Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quick Followup - 'Seeking Investors'

Mid last year I wrote about an amusing company that was trolling Craiglist looking for investors.

It seems that finally the law has caught up with them - they've earned themselves a 'Cease & Desist' for their methods. (Although California seems to call them 'Desist and Refrain' orders instead.)  Not much of a penalty - but the Pollyanna part of me would like to think that it will be enough that they'll change their ways.

Mind you  - it appears that it was a different project - this one they were offering a return of 150% and five percent (5%) of the net revenue generated from any and all distribution.

I wonder how many 'investors' they've been working with?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Presales - Learning from the Experts

When a distributor buys a film that hasn't been made yet they are almost blindfolded - they can't see the finished product.  So what determines what they are willing to pay ?

Even though old timers mutter about how pre-sales today aren't anything like the glory days .. for those of us in the indie sector it is still a vital part of film financing.    So I thought I'd ask some experts for some answers on what we need to do to our projects to help pre-sales.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chinese Coproductions - Learning from the Experts

China has an annual box office of around US $1.5 billion and a growth rate that makes the rest of the world jealous.  But if we want access to Chinese cinemas for our productions we hit a problem - China has tight internal regulations that limits non-Chinese films to a limited number of slots.

Thankfully there is loophole, however - Australia's co-production treaty with China offers a method to get around the import quotas on foreign films.

So it was worth hearing from some Aussie producers talking at the latest SPAA conference about their experience working in China.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Are Business skills really needed to run a company?

It was a fairly straight forward annual report for a public company:

"Financial position
The net assets of the Company have increased from $8,008 as at 30 June 2009 to $191,448 as at 30 June 2010, which is an improvement on prior year due to the improved operating performance of the Company.
The Directors believe the Company is in a stable ļ¬nancial position."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Getting your indie film onto iTunes

Plenty of distributors talk about putting your independent film onto iTunes.  They wax lyrical about how good they are at it, give estimated timelines .. talk about what deliverables you need .... but if you ask for a single example where they've successfully done it before then you just hear silence.

The reason why is fairly simple - Apple simply doesn't want to work with small distributors .. they want to work with large aggregators who provide a known quality of product.  To be blunt - they can't be bothered working with independent films.     But there are solutions.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Product Placement - Case Study (Heinz Ez Squeeze)

In some ways product placement for our indie films is trivial.  For example, set designer Margaret McDonald was telling me recently how she gets Woolwooths to supply free groceries for set dressing.

However, real product integration is something that provides the producer with real value - either with money upfront or marketing support later on.  As much as we'd like to save $50 on set dressing - for a $10 million film it's not exactly value for the producer.  So I thought I'd look at some examples of successful product integrations to see how others do it.

Example 1 - Heinz 'EZ Squeeze' bottle.

Marketing Brief:  Heinz Ketchup had a new 'EZ Squeeze' bottle.

They'd worked for years to get people to recognise their old bottle - now they were taking a totally different product to the market.  Not only that - but the bottle was used quite differently too .. so would the public accept this new shape?

So Heinz worked with a US company called 'International Promotion' to include the new bottle into product integration on TV and film so that the consumer 'would consider the EZ Squeeze bottle as an everyday household product'.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Case Study: Estimating Film ROI - Crash (2004)

We often use box office receipts as a metric when we consider how much ROI investors in a film can expect.  Clearly the entire box office receipts don't magically appear in the production company's bank account - but how much does?

There are some lousy distribution deals ... but imagine that you have a non-studio film that distributors really want.  Let's even imagine that the film is successful - it covers the distributor's P&A spend and returns money. What could you reasonably expect your income from the film to be?

There are a few estimates out there - I've always used the 'one third of box office' guideline - so if a film makes $30 million in box office we can expect about $10 million to eventually filter back to the production company.  Clearly this guess has limitations - it won't work for a film that was a hit on DVD but a flop in the theatres.  But it is a start to estimating how much money will be coming in to pay back the production budget - hopefully leaving something over for the investors

But how accurate is this estimate?

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