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Two weeks ago at The San Francisco Film Society we launched A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur), a specific line of programming designed to provide filmmakers with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and best practices needed to have a sustainable creative life. We launched with A2E OnRamp, a workshop to allow filmmakers to budget, schedule, and predict possible revenues for their film throughout the direct distribution process.
Before we rolled up our sleeves to start the practical, I warmed up the crowd with a series of short lectures focusing on what all filmmakers should know about the film biz, the current culture, and recommended best practices for themselves. Last week I shared with you what we discussed about culture in general. Prior to that, I shared with you what I felt we had to recognize and accept, at least for now, about the film business.
Today, I offer you my recommendations on best practices in times like these if you want to have a hope of a sustainable creative life as a filmmaker. Don’t worry if it looks like there is more than you can currently achieve. It is a process and you are not alone. It gets better. We can build it better together.
- Focus on developing Entrepreneurial Skills as well as the creative. The corporate distributors don’t need your work to the extent that they will ever value it as much as you will. If you want your work to last, engage, and be profitable, it is up to you to be prepared to use it to ignite all opportunities. Armed with a good story and good storytelling skills, you should be able to profit if you know how to take responsibility for your creation. [...]
Last week at The San Francisco Film Society we launched A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur), a specific line of programming designed to provide filmmakers with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and best practices needed to have a sustainable creative life. We launched with A2E OnRamp, a workshop to allow filmmakers to budget, schedule, and predict possible revenues for their film throughout the direct distribution process.
Before we rolled up our sleeves to start the practical, I warmed up the crowd with a series of short lectures focusing on what all filmmakers should know about the film biz, the current culture, and recommended best practices for themselves. Last week I shared with you what we discussed about the film business. Today, I offer you my rumination on culture in general. Like the post on the film business, it is easy to dismiss this as generally negative. That simply is not true; that is nostalgia playing havoc with your perception. There never were good old days because back then people needed to find best practices too. They did not know then what you know now, just as those coming down the pike will have full benefit of all your excavation tomorrow. So be it.
If we want to move forward we need to access where we are currently standing, and adapt our behavior to the reality we encounter. So…
- This is an Era of Grand Abundance. There are more things to do than ever before. Everything is competing for increasingly limited available leisure time. As many of 50,000 feature film titles are generated on a worldwide basis annually. Good movies don’t get seen.
- Movies are not the dominant option for leisure time activities for most people. [...]
Yesterday, we launched our A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur) program at the San Francisco Film Society with OnRamp (The Direct Distribution Lab). This is a pilot lab of a pilot program designed to give filmmakers the necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve a sustainable creative life amidst this changing paradigm. We will be working out some bugs but hope to launch the second iteration as soon as possible.
As part of the lab, we have a first day of big ideas and case studies that hopefully will give the participants the foundation for a design for living and thriving on their art. As part of that I have prepared three brief lectures focused on what every filmmaker needs to recognize about the business, the culture, and their practice if they want to have a sustainable creative life. Split between the three categories, I came up with fifty things you should know. I will provide them to you over the next week or two, but I wish you all could have been there. It’s always different when you are in the room.
Today, I will unleash what I think it is necessary to recognize about our industry if you are a filmmaker looking to survive from the work you generate.
WARNING: taking any of these points out of context, could create unnecessary fear or depression. If you want to [...]
I thought I should share with you what we are doing May 2-5 at the SFFS A2E OnRamp. I wish it could be open to all.
|DAY 1: Thurs, May 2||“CHANGE”|
|2:00pm–2:05pm||Welcome||Alicia Brown, A2E Producer, San Francisco Film Society|
|2:05pm–2:25pm||The 50 Big Realities of Indie Film That All Filmmakers Should Know: Business, Culture & The Artist’s Practice
Part One: 16 things about THE FILM BIZ that should significantly influence your behavior.
|Ted Hope, Executive Director, San Francisco Film Society|
Where we are, how we got here, and where this is all likely headed.
|Erick Opeka, VP Digital Distribution, Cinedigm|
|2:40pm–3:00pm||The 50 Big Realities of Indie Film That All Filmmakers Should Know: Business, Culture & The Artist’s Practice
Part Two: 19 things about our CURRENT CULTURE that should completely alter your creative & entrepreneurial practice.
|Ted Hope, Executive Director, San Francisco Film Society|
|3:00pm–3:40pm||Its Not Direct Distribution, It’s A Series Of Hybrid Collaborations
Case Study: The Perfect Family: the spend, the strategy, the process, the results and Q&A.
|Jen Dubin & Cora Olson Present Pictures|
|4:05pm–4:35pm||Production 3.0 and Strategies in the Age of Social Media
Case Study: The Canyons
|Braxton Pope, Producer, The Canyons Colin Stanfield, General Manager, SFIFF [...]|
It is pretty great to be part of something, to no longer be truly independent. I have made & released my movies with great teams of collaborators, so I can’t say I have ever really been independent, but those are all in service of a single goal. Since coming taking a hiatus from that life, I have a multiple series of goals and a team to work with to execute them, and you know what? [...]
We have lived so long in the era of the inverted pyramid that we don’t yet recognize that the pipes have all burst. For the last twenty-plus years the number of movies made each year increases, but the number of movies theatrically distributed remained around the same. But theatrical release — or even a festival premiere — does not a movie make.
No matter what camp you sit in — artist, audience, or industry — the onslaught of titles now available to you is nothing short of devastating. We miss more than we see, and forever will. It is a flood and no one is throwing us life rafts.
All the new digital platforms and social media tools have effectively crushed the dam. It was a barrier that needed crushing, but [...]