So earlier tonight, technically last night because it is past midnight now, I made a decision that may have very, let us say, interesting repercussions for me as an independent filmmaker.
It started with Amazon Video Direct letting me know that its streaming services were now at my disposal. So I logged in and began to set up the selling of my first documentary, Fly First & Fight Afterward: The Life of Col. Clarence D. Chamberlin, but something happened that led my night into a very different direction. Right when I thought the process was complete, the site asked me to please upload the closed-captioning file to accompany my video file. Well, I do not have that. I have never needed to have that. And, while my sympathies towards the hearing impaired are very real, I did not think not having that type of file should keep me from making my film available for streaming.
There are two great articles I have read over the course of the year (I am even citing from one in my dissertation’s critical introduction) that, as the pieces moved into place tonight, now make complete sense to me: my documentaries will never be, short of a Harvey Weinstein-inspired miracle, part of that 1% of films that will be both watched by millions and turn incredible profits, generating countless articles and tv specials tracking the journey. But that does not mean there is not an audience for the works I have created, am creating, and will create. Enter YouTube.
After cleaning up my old YouTube account, I turned it into the new free streaming channel to my first documentary. It will be home to all my films from now on. Free. I know, crazy, right? Why would I want a potential audience of millions to have direct access to my work?
I am proud of myself. I chose to be part of the conversation. I chose to generate more conversation. I have a great job. I do not need to rely on my film work to pay the bills. I am fortunate that way.
Physical DVDs are still available through Amazon and Createspace, and I hope people opt to purchase their own copies. But I am no longer holding my breath. It is a new era for me. I am excited.