Seems like a LONG post, but VERY IMPORTANT LIFE CHANGING information 🙂

I have to thank the team of SOLS for giving a lot of HOPE! In the last 3 weeks I was so crushed  thinking of the realities I had to face in the near future with the release of LUCIA. But the great opening SOLS has been able to achieve has brought some hope and relief. Not saying that our film is as good or better or worse. I think where Lucia and SOLS have some similarities is that both are made by NEW teams and both used Internet and social media quite extensively. So, thank you SOLS, you guys charged us up.

There have been few questions, confusions and accusations about our Pre-order model. Some very logical and some very deliberate negative criticism. I thought some more information could help people in understanding why we are doing what we are doing.

When I had asked for 50Lakh Last year to make the film, the focus was very narrow. It was more about ‘me’ as a filmmaker getting funds to make ‘my’ film. But in the process of making this film, I slowly realized how important it was to make this a sustainable model for other filmmakers as well. So slowly my focus shifted from simply making Lucia to creating a sustainable process.

In last one year, I have had meetings with many corporate companies and brands in order to tie up or to find locations or for In Film Branding. In that process I went through a lot of embarrassment. They were all excited about the model, and things we were offering, but they would shy away bcoz we were making a Kannada film. I have heard responses like – “We don’t want our brand to associate with a Kannada Film”. It was highly illogical for any brand to say something like that, but I did experience all of that. And that is when I figured that we must make BIG progress to stop this prejudice many brands and people have about Kannada films.

So a small effort of making a Crowd funded film had to grow bigger. I have been researching a lot about why we reflect so badly to the corporate world, or to the market.  I have realized that we are not making anything that can create BIG IMPACT, or get us National level attention. Something which is very important to do at this moment, that is when MNC’s and everyone  else will take notice of us (the Kannada Film Industry)

Good Product gets the right attention – that alone doesn’t work anymore. In the world today, it is about shouting out LOUD n BEING VISIBLE accompanied by a good product is what works. My solution to our problem was – 250+ theatre release for a NON STAR movie. That would be a good point to get people to take notice, create national news, make production houses like WB, FOX, UTV, Reliance etc to hear about Kannada movie Industry and its potential, to get them here in our market. You all must know that after a point, purely from the investors POV-  the quality of the cinema becomes redundant, the business aspect takes over, especially for these BIG production houses. And I think it is absolutely right. Unless they do good business, they won’t be able to do more films. So it is very important for Investors, companies, brands to know that there is a huge market. And a BIG release like 250+ theatre would send out that message.

My plan and intentions was and still is very simple. A Kannada film in Karnataka should capture at least 50% of the available theatre screens to showcase a Kannada film. When this becomes a practice, the market grows, and that is an invite to all the BIG companies to take Kannada films seriously. Once they come in, things become a lot more professional, better budgets, better working conditions, jobs for more talents etc etc. I think our neighbors have already shown the benefits. I am just trying to make that happen.

250+ theatre release is not for LUCIA, it is for a Kannada film. I’d be more than happy if that happens for any other Kannada film as well. SOLS should do this, if they can. But they won’t have enough funds. Though there is a HUGE demand for that movie state wide. If they can achieve this, I will be jumping with Joy.

How do we do a 250+ release? Where is the money? Who will bell the cat?

It is going to cost close to 2 Crores to achieve that number. Just the theatre rentals. Is it a successful business model? Nope, not right away. If I was investing 2 Crores with the hope that I will make returns out of that, then its a loss venture, and that is why no single producer can do it. No BIG company will take the risk as well. I think you get the Math. What is the solution then?

Pre-orders was our solutions. When you have 15,000 people contributing in small chunks, then no one loses anything, yet we achieve the BIG impact. Why would 15,000 people do charity for a film? They won’t and they shouldn’t. That is why we called it Pre-Order. I thought I have at least 15000 people on the Internet who would like to see my film irrespective of how good or bad it is, and I started the idea of Pre-order only after releasing the trailer, so that they know what the film looks like.

My Day dream was – If 15,000 people are anyway going to BUY and watch the film, let them pay that money upfront as Pre-Orders, then I can utilize that fund to release in 250+ theates. We are not going to consider that money as our recovery of investments. None of us have that as the priority at the moment. We are trying to only create a good market for Kannada films. Thats it. That is how I started this.

We don’t want people to do charity, it doesn’t reflect well, not a healthy practice  and even if it works it stops after one film. So the solution was to give them all lots of freebies and Distribution rights along with the Online movie viewing ticket. A method to earn from the film. If you put in 500 bucks and you are given a tool to earn that money back, would you not want to use it?

The other benefits of having 15,000 online Official distributors is the reach out. If I alone could take my film life Ishtene online to about 2500 people who paid and watched the legal copy of the film online. Imagine how many new audience we would be able to reach out to with 15,000 active distributors doing the same. So we are again increasing the boundaries of the market, with no losses. This again connects us back to my first agenda. SHOW A BIG MARKET FOR KANNADA MOVIES. Everything must happen simultaneously, when there is a good market, there is good investment, and when you pay well you attract good talent, and when good talent comes in, you get good products. Its a cycle and all of it has to work at the same time. Right now, I have good content to make but I am unable to afford good talent to execute it.

A person who pre-orders by paying Rs. 5000/- is given 75% distribution rights for a life time. So this person puts up the LUCIA link on his FB, on his blog, emails it to friends etc. And because the film would have made national news by releasing in  250+ theaters, people across the globe will be eager to watch it. It would just take 12 people for this guy to recover his investment. And after that he is only making profits of this film. Is it wrong to do this? I don’t think so. I mean if you have put in 5000 or 500, it is your right to make the best of it.

SOLS is being promoted heavily on Facebook by it audience. A great trend. We are simply opening a tool for you to monetize that action of yours. As simple as that. When Lucia is released and when you share it online, there is some money you get for doing that. You must have already shared the Lucia trailer and the Thinbeda Kammi song videos, didn’t you? You did it bcoz you liked it and wanted your friends to see it. If you like Lucia, you will tell your friends to watch it. We have created a tool to pay you for what you did. Give that money away in charity if you think so low of it. We will give it to you anyway. Its an automated process, I can’t hold it even if I want to.

Benefits of Pre-order for the Film Industry – A Kannada Film releasing in 250+ centers and acquiring national attention. Hence, making big film production houses to realize the potential of the Kannada market.

Benefits for the Audience who Pre-order – Other than the freebies that come along with pre-order, you get a tool which you can use to monetize your activities related to this film. You own a distribution right for a life time.

Benefits for the Film – A huge reach out. Theatrical and Online. More audience watching the film legally.

Benefits for the Investors and film crew – Our product being bought in large numbers.

Some of you have a question – What if the FILM IS CRAPPY?

It is subjective when it comes to deciding the quality of the film. However, I will give you a business answer to that, without making any false claims as a filmmaker. A trailer gives out a lot about the film. The popularity of the trailer should give you an idea about how the film will be accepted. And lets assume that trailer was a scam, and in reality, the film is crap. Look at what you lose. And now compare it with the gain. Yes, you will feel stupid, and you will want to kill me. But how many times have you felt the same? How many times have you walked into a film theatre or bought a DVD or even downloaded a pirated copy of a film and got bored. I would say 9 out of 10. Just put us in the same list and forget it. Everyone in the world goes through this. I mean that is business right? You bet on a product and it might work or might not work. But here you are placing a very small bet – Rs. 500!

Now the gains – Irrespective of how the film is, it will get our industry the attention and create a bench mark. Its like breaking out of the shackles. Claim theater in our own state for our own language film. Once this process is in place, a better film tomorrow from a better filmmaker will create wonders. That’s the long term gain and that is what we are fighting for.

15,000 pre-orders = 28,00,000 potential theatre audience in Karnataka alone in the First week. Now that is the number a FOX/WB/UTV/etc will want to see. That is what I want to achieve.

How will I (the audience) earn online after Pre-Order?

Thank fully we are a very heavily populated country. Lucia will be subtitled. Look at the wide market of buyers out there. Finding your 12 people to watch this movie is the easiest thing to do. Why do we have a 55,000 Views on our trailer? This is BIG when compared to what many big budget films with known names are able to achieve, Youtube is a level playing field, statistics can’t lie, it shows that there is a demand. What if SOLS had followed this model? Now that it is a huge success, many of you would simply get into this model. Wouldn’t you have loved it if SOLS was released globally asap? What if you were an Online Distributor for SOLS? Wouldn’t you have proudly shared the film within your network? If these guys have to tour the film from one region to another, its going to take time. Think about it with a lil bit of optimism.

Last year around the same time I got lucky in raising 50Lakh. It is a very strange crowd behavior that I have observed. I had nothing to show a year ago, except for an emotional write up on my blog. And it was all about me and my film. But strangely people connected to that more, the blog went so viral that we raised that fund in no time. And now, I have more practical and logical plans, I have a HIT trailer of the film to show, we have a viral song, we won some award and recognition internationally, I mean, now the project looks more real than what it was a year ago. And last year we were asking for BIG money from individuals where as now it is extremely small. But strangely we found more success last year than this time. Crowd Psychology. Crowd is moved emotionally and not logically. I was emotional last year, it made people blind n invest. I think the same happened with ANNA, when he went emotional and did a Fast, whole country supported. But when it came to realities and practical execution, people backed off, started speculating his intentions. Something I have come to understand in this last one year. Emotional uprisings can be done only once, and it won’t work out in the long run.

Do understand that this is not about Lucia or me as a filmmaker. I might not even make any films after this. That decision is my personal journey as an artist. This movement is about creating an INDUSTRY. A successful model for everyone to make use of. I am sharing all these ideas openly, bcoz if I don’t achieve success in it… then I want someone else to make use of it and find success.

If I want to just release Lucia to shine, make personal growth and make money… there are much simpler ways to do that, I can do that in a week. My intention is to make any filmmaker independent of how much money he/she has or who many people he/she knows. What should matter is TALENT and what one can DELIVER. Nothing else should be the hindrance in achieving that. I believe this model is the perfect solution to that, at least for this time. Something better will come up in the future, may be.

Is this the only way to release LUCIA? NOPE. I will still release it in whatever ways we can, do our best. But this is the only way to make you – the audience have control on what you want to see. Make you – the audience – WIN. Personally, I just want to do this, set it up and disappear. I want to go back to writing and being creative. That is my forte and I am missing it so badly, this is something I had to do because no body else is doing it.

(If you are convinced to Pre-Order, then don’t just stop at that, Convey this to at least 10 of your friends. 15,000 however small… is a difficult number to reach just by us, we need your help.)

Some specific answers to specific questions –

1) shilpa acharya asked the pre-ordering looks like amway – what happens to the last peer ? He is a friend of someone too isn’t it. 

Ans. When you become a Distributor, you are basically a ticket counter. When your friend wants to see the film, he will buy the ticket from you and we pay you for being the ticket counter. Just that. Now it is up to you whether you want to be a ticket counter or an aggressive agent. If you know your product (in this case a film) is bad then don’t tell your friend to buy it. If it is good then you anyway are going to tell a friend to watch the film, right? So just give your link to make the friend watch the film.

 2) u want to secure money of investor and make it big by releasing in more theatres – what happens to money earned after that. 

We are not securing our investments through Pre-orders. THis money till the last rupee will only be utilized in Distribution n Publicity. We recover our investments, only if the film makes good business.

 3) since its audience funded can they get-clarity on how the money is spent. If this model is designed for anyone – it’s better to be shared openly.

How the Production investments are utilized is already shared with the investors, on a regular basis. How we will utilize the money that we generate through pre- orders… this is how we will use it – (This if for 100 theatre estimation, this is how much we spent on Lifeu ishtene, you can do the math for 250+ theaters)

One week theatre rental for 100 theatres – 1 Crore 10 Lakhs
Projection costs per week – 10 Lakhs
Television promotions in 5 news channels – 15 Lakhs
Street posters – 10 Lakhs
Paper Ads – 7 Lakhs
Flex prints for theatres – 5 Lakhs
Hoardings – 10 Lakhs
SMS promotions – 3 lakhs
Misc Marketing plans – 10 Lakhs

 4) as plan B – can u open up Lucia for normal preordering without profit sharing. May be most of them didn’t buy because of referral pgm or high cost. Can u adopt and see whether if u remove referral u get good response. 

The referral is a tool given to you, if you don’t want to use it – don’t use it. There might be many others who would like an option to use it. Keeping many products like that will make the process confusing, we are extremely under resourced to do too much on this end. And if we bring down the costs, then we will not be achieving anything through this model. If I give you a BluRay at cost price then how am I effectively raising money for theatrical distribution? 

5) is it not possible to skim down on number of theatres to release it early or it has to be big ?

Ofcourse, there is that back up plan. As explained, the idea is to make an Impact.

6) can u open up this model to non-Internet user too. DTH way ?

DTH involves BRANDS! And if a brand like Kamal Hassan couldn’t pull it off. Do you think we can? All those possibilities will open up for the next project, but for that we have to create the BIG IMPACT.