When I was a teenager, Monty Python was really taking off. I was very excited by their style of absurdist humour and, being a transatlantic child, I was intrigued by what British and Americans found funny in their sketches (they laughed in different places). I idolised Python, which is why it came as a surprise when I learned later that
Film has been an important part of my life. I can recall certain films throughout the years that had a big impact on me - in the way I saw the world, helping to define my passions, my point of view, and shape my own identity. Films have moved me and inspired me, which is why they hold such a
If you are a UK producer, you've probably heard of the EIS and SEIS schemes. This summer, the rules were relaxed to make this a far more attractive proposition to film financing. In particular, the EIS is now allowed to raise up to 5m sterling and it can carry out its business activities overseas. To read the rest of this
Working on a kids/family film project has been an education, to say the least. When I first began the pitching process, I was surprised by the lukewarm reception of sales agents. To read the rest of this article, you need to have a Dream Merchant subscription.
I had some invigorating discussions during my last trip to LA, notably with Sierra Affinity, IM Global, and Good Universe. All three of these sales agencies profess to have a credit line, or fund of some kind, enabling them to facilitate production and take an equity stake in their projects. But, as you can imagine, purse strings are held tight.
Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime are all investing in "exclusive" content and even developing content themselves. This is good news, right? Maybe. Problem is - it's all in TV and episodic content. I met with Hulu recently to learn about their strategy and it was interesting. To read the rest of this article, you need to have a Dream Merchant subscription.
I met with a thirty year veteran of the film sales business and we discussed the state of the film economy. As you can imagine, there was some commiserating. The problem with the independent film scene is that theatrical returns have increased in relative importance. DVD and home entertainment sales are moribund, VOD hasn't yet picked up the slack (plus,
A producer friend of mine said that he'd recently found a way to close financing deals without having to go back and forth. Part of his strategy was to pre-approve everything with the financiers by coming up with a list of approved cast, directors, and sales agents, and then getting the money put into escrow, so he could forge ahead
A friend of mine suggested creating projects to suit distributors. On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense. Then, when I thought about it more, I'm not so sure this works. To read the rest of this article, you need to have a Dream Merchant subscription.
A friend of mine has successfully financed a $10m movie out of the UK. This must be a milestone! More important is the method. Like many of us, he was fed up with the toing-and-froing required between sales agents and talent. In particular, he was annoyed by the chicken-and-egg problem of getting talent attached before a sales agent would give
"Endangered Species" is SEAM's first novel and part of a new experiment for us. It began as a film treatment that was then written as a screenplay. Having spent the past few years trying to sell unusual indie films, I realised that the screenplay would be a non-starter. It was expensive, shocking, and offensive to the kinds of promotional partners
I had a delightful meeting with German producer, Arno Ortmair. Not only is he an extremely accomplished professional, but he is also a wonderful person. We discussed projects and strategy. In particular, he is setting up his own writers' workshop, so we had a lot of shared experience there. I told him some of the pitfalls that I had discovered
The film business is pretty secretive and I can understand why. But I think that producers can benefit a great deal by sharing their knowledge with one another. That is why I am starting this diary. This is not a kiss-and-tell diary. I will use fictitious names for the most part, unless there's a very good reason not to. I
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