Monday, November 17, 2008

More fun at the Crazy Farm

Okay, now I'm also seriously considering producing another consulting-client's work.

Will have final talks tomorrow about going ahead, or not, with that.

For someone who's been unsure of the path ahead, given my beautiful path-changing foray into parenthood, some good things just keep dropping into my orbit.

My heart says it's all good. I'm excited about both. I still have to figure out how to parse my time between parenting and producing. Much less, producing from Minnesota an ultra-low-budget independent film by a Texan writer-director. Ha!

I'm nuts. But, I'm a happy nut.

Oh, and I have to add that I'm currently very inspired by one of Ted Hope's blogs, Truly Free Film. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Then again...

Okay, I've kept saying Horror is not my favorite genre, personally.

But, I'm very seriously considering forming a producing partnership with this writer I've been consulting. He came to me for advice because he has a connection to potential investors. He wanted to know how to approach them, and with what info? I've been reading his scripts and creating a marketing analysis for one of them, a thriller/horror film.

We just met for an update session yesterday. I told him there were basically, three ways to proceed. He could seek to sell his scripts outright to the likely buyers; take the money he can get, and move on to the next thing. He could raise the money to shoot one or more of his scripts for very low budgets and aim to sell it/them as negative pickups. Or, he could raise the money to shoot them and distribute them himself - a la Lance Weiler's Head Trauma or the filmmakers behind Four Eyed Monsters, etc.

As a writer with a day job, who's never made a film, himself, before, I knew he wouldn't have any personal context for what options 2 and 3 would actually entail. Which is, years of effort and work and responsibility.

He needs a producer.

I can see how to do it. And, his other scripts have breadth. And, they're different genres. And, I'd have an opportunity to build a production company around a mini-slate of properties. And, I like his vibe so far.

Then, all the second-guessing comes in.

What about parenting my toddler? How can I tackle this when I still get pole-axed from tending to her every weekday? I've hired a babysitter for Monday afternoons, which is a HUGE help; but, I start thinking about the escalating costs to hire her (if she's even available) for additional days, and it gives me pause. Remember, I'm an independent producer - ha. I'm not currently rolling in dough...

And, what about partnering with someone I've never worked with before? What about partnering, period? I've had partners in the past, in both film and software companies I've founded; and, they were (and are) good people, all. But, I'm not partnered anymore with any of them, and there are reasons for that. I worry that I could be setting myself in an unsustainable position again.

Thanks for reading. I've just wanted to roll this idea around and share some fears.

It felt very natural yesterday at our meeting for me to say, 'I'll do this.' 'Let's move forward and take some more steps together.' I'll work with him to develop his sci-fi script. This will provide us a more in-depth opportunity to work together. In the meantime, I can do the homework on the titles/genres we would pitch for our mini-slate, plus a full business plan.

It's a lot of work. But, it's also in my interest, whether this particular opportunity pans out into something more long-term or not.

I've kept saying I want to build a new production company. So, here I am, looking at forming a new production company. Right?


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Horror, the horror

I have spent the better part of the last three days immersing myself in the production, fan-dom, and distribution worlds of horror-thrillers. Man, am I tired of the mayhem.

I'm meeting with my client tomorrow to review what I've researched and discuss next steps. In a nutshell, he wants to get investors and get his scripts produced. I applaud that. I'm just consumed with how he might/should go about it. ???

On one hand, I can see very clearly how to tackle the goal as a DIY endeavor. Raise the money for the production budget AND for the distribution/marketing efforts. Build audience awareness before you shoot. Build a web/digital presence. Build your niche audience's anticipation for your film. Producer Ted Hope (I so admire him and wish he would adopt me as his "baby producer") has been speaking and writing lately of filmmakers' needs to claim the promises of digital access to their audiences/markets. Peter Broderick, another long-time indie advisor/rep/legal eagle, has also written about the changing independent film marketplace. I'm with them, totally.

On the other hand, that approach calls for COMMITMENT. And, I don't know, yet, if my client fully grasps just how long and likely, arduous that commitment may be. We're talking years. Years to prepare (raise funds, lay groundwork) for the eventual "launch," the production, the post-production, the actual launch and marketing efforts, the babysitting and continued execution of the distribution, and all the fun back-end stuff of having a movie out in the marketplace.

Plus, the world is in a global economic smack down. Industry folks attending this year's American Film Market in Santa Monica are talking about it being one of the hardest, slowest markets in the last 25 years.

He needs a producer.

I wish I loved the genre, myself. But, nope.

The other approach is to identify and pursue production companies/financiers who might be game to acquire his script(s) outright. I've researched those, too.

I have a feeling he's going to prefer the former over the latter.

Which I admire and again, applaud.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Good To Know...

So, I'm working a consulting gig these days, putting together a marketing analysis for a horror/thriller/mystery script. It's written in the style of an Italian giallo of the '70s. Lots of sex, blood, red herring suspects, and nudity. It's a well-executed script for its genre. But, I've spent most of the last two days delving into the genre's cinematic history, current titles, fan base, distributors, and so on.

As a producer, it's good to know that this isn't a genre I'd want to personally spend my time on. I recognize it has its fans, and a market. But, being an integral player in making a movie that finds new and cinematically ambitious ways to kill mostly naked women is not on my list of aspirations.

Back to work...