How a submissions process can change our industry">

Ficto | Immersive short-form entertainment created by Hollywood talent, and built around your mobile

24.04.19

From film festivals to Ficto

How a submissions process can change our industry

Written by Heidi Honeycutt

As part of the senior content team at Ficto, I’ve spent the last few months connecting with filmmakers and introducing them to Fast Fiction and the new media community. At least 50% of this role involves listening; sharing my experience in the industry and then asking questions to creators who are on their way up.

Before joining Ficto, I spent over a decade working with film festivals for organizations such as The American Cinematheque and Film Independent.

I’ve seen trends in online media rapidly shift because of social media, digital streaming, and better mobile technology. We can now instantly stream videos on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, and film festival submissions have exploded. There are not only more film festivals in the world than at any given point in history, but the choice of content is unprecedented.

In one sense, this is a good thing: for our culture, the arts, and humanity as a whole. Technology has democratized the art of filmmaking so that more people can make more content for a huge audience that can immediately watch it. This is fantastic for storytelling. The more people that have a voice in a culture, the more robust and sophisticated that culture will be.

The problem is that film festivals can only screen so many films at any given event. Theatre space is finite, and physical seating limits how many people can see the films and for how long.

Now there’s a new alternative to physical film festivals: digital platforms. Film festivals aren’t going away, but they are no longer the primary method of finding an audience for an independent film or series.

Film festivals aren’t going away, but they are no longer the primary method of finding an audience for an independent film or series.

What interests me about platforms like Ficto is that there’s suddenly no limit to the amount of content that can be shown. There is no maximum number of series. We aren’t forced to reject material that we like but can’t show.

Although it’s easier than ever to screen film or media online, it’s incredibly difficult for creators to monetize. Just like the old studio system monopolized the theaters and distribution outlets, giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu are the gatekeepers for successful digital content. YouTube, on the other hand, will allow just about anyone to showcase their work, but won’t compensate fairly.

When smaller shows and films are purchased in bulk by Netflix, there’s a one-time fee for licensing that is paid in advance. Even if your content becomes a hit and gains millions of viewers on Netflix, you won’t be compensated an extra dime.

Faced with this reality, there’s a growing need for short-form distribution that fairly compensates artists. At Ficto, we’re changing the way content creators are treated by digital distributors and democratizing the flow of money by using blockchain. Artists can see exactly how many views their content receives, and Ficto can’t alter that information. It’s completely transparent.

Revenue is then shared in a way that allows us to support our streaming service and empowers creators to continue making great content.

And this brings me to the way content is discovered: Ficto’s submissions platform.

As a creator, you no longer need an agent to put you forward for meetings. You no longer need to pay a fee to submit your work. You can send your content direct to Ficto – without an agent, and for no cost. When you submit content, a human decides whether you’re accepted or not rather than an algorithm. One of our acquisition team will personally watch your content and consider whether it’s the right fit.

If you’re successful, we’ll walk you through how to best display your content on our platform in a way that people can interact with it. You’ll have full access to our internal editing system to serialize, verticalize and dynamisize. This process is often hands-on; we don’t just send an acceptance contract. If we think your content shows great potential but needs a minor tweak, we’ll help you make that tweak happen.

As a content curator, this is a dream come true. I’m not limited by a specific running time I need to fill. And I don’t have to reject something that’s wonderful simply because there isn’t room in the program.

With Ficto’s submissions process, I don’t have to make a “yes” or “no” decision on a project in its finished state; instead, we’re looking for Fast Fiction potential. Our team can help make the content perfect for our app’s original design. This process is a massive part of the community spirit we’re cultivating. Unlike many of the industry giants that are governed by bureaucracy, Ficto is about real people engaging with real artists to create something special, magical, and extremely fun for viewers.

I can’t wait to see what all of you submit!

If early televisions were designed to hold in your hand, content today would look a lot different. Ficto is an entirely new form of entertainment for the 21st century.