Anyone who has tried to make a film knows that finding money is the biggest issue that can plague a production. Like seeing a mirage a in a desert, the closer you get to funding the less likely it is to be real. This has lead to people using alternate revenue streams for financing. Sam Raimi asked Michigan dentists to pay for The Evil Dead. Kevin Smith sold comic books, maxed out credit cards, and used FEMA money he was awarded to make Clerks. In recent years websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been havens for up and comers. But a recent beast to emerge is Slated.com. What is this and why is it so important? Let’s take a look.
Stephan Paternot was once upon a time (the late 90’s to be exact) a co-creator of the website theglobe.com. Never heard of it? Neither had I until researching for this article. What was one of the original social networking websites (we’re talking pre Friendster or Myspace) went from booming success to plummeting failure in the span of a year. When the smoke cleared Paternot went on two separate paths. While investing in angel funds for tech start ups he also built his own film production company PalmStar Entertainment. It was only a matter of time before these paths merge back together.
-A New Site-
Around 2012 Paternot started slated.com with the goal of taking the very closed off filmmaking community and positioning it to be more friendly to outsiders. While Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made it possible for people to get budgets Slated goes a step further. Paternot’s idea meant taking the interactions of social media and using that to connect directors, writers, actors, producers, financiers, and sales agents in the hopes of getting films made. Right now the site boasts over 50,000 members from all facets of film. The great thing, membership is completely free
-Has This Been a Success?-
Slated has evaluated thousands of projects basing their viability off the script and talent involved, but has it been working? Thankfully yes, a large pool of major Hollywood talent (including Oscar winning producer Lawrence Bender, writer/director Nia Vardalos, and actors like Ashton Kutcher, Ron Perlman, and Heather Graham) are already part of the Slated community. And films are in fact getting made. Off the top of my head, I think of two films that I’ve seen in recent years. The Kristen Bell dramedy The Lifeguard and the Emily Browning musical God Help the Girl both got made with the help of Slated. And according to Slated’s website 68 percent of the films that were at the Sundance Film Festival this year were made by members of their community.
-What Does the Future Hold?-
This is the multi-million dollar question of the day. Four years running Slated has been building a momentum and getting projects that odds are wouldn’t get traditionally financed off the ground. What can we hope to see from Stephan Paternot’s glorious creation? Indie films that will breakthrough and become huge financial hits and award winners. I think it’s only a matter of time. We need these smaller films to get a light shined on them. Otherwise we’ll only be seeing movies that studio execs think we want to watch. But the major problem is the what if. When Kickstarter got raided by Zach Braff and Spike Lee it trumpeted the beginning of the end. I cross my fingers that they keep the evaluation process unbiased and not let bigger names get preference.
As usual, what are your thoughts? Do you think Slated is the future of indie filmmaking or is it going to get co-opted by famous people? Will we see a competitor site pop up? Are you going to look closer into Slated as a way to make your next film?
PS: I need to leave some shameless self-promotion. Follow me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts.