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August 31 at 8:31am

Where’s Film Biz On Kubler-Ross Scale?

Kübler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining for time, depression, & acceptance. Where’s the film biz on this list?  And where is the Indie Film Biz on the chart?

It seems to me that most are still in step one: denial.  I wrote my “38 Ways The Film Business Is Failing” post from what I felt was a place of acceptance (K-R Stage 5).  We should be ready to move on now.  Each of my 38, and the 37 I posted the year earlier, are ironclad truths in my view ;-) .  Seriously, though, each of the combined 75 statements are wake up calls, pleas to move on and find solutions.  Can’t we just hurdle over the middle three and land on the final one?

If we accept acceptance and wake up to the world we are living in, what is our next step?

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August 30 at 11:11am

Jon Reiss On Ten Thoughts On The PMD, Economics, & Responsibility

Let me clarify some of my feelings about the PMD. I will add my universal caveat that every film and situation is different. But here are some important guidelines:

1. The best case scenario is that a PMD is on board as a full collaborator and worker from as close to inception of the film as possible – no later than beginning of prep. This allows for, what I feel, the optimum of the integration of audience connection and engagement (which is what distribution and marketing is at its essence). If you wait till you have finished your film – you are in a world of hurt (I’ve said that before, but I don’t think I can say it enough) because this connection building and engagement take time and effort and cannot be hurried.

2. The best marketing is as creative as traditional filmmaking now [...]

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August 27 at 8:27am

What Do The Top Grossing INDIE Films Of 2000s Reveal?

I think I may have posted this before.  I just recently came across it again.  This list was compiled by the good folks at Indiewire.  I stare at it and think it must reveal some greater truth.

What does it say about our culture, about what people want to see?  What does it say about the mainstream industry and what they will buy or promote?

Top Grossing Independent Films of the 2000s

1. The Passion of the Christ, 2004 (Newmarket)  $370,274,604
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2003 (IFC Films)  $241,438,208
3. Juno, 2007 (Fox Searchlight)  $143,395,265
4. Slumdog Millionaire, 2008 (Fox Searchlight)  $141,319,928
5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000 (Sony Pictures Classics) $128,078,872
6. Traffic, 2000 (USA) $124,115,725
7. Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004 (Lionsgate) $119,194,771
8. Paranormal Activity, 2009 (Paramount)  $107,753,000
9. Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (Focus Features)  $83,043,761
10. March of the Penguins, 2005 (Warner Independent) $77,437,223
11. Coraline, 2009 (Focus Features)  $75,286,229
12. Sideways, 2004 (Fox Searchlight)  $71,503,593
13. Burn After Reading, 2008 (Focus Features)  $60,355,347
14. Little Miss Sunshine, 2006 (Fox Searchlight)  $59,891,098
15. Hero, 2004 (Miramax) $53,710,019
16. Atonement, 2007 (Focus Features) $50,927,067
17. 28 Days Later, 2003 (Fox Searchlight)  $45,064,915
18. Lost In Translation, 2003 (Focus Features)  $44,585,453
19. Napoleon Dynamite, 2004 (Fox Searchlight)  $44,540,956
20. Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, 2009 (Lionsgate)  $42,004,270

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August 26 at 8:15am

Thoughts On Titles (Plus: Ten Titles For Nonexistent Films!)

Are titles more than a marketing tool?  They certainly can be that thing that encourages the desire, and the fond memory, the element that represents the art & the ambition, as well as being the reminder of the thing you want.  Titles can tell us that the movie is distinct and worth our consideration (The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) or warn us that we may not be the correct audience for it (Blood _______).  Good titles grow richer once we see the movie (The Ice Storm) and can move from seeming initially generic into some sort of deeper resonance (as Ang’s movie did).

The industry’s holy grail is often seen as the title that gives you a clear idea of both the tone and content or concept of the film (The Forty Year Old Virgin).  Some subjects demand to be put in the title (weddings, food, chocolate, blood) because they are the things that audiences love most.  Life’s big subjects get more than their fair share of attention (death, sex, love, power).

Sometimes though it seems as if who’s ever picking the titles deliberately tries to confuse, [...]

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August 19 at 8:19am

We Need More Outlets For Community Support/Collaboration

Awhile back in The Huffington Post, Marshall Fine pointed to Comic Con as an example of what is wrong with the Studio Biz these days. I too miss the days when it seemed like there was business in creating work for mature audiences. I will be among the first in line for Innaritu’s BUITIFUL for sure, and when I watched FAREWELL the other night, I longed to make a film of that weight, craft, and themes.  Looking at what my immediate future holds as a producer in the USA, I don’t think I will get much opportunity for such exploration anytime soon, at least not on a reasonable budget.

Nonetheless, as opposed to Marshall, ComicCon does not represent for me what’s wrong with the film biz, but quite the opposite.  Although the communities are smaller , and the passion and fervor far less, the art house contingents should take note what ComicCon does.  It is the only populist film event we have in this country.

I am incredibly energized by ComicCon and believe it is a model that can be extended to support work beyond the specific genre it currently supports. That is, if the audience and community for specific genres and subjects can unite the way ComicCon’s has, we as filmmakers could truly start to collaborate with audiences the way the fan boy and geek crowd does with their filmmakers.  Taking SUPER to ComicCon was one of the highlights of my twenty plus years in the business.  I felt unbridled support for what we’ve made, and we only offered up a wee taste.

The following is a bit of an update to the reply that I posted to Marshall on the Huff:

I share your lament about Hollywood abandoning more serious fare, but it is what it is. Let’s face it, movies for adults are difficult to execute and difficult to market; how can you blame the studios from abandoning them?

Audiences need to unite and demand what they want. [...]

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August 18 at 8:18am

IMHO: Action Is The Best Solution

I wish I could put into practice more of my recommendations and all the good ideas others have bought me.  I wish I could raise money for the marketing as well as the production of my films.  I wish I could plot out a six to nine month marketing & publicity campaign for my films, particularly when I don’t have a distributor to collaborate with.  I wish I could slow down and take it one film at a time.  I wish that I could engage in more experimental innovations that could pave the way to the future.

I believe in strategy.  I am all about planning.  Yet this world we are currently living in, just like the world I got my start in, requires action above anything else.   We need to make this happen.  We need to bring ideas into reality.

To large degree, I am a facilitator first and foremost.  Sure, I am pleased when I contribute creatively to a project, but I don’t always, and I certainly don’t have to.  Sometimes I am a second set of eyes; sometimes I am a sounding board.  Sometimes I am the strategist, and sometimes I am the instigator.  The list can go on, but the key thing is I am generative.  I get things done.  I make them happen.  I bring it forward.


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August 17 at 9:57am

Some Job Opportunities In Indie Film (Part 4)

So now you’ve watched the first three parts, right? And you are dying to watch Part Four. Well wait no further.

Some Job Opportunities in Indie Film with Ted Hope (part 4) from Hope for Film on Vimeo.


Once again, courtesy of Chris Stetson. Give this man a job!

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This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!