Leave a Comment

You might have heard about the grand experiment Louis C.K. is conducting right now, in which you can visit his official website and, for just $5, download an entire comedy special he recorded last month at the Beacon Theater in New York. There's no distributor, no middle man at all, just C.K. and the people he paid to help him record the show and put it all online collecting the profits directly. It's not unlike the way Radiohead distributed their album In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-wish download, and quite possibly a new method for actors and other content creators who are sick of having their stuff pirated or otherwise stolen.

It's still unclear how well this experiment is turning out or how much money C.K. will be able to make from it, but he's already looking ahead to the future, at least in the anarchic world of a Reddit comment thread, which C.K. opened earlier today to answer fan questions and promote the concert download. Asked whether he'd want to write or direct more movies (he made 2001's wonderful and bizarre Pootie Tang), C.K. said the comedy special online download model might make another movie possible. Here's an excerpt from his lengthy answer:

if i can get a deal to make a movie the way I do my show, i'll do it. Otherwise... no.

I have a dream, though. You want to hear it? Yeah? Well, okay.

I thought about what if I make another special like this one and i put it up for 5 bucks again and it goes gangbusters. It makes, say, 8 million bucks. I don't know that that is even possible. I'm trying to find out what the potential is with this one. But so if I make 8 million, which all goes through paypal right into Pig Newton, my company that makes my show and made the special. Well I would leave the money in there and make a fucking movie.

If you're not familiar with his FX series Louie-- which is brilliant and you should catch up with, by the way-- C.K.. was given full creative freedom by the network to make it mostly because it doesn't cost anything, and he writes the episodes, directs them, and edits them entirely on his laptop. Having grown accustomed to that kind of creative freedom you can't blame him for wanting the same on a film, and it's thrilling to think that this online distribution model might give him the ability to do just that, when it might otherwise be impossible. While I'm not sure I want to see a feature film version of the Louie TV show-- it works best as brilliant bits that stand on their own in 22 minutes-- C.K. has the kind of comedic talent that I'd follow into absolutely anything.

So if you haven't purchased the comedy special yet, go here and do so. Not only is it brilliant by all accounts, but you'll be supporting a great artist not just to live his life, but to possibly return to filmmaking for the first time in a decade. Get on it!