For those of you checked out over the weekend, AFM has continued to roll on here in LA and I know many of you all are on the ground pounding pavement (good for you!). I look forward to hearing more about your experiences there – feel free to share with me and ask any questions in the comments section of the post I link to at the bottom of this email.
Personally speaking, I had a film announced on Friday that I am producing. You can see the Variety release here. This was super exciting since it’s a project I’ve been working on for close to 18 months, that started with development consultingand over time transitioned to a producing relationship. If you’re interested in working together on a project (film, TV, web series) heading into 2018, you can learn more and fill out an application here.
In Other AFM News….
One thing I’m noticing this year is that for projects trying to entice international pre-sales, star power is no longer enough. Meaning, the subject matter must have global appeal as well. For example, I’ve witnessed projects with major action stars being packaged into a drama or comedy and the sales agents are not able to sell to international buyers because the subject matter doesn’t resonate beyond US borders. It’s an interesting phenomenon and something to keep in mind on your own packaging journey.
Now obviously those rules don’t apply if you’re financing with private equity and investors who don’t require the subject matter to have global appeal….but it’s making me think twice since you could come up against this during distribution too. Although having said that, international distribution isn’t the end all. You could have a very successful domestic release and that’s your entire upside. International is icing on the cake. Or you could happen to have something with global appeal and it’s the reverse. The point is – self awareness (really project awareness) is KEY. Reverse engineer your strategy from there.
Another thing that has become obvious at this year’s market is the bifurcation of the sales agency landscape. You have the big big players at the top, and the small boutique players at the bottom, and the middle level companies are being squeezed out and/or forced to transition into production and develop and finance the films they want to sell. We’ve been flirting with this for a few years now and I’ve certainly talked about this before, but never has it been more black and white than right now. I’m curious if in your meetings with sales agents you’ve been hearing more and more of them talk about getting involved as producers?
The transition from sales agent to producer translates to higher fees – meaning in addition to sales agency commission and traditional marketing expenses allowance, they will also charge a producer or EP fee and probably back end. It’s the only way to stay sustainable! I’m close friends with a few sales agents in this situation right now and following closely their journeys as I find it a fascinating turn of events in the business (especially since I was a sales agent myself).
What About You?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics so feel free to continue the conversation below…