I recently asked Film Specific members to email me for help, wherever they are at with their projects, and the 2 most glaring calls for help that came back were…
WHAT IS THE NAME AND LOG LINE OF YOUR FILM?
What a new drug can do.
Young, introverted and bipolar Harry Poole starts a video diary during a clinical trial for a wonder drug that brings him out of his shell. The trial is canceled, but not before he turns himself into ‘Edward Grey,’ a seductive and dangerous alter ego, who continues to document his life as it descends into madness.
WHAT IS THE WEBSITE FOR YOUR FILM?
WHAT IS THE BUDGET FOR YOUR FILM?
WHAT STAGE WERE YOU AT WITH YOUR FILM(S) BEFORE GOING TO AFM & WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY GOING IN? WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
We were pretty close to final picture (finished in Jan 2103). We were looking for a sales agent for international distribution. Our strategy was to set up meetings before hand and meet as many people as possible.
[EDITORS NOTE]: Setting up meetings in advance is key (if possible). Also, in order to get a sales agent’s attention to even want to schedule a meeting with you, you’ll need a killer trailer, one sheet, and/or Pitch Deck.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE OBSTACLES YOU ENCOUNTERED AT AFM AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
It was difficult to get interest in the film. This is not a very commercial property, and we did not fit in very well. I knew that going in, so I was looking for someone who wanted an unusual film. Most everyone was in a hurry and we were not a quick sell. It really showed me in a concrete way what you have been saying all along about the importance of a commercial property. Now, I knew that going in to the making of this film. The director was a talented French director with very strong ideas and all the financing in place. I took the project on knowing full well we were not going to be able to compete. I did the market anyway and the upshot was that I learned viscerally and painfully just how silly it is to make a movie that is not commercial in any way.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES OR WASTE OF TIME YOU ENCOUNTERED EITHER IN PREPARING FOR AFM OR AT THE FILM MARKET ITSELF?
Not having a commercial film. I knew it, but this was the movie the director and exec prod wanted to make. Unfortunately, we are not living in that century….
[EDITORS NOTE}: It’s not to say you must make a commercial film, people make their passion projects all the time that aren’t necessarily commercial in any way. The point is to go into the process with your eyes wide open and realize that going the sales agent or film market route may not be your best bet, perhaps you’ll need to pursue the festival circuit instead and manage your expectations regarding traditional distribution.
WHAT RESOURCES OR TOOLS DID YOU FIND MOST HELPFUL IN PREPARING FOR AFM?
Love your pep talks and training sessions. I did the Film Market Lab and it was a great way to keep my head on straight. The key is to keep focused amidst all the movement, and you certainly help do that.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME AND DID YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS?
We did get a sales agent. He is very cool. So far we have had no real bites on sales though. Lots of third tier distributors who want 45% and $45,000 (in expenses). Lots of those guys. Amazing. For $45,000 I can self distribute and see as much money at the end of a year as they would get me.
IF YOU HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Produce a film that had a pre distribution deal. No question.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS FROM HERE?
I’m also selling my second feature, writing a commercial film and looking for more money. Wish me luck.
Now over to you – what do you think and what questions do you have for me or Tessa? Please post them in the comments section below.
Want your own hand held prepping for upcoming film markets (MIPCOM & AFM)? Then join me for my upcoming Film Market Lab, a 4 month Virtual Boot Camp designed to help producers get their completed films and scripts to market. Pre-Registrations tarts today – register here while you can save $150 on tuition.