My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” – My 2003 Business Plan & Financial Projection for EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE


After I was divorced in the early 1990s, I ended up living in a small apartment in Hollywood, near La Brea and Franklin, three blocks from the Chinese Theater. I scrambled to make a living, to be creative, to make movies.

I walk a lot, and always have. When walking a lot in Hollywood in the 1990s, anyone would discover the “boys of the streets” populating Santa Monica Boulevard. This was when people found sex the old-fashioned way: on street corners rather than hookup apps. As a writer and a human being, I was fascinated about how this world of gay boy hookers could exist, and I thought there might be a story there. Then, months later, I worked on a film shoot that took me to the beautiful mountains of Big Bear Lake, far from Hollywood, and remember listening to rural good ol’ boys talking about how they’d throw out any boy of theirs who came out as gay. That, too, fascinated me. Eventually, I wrote a screenplay about the world of boys on the streets who were thrown out of their homes for being gay. It was about the father, and how he had to change when he recognized the mistake he made.

My screenplay EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son got a lot of attention. It floated around some studios for a while (Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros.) but always died there because it was just too edgy. Nobody, in the end, could trust a movie that was about men buying boys.

So, I tried the indie film route. I had made a lot of video and film by myself, but nothing as big as this.

This was way back at the turn of the century. The indie film world was very different than it is today. This was before the near destruction of indie film caused by the triple disasters of the Writers Strike, Digital Disruption, and the Great Recession a few years later. The excitement around “cheap digital filmmaking” was centered on the Canon XL1 mini-DV standard definition camera. If you were cool in Hollywood in those days, you had to carry around an XL-1.

When I looked around at how indie films were financed, I didn’t like what I saw. Too often, it involved telephone boiler rooms with ignorant high-pressure sales people talking ignorant investors (what is commonly called “dumb money”) into investing in something they really didn’t understand. Or it was the enthusiastic but unrealistic kid who managed to talk some used car dealer into funding his movie if he’d put the mistress in it as a star. Too many pushed pie-in-the-sky nonsense to get rich people excited about parting with their money.

I despised that.

My thought (stupid, in hindsight) was to fully educate the potential investors (in those days, there were not a lot of investors who understood the indie film industry).

To do that, I poured virtually everything I understood about indie film into a way-too-long Business Plan & Financial Projection. It was a booklet of about 100 pages of details, charts, history, comparisons, and projections. This was long before we moved to using simple “pitch decks” for concise, brief presentations to more savvy investors.

I recently stumbled across my Business Plan & Financial Projection that I wrote way back in 2003! It shocked me to realize that’s now more than a decade and a half ago. Wow. History.

What’s interesting about this document is that I captured a lot of information about how the indie film industry existed and functioned at the turn of the century. You might find that history interesting; some of you may find it nostalgic. Here is my 2003 Business Plan & Financial Projection for the indie film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son.

By the way, I never raised enough interest or money to get my indie feature film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son made. I always got close … I would call it my “fishhook in my eye” that kept drawing me in long after I should have given up. I will never again do something so expansive again. I learned that dumb money may be the best money — at least those producers who set up boiler room operations with morally-suspect methods usually ended up financing their indie movies. I think of what I could have done if I had simply used honest telemarketers.

The sad thing is, around 2010, interest in EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son perked up again because of widespread awareness and concern about gay teen suicides. And again today, as homophobia is once again raising its ugly head in society and our laws.

EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is a screenplay that continues to be relevant and empowering.

My Bumpy Road through “Hollywood” — THE BLENDED SCREENS: WHY SHORT FILMS?


Above the common question “How long is a short film?*” should be the more significant question, “Why a short film?”

Good short films are enjoyable and moving, with stories that can have an impact as strong as good feature-length films or powerful TV series. You can laugh, cry, and be inspired watching a good short film.

But, why a short film? Long considered a sad attempt to mimic the more robust and legitimate feature length film, shorts have often been given … well … short shrift.

Those were the old days.

Today, the entire environment of content, what I term “The Blended Screens,” is changing.

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — Investigate “The MURDER of James Dean”!


[UPDATE: This was our goal, but it didn’t work.]
We are filmmakers; actors, director, cinematographer, crew members, producers. We are coming together from across the country – New York City, Fresno, Los Angeles – to make a smart, entertaining short film that you and Hollywood will enjoy. Join us on Indiegogo at https://igg.me/at/TheMURDERofJamesDean

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — CONSUMED BY A PASSION PROJECT


 

FILMMAKER Magazine

FILMMAKER Magazine

Michael R Barnard photo 500 px

How Is a Filmmaker Consumed by a Passion Project?

The following is a guest post from Michael R. Barnard, who is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign for his film, Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son.

For many years, I have been chasing a motion picture project that has completely consumed me. It’s called Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son, and I first began writing the screenplay in 1998. Having come so close to making the movie a few times, I keep referring to this project as “a fish-hook in the eye” because it’s impossible for me to ignore and walk away from.

[read more…]


MICHAEL R. BARNARD | IMDb | LinkedIn | Resume

Equity Crowdfunding is dead for us. What’s next?


DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson

DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson


If you remember that there once was a glimmer of hope for more sustainable financing for innovative small business (and, for my concern, an indie film industry) through “Equity Crowdfunding” as demanded by the JOBS Act of 2012, the fact is that it’s not going to happen. It’s already far past the Act’s imposed deadlines because the concept is anathema to the entrenched and self-interested bureaucracy.
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The independent filmmaking industry needs a new relationship with investors [UPDATED]


LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla


Prolific indie film producer Ted Hope, who spent the past year as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society (as of June 2015, a Production Executive at AMAZON STUDIOS), recently posted “Towards A Sustainable Investor Class: Accessing Quality Projects” as a call to build a healthy independent filmmaking industry. As always, he makes an astute and excellent comment about the big picture of indie filmmaking. We engaged in a conversation, and here’s my comment about the industry and investors: Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — CROWDFUNDING SUCKS.


CROWDFUNDING SUCKS.

In the past two days, I’ve had some conversations that remind me that there is no “fun” in crowdfund. It is a necessary evil, borne of the collapse of the economy, possibly the only chance for the art of filmmaking to continue. That’s versus the marketing channel that is the current Hollywood studio approach, where a “movie” is whatever can be marketed.
A crowdfund campaign is all work, a harsh referendum on the person, spiritually debilitating and, of course, a death knell for a movie project more often than enabling. (Literally.) There is no fun in crowdfunding. It overtakes one’s life for a month or two.

BUT YESTERDAY…

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From Slated.com: “The new ‘soft’ money” for making indie movies


This is very important information for filmmakers seeking funds for their movie projects, and explains the approach that has been surprising and frustrating for those indie filmmakers who are not interested in ROI (“Return on Investment”) or the investment aspect of filmmaking. (See my earlier blog, “Crowdfunding and ‘Hey Zach Braff STFU and pay for your own movie’“)

This article, “The new ‘soft’ money,” is from the investment funding site (not crowdfunding site) http://Slated.com, a closed environment for experienced filmmakers and investors interested in filmmaking.

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The new “soft” money

They may not have realized this but more than forty-six thousand individuals – many of them ordinary Americans with no prior film industry knowledge – had a direct bearing on what has been happening this past week thousands of miles away at the Cannes Film Festival. Not so much on the rain-sodden red carpet action, as on the business dealings that went on in the makeshift offices of the French film sales company Wild Bunch just a short distance away from that nightly fusillade of flashbulbs. For it is here that Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE, a project only made viable by the $3.1 million that this multitude of individuals have pledged towards his total production costs, was being pitched to territorial distributors from around the world.

VIEW INFOGRAPHIC

Without that Kickstarter-enabled contribution, Braff’s long-gestating project would have remained stunted by the same market forces that have conspired to prevent him from directing a follow-up to his 2004 indie darling GARDEN STATE for close to a decade. “I have almost no foreign value,” he explained recently to the L.A. radio station KCRW. “I had done a TV show for ten years that doesn’t count. Garden State did well overseas. But not numbers that are going to show up on their algorithm.”

But throw in $3.1 million of non-recoupable crowd donations and the business calculus becomes so much more attractive. What would have been a reported $5.5 million package requiring quantifiable box office stars to make the numbers work, is now transformed into one costing less than half that amount and with a cast of characters played by actors Kate Hudson, Anna Kendrick, Josh Gad and Mandy Patinkin that could be chosen on creative grounds, rather than their overseas economic values. A ten-year lost cause has, in the space of just 31 crowdfunding days, flowered into one of the hotter projects pitched on the Croisette – a feat made all the more astonishing when you consider there were a total of 3,340 new projects unveiled for the first time at this year’s Cannes film market.

continue reading this valuable article on Slated.com

 

Crowdfunding and “Hey Zach Braff STFU and pay for your own movie” [UPDATED January 2014]


STFU ZACH BRAFF

STFU ZACH BRAFF

Why is there controversy about projects such as Rob Thomas‘s VERONICA MARS and Zach Braff‘s WISH I WAS HERE going to crowdfunding for the money to make their projects?

The surge in Perks-based Donor Crowdfunding over the past few years was primarily built on the concept that creative projects dreamed up by common folks with more ideas than money could go to each other rather than impenetrable banks or brokerages. The popular site Kickstarter (one of many) started in 2009 with the premise that such ideas, ones that were still good ideas even though they didn’t have a promise of likely profitability, could be brought to the public to allow the average person to help make the ideas into reality by donating money. This is a broad concept akin to what wealthy benefactors would do in ages past, when they became “patrons of the arts” by providing money so artists could create works of art.

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The JOBS Act of April 2012 is a Failure for America.


THIS IS A MAJOR JOBS PROBLEM AND NEEDS OUR ATTENTION:

America needs good jobs. Joblessness and low-wage jobs have crippled the survival and prosperity of millions of Americans, and are a drag on our entire economy.

The promise of the JOBS Act, signed into law a year ago and supported by the most bi-partisanship effort in recent history, is DEAD because the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has failed to enact it.

The JOBS Act established a deadline of Wednesday, July 4, 2012, for the SEC to promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of TITLE II—ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR JOB CREATORS (commonly referred to as the “general solicitation rule“). The SEC missed that deadline. The agency did publish proposed rules for TITLE II on August 29, 2012, but has not implemented them. There is no anticipated date for finalizing the rules for Title II of the JOBS Act.

The JOBS Act established a deadline of Monday, December 31, 2012 for the SEC to promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of TITLE III—CROWDFUND (commonly referred to as “Equity Crowdfunding“). The SEC missed the deadline, and has no anticipated date for the rulemaking to implement TITLE III.

AMERICA NEEDS JOBS! Hope from the JOBS Act of 2012 has been *crushed* by the SEC’s inaction and dismissal of the JOBS Act!