IndieLoop dramatically reduces inefficiencies in independent filmmaking by building networks that match producers with the right crew, creating long-term relationships.
Penguins depend heavily on their vocalizations to help locate one another and gain context about surrounding penguins. While to a non-penguin, the resulting noises might sound like cacophony, to penguins these are meaningful signals they can use to socialize and group themselves. Various calls can be used to signal territory, gender and specific identities. While this simple and effective socialization solution of honking has been used by penguins for millennia, up until now there hasn't been a way for filmmakers to meaningfully communicate their own identities and reputations in a efficient, scalable way.
IndieLoop is a market network, combining the main elements of both a marketplace and a social network. In economic terms, IndieLoop is a two-sided market: made up of distinct groups of buyers and sellers. This presents a chicken or the egg problem. Sellers are interested in marketplaces that have lot of buyers - because that means lots of competition for what they are selling, which may drive the price up. Buyers, likewise, prefer marketplaces full of many different sellers so they have a variety of options for where they buy, ensuring they buy from just the right seller. So how do we build both sides of the marketplace at the same time?
With a film marketplace, let’s substitute the word “producer” for “buyer” - meaning anyone looking to assemble a team by hiring a set number of people. Then substitute the word “crew member” for “seller” - meaning anyone with a skill they would like to add to a creative project. Before we launch, our largest concern is designing rules and mechanisms that create a simple and safe market that serves both producers and crew.
Since this is a market network and not just a commodity market, people’s experience and personalities matter a great deal more than in a straightforward commodity marketplace, where price is basically the sole factor for decision making. IndieLoop is highly aware of this and are learning daily about how to cater to each member of our userbase. In order for us to effectively match crew members with producers, we need plenty of people on both sides of the market.
A robust population of buyers and sellers in the same ecosystem is called a “thick” marketplace. When you have a thick marketplace, you’ve done your job right as a market designer - people are interacting and transacting frequently within the established rules and mechanisms without much, if any artificial support. But until our marketplace is thick… it’s thin. No one wants to put serious time into engaging in a service that doesn’t actually net the desired results.
So back to the chicken or egg problem - we can’t create a successful marketplace if it starts off with too few or too poorly matched participants.
How do we magically bring together significant numbers of both producers and crew all at once? One tactic IndieLoop is employing is pre-signing up a large number of people who we think will be good citizens of our marketplace: the super users.
Superusers are those who use the service often and are willing to stick around through the sites earliest days. We’re talking to hundreds of customers about the service in one-on-one interviews and learning about their needs at the same time. People who express interest in the service are being pre-populated into the system before we launch - and we won’t launch until we feel we have the appropriate numbers of producers and crew to balance the market network.
We’re also gathering our very earliest group of users from an existing group with which we’re well familiar - NYU’s Tisch graduate film program. By developing our userbase from a population where we already have existing relationships, we’re hoping to tap into a greater willingness to interact and an additional layer of accountability since many of its members have relationships outside of IndieLoop. We believe this approach will help build an environment of honesty and good behavior when the market is at its most nascent point.
Once we’ve gained a certain level of organic traction, we will begin to slowly open the doors to additional populations, primarily other film schools that have existing private networks. Eventually, we will expand beyond private networks, while maintaining an “invite-only” policy as a means to perpetuate a level of quality control over buyers and sellers. This steady, measured approach to growth will gradually thicken the marketplace, resulting in a much more vibrant and productive independent film community.
Like penguins, filmmakers are social beings by nature. Both are interdependent species - meaning they rely on their respective groups in order to thrive in their environments, where they would fail alone. IndieLoop is working to increase the odds of success for all types of content creators by introducing them to more individuals who help them strengthen their positions in the industry.
We invite all interested filmmakers to sign up for our service at IndieLoop.tv. As we open the service to more people, we’ll let you know!