In the last few years I've started to pay more attention to small, independent film companies that generally release their work through sites like Youtube and Vimeo, though many also do so through their own websites. They frequently make use of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon to fund their projects, providing those who support them with various 'perks' in exchange. These perks can range from copies of their work on DVD/Blu-Ray or digital downloads, to news and peeks behind the scenes, or props from the productions. Some projects will even allow supporters, at higher dollar values, to take some part in the production.
My own journey started when I decided to hunt down a movie that I'd been hearing about for years but had never seen; "The Gamers" by Dead Gentlemen Productions. I had heard about it through role playing websites and rumour, and was rather surprised to ultimately find it on Youtube. It in turn led me to DG's earlier works "Demon Hunters" and "Demon Hunters: Dead Camper Lake." It slowly dawned on me that people were actually producing video for the sheer love of it and sharing it with the public, free of charge. It was a different production model in which the artists get paid up front for their work (a mere pittance in most cases), then release the work to the world at large.
The Dead Gentlemen Productions trail led me to Zombie Orpheus Entertainment and a fair bit of confusion over where the dividing line was between the two. They are separate. And together. Forever. I think. Kind of like that line from "Sin City." But that introduced me to shows like "Standard Action", "Glitch", "Transolar Galactica", and many, many more. It also made me wonder who else was doing this sort of thing which in turn introduced me to, among many other things, the various "Star Trek" fan films and series.
Through all of this I've met some very good, very creative people online, who definitely deserve your support in what they do. Just think of it; instead of taking whatever a huge studio chooses to throw your way, you actually have a hand in shaping what you get.
So now my entertainment budget goes more toward funding various independent projects, than it does to paying for movie rentals and theatre tickets. Here's a list of some of the shows I think are worth watching. It's by no means a comprehensive list but then again, as they were for me, consider them to be the "gateway drug", that I'll add to as time goes on ;)
A home of many, many independent creators, The Fantasy Network.
Viva la Dirt League, out of New Zealand,where you can watch "Epic NPC Man", "PUBG Logic",and more.
TimTimFed, home of "Wizards ao Aus."
Malicedownunder, where you can watch the series "MALICE."