Why Are We Doing Surveys

Nobody enjoys doing a survey. Well, there are a few exceptions. However, those are odd cases. I once conducted a phone survey on health care with a woman who insisted that yes, she wanted to answer the survey questions, but I’d have to hang on a minute while she turned on her recording of the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian. It worked for her, so what the hey. For me, the strangest moment was the time I ended up conducting a survey with a widow who was channeling her dead husband. Turns out, we had absolutely no rules against doing it this way.

For good or ill, conducting a survey is a major way to learn something about people’s interests and perceptions. Surveys provide a crucial map toward a better understanding of certain issues and concerns. They provide a beginning in a process of learning.

That is why the process is used in so many fields. Some professions may be guilty of overdoing it. Arguably that is the case in the medical and health care professions. I spent several years working that beat and I discovered that HMOs have more surveys than you can possibly imagine and they are gathering the information for reasons that extend beyond health care.

However, indie filmmaking is not overly examined in this way. There’s been an odd variety of surveys conducted in the field, such as the recent Georgia Independent Film Survey and the Criticwire Survey. There are also a growing number of technical and consumer-oriented surveys regarding cameras and equipment. But it’s all pretty few and far between and often quite narrow in focus.

The four surveys we are conducting (use the links below for access to the surveys) are intended to broadly chart some of the major changes currently taking place within the indie world. We have no illusions that these surveys are anywhere near comprehensive. Our intention is merely to start a process. In any survey approach, the results will be better questions, not answers.

Our approach is a form of non-probability sampling of indie filmmakers. So obviously we are not going to pretend that we have precise data. Instead, we are simply seeking a general consensus of opinion. I suspect that to get a probability sample would require an approach that would take way too long, require some type of grant, and drive us all half nuts.

The questions in these surveys are intended for working indie filmmakers only. We will have no access to any personal or identifying information regarding anyone taking the survey except for IP addresses. Likewise, we are looking at IP addresses solely for reference as to the geographic spread of those responding (in other words, the person’s location in terms of either country or state). Beyond that, your identity is none of our business. Besides, the effort of tracking you down involves more work than I care to do.

We are seeking responses based on the experiences and opinions of people actively working in the indie film business as a director, producer, and/or screenwriter (most likely you are wearing many hats). We don’t want theory. We want the word straight from the trenches.

And all the questions in these surveys relate exclusively to your own work on your own movies and not some mainstream flick that was in town for location work and you got a gig with the crew. While that type of experience is great for the résumé, it doesn’t count as your own movie. I am sure that nobody is answering this way but just in case….

We will be taking answers until July 16th and present results by early August. And thanking you in advance for your assistance.

Survey One (general): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KQ5WV58

Survey Two (social media): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B26ZJPS

Survey Three (crowdfunding): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DQ9MGX7

Survey Four (digital distribution): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DXJQZND

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