Filmmaker Success Story: Ryan Balas

April 23rd, 2018 • 4 min read •

Independent filmmakers don’t exactly have a time tested blueprint for how to get their art into the world in this rapidly changing digital content environment. While Filmhub has never promised all the answers, smart content owners have been able to leverage the B2B Marketplace to their advantage. Ryan Balas is one such filmmaker.

Ryan is an independent filmmaker from New York City. Ryan currently manages the library of titles from his production company Robel Films on the Filmhub marketplace. We caught up with Balas to discuss how he uses the app to monetize his films, manage what to expect from his productions and the opportunities self distribution has allowed his family and company.

A resident of Queens, Balas is a working director and cinematographer in New York. He has made 14 independent feature films in under 10 years. He created ‘The Really Cool Show’, a comedic web series with over 20 million views on YouTube. Ryan works with his wife, actress Dee Herlihy, and brother, Alec Balas under the Robel Films banner, creating truly independent films.

In the early days of his career, it was painful for Ryan to attract distribution companies that serve his needs and come to agreeable terms with him. “Finding [the] right distribution partner was difficult at that time. It used to be that a company was looking for content based on criteria of what was performing well currently, or what their slate might look like.”

The delivery process was very limited and time-consuming. Ryan was confronted with a lot of hassle and administrative work, as media assets were placed together on a hard drive and delivered to the distribution company. “It was fun and interesting, especially stop-by the offices and meet people there, but in the end, it did require a lot of energy and took away time and focus from doing the work that I wanted to do: making great films”, Ryan explains.

“We had a handful of smaller films we needed to figure out what we do with. They have played some festivals and there was definitely a built-in audience. We gave Filmhub a try with a film my wife had produced. After a couple of months, we received our first royalty check and thought: Wow, this little movie that we are not able show anybody was playing great!”

Increasing Speed, Transparency and Performance

Since then Ryan is using the marketplace constantly as his first choice to get his films onto streaming services.

The intuitive web application — including a secure ingest of his digital assets — helped him reduce submission time and focus on other relevant topics in the film lifecycle like marketing and strategy to promote his film. After submitting, Ryan was able to track the journey of his films on Filmhub’s marketplace. Balas said, “What really struck me about Filmhub is the transparency. A live dashboard is showing me the current status of my titles from submission to go-live date on any streaming platform. In addition, I’m seeing actual numbers every quarter and get a real sense of how different films are performing on different platforms.”

As an outcome, Ryan was able to adjust what kind of films he is making in the future. If a film with a specific genre performs really well on streaming services in a certain quarter, he was able to analyse his budget and plan and reconcile his next idea based on the experience and data he gained through Filmhub’s marketplace.

Driving Success on the Marketplace

Since partnering with Filmhub, Ryan has achieved great results for his goals, with many of his films generating significant digital revenue for the first time. “The return-on-invest is absolutely outstanding for me as an independent filmmaker. I have access to big platforms like Amazon Video or China Mobile and see my films compete in the same way as bigger films.”

Filmhub is lowering entry barriers for all filmmakers. No matter where a filmmaker is on the spectrum of their filmmaking career, we believe that every creator can be successful if they involve themselves in their audience. Ryan’s advice for filmmakers is not to be afraid of creating niche content. He empowers content creators to be wild, creative and to do the films they want to make. Ryan has big plans for the future and expresses, “I have never felt more truly independent than working with Filmhub.”

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