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Presenting one writer/producer's ideas on using the Internet (& his own projects) to
help bolster regional filmmaking. 


Where Mediums Are Merging

By JD Moores - Jacksonville, FL, 2018-2019

I'm a published and award-winning writer and screenwriter with a degree in mass communications and some experience in video production, but an inherited disability has made taking the traditional path towards becoming a Hollywood filmmaker unfeasible, if not impossible. As I got older, though, I began to see an alternative in which I might still be able to tell my stories on film/video, but not only have more control, but the means to conceivably help and inspire others to do the same. 
With the Internet currently empowering so many people to have and control creative careers online, Woodlane Intertainment is conceived as a brand of mostly regional and independent film/video entertainment for the Web, using its resources for monetized distribution, promotion, and merchandising to create opportunity and promote the region's creative and filmmaking community. It is meant to facilitate and encompass not just my projects, but those of others in my region (to start with) facing similar circumstances and obstacles. 

Much of this is already being explored by people that upload short films and web series everday, but what's too often missing is a reliable support system and the organization, branding, and strategic connection of other outlets and mediums - all of which is traditionally responsibility of major studios, advertising firms, etc. Yet, to some extent, the Internet offers cost-effective and even FREE tools to do pretty much all of it... just on a slightly smaller scale. After all, what we call "film studios" are basically organizations with the legal right and literal capability to manage the development, production, marketing, and sale of motion pictures (film, television, etc.). That intermediary between the "artists" and "audiences" is an important element because when you remove it, you have what we too often see - individual and communities of filmmakers struggling for resources, making technical and artistic compromises, and often losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars gambling on festivals and contests.

Similar to the tools and resources used by major studios,
 today's Internet offers scaled down, cost-effective resources and outlets for development, production, marketing, and even the creation and sale of tie-in merchandise.  Most individuals or even small groups would be hard-pressed to juggle all of these resources and tasks at once - particularly where more than one or even two productions are concerned - but with a company like Woodlane, various kinds of productions can be produced in-house or secured via contract to be rolled out online under the same banner at the same time so that people who like a web series or short film will not only know, but be willing to come back and watch something else later because there's a certain expecation of quality. Properly managed, money from monetization, tie-in merchandising, sponsorship, etc., can be used to improve output, and over time, the success of the brand can reflect upon the region. 

More professional grade production activity means more jobs, which means more talent like film school graduates and production hosues stay in business and in the state. All of this could conceivably make a new incentives package seem like a better idea to a state legislature because there both a thriving or potentially thriving industry to be boosted as well as new infrastructure. In time, this could mean a larger system and community of talent and production laborers for a Hollywood film production to hire if and when attracted to the region by new incentives.

Though the Internet and the accessibility of its resources  make all of this more feasible than ever, it is still an incredibly ambitious set of goals and ideas. While I see my first project(s) as test subjects for the brand, this cannot be just about me. In fact, there is no way that one person even begins to accomplish all of this, but at the very least, I do hope to lay out the first steps towards not only making something like Woodlane Intertainment an eventual reality, but something that is meant to be a franchisable template, if you will, so that branches can spring up elsewhere to aid other filmmakers and communities. My goal is to build a niche in the entertainment industry for my community that can be replicated in others. 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Aside from me forgetting that Koch is supposed to be pronounced like "Coke," the above video could be construed as suggesting that there is ZERO professional or meaningful production activity in Florida, which obviously isn't true. The point is that while there is still a scattering of production activity across the state, most of it is still fairly low-budget and taking advantage of smaller, more locally sponsored incentives for productions able to spend around $1 million. While that's all well and good, I don't see it impacting the state legislature's decision  when it comes to bigger statewide incentives meant to attract bigger Hollywood productions. Besides the fact that smaller productions probably don't bring enough money to make larger incentives worthwhile, they generally get away with filming on location with mostly unknown casts and crew. The sort of Hollywood productions that state-sponsored incentives would need to attract often film almost exclusively on soundstages nowadays with unionized cast and crew - both of which are in short supply here in Florida and will continue to be so long as we continue to see only scattered and disconnected production activity. Even if it's a grassroots entity spending as little as it can get away with, we need a concerted effort under the guise of a studio entity and the umbrella of a regional brand to both  generate and manage in-state production activity on projects for which we know we can get wide attention and use merchandising and monetization to make at least some money, proving what we are capable of attracting audiences that will engage with their pocketbooks. For now, at least, the best way and the best place that I see to do this is online - even if the odds as well as the process, itself, remain very, very long.