CinemaTech Interviews Consultant Peter Broderick--I Respond

The Workbook Project has posted a very informative video interview with consultant and speaker Peter Broderick, who started Next Wave Films (now apparently dormant). The interviewer is Scott Kirsner from CinemaTech, a blog that is always full of useful current events and info for the filmmaker trying to make some money off his or her work using current technology.

The first thing that really jumped out at me was that the basic rules of shooting a multi-camera interview aren't followed here, making for a slightly off-kilter experience. If you watch the video, both Kirsner and Broderick are looking in the same direction (camera left). Kirsner is framed properly, but when we go to Broderick, the camera "crosses the line" and is in the wrong spot. Both parties should appear to be looking at each other, right-to-left (Kirsner) and left-to-right (Broderick). Only Broderick is also looking right-to-left here.

There is an imaginary line that runs from left to right (not pictured her, but imagine it) across the location between the guest/host and camera 1/camera 3. Since the cams are cross-shooting (camera 1 is on the Host, 3 is on the guest), continuity is maintained as long as the line isn't crossed. In the video, camera 3 appears to have passed behind the host and is shooting over the host's right shoulder, which is why Broderick is looking left.

I'd be willing to be money, however, that this is not a three camera shoot, but a single camera shoot. Since the shots are completely static, it's pretty apparent that Kirsner was parking the camera on one shot at a time. This is fine, but if you don't adhere to some basic rules, it looks weird. On rare occasions this is used for an unsettling effect, but more often, it's just a continuity error.

Anyway, I like what is presented here, but think Broderick is way off on a couple of points. First, he says he'd like to see DVDs sold by indies to be priced at about $25 for the disc, plus a "handling charge" that would cover shipping, replication, etc. Is he nuts? How many people are going to pay $30 for any DVD? Would you? Even super-mondo-uber-deluxe editions of Hollywood films don't cost that much. If they do, they are from Criterion, and you get the kitchen sink along with the movie. His theory is that this makes the price of the DVD into pure profit, but if no one buys due to high price, what profit will there be?

Another point he makes is that there should be "several versions" of your DVD (much like the studio model), which starts with a movie-only version, then a feature-packed version that could mean a second sale for you. This is a very bad PR movie in my opinion. Everyone I have ever talked to is infuriated when they buy a movie they like, only to be screwed when a "collectors edition" comes out a month or so later. For an indie, this would be the mark of greed and the kiss of death. Come out with one version of your movie, price it reasonably, and pack it to the gills with stuff. Your customers will love you for it.

The chat isn't a total waste, as there are good things to learn here, so I do recommend a listen. What bothered me was that Broderick sounds very much like someone who gives advice, but has never applied it. He seems to be comfortably "in the box", which low budget indies really have no use for.

I'd be curious to hear your opinions on this matter--please post your comments below.


Cunningham said…
I think the "various versions" of the DVD is a poor move as well. Better to have a "barebones" version of your show on the internet, then have a "maxxed out" version for the DVD.

As far as pricing goes Broderick needs to understand that the most people wold probably pay - based on my experience - is $14-19.99.
Scott Eggleston said…
I agree Bill. I even think you shouldn't go over $14 if you're an indie no one has ever heard of.