Hope you’ve had a great week so far!
We left off in my last newsletter talking about Sundance as a One Stop Shop and Debt Disguised As Equity.
Now with Sundance behind us, attention has turned to Berlin and EFM w which kicks off next week…. also, SXSW announced their lineup and I’m really proud to say I’m Executive Producer on a film that will be making its world premiere there!
And let me tell you, it’s been a long road! We started shooting in 2015 and then into 2016, Post took longer than usual as we had to keep cobbling together money as we went along and leveraging the relationships of our lead producer to pull lots of ‘free’ favors. (by the way, this point deserves a whole other post because the value in favors you can get from a well connected Producer can make the difference between profit and no profit).
Then by the time we had a finished cut, all the Tier 1 festival deadlines had passed so we had to wit patiently through most of last year until we could submit for a 2017 premiere. Waiting is the hardest part….let me tell you, it’s tempting to try and go straight for distribution and start making some money back for investors but in our case we have an indie comedy, and we decided to wait it out since having a Tier 1 festival premiere completely changes the conversation with buyers on a film like that.
And now all that waiting has paid off because we will have major agency representation at the festival to help secure a domestic sale and while I’m not planning on a multi million dollar acquisition from Netflix, just from a positioning perspective we’ll be able to deliver multiple times value back to our investors no matter what happens…..yes, even if we leave without a deal and go straight to VOD on our own. The positioning alone makes it all worth the wait.
I’m not saying this is the right course of action for every film…. for example, I’m consulting on a completed Sci-Fi film right now and we’re not relying on festivals at all….we’re going straight to market because of the genre, cast, and demand for this type of product.
On a Family film I’m an EP on, we are also going straight to market and reverse engineered that plan from the get-go casting broadcast friendly actors since I have relationships with broadcasters in the market for Family films.
All this to say every film is different but don’t be afraid to wait for the positioning a major festival can deliver, unless you’re operating in a genre with a level of cast where that isn’t totally necessary…..
What about you? What’s been your experience with festivals, distribution, and the art of patience? We can continue the conversation in the comments section below…