This time last year, I predicted that this time this year (i.e. now) everyone would be compiling predictions as to what will happen next year (2011) - and I was right.
Building on the success of last year's prediction, I have compiled a list of top tips for the filmmaking trends and tropes of '11. Here they are in no particular order, except for alphabetical:
Nobody knows what the real fall-out is going to be from the demise of the Film Council. Filmmakers are facing unsure times now that it's unclear who we should butter up to and why we wasted so much time buttering up to the previous administration. The industry therefore has a surplus of emotional 'butter' which will surely be spread over the subject matter of its output, although it’s too soon to say whether this will manifest itself metaphorically or otherwise.
Furthermore, there will be a portion of butter (metaphorical) for each and every one of our darling online supporters as we try to milk them, piecemeal, for the budget of our next picture. This is called crowd-funding and, considering the feeding of cow offal to cows resulted in BSE, the Institute advises against it in its purest form. Instead, try the alphabetically convenient:
Similar to crowd-funding, but more hands on, 'crowd-producing' involves directly engaging an online fanbase with the ongoing production process. A list of tasks (chiefly: sums, phone calls and ego-management) considered too mundane for the director but too important for the crew will be made available online, with fans encouraged to pick a 'chore' and deal with it efficiently parallel to sorting out their own complex problems (messy divorce, looming audit into dodgy former business). Like crowd-funding, crowd-producers will be expected to stump up cash for their slice of the glory, but in this case it does not have to be their own.
The Institute is also looking into ways of making 'crowd-mothering' - a network of reassurance and (where feasible) hugs for insecure filmmakers - into a workable initiative.
Increased importance of L'Institute Zoom on global film scene
Here's Armend, the Institute's marketing man: "We do a variety of fine work here at the Institute, and we also make films. By ceaselessly going on about what we're doing and thinking about doing, and bandying our name around in connection with upcoming awards until it's a virtual inevitability that we'll win them, our marketing strategy is intended to catapult us right past 'annoying' and into the lucrative realm of 'familiar background noise'."
Words are cheap in the internet age - there are over 1,000 of them in this important and prophetic article alone!
What is your USP? Last time I went to a networking event I left after thirty minutes and threw up next door, then came back and told everyone I met that I'd just sicked and that I was developing a web series about electronic brain augmentation. People were genuinely interested in the sick.
Already a prevalent trend, Notworking is to Networking what Cloud Gazing is to Cloud Computing. The idea is that while you sit down by yourself and have a cup of tea, the ether/the others can sort themselves out and inspire/inform/employ you at their will. Notworking is at its best unpredictable, and at its worst pleasantly predictable. The important thing is to allocate a precise time when you are Notworking, otherwise you are just not working, which can be guilt-intensive.
Combining the sophisticated punch-in-the-face tactics of internet rollover ads with the time-proven effectiveness of the nagging child, Nuisance marketing will be the phenomenon you can't escape in 2011. GPS and online social networking will enable pushy campaign teams to track the movement and desires of the potential audiences. When the marketing team becomes aware of a congregation of the appropriate demographic (in pubs, shopping centres, at funerals), they will spring into 'life' to create thematically linked 'situations', which the target audience must negotiate in order to 'survive' or 'escape', depending on the theme of the film. (This idea was originally conceived by Guy Debord, but he didn't word it very well and nobody thought they could make any money out of it). Cloned SIM cards and hoax profile pages will be used to stir up and externalise the tension hinted at in the semi-public relationships of online social network users, creating a genuinely malevolent 'nuisance'. The Nuisance campaign will continue until each would-be audience member gives in and commits to seeing the film.
In the case of smaller arthouse films, a one-to-one stalking-type approach will be utilised. The underpaid but otherwise jobless quirky-faced star of the movie will travel from city to city with the director and his girlfriend, and spend a week at a time personally harassing (in character) the handful of local pseuds whose purposely obscure online Likes suggest they might actually 'get' the film and forgive its dismal production values. When the locals have created a vehement enough online campaign to justify a screening, the director will arrange for the film to be shown on the city's Big Screen, or just underneath it on his MacBook.
I think I mentioned this on Twitter once but I haven't worked out all the technicalities yet and just want to reassert it was my idea before someone steals it. Basically, "3D-N" is metaphysical 3D for existential arthouse-type films. The characters and locations appear all around you in suffocating detail, but it feels like something's missing.
This year we'll be seeing a lot of movie villains in hats.