Sunday, November 04, 2007

News From AFM

I spent most of the afternoon Friday and all of the morning today over at the AFM. I would give you a rundown on who's got what and so forth, but Bill Martell has a pretty good summation so I turn it over to him. There's a lot of films out there kids. A lot.

As Bill rightly points out there are a lot of them which are just no good - from the concept ("Been there, done that.") to the stars ("He's STILL making movies? For THEM? Sheesh...") to the marketing ("You know, for the amount they spent on that video display they could have had banner ads on dozens of websites in heavy rotation.") to the number of trees killed ("They wasted paper to make a sell sheet for this?").

It's the same old way of doing business, and really - when you crunch the numbers on X number of films with X number of distributors divided by the # of Buyers and the # of slots the Buyers have to fill for their releases schedules - you begin to see the tangled mess of spaghetti that is film distribution.

(And to be clear how tangled, I didn't even crunch the dollars that are being shuffled around and not reaching the filmmakers themselves what with percentage and library deals)

I'm not going to go out on a limb and say what Bill said about there being a lot of "half efforts" out there looking for distribution. That's the way it's always been, but seriously, I am now noticing how all those "bad films" are clogging things up. You have to wade through a lot of films climbing up and down those six floors of offices.

There has to be a better way - not only for the filmmakers but for everyone involved. The system has to be streamlined and rethought so it adheres to sound business principles. Right now, the people who distribute the product get the lion's share of the return. (To be fair they also spend money marketing the movie, but not enough to justify percentages as high as 35%)
The folks who created the product don't share in the revenue in the same manner unless they have a remarkable "hit." Then they not only start to get money, but they get publicity and business value too. But it takes so long to get there, especially under the current methodology.

Again, there has to be a better way.

Which leads me to this post by Alex.

This is a step toward how films should (and will) be produced, marketed and distributed. Yes, it's a documentary, but 10MPH could just as easily been a fictional narrative. Please notice how the product placement and sponsorship work with the story and the overall marketing. This is shades of what Roger Corman did with his first movie THE MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR when he used an Aerojet sub as a major prop in the movie.

Read the manual as it has some good nuggets of info in there - your web presence, branding - but nothing meaty. Each chapter could easily be 10-20 pages, and yet the whole thing is 26 pages.

So yes, times and methods are changing and we as content creators (Not just writers. Not just directors. Not just producers) have to change with them. We have to marshal our forces, our resources and work toward creating the most entertaining productions possible.

More thoughts tomorrow as I go back to Santa Monica.


Win said...

Thanks for your comments Bill.

26 pages may be a little brief.

They do show a passion and a commitment to persevere.

I understand that their missive was to encourage other filmmakers rather than serve as a detailed business plan.

Has anyone out there produced a more detailed marketing plan?

Cunningham said...

I would suggest DESKTOP CINEMA the book outlining the making of ABLE EDWARDS.