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Old 11-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #11
michaelb
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

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Originally Posted by Geoff Alexander View Post
It's really not for screenwriters, and not terribly useful, IMO.
Agreed.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

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Originally Posted by rtrevino1993 View Post
That's pretty cool with Elwes. Keep us posted when you can ToddC! Have you had any meetings of your own with buyers/producers, yet?
Cassian was a cool guy. Real laid back. But I'm biased. I've been following his career since Oxford Blues. Love that flick. -- I've been to other conferences... and yes, most writers would be bored to death in places like the Marketing conference. lol. That conference was soooo boring. Is there a stronger word for boredom? Cuz' that marketing panel surely needs it for a more proper description. I'll post some final takes and notes in a few.

I do want to add on writers at AFM. I agree, but I also disagree. Yes, AFM is a market dominated by sales agents, distributors, and exhibitors. But it's also an environment with credentialed producers, writers, and directors. It's structured in two phases; first half is buying/selling and the second half producers/directors sell unrep'd films or pitch their packaged films. For example, I'm seeing TriCoast inviting people to pitch this week.

If you're a studio film writer with a top tier rep, then there is no reason to go to AFM. Your agency's packaging/sales department will be there, and probably don't want you there anyway. And many rep'd writers probably wouldn't need or want to attend AFM to pitch projects when everyone is sifting through finished product.

For hyphenate writers (rep'd or not rep'd), it can be very useful in moving your projects forward. But it's a film distribution market, and you have to navigate it carefully. Writers shouldn't travel to L.A. to get discovered. If you don't know what to expect or have set goals, then it's not worth a plane ticket.

If you area writer in California and not savvy to the business side of film, then you might think about attending AFM at least one day. Just to see that side of it and be in it. Know what to expect on the back end. I am coming away with a lot of pertinent information relating to my writing and projects, but it is very specific and in most cases short-lived.

My goals at AFM were simple;
-Seek out co-production opportunities or projects to invest in. (My company is financed).
-Network with producers/directors specific to my 2 projects in dev.
-Scout out stars under the titles. Who's selling. Who isn't. What their rates are. etc.

And after some careful research I added one more...;
-meet with a literary management company

I did have that meeting with the literary manager and she requested my scripts and my last film. Have two more meetings tomorrow, and I'm done. I'm exhausted.

Onward!
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

Just want to close my post on the AFM 2012. I should mention, I did not pitch to distributors or agents on the floors. I only met with attendees I could package into my
projects.

Conferences:
Finance... didn't attend it. But The Film Specific boards are lit up with confusion on some comments said on that panel.

Pitch... It was cool, but wasn't that impressed with the benefits. It was more entertaining than informative.

Marketing... Mostly about Twittering and Facebooking and Tumbling and Instagramming your movie. A lot of buyers on the panels were saying they prefer film packages with a base audience already intact and following you starting in the development phase (I wasn't buying this though since they're just asking me to do their job.) Also suggestions on festivals. Recommendations to work with fest directors as if they were distributors. Work them into your release strategy (if the film is fest-award-worthy). Top three for sales, Sundance-Toronto-Cannes, also, Tribeca and LA film Fest.

VOD... The general issue floating around the market was VOD. It was that elephant in the room. No one knows what to expect and the buyers seemed to be fearing it. Receipts are hard to track or are being held under the rug. Two VOD players (IndieFlix and SnagFilms) spoke at the conference. From my take, SnagFilms (Damien Benders) had a much better business plan and approach to the market. Where IndieFlix is tailored to Sundance/festival content, Snagfilms is more about developing/acquiring content directly with filmmakers from the script stage to the finished stage. A term everyone should be familiar with is "Ultra Day and Date", where the film is available online before it's theatrical release. Bachelorette, Margin Call, & Arbitrage were successful VOD releases. Add on VOD rights near the end of your sales strategy or distributors won't touch it.

MicroBudget... Not impressed at all. The worst one. Basically microbudget means less ching-ching for crew and cast. Like we did not know that. And somewhere, this panel turned into a women in film panel. I have no problem with that, but it was off topic. And all the panelists were producers of $5m - $30m movies, and they were all complaining that Hollywood is shortchanging them on tent pole budgets because they were women. I didn't know where they were going with that, but it turned darkly political fast and it emptied out half the room. Oh, and Troma thinks very very very high of itself. Lloyd seemed to take sole credit for the entire independent film concept. Weird panel.

What are buyers looking for?

Read the trades. It's all in the trades. I highly recommend the AFM google alerts. Even if you are not attending and are curious to know what is selling. Google feeds you these headlines everyday. Very useful.

Also, you do not need a badge to take meetings. I saw countless meetings at the bars and lounges with non-credentialed producers. Go to Leow's, 2nd floor, and load up in trade magazines. Grab the AFM Buyer's directory in the The Hollywood Reporter's AFM edition. I wouldn't do it that way, but many were getting meetings with agents and distributors without badges.

Buyers were apprehensive as described in the trades. I heard similar stories from others pitching. Genre/subjects didn't seem to matter to the speakers. The consensus was that a film package needs to be solid. A great script doesn't count anymore at AFM. Good artwork doesn't matter. The package is what is selling. Cast, Director, & Producer, then a great concept/story. All of those things are required this year. It has to be strong. A-list projects are in play at AFM -- that's what you are competing with. As for finished indies, they're looking for low budgeted, high-quality content. Sellable genres. If it's not genre, you need to start with festivals. So without a kick-ass genre film or Cassian Elwes producing your project, good luck with a sale or a presale. It probably won't happen.

Oh, and I didn't see one screenplay at AFM. Not a one.

My goals and results
-Pitched to a VOD distributor seeking projects to invest in -- they requested my schedule and budget.
-Pitched myself to a literary manager attending with another client's project. Really nice person. Glad I met her. She requested my scripts and last film. Now it's on me to give her something she can sell.. like that's so easy. But damn glad I met her.
-Met and linked up with an Italian film composer..... Dario Argento's composer. I love this guy's music and his approach. I like his music more than his recent films actually. I have another meeting with him and his agent b4 he goes back to Italy.
-Met with a producer carrying a micro-budget project. It has potential in the horror/thriller genre. Since he's local, we'll probably move forward with another meeting.
-Met with Ohio Film Commission-- more like dragged into a meeting. They invited me out to their state all expenses paid. I turned that down, but I'm linked up with the film offices there now. Cool group.
-Got lectured by a Marketing guy at lunch. I think he was lonely. Lots of long faces at AFM. It's like you can see all their dreams fall to pieces on their faces. I saw the Chainsaw Maidens From Hell producer looking so bummed out. I almost gave him $50 from my wallet just to make something right for the guy... for the best pitch at the conference (in my opinion). He gave such a well-executed pitch. It was just a crazy story, it made the whole place laugh in hysterics.

I really enjoyed myself, even though I wasn't socializing. I'll be there next year, hopefully with a film to sell. If not, I'll expand my network.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

All said above is true. It is a waste of time. It is essentially for finished products, though they take pitches but they should be market-oriented to what they are looking for, which is purely genre movies. Being producer-driven, there is an overabundance of gimmicky pitches, f.i.

It might make sense to attend if you have a finished film, or need financing to finish it, or are packaging a new project. It could be all of the above.
You only need badges if you're going upstairs to the suites, and there is nothing much there. Deals don't take place there, that's for the rep from, say, Thailand, who wants to know if he can buy a piece of this or that movie for regional cable and for how much. That's basically it. None of these movies get a general release.

Every now and then a big studio film with independent backers will be found here giving scraps of the international pie to the savvy buyer, usually middle-men. Other than that, it is a social event for distributors and packaging agents to meet. It isn't really for creative people, and even less for people with rep.

It will do you no harm to attend, but I would be surprised if it yields you anything worthwhile.

Another way to explain AFM is saying that it's the leftover market offers either not bought in Cannes or a second chance place for Asian buyers to browse through the menu, given that AFM is closer to them than Europe.

The big heavyweights in these things used to be the Euro cable channels like Cana Plus and Tele Munchen. That is the real market, cable and other auxiliary.

You see lots of one-sheets and banners at AFM that you will never, ever, guaranteed, will see at your local ciineplex.

The bar is a fun with a small f place to hang out maybe one day, bump into people you may know, f.i., if you are an indie foreign producer/director with local reps, because you've probably have met these people to sell your movie around the globe.

I've never met or heard of any creative getting any business done in these things. Maybe a U.S. based DVD distributor will find a couple of movies to sell in markets outside the U.S. Check it out once and that should be it.

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 11-10-2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Fixed spacing/formatting
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

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Originally Posted by martin View Post
All said above is true. It is a waste of time. It is essentially for finished products, though they take pitches but they should be market-oriented to what they are looking for, which is purely genre movies. Being producer-driven, there is an overabundance of gimmicky pitches, f.i.

Every now and then a big studio film with independent backers will be found here giving scraps of the international pie to the savvy buyer, usually middle-men. Other than that, it is a social event for distributors and packaging agents to meet. It isn't really for creative people, and even less for people with rep.

I've never met or heard of any creative getting any business done in these things. Maybe a U.S. based DVD distributor will find a couple of movies to sell in markets outside the U.S. Check it out once and that should be it.
I think I read your blog on AFM. Same dude?

Martin is right. If you're not rep'd and selling at AFM, you're at the end of your rope. Your not even allowed in the first few days. Back when it was at Century City, my boss was mostly doing business selling studio movies to very specific territories or airline buyers.

But nowadays AFM's an open call and draws in many indie filmmakers worldwide. If you ask me, many of these folks would greatly benefit roaming these DD pages. I think many filmmakers go to AFM just to expose themselves to the buying/selling side of things.

For me, I'm interested in micro-budget films and distribution, so I had modest goals that lead to larger goals outside of AFM. I also wanted to update myself on the market. There was a few guys with new distribution companies. That stuff interests me a lot. But like I said, my goals were probably modest compared to other people's.

AFM now has that showbiz expo side to it. I think that makes it harder for fledgling indie films to be taken seriously. The thing mentioned above is true, if you have a good film, a market-worthy film, an agent will pick it up beforehand and you shouldn't be there in the first place. Unless to socialize.

But there are some things to consider at AFM. Like, what makes a film a festival film or a market film. That was actually mentioned on the Festival Panel. Some films are not built to play at festivals. But you still have to get it in an agent's hands. Sales agents can make the sale at film festivals or markets. Agents attend both. Agents and Rep'd meaning "sales agent" not "talent agent".

I thought the conferences were useful this year to update myself, but I wouldn't attend them again next year. AFM can work for you if you know what you want from it or if you know people or if you have a film to sell. Or if you just want to poke around. I first thought about pitching at AFM, but I stopped short. Those days are over. I don't think I ever went beyond the first floor. It would have been a waste of my time this year, if not detrimental.

Oh, and I would omit hanging out at the bars unless you have a meeting there. Do your business and get out of there. The only thing you'll walk away with at AFM, in most cases, will be the business cards and the experience, whether good or bad.
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: AFM - American Film Market

I am posting this article only because the AFM is the topic of the thread. It's an interesting list, but I guess we all knew this stuff:

Seven-things-screenplay-agents-really-want-to-see-in-a-screenplay

#4 on the list has been my big complaint for years now: I am the author of the aphorism "Nobody wants to read anything", derived from Goldman's "Nobody knows anything". However, I suppose we're actually kind of lucky that agents (according to this item) are still willing to evaluate based on a pitch, and aren't instead working exclusively from the log.
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