Thursday, September 30, 2010

SyFy [Business Plan Part 8]

The big trick is that to become a SyFy producer they will have had to have bought at least a couple pictures from you first. Only then will they let you make movie or them. That's why The Asylum, for instance, is in.

Now we've gone over the numbers before (they, there's even a New York Times article about it from a few years ago) which SyFy presumably uses to produce their "original movies" -- they guarantee $750K against a budget of 2 million dollars (which means you have to get guaranteed sales outside of N. America for the remaining $1.25 million in order to get a bank loan against those guarantees so that you can shoot the picture.) I don't believe those numbers are legit anymore. I suspect that it's nigh on impossible to get $1.25 million in foreign guarantees for a sci-fi/horror flick with a "B"-level name actor in it anymore.
So, SyFy -- I don't believe they do that $750K against $2M anymore. They just can't be doing it. The Asylum wouldn't be putting up with it. So how much is SyFy spending as a guarantee on a "SyFy Channel Original Movie" nowadays? I actually have zero information, so I'll make it up. I suspect it's $600,000 to deliver an approved program with an approved star. But remember, I'm just making this up.
In any case, we'd still be doing great with those kinds of budgets. Depending on the size of the star they need even if you're probably looking at somewhere between $5000 a week and (again, I'm guessing) $250,000 for the whole movie to pay him/her/them. The remainder is up to you to not overspend.

What's not in our corner there is that SyFy tends to hate actors if they've never heard of them. So we really will have to fly someone out 1st Class from LA who used to have a lucrative TV gig work for us for a week or two or three. And that gets expensive 'cause they need to be transported by car each day, etc., but even talking about this now puts the cart before the horse -- we're very far away from becoming an approved producer for SyFy. We have to get SyFy to buy a couple pictures from us first.

On the plus side our visual effects have been steadily improving. Clonehunter was a big step up. Day 2 is even a bigger step up. And I think that Earthkiller will begin to look like a movie with a real budget.

Unfortunately SyFy hates zombies (they can't make money on zombie pictures -- go figure) and robots (same thing, with the exception of "T2"). What does the Pandora Machine do? Make zombie robot pictures. OK, we won't be a SyFy approved producer anytime in the next couple o'years.

What other things does SyFy like/not like?

SyFy likes "open spaces". They don't like cramped, interior, movies. I suspect this is because filmmakers know that cramped interiors are cheaper to do and so cheaper pictures come to SyFy that are cramped. Or, just statistically, they just don't work for SyFy. Just like zombies. Man, I'm glad I'm not in their business. Well, not yet at least.

They don't like "space operas" (which is ironic because Battlestar Galactica works for them). 


So none of this SyFy talk serves our immediate needs -- increasing revenue per picture over the next 12 to 24 months.

And for that we're going to (I can't believe I'm saying this) look at cable TV video-on-demand. [See part 7 of this lengthy business plan tome.]


Mike Chmiel said...

oh, god. that. poster. is. amazing. thank you - that just made my night.
(and, of course, great blog as usual)

Andrew Bellware said...

Ha! Thanks!