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Highlights at AFM DAY 5 Nov.10th Production Conference

Written By: Marcelle - Nov• 13•13

Another beautiful day!  AFM the Lowe’s in Santa Monica

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AFM Day 5 – Production Conference November 10, 2013

*Highlights
The American Film Market (AFM®) presented the Production Conference at the Fairmont Hotel, hosted an industry conversation on The Passion of the Film: Family Value Programming in a Commercial World with a keynote address by Mark Burnett, Producer of The Bible, and put on the second day of the AFM Producers Forum at the Le Merigot Hotel today, Sunday, November 10, 2013 in Santa Monica.
The AFM Production Conference held two sessions focusing on High Concept and Low Budget along with Crowd Funding. The first session provided attendees access to the secrets for enhancing production values, utilizing new (and old!) tools and techniques without blockbuster budgets. The second session provided attendees insight from crowd funding trendsetters like Adam Carolla on key tactics, pitfalls, and lessons learned.
The Low Budget, High Concept session was moderated by Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc. Panelists included: Paul Bales, Partner and COO, The Asylum, Eric Brenner, Partner, Informant Media, Lisa M. Hansen, President, CineTel Pictures, Inc., Lynette Howell, Founding Producer, Electric City Entertainment, and Braxton Pope, Producer, Sodium Fox.
Adam Corrolla, Writer, Producer, Actor, Carolla Digital, kicked off the Crowdfunding session with his keynote speech. Carolla recently led a successful crowd funding campaign for his new movie, “Road Hard” via FundAnything.com, which he will write, direct and star in.
The Crowdfunding panel was moderated by David Straus, Managing Partner, Reason Ventures, LLC; Co-Founder and Former CEO, Withoutabox. Panelists included: Sean Keegan, Producer, “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie” (Indiegogo), Stacey Sher, Producer, “Wish I Was Here” (Zach Braff’s Kickstarter film), Marina Zenovich, Producer, “Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out” (Slated) and Marc Zicree, Writer, Producer, Director, Magic Time Company, “Space Command” (Kickstarter).
The industry conversation focused on The Passion of the Film: Family Value Programming in a Commercial World with a keynote address by Mark Burnett, Producer of The Bible.
The keynote was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Barbara Mudge, President, Worldwide Film Entertainment. Panelists included: David Bixler, SVP, Acquisitions & Production, MGM Worldwide Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, Co-Founder and President, Mission Pictures, Jim Schmidt, Producer, Dean River Productions, Inc., and Ygor Siqueira, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Graça Filmes.
Day two of the AFM Producers Forum featured four sessions on making the right film, bank financing, embracing marketing and publicity and budgeting.
How to Identify the Right Film to Make featured producer Andrew Stevens. He told the audience, “If you want to make films as a career, you got to make films that people want to buy. If they don’t want to buy it, don’t make it. A friend once told me, ‘I don’t make cakes that I want to eat, I make cakes that other people want to eat.’” The second forum of the day, Accessing Bank Finance for Your Production, featured Adrian Ward, SVP, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile. Adrian discussed pre-sales, gap financing, tax credits, equity and several additional topics. He told the audience “The foreign sales agent is the heart of the matter. There are so many of them around. Be discerning. You want people who are actively engaged and who can talk you through who the top ten buyers are in territories and have spent a lot of time building those relationships.”
Round two of the Producer’s Forum kicked off with a session titled Beginning with the End in Mind: Why Embracing Marketing & Publicity Early on Could be a Game Changer for Your Movie’s Release, featuring Richard Baker, EVP, Marketing and Distribution, Film Nation Entertainment and Pauline Piechota, SVP, Marketing and Distribution, Film Nation Entertainment. They walked the audience through the different steps and phases of publicity and marketing for films in all different stages. Richard told the audience “You just produced a movie, the last thing you want to think about is marketing a movie at the same time – but you are all control freaks so you’ll like it.”
The last session focused on Realizing Your Vision within Your Budget, featuring Cleve Landsberg, Producer & UPM, He hit upon a number of topics including risk, budget, creative management, choosing the right director, cost cutting and several additional topics. Cleve stated ““The risk level you take is directly related to the confidence you have in the project as well as how much others trust in you.”
Below are some key quotes from panelists during the Pitch Conference and the Producer’s Forum:
Braxton Pope, Producer, Sodium Fox on making The Canyons:
“We were shooting in Malibu and there’s a fair amount of explicit sex in the movie. During the first sex scene I’m actually outside, they’re shooting on the 2nd floor bedroom of a very cool architecture house. Lindsay (Lohan) is requesting me on site, which is not usually a good sign, so I race into the house. I look up and I see (Paul) Schrader (The director) completely naked at the top of the stairs next to the camera. It was so shocking, I quickly realized because Lindsay and I are friends, I knew immediately when I saw Schrader naked, I knew what she was doing; she had asked everyone, the whole crew to get naked, so he saved the crew and dropped trou.”
Eric Brenner, Partner, Informant Media on how to keep budgets low:
“It’s not just actors looking for good material – it’s quality crew and department heads as well. The major difference between large and small films is the price cast and crew are getting paid, the length of schedule, and whether or not you have a bond. When you are not making a straight genre film that has been pre-sold, buyers want to see well-made movies.
“Film is a collaborative business and you have to trust people – know the people you work with even if it looks good on paper. I want to work with people I know especially since I’m not using a bond.
Paul Bales, COO, The Asylum, on Sharknado, Sharknado 2 and it’s Twitter Explosion
“The night of the premiere, when I logged on and saw that Mia Farrow watched the movie, I knew my life had changed. The ratings kept going up for subsequent showings.”
the film was shot in 18 days in Los Angeles, this was probably the most difficult film to cast ever because every agent and actor who saw the title said no way. Literally, I think 2 days before production started we didn’t have the rest of our cast. Ultimately we got some people to take a chance and it turned out pretty well.”
“It (Sharknado 2) really will be much more expensive because we are shooting in New York, can’t use any of our normal tricks, like hiding, because everyone knows we are making it, its going to be fun, we’re doing everything that we can do to top the first.”
We are proof you don’t have to make good films to be successful. We produce two films every month – twenty-four in a year. All the budgets are less than 2 million. Most are way less than 2 million. “
Lynette Howell, Founding Producer, Electric City Entertainment on taking risk:
“A lot of the times because I’m making riskier movies, and I always want to be fiscally responsible, I’m never going into something thinking it’s going to make money.”
Stacey Sher, Producer, “Wish I Was Here” on launching Zach Braff’s Kickstarter Campaign“The greatest filmmakers understand what their audience expects of them. We felt tremendous responsibility to the people that backed us. “

*Continued Highlights at AFM Day 5
On Sunday, November 10, 2013 American Film Market presented an INDUSTRY CONVERSATION The Passion of the Film: Family Value Programming in a Commercial World with a keynote address by Mark Burnett, Producer of The Bible.
The keynote was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Barbara Mudge, President, Worldwide Film Entertainment. Panelists included: David Bixler, SVP, Acquisitions & Production, MGM Worldwide Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, Co-Founder and President, Mission Pictures, Jim Schmidt, Producer, Dean River Productions, Inc., and Ygor Siqueira, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Graça FilmeBelow are please find key quotes from Mark Burnett and panelists on the The Passion of the Film: Family Value Programming in a Commercial World
Mark Burnett, Producer of The Bible,
On receiving inspiration from a higher calling to create ‘The Bible’–“You have to get up and do some work when you’re called.”
(On the success of ‘The Bible’—”It’s a God thing.”
“Just because you’re in the faith business, doesn’t mean you get to create crappy product.”
On discussing the making of The Bible Miniseries:
“We didn’t want to tell you how to think about the bible — we wanted you to feel it.”
Referring to the ‘The Bible’ — “Do not underestimate this message, do NOT underestimate me.”
On creating Faith Based Films:
“There is a market — just keep praying. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.”
David Bixler, SVP, Acquisitions & Production, MGM Worldwide Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
On the challenges of messaging faith based films for commercial success:
“’Passion of the Christ’ was a huge turning point for the way people looked at the business.”
On the importance of basing faith based films on true life stories:
“We concentrate on three categories: true life stories, biblical stories, and best-selling books by Christian authors.”
Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, Co-Founder and President, Mission Pictures
On the challenges of messaging faith based films for commercial success:
“I would prefer a more subtle story that everyone can relate to.”
Jim Schmidt, Producer, Dean River Productions, Inc
On the challenges of messaging faith based films for commercial success:
“I think audiences have an appetite for things that touch the spirit.”
On casting impacting the budget of a faith based film:
“A huge star isn’t make or break for us.”
Ygor Siqueira, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Graça Filmes
On the importance of basing faith based films on true life stories:
“Sometimes if you try to reach both audiences (consumer and faith based), you won’t reach either. Producers need to know who they’re reaching out to.”
On Importance of Social Networking:
“Grassroots support is critical for unbranded films” – David Bixler, SVP, Acquisitions & Production, MGM Worldwide Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
“In Brazil we have a whole ministry behind us — about 3,000 churches — which is why content is so important.” – Ygor Siqueira, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Graça Filmes
The 2013 American Film Market (AFM®) will wrap up its eight day run on Wednesday, November 13th with 779 buying companies, a 3% increase and an uptick in overall buyers (1,624).
Ethan Rabin
Sunshine Sachs & Associates
8409 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
323 822 9300

 

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