It is said, there is no net in documentary filmmaking. And it is true, there is no profit. But that is going to change, here and now, because of you. What's more - you are going to share in that profit.
Allow us to explain. Documentary funding is often the biggest hurdle faced by documentary filmmakers. The process of generating funds from various sources to get the film done, is actually the majority of the work. So the first focus for a documentary filmmaker is about how to do that, what kind of help might be needed, where to go looking for money. This primary focus on funding is why documentaries are not making a profit. Because the focus should be on the audience. Who is going to watch my film? Can I give my audience a viewing experience that they are willing to pay for or share? What should that viewing experience look like? To ensure a film's success these questions are much more relevant than where to get money.
So why is this primary focus on funding, instead of on the audience? In business there is a slogan that holds true in any market - focus on the end-user and all else will follow. In traditional documentary filmmaking the end-user is Television, usually public television. Without a television channel involved there is no outlet, no podium. And without a podium, you can't find investors. Therefore the first focus of a filmmaker is on making sure that his film proposal has appeal for a TV channel's Commissioning Editor. This is where it goes completely wrong, because a CE is not the audience that will eventually watch the film. A CE is someone who at best represents an audience contexted by the interests of the channel. So the CE will set a number of conditions that will benefit the channel at the cost of the film's profit and audience potential. One of these conditions is the minimum length of the film: 50 min, which yields a necessary budget of at least €200.000. Making a documentary film that is able to hold the attention of an audience for 50 minutes is a huge challenge and rarely succeeds. Add to this a necessary return of investment of at least €200.000, and the hope to make a profit of a 50 min documentary is like buying a lottery ticket. So apart from the income generated by a few pre-sales to TV channels and some participating funds to cover the production costs, for 98% of the documentarie there is no market after release.
With your support DocsOnline is going to change this situation and make documentary filmaking profitable for everone involved. Here is the deal:
With regard to length anything goes, from 1 min to 4 hours, whatever as long the film is able to hold the viewers attention.
You are the CE, you decide which documentary is being made, and in return for your support you will get a share in the profit or even ownership.
The films in this section apply three rules
They must have an audience ready waiting to buy the film once it is released
The film is as long as it able to hold the viewers attention.