In a nutshell, that was AFM. The 2011 American Film Market was at times dull and uninspiring, and in the blink of an eye, frenetic and running as if on fast-forward. Here’s some pics from the trip, and some quick updates on the post-market fallout.
The Bunker impressed a number of people, and although the market is primarily geared toward American film distributors selling their movies to foreign distributors, we wound up getting a number of face-to-face meetings on the fly. With only a handful set up prior to leaving, we didn’t expect all that much, but Russell knocked on every door, (including at film companies we both knew would have zero interest in The Bunker). Still, we got a few meetings with execs from those companies too, which alone made the trip worthwhile.
As mentioned, AFM is about showing off your film to foreign distributors, sales reps and agents. Well, we did that, all right, meeting with enough people to generate some significant offers for representation for the film overseas. Russell and I plan on making an announcement about that in December, as we’re still being contacted by companies we met with and who took Bunker presentation packages home. Ten days sounds like a long time (longer than I prefer to be in CA, that’s for sure), but it’s far from enough for foreign distributors to watch all the films they’re being pitched, so we sent a lot of folks home with screeners and media kits.
Streaming. Yep, everybody’s about streaming these days, which is disappointing to a Luddite like myself, but was to be expected. That said, we did meet with several companies who still release DVDs and Blue-Ray. Mostly, though, we talked streaming with distributors, both foreign and domestic. There’s an announcement to be made concerning this, too, as we do have a streaming deal in place, covering multiple territories. We may be able to make that a global deal, but working out those details will likely take until the end of the year.
Moving forward…there’s a couple wrinkles, and new irons in the fire. We got invited by a film financing company to attend a small party at Salute, in Santa Monica, where the Jeff Goldblum Orchestra played. I think the whole event was only open to about 300 people. The gentleman we met at the party had a lot to talk to us about, and set up a meeting the morning after to discuss some possibilities. At present, I’ve spoken with some producers in New York, and we’re building a package for two vehicle films, which we expect to have our attorney present right after the first of the year. I’m excited about it, because it’s long overdue that I get onto something new, not just a music video or two.
Speaking of new, one of the meetings we took (with one of those companies I’d’ve pegged as having no interest in my flick), actually went surprisingly well. They’re a big fish, so we figured, “What the hell?”, and did our best. That led to us getting a bit of inside information about specific types of projects that company is buying up /seeking out. Including theatrical releases for existing franchise film properties. Sitting there on the couch—no joke, I literally sat there during the meeting thinking this out—I came up with an idea for one of the properties in question. A day later, we stole another couple minutes from this exec, solely to ask what the company would need to see in order to get something into the right hands. His response? “Get me a script. Have your attorney present a package, I’ll look at it. You want to take a run at this franchise, you have my numbers.” That he indeed gave us his cell phone number certainly made that meeting one of the better ones.
Did we get blown off? Sure, at several places. Some film companies didn’t even have anyone in power at the market, just sales firms repping their completed and in-production features for the foreign buyers. Russell met with one French firm (figures, right?) who deigned to talk with him, and was told, “Well, we wouldn’t even think about exploiting the blind angle.” Really? This is a first. Nobody’s done it before. And, Frenchy was going to ignore it because he thought there was something inherently unsavory about exploiting the biggest marketing hook Frank Darabont’s ever seen? Yeah, nice. I can just picture him looking at the producers of GIA and saying, “I wouldn’t think of exploiting Angelina Jolie’s gorgeous, well-rounded breasts. Bring me a poster with her male co-star, maybe we can do something with this…” Luckily, though, those encounters were relatively few. Even then, at a couple of places, we met with really nice folks who were more than happy to slip us the card of somebody we did want to be talking to, even if it couldn’t be at the market.
Finally, the media. Got on two radio shows while out in CA, the head entertainment editor for Variety got in touch, and wound up getting interviewed by Gannett’s News-Press the day after I returned. Even got some face time (unbeknownst to me) on NBC. Did the Kevin & Bean morning show on KROQ—the top dog out on the W. coast—and got to thank Ralph Garman in person for his help (and the help of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast partner, Kevin Smith) with the funding needed to complete the film. Can’t thank those guys enough for all they did when time was running out and we had more post-production loose ends to tie up than cash.
Enjoy the gallery. More updates coming soon, about projects both in production and in the works. With a little luck, 2012 will be filled with reports of me continuing to be the workaholic I am, but doing it on somebody else’s dime!