As existing distribution models for music and movies continue to be disrupted, creators unhindered by old business models are looking towards alternative ways of bringing their product to the world. Filmmakers behind a new horror movie called The Tunnel are selling individual frames of their soon to be released BitTorrent-only venture, with one lucky investor picking up 1% of the profits.
Even as Hollywood continues to pull in huge profits from its existing business model, the lure of even greater riches inspires the relentless pursuit of filesharing-related platforms such as The Pirate Bay, isoHunt and more recently, Newzbin. The studios hope that one day sharing will be crushed and people will have no other choice than to consume media through conventional authorized pay channels.
While that is Hollywood’s prerogative, others are beginning to realize that being able to exercise that level of control is probably a thing of the past and are exploring means to embrace disruptive technologies such as BitTorrrent by embedding them into their creative projects.
One such endeavor is a horror movie set to be released for free later this year by Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi who together form Australia-based Distracted Media.
The Tunnel is a story based on the real-life networks of tunnels under Sydney, Australia. Created decades ago, the tunnels were supposed to be used as a rail network but construction on them was discontinued. Twenty years later they became U.S. General Macarthur’s headquarters during the Second World War but were later abandoned. A few years ago they made the news again when Sydney ran short of water and plans were made to utilize the flooding in the tunnels.
“After much fanfare the proposal mysteriously vanished… and so the story begins…,” tease the filmmakers.
The funding for the film is being handled by the ‘135K project’ – a reference to the 135,000 frames that will be present in the finished 90 minute movie. A freshly launched website invites people to invest directly by buying a single frame of the movie for $1, 25 frames (1 second) for $25 or a minute for $1,500.
“The funding / distribution concept is an extension of something I was a part of on my last film, a feature doco titled Food Matters,” Enzo Tedeschi told us. “We deliberately did not seek out a theatrical release, and instead decided to market directly to our niche audience online with direct-to-DVD and VOD. It was a huge success, and even now 2 years after its first release, we are still breaking into new territories and have sold around 120,000 DVDs.”
No media these days is excluded from becoming available on the Internet, and Enzo’s previous production was no different.
“It just takes a quick Google search to see the endless torrents for that [Food Matters], too. The production company was nowhere near big enough to even try and fight it, so it was accepted that it would happen. So this time around I figured we should try and embrace that huge potential audience and make it a part of our strategy,” he told us.
“The Internet was meant to be a tool to connect us. It was meant to break down borders and liberate. Now we have an entire generation who are being labeled criminals for using that tool. But perhaps rather than wasting millions of dollars fighting a losing battle against internet piracy, we should try and find a way to embrace the possibilities that this new world brings.”
An added twist for investors is that one lucky frame-buyer will be selected to receive 1% of the profits from the movie – Enzo is confident that the film will be making money.
“People always ask ‘But how will you make money?’. It’s because they are stuck in a old way of thinking. We’re confident we can turn a profit on this film doing it this way, and I think people will be surprised to see how this works,” he concludes.