congrats Martin on your deal with Lions Gate. By any chance did you see any advance money upfront? seems to almost be an anomaly these days with the current economy.
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01-05-2011 10:17 AM
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
01-05-2011 12:29 PM
01-05-2011 01:36 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Martin is my hero!
I can't wait to join in this discussion after Superseeds is finished. We're halfway done with principal photography and then it's on to the dreaded post production schedule!
Talking about budgets is a hairy game: maybe one day after it's all said and done I can reveal the number.
01-05-2011 03:13 PM
01-15-2011 11:48 PM
To get distribution as an Indie is probably 50% self generated hype then 50% contacts/logistics and skilled presentation. Having a watchable movie is a minimum requirement. From experience i can tell you that your film does not require Oscar winning material to get signed but what it does require is a focused target demographic and all the elements that that particular demographic is interested in.
Film makers tend to make a drastic mistake in the assumption that the majority of film watchers are technical experts and anal carrot processing art critics. The truth is, Michael bay and Jerry Bruckheimer sell a lot more tickets than the average Oscar bait movie. they know what their audiences want and they give it to them in spades! critics HATE Michael Bay, yet he still gets to make Gazzillion dollar movies because he gives his target audience - teenage boys and older teenage boys (like me) - exactly what they want! Explosions, cool effects and maybe a bit of a story in there somewhere.
Back to 50% hype:
Distributors are not non-profit organizations. They couldn't give a Rat's Ass about the plight of the Indie film maker, they are focused on one thing and one thing only - PROFIT.
My first movie was average at best, some sexy cars, an FHM model or two and a couple of local celebs with a very weak story. We signed the distributor before we started shooting. After the first screenining, they informed us that the movie was crap. Then they proceeded to explain to us that they were still going to roll it out and would just spend more money on marketing because the opening weekend is not determined by the quality of the movie but by the quality of the marketing hype. Then they explained to us that if the movie did ok at Box office, people would buy the DVD out of sheer marketing pressure.
"If the marketing campaign says the movie is cool and it has all the elements desired by the target market, it will sell."
In essence, these guys generate their own hype!
If you want your movie to be picked up faster and easier by distributors, don't bother sending them footage until you have spammed half the webisphere with trailers, press releases, EPK's (Electronic press kit with behind the scenes etc.) and generated at least a hundred thousand Youtube views on your teaser/trailer.
Make sure that your trailer has the bits your target market is interested in and FOCUS ON YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! Don't waste your time trying to impress the chick flick lovers and art critics with a flash of your "epic writing skilz" and "holy crap thats awesome character development" moments. The target audience don't care and they all think critics are idiots just as much as you do. People read critical reviews in the same way you rubber neck at a traumatic accident scene. If critics had any kind of impact on box office, Michael Bay would be living in poverty. but they don't, so he aint!
If distributors can see that you understand your target audience, are generating hype directly at that audience and will not be slowed down by negative reviews, they will see you as a worthy investment.
My big shocker in dealing with distributors came when the CEO said to me: "We don't distribute movies, we distribute Actors, Directors and Genres".
She explained to me that people choose one of those three factors when deciding on physically getting off their chair, driving to the Cineplex and actually paying for a movie. They go to watch their favorite Actor, or a movie by the same guy who made the other movie they liked or a movie with all the elements they like.
If your name as a Director doesn't work, or you have no big name actors, then work like hell on the genre part and build hype around all the good bits.
The 50% Logistics:
A film maker who does not become a scientist at every level of pre, principle, post, marketing and distribution is like a blind man looking for a dollar note in a thorn bush!
Research, find mentors, offer your body if you have to! Do everything in your power to know the laws and principles involved in production, distribution and marketing or you will be poorer than Vanilla Ice (and just as clingy to 'old school principles')
Dude. Don't burn bridges!
Suck up, be generous, be courteous, be respectful, be humble, be wise! Distributors love the 'Next big thing' attitude but they hate the 'Trust me, I know better' attitude. What you think makes a movie sell and what they KNOW makes a movie sell are two vastly different things. Humble pie might taste like poo but it makes great fertilizer for an amazing career! Contacts are everything in the business. Who you know and who they know can make your life a LOT easier!Happy is the man who finds his passion.
01-17-2011 07:42 AM
Nice post Wilbur...and on the money from my perspective.
02-13-2011 09:13 AM
I recently heard that when pre-selling rights, cast isn't really important anymore. Sure, if you have Johnny Depp, Will Smith or Julia Roberts. But if you don't, what really matters in a package is the director. Someone who's bankable, someone who can really make the film. Film investors are now looking for those visionary directors, 'auteurs'. If you have a script, and a cast full of well known names... nope, not enough. But if you have a script AND a bankable director, you can sell the film based on that. Wow, without any actors? Yeah, the actors will come anyway because they want to work with the director.
Something to think about.For any director with a little lucidity, masterpieces are films that come to you by accident.
- Sidney Lumet
02-28-2011 06:10 PM
Excellent info even if it's 5 years prior. Tieuel Legacy! Motion
03-16-2011 12:10 PM
Okay, just for a general update. "Step Off" was released yesterday. It can be found for online purchase at all major retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, FYE, etc.).
It can also be downloaded from your On Demand cable service providers such as COMCAST, Time Warner, Cox, Direct TV, and more.
It can also be downloaded in several formats from iTunes as well as rented at Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster Online, and many independent movie rental stores.
So, please use your most convenient option and check it out if you can.
03-16-2011 12:28 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
good job homeboi. i'll be checking it out on netflix asap.