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December 5 at 8:15am

The Really Good Things In FilmBiz 2014

Let's look at the bright side!

Let’s look at the bright side!

Some rituals help keep us focused throughout the year. This marks the 4th time I have looked back at all the good things that occurred in the film biz and listed them out for all of us. Tracking them through year, keeps me from abandoning hope. Sometimes they may just be the silver lining in the storm cloud, but nonetheless they keep me going, keep me convinced that in fact we truly are: building it better together. I hope they do something close to that for you. It’s been a good year, and I have thirty two morsels to tempt you with. And of course the year’s not through yet, so perhaps you have some to add to this too. 

If you’ve encountered elements of this list earlier on my postings in Film Comment and on Keyframe, pay careful attention as I have weaved some new points into all for your reading pleasure. And if you like a little of the bitter to wash down the sweet, don’t forget the list of 30 Bad Things In 2014′s Film Biz here.

[...]


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November 18 at 8:15am

Presale Market Alive and Well at AFM

Surprising, right?  Everything you read is that presales are a dying business, but according to Jonathan Wolf, AFM’s Managing Director, about 60% of the business done at this year’s AFM was in presales.  This means more than half a billion USD in presales alone.  

According to Mr. Wolf, the market for foreign presales came back by 2010 or 2011.  [...]


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November 21 at 8:15am

Towards A Sustainable Investor Class: Have A Good Time

If you don’t enjoy what you do you won’t stay with it.  

Freud and The Ancient Greeks all recognized that you need a balance between work, love, and play.  For a system to be sustaining, it should have an equal balance between all three. It has be something you care about, that your labor and time can improve and produce just rewards, and it has to deliver joy. Film investment can be [...]


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November 14 at 8:15am

Towards A Sustainable Investor Class: Deliver Risk Appropriate Returns

The Film Industry has historically sought out “dumb money”, people willing to make the sucker bet.  This is akin to basing the global transportation system on fossil fuel — at a given time ,you run out the resource and have the joy of having destroyed your planet or culture in the process.  Why are we doing this? Isn’t it time this process stopped? Can we just find the photos of those responsible now, put them on the wall, and say “These people destroyed what we once loved?”

It is as if The Studios make sport of trying to make sure that the creators and their supporters don’t earn their fair share.  By now everyone knows both the tales of [...]


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September 6 at 8:15am

Staged Financing MUST Become Film Biz’s Immediate Goal

Each day I become more and more convinced that staged financing could be a cure to much of the Film Biz’s ills.  Staged financing?  What?  Is the phrase not exactly center of your conversations right now?  Why not?!! Whatsamattawidyou? Don’t you know a good solution when you see one? [...]


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December 18 at 11:00am

We Need To Make Indie Film Work For Investors!

It’s pretty simple.  When people make money doing something, more money enters that system.  And it is pretty simple in the reverse: when some people make a bucketload and those that invested in it make virtually nothing, less money flows into the system.

If distributors don’t pay creators their fair share of the profits, their won’t be movies made. Or maybe the investors will get wise and stop selling the distributors the film.  After all we are at a time that you can really do it yourself (by doing it with others).  And to be clear, “fair share” doesn’t mean paying them what contract swindles them out of — it means paying them an ethical cut.  And that sure in hell ain’t 12.8% of the profits — which is what happened on one of the most successful indie films of recent times. [...]


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February 18 at 8:15am

The New Model Of Indie Film Finance, v2011.1 Domestic Value & Funding

This was once going to be a single post.  Today is part three.  There will be at least two more to come.  I started it here. And then yesterday we tried to determine the factors for accessing foreign value.  Today, let’s look stateside.

Until the double whammy of Toronto 2010 & Sundance 2011, it looked like the US acquistion market for feature content had fully collapsed.  No reasonable P&L would have shown more than a modest six figures for US acquisitions.  Hybrid & DIY models have not been developed yet to consistently deliver returns in excess of this amount (or even at these figures).  Perhaps this is now changing, but it would still be foolish for any filmmaker or investor to expect this and we can’t budget for such expectation.

How many of the 7500 films produce in the US annually return 20% of their negative cost from US licenses?  Although it puts emerging filmmakers at a great disadvantage, I think the surest determining factor for predicting US acquisition potential is [...]


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