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IronFilm

Thoughts/Questions on the book "The Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution"

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https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=5K9gdLDWSFoC&lpg=PA24&ots=yU3FeQNt6F&dq=AFM Actors&pg=PA26#v=onepage&q=AFM Actors&f=false

 

In the interview on page 26 he says: "Deliver the picture with enough speed that your lead actor's value stays high. Waiting too long drops the values as your actor continues to act in film after film."

Now I understand the need to be speedy (minimises interest payments / loan penalties, keeps your reputation good of sticking to timelines/contracts, you can then move speedily onto your next project, etc), but why specifically does he mention this reason? As unless you've got a "hot right now this very moment" actor, then I don't think this should be a significant factor? (in fact sometimes the opposite could happen, as they might get their breakout role *after* your film and you can then ride that wave with your own film they worked on beforehand)

Also on page 26: "Talk to distributors about selling your movie, not sales agents, and be able to tell what the difference is."

How can you tell the difference?

Also on page 26: "Don't cast "familiar faces" in film--burned-out-but-recognizable actors who demand more money than scale and add absolutely nothing to sales".

I thought using a few "familiar faces" in indie films is a tried and true method for sales/marketing? (unless of course they're asking for waaaaaay above what they're worth, maybe he's meaning that? But it doesn't sound like that)

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Sounds like he's talking about movies that are most appealing because of the cast, rather than anything else.  I seem to be in the minority amongst my (non-film-making) friends because when I ask about a film they are inclined to tell me who is in it, whereas I tend to want to know what kind of film it is and what it's about.  I do this even to the extent that I respect people like Johnny Depp not for their ability to act but for their taste in choosing scripts to work on.  Many of the films and TV shows I have liked were from no-one famous in-particular but I was attracted because of the genre, or favourable reviews.  

Many a good movie was made by unknowns, and many a bad movie was made by a dream-team of cast and crew.  I suspect that this doesn't extend as much to box-office performance, and I'm pretty sure that it definitely doesn't extend to getting distribution for a film.

I've heard stories that the way to make a film is to get / write an idea / pitch / treatment, cast your leading actor and have them above the line as both cast as well as executive director, then have them help you pitch to distributors and writers (in whatever order makes sense) then once you've got some level of interest and commitment from a financier then actually write the script.

"Did you see the latest Scorsese film?"  "I love Denzel"  "Robin Williams is absolutely hilarious" ...  but not so much "did you see the latest rom-com?" 

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15 hours ago, IronFilm said:

https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=5K9gdLDWSFoC&lpg=PA24&ots=yU3FeQNt6F&dq=AFM Actors&pg=PA26#v=onepage&q=AFM Actors&f=false

 

In the interview on page 26 he says: "Deliver the picture with enough speed that your lead actor's value stays high. Waiting too long drops the values as your actor continues to act in film after film."

Now I understand the need to be speedy (minimises interest payments / loan penalties, keeps your reputation good of sticking to timelines/contracts, you can then move speedily onto your next project, etc), but why specifically does he mention this reason? As unless you've got a "hot right now this very moment" actor, then I don't think this should be a significant factor? (in fact sometimes the opposite could happen, as they might get their breakout role *after* your film and you can then ride that wave with your own film they worked on beforehand)

Also on page 26: "Talk to distributors about selling your movie, not sales agents, and be able to tell what the difference is."

How can you tell the difference?

Also on page 26: "Don't cast "familiar faces" in film--burned-out-but-recognizable actors who demand more money than scale and add absolutely nothing to sales".

I thought using a few "familiar faces" in indie films is a tried and true method for sales/marketing? (unless of course they're asking for waaaaaay above what they're worth, maybe he's meaning that? But it doesn't sound like that)

 

 

The film business is a quickly moving field.  Super stars use to be able to carry movies.  I don't think that is the case anymore.  Its the same thing with "main stream" reviewers.  Remember Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Lenorad maltin, Gene Shalt, etc?  There really doesn't exist any reviewers of the same vein.  how the public views movies and what motives them to put down their $8-15 and spend 1 to 3 hrs in a dark movie theater is changing.

I haven't sold any independent movies, however, I think the underlying thing is to get butts in the seats.  Create something enough people want to see that will pay off the production values and make some profit for everyone.  This is the type of movie that distributors want.  I guess if you get a hot actor, that will make some people want to watch the movie.  However, trying to get a Chris Evans, or the "hot right now" XYZ actor is going to be difficult.  In addition, at the highest levels in Hollywood; the general public are savvy enough to fight through the marketing and decide if the big budget movie is something they want.  Back in the past, audiences really didn't have a multiple of resources to figure out if a movie was something they wanted to watch so they depended on the super stars.  Now a quick google search or youtube review will tell them.

The book you are reading seems to have been created in 2012; I think things have changed within the past 8 years.  A lot of specific advice from that book is probably outdated.  However, I'm assuming the main theme -- "make something distributors can use to get butts" in the seats is still applicable.  If I were to try and distribute a movie today, I would talk/research people who are trying to distribute movies TODAY including those that have done it successful and those that have failed. 

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