Sponsored by Forrest Equity Management , Fashion TV (FTV), Abbey House (Art investment firm), It's So LA, Blue Run Crowfund, Fashion Passport, Hollywood Weekly, Hollywood Monthly, Art and Business Magazine, European Independent Film Festival (ECU - Paris, France). Camerimage (Poland), Brasov International Film Festival and Market (BRIFF - Romania), Grey Goose Vodka, Dewar's Whiskey7, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Beryll (men's fashion) Luxe Hotel Beverly Hills and the Intercontinental Hotel, the Film Finance Awards announced their first annual event on September 6, 2012. The event was a nomination of names for the award, which will be presented in Warsaw, Poland on December 5, 2012.
The morning, dedicated to the art of film making, started off with a round table on the Packaging of an Independent Film. Moderated by Leslie Forrest Sheldon (Forrest Motion Pictures Ltd), Matthew Rhodes (Mandalay Vision Pictures), Jeanette Buerling (Magnet Media Group) and Mary Aloe (Aloe Entertainment) the session had many valuable lessons. Mr. Rhodes pointed it out how important it was for new producers to line up with an experienced person who knows what they are doing. "Putting on a well known director can help quite a bit in obtaining the stars that you want to hire. One must keep in mind that the stars are human and have personal likes and dislikes as well as (often) tight calendars. You have to understand their acting career and what they want to do next. They also have to respond to the material and not just see it as a pay check. Cast is one thing that will allow a movie to go ahead. Sometimes, it's easier to find the financing than get an actor attached. Some of the pitfalls are 'What is the value of that actor overseas? Is your story commercially viable overseas? Do you want your film to go theatrical or straight to DVD? Depending on what the project is, European agents are often easier to get through." He recommends staying away from play or pay deals as they often don't work out to your advantage, but the agents will want to see money in escrow before they allow their actors to commit.
Ms. Buerling spoke on the difference between a package and a green lit movie. "It's a mistake to think that just because you have a star attached, your movie will be green lit. Packaging, complete with ROI, breakdowns, synopsis, completion bond and waterfall analysis is crucial to attract the investors you need. Greenlighting is a vague process. Still, you can have all the elements together and not have a movie. Often we don't know if we have a complete deal until the first day of photography."
Ms. Aloe advised to know how much prep time you need "because there is a lot of fancy footwork needed when dealing with stars. B level stars are fine for productions under five million. There are thousands of scripts out there, even some with stars attached, but that often is not enough." The package you present is very important. Never say that you have an actor attached because if you don't, it will quickly be found out.
The afternoon pitch panel moderated by Kellie Koppel (Arcana Films and It's So LA) included Jared Safier (Safier Management and Safier Entertainment), David Tochterman (Digital Media - Innnovative Artists), Christopher Williams (Princebury Productions & Media), Jack Kenny (Imagination Colony), Chris Fure (Wonder Animation) and Keith Aaron (Bayview Consulting Group) gave us advice on different aspects of pitching and how to pitch.
Currently running a movie studio that has the ability to both fund and distribute A List Films and TV shows, Jared Safier also owns a management company that includes a variety of many talented individuals and has numerous films and TV shows in various stages of production.
David Tochterman instructed writers to consider all the various medias for their projects and not be focused just on feature format. Web series from places as Vuguru and Hulu have really gotten a hold of the market and are another way to present your story. There are also novelizations, graphic novels and other liaison products.
Keith Aaron, who specializes in financing for reality shows, said that financing is easier but still hard.
The general consensus of the panel is that there are so many scripts out there that you have to have yours stand out. Some suggestions were a sizzle reel or trailer. A good package with analysis, comparisons, budget, and synopsis is important. Don't fudge numbers. According to Williams,"You get one shot. If your credibility is off, you're history." "Buyers are lazy. You're not selling just story, "says Safier, "you're selling your elements, too. You have to know who you are pitching, too, as well and know how much your project is worth." Aaron impressed us with the importance of social media for our projects, as well.
Afterwards, a select few were able to pitch their ideas to the various finances.
One of the stars of the evening event was Ramses III, Celebrity Hair Stylist who has done many celebrities including Mickey Rourke, Patti LaBelle, Oliver Stone, Kristian Dunn, Jacqueline Smith, Sean Penn, Robert Downey, Tia Carrere, Vincent Spano and others. He does a lot of freelancing, as well, and is featured in many magazines, as well as working with numerous TV shows and films. One of his favorite works was the movie Marie Antoinette and another was about Rudolph Valentino. Centered at Jean Jean on Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Ramses, who trained with Alexandre, a legendary hair dresser, says, "I don't just cut hair, I get a close up of the face and I test the personality. I can do a miracle with hair and faces. I love making women (and men) look beautiful. A good hair stylist can make your day; a great one will change your life." He can be reached at 310 989 2000 for individual consultations ranging in price from $100-250.
The evening's fashion and networking entertainment was provided by DJ Ty Walker of Hype Culture and singers Jesse Pacheo and Christy Paige.
"Fashion Passport" television and MJIcons Entertainment also debuted the "Zachary Collection" for Men by Alexander Paul Designs, "Beryll" by Sigmar Berg and "The Evening" collection by BH Haute. Models were styled by hair dresser Rames III and celebrity fashion stylist Keirstin Selvage.
Craig Smith, head of the Film Financing Awards, created them to recognize those in the industry who are responsible for financing, selling and distributing, along with investors, film boards, governments providing tax credits, film festivals , hedge funds and those making the creative possible while It's So LA (a transmedia entertainment company) is dedicated to bringing the L A Expereince to any event.
Join them in Warsaw Poland on Dec 5 at the Intercontinental Hotel for the award ceremony. Go to www.FilmFinanceAwards.com for more information.