Saturday, April 23, 2011

Take Me Home Wins Best Music in a Film

Our film Take Me Home had a wonderful world premiere at the Nashville Film Festival. I have to say that NAFF is a great festival. The programmers and staff were really nice and accommodating. They had a nice tent with food and drinks daily, where we could relax and meet other filmmakers.

The cherry on top was that we won the Best Music in a Film in the main competition. That really made our day! Congratulations to our musicians Bootstraps and Jordan Beckett. You guys are truly amazing.

To check out Bootstraps music, go to www.bootstrapsmusic.com.

Here is a YouTube video of one of Bootstraps' songs in Take Me Home:



Sam and I leave for Dallas, TX this Wednesday for a screening on Thursday at the Angelika Film Center/Dallas. It's at 7:15p so if you are in the area, come on out!

Friday, April 22, 2011

IndieGoGo Campaign for Our Film The Diary of Preston Plummer



Our new film The Diary of Preston Plummer, starring Trevor Morgan, Rumer Willis, Robert Loggia, Erin Dilly and Christopher Cousins, is looking and sounding great! The cut is locked, the color correction and sound mix are scheduled. The end is in sight! Heck yeah!

Sean Ackerman (the director) and I (the producer) have been working hard to squeeze every ounce of resource around us (including our own savings accounts - yikes!) to get the film completed. We did it! The film is almost done. Yay, yay, yay, yay! Can I say Yay one more time? Yay!

I am so happy we made this film. I love it and I love the experience I had on it.

The one issue we are having though, which I know all my readers will be sympathetic to, is that the costs keep mounting. Sean and I have tapped our investors and our personal accounts at this point and we are hoping that crowdfunding may be a great way to keep Diary afloat.

The great thing about crowdfunding that people can contribute any amount they want to give and we are offering some really fun commemorative items for every donation. And it's a great way to donate to the arts and become part of the film's family!

That said, we humbly ask those of you who'd like to see a wonderful film get over this last hurdle to consider even the smallest donation as every penny will go a very long way toward Diary's future. We would be so grateful!

Thanks everyone - here's to indie film and keeping it alive and strong! Click on the IndieGoGo box at the top and it will take you to the page where you can donate any amount you'd like. Thanks again!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Napa Valley Film Festival

Who doesn't want to drink wine and watch movies? I just heard this:

The Napa Valley Film Festival premieres November 9-13. Our new festival combines the best new independent film with Napa Valley's finest food, wine, art and natural beauty of wine country. We are deep into production now, and are seeking great new independent films.
 
Today is the last day to submit films for consideration, and we're giving away a pair of free festival passes and bottle of wine to a lucky filmmaker who submits before the deadline.
 
Submit a Film Here: http://bit.ly/NVFFsubmissions
More Festival Info: http://bit.ly/NapaFilmFest
 
More Info: http://napavalleyfilmfest.org
Like Us:    http://facebook.com/napavalleyfilmfestival
Follow Us: http://twitter.com/napafilmfest

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Seeking New Romantic Script!

I am putting it out to the world that I am seeking a new romantic script to produce. I am on the hunt. If anyone wants to have me consider their romantic script to produce, send me a brief synopsis to my gmail account: jkkosek@gmail.com.

Also, I am mainly seeking scripts without directors attached.

I love making romantic films and it's really hard to find good, strong, romantic stories that aren't too soft or schmaltzy or weird. I feel like if I put it out into the world that I want to find this great script then it will find me!

I'm ready!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Despite the Struggles - I Am Happy to Be an Independent Film Producer

I realize that I often sound like I'm complaining or whining or just plain tired of film producing. It's true that it's exhausting but it's a good kind of exhaustion and I really do love what I do. I have never once dreaded going to work -- even if it's sitting at my desk in my living room.

Do you ever take on tasks in life that you know are sapping all of your energy but you are still excited to be doing them? I pinch myself often thinking about the experiences I've had to date, working with amazing people on some really incredible projects - including an Academy Award winner.

So as I nurse my aching body and brain, I do feel a sense of pride that I took the road less traveled. I followed my dream and allowed it to take me places and meet people and tell stories that I could never have experienced if I hadn't thrown caution to the wind and just did it.

I guess what I'm saying is that despite my wincing and whining, I truly enjoy making movies and I can't wait to make another one. I'm already jonesing to be on set again.

So if your dream is to be a producer. Then do it. Jump in and never look back. If you know you need to produce or you will die then you need to produce. This is how I feel. I would die if I couldn't produce -- well maybe I wouldn't die but you need to feel a really strong obsession for making movies.

Don't question it. Don't give up. Your efforts will pay off. Give it time. Believe in yourself.

Could the process be easier? Yes. Could some of the people I need to deal with be nicer and less crazy? Absolutely. Could I make a steadier living? That would be nice. Is this career worth it? Completely.

In this business, the inmates are running the asylum. And I'm one happy inmate.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

SAG - I Love Your Members But You're Killing Me

I am pro-union. I used to be in the IATSE Local 181 in NY when I was an assistant production coordinator. I am all for taking care of people who work hard. And all of the actors I have worked with to date, work hard! And in return, I take care of them. I put them up well and make sure they have every need addressed and rightly so. I do the same for the crew. I am all about a happy, healthy, well-fed, well-hugged set.

The problem I'm having right now though is with SAG. I have worked with SAG for years. I've been signatory many times and followed all the rules and have worked with their wonderful actors. I really have no issue with SAG as a union.

What I have a problem with is their contract terms for foreign TV sales. On one of our movies, we are being told that we owe the actors residuals on the gross amount of foreign TV sales despite the fact that we have received $0 from foreign to date.

The issue is that we have hired a foreign sales agent to sell foreign. If we had sold direct to the foreign distributors then we wouldn't owe residuals until we received revenue. But since we hired a foreign sales agent, we owe as soon as the foreign sales agent earns money. The problem is that the foreign sales agent will not give an advance and needs to recoup their fee and expenses before we see any revenue. And how are we to sell foreign direct when we don't have the relationships with foreign buyers and we should be producing movies and not spending time running from foreign market to foreign market?

This situation leaves us in a position to owe SAG residuals on sales from which we have seen no money. Now, SAG says, get the foreign sales agent to sign an assumption agreement in which they assume paying the residuals. Unfortunately, no foreign sales agent I have run into will sign one. So that leaves the producer on the hook to pay all the residuals based on gross even when the producer earns net revenue. Why would I enter a deal like this? Well, I need to keep making movies and trying to sell them. What choice to do I have?

The worst part is owing residuals when we have seen no money from the sales. I am fine paying residuals. I'm happy to pay them. But please wait until I have earned the money in order to pay them. Don't ask me to go to my family (who does not work in the business) and say, hey, give me money to pay the actors residuals. Anyone would say, that's crazy.

SAG's response is, well, that's the contract you signed. Yes, I signed it and so have countless other producers because we have no other way of making a movie with SAG actors. I have to sign it. And it's a contract that is negotiated by people who make studio films that make tons of money. The movie I am discussing here is not a studio film. I'm happy it's getting out to the world but I'm not wanting or willing to be robbed along the way.

Change needs to happen. Indie film producers are going bankrupt and being raked over the coals by ill-conceived contracts that do not protect their rights. I'm in this business to survive and have it work for everyone. I want to take care of the actors. I love them and want to protect them. In turn, they should be protecting me so I can set up more movies that they can star in.

Let's all work together and find a win-win solution. Don't bankrupt us SAG. We want to keep making movies so we can hire your members. Help us to do that.