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Nov 26 / Truly Free Film

3 Takeaways For Producers From AFM 2014

In addition to the learning that the Presale Market is Alive and Well at AFM and observing 4 industry trends from AFM 2014, I gained some practical knowledge that all producers should know.  While there’s plenty more you will need to know to attend your first AFM, here are some things that really popped out this year.

1.  While more filmmakers are exhibiting at the show, Sales Agents are still important partners.

This year AFM opened lower cost booths on the third floor to producers to have a base of operations to plan from while selling their products.  The price was 3900 and included 3 badges.  It really wasn’t all that different than a three person team attending the market on full week badges.  Many of these filmmakers also screened their projects on Monday, in hope of attaching a sales agent and US Distributor.

According to Jonathan Wolf, The purpose of these booths was not for the producers to sell the film directly themselves. most filmmakers don’t understand the intricacies of international sales or what each film really should sell for internationally.  While more filmmakers are becoming exhibitors, the intent is different than the sales agents who pay for the suites.

2. In order to Succeed at AFM, you’ve got to come back every year.

In a press release, the AFM noted that 90% of the buying companies attending AFM were returning to the market.  You can’t build a new network or a new chain of theaters in only a year, so the numbers of buyers doesn’t change dramatically.  It’s generally the same people who come out year after year.  Getting traditional, non-DIY distribution is heavily relationship based.  If you want to go that route, then AFM is a good place to start establishing those relationships. 

Speaking from personal experience, if you can establish a relationship with reputable sales agents and distributors then getting your films out there will become far easier.  If sales agents and distributors like you, then not only are they more likely to take a risk on a project, but even if your current project isn’t for them then most of them won’t mind you bringing them future work.  Having those relationships is really make or break in this business.

3. The pool is now open only to Badge Holders, and it’s going to stay that way.

This was the first year the pool was open exclusively to badge holders.

According to Mr. Wolf, this is going to be a permanent change.  “The feedback we got was 99% positive.”  Adding that many people would to come down to the pool and just stay there for hours, making it quite difficult for exhibitors and buyers to get a table for a meeting.

He later added that, “The only complaint we’ve really had is that some local people come to the show for meetings and don’t get badges, and thus have no place to meet.”  Luckily, IndyOh! Opened across the street from the Loews, and could rise to fill that gap if it’s as accessible next year as it was this year.

From personal experience, it was nice to not have the same level of competition to grab a table for a poolside meeting.  I made several valuable connections while sitting at the tables, and the connections made seemed more valuable than they have been in years past.   It also drastically cut down on the number of disreputable characters and shady dealings by the pool.

If you want more practical tips on how to do establish those relationships, you should check out my book!

Ben is the Author of The Guerrilla Rep: American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget, Founder and CEO of Guerrilla Rep Media, and Founder of Producer Foundry.  Formerly, Ben was the Chapter Leader for the Institute for Ineternational Film Finance for San Francisco, Vancouver, New York, and Los Angeles and screened business plans for the Film Angels. Follow Ben on Twitter at @TheGuerrillaRep.

 


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Nov 25 / Truly Free Film

Envy For The Music Biz

"for my enemies will devour themselves"

“for my enemies will devour themselves”

Maybe the grass is always greener, but lately that other side of the entertainment industry has been looking all sparkly and bright to me.  

Okay, pushing the boulder up the hill is such an exhausting task, your mind can’t help but wander and consider maybe there are some upsides to letting it all crash and burn and then starting over.  What happened when the music business flamed out? They didn’t die. Have they risen from the ashes, stronger and wiser, with new tools in their belt, a commitment to get it right this time? [...]


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Nov 25 / Truly Free Film

A First Time Writer/Director’s Trial by Fire, Part #4: Unhealthy Obsessive Persistence

Welcome to the game that everyone trying to make a movie wish they would never have to play but do: Unhealthy Obsessive Persistence and Unlikely Approval! (Applause) What do we have for our contestant behind Door #1… wait, Door #1 is locked? Then what’s behind Door #2? A brick wall you say? What about Door #3? It just revolves back to point A. Congratulations! You don’t win! (Audience moans) Adding insult to injury, I have to pay for my own craft service.

At times, working to get a project noticed appears to dip into pointlessness, [...]


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Nov 24 / Truly Free Film

No Accidents in R: Struggle of the Homegrown Cinema, part II

Staying relevant. It is a fear actors, directors, content creators, and to be honest, most human beings grapple with constantly. The more than half-century year-old Sunset Boulevard exemplified this fear in the delusional Gloria Swanson. And while I’m sure this obsession is a random extraneous facet of the greatly evolved human consciousness, it may be spin-off on our desire to survive.


This wasn’t part of Birdman. This was Emma Stone actually telling MK the truth.

[...]


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Nov 20 / Truly Free Film

It Broke My Heart But The Mission Remained Intact

You’ve given me the support I needed to go forth and try to get this done. Granted, I had enough support from the beginning to actually believe there was a chance I could not just make movies, but make good movies. That is a real gift, an advantage few have. Courage, faith — those things were there, but so was doubt and fear. Love and hate. The wolves in battle.

What if it didn’t work? And then when that was true, when it did stop working, or at least start to stop working for most, what made me think I could help build something better?

What gives us the strength to make big decisions? To change our path? To take on new burdens? [...]


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Nov 19 / Truly Free Film

4 industry trends Revealed at AFM 2014

Despite the growing trend towards self-distribution, AFM is still a hugely important event in the industry, and something to which we should all pay attention.  I spoke with AFM’s Managing Director Jonathan Wolf on Wednesday about his opinions about the show and the general state of the industry.  Here’s what you need to know as a producer

1. Asia’s importance as a territory is growing.

This should come as a surprise to precisely no one; at least no one who has been paying attention to industry trends.  However by the numbers, buyers from Asia represented 30.7% of total buyers, and 28.3% of total buyer companies attending AFM.  [...]


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Nov 18 / Truly Free Film

Presale Market Alive and Well at AFM

Surprising, right?  Everything you read is that presales are a dying business, but according to Jonathan Wolf, AFM’s Managing Director, about 60% of the business done at this year’s AFM was in presales.  This means more than half a billion USD in presales alone.  

According to Mr. Wolf, the market for foreign presales came back by 2010 or 2011.  [...]


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Nov 25 / Issues and Actions

Add Five Female Characters To Your Script

Less than 30% of all speaking characters in the 100 top-grossing films are female. “If filmmakers just added five female speaking characters to their current slate of projects (without taking away or changing any of the male characters) and repeated the process for four years, we would be at parity.”

[…]


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Nov 21 / My Films

My Greatest Films That No One Has Ever Seen

whathappendposter

Recently Jon Brooks at KQED wrote up a very nice piece on Tom Noonan’s WHAT HAPPENED WAS (1994). That film won multiple awards at Sundance but barely go seen.  Unfortunately it does not sleep alone in my bed of barely seen almost-masterpieces.  As strong as my track record may be, it still holds some flops, misfires, and damn bad luck […]


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Nov 20 / Issues and Actions & The Next Good Idea

Sometimes We Forget To Do The Obvious

If the best solution is the easiest solution, what takes us so long to do it?  The film industry complains about piracy.  But what do we do about it?  If you want to find a movie available illegally, all you have to do is search for it.  But what if you don’t want to have the artists or their supporters […]


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Oct 23 / My Films

Come To My First LA Bookstore Reading EVER!

Yup.  I will tell some great tales, read a few passages, answer a lot of questions, and distribute some free gifts.  All this and more this Friday evening.  At Book Soup. 7p.  8818 Sunset Blvd.  See you there!

[…]


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Oct 23 / Issues and Actions

We ARE Building A Better Film Ecosystem

I have great HOPE for what is happening right now in the film business.  I recently wrote about it for The Hollywood Reporter. Check it out here.

[…]


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Oct 15 / These Are Those Things

Signs…

One of the many signs I encountered on my morning path today: pic.twitter.com/X7v11HRwn9

— Ted Hope (@TedHope) October 15, 2014

 

[…]


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Oct 4 / These Are Those Things

I Am Glad Buster Keaton Lived In Our World And He Shared Himself With Us

It’s Buster’s birthday.  Celebrate it with this:

[…]


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Sep 29 / Let's Make Better Films

I Am Taking Credit Where Little Is Due

So what if it is not my Oscar?

Bet you didn’t know I was responsible for this summer’s biggest box office hit. Yup. Guardians Of The Galaxy: I am responsible for that.

And if you were in Zurich for their film festival, you might have gotten some excellent advice on how to make award winning films.  It may have seemed like Nicholas Chartier was giving the speech, but […]


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Sep 26 / My Films

Book Excerpt: How Nicole Holofcener Got Her Start

Did you miss the excerpt of my book “Hope For Film” that Women And Hollywood ran the other week? It’s not too late.

[…]


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