Tag Archives: Distribution

Ok then…the hits keep comin’


In an attempt to rid himself of the self-inflicted distinction of being a 25 year-old man-child, Zach Hutton, junior menswear buyer for a large legacy department store, makes an unauthorized purchase of a container load of neckties. In doing so he loses his job, his girl and his bank account.

In a last ditch effort for redemption and to stay solvent, Zach tries to sell the ties on his own. As tie sales sputter and his luck runs out, Zach employs the talents of a lovable pole dancer to redirect the focus of potential buyers of his ties. Add devious family members, corrupt politicians, mobsters, new found love and hot-buttered popcorn to the mix, Zach finds more than a kernel of truth in the saying, “one climbs the ladder of success one rung at a time”.

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The 23rd Psalm…

how-to-draw-a-shepherd-step-6_1_000000037067_5As an indie film producer ……one_legged_man_arse_kicking_contest I continually remind myself that I am shepherding my investor’s funds to a profitable end. This responsibility shares top priority with getting the film made. I requires a steadfastness in reaching one’s goal and often times tough decisions. But I have been entrusted with capital, and my job is to grow that wealth.
Subsequently, I am becoming more like the shepherd in the Taviani brothers’ 1977 film Padre Padrone,


as opposed to the gentle sheep herder depicted in the illustration above. (at least the character was a Sardinian). To clarify…. things gotta get done. And they need to get done right and on time.


And, speaking of the Shepherd/23rd Psalm ……It was recommended to a Georgia cotton farmer to avoid taking the shortcut across his neighbor Seth’s field. as Seth’s crop has become infested with cotton eating beetles. And this particular bug was so voracious it would even attack humans. The farmer replied, “Yea, though I’ll walk through the valley of Seth, I fear no weevil.”

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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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Niche Markets

Target markets and getting pigeon holed. I met with some filmmakers this weekend who invited me to tell them how to produce (read: get funding for) their project. If I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing blog posts. It is an elusive, amorphous thing this “getting funded”. Finding the interested people is key at this level. Film projects under $40 million without big stars and a healthy, $25 million P&A budget are not investment vehicles for the players looking to make a killing on the back-end. The type of  investors these filmmakers would need will be concerned about getting the story told – and getting a decent return on their money. So, that was my advice to them; you’ve got a great, captive niche market for your story; work that market with a vengeance.  Keep the costs down and go find some Angels. They’re out there.

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What I am saying is, we have now what we have always needed, real partnership…

I’ll have my bond; speak not against my bond;
I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond; Shylock, Scene III – the Merchant of Venice

I can do wheelin’, I can do dealin’ (yes you can!!) But I don’t do no damn
squealin’…The brother get ready!! Thats a fact!! Get ready you Mother,
For the big payback (The big Payback!!) Let me hit ’em hit’em!! Hey Hey!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO                                                                                                            James Brown – The Big Payback

This blog is about producing a feature film. The process is a full time, day-to-day juggling act that never ceases, requires, thought, time, life-changing decisions, a boat-load of money and working capital that vanishes as quickly as it appears. Climbing a mountain step by step. Nevertheless, films get made and released every day. In 2010 there were approximately 615 films released from North American production companies. Based on a 200 business-day calendar year that’s a bit over 3 films per day. About half were indies and about 90% of the overall total stunk up the joint. Working with these numbers I am focused on reaching those investors that can see an opportunity when it presents itself. Obviously, these people are out there. My challenge is finding them and getting them to love this project. From that point, the position where we have our total production budget in place, my job is to deliver a polished, engaging, profitable film. It’s going to happen. As James Jaeger from Matrixx Films put it, “A movie is the best investment one can make for the up-side potential vs. the risk. There simply is no business with manufacturing capital entry requirements as low as motion pictures where the potential return can be as unlimited over the short, medium and long terms.”

And to this…to the actors, the crew the investors and yes…to myself – I have my bond. We can make each other happy.

Or as JB would say, “I need those hits, hit me!! “

PS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It’s okay. It’s okay. Thank you. Thank you. JumpIntoTheFire is my middle name. And, don’t try this at home, folks. I’m a professional in training. There’s me, and there’s Harvey Weinstein.

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Constant Contact, Constant Evaluating and Constant Cost.

My business is promotion. I promote goods and services for my clients. Whatever form of promotion I use, there is usually a cost to it. I am now beginning to promote my film. Whoo boy, the cost there is unbelievable. The average, low end, P&A budget for a film is $30 Million. Those billboards, signs on buses and schmooze lunches with PR people add up. I was wondering how I could go about making a brand so cool, users would promote it for you – Free!  Well, I’ve got an idea, so watch out. There was an incident that prompted this thought process and made me think a bit deeper about the whole concept.

I recently had one of my clients call Constant Contact™ to have them remove their logo from the footer of her company’s mailings and replace it with her own company’s. Yes, it is do-able but you have to call. My client thought it was odd that I had her do this and I explained to her that in my world there are no Free rides.

As I pointed out, being an advertising professional, I am keenly aware of brand visibility and the cost of  getting one’s product or service’s name in front of a market.

What has always amazed me is how some advertising slips by the consumer. Whereby the consumer themselves unwittingly promotes the brand – gratis. In fact, some clever companies have engineered it in such a way that doing so makes the consumer feel somehow superior or “in the know”.

Remember back in the eighties the “Members Only” apparel brand? Has this not been replaced by “North Face?” Does that crocodile add something to your otherwise non-descript cotton polo shirt? Why do we allow car dealers to emblazon their logo or servicemark on the trunk of our car? How small (or large) would that logo need to be before Mr. or Ms. Consumer raises her hand and asks for compensation?  Sunglasses, wrist-watches, handbags? If you are impressed with my sartorial style and choice of accessories does it take a clearly visible brand name for you to be really impressed?

When it comes to clothing, I feel this is the height of tackiness. Imagine wearing an Armani suit with the name Armani plastered over the entire jacket and slacks. Or a uber-cool pair of Manolo’s with a brass plate hammered into the letting everyone know, yep…dem’s da real deal.

Riddle me this:

If we were all forced to walk around naked, what would impress you? Or better yet, how would you advertise?

Think about it. And watch for my idea soon.

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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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