Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thinking out loud...

Thinking out loud... about my business plan.

My Indie Comedy/Drama

$500K production
$200K (?) Launch Capital

With this money "in," how much money "out" can I project? And, in what time frame(s)?

I've researched comparable titles for LIS and listed which festivals, markets, and territories they've played in. From that info, I derived several tables of sales projections for foreign territory DVD and broadcast rights sales: low, moderate, and exceptional. I've also noted the same for North American DVD and broadcast rights, AND all rights deals in all territories. I used data from Stacey Parks' Film Specific website (I love her website) and from IMDB Pro.

The range between Low and Exceptional sales for foreign territories is $7,500 (or, more accurately, $0 actually) to $400K+. I looked at sales possibilities, again, based on my comparable titles, for two territories, four territories, and seven territories. So, for the sake of figuring out targets for other revenue streams, I'm setting a goal of $100K in foreign territory sales. For now.

North American sales might range from $25K to mid-six figures. So, what if I sketch in $75K as a target...?

What about theatrical? I haven't been planning this project as a Get-Picked-Up-by-Fox-Searchlight hopeful. Though, I'm not opposed to that, for the right price. :) But, I'm not wed to the idea that our film has to have a wide theatrical release for the sake of our own gratification. Or, any theatrical release. That being said, I'm trying to figure out if and how any limited, specialized, and/or DIY screenings should make up part of our distribution plans, so that we can a) make direct sales of our DVD at them, and b) we can pollinate awareness of our film for continued/future direct DVD sales from our website.

Been following, as always, Truly Free Film, the Workbook Project, and just recently, the Sundance Institute's Art House Convergence conference in Park City, the few days before its film fest. The Convergence listed nearly 20 art house cinemas that are partnered in its Art House Project. In a nutshell, they want to share ideas, resources, concerns, etc. together to keep themselves alive and vibrant in the exhibition world of megaplexes. And, there appears to be some sort of loose tie-in with Sundance-screened films playing at many of them.

So, I've been trying to get a handle on --
  • Should we aim for a Screening Plan/Release/Tour with Sundance AHP cinemas, if possible?
  • Should we aim for screenings at Landmark Cinemas and/or Regal Cinemas' art house programming?
  • Should I try to plan for some sort of festival screening(s) adjunct...? For instance, if we played at a film fest in NY state, should I aim to coordinate a(ny) screening(s) at an art house or other cinema within the region within a month of the fest?
  • Should we aim for a release with a consignment distributor instead? Maybe Magnolia's Truly Indie? Maybe Magic Lantern, Freestyle Releasing, or Indie Direct?
If we screen at say, 20 cinemas during our tour, how many DVD unit sales might I project from them, conservatively? I'd expect to lose money on the actual box office... Given different "how's" above, how much can I project that the different approaches might cost?

Of course, a lot of the above questions/ideas tie into how we position ourselves, marketing-wise, and how (well) we build community around LIS. I'm still working on that, and that's a whole 'nother posting.

Plus, all this cogitating gets me thinking about our post-production process! If we aim to have DVDs ready to sell at/during our festival run, how much longer will our post be? How will this affect our festival submissions goals? Blah, blah, blah...

The To-Theatrical or Not-To-Theatrical is just a potential piece of the revenue stream that I'm obsessed with, at the moment. There's also the ideas I/we have about our website, blogs, and complementary stories/videocasts, podcasts, art work, and the like. I want to spec out some assumptions and projections for those, too, costs-wise and revenue-wise. And, there's the digital platforms release strategy to anticipate, too...

I'm consumed. Fairly happily consumed, but a little impatient with how long it's taking me to figure stuff out. I wish I could spend a day, or afternoon even, with Peter Broderick.

If you have any ideas, pointers, etc. let me know!

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