2018 18:43 by JessP.
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06 Jun 2018 18:47 #59748 by kikass2014
Replied by kikass2014 on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Day one purchase :D Looking forward to it :P

Oh Jess, how I have missed you and the WCG :D   Glad to hear you are still producing work in our genre : )

Peace.

/K

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06 Jun 2018 19:54 #59750 by SHTL
Replied by SHTL on topic Producers - A new payment model?
Here there are so many people ready to buy Iridium ! Please just tell us where and when and we all are ready ! 
SHTL

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06 Jun 2018 20:29 #59753 by lfan
Replied by lfan on topic Producers - A new payment model?
It's a real shame that people -- some of them here -- are real aholes and do not respect the time and effort of our genre producers, feeling so entitled that everything on the internet should be free.

Personally, if I see a SWM member sharing stuff like that -- they are banned.  Period.  I personally have banned about 10 people at different times, and I will continue to.  Problem is, all they do is change their emails usually and can get back on in a few weeks.

Couple of thoughts/points:

1)  My advice to the producers is stay vigilant!  Bookmark all the common share sites like saradas and pornhub.  Its pretty easy to find on both sites if its being shared, and the moderators are fairly agreeable with taking the content down.  I've notified producers when I see it shared, and people will get it for free but at least try and protect your content.

2)  In terms of the streaming channel, I would love to see that.  Maiden Network was/is a great idea with awful execution, IMO.  There needs to be a pretty big library of original content to be successful IMO which was something that Maiden severely lacked.  I still believe someone ambitious with the right vision (Jim/Jess?) could pull this off.  We'd throw The Awakening on there as well (which you can view on Amazon Prime these days) if you ever pulled it off :)

3)  Someone mention expanding the customer base.  I still have this fantasy belief that if our genre producers somehow could leverage the powerbase of some cosplayers (e.g. Jessica Negri, Yaya, AZPG, etc.), they could see much higher sales.  Of course, they probably won't come cheaply, but it would be interesting to see.  JonX has some well-known models (who look great) but I'm talking about leveraging the more geekdom side of the followers with the cosplayers.   I know Random had some success with AZPG a while ago (another one coming out soon) and I know TKS was trying to secure a pair of famous "fitness twins" but that fell through.  Still food for thought....

Speaking I think for Fats, SWM would love to help out however we can.  I personally am not on here nearly as much as I used to be but if any producer would like to discuss anything from my experiences with SGI, SWM, the Steele sites, Awakening, or other sites I've helped, feel free to drop me an email.....

ElF

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06 Jun 2018 21:05 #59754 by fats
Replied by fats on topic Producers - A new payment model?
You all know that I will help anyone out, I've looked at the idea of having a paywall section of the site where content producers could have a subsite that they could post links to exclusive content, it's doable all I really need is a proper SSL cert and some time and we could have it up and running.

In terms of content leaked and how to deal with it, there are solutions, one of the most secure is to wear a frame of the video is edited with the  buyers details, it's hard to see and if they leak the content out you can download it check the frame and take the legal action.

Patreon has been talked about, it does work, I know if a ren'py game that pulls in over $33k per month (over $420k per year) and only releases 4 updates per year, so patreon can work.

Maybe what needs to happen is all the content producers get behind one brand with each of their brands being sub-brands, have people pay to the main brand with the money going to the brand that produced the content, have all the marketing and logistics handled by the main brand so instead of say 5 little producers each having the overheads of a small producer.

But to say that if people need help I'm always available.

Fats
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06 Jun 2018 23:03 #59756 by tks
Replied by tks on topic Producers - A new payment model?
This is a really interesting topic.

I think Actually to answer Jon Xs query at the start I have no Idea at all what the best avenue is but there is some really interesting insight on this thread and loads of food for thought.

I think for me and I know the other guys the margins are very tight so any possible distribution platform that costs (which is most) presents a fairly big risk and there is always the threat of piracy too.

content wise again the risk in pushing the production values is an increase in costs and either you gotta absorb it or pass it on to the customer, or in a dream world increase your customer base. But there are obvious risks and challenges with this too.

truth be told I’m a maker more than a marketer and I really don’t know what the next steps might be with this. Sorry my insight is useless but actually reading these comments is generating good Ideas. 

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07 Jun 2018 00:48 #59757 by veggicidal
Replied by veggicidal on topic Producers - A new payment model?
At least one interim solution might be to just aggressively file DMCAs every time you see your videos somewhere they don't belong. That might discourage bad behavior in the short term. I don't know how effective that is, though.

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07 Jun 2018 12:43 #59763 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Producers - A new payment model?
This is an incredibly interesting thread.
I have to go back to what JonX said early.
I like to know what i am buying before i pay for it.

Both JonX and TKS have new movies out now that are being well received by this Forum.
From past experience I am sure they are high quality products
I am skipping both of them.
Good girl turns bad is my least favorite plot in our little genre.
Both movies feature this trope.

If a subscription streaming service existed my money would have been spent on two movies I have no intention of seeing.
As I stated earlier I have funded projects in the past and the finished product was different than I was promised.
I am afraid the old way works best for me.
The producer takes the risk and I choose to buy a finished product.
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