From the Ivey Business Review: “Original TV Series — The Illusory ‘Silver Bullet'”


Story-makers, the shift in the independent film industry includes new opportunities in what is commonly called “television.” The new creative opportunities are exciting. Here’s the first of two discussions about these new opportunities.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon see original TV series as the path to success. It’s not. But consumers win.

Reposted by permission from Ivey Business Review

(Originally posted April 30, 2013)

A Netflix Original Series: HOUSE of CARDS

It is a great time to be a lover of television. Content, for one, has never been better. Not only have many declared today the “New Golden Age of Television”, some such as Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott, have gone as far to ask questions such as if “anyone thinks The Artist (which had recently won the Academy Award for Best Picture) is better than Mad Men?”. The rise of digital distribution and portable, media-focused devices has also fundamentally increased potential “demand” for this content. The ability to watch content whenever (and wherever) we want means that we can watch more shows than was realistically possible when we were tethered to 2-3 hours of “appointment TV” per night (and we could watch only one show per primetime slot). Not only does this save older shows, such as The Sopranos, from irrelevancy after airing, it opens up the creative medium. Hyper-serialized shows such as LOST and Game of Thrones would not be possible without the ability for viewers to easily catch-up on a missed episode (or “marathon” past seasons). Digital-only distribution (such as Netflix’s House of Cards) has further freed creatives to pick scene lengths or runtimes based on the needs of the story, rather than the need to cut to a commercial break every 4-7 minutes or fill out an hour-long timeslot.

Market behavior clearly illustrates the New Golden Age hypothesis. Movie stars are increasingly moving to the TV screen (from Ewan McGregor or Zooey Deschanel) and many TV stars are bigger celebrities than most movie actors (such as Kim Kardashian, regrettably). TV budgets have also exploded. Game of Thrones costs upwards of $60 million for a 10-episode season and many hour-long dramas at the Big Four broadcasters can cost $40-75 million per season ($2-4M/episode). Content has also become an increasingly important differentiator for cable networks such as HBO and AMC, which traditionally focused on films and one-off specials, but are now defined by and dependent on hits such as Girls and The Walking Dead.

MORE … click here to continue reading.

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There’s a fine line between exploitation and opportunity in the film industry. [UPDATED AGAIN!]


There has been a battle going on in Hollywood for a while now that threatens to upset one of the premises of the entire film industry. You might think it must be about digital disruption, but it’s not. Is it about 3D? No. Maybe it’s about lack of creativity in an industry swollen with sequels, prequels, and comic book heroes. Nope. Is it about Steven Spielberg’s prediction that a few mega-flops will likely destroy Hollywood? Nope.

It’s all about who will get coffee for the producers. The unpaid intern.

If you have a driving passion to break into the industry (and who doesn’t? You wouldn’t be reading my blog if you didn’t.), there are few ways to do it. The Number One best, most reliable, undeniably greatest way to break into Hollywood? Become an unpaid intern.

(It used to be “work in the mailroom at an agency,” but that’s no longer true. Who sends MAIL anymore??) Continue reading

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

 

FILM/TV Job Search Tools


JOB LISTING PERIODICALS

BASELINE Studio System / $1,500 per year (discounted rate)

BTL News’ Find Film Work / $10.00 per month

Mercury Report / $52.00 per month

Producton Alert / $130.00 per quarter

Production Leads  / $299.00 per quarter

Production Weekly / $59.95 per month

Worldwide Production News / $50.00 per month

ENTERTAINMENT JOBS WEBSITES

The following list of websites may help you with job searching. 

Craigslist (New York or Los Angeles, under “jobs | tv/film/video/radio jobs”)
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Do you know of a site that would be helpful and could be added to the list? Have you found a bad link or a problem? Post a comment below with the information.

 

Episode 2: Lloyd Kaufman of TROMA discusses crowdfunding


INDIE FILM INDUSTRY NEWS

The SECOND episode of Indie Film Industry News is now online. We feature indie icon Lloyd Kaufman of TROMA Entertainment, who discusses crowdfunding for indie movies, including his opinion of successful directors using crowdfunding for their large movie projects.

More episodes will be posted soon, with experts Ira Deutchman of Emerging Pictures and Columbia University in the City of New York, Entertainment Attorney Hal “Corky” Kessler, Mike Nichols of AbelCine, and Duncan Cork of Slated.com.

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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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THIS IS THE SECOND ‘GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION.’


When looking at what I’ve termed “The Blended Screens” — the destruction of all the different ways that used to define what we were watching (it was a “movie” because it was shot on film and shown in a movie theater; it was a “TV Show” because it was shot on tape and broadcast by a TV station; it was “Home Video” because it was burned to VHS tape or DVD or Blu-Ray and shown on a machine in the living room; it was a “Web Series” because it was carried over the Internet and watched on a computer; etc., etc., etc.) — it becomes clear to me that THIS IS THE SECOND ‘GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION.’ Continue reading

“Story-making”


Production is morphing into … what? Is it “filmmaking” if there’s no film? Are we “taping” a program if there’s no tape? Are they “films” or “movies” it they are viewed on a smartphone? Is it “Television” if it’s streaming online on demand?

The technology of production and the delivery methods are no longer pertinent to defining what creators do. We create. We no longer create things clearly defined as “TV shows” or “Movies” or “Web Series.” What we create is now going out on all of “The Blended Screens.” Some have called it “content” but I think that term is weak and too broad.

For me, I’ve decided it’s all “story-making” and that’s what I choose from now on.

MICHAEL R BARNARD PRODUCTIONS logo

MICHAEL R BARNARD PRODUCTIONS logo

 

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!

 

FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS? Part 1


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FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS? Part 1 of 2

Michael R. Barnard

Michael R. Barnard

Written by Michael R. Barnard

Michael R. Barnard is a writer and filmmaker who has been researching the American JOBS Act since it was first proposed. Barnard is currently working on creating an independent feature film, A FATHER AND SON. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of the historical novel NATE AND KELLY. Find him on Twitter at @mrbarnard1, Facebook at michael.barnard and LinkedIn at michaelrbarnard.

This article is an overview and observation, not legal advice.

 

SUMMARY: The independent film industry in America is not enjoying the growth that would be expected from the surge in the quantity of indie movies being made. The American JOBS Act, passed in April 2012, offers hope to reinvigorate the independent film industry.

 

Continue reading

FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS? Part 2


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FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS? Part 2 of 2

Michael R. Barnard

Michael R. Barnard

Written by Michael R. Barnard

Michael R. Barnard is a writer and filmmaker who has been researching the American JOBS Act since it was first proposed. Barnard is currently working on creating an independent feature film, A FATHER AND SON. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of the historical novel NATE AND KELLY. Find him on Twitter at @mrbarnard1, Facebook at michael.barnard and LinkedIn at michaelrbarnard.

This article is an overview and observation, not legal advice.

 

SUMMARY: The independent film industry in America is not enjoying the growth that would be expected from the surge in the quantity of indie movies being made. The American JOBS Act, passed in April 2012, offers hope to reinvigorate the independent film industry.

 

           In Part 1, we discussed the reasons behind the difficulty raising equity investment. Continue reading

Review of Budgeting and Scheduling programs for Indie Filmmakers


Norman Berns of ReelGrok, the website “Where Filmmakers Get It,” has reviewed several of the programs available for indie filmmakers to schedule and budget their movie projects. He reviews Movie Magic, Showbiz, Gorilla, Hot Budget, and scenechronize.

Continue reading

WRITER’S AGENTS IN LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK CITY


This is the start of a list that will, I hope, build based on input from writers and others with knowledge of the agencies. For now, I will try to update the list and keep it focused on Los Angeles and New York City area agencies.

Please add names, contact information, the agency’s preferences, and other information that could help writers who seek representation.

Please post comments.
Continue reading

THE UNIVERSAL FILM ACCESS POINT


How will independent filmmakers fully embrace digital distribution for maximum value? It’s a new world, and the old methods cannot be squeezed and twisted to work in it. There will be a new approach to bringing indie films to the audience.

Old Movie Theater

Old Movie Theater

I call it the UNIVERSAL FILM ACCESS POINT.
Continue reading

Coffee joints for Writers & Filmmakers in NYC & L.A.


This is just for writers and filmmakers! =}

Writers and filmmakers are often hauling their laptops to coffee houses for writing and working. In New York and Los Angeles, there are many such places, but sometimes they are difficult to find.

Let’s build a list of coffee joints where we like to work.

Besides, we all love the adventure of finding a new place to hang out.

I recommend that you copy the info below, then paste it into a comment to this blog posting and let us know your recommended hangouts.

I’ll start adding some that I’ve found in both cities.

Here’s the form to copy and paste.

CITY:
Name:
Street:
Phone:
Website:
Twitter:
Facebook:
WIFI: [_]Free with purchase [_]Unlimited time [_]pay
AC outlets: [_]Many [_]Precious Few [_]none
Crowded: [_]Always [_]Seldom [_]Never
Atmosphere [_]chatting [_]boisterous [_]library
Crowd: [_]writers [_]tourists [_]mixed
Menu: [_]pastries [_]sandwiches [_]full menu
Price: [_]$ [_]$$ [_]$$$!
Comment:

Google

 

EQUITY CROWDFUNDING RULEMAKING APPROACHES SOON.


I was at a seminar this week that purported to be about the new EQUITY CROWDFUNDING, but sadly, the panel was populated by finance professionals whose disdain for those of us who are not “high end, high net worth” made the panel useless.

These types of professional fundraisers, coming from the status quo investment community, are not willing to acknowledge that the true value of EQUITY CROWDFUNDING is the escape from the expense, time and headache of pursuing Reg D exemptions and PPMs (“Private Placement Memorandums”). They collect monstrous fees to create those, so they have no respect for those who pursue crowdfunding as an entry to the financial world. Continue reading

URGENT UPDATE for filmmakers regarding the Crowdfunding Act of the JOBS ACT


The Securities and Exchange Commission is accepting comments on how it will formulate rules for the new equity CROWDFUNDING act that was included in the JOBS ACT. (See my story on ReelGrok.com at http://www.reelgrok.com/jobs-act-crowdfunding)

This is important for indie filmmakers, since the ability to reasonably raise up to $1,000,000 from investors could reinvigorate the indie film biz.
Continue reading

2012 NAB Show Abuzz with 3D & High Tech


This week, the fabulous NAB Show (http://NABShow.com) has taken over Las Vegas. The convention of The National Association of Broadcasters (see http://www.nab.org and http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=nationalassob) has been one of the largest events in the city for decades. The organization is for radio and television broadcasters and at the convention are nearly 2,000 venders showing all the equipment, business opportunities and techniques for creating, transmitting and distributing radio and television.

As digital cinema has taken over the filmmaking industry, the television camera, production and post-production areas have exploded and grown to include filmmakers (see http://www.nabshow.com/2012/event_highlights/for_filmmakers.asp), which now are 12% of the nearly 100,000 attendees.

== CLICK HERE to read MORE on ReelGrok ==

President Obama signs JOBS ACT; its Equity Crowdfunding may rebuild indie film biz.


Written by Michael R. Barnard for ReelGrok.com “Where Filmmakers Get It!”

ReelGrok.com "Where Filmmakers Get It"

ReelGrok.com “Where Filmmakers Get It”


President Obama  signed the JOBS ACT into law on April 5th, 2012. Called the ‘‘Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act,’’ the goal is to increase American job creation and economic growth by improving access to the public capital markets for emerging growth companies. It will make it easier for small businesses to raise money so they can create jobs and rebuild the American economy by amending the Securities Act of 1933. It can have a profound impact on the independent filmmaking industry.

President Obama said, “We are a nation of doers. We think big. We take risks.  This is a country that’s always been on the cutting edge. The reason is, America has always had the most daring entrepreneurs. When their businesses take off, more people get employed.”

That’s a boost the independent filmmaking industry needs. “I think we’ll see the $1 million range and down to $100,000 or so flourish with this new model,” says entertainment attorney Gordon P. Firemark.

The American Jobs Act

The American Jobs Act

READ MORE AT REELGROK.COM “WHERE FILMMAKERS GET IT”
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