Filmmaking has arguably never been in a stronger position. Fantastic equipment is available at cheaper prices than we have ever seen before, creativity and a desire for interesting content is high, and the digital revolution has made it easier than ever to collaborate with others from around the world.
In short, 2023 is a great time to be a filmmaker, whether you are just starting out, or you have years of experience behind you. And yet, it is also the case that filmmakers face a wide range of challenges no matter what level they are operating at. These could come in the form of traditional filmmaking problems, such as finding funding for your project or facing issues with distribution. Additional setbacks might include tackling cybercrime, competing against filmmakers for airtime and even resolving legal issues.
In this article, we take a look at challenges for filmmakers during 2023 and some practical steps you can take to minimise the issues.
One of the key areas that filmmakers will struggle with in 2023 is finding funding. Of course, it can be argued that funding was always one of the major problems, whether you’re making tiny independent pieces or fully-fledged cinematic work. However, 2023 is unfortunately bringing this challenge to a new level.
Securing funding is a crucial part of the filmmaking process. Without having some budget behind you, it makes certain key parts of filmmaking virtually impossible. But, in some cases, this initial opportunity to secure the required budget is being hampered. The cost of living crisis in the UK is the most likely factor - everything has become more expensive, forcing even those companies who were once interested in supporting filmmaking to reconsider their spending.
The nature of the financial situation has made traditional investors more cautious. As such, filmmakers may have to consider alternative funding options such as crowdfunding. While it won’t be the ideal option for everyone, it does at least open up an extra potential avenue for getting the funding a film needs.
Achieving distribution for a film has never been the easiest task. There are many different issues to consider, and filmmakers typically need to offer something unique and interesting as a valuable proposition for those distributing their content. Of course, in 2023 there are plenty of options still possible in terms of distribution, but they are all becoming more crowded by the day.
Too many filmmakers are taking a scattergun approach to distribution in 2023, when they can be more effective with focused efforts.
“The trick, I think, is to build a loyal audience because you are telling a great story,” says Elliot Grove, Founder of the famous Raindance Film Festival. “Launching a movie is not the short-term opportunity the distributors think it is. It is the opportunity to start building a loyal audience over time. All of a filmmaker’s movies need to be part of a cohesive whole, working toward clear goals.”
You might not realise it, but filmmakers are now targeted more than ever by cybercriminals. It is true that cybercrime has generally increased in recent years, so you would expect it to have risen with regard to filmmakers. However, we are seeing filmmakers disproportionately targeted. And there are actually a number of different reasons for this.
Most importantly, it is because hackers understand the value of an independent film project to the filmmaker. They recognise that he or she would have invested a significant amount of time, skill and effort into creating their work. This is why we are often seeing filmmakers targeted with ransomware attacks. Ransomware works by infiltrating a computer network before stealing and encrypting the files of the filmmaker. The cybercriminals then offer the files back to the victim - for a price.
“You may be tempted to simply hand over the cash or the crypto and hope the bad guys go away,” says Rupert Cook, Director at cybersecurity specialists Censornet. “This approach is dangerously flawed because ransomware gangs don’t just disappear if you pay them. There is no guarantee that ransomware gangs will keep their promises to unlock systems or decrypt data.”
It is certainly true that it has never been easier to make films and movies. That’s not to say that it is easier than ever to make high-quality movies - but the boom in filmmaking due to the greater availability of equipment has made it possible for virtually anyone to pick up a camera and start making films.
While this has been a brilliant thing from many perspectives, it has also meant that skilled and serious filmmakers now face a huge amount of competition. Naturally, this means there is competition across all aspects of filmmaking. It’s not just funding possibilities and distribution options, but also on issues like getting featured at film festivals, gaining valuable airtime on social media platforms and being successful at other forms of marketing.
Filmmaking has become far more mired in legal issues than ever before. The ability to distribute works via YouTube and other platforms has meant that filmmakers need to be careful around a number of complex issues including negotiating contracts and securing the rights for anything that they use before they broadcast it.
It is necessary for filmmakers to ensure that everything they do in 2023 is within copyright laws, and there are a number of other legal issues that have to be taken into account. Many filmmakers are now choosing to work directly with solicitors and legal specialists to guarantee that what they produce does not breach any kind of law.
Filmmaking in 2023 naturally comes with challenges just like any other industry, so it is important to have the plan to minimise your risk. Getting funding and finding the best methods of distribution have been problems that filmmakers have struggled with for a long time, whereas more modern issues such as cybercrime are a relatively recent addition.
You shouldn’t be discouraged if you are thinking of taking up filmmaking. Just as there are challenges and issues, there are always new ideas and solutions. When filmmakers collaborate and share knowledge it becomes much easier to come up with potential ways around the challenges.
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