Monthly Archives: March 2016

How To Make Money On Short Films?

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Everyone knows that no one makes a short film to make money.

“The real profit is when you get to make another film,” says Kimberley Browning, director of Hollywood Shorts. The likes of Christopher Nolan and Wes Anderson made short films before their respective big breaks. Short films are used as a calling card for filmmakers to showcase their talent. But it doesn’t hurt to make a little money in the process!

But let us begin with the harsh reality of the industry. Over a gazillion short films are uploaded to YouTube every week. There were 8,061 shorts submitted to Sundance last year, out of which only 60 got selected. If you are an Oscar nominee like Don Hertzfeldt, Netflix will be happy to pay you for your animated short about a little girl and a trippy future. But what if you are still an emerging filmmaker?

The most elementary secret of selling something is that there should be a market for it, if not you should be able to create one! We call it fanbase. Without a fanbase, it’s almost impossible to find an audience for your short films, let alone money.

  1. VOD: The full form for VOD is Video On Demand But for us filmmakers it should be Vimeo On Demand. Vimeo is by far the best platform for independent filmmakers to gain money of their short films. Shorts like High Maintenance and Angry Video Game Nerd are examples of the success stories of this model. Let’s do the math. Let’s say we go for a CPM ( Cost Per Thousand Impressions) of $10. If we charge $5 for the short film and if we get 10,000 views, we tend to make $1,368. Yeah I know! So cut down your budget!
  2. VIDEO ON DEMAND: Consider other Video On Demand services like iTunes and Amazon Prime if your short is of theatrical quality. Since both iTunes and Amazon are trusted platforms, it’s easy to sell it. The short ‘Shabath Dinner’ used to gross around $200 a month in Amazon. But the director later decided to go for a free release and it racked up over 100,000 views in YouTube, after a successful marketing campaign.
  3. Digital Downloads: Make your products valuable to the audience. I don’t want to pay you if I don’t get anything in return. VFX breakdowns, detailed behind the scenes videos, production scripts, storyboards, lighting plots are just a few examples.
  4. Merchandise: Tee-shirts, wristbands or anything that you can buy cheap. You are not going to make a ton of money through this unless you have a huge fanbase. Film Riot has got it right.
  5. Product Placement/Corporate Sponsorship: I know this is not the most favorable method in this list. But if you want to show a local restaurant or a theme park in your film, you might cover your catering cost. The end result will be a happy Producer and a not-so-happy Director.
  6. YouTube: The ad revenue from YouTube are peanuts! But it’s still money. Remember the math we did for Vimeo? With the same views, we might make only a little over $40 in ad revenues, when compared to the $1,368 on VOD.
  7. Selling the legal rights: It happens once in a blue moon. But it’s not impossible. Argentinian filmmaker Andrés Muschietti did it with his horror short Mama. So go ahead and make an awesome film!

You are a filmmaker. You are an artist. Making money is an art. Get creative! 

By Aslam Basheer

New Spin & Old Ideas..It’s Not Sexy But…

Facebook - Max - joycalories.com 2Ideas are a dime a dozen but an “expressed idea” is a commodity, says Professor Peter Gordon teaches Business of Film at Full Sail University.  Professor Gordon may be on to something because even ancient texts assert that everything is cyclical and rehashed.  Essentially, there is nothing very special about an idea:

“what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV Version)

So, an idea is encouraging, but it’s the conceptualization and execution of that vision that rings the dinner bell for studio execs. A pitch meeting must be met with the schematics of a viable product, and this may take the form of a snappy logline, an “easy read” synopsis, a show bible, character bios, location and set sketches, and a strong vision of the show format and audience. You should research the backgrounds, the hit and misses, and “buzz” associated with the professionals to whom you pitch, as well as, the studio and their audience. This information will help guide your pitch toward the tastes and preferences of the executives, but be certain to demonstrate how your product offers an added twist or benefit to their existing line-up. You want to straddle the fence between the familiarity of what has worked for them and the promise of your fresh spin idea.

You will also want to practice a timed presentation of your pitch, as it should be no longer than ten to fifteen minutes in length. Make certain the packaging is as neat, professional, and attractive as possible, but don’t spend more time on the gloss than you spend on the substance. Also, be prepared to sell yourself, as it can be argued that marketing is 50% relationship! When you are likeable and interesting, it’s a lot easier to say yes, so prepare a short blurb about your background, your goals, and the reason that you’re so excited about your product.

Remember that the idea must be expressed in a way that demonstrates its marketability and appeal to a specific audience. A fresh, new spin on old ideas may not sound exciting, but it is, in fact, the magic that keeps tinsel-town running.

 

By:  Max Rose, Certified Holistic Counselor; MFA in Film Production; MFA in Creative Writing

Miami: The New Hot Place for Young Filmmakers

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Since 2014 the Miami audiovisual industry has being in an accelerated growth, and it is becoming the “Next Big Thing” for young filmmakers. Miami has more than 50 production companies located in the city, and movies such as “Bad Boys 3” scheduled to film in the streets of Miami. It is a great destination for young filmmakers who don’t want to move all the way to LA to compete with thousands of other professionals for a spot in the entertainment industry.

Some of the projects the city is developing right now might sound appealing to young and adventurous filmmakers, especially the ones graduating from an entertainment university in Florida. These are some of the projects launching in Miami:

  • Telemundo and their new Studio Telemundo signed a $400 million deal for a newly built international headquarters and TV studio in West Miami. This initiative of the company is expected to produce hundreds of new jobs in the television industry. The studio will be used as a soap opera production set, morning talk show and for other live productions.

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  • Viacom, the entertainment group whose properties include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, announced New Movie and TV Production Studio in Downtown Miami. Redevelopment Agency funded the project, and confirmed it will be one of the largest film studios in South Florida. This studio will also generate hundreds of jobs for its projects such as TV series, concerts and segments filmed off site.

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  • Miami-Dade’s Office of Film and Entertainment launched Production Assistant Sign-up Program: This initiative helps match entertainment productions to those interested in entry level Production Assistant (PA) positions. Graduates from in-state colleges and universities that offer film programs are encouraged to participate, this sign program is for a full-time paid position http://filmiami.org/deadsheet.asp

According to Chris Cooney, co-owner of EUE/Screen Gems Studio, “Miami offers a seasoned film community and experienced crew. The locations here are like no other in the country, and the Hollywood community is very aware of the assets Florida offers”

Miami is spending $6 million in improvements for the city in an area, which is now known as the Media and Entertainment District.

“As more productions see that Miami is serious about attracting the industry and that it has state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate major projects, the industry will be enhanced across the board,” says Miami Omni CRA chairman Marc D. Sarnoff.

So next time you think about your after graduation destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta… You should add Miami to the list of cities where you can grow as an entertainment industry professional.

Andrea Alibrandi Garcia