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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:14 AM

Well I just got back from AFM, American Film Market in Santa Monica, where my movie Dark Reprieve was being sold. Along with a bazzilion others :D

Any whoo this was my first time there and I found it all quite interesting. For those of you that make or want to make movies, you must learn about AFM, the biggest and most important movie sales trade show in the world.

Look at this if you want the details on AFM:

http://www.ifta-onli...g/afm/about.asp

In brief......if you have a movie you must get it repped at AFM by an established sales company. I was lucky enough to be able to do this about three weeks before the show started. I had a couple of distribution offers in the end. (Fortunately I had my art ready as well, or this would not have been done on time.)

There are a ton of people there going room to room trying to find a distributor for their low budget movie. This is very tough. Most distributors don't want to see you, they are there to sell not to look at more movies. Some will be nice though and take your screener, most will coldly tell you to beat it. If you can hack it, then you can always try this approach. A full market badge is about $700.00! The best bet is to go on the second last day of the market when things have wound down, and approach only the distributors that rep your genre. The first few days are a selling frenzy, once a territory is sold, it's sold. So the buyers have to move fast.

The distributors usually meet the same buyers year in and year out. The buyers come in for a pre-arranged meeting time with the distributor, look at the art for the movies, then watch the trailers. If they like what they see they buy on the spot, and the deal is signed. Obviously with so many movies they can't watch the entire thing. They rely on the distributor to pick quality work for them, if they don't the relationship will be damaged.

Also, weeks before the AFM meetings the distributors are pre-selling the movies via e-mails, phone calls, and on-line trailers. This is why having a sales company work for you is so important, you need a sales team behind your movie. It's a job for pros and it's a HUGE job.

Every one keeps saying horror is a sales problem at AFM, yet horror "films" (I say "films" because most are DV) still dominate AFM. I mean they are every where. Definitely naked women, guns, and explosions, rule AFM. People don't come to AFM to buy the latest G-rated heart warming family drama. Just looking around at the posters and trailers will tell you that. I hear that Cannes is better for non boob, bombs, and explosion, movies. I think I saw one(1) family movie company. A lot of the stuff is ultra violent and ultra erotic.

Having said all that my distributor did close deals on my movie. It will be a week or so I imagine before I see the final sales report. So I won't say too much more on this until I see the hard numbers. Also, they handed out a pile of screeners for Dark Reprieve, lots of buyers want to see the whole movie before buying, this is pretty normal. So I may see a few more AFM sales in the months ahead. I do have some work ahead of me getting the movie prepped for shipping to international markets. I'm learning as I go and there is always some thing else that is needed. Then I should see the money by maybe 2018? 2019? Old AFM joke :D

Next stop is the Berlin market in Feb, I'll be skipping that one as I will most likely be shooting my next film. But if you have a movie at AFM you should attend. When you see how incredibly competitive the market place is just getting a movie there and selling it is an achievement. For a lot of filmmakers AFM comes after a fest run, where they have got some exposure and found the distributor. This is fine, but fests don't make money in the short term, good to have of course if you want to wait.

Here is a pic of the hotel lobby. Notice there are banners for two movies, both horror, it just keeps a marchin' on.

Was any one else there? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

I also want to add that I had lunch with every one's favourite ASC member David Mullen. So now I have met the legend in person at last. David is a super nice guy, a wealth of knowledge, and he paid!! Thanks David.

R,

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#2 Jason Reimer

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:45 AM

Richard,
I've been following this since you first started posting about the film, and it's been great to see you work through each step along the way, obstacles and all. I'm looking forward to seeing this one of these days!

By the way, what are you working on next? Are you going to be directing again, or DP'ing?

Jason Reimer
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 01:31 AM

Richard,
I've been following this since you first started posting about the film, and it's been great to see you work through each step along the way, obstacles and all. I'm looking forward to seeing this one of these days!

By the way, what are you working on next? Are you going to be directing again, or DP'ing?

Jason Reimer


I may have an update in a while about how you can see this movie, mums the word for now.

I was supposed to direct and DP the next film, but I decided since it was not my script or money this time that some one else should direct. So my producing partner will direct, I will co-produce, DP, and edit. Still a big job. The project is backed by a LA based producers group. Essentially they where waiting to see the final of Dark Reprieve before green lighting this one. They like the movie so I can use it to move up the food chain. I had meetings on it while I was in LA for AFM.

Now we'll see if we actually shoot it, hundreds of projects get the green light, few of them actually end up on screen. That's a reality.

R,
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#4 Steven Fleming

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:11 AM

G'day from Australia, just read yer post Richard and found it inspiring. I'm still in film school and it's one of the aspects that's often neglected---ie you gotta sell yer product. It's good to take off the rose-coloured glasses & be hit with some reality.
I hope to see yer film down here soon.
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#5 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:53 AM

Rich - congrats! on the sale... to be a little more precise - you option all the rights to an established film company (option, yes? for a certain time period? how long?) and they have sold some territories, but not all, which is why you head to Berlin next... and then your pay scale is off the territories sold, not the overall units?

rather than me guess, could you explain :)
ae
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:17 AM

Rich - congrats! on the sale... to be a little more precise - you option all the rights to an established film company (option, yes? for a certain time period? how long?) and they have sold some territories, but not all, which is why you head to Berlin next... and then your pay scale is off the territories sold, not the overall units?

rather than me guess, could you explain :)
ae


Yes you are correct, the sales company has the right to sell the movie on your behalf. Usually five years. And also correct that at AFM they have sold some territories but there would still be a lot to go. Each buyer pays a flat fee for their territory, usually they get all rights, theatrical, TV, DVD, in that territory. In some cases though they might just get DVD, and then some one else will get TV. All depends on the territory and how much they want to spend. This is typical for the low budget small movies, there is usually no back end for the producer.

If some one buys Malaysia for say $10,000.00, does a theatrical release and makes 1 million well good for them. On the other hand they may pay $10,000.00 and only earn $3,000.00 in Malaysia. One never knows for sure, but the buyers usually have a good idea what they can get out of a movie. They have to take care of the language dubbing in their territory as well and that costs some money. Plus they may or may not use your packaging, so artwork would also add to their costs if they don't use yours.

Sales companies usually take 10% of a domestic sale, USA & Canada, 20-25% of a foreign sale. Foreign sales are higher because there is more work and money involved in making the sale.

Definitely making a movie in the English language is the best. For starters you don't need dubbing in territories like the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, NZ, South Africa. Plus since the USA is English speaking, the foreign buyers are more used to re-dubbing English language films that say Norwegian or Dutch.

The world film markets like AFM and Berlin are mainly for sales to non USA locations. If the distributor is based in LA they can easily contact the US buyers any time of the year.

R,
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#7 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:57 AM

It's making sense now.... periodically, the Hollywood Reporter publishes the "going rates" for film territories. Japan is worth more than Malaysia, etc. etc. I can't find the report, but it's usually a page, something like Japan is maybe $70k US if i roughly remember correctly...

do you approve/disapprove of foreign sales (dollar amount; i'm sure you're not turning down sales) at this point, or does the sales agent have discretion to close deals and report to you? also, you can sell dvd's / downloads off a Dark Reprieve site and/or Amazon or specialty sites and keep the money for yourself?
ty, ae
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:40 PM

Yes there are going rates for various territories, small countries pay a little big countries more. If your movie has stars or a US theatrical release the price can go up. Japan is always a good sale, distributors always chase that one down. They like movies with hot white women in them.

All the major European countries are good sales, France, UK, Germany, Italy. South Africa has become an important English speaking territory.

I don't approve foreign sales, they act 100% on my behalf for that. Obviously since they work on 100% commission they want the highest price possible. I do have the final say over the domestic sale. Which either includes or excludes Canada.

I can't set it up for download sales and keep the funds. If it's being sold as a download in the USA, then the US buyer has rights to that money.

R,
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#9 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 02:47 PM

great info. thanks for showing the ropes to everyone. good luck with your movie & Berlin!
ae
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#10 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:06 PM

I hope it all goes well for you. You've certainly put a lot of hard work into the film. And I think this is reflected in the quality of the film. Looks like a very good TV movie to me. If I was old enough I'd buy UK, so to speak. It looks like a solod earner.

Send me a PM when the first million glides effortlessly in. :)
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:06 PM

Hey Richard

Did you sell your film to Luxembourg? ;)
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:14 PM

Hey Richard

Did you sell your film to Luxembourg? ;)



Unknown...I have not seen the final sales report for AFM yet.

I hear Luxembourg goes for about $150.00.

Kidding! Just kidding! :D

I have no idea what Luxembourg goes for. Must be a good sale though since you have the highest GDP per capita in the world by a long shot.

R,
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#13 Toby L Edwards

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:09 PM

Richard'
Thanks for all the great info.
Congrats on your achievement. I really liked the trailer. I look forward to seeing the complete Film.
Do you think you had an edge over all the DV stuff because you shot on FILM? I think with something that is supposed to be scary it has to be believable and that is very hard to do with Digital.
Thanks

Toby
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:34 PM

Richard'
Thanks for all the great info.
Congrats on your achievement. I really liked the trailer. I look forward to seeing the complete Film.
Do you think you had an edge over all the DV stuff because you shot on FILM? I think with something that is supposed to be scary it has to be believable and that is very hard to do with Digital.
Thanks

Toby


DEFINITELY 35mm was a big plus. There is way too much HD and DV stuff out there. When the sales agent can say to the buyer, "this movie was shot on 35mm," it DOES help. Not as much as I would like, but it's a plus. No one ever says, "oh too bad they shot this on 35mm." Especially at AFM 35mm is a plus, every one expects Hollywood to shoot on 35mm, they don't expect low budget indies to shoot on 35mm.

I did hear chatter all over the place like this, "I'm shooting on Red and it will look amazing...." That may be the next big thing at AFM?????

Of course a DV movie is probably better than no movie at all.

R,
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#15 Matthew Buick

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:52 PM

Richard. Were there any Super 8 films there at all?
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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:03 PM

I hear Luxembourg goes for about $150.00.

In that case I'll buy the rights! I should be able to recoup my investment pretty fast by selling it to all my family and friends ;)
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#17 Toby L Edwards

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:03 PM

Richard'
Thanks. That's good to hear. I know I avoid even renting Movies that were Digitally acquired. It's a chore now. I have to research every new DVD I want to rent or Buy and I buy way more often than rent. I don't think Red will change anything. It still looks very Digital Video to me even more so than HD.
Just my opinion.
Thanks again and I hope this does well for you.

Toby
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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:12 PM

Richard. Were there any Super 8 films there at all?


Ahhh, no.


In that case I'll buy the rights! I should be able to recoup my investment pretty fast by selling it to all my family and friends ;)


I doubt it, they'll all want refunds :D


Richard'
Thanks. That's good to hear. I know I avoid even renting Movies that were Digitally acquired. It's a chore now. I have to research every new DVD I want to rent or Buy and I buy way more often than rent. I don't think Red will change anything. It still looks very Digital Video to me even more so than HD.
Just my opinion.
Thanks again and I hope this does well for you.

Toby


Oh yes, I made sure the back of my DVD box says in bold white type. "35mm to HDSR, 5.1 surround sound." For the very reasons you bring up.

R,
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#19 Toby L Edwards

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:28 PM

0h yes, I made sure the back of my DVD box says in bold white type. "35mm to HDSR, 5.1 surround sound." For the very reasons you bring up.

R,
[/quote]


It should be a Law that the Originating format is listed!! Movies have been made on FILM for well over a hundred years. To now shoot them on Video and not make that Clear on the Cover or back is like false advertisement. It feels like I have been cheated out of my money and robbed. Trying to return it to the store after opening it is like pulling teeth.

Toby
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#20 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:48 PM

Ok, I'll bite. So let me get this straight, Toby. You will not watch a movie originated on anything but Film? That's a pretty extreme position, isn't it? I mean, it's not the format that's important, it's what the movie is about - the content.....no?

Sorry to hijack, but that statement seemed so extreme I had to call you on it.

By the way, it's not Pheonix, it's PHOENIX. ;) :ph34r:
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Visual Products

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