Dan Holden's Blog

Screenwriting, Film-Making and Web TV

Many small groups may be better than one large force

peepsAt the intersection of film promotion and finance, crowd-sourcing may prove better at delivering audiences.

I came to this realization after reading an interesting article by Nick Bilton on the use of bots to create huge social media followings for entertainers, corporations and politicians.

Bilton’s point is that bots have moved beyond fishing for followers in Bangladesh and Croatia; now, they are the followers in these countries. Bots by the millions have replaced real people as social media followers, which of course makes the entire concept next to worthless.

Soon after I flipped past the article, that I got to thinking about Easter and how, when I was younger, we used to laugh at all the non-churchgoers who would suddenly show up with all their kids on Easter Sunday for services and the obligatory egg hunt.

Today of course, my perspective on the holiday churchgoers has changed. I’m not a faithful churchgoer. But I do consider myself spiritual, and I respect the right of others to worship as they see fit.

This immediately got me to thinking about the history of Christianity, and the fact that for much of its existence, it has been in a struggle to keep its followers under one roof.

How does this connect up?

Quite simply my point is that it seems to be an innate human need to consolidate followers, and therefore power, into the largest possible house. This is true of religion, politics, culture, education, economics – almost every essential human endeavor, including film making. Studios are what they are because the endeavor literally required a big house and big audiences.

This need for homogeneity inevitably creates conflict as different religious, political and cultural groups vie for followers and support. The same is true of studios and their financers and audiences.

Importantly, the race for homogeneity also spoils ingenuity and creative thinking by stripping individuality away. So we end up with huge groups of people that are incapable of fluidity or rapid adaptation. In fact, they will fight each other to prevent it. This is how major production companies get pigeon-holed into certain genres of film from which they cannot escape.

This, as we all know. is a recipe for disaster at the societal level, since adaptation and ingenuity are key to the survival of a society. Without it, diversity is reduced to a more common denominator: the haves and have nots, which if left unchecked creates intolerable tension. In the entertainment business, the tension can break an organization apart internally.

This leads me to suggest that it’s the small groups that work outside of – or at least, unhindered by – these larger entities who will ultimately keep our society- and our entertainment industry – thriving.

Larger organizations would do well to consider encouraging and supporting small, autonomous organizations, while keeping at arm’s length to avoid obstructing their creativity. If they don’t like what these groups are creating, they should at least respect it.

In the film industry, for example, studios and SAG-AFTRA, as well as Wall Street and the SEC may not like crowd-sourcing groups like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but these are now legitimate funding sources for new ideas.

Just as important, they are comprised of real, non-bot people who by the very act of supporting a project become influencers and proponents of those projects. They want to see them succeed. This may not mean they will necessarily participate in each and every voting session you try to grind them through, but it does mean they will share the project with friends and talk about it in a positive way.

They are organic champions, the very best kind of supporter you want.

At the intersection of finance and following, adaptability and ingenuity are key to success.


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This entry was posted on April 20, 2014 by in Best practices, Finance and tagged , , , , , .
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