The cruel irony of do-it-yourself filmmaking is that while it's gotten easier and cheaper to actually make the things, it's gotten harder and more expensive to get them into theaters. As a result, the stigma once associated with releasing a film on the Internet rather than in cinemas is starting to fade away. It's no longer a last resort. In fact, for Abe Schwartz, whose stoner film Bad Batch is being released online today, it was the best option almost from the beginning.

"I think I always knew I was going to take a non-traditional approach," says Schwartz, a 26-year-old Philly native who's making his debut as a writer and director. The film, a low-key, black-and-white comedy about two guys and a girl who have a bad trip from some pot brownies, has an early Kevin Smith or Richard Linklater vibe, and lends itself to the small screen. "These character-driven films, you don't need to see them on the big screen," he says. "I can watch them on the small screen and get a similar level of enjoyment." And of course it's cheaper that way, too, both for the distributor and the audience.

Schwartz says the point was driven home when he went to Sundance and South By Southwest this year. While Bad Batch was already scheduled for an online release date of 4/20 (because marijuana, get it?), he was open to the possibility of going the theatrical route. "But I was seeing these movies (at the festivals) that are great, really technically sound -- and they're not getting distribution deals," he says.