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By Paul Osborne
There’s been a recent battle-cry within the independent film community – lead by folks like Ted Hope and Jon Reiss – urging us filmmakers to publish the revenue generated by our movies, specifically in regard to new forms of distribution. Unlike the weekly box office reports of studio films, the actual figures for indies, particularly those using newer release methods such as Video-On-Demand, are hard to come by. Without them, and subsequently without any way of determining the success or failure of specific releases, it makes perfecting and improving new avenues of distribution quite difficult. How do you know what’s working, and what’s not, if you don’t see the results? [...]
By Charles Peirce
Casting is one of the obvious essentials of any film, and like all aspects of the process worth examining: the assumptions that define it and the possibilities of how it might be used to best advantage. Casting’s key place comes in financing, where attaching the right star allows raising money based on their monetary value to specific regions or demographics. Enough attached stars offer the promise of pre-sales in distribution, and enough pre-sales can then determine a base budget. This would seem to follow the simple logic of a star’s popularity guaranteeing viewers, a shortcut in the task of finding an audience. [...]
By Charles Peirce
There’s a certain watercooler betting-pool mentality that accompanies the box office results of movies, as though their success were completely encapsulated in a single opening weekend’s results. This despite the fact that everybody knows Hollywood accounting is particularly slippery, that budgets never reveal the accompanying marketing costs of films, that foreign market revenue is increasingly important to the success of many films, and that ancillarly sales can be a primary rather than secondary revenue stream. Nonetheless, we seem to equate box office numbers with whether a film worked, whether it’s worth anyone’s time, and whether it’s going to ruin somebody’s career or save it. [...]
by Andrew Einspruch
Filmmaker Andrew Einspruch attended Screen Forever 2013, the conference of Screen Producers Australia, this past year and wrote a series of articles for the event, which he’s kindly allowing us to reprint here. These articles originally appeared in Screen Hub, the daily online newspaper for Australian film and television professionals.
A session at Screen Forever looked at some of the ins and outs of financing a feature film with some amount of money from the USA. Andrew Einspruch reports that success factors range from making sure the Aussie elements of the project work to developing credibility as a producer.
One of the key differences between making a film with a USA-based company versus, say, a Canadian, British or French firm, is there is no official co-production treaty. In fact, co-pro treaties are in place specifically to counter the might of Hollywood.
Even so, plenty of Australian productions have a USA component, and the lack of official co-pros simply means the deals have to stack up on some other basis. These elements were explored in a session called “Working with the USA: the Eagle and the Kangaroo”, moderated by lawyer Craig Emanuel of Loeb & Loeb, and which brought together producer Tony Ginane of FG film Productions, sales agent Clay Epstein of Arclight Films, distributor and EP Greg Coote of Larrikin and China Lion, and Tracey Vieira, representing Ausfilm.
The bad news is that the USA remains difficult terrain. It is still very hard to pre-sell North American rights, and the trend with studios (as reported previously) is they are making fewer, more expensive, mostly tentpole films. This, in turn, puts pressure on North American distribution, and forces projects to get financed without it. [...]
by Kirsty Stark (Producer), Ella Macintyre (PMD) and Victoria Cocks (Writer/Director)
Part 3. Financing: Generating Certainty Online
Once we had proven Wastelander Panda was a viable concept and had an audience (through the success of the Prologue), we needed to find a way to finance future stages of the project. Still aiming to eventually take it to television, we looked at what we had done so far, and assessed the likelihood of getting funding, keeping in mind that we were first-time filmmakers. Speaking to experienced producers from the local industry, as well as looking at the questions being raised online from viewers, we realized that we still had a lot to prove before we would be able to attract any kind of significant finance: [...]