Economist Film Project

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I hate internet advertising. And I know hate is a strong word. But let’s face it: advertising sucked in newspapers, and who reads them any more? It sucked on TV and it sucks on billboards. Advertising is the primary reason I almost never listen to the radio (but joyfully listen to podcasts), and don’t EVER watch TV (No, I don’t count watching Battle Star Galactica on Netflix as watching TV).

When I was running Biznik, we experimented with advertising as a business model. It failed utterly. So few people clicked the ads, that we didn’t even generate enough revenue to operate the servers. It’s my opinion that advertising as a revenue model works on only the largest of sites. I doubted it would ever work on Facebook, and it didn’t for the longest time. But then Facebook became so big that even a ridiculous, antique business model that depended on them annoying their members could, and does work for them. But I’ve never clicked on a Facebook ad.

Until today. This is the ad that caught my eye:

I was reading a post that my friend Hazel Grace made about my film, Shine: The Entrepreneur’s Journey, which became available online last week (thanks Hazel for posting that!) and the words “Economist,” “independent” and “film” entered my consciousness somehow from the right sidebar that I normally tune out completely. Just goes to show that advertising does penetrate our consciousness on some level. So I click on the ad, and discover what is perhaps the PERFECT venue for my film: The Economist, in partnership with PBS NewsHour, is looking for films that they can cut into 6-8 minute segments for airing on NewsHour.

“…the project will feature films whose new ideas, perspectives, and insights not only help make sense of the world, but also take a stand and provoke debate.”

Well I read that and immediately realized SHINE is a perfect fit for this venue. 15 minutes later, I’d submitted the film at the Economist Film Project website, which makes it a snap (allowing the submission of films posted on Vimeo, thank you very much).

If my film gets aired on PBS as a result of this ad, I may have to amend my hardline position against internet advertising. If advertising can help an indie filmmaker find an audience for a niche film, is it totally evil?

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