Sunday, November 08, 2009

AFM 2009: Sunday, Day One

If you've been following my tweets (@madpulpbastard) you already know how little I think of this year's AFM. I feel forced, after just one day here to call it as I see it - AFM is Broken.

I only have this computer for a little while so I'll be brief. There is an incredible chasm between the huge blockbuster movies and the low/no budget fare here in Santa Monica. No one has any interest in anything in between and there is little interest in the other ends of the spectrum.

Being that it's Sunday - I am prepared to give the market a bit of slack - but I can't see the momentum picking up anytime soon. There is a malaise here that borders on comatose. Distributors are actually forced to listen to wanna be producers pitches in the hallways. The Lobbyists - the Hollywood Reporter's terminology for those who seek financing for their "projects" - are in full force and yet they aren't even smoozing with their usual vigor. I haven't even been offered a free drink yet!

It's clear to me that unless you are already ensconced in a production deal with financing that the whole affair has to be rethought to bring it into line with the realities of the business as it is right now and how it will be in the next five years. I had a meeting five months ago on a movie that was seeking completion funding in exchange for N. American (US and Canada) rights. It was a light crime movie with a B-name cast. I politely told them they could expect about $50K for those rights, that they wouldn't have a theatrical premiere unless they financed it and that they would still have to spend more money to get it to the point to sell it to a distributor --- so they could get the money to finish the movie.

They politely declined and walked away thinking they could get a better deal. They told me they would see me at AFM. Their movie isn't here. It isn't anywhere (that I can find).

I say this not to kick those guys down - they made a choice. I tell this tale because:

It's going to get worse / different / crazy before things pick back up.

And that pick up will be a totally different animal than the AFM beast we are dealing with now. I think that beast is lying on the Serengeti plain with its tusks removed.

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