We've Got Hollywood Covered

Hell on Earth: Independent Film, the Infomercial

How have so many people been hoodwinked by Marc Rosenbush?

So I log onto Twitter this morning and I notice that Ted Hope has posted the following, innocent-looking <130 characters:

"MARC ROSENBUSH will answer filmmakers' questions about online marketing again TONIGHT from 6-7:30"

I'd never heard of Marc Rosenbush, but I hadn't heard of Zachary Oberzan or the film "Oxhide" until recently, so I supposed I could have missed a fellow traveler who was sharing wisdom with deserving filmmakers.

When I hit the accompanying link, it was like clicking into hell. As it turns out, Marc Rosenbush is the Antichrist and Ted has either been duped by the devil or he's consciously and actively promoting the most egregious independent film criminal of all time. (Someone really needs to build an independent film jail.)

According to Alexa, Rosenbush's outrage of a website is the 153rd most popular in the Faroe Islands, which is so appropriate given its close proximity to Iceland and the likelihood that it's people are now buried in acrid, putrid volcanic ash. In fact, I'm pretty sure the eruption occurred due to Faroe Islands traffic to Rosenbush's nefarious online lair. Like a frat boy who'd just ingested a full litre of Jäger, that node of the planet couldn't help but projectile vomit the massive quantity of crap that it just swore to God it would never go near again.

I have to give him credit. Rosenbush is as good a shyster/huckster as any Wall Street derivatives scammer. Here's my favorite chunk (as in blowing) from his free (of course it's not free, you have to give him an email address first) "video mini seminar" on independent film marketing:

"Now, I'm not sure how long this bribe is gonna be available. In fact, my business partners, they're not thrilled that I'm givin' this stuff away for free…"

Marc (Robin Hood) Rosenbush then goes on to tell us that for only $1, you can get a taste (think Jäger) of his Indie Film Insiders Online Marketing Club for seven (count 'em, seven!) free days. And what will be revealed once you sign up for the full package — which will automatically be charged to your credit card at "an affordable $29.95 a month" every month until you beg him to make it stop?…

"cool new videos!"

"cutting edge, killer marketing practices in action!"

"cool contests where you can win free consulting from me!"

I don't want to pick on Ted. He's not the only (hopefully uninformed) promoter of this bullshit. Rosenbush's site features glowing quotes from film consultants Jon Reiss, Stacey Parks and Robert Hawk.

Is it possible that they've all been hoodwinked by this clown? I sure hope so. Otherwise, things in the dependent/co-dependent world are worse than I ever could have imagined. This is what happens when a true community of thoughtful, passionate, innovative and generous filmmakers and filmgoers is swallowed up in a commercial frenzy of all for me and every man for himself.

(Incidentally, I’m not a huge Godard fan, but "Every Man for Himself (Sauve Qui Peut/La Vie)" is, IMHO, one of the greatest films of all time.)

As for Marc Rosenbush, please tell everyone you know who either is or may ever become an independent filmmaker (yes, even tell your dependent/co-dependent brethren) …run, do not walk, away from the Indie Film Insiders Marketing Club. If you have to join a club, Hair Club for Men is a much better bet.

And Ted, Jon, Stacey and Robert: What are you thinking?!

Light a fire and toss this website in. It won't provide warmth, but it sure will feel good.

Mark Lipsky's Insight Cinema offers domestic and international distributors, producers and filmmakers advice on digital strategies and audience development among other issues. He blogs at InciteCinema, a plug-and-play solution for American independents and filmmakers around the globe who wish to either bypass or enhance traditional bricks-and-mortar release strategies.