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.

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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

“Profit Participation” at the Hollywood Studios is impossible. Not so for small indie producers.


“Profit Participation” at the Hollywood Studios is impossible. (See “STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting”) They are incestuous. Each of their stand-alone divisions siphons off all the money generated by each movie, deliberately leaving none for the Profit Participants.

I have worked in the studios, both as part of the studio divisions, and as part of individual movies. It is clear and simple how a studio demands a movie’s production buy everything from the very expensive in-studio divisions, whether snacks, sign making, props, construction, casting, studio space, trucks, crew, marketing, distribution, or whatever. Every division must show its own profit/loss, to feed into the overall studio, and every movie is obligated to make all purchases from the very expensive studio divisions. There are no bargains to be found on a movie studio lot.

That’s inevitable for the STUDIOS, which are huge corporate conglomerates.

BIG DIFFERENCE: It is NOT true for small independent producers.

It is not true, because I can go to a dollar store to buy snacks, I can go to a friend and borrow a truck, I can go to an up-and-coming talent to hire for advertising. And, I have no studio overhead, no fancy lot in Los Angeles, no fancy headquarters building in New York City. That’s a huge difference, and that’s reality.

A one million dollar indie movie that makes ‘only’ three million dollars from every market (box office, TV, online, etc.) could return more to an investor than a major studio blockbuster would return to a “Net Profit Participant.”

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!

 

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.
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Our chance to rebuild the independent film industry.


FILMMAKERS, this is very important:

WHAT CONGRESS DID
The house has passed the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act which offers a tremendous opportunity to rebuild the independent film industry. The Act is designed to allow businesses to raise capital through crowdfunding. Under current securities laws, filmmakers can only ask for donations, and donors support the film without any participation in its potential profit.
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MOVIES IN A BAD ECONOMY


Front cover illustration for the official souv...

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You know that your favorite movies, and even ones you don’t like, exist in an uneasy alliance of art and commerce. Movies have the potential to be both emotionally and financially powerful; sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both. They brew in a caldron of artistic expression, profit potential, and career possibilities. Some movies find life solely because of demand for profit, and some find life solely because of someone’s passion for storytelling. Some come together for any number of reasons between those two ends of the spectrum.

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