Tag Archives: Box Office Talent

Pay your Cast & Crew!


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Filed under Chicago Actors, Chicago film, Chicago filmmakers, Film, Film Financing, Independent Film, indie film, VLOG

Blighty blight





Is multiculturalism something we’re trying to escape from? It seems to me the success of Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife. the Bletchley Circle,


Doc Martin, Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By and other  British imports may be attributed to the fact that the stories evolve around a group of people who are similar in background, ethnicity, and values . The introduction of the black character  Jack (Ross) in last season’s Downton Abbey was an obvious, awkward, retro-fit to pull in black viewers. However, it seems presumtuous that in the name of political-correctness or “diversity” to think black audiences can ‘t see through this anachronistic plot twist. In the past 15 years theater audiences have been forced to suspend their disbelief with the concept of color-blind casting. I would much prefer to see an honest Spike Lee or Tyler Perry offering than the black actors that were cast in the chorus line of the Producer’s production number  ‘Springtime for Hitler’.  I mean really?!

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The Pre-Game Show


In five days, we are launching Phase II of the fundraising for our film – Anita. This initiative is being done through a Crowdsourcing/Crowdfunding campaign. I have hired a group of global professionals. The project itself is being spearheaded by Producer of Marketing & Distribution,  Brian Briskey of PMD Partners out of Austin, Texas. Coordinating with him is Social Strategy consultant,  Naomi Assraf from San Francisco. The Social Media ground troops consist of Mary Losey as Social Media manager, Cristiana Neves-Miller our Portuguese/Spanish Soc. Media expert and, long-time team-member and marketing professional, Jessica Orlandino spearheading the Italian online reach out

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A Producer’s lot is not a happy one!

When a Producer’s not engaged in his employment
Or maturing his fiduciary plans.
His capacity for innocent enjoyment,
Is just as great as any honest man’s
Our feelings we with difficulty smother
When fundraising duty’s to be done:
Ah, take one consideration with another,
A Producer’s lot is not a happy one!

When the enterprising actress isn’t crying,
When her agent isn’t occupied in crime,
He loves to hear the little brook a-gurgling,
And listen to the merry village chime.
When the coster’s finished jumping on his mother,
He loves to lie a-basking in the sun:
Ah, take one consideration with another,
The Producer’s’s lot is not a happy one!

(and tip o’ the hat to Gilbert and Sullivan)

220px-What_just_happened Harry-Zimm sob_richard_mulligan the-player

On every movie I’ve done as a director, I look at the producers and having done it, I don’t envy them, at all.
– Griffin Dunne

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Filed under Crowdfunding, Film, Film Financing, Film Production, Independent Film

A Short Re-Cap

What a year.  I won’t chronicle 2011 like some cheesy “Seasons Greetings from the _______, what we did this year!”  insert in a Christmas Card. Thank God we didn’t get any of those this holiday. Perhaps they are, thankfully, going out of style. Nevertheless, in brief, we have some new additions to our team. The ultra-talented Gary Ramsey is developing our storyboards. Mike Bassett and Gaylin Leth have entered into the picture as potential 1st A.D and Associate Producer respectively. Costante Garibaldi, great-great-great Grandson of Giuseppe and Anita has partnered with us in Rome where he maintains a law practice. And, Jessica “no-relation” Orlandino continues to get  the project media attention throughout Italy. Lucia will be traveling to the eternal city in a few weeks to meet with the folks at Medusa/MediaSet.  After her manager, Marcos Brandao met with my co-producer, Bob Abramoff in LA, we have now secured Leticia (Sabatella) with a firm commitment to the project. Alas, we needed to postpone shooting once again until the fall. But we are going to make that window for sure.

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Multi-Dimensional Matrix Structures

I read an article in the Harvard Business Review about multi-dimensional matrix structures where decision-making is torturous and unclear. Producing a feature film, maintaining cash-flow, raising the production budget, balancing the time-lines and cast-crew-vendor-location schedules, is like trying to solve a constantly moving Rubik’s Cube. You solve it every day, only to wake up and find you must solve it again. And, you must find the resource$ to ‘lubricate’ the process.

We’ve done some amazing things with out-of-pocket financing. In fact, sometimes I think our phenomenal progress in this area has hurt us. We’ve raised a fair amount of equity investment based on the strength of the story and the talent involved.  And, we’re always moving ahead. While we always present our best professional selves,  many potential investors may think, based on our presentation and appearance, we have a big war-chest that we can dip into when we need it. Not true.

Perhaps we should appear as the struggling-for-funding filmmakers we are?

Nah…not our style.

We have a great product. We’re having fun and we’re going to make some people a lot of money (including ourselves). We will always present the entire package as top-shelf and never pander for funding. It’s all in the paperwork.

When potential investors have taken the time to see what we have, the next step is a small one and all the sides will line up.

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Movie Houses and Buggy Whips.

MoviePass Put on Hold Amid Negative Reactions From Theater Owners – The Hollywood Reporter

The owners of movie theaters are freaking out.
Movie attendance is down.
Despite what the MPAA and NATO (Natl. Org of Theater Owners) would have you believe, per-capita audiences have shrunk to 2000 levels. The release window for Premium Video-on-Demand will continue to shrink as 60″ hi-def, Blu-Ray™, internet-ready flat screens drop in price. Shooting on 35mm film is quickly becoming obsolete.
Distribution is the challenge there as most theaters still use 35mm projection. The smart exhibitors are investing in re-tooling their theaters to digital projection.
The half-Billion-dollar-budget, tent-pole films are in a vicious cycle of covering the escalating costs of Prints & Advertising and pay (or play) for the B.O. star’s Malibu lifestyle. But many A-List stars are taking indie, script-driven roles for union scale. Apparently they see the writing on the wall.
Note the cameos on films like “Hurt Locker”.
And, go look at the choices you now have on your Pay-per-View channel versus a mere 12 months ago.
I predict the business model for theatrical releases will be flattened within 18 months.

Years ago it was “talkies”…Now it’s “Indies”. Indie films are a great investment.

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