FaceBook reminded me this morning that I sent out a press release for Accidentally Preserved: Volume 1 six years ago. A quick hop onto Google shows that the sixth anniversary is the iron or candy one. Both seem appropriate. My idea of seeing if I could connect a bunch of rare and lost silent films that I had with anyone who wanted to see them has held up, and entertained a couple thousand or more classic film fans.
I was interested in the wormhole, of figuring out how to get these films sitting on a shelf in my apartment to people who were (or might be) interested in see them. I’d been fascinated by the idea that in the digital age, the playing field had been leveled. That an individual enthusiast like myself now had the tools and the access to the mechanism to distribute — give or take a little — as the big companies I’d been recording scores for since the early 2000s.
The issue of how do you get the money to produce a DVD had now been solved by crowdfunding. The conundrum of getting your video into stores was no longer a concern because Blockbuster and Tower Records et al didn’t exist. Distribution by Amazon’s manufacture-on-demand platform CreateSpace could get my product right onto Amazon. And once you’re on Amazon, you’re on Amazon. Just like KinoLorber or Criterion was. And there’s really no such thing as a difference between being on Amazon, and really being on Amazon. As long as the product had a look on par with the established companies, in terms of the quality and caliber of the artwork and the DVD’s image and music quality.
I’ve now released 21 DVDs, one of which was a DVD/Blu-ray combo, and done 7 successful Kickstarters. I didn’t set out to become a label — Undercrank Productions — but I’ve leaned in to noticing the path of least resistance on this, and something that was barely a “side-hustle” when I recorded the Kickstarter video for Accidentally Preserved: Volume 1 is now a somewhat significant part of What I Do. I’ve found that instead of getting miffed at companies for not doing something, asking myself “okay, how does this work?”, finding the wormhole and figuring out a workaround often pays off.
Accidentally Preserved: Volume 1 is available on Amazon here. It’s also available on most other online platforms like the TCM Shop, DeepDiscount, Movies Unlimited and internationally on Amazon Canada and UK and Australia.
You can also watch all nine of the films from the DVD on my YouTube channel.
Here’s the Kickstarter video I made for Accidentally Preserved: Volume 1, from November 2012 —