Saturday, October 09, 2010

What Not To Do

This article well, it gives you sentences like this:

If you are willing to step forward to build and lead a group of interested individuals who have not been mobilized or you are willing to identify and connect with already established groups and make quality content only for them, you will sustain.

WTF does that mean?

Sheri Candler is an inbound marketing strategist who helps independent filmmakers build identities for themselves and their films. Through the use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, online media publications and radio, she assists filmmakers in building an engaged and robust online community for their work that can be used to monetize effectively.

OK, anytime anyone uses the words "monetize effectively" just run away. Preferably screaming. That way we can all know we should be running too.

Here's the deal right now. If you're lucky someone will give you five thousand dollars up-front to distribute your movie in North America. But you are a lucky boy when that happens for your under $100K budgeted picture. But what they (your distributor) needs is to do is get a Blockbuster deal so they can actually make some cash. 'Cause lord knows they're not getting anything out of a Best Buy deal. And good luck with any of that if you don't have name talent in your movie. Which means that for a non-theatrical direct-to-DVD? Good luck making a $100,000 on a movie which cost you $20Million to $40Million.

Most video-on-demand will (again, if you're very lucky) pay between $1200 and $2400 for, like, 8 months of exclusive VOD (that's talking about Netflix and the like.)

Overseas? If you bring in a gross of about $40,000 (out of which you're paying your sales rep) you're doing good, man. Really good. And that's over a 36-month period.

 Alien Uprising's Kumiko and Ben
Maybe you got some sweet output deals for overseas TV -- maybe then you're talking another $100K. Maybe you got a sweetheart deal with a cable station for what... $75K (at best)? But with that deal you may be able to get a Blockbuster deal -- best case there you'll be walking away with $100K after a couple years because of the cable-tv attention you got. But in reality your $40,000,000 (forty MILLION dollar) picture is going to bring in between $100K and $200K.

There. This is how you "monitize" effectively:

Spend less than $10,000 in cash
Make the movie in three months from script to final delivery elements
Make sure your visual effects are good and that there's an action scene every 10 minutes.


Kangas said...

I don't see how realistically that's possible. Who are your actors? How are they supporting themselves while you're not paying them minimum wage?
(let's say they're part-time actors...I'm betting they can't get off for 2 weeks of every month to come work on your project for pennies)

Your FX guys are doing this for charity?

I mean, I just don't see how it's possible...maybe 1 movie(and even then, it's tough), but three or four movies a year? Not gonna happen. (I mean, not gonna happen with any level of quality)

Andrew Bellware said...

FX guys ain't much for charity. At least the ones who are good enough. So yeah, it's hard to get this to happen with any level of quality for 3 or 4 pictures a year.

Actors we don't have a problem with (well, I mean we don't have difficulty getting them -- we just string some fishing net across MacDougal Street and come back a couple hours later, pull out all the dolphins, and take our pick of actors) but without full-time editors and VFX people (and for that matter, writers) it's hard.

So I don't know what to do. Wait for magic Internet money? ;-)

joe said...

there's a guy in our area that spent $250k (of other peoples' money) on a feature starring a few names. the movie ended up on hulu and netflix. he hasn't made a dime on it and still hustles tips as a waiter. he also has some of the lenders on his ass in a very litigious way. he should have waited and read your blog first.

Anonymous said...

So if the DVD market is heading the way of the Dodo, and streaming movies on the net is the next thing? At what rental price would someone charge for a smaller budget film, the same price as a new release? Or, maybe release it for free and in hopes for recognition for higher paying work with a bigger studio?

Andrew Bellware said...

Yeah, I don't have any actual good answers for any of these questions.

I don't know that the DVD market is disappearing necessarily -- it's just getting smaller.

There doesn't seem to be a problem with what I vaguely recall from a 1st-year economics course in the "elasticity of demand" price-wise between a big budget and a small-budget film. People seem to be willing to pay whatever the going rate is for either one.

Obviously, releasing a picture for free is a good way to get your investors ticked off.

The trick has to be to get at least $50,000 out of each picture. And nobody knows how to do that yet without a cable deal...