Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

American Film Market

What a phenomenal experience and education.

The American Film Market is a gathering in Santa Monica, California, where hundreds of independent filmmakers from all over the world meet with hundreds of film distributors, brokers and producer's representatives from all over the world looking for films to represent.

EDITED TO ADD: I realized I ought to clarify this ... foreign distributors from outside the US/Canada are looking for films here from America and nations outside their own. It's strictly a business thing, filmmakers normally aren't involved. Normally.

I'm on a whirlwind schedule now so won't write a major blog on this now, but we met with many, many people about distributing THE WHOLE TRUTH, co-producing future films we are developing and laying the groundwork for long term relationships with some good people who work with films domestically (US), Canada and internationally.

With the appearance of new media - everything from wireless download phones and online services to Video on Demand to DVD to Blu-Ray to iTunes to Netflix to satellite disbursement to big screen releases to basic cable stations and networks to premium cable networks and so many more outlets, the options of a feature film's circulation are vast - everyone is seeking ways to gain exposure for any films they accept to put out to the world.

Massive restructuring and mergers continue for many as distributors work to finesse their effectiveness, but those who embrace the changes at breakneck speed continue to be successful as they learn more about new viewing habits of consumers.

I pointed out to several distributors along the way that while PARANORMAL was the #1 film at the domestic US box office two weeks ago with a $22 million weekend gross, that represents only a few more than 2 million filmgoers - among a national population of 300 million people.

That's approximately .66 of 1% of the nation. Similarly, a box office gross of $100 million = an audience of 10 million, or just more than 2% of registered US residents.

Fewer people are going to films in theaters. Ticket prices are too high for what is being offered; consumers are not seeing what they want to pay for in theaters. Even young film goers send in a sacrifical viewer - who texts his or her friends waiting outside the theater whether a film is good enough to pay for. If it gets a thumbs down from the reviewer? Everyone goes for pizza instead.

The basics must still be in place to get the best deals for worldwide distribution to be released in a myriad of formats: good cast, well performed, good story and characters and good production quality. Lots of other deals can be had with iffy films, but, with rare exceptions, the deals are not as good.

Quality distributors are also looking for long term relationships with filmmakers who want to not just make good movies, but to increase the quality of their work with every ensuing feature.

In addition to working hard to get the best distribution deal for THE WHOLE TRUTH now, we are developing three features to be made in the future - each a very different genre.

Stay tuned!

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