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Never have I been so jealous of Kansas City.  The genius geeks over at Google decided (presumably for a great reason) to choose Kansas City as the launching pad to test its new Google Fiber technology. According to their site, the technology will allow users to download content from Google Fiber TV channels, Netflix and other sources.  And Google claims that viewers will be able to see HDTV quality over the Internet seamlessly and at rates up to 100 times faster than normal broadband.  It will also include a 1 TB drive that allows you to record up to eight programs simultaneously, in addition to being able to choose from HD channels online like a DVR player.

It’s official. The difference between your computer and your television no longer exists.

Not only does Google Fiber TV sound amazing for the end users (enjoy your head start, Kansas City), it’s even more amazing for today’s crop of rising indie filmmakers. Why? Well, think about this. Traditional Hollywood’s biggest asset has been their huge financial and structural advantage when it comes to the distribution network of theaters, cable channels and sales outlets around the world. How could I – the little guy – get my product next to their product at a multiplex?  How could I – the little guy – negotiate for my project to be on a cable channel when big Hollywood has such a huge competitive advantage? How could I convince stores – and even Netflix – that carry dvd’s to choose my products over the dvd’s of traditional Hollywood?  The old answer was, “I couldn’t.”  The new answer is, “It doesn’t matter.” This huge structural advantage that traditional Hollywood built up? If Google Fiber TV lives up to its billing, that structural advantage of traditional Hollywood just collapsed.

Once Google Fiber takes over (and it will…or, at minimum, something like it), my web show “Dumbass Filmmakers!” will appear in its full HDTV glory at anyone’s fingertip. It will be as easy to find with a Google search as Tom Cruise’s latest film.  And when the audience plays it on their device, it will appear to them on their big screen tv at home, as programming.  Not Internet television programming.  But programming, period. Finally, consuming independent film product will be JUST AS EASY for the audience as consuming Studio-made fare.  So thank you, Google Fiber, for leveling the playing field.

That doesn’t mean that Google Fiber will suddenly introduce a whole new generation of indie filmmakers (although I think it’s possible).  Obviously, big traditional Hollywood still has its second biggest weapon – its ability to generate and use star talent – to draw bigger audiences and more interest to their products. The average consumer of entertainment will be much more drawn to click and watch something they know rather than something they don’t know. However, indie filmmakers have a golden opportunity to take advantage of social media and lower production costs to put themselves in contention. And as the porn industry has shown with its online juggernaut, niche content plays really well online and consumers don’t expect pristine production quality from every product they consume. Indie filmmakers have a much easier time serving niche audiences because they have more freedom to explore subject matter with their lower budgets and, let’s be frank, they are often more authentic as human beings. And that’s a weakness for traditional Hollywood going forward.  You see, they’re used to making “generalist” fare, stuff you can feel comfortable watching with your girlfriend, cousin Joe, grandma and your nephew. So the content has to be general and accessible enough for all to enjoy (or at least not go screaming out of the theater). But success online is much more likely to come from niche fare.  You search online to figure out how to fix a specific problem or join a group online of people with similar interests. You don’t need cousin Joe to like what you’re watching.  After all, you’re watching from the privacy of your own home.  So I predict that filmmakers with a unique appeal to a niche or niches will be very nicely served by Google Fiber and the collapse of computers vs. television into one big computer-television.

So as for Big Traditional Hollywood, this indie filmmakers says,”It’s On.”

Hunter Lee Hughes is a filmmaker and actor living and working in Los Angeles and the founder of Fatelink. His current feature film Guys Reading Poems is touring film festivals and this blog is dedicated to the process of making his second feature film, “Inside-Out, Outside-In.” If you enjoy the blog, please support our team by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@Fatelink) or Instagram (@Fatelink).

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