Tagged film

[PODCAST] What is a Film Market and how do they work?

In this preview chapter from the first ever audiobook (and book) on film markets, author Ben Yennie shares some insights into why markets like AFM are still relevant, even with the rise of OTT platforms and the collapse of DVD.

Yennie summarizes how film markets are the most accessible place to cultivate relationships with sales agents and distributors. Those partnerships are how you can grow your career. Many of the PayTV channels and larger OTT networks still have large dragons at the gate, so in order to make money in independent film, you still need to build these relationships.

While AFM 2016 is behind us, this book and this chapter are something that every filmmaker should listen to. The book is used as a textbook in many film schools across the US, Canada, and even the UK. The audiobook is conversational, but not preachy. It’s made such that even people who got into the film industry to be creative can not only gain a lot of vital information but also enjoy the listen.

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!

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 9 – Leah Meyerhoff.

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In this week’s episode of Film Insight, Randy and Ben speak to Leah Meyerhoff about Theatrical Distribution for her Independent Film, as well as the importance of community building.  Leah just released her independent feature film I Believe in Unicorns which premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW).

We also talk about ways for independent filmmakers to get people out to see their independent film in the theater, as well as ways to help people find ways to build community and spread word of mouth about your independent film.  If you’re interested in Independent Film Marketing, it’s a great listen.

Later, the conversation shifts to Women’s growing role in independent film and media and particularly Leah’s organization Film Fatales.

Follow Leah on Twitter

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

Film Insight is 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.

How to Talk to Agents About your Movie.

After you’ve done everything in the last post, it’s time to call their agent.  You can find the contact information for their agents on IMDbPro.  The agent is the dragon at the gate, and depending on which agency you’re contacting, company policy may well be to not talk directly with filmmakers. That said, most talent are always on the lookout for promising leads for their client, so if you’re professional and don’t mince words they’ll probably take your call.

When you look up the actor on IMDb, you’ll find the phone numbers for their people. If they have an agent listed, then that’s the person you need to talk to. If they don’t, then you can talk to most anyone at that agency about that actor.

So once you make the call, you’ll probably be connected to reception. At this point, all you have to say is {Agent’s Name}’s office please. If there’s no agent’s name listed say “I’d like to talk to someone about [Talent’s Name]”

Once they connect you, you’ll most likely talk to the agent’s assistant.  Say who you are, the name of your company, the name of the project, and who you want to make the offer to.  If you’re in a position to offer a pay or play, say that immediately. Say it in as few words as possible.  They’ll probably ask about the status of the project, Don’t lie, but don’t give them every little piece of information, and avoid information that could hurt you unless they specifically ask for it.

Since this is the first call, the best case scenario is to get a script and offer request via email. If they ask for that, you’ve done your job, get they’re email, and the assistant’s name, and send the email as quickly as you can.

If you’re really lucky and can offer a pay or play or the film is fully financed, they may connect you with the agent directly. If they do that you have to get the information out quickly and be very friendly about it. Agents are paid to get people to like them, but they’re also very busy. So a little small talk might happen but be ready to go through the deal points very quickly. Being straight business on the first call is a good strategy, if there’s a follow-up call that’s the time for small talk.

It’s really important that you don’t mince words when talking to these people. Role play it with a friend before you call, it helps a lot.  Answer their questions as succinctly as possible, these people get dozens if not hundreds of calls a day, don’t waste their time.

After the agent has your offer, it becomes a waiting game.  If you call them too often you’ll appear desterate and they’ll turn you down. If you never follow up, then they’ll keep pushing your project back and the client will never read it. Following up about a week later is generally pretty safe, and if there are any changes in the production like a new attachment or some money in, that’s a great reason to email and update the agent.

I find in following up for anything, about the most you can reasonably contact someone without being annoying is Monday, Friday, Wednesday, then repeat indefinitely.  That said, if they give you a time that they’ll get back to you, give them an extra day after when they said they would and follow up.  If they tell you no, stop calling and move on to the next name on your list.

So those are the basics of calling an agent about talent.   There’s a lot more to it, and the way you say this information has just as much to do with success as what you say.

For more information, feel free to reach out to me. I do consulting on clarity.fm and I also will make these calls for you, for a fee. As always, feel free to check me out on twitter @TheGuerrillaRep and check out my book on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles, as well as many independent bookstores nationwide!

Guerrilla Rep Cover

3 Things to Prepare Before Calling Hollywood Agents

In order to make a profitable film the traditional way, you need three things.  The first is the money to make it, the second is someone to distribute it, and the third is a recognizable star to sell it.  Without all three things, it’s very difficult to make a profitable independent film if you spend anything more than about 25,000 dollars.  Unfortunately, in order to get one of these things, you often need to have the other two in place, so the only thing you can do is bark up all three trees at once.

You’ve got to remember that these people get dozens of offers every week, and they have to sift through them quickly.  If all you have is a script by a first time director with no distribution or financing, it’s going to be a difficult sell to even get the script into the talent’s hands.  It’s not impossible, but If you have distribution or financing, the road is much easier

I’ve personally attached talent to in development projects from films like Twilight Eclipse, Babylon 5, and Disney’s Atlantis, and there’s a formula to it.  There’s a certain process on how you go about doing it that isn’t always taught in film schools, so I thought I would write a post on how to go about doing it the right way.  What follows are the three things you need to do to get ready to call agents about your script.

Step 1.  Write or Find a Good Script.

The first, and arguably most important piece in getting Talent attached to you film is a good script.  If you’re an indie filmmaker, it’s unlikely you have the money to get the actor to do the role just for the paycheck.  Luckily, every actor (and by extension every agent) is looking for good, juicy roles that can propel them and their clients to the next level.  You need to have a memorable and deep character and compelling story to capture the interest of a name actor.

The actor will need to emotionally invest in the character you’re looking for them to play if you’re going to have a shot at attaching them.  Every actor is constantly seeking his or her next big, juicy role.  Actors have a brand they need to protect and expand, and in order to do that they need good roles.  This doesn’t necessarily need to be an Oscar worthy role, but a deep and compelling character that fits with the actor’s brand, which brings us to our next point.

Step 2.  Research.

Not every actor is right for every role.  You’ve got to do your research and find your top 5 candidates you’d like to play every major role in your movie.  Think about movies they’ve worked on in recently, and look on their IMDb Pro page as to what they have in development.  In the indie film world, having an actor that’s the right fit for a role is almost as important as having a big name actor, just so long as they have a resume of recognizable work behind them.

If this is your first feature, you’ll also want to see if they’ve worked with first time directors recently.  Also look to see if they have a particular interest in the themes of your movie.  Looking up interviews they’ve done on late night talk shows can be a good insight into the sort of person they are when they’re not performing.  You can find a lot of those interviews on youtube.

Even if they’re a huge name, if they’re not really working you may be able to get them.  Most actors act because they love the craft, and if they’ve got huge projects that have paid them really well recently and some time on their hands, they might well be willing to vastly lower their rate just to play a compelling character.

Step 3: Figure out what you can afford, and what you can offer.

If you’re an indie filmmaker, more than likely you won’t be able to come close to the actors regular salary if they’re a big name.  Try not to insult them, but make sure you don’t give away the craft services money.  Even if they’re interested, you need to know when you have to walk away from the table.  Walking away might mean not having your dream cast, but it’s better than screwing your movie because you just spent all the crew’s pay on the lead actor.

One thing you can think about is what sort of perks you can offer that would be extremely low cost or even free for the production.  Does your uncle own a limousine company?  Maybe he’d transport the actors for free in exchange for a signed headshot from them.  Maybe your cousin works in a winery, a case of wine could be donated to the production and given to your actor.  Are you shooting in a ski town?  Maybe the mountain would give you some passes for the actor’s day off.  There’s lots of things you can do like this, just be creative!

Once you’ve done these three things, you’ll need to go on IMDb Pro and find the phone numbers for the agents that you’ll need to talk to.  For tips on doing that, and a sample call script, stay tuned for next week’s blog!

About Ben Yennie
Ben Yennie is one of the Founders of Producer Foundry, an Author, Producer’s Rep, Film, and Startup Consultant.  In a past life, he was the Chapter Leader for the Institute for International Film Finance.  you can follow him on twitter at @TheGuerrillaRep and find his book by clicking below.
Guerrilla Rep Cover

Available From Amazon and Barnes and Nobles!

4 Reasons Community is the Most Important thing in Independent Film

Producer Foundry Meetup @ SFSDF

I’ve been running Producer Foundry for a bit over a year now, and I’ve learned quite a lot. By far, the most vital thing I’ve learned is that the most important asset any independent filmmaker has is their filmmaking community. One filmmaker is generally nothing to write home about, there are about 12,500 who graduate from film school every year in the US alone. But when we band together, that’s when amazing pieces of art happen. There are many reasons that your community can and will make or break your career, four of which I’ve listed below.

1.Your Community will help you get your film made

If you show up to one event expecting to get your entire crew and have them work for free, you’re probably out of luck. However, if you take the time to become a real part of your filmmaking community. But if you take the time to be a real, tangible fixture in your community then people are far more likely to jump on and crew your project.

I’ve said before that this industry relies heavily on social capital. If you build a strong community and know as many people as you can, then you’re more likely to get to the people you need to know through connections you’ve made within the community.

2. Your Community will help you find work.

Many working filmmakers and distributors will go to people they know first because they know they can get the job done. Having been VP of Biz Dev for a startup in the recruiting space, I can tell firsthand how hard it is for people in all industries to find the staff they need. In any industry, finding talent is a full time job. Many top companies pay as much as 2 months salary to a recruiter for finding a good staff member.

Being an active part of your film community will mean you have more connections so that when there’s work to be had, you’re more likely to get a call. If Debbie needs an AD, she’s going to call someone she’s worked with before. If that person is busy, they’ll recommend someone else they know. If you know both of those people from your networking within the film industry, then you might be the person getting that call.

3.Your Community will make your film better

Collaboration is necessary to make quality independent films. Not only will becoming an active part of your film community allow you to network with the best crew in your area, it will also give you people you can show your script to, get critique on your cuts, and generally make your project better. Constructive criticism and feedback greatly improve the quality of any project, and being an active part of your film community will give you a network of people you can go to and get that feedback. Which brings me to my next point.

4.Your Community will make you a better filmmaker.

As you critique other filmmaker’s work and learn to understand the style of others in your community, it will help you develop your style. Artists learn from each other and are influenced by each other. This has been true for all the best artists throughout the ages.

In fact, the entire Impressionist movement was started from a small community of artists including Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, andEdgar Degas. The group would meet and discuss their work, politics, and the art of the day at Café Guerbois in Paris. At the time, the group was misunderstood and widely considered untalented. Tired of being rejected from Paris’ famed Salon, the group of intrepid artists formed Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs(“Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers”) to exhibit their artworks independently. This action gave birth to one of the most influential styles of art the world has yet known.

I’m not saying every community will give birth to a new movement, but if you help your friends and community members with their projects, you may see solutions to their ideas that they never would have thought of. They’ll do the same for you, which will help to define, refine, and develop the style of the entire community.

If you want to be more active in your film community, check out Producer Foundry on Facebook, Meetup, YouTube, Twitter, and On The Web. If you’re in the Bay Area, learn to budget from the UPM of Blue Jasmine and Big Eyes at the Build A Better Film Budget – Primer Workshop, and Check out our February Townhallfeaturing Entertainment Attorney Daniel Riviera.

If you like my writing, Follow me on Twitter, or buy my book The Guerrilla Rep: American Film Market Distribution Success on No Budget on Amazon!

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 5: Maya Zuckerman on Transmedia

Maya TransmediaRandy and Ben welcome Maya Zuckerman, co-founder of TransmediaSF, to answer the question, “what is transmedia?” and why every filmmaker needs to pay attention to this way of thinking about their projects.

Hosted and Produced by Ben Yennie and Randy Hall

Edited by Alex Nigro

Heads Up!
Producer Foundry has a workshop with Maya Zuckerman coming up fast on May 9! Sign up for the San Francisco workshop and order the replay of the workshop!

Film Insight Season 2 Episode 1: Making Waves With Your Web Series 1

web-seriesFilm Insight is back with the first of a 4 part Web Series Panel. The audio is recorded from an event that took place in August as a partnership between the Bay Area Women in Film and Media and Producer Foundry.

The first part is all about story, and how storytelling is crucial when marketing your media.  Subscribe on iTunes to get all four parts!

Panelists include:

FEATURED MODERATOR
Maya Zuckerman
Co-Founder of TransmediaSF

For Bios please check out the original event on eventbrite

Come back in two weeks for the second part of the series, and in the meantime, check out the Producer Foundry Page and Group on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Join Our Mailing List!

4 Reasons Community is the Most Important thing in IndieFilm

Producer Foundry Meetup @ SFSDFI’ve been running Producer Foundry for a bit over a year now, and I’ve learned quite a lot. By far, the most vital thing I’ve learned is that the most important asset any independent filmmaker has is their filmmaking community. One filmmaker is generally nothing to write home about, there are about 12,500 who graduate from film school every year in the US alone. But when we band together, that’s when amazing pieces of art happen. There are many reasons that your community can and will make or break your career, four of which I’ve listed below.

Read more