Marty's Story (CollabFeature)

The film industry is evolving faster than it ever has before. With the growing popularity of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime among others, distribution models are changing rapidly. Pair that with a sky-high failure rate for independent films - 98% of which fail to make a profit - it’s an industry ripe for disruption.

This is why we founded Collabfeature.

Collabfeature is a collaborative filmmaking platform/virtual film studio, focused on multi-director features, series and documentaries. We distribute the creative process to a field of aspiring filmmakers, allowing the group to each take on a smaller, more manageable piece of each project. Then, when it comes time to bring the film to market, we have a built-in promotions machine as the team of creative directors and filmmakers who worked on the project host private screenings and market the picture.

The platform allows films to be made in bit sized chunks, and paid for in smaller dollar increments, but to still come out as feature length and with feature level quality.

We started Collabfeature in 2008 as a response to the growing trend/power of social media paired with our love for collaborating on projects. At the time it was just a website and a message board, followed by a lot of outreach to filmmakers.

Ian Bonner & Marty Shea (Co-founders of Collabfeature)

Ian Bonner & Marty Shea (Co-founders of Collabfeature)

The first filmmaker we reached out to wrote back immediately, and was incredibly enthusiastic. That provided the spark we needed to get through those early days, and the rest is history, history that is still being written!

Thus far Collabfeature has produced and released two award-winning feature films.  The first, "The Owner", released in 2012, broke a Guinness World Record for “Most Directors of a Film.” (25 directors)  

The second, "Train Station", now playing in festivals, has broken that record with its 40 writer/directors from 25 countries and was named “Best Feature” at the LA Diversity Film Festival.

We’re now filming the first season of a series, by far our most ambitious project to date, with over 100 filmmakers and will soon be launching our next feature.  

To get a truly collaborative process together, we built a platform that allows concepts, outlines, scripts and final cuts to be voted on and decided democratically. There isn’t one person “leading” the film, but rather it’s a group effort to make something that is cohesive and represent all creators.  This keeps the 150 filmmakers we’ve worked with engaged and excited, while producing riveting content.

As for the nuts and bolts of how the projects work- Collabfeature provides needed overhead funding, while filmmakers pool own equipment, cast, crews and other resources. When it comes time for release, every contributing filmmaker is credited on the project, and receives a share of the profits.

To date, we’ve had over 4000 applicants and are working on updates to our platform that will allow us to run an unlimited number of multi-director projects.  Our ultimate goal is to give any interested filmmaker access to a worldwide network of creators and a worldwide audience without having to raise daunting amounts of money or spend years of their life in development.