From Finance

Interview with Former ICM Agent Jim Jermanok.

 

Ben: How did you Transition from ICM Agent to Filmmaker?

Jim: I think a lot of entertainment business executives are very creative. Many of them are shadow artists and, for some reason or another, did not follow their first occupational choice. I was an actor and stand-up comic before becoming an ICM Agent.  After 9 years there, I yearned to be creative again.  Indeed, I started becoming jealous of my clients and knew it was only a matter of time.  After quitting, I started as a writer and producer and then began to direct after a few more years. I had to start at square one and meet an almost entirely new contact network as my agent contacts were much too big for me!

Ben: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Jim: If you find yourself walking into a brick wall, try to avoid hitting your head against it over and over again—and find a way around it.

Ben: You travel across the country to lecture.  Do you think the film scenes vary by region?

Jim: Absolutely.  The biggest distinctions are those locations where the wealthy are encouraged to invest in film and theater. And if there is a decent film or arts tax incentive/rebate. It can make a huge difference in creating and encouraging a professional creative community.  It can also have a very positive impact on attracting tourism to their region.

Ben: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about the industry?

Jim: To have thick skin and not to take rejection personally.  Usually, it has nothing to do with you.  To avoid toxic people or assholes whatever the sacrifice—it’s not worth it!

Ben: You’ve worked with a lot of notable names, which one had the biggest impact on your professional life?

Jim: I’m currently directing a documentary about the life and art of Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau.  I’m learning a lot about entertainment, life and art from him. I also learned a lot from Alan Arkin, Arthur Miller and John Chancellor.

Ben: Where do you think the industry is headed in the next 5 years?

Jim: I think it is on a collision course with Silicon Valley/tech—which will divide, conquer and acquire Hollywood.  I also believe that the obligation will be on us creatives to become more and more entrepreneurial and create our own audiences and followers.  Hence, the impetus for my Creative Entrepreneurship workshop on May 20th .

Ben: Get your Tickets for that workshop below!

 

Podcast – Content as a Brand Builder: Part 2 Interview with Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle – Film Insight S03E04

Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle is back for Part 2 of our interview! In this episode, we talk about Alex’s use of previous content to market his latest project on Seed & Spark, a crowdfunding site for independent films, and as perks to incentivize contributions. We also hear a great anecdote which relates his experience running a gourmet olive oil business to being an indie filmmaker and content creator.

Looking for Part 1? Click here to listen!

This week’s guest– Alex Ferrari
Website: https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/
Twitter: @indiefilmhustle
Contribute to the This is Meg crowdfunding campaign! www.thisismeg.com
Indie Film Syndicate: http://www.indiefilmsyndicate.com/

Mentioned during the break:

New E-Book: The Entrepreneurial Producer

Watch our online video courses: Producer Foundry Workshops 

Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode 15 with Ben Yennie

Edited by Alexander Nigro

Hosted by Ben Yennie
Main site: http://www.theguerrillarep.com/
Twitter: @TheGuerrillaRep
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGuerrillaRep/
AFM book: The Guerrilla Rep: American Film Market Success on No Budget

Hosted by Evan Pleger
Main Site: evanpleger.com
Twitter: @IndieEvan

Film Insight is a production of the Producer Foundry
Main site: producerfoundry.com
Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Producer-Foundry/
Twitter: @ProducerFoundry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/producerfoundry/

Want to be a guest on Film Insight? Fill out this form!

Podcast – Content as a Brand Builder: Part 1 Interview with Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle – Film Insight S03E03

Our guest, Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle, was gracious enough to do a second take with us when we had technical difficulties with our first interview. On our second go, we talked about so much more that we’re splitting this up into two episodes! Part 1 is all about building up a content library to enhance your indie filmmaker brand and how to utilize all the various channels available to support your film career. Thanks, Alex, for all of your amazing insight!

This week’s guest– Alex Ferrari
Website: https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/
Twitter: @indiefilmhustle
Contribute to the This is Meg crowdfunding campaign! www.thisismeg.com

Mentioned during the break:

New E-Book: The Entrepreneurial Producer

Watch our online video courses: Producer Foundry Workshops 

Indie Film Hustle Podcast Episode 15 with Ben Yennie

Edited by Alexander Nigro

Hosted by Ben Yennie
Main site: http://www.theguerrillarep.com/
Twitter: @TheGuerrillaRep
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGuerrillaRep/
AFM book: The Guerrilla Rep: American Film Market Success on No Budget

Hosted by Evan Pleger
Main Site: evanpleger.com
Twitter: @IndieEvan

Film Insight is a production of the Producer Foundry
Main site: producerfoundry.com
Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/Producer-Foundry/
Twitter: @ProducerFoundry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/producerfoundry/

Want to be a guest on Film Insight? Fill out this form!

Why Producers Shouldn’t Ignore VidCon

When I bought tickets to my first VidCon last year, I was very excited. I had been interested in the online video revolution for quite a while and as a burgeoning video producer myself, I was convinced years ago this was the wave of the future of digital distribution and entertainment. However, when I’d eagerly tell friends and professional colleagues I would be attending, most hadn’t heard of it, didn’t think it was for them, or didn’t think it a credible or serious industry event. However, after only a few years, I could see that VidCon was quickly becoming the hub for online entertainment. So, with a Creator badge around my neck, I dove into something very new, vibrant, and innovative. After my experience last year, I knew I had to come back and I will be attending this year’s convention in Anaheim this June 23rd-25th. I feel that even “serious” independent video producers should not ignore what VidCon has to offer.

VidCon started as a fan convention founded by noteworthy YouTube celebrities Hank and John Green (Vlog Brothers). The first convention in 2010 had 1,400 attendees and an “industry day.” In 2016, more than 20,000 attendees are expected to attend and there are now separate Industry and Creator badges with their own content.

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As the convention has grown, so has its incredible offering of insightful panels and workshops. This year, Industry track attendees will have access to “22 master classes taught by top industry experts,” as well as the inside scoop on what’s new in the business of online video. The Creator track, which was started last year, acts as a video production school, teaching up-and-coming vloggers about cameras, lighting, and script writing, while improving the skills and knowledge of veteran producers with tips on branding, legal concerns, and expanding production. Creator track workshops and seminars are taught by YouTubers and online video producers which give you a look into online production workflow.

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I attended last year as a Creator and personally found a lot of the workshops to be fairly basic, having been to film school. However, these teenager to twenty-somethings were receiving a pretty comprehensive crash course in video production. With dedication to producing regular content, taking an iterative approach to their craft, and checking in yearly at VidCon to learn more and receive advice from other content creators, I could see that these young creators had the potential to outperform and outgrow the current media industry, without having to pay for a film school education! For me, and those of us who had experience with production, I found some great insight from attending Q&As of noteworthy creators. Other creators and I had the opportunity to ask questions about the process and received a transparent look into what it took to make videos like theirs.

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The entertainment industry has taken notice of VidCon. Many of the large media companies have digital or online production arms and many of them are setting up shop at the convention. The Hollywood Reporter even ran a story on VidCon in its 5th year stating, “VidCon Matures as Hollywood Descends.” The Reporter sees, “VidCon’s growth [as] symbolic of a larger shift in online video.” I’ve even written about brand collaboration and integration in online video, citing the development and success of YouTube channels like “Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Influencer marketing, internet optimization, transmedia storytelling– these are the trends being developed and discussed at this convention.


As a content creator, I would highly recommend staying abreast of what’s happening at VidCon. When you stand in the convention hall, you can feel the pulse of innovative energy that will sustain new media growth. The information available from industry professionals, creative content producers, and interested fans is incredibly valuable. Be warned! A majority of attendees still are those tweenage fans of internet celebrities and a huge portion of the convention is dedicated to their enthusiasm and entertainment. (See inflatable fun zone below.)  But, the potential for networking in and learning about a powerful media sector shouldn’t be passed up. I got my tickets early and badges are currently sold out, but you can tune into the live stream. Plus, there’s always next year.

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I want to close with a quote from Hank Green, co-founder of VidCon, who revealed during 2014’s keynote speech a bit about the incredible momentum there is in online video creation. He said, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea. I don’t think that any of us know what we’re doing. There is a wave, and it’s made of technological things and sociological things, and it’s individual people making individual decisions about how they’re going to spend their individual time. And we are riding it. And that’s impressive. But it is not as impressive as understanding the wave.”

The wave originates at VidCon. Cowabunga.

Podcast – Content Marketing with Jeremiah Boehner – Film Insight S03E01

Welcome Back to the Film Insight Podcast!  We’re happy to have Jeremiah Boehner on to talk about content marketing and a way for filmmakers to finance their ongoing operations by working with brands to create content to market their products.

As you’ll hear in the interview, creating content for brands isn’t as droll as it used to be.  Brands are increasingly open to entertaining related content that isn’t a direct advertisement.

For more on Jeremiah, follow him on twitter.
@SFBoehner

Hosted by Ben Yennie and Evan Plegar

Produced and edited by Alex Nigro

Find out more about connecting with brands at www.BrandwoodGlobal.com

Learn more about ProductionNext and apply for the closed beta at www.productionnext.com

If you’d like to sponsor Film Insight, please email Sponsorship@ProducerFoundry.com

Check out The Guerrilla Rep, American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon, and more content on www.theguerrillarep.com

Would you like to be on Film Insight?  Apply here!

Like the Producer Foundry page and join the group on Facebook

Follow Producer Foundry on Twitter

 

Part 2 – Interview w/ Ben Yennie on Snapchat, Crowdfunding, and Story vs. Marketing

 

E: We got into the technology and what it will possibly be doing, but do you think AR or VR will facilitate transmedia or not? Are they exclusive experiences, like the movies used to be? Or is there a function of transmedia here?

B: I definitely think there can be uses for transmedia there. There’s kind of a misconception about transmedia. It’s not an all-or-nothing sort of thing. It is a tool that you can use that is appropriate in some cases and not appropriate in others. That’s really all it is. There are some times that using transmedia can really increase revenue for an independent film, either by increasing awareness or potentially even creating a revenue stream.  However there are also some times that it’s a time sink and the cost doesn’t really improve your margins. It’s all about how you do it and when and how you execute it. If executed poorly, it’s a complete waste of time and money.

E: What technologies that exist now, do you think, will fall away?

B: It’s hard to tell on these things. Most of the platforms that exist now that have their communities will continue to exist. Snapchat may be a fad as it exists right now, but the thing about Snapchat isn’t really the platform itself, it’s the self-deleting technology behind it. I think the technology behind Snapchat will grow and be able to be used in different platforms and different places. I think that’s the reason for it’s, something like, 9.5 billion dollar valuation. I think that’s the key differentiator for Snapchat. Snapchat probably will fade away, but I don’t think the technology behind Snapchat will fade away. That will grow.  There are a lot of uses that could be widely applied to military, high level business, and other forms of communication.   Of course, it could also be I’m old and just don’t get you kids and your snapyscaps.

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E: I want to move this conversation to crowdfunding. I think that crowdfunding is the the ultimate transmedia marketing experience, because you cannot just crowdfund out-of-the-blue. It needs at least a social media presence, a website, and media or a product at the end…

crowdfunding

B: And friends!

E: …and friends, and collaboration. A crowdfunding campaign necessitates transmedia. How do you think crowdfunding will evolve? Will crowd-equity take hold or is it too controversial or risky?

B: I definitely think crowdfunding is more than just a fad. I think crowdfunding is here to stay. I think crowdfunding, at least for film and media projects- and to some extent tech and gaming products- will be the first stage of financing for the foreseeable future. It’s not right for all tech, like B2B tech won’t really work for it, but hardware relies on it to a very high degree.  

Equity based crowdfunding is going to be an interesting experiment. I think that any successful crowdequity company is going to need to charge something more like 20% versus the 5-9% for Indiegogo, and to have an investor relations board that goes with it. Any startup that is crowdfunding from so many people- even if you’re getting a slice- there’s no way they can manage that many investors, especially for how little amounts of money we’re talking about.

Investment is kind of a wonky term. It can refer to straight equity. It can also refer to a promissory note for debt-with-interest, or even convertible debt which, for those of you who don’t know, is debt that you can convert into equity at a later stage. So depending on how you’re looking to raise, it can get really complicated really quickly and those regulations can easily become burdensome and make the amount of money impossible to raise.  Although currently, crowd funded equity is in a legal limbo with the SEC, as it basically changes the entire idea of high risk investments and can quite easily open up a can of worms and make it too easy for people with less moral scruples than you or I to take grandma’s retirement money.  

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E: The final thing I want to ask you about is where does transmedia fall into the marketing system versus the narrative one? Are they actually separate? Which is more useful or engaging?

B: Personally, I think transmedia is best done when when it serves as both a marketing campaign and storytelling platform. At its heart, marketing is storytelling. When you do it well, the two work very well together. If you’re telling the story of a product, let’s say it’s a film, why not expand on the universe around that story and get people excited about it? Then that essentially serves the same purpose as marketing.    

Film Insight Season 2 – Episode 11 – Jim Cummings

This week on Film Insight, we have Two Time SXSW Speaker and avid Film Insight listener Jim Cummings.  We talk about some of the seedier sides of studio advertising, how to make a viral video, and the decline in storytelling.

In talks of the digital revolution, we discuss how while filmmaking has been democratized,  yet rising above the sea of content being created, and how to not eat top ramen for the rest of your days.

Later in the episode, Ben and Jim debate the merits of Marvel’s franchise management and the lack of original content in hollywood.

After the break, Jim talks about some advice on how to make a video go viral, and some tips on using Reddit.  He also shares a story of how one of his producing partners got to work with some of the Members of Pink Floyd based on a viral video they posted to Reddit.

And finally Jim goes over a bit of Film Finance, and alternative methods to get your movie made, and shares a great resource to find .pdfs online.

To find Jim online, follow him on Twitter and Reddit @JimmyCThatsMe

If you listened to Ben in our commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

Also, Check out Ben’s Workshop on The American Film Market here.

Save 10 dollars with code FilmInsight!

Film Insight is Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 7 – LA Macabre

In This week’s Episode of Film Insight, Ben and Randy decompress about the Recent SF Web Fest, and Ben interviews the guys behind LA Macabre.  LA Macabre is a horror webseries currently doing a crowdfunding campaign for it’s second season.  In the interview, we talk about how the guys went about building their audience, marketing their webseries, and preparing to run a Crowdfunding campaign.

If you’re listening to this at Launch, then you can still donate to the LA Macabre Kickstarter by clicking below.

DONATE NOW!

If you want to see season one of LA Macabre

WATCH NOW

LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK!

If you listened to Ben in our new commercial breaks, and would like to check out his book,

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON OR BUY IT NOW ON BARNES AND NOBLES

If you would like to learn to pitch better, check out the Producer Foundry Workshop, IndieFilm Investor Pitching 101

Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie (@TheGuerrillaRep) and Randy Hall (@RandyHall)

Edited by Alex Nigro

A Beginner’s Guide to Brand Integration for Film and Video

Brands and advertisers are having a harder time than ever reaching consumers. DVRs are ubiquitous and the number of people who watch more than 6 seconds of the ad on YouTube are abysmally low. But a crisis for brands could mean a wealth of opportunity for content creators. Branded entertainment, sponsorship, and product placement are some of the best ways for youtubers to actually make a living from their content, and can help save budget or even raise money for an indie filmmaker.   But how do you go about talking to brands about your content? Here are some tips to help get you started.

  1. Look for Brand Alignment

If your movie is about a bicycle racer who gets injured and must rebuild his life to make his next big race, then maybe you’ll want to approach bike companies, sportswear companies, protein shake companies and the like would be great people to approach about sponsorship. Same basic sorts if you do a video blog about running.

  1. Start Small

It’s a lot easier to get a sponsorship deal from a small business than from a giant mega corporation. While the smaller companies won’t have the same budgets as the mega corps, but it’s a lot more likely you’ll be able to strike a deal in a lot shorter time frame. Additionally, the viewers and reach you’ll need to attract them will also be much smaller.

  1. Start Local

Try local companies first. Depending on where you live this could mean small businesses all the way up to relatively large corporations.  Given I live in San Francisco, there are no shortage of local companies to approach. Generally, the smaller companies won’t actually give you any money, but they can give you in kind donations. We’ve gotten coffee from Philz for our events, and other giveaways for our raffles from local companies.

  1. Know What You’re Asking for.

Make sure not to ask for something that there is no way the company can provide.  Don’t ask the mom and pop general store for 100,000 dollars, they don’t have it.  Maybe ask them to donate some sandwiches for a spot in the credits.  Approaching restaurants can be an excellent way to cut your budget as well, if a few restaurants do craft services at cost, then you’ve just provided a high quality meal for your crew for very little money.  Don’t think that product placement needs to have a dollar amount attached, in the indie world, any help makes you look better and more attractive to investors. And on that note… 

  1. Track the Value of your In Kind Donations

If you get local companies and brands to give you free or discounted stuff for your movie, figure out what the total value of the donation is and keep track of it. These costs add up, and when it comes time to approach investors you can claim you’ve raised that money in in kind donations. Having that money in the project lessens the risk for the investor and increases the value of the project. It also shows them that there is general support and interest from the filmmaking community.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to fund your entire movie on product placement and sponsorship alone, but if you can get part of the budget through sponsorship and brand integration, you’ll be in a much better position than you otherwise would be.

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 6 – Claudia Christian and Adam Schoemer

In This week’s Episode Ben and Randy interview Claudia Christian and Adam Schomer who produced and Directed the Documentary “One Little Pill.”  Claudia is best known for her role as Commander Susan Ivanova on TV’s Babylon 5.  The documentary is follows the lives of several people who have suffered from alcoholism, and have been helped by a controversial new treatment called The Sinclair Method.

You can find out more about the Sinclair Method through http://www.onelittlepillmovie.com/. The interview is more about the challenges of producing a documentary, and the celebrity effect on crowdfunding, and how even name talent isn’t aways enough to get wide-scale traditional distribution for your film.

Adam and Claudia talk about the issues of maintaining the confidentiality of documentary subjects, and how sometimes you need to shift focus and adapt in the middle of producing your documentary.  The crew also touch on the touchy subject of conflicts of interest for documentary subjects and their families.

Next in the interview we talk about their challenges approaching television stations and how “One Little Pill” got their first wide-scale television distribution deal in Finland, and the challenges the filmmakers are facing in getting US distribution for the film to help spread the message of the Sinclair Method’s efficacy in treating Alcoholism.  Adam talks a bit about how specialized TV stations can be in selecting which time slots for distribution of social issue content.

Later in the episode, Ben and Randy talk to Adam and Claudia about the difficulties of wide scale self distribution through platforms like VHX and Vimeo and the effects of social impact of viral growth.