Author Archives: Emy

TOTBO Tip of the Day 31 Embrace Live Event/Theatrical

Posted on by Emy

This week’s tips concern the re-born “theatrical” movement in the US and around the world for independent film. I’m a firm believer that film should be screened in front of live audiences – which is one form of our millennia old tradition of telling stories in a communal environment – usually in the dark (in the old days in front of a fire). (ps it’s a 4 day week in honor of Memorial Day weekend)

What I call “Live Event/Theatrical” is being reborn in the US with more films using a robust outside of the box booking strategy utilizing a wide variety of venues to screen their works. I call these Live Event/Theatrical because: 1. They emphasize the live audience and the benefits that come from screening your film in front of an audience. 2. The Title emphasizes the event nature of the screenings –and I feel it is important for independents to embrace events (not just throw out screenings from Fri-Thurs) 3. We want to retain the ability to say that we’ve had a theatrical release – hence Theatrical – without having to succumb to the expenses or restrictions of what is known in the industry as “theatrical”. The tips for the next week or so will concern live event theatrical releases.

But for more information come check out my workshops – coming up in NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents my theatrical pitch letter and a list of theater listings etc. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 30 Request to Keep Assets that Others Create for Your Film

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Make sure you get all of the elements for each stage of the delivery process, whether it is the files for your authored DVD or if it is a subtitled version of you film that a foreign film festival created or if it the files for the closed captioning of your film. I had a cc version of Bomb It created for Canadian television. I received the master HD of this version, however not the closed captioning file. Because of this I will need to pay for the cc process again. I was however smart enough to request copies of any subtitled version made for foreign film fest screenings or broadcast. I just screened Bomb It in Tel Aviv. The venue wants to screen it again, but with Hebrew subtitles. I just completed a deal for Israeli television which requires them to provide me with the subtitles and a Hebrew subtitled DVD. So now I have a DVD to use for the next screening of Bomb It – this time with Hebrew subtitles.

My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 29 Full Frame Video Delivery Still Exists

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Even though the world is moving to HD and its 16:9 aspect ratio as a standard, some television and VOD contracts require a full frame 4×3 version. In smaller deals you can often push your way out of this requirement, but on some bigger sales with bigger companies –just may not take your title if you don’t have a full frame 4×3 version. This is not a letterboxed version that has black bars top and bottom. It is the dreaded “pan and scan”. However it is a pan and scan that you can control – and you can pay to have a pan and scan done. A less expensive approach is a 4×3 extraction. This is a down convert from HD 16:9 in which a machine pulls the center of the picture into the full 4×3 frame. Remind yourself that you won’t have to be there when people see it. You can also wait to do this until you are forced to deliver one. When you are doing your DI – make sure that your titles/subtitles/graphics are very title safe – so that they stay in the frame when the extraction occurs – otherwise you’ll have to replace each of those titles individually – NOT FUN (I know from experience).

My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 28 For Docs: Do Your International Cut Down When You Are Cutting Your Film

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Documentaries usually need a 52-54 minute cut down of their film to sell to foreign television. I waited a year before doing my cut down for Bomb It, which was way too long. While it did provide me perspective and made it easier for me to slash and burn my film, I essentially had to repeat the entire delivery process for this edit – which was not fun to say the least. Further, if you have your cut down ready when you are finishing – you can make package deals for 2 separate DIs and 2 mixes – doing them simultaneously is MUCH better than having to reopen the process later. For perspective, I would recommend having a different editor do the cut down. If you are on a budget – this would be an excellent perk to give to one of your assistant editors. You can then polish it with your editor who is already on staff and might be difficult to engage later.

My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 27 Don’t Do Your Deliveries Alone

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Yesterday I mentioned how onerous delivering your film can be. As a result – Having someone on your team either help with or do your deliveries is manna from heaven. This alone is a reason to have a Producer of Marketing and Distribution. If you are self distributing or using an involved trans media project you will have many more deliverables than what is conventional. It is also a reason to start doing them during production when you have the most crew available to help.

My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 26 Start Your Deliveries During Production

Posted on by Emy

As I continue to create delivery elements for Bomb It (for new sales three years after its premiere) I am reminded as to how onerous they are.  Deliverables are the assets you need to deliver to distributors so that they can exhibit/sell your film.    You need to start developing them during production.  You should be organizing your contracts, keeping track of your chain of title (which actually starts at prep) and creating digital assets such as stills and video.  Stills are hugely important and you need three types of stills:  Of the Film, Of the Crew (mainly the director), and Specials of The Actors. Check out a list of conventional deliveries – and then expand that to include any trans media assets you will need.  You’ll thank me for starting earlier than you think.

My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 25 Budgeting

Posted on by Emy

To conclude 2 weeks of crew tips – a reminder that it is best to be able to pay these crew people. While sales agents should work on commission, lawyers, web designers, PMDs etc most likely will not. You should create a budget that is as detailed as a production budget. In Think Outside the Box Office I created such a budget with detailed explanation, using my budget and several others as examples. Raising the money at inception will help avoid potentially costly P&A finance rates and last in’s first out requirements. If you have a tax rebate due you, don’t bank it, use it as a large portion (or all) of your distribution and marketing budget. Here’s a list of what you will need to include in your budget:

-Distribution Crew including those who I have discussed and whoever else you need for your specific release: bookers, publicists, community engagement consultants, social media strategists, graphic designers.

-Marketing creative and materials: including trailer, poster/key art, press kit.

-Print and other delivery materials: Various masters, authoring, replication, digital cinema files etc.

-Media buys from print to google.

-Travel expenses.

-General office supplies – especially shipping.

And anything else your release needs – the above is a very quick summary.

Let me know what you think! Follow me @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book and workshops here. I look forward to hearing from you.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 24 Webdesigners Part 2

Posted on by Emy

Oftentimes the best designer is not the best programmer, and vice versa. You may need two separate people: one for the look of the site (which hopefully is integrated with your key art), another to do the actual programming. If you have to choose to pay one or the other, go for the programmer. It is easier to find good designers for a reasonable rate (i.e., someone needing to build their portfolio) than programmers.

Let me know what you think! Follow me @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book and workshops here. I look forward to hearing from you.

IFP Presents Think Outside the Box Office Workshop with Jon Reiss

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Very excited to be bringing the Totbo 2 Day Workshop to NYC! June 5th and 6th. Nuts and bolts strategy and implementation. London and Amsterdam went great – Check out the fun from London.

ifp workshop flyer

Click here for more info…

Film Independent Announces 2010 L.A. Film Festival Programming

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I will be doing a 2 day Boot Camp at the LA Film Fest for its competition filmmakers. I am also designing the whole 3 day symposium with the folks at LA Film Festival. Its quite an event with pretty incredible speakers and combos – stay tuned!

Jon

Press Release published on filmindependent.org.

Film Independent Announces Jonathan Gold, Quincy Jones and Paul Reubens as Artists in Residence for 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival

LOS ANGELES (May 17, 2010) – Today Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and year-round artist development programs and exhibition events, announced additional official film selections and programming for the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by the Los Angeles Times. The Festival will run from Thursday, June 17 to Sunday, June 27 in downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at L.A. LIVE. [...]

“The Los Angeles Film Festival is continually dedicated to supporting filmmakers, so we’ve created a new signature event to help them navigate the changing marketing and distribution landscape. In collaboration with filmmaker Jon Reiss, we’ve developed a two-day boot-camp for our Festival filmmakers, as well as a public event, so artists can take charge and better understand how to harness new distribution options and their social networking community,” said Film Independent’s Director of Education Maria Bozzi.

Read the full story…