We’re back with another Film Market Case Study – this time from UK-based filmmaker Pascal Fintoni, a participant in my 2012 Film Market Lab who took a film in Post to AFM in order to secure sales agents and distributors.
The key here is he didn’t show up haphazardly! He planned for a few months in advance and went in with a specific strategy to achieve the goals he wanted to accomplish. The results? Well I’ll let the story speak for itself but the bottom line is that by following the steps laid out for him, Pascal was able to make the most of his trip to AFM, secure sales agent and distributor interest in his film, and make relationships with people and companies that he’s been building on ever since.
Inspiring stuff! So take a look below and let us know any questions you have in the comments section below the post….
WHAT IS THE NAME AND LOGLINE OF YOUR FILM?
The film is called ‘The Solution’ and the logline is ‘After a virus changed people into bloodthirsty savages, a jaded special agent must work with a suicidal soldier and a helpless youngster to deliver the cure safely’.
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?
Our original strategy was to present a completed feature film at AFM and secure deals for domestic and international distribution. However we encountered technical problems during post-production, and after a period of denial, we completely changed our strategy thanks to some very wise advice from Stacey .
We stopped post-production and concentrated on creating the best possible promo packs for two feature films both on post-production: ‘The Solution’ and a black and white samurai film entitled ‘Land of the Kami’.
Our new strategy was to meet sales agents in order to build a rapport and get them interested in representing our films for Cannes 2013. In addition, I felt there was a strong case to explore opportunities for online distribution with key content aggregators.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE OBSTACLES YOU ENCOUNTERED AT AFM AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
The main obstacle or challenge that comes to mind is: time. There is so much you would like to do, so many people you would like to meet that it is very tempting to run around trying to squeeze as much as possible in one day. It simply does not work and you end up achieving very little.
The key is to remain focused on your core strategy, stick to your scheduled meetings and always go for the individuals and organisations which are right for your projects. I followed Stacey’s advice and organised my day every morning, reminding myself what the overall aim was and got on with it. Every night I would send confirmation emails to agents that I had met and reviewed my notes to improve on the next day, and so on.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES OR WASTE OF TIME YOU ENCOUNTERED EITHER PREPARING FOR AFM OR AT THE FILM MARKET ITSELF?
My biggest mistake was starting preparing for AFM too late, as explained earlier I spent far too long in post-production trying to get a completed film for AFM. Once we changed our strategy we had a lot of catching up to do. I had to changed my thinking from production to promotion which proved to be very difficult.
I got a lot of help from Stacey and the Film Specific community to complete our trailers, one sheets and other promotional materials. Their feedback was invaluable.
At the Film Market itself, I attended too many of the conferences organised every morning and I should have been more selective in order to spend more time with agents and producers.
WHAT RESOURCES OR TOOLS DID YOU FIND MOST HELPFUL IN PREPARING FOR AFM?
I found the whole Film Market Lab experience to be very positive from the phone sessions to the private forum.
More specifically, the toolkit to approach sales agents was superb! From email templates to contact details and spreadsheets to keep track of your requests, I used all of them and got so many meetings despite my late start in preparing for AFM.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE OUTCOME AND DID YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS?
Thanks to the help from Stacey and the Film Specific online community, I was able to make the most of my time at AFM. As a result, I have 5 agents who expressed a firm interest in the film projects as well as 2 distributors specializing in online distribution.
In addition, I was able to gather excellent market intelligence in who distributes what to inform future projects as well as getting a producer onboard for a feature in pre-production.
IF YOU HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I would start the commercial aspect of our film projects from the beginning, in other words identifying the right sales agents for the project and approaching them at a much earlier stage.
I would also make sure that the promo packs are designed and completed as early as possible even if the film is still in post production.
Finally, although the AFM is the focus for meetings, etc. I would also contact other producers and distributors who are based in LA but have not necessarily taken a booth at the official venue.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS FROM HERE?
I received very helpful feedback on the feature films to make them even more market-ready and demand-led, therefore making them easier for agents to sell.
So we have been busy reshooting some key scenes and re-editing the films to increase their appeal. The projects will be ready for AFM 2014 and screeners will be sent to the agents we met last year.
New ideas and projects have been shared with producers that I met at AFM and they are being developed further as we speak. I will certainly keep Film Specific close by as I continue my journey as an independent filmmaker…
Now over to you – what questions do you have for Pascal or me? Please post them in the comments section below!
Pre-Registration for the 2013 Film Market Lab ends in just a few days. If you want help prepping for upcoming film markets MIPCOM + AFM, register now while you can save $150 on tuition. Just CLICK HERE for more info on the program….