Sunday, November 9, 2014

Insider Entertainment Tips: American Film Market 2014 Questions and Answers

American Film Market 2014 Questions and Answers

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As American Film Market nears, I want to help you prepare. Last week, I shared the one thing you must do to succeed at a film market: research the people you are meeting.

To Succeed At American Film Market

For example, if you’re meeting with Alison Thompson (Sunray Films), using my simple research process, you’d learn that Sunray is focused on:
“Features with budgets under $6M with exciting new filmmakers; $12M with established auteurs and cast of note. And, finally, those around the $30M budget mark, which could realistically gross upwards of $40M domestically. Endgame’s Looper was mentioned as the perfect example of this.”
Wouldn’t that help you select the right project to pitch?
For the American Film Market Pitch Conference, I’m getting a lot of questions about how to create a pitch that can get results. With certain details changed to protect the innocent, here are my answers.

Q: I want to pitch my project to the big group of producers and financiers who are attending American Film Market. How can I do that?

A: Anyone who has purchased a ticket to attend the American Film Market Pitch Conference may submit a video pitch to be considered to pitch from the stage. Here’s information about how to create an effective short pitch and the deadline for submitting a video pitch is October 31, 2014.
American Film Market 2014 Pitching Essentials

Q: I’ve written a screenplay for an independent film. As per the instructions in your course, I’m paying close attention to my “comparison pitch.” The problem is that I’m having a hard time finding a comparison that not only fits my material, but is also successful and recently produced. The closest I can get is Magnolia, which cost $37M and made $48.4M. Is that successful enough to be used as my comparison?

A: I loved Magnolia, but it was not a box office success. As a very rough guideline, typically a studio will spend half of the production cost on marketing the film and will take in about half of the box office proceeds. The other half goes to the distributors. So in this case, $37M (production cost) + $18.5M (marketing cost)= $55.5M (spent by the studio) with only $24.2M (half the box office) earned in box office receipts. This is a loss of $30.8M and therefore, no, I would not use Magnolia as your comparison.

Q: I’m interested in participating in the 2 minute video pitch session at this year’s American Film Market conference. My project is repped by CAA and we have talent attached. My question is about how the decision is made as to who gets to pitch on stage. Could you tell me if we are evaluated more on content or pitching style, and is there a deadline?

A: Congrats on getting repped by CAA! Your pitch video will be evaluated on the content of your pitch and also your delivery. The deadline is October 31st. If selected to pitch, you will have two minutes to pitch your idea onstage to me, Cassian Elwes, and Tobin Armbrust. Your pitch would also be heard by the 700+ people in the audience, many of whom are financiers, producers, and other decision-makers. Once you register for the American Film Market Pitch Conference you’ll receive complete information about how to submit your video pitch.

Q: I’m torn between submitting two projects for the American Film Market Pitch Conference. One is a high-concept action/thriller and one is a much more light-hearted romantic comedy. Which genre has a better track record of being represented in previously selected pitches?

A: Both genres are represented. In my opinion, American Film Market buyers are more focused on action/thriller, so there are typically more of those projects submitted.

Q: I’ve never been to American Film Market before. What should I wear?

A: Most American Film Market events, including the Pitch Conference are business casual. Some people will be in suits and some will be in jeans. If you are a writer, director or producer, I recommend not wearing a suit but something that is a step more formal than jeans and a t-shirt. You’ll see a prevalence of black and most people will be wearing pants or a skirt, sweater, collared shirt or blazer.
American Film Market meetingsAmerican Film Market Meetings before Pitch Conference

Q: Does the American Film Market Pitch Conference consider pitches for documentaries or is it limited to narrative features?

A: Yes, we consider documentary pitches. All genres of film and TV pitches are accepted.

Q: I want to submit a video pitch, but my instructions only have a few pages. Can you send me the complete document?

A: You will receive the complete video instructions with your American Film Market registration. If you have registration or logistics questions, contact American Film Market customer service at 1-310-446-1082.

Q: I have some meetings set up with potential buyers at American Film Market. I want to make sure I’m prepared. Do you have any suggestions of how I can prepare so I make a good impression?

A: In an initial meeting, if a buyer is interested in working with you, he or she will likely ask you a series of tough, possibly annoying, and occasionally “trick” questions. It isn’t really that they are trying to trick you, but they want to see how you handle yourself under pressure. Here are 5 Trick Questions Hollywood Executives Ask – And How To Answer Them and 5 More Trick Questions Hollywood Executives Ask.

American Film Market 2014 Information And Logistics

American Film Market Pitch ConferenceIf you’re on the fence about whether or not you should come to American Film Market, I recommend it.
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