Monday, November 30, 2009

December: Film Industry Slows

It's almost December and the Hollywood stillness has begun. The frenzy has dissipated from another year of specs and sales and production. The Oscar promotions are in full swing but sourcing new material will wane. 

And come December 21, the whole town will be on hiatus only to reappear the 4th or 5th of January. 

So as the film industry slows, I will take a much-needed break from the madness and focus on re-evaluating my projects and goals for the new year. I will prepare for tax season and catch up on everything that has fallen to the wayside during the crazy periods. 

December is a break for the industry and me! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Take Me Home Photo Call!

In our film Take Me Home, our lead character Thom creates a photobook of his work. He is a struggling, yet talented still photographer. We are partnering with Talenthouse.com to find the 15 images we need for the photobook, which will appear at the top of the film. 

So if you or a friend of yours are a still photographer and you would like the opportunity to have your image(s) in a feature film, go to Talenthouse.com and enter your photo for consideration. Here is the link to our page, Take Me Home, at Talenthouse.com.

For more information on the film, please check out our Web site for the film at www.takemehomemovie.com. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deliverables Are Done!

Today was D-Day aka Deliverables Day for us on Not Since You. After four years of ridiculously hard work, we were able to drop off deliverables of the film and corresponding paperwork to our foreign sales agent. 

What a phenomenal feeling! A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I definitely feel a little lighter today. 

Deliverables are much more than just handing over the film and chain of title etc. It marks the completion of so many hours of thinking and laboring over every detail of the film's existence. And as of today, we can feel confident that we have done everything possible to make a great film. 

It's true that our work isn't over. In many respects, it has just begun as we work on breathing life into the film we created. I'm ready for this next phase and I feel a new surge of passion and excitement for getting it in front of audiences. There's nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishing a major stage and the renewed energy that develops as a result.

And now we look at how to get a theatrical for our film. Yes, that's right. A theatrical. Here we go!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Testifying on Indie Film

I want to testify. I work really hard to make really good indie films. And I struggle with my colleagues who make really good indie films to get them to see the light of day. I wish it were easy to build audiences but it isn't. And that's okay. I'll keep on working at it. 

Why is it so hard to build audiences? Well it's really hard to compete with the resources that the studios have. They can funnel money toward advertising and marketing. I can try my might with my limited resources. I can tweet and update facebook and myspace pages and promote the film as much as possible. But do I have a chance?

I hope. 

And my colleagues hope.

We work as hard as we can to express ourselves and we won't stop. Why? Because we love movies. And we will keep making them. No matter what. 

So while many will lament the state of the industry. I will say, let's keep making movies. We need them. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paranormal Activity

As an indie filmmaker, I can't ignore the fact that one of our own, director Oren Peli, has created a film, Paranormal Activity, from practically no resources at all and it has blown records upon records in sales. Nice! Congrats Oren Peli! You are living the indie filmmaker dream right now. 

There are thousands of Oren Pelis out there and Oren struck gold! All it takes is a really good idea that is executed well and hits with an extremely wide audience. Sound easy? Sure! Is it? Hell no -- which is why the indie world is in the crapper at the moment. 

No one knows what is going to hit like PA has. So unfortunately it is a gamble that every filmmaker must make each time he or she starts a new project. And those gambles have been taken a lot by filmmakers, which has led to billions of dollars of investment dollars going down the tubes.  

Oren Peli, whatever you were thinking when you came up with the idea for PA obviously was smart thinking! It's the perfect indie film business model. Make something for dirt cheap that can go on and make high profits. 

As a rule, micro-budget films don't tend to do big business. Paranormal and Blair Witch were anomalies that many filmmakers have continued to try to emulate. Each year, Sundance is loaded with dark or quirky features that were made for less than $100k that tend to get good critical acclaim but they don't seem to do huge business at the box office. 

Smaller films that have a chance of bursting out of the indie distro hell seem to be those that tap into primal fear and laughter or are super charming/quirky/unique that a wide audience is drawn to its uniqueness yet relatability (being relatable is key). And many of these that achieve some success are not micro-budget (in the six figures or less). They are low budgets (seven figures). 

But how awful to think that terrific dramas could be forsaken because they are bad business. The question should be: how can we make them good business. What key ingredient is missing? Or do all the micro-budget films need to be only horror in order to do well? 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Distribution U and the 10 Principles of Hybrid Distro

I attended Distribution U last weekend and learned a great deal about self-distribution. Peter Broderick and Scott Kirsner put on the seminar and they did a wonderful job presenting ideas for how indie filmmakers can take control of the sales of their films. 

The philosophies they presented work well for films with budgets under $1 million. If your film is close to $1 million and above, it's recommended that you go the more traditional route of distribution. However, I think the following ideas can be used on any kind of film, both big and small.

During the seminar, Peter Broderick went over 10 principles of hybrid distribution. Here's what he recommends: 

1. Design a customized distribution strategy.
2. Split distribution rights.
3. Choose effective distribution partners.
4. Circumscribe the rights (meaning carve up the rights to those who can handle them the best).
5. Craft win-win deals. Words to live by: "No deal is better than a bad deal."
6. Retain direct sales rights, i.e. DVD & digital downloads on the film's Web site. 
7. Assemble a distribution team, consisting of: Strategist or Producer Rep, Foreign Sales Agent, Web Site Manager, Outreach Coordinator, Fulfillment Company for DVD Sales
8. Partner with Nonprofits and Online Communities
9. Maximize direct revenues (products you create v. third party)
10. Grow and nurture audiences. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

AFM & SNL

Things are going well at AFM for Not Since You. We had a great screening in which most of the buyers stayed through the entire film -- often buyers only stay 10 mins or so in AFM screenings since they are running around. So we feel good about that. 

At the same time, I am coordinating some SNL interviews this week so once again, busy, busy, busy. 

I attended Distribution U over the weekend too and have some great notes that I plan to share later this week, once the SNL gig is over. 

So stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prepping for the American Film Market

Well, we had our premiere of Not Since You and a week later we are prepping for a screening for buyers on Thursday. And we are finalizing our deliverables for our foreign sales agent. So busy, busy, busy through this week. Then attending Distribution U on Saturday. Looking forward to learning some new things. I'll post what I learn!