Saturday, January 20, 2007

When dealing with distributors ...

it's always a good idea to consult the people they are already distributing.

Got a few emails from some people I contacted about a few of these distributors that keep tugging at me. And boy am I glad I contacted them. I've learned some very interesting things about some of these fairly popular companies. Now I'm not gonna name any names, or give away too much, that would just be bad business karma. But just know, over the next year, I'll be helping out my fellow indies by getting the word out about their product. I swear some of these guys just plain got screwed by their distributor. And these are some VERY good movies.

One indie filmmaker in particular made a deal with, let's call them Company A. Company A has had there movie for about 4 years now and they've barely done any marketing and have only sold about 500 copies. I'm hoping to God their contract is up with Company A soon. This particular movie is EXTREMELY marketable and a decent distributor should have no problem at least clearing 10,000 copies a year. Let's say you sell 10,000 DVD's at about 11 dollars each, that's $110,000.00 a year, and if the contract is 70 percent of profits to the distributor and 30 percent to the filmmaker, after the expenses have been recouped we're talking at least $24,000.00 to the filmmaker for one year. In 4 years that should have been a total of $96,000.00 that should have been paid to the filmmaker. In this case since Company A has only sold 500 copies in 4 years, the profit goes to recouping expenses of the distributor first. Which basically means this particular filmmaker hasn't seen a dime.

Tip: Be sure there is a stipulation in your contract with the distributor that says if they don't earn you X amount of dollars within X amount of time, then you retain all rights.

And what's even sadder is that we are only talking about DVD sales. What about pay-per-view, digital download, mobile video, cable, even theatrical? Your distributor should be busting his ass getting your movie out there. He should be hitting the pavement screaming to people about the catalog of great movies he has including yours. I swear talking to some of these filmmakers and really hearing these horror stories, just confirms my beliefs. Why am I going to hand over my movie to someone who is only going to do what I can do myself? The problem with DIY distribution is that you may not have the clout and weight of an experienced distribution company, but I've got the contact info for the pay-per-view folks, I know that I can easliy make my movie available on DVD, online, and even in some retail outlets, I can put my movie up for digital downloads, and I'm not that far off reaching basic cable. And as far as marketing is concerned, hearing the inside track of what alot of these companies do to get marketing done, is basically what I was going to do except I won't have to pay someone else to do it.

Unless a distributor can come up to me and offer me something that I can't do, then maybe I'll work with them. But for alot of these companies that I've been dealing with, I've been doing the research, I've been getting the info, and it doesn't sound like you can do any better job than I can. As a matter of fact it sounds like I can do a much better job than you, because I've got the full passion of this project. I love this movie. It's my baby and who better to take care of it than the baby daddy. Yeah that's right, I got fuckin ghetto on your ass.

Bottom line is, if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

ya-ya ya know it!

And yes I've been listening to the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack.

AND SPEAKING OF GHOSTBUSTERS! Look what was leaked recently.


But apparently there are some licensing issues, so there is a possibility this is as close to a game (or a sequel) we'll ever get. I'd also like to note that this is similar to the look I'm going for with MONSTER COPS / SHADOW COMPANY. For a few of the action scenes that is.

Checkout More Here at Team XBOX

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life is on the wire, the rest is just waiting.

Thanks for that one Papa Wallenda. If you don't know about the high flying Wallendas, they are an elite group of high wire walkers. Papa Wallenda was the first of em. The Daddy of all tight rope walkers. And here he does indeed speak the gospel. Life is indeed on the wire. And I'm on it man. That's what it feels like right now. I'm walking that tight rope. Just trying to keep my balance. One false move and I'm gone. Just trying to make friends with gravity.

You'll have to forgive me if you're one of the many people who have messaged me, emailed me, or called. I'll get back to you soon. Right now I'm on the wire. Too busy trying to keep my balance. And I got people on all sides tuggin at me. Tellin me to go one way or another. Lemme tell you, this whole movie distribution thing is kickin me in the ass. Just in the last 24 hours, a few things have occured to change the way the game is played. Could be good and maybe even great, but it all depends on how steady I can keep it. Right now I'm just fascinated by how quickly things can change once you think you've made the right decision.

I had a few offers for the movie. I picked one. When one didn't look like it was going to work out. I decided to self distribute. And man I got gung ho about it. I had a plan all worked out. In the past two weeks, I've been making deals, talking to sponsors, hooking up screenings, talking to fests, and planning out convention appearances. I was ready to take this bad boy on tour. I got excited about the idea of handling my own movie, as opposed to handing it over to a company and let them handle my baby while I collect a small percentage off of something I've been busting my ass on for the past 3 years.

Here I am all excited, then that's when all of the companies that I've been denying, come back at me with better offers. And then the one that I picked originally has come back into the picture as well. Now, I'm not complaining. It's an excellent dilemna to be in. I remember when I had my first movie, and I was getting denied by crappy art house theatres. But it's a dilemna nonetheless. I want to stay independent, because in my hands I know what kind of noise I can make. I know what kind of publicity I can create and I get to keep one hundred percent of the profits. In the hands of a distributor, it's a garuntee that my movie will be available, but I won't have that much control over the business of it, and I only get a percentage of the profits.

And that's not even all of it. There's many other factors to consider. And the hits just keep on comin. And I can't seem to wrap my brain around anything else.

What would Papa Wallenda do?

Well maybe I'm looking to the wrong person as an example. He did fall to his death off of a tight rope. They say it was the high winds that blew him down. The family says there was a problem with the wire.

Lesson: Before proceeding across the high wire, check the weather, and secure the rope.

I got it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Make your very own GRINDHOUSE Trailer

Press Release as follows:

Austin, TX - January 15, 2007 - The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is putting out a call to filmmakers who would like to submit their best "grindhouse trailer," in honor of the April release from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Grindhouse. A sample of the best submissions will be judged by Rodriguez himself, and presented during SXSW, on March 11, 2007.

Filmmakers have a deadline of February 12 to submit their “grindhouse trailer” (no longer than two minutes in length) to SXSW. The trailer should be made for a fictional feature-film, just like those being made by celebrity directors Eli Roth and Rob Zombie for Grindhouse. From those submissions, Rodriguez will determine the best of the bunch, and it will screen during a special presentation entitled “Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse 101” on Sunday, March 11. During the presentation, Rodriguez will share stories and footage from the making of the upcoming Dimension Films release.

“We really want filmmakers to come up with something fun, scary, freaky, and out-of-this-world for the competition,” says SXSW Festival Producer Matt Dentler. “This competition, like Grindhouse itself, is in the true spirit of innovative and fast-paced filmmaking.”

Submissions must arrive no later than February 12, to: “SXSW Grindhouse Trailers,” P.O. Box 4999, Austin, TX 78765. There is no application fee, but the trailers must be under two minutes in length, and made within the last 12 months. Films that have already been submitted to SXSW for 2007 consideration, are not eligible. The 2007 SXSW Film Festival occurs March 9-17 throughout downtown Austin, TX. Grindhouse will open nationwide on April 6, 2007.

Farm Sluts

Hilarious Short Film from Fox Searchlight's Videos. Starring Chris Parnell.

Liberation is near enough; there's no need to rush.

Today's tip boys and girls: Be cool.

Dear Patrick,

Don't rush. First timer's rush. There's a bit of experience here. You're no first timer. You've done this before. Nice and easy wins the race. No, no, I'm not saying stop the plan, or not do anything. I'm saying take a pause if need be, but while in motion, be cool baby. You can't run outta hell, the demons will snatch you up quick. If you can be cool and walk, they won't even pay you any attention. Be cool.

So you've got this movie. People seem to like it. A few distributors seem to want it. But you've decided to self distribute because you wanna keep the rights to your own work and you've got a solid plan in place. Cool. But things start to fall apart. Are they really falling apart? Is this the time to panic? No. It's time to be cool. Let the chips fall where they may, and then find your way around it. Be cool. Oh, what's the big deal? The computer's fuckin up? It won't let you burn DVD's. It's being immensely slow. Well of course it's being slow. It's a 4 year old computer with a shitty processor. You use the damn thing for everything from editing movies to composing music, what did you think was going to happen.

So go get it fixed. What? It costs too much and you might as well get a new computer? Well then get a new computer? What? You can't afford one. Then save up for it. Stop whining Patrick, and save up for it. Just like everything else you've had to do, work for it, save for it, but for God's sakes, stop bitching and just be cool. Plus, it's not like you're not making money. Stop being a stingy assed bastard with the dough, be financially smart, wait a few weeks, and I'm sure you'll be back on track, but until then I'm sure there is plenty for you to do that doesn't involve the computer. Yes, yes I know you've got a ton of emails from people wanting a screener. Am I supposed to feel sorry for you. Oh poor Patrick, people want to see his movie. Shut the fuck up. At least you've got people wanting to see it. Email them bitches back and let em know there is a delay. Until then get off your whiny ass.

Yeah, yeah, you're panties are all in a bunch because it's been an emotional year, and so many tough things, SHUT THE FUCK UP! WE KNOW it's been a tough fuckin year. Stop crying about it and stop using it as an excuse to give up or make amateur mistakes, and get on with the real plan. The computer problem will be fixed, just like when the camera broke in the middle of production. What did you do? You spent two weeks working on graphics and titles until you could finally get a new camera. See all better and you got other shit done at the same time. Same situation, it's just happening now at the distribution and marketing end. It'll be all ok in a matter of weeks, so stop it. So shut up and be cool.

Yes I know other things are going on here as well. Emotional stuff, family stuff, personal stuff. But don't you dare make this an excuse to stop doing the other things that need to be done. You've got some shooting to do. You've got plenty of shots to get and that doesn't require a computer, so go get em. Um, also I believe there are a ton o press kits for you to piece together. And rewrite that frickin press release already. And stop watching Dick In A Box, I know it's funny, but it's getting a little gay you watching it so many times, and you're eventually going to get yourself in trouble when you finally sing it too loud at work. And get a hair cut.

Today's word is:
foofaraw: excessive or flashy ornamentation; also, a fuss over a trivial matter.

In other news, my theatre is going totally digital. By Thursday there will be only three 35mm projectors and that's only as back ups to three of the digital houses. For the most part all theatres will be completely digital. The upside is, that as a projectionist my job just got mega easy. The downside is that as a tech my knowledge of 35mm projectors is out the window. And believe me I've been studying my ass off on every manual I can find on these digitals. This is a whole new world and a whole new era. Exciting and surreal all at once. No more hum from the projector motors. No sound of 35mm film running through loops in the projector head. No more sounds of squeaky platters spinning. Now it's all about pixels, sattelite uplink, and hard drive ingestion. But I'll post more on that later. I actually may end up doing a video about it for CurrentTV. If time permits.

In perpetuity. So bad ass.

The Greatest Commercial In The History Of The World