During the Cannes Film Festival & Market last week, I enjoyed uploading daily video snippet on the Film Specific Facebook page to give people a real sense of what the infamous Cannes Market actually looks like. I know many of you got a kick out of those but I wanted to spend a few minutes going a little more in-depth and telling you about my Top 10 Take-Away’s from the market, in hopes that I can impart some of what I learned myself, with all of you. So here goes:
1. Content is king! While having ‘names’ attached to your project still matters (a lot), buyers care more about the actual story and content of the film.
2. In terms of Genres: Good FAMILY & ACTION films are in high demand. Dramas are out. Art-house needs to have cross-over potential.
3. 3D is EVERYWHERE. But make sure it’s a natural for your genre — Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Animation are the most in-demand 3D genres.
4. Internet VOD revenue is even more in its infancy in Europe as it is in the U.S. Cable VOD revenue is big everywhere right now.
5. Sales agents say one of the biggest mistakes filmmakers are still making is not getting their deliverables right and ready to sell in foreign territories. Don’t skimp on deliverables!
6. Buyers say one of the biggest mistakes filmmakers are still making is not having a distinct marketing hook for their films — remember, you need a clear demo and hook for distributors to take notice since they have to be able to sell your film on to the end user. So you need to be thinking about who is the distributors’ end users and how can they market your film to them. Make their job easy and make it a no-brainer for them to say YES to your film.
7. If you’re wavering on whether to attend a film market like Cannes or not, just DO IT. There is so much value in being there even for a few days to meet people face-to-face and start (and preserve) the relationship building process. Relationships still rule the day in the film business!
8. Once you do decide to attend a film market like Cannes, preparation is KEY. Don’t wait till you get there to try and set up meetings with people because you’ll quickly get very frustrated. Start your targeted outreach at least 3 weeks before for best results.
9. Think about HYBRID PRODUCTION as a way to add future revenue streams to your film –edit a feature version & a broadcast version that you can sell as separate entities.
10. Presentation is everything. Remember when you are pitching your film you need to sell a VISUAL experience….so use as many visual aids as possible like teaser videos, one sheets, and beautifully designed presentation materials. Of course you won’t fool a savvy buyer with just pretty pictures, and your offering needs to stand on it’s own two feet, BUT I have found that having professional looking presentation materials goes a long way to making a great impression and getting the initial results you want.
While at Cannes, many people asked me why I was there and why I continue to go every year even though I’m not a sales agent any more. The truth is, once you catch the ‘bug’ of going to Cannes, you can never stop going! I see it as an investment in my business and in the advancement of my career as a Producer. If you want to be constantly moving forward in your careers, lets face it – you need to be where all the action is at (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be Cannes… AFM & Berlin markets are great for this too).
I’m going to be incorporating much of what I personally learned at Cannes into my upcoming DISTRIBUTION IN REVERSE 2.0 Group Coaching Intensive. Why? Because I’m passionate about helping filmmakers make more ‘distributable’ films and advance in their own careers.
If you went to Cannes, what were YOUR own personal take-away’s? I’d love to hear them!