When Trent Reznor made Nine Inch Nails latest album available for free online, he was hailed as forward thinking, and proved that appreciative fans were just as likely to shell out and buy the album to support the band.
That forward thinking is slowly making its way to the film industry, the latest example of which comes courtesy of first-time film-maker Shawn Holmes. His debut film Memory Lane, which set him back just $300, is going to be given away online for free for a limited time.
Holmes is not the first film-maker to take a novel approach to marketing his film. The Polish Brothers, Michael and Mark Polish who have made over $200,000 with a film with a combined production and marketing budget of $0. Their latest film, For Lovers Only was released on VOD with no advertising, and their only form of marketing was Twitter and word of mouth.
Holmes’ approach of making the film available for free for just one weekend could earn him even more buzz than the Polish Brothers, but the question is, will it pay off financially in the end?
The thriller tells the story of a war veteran who is trying to find out who killed his fiancée. To solve the mystery, he stops and starts his own heart which allows him to travel back and forth between the world of the living and the dead.
The film will be available to watch for free for just one weekend from November 11 on 553am.com, while a limited number of autographed DVDs are already available for purchase on the site.
Whether or not the film is any good remains to be seen, but by opting out of the independent festival scene and taking the film to a potentially unlimited audience online could possibly be a stroke of genius. The genius in it lies in the fact that he is limiting its availability to just 2 days.
The fact that Memory Lane will only be available for just one weekend creates a sense of urgency, and if the film is good, people who see it are bound to spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and more, without any prompting from Holmes himself.
Speaking about the decision, Holmes explained:
“We may have a festival run, we may not. We’re living in this crazy time where traditional gatekeepers can be circumvented altogether. The VCR, DVD players, in-home 3D and internet; history has proven that movies aren’t limited to thriving on the silver screen and that with advances in technology come advances in how we watch them. Alfred Hitchcock said that television was like the invention of indoor plumbing. That it didn’t change people’s habits, it just kept them inside. Had the internet existed in his lifetime as it does in ours, he could have easily made the same realization that we have.”
To find out more about Memory Lane, check out the trailer below: