Author Archives: Emy

TOTBO Tip of the Day 23 Webdesigners

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If you are not a technically-oriented person, you need an IT person to set up your website. Chances are, they will know a lot more about search engine optimization (SEO) than you do. Ask them to set up a site that you can regularly modify on your own, so that you are not spending thousands of dollars over the course of your film’s life. If you can get a qualified person to do it for free, great — but you should be able to find someone to set up a simple site for $500 to $2,000. Maintain your relationship with this person so you can ask them to come back from to time to time to tweak your site (like when you want to sell DVDs, merchandise, etc.).

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 22 Create a Grid of Rights

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It is important that you or someone on your team keep track of who has the rights to what. Most lawyers will never have the time to do this for you. You should create a grid and track it, because it can get confusing. Orly Ravid of The Film Collaborative who handles the legal on my deals has created such a grid for the rights on Bomb it. She will be posting it on their site soon – so stay tuned.

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 21 Lawyers

Posted on by Emy

A good lawyer who is familiar with split rights scenarios and the vagaries of new distribution models is essential, although hard to find. If you cannot find one, I suggest using a consultant in tandem with a lawyer. The consultant negotiates, the lawyer goes over the language. Find someone who is open to working in new ways. Lawyers will either work on a per-hour fee ($175 and up) or for a percentage of the deal(s) (5 to 7 percent). Since the field is changing so rapidly, you may have to train your lawyer regarding certain items that you will demand. One new alternative is The Film Collaborative – a non profit entity that can go over your agreements for a very reasonable fee and are very knowledgable.

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 20 Television Sales Reps

Posted on by Emy

Television is a market that is hard to monetize if you DIY. You should get yourself a TV sales agent if you can. These agents/reps deal with television buyers all the time; they also go to specific television sales markets throughout the world.

Like foreign sales reps, foreign television sales reps typically take 25 percent of the sale as a fee, less expenses. Make sure you limit the foreign or TV rep’s expenses in your agreement. At most, you should be paying a percentage of their market expenses (split with the other films they represent on a proportional basis). At best, you should not be required to reimburse them for market expenses, since they attend these markets with a large slate of films.

Join me in Cannes on May 15th at the Producer’s Network Breakfast at 9am and on May 16th where Liz Rosenthal and I will be doing a presentation at the Short Film Corner from 4pm to 5pm. Check out my blog, for more information. 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 19 Foreign Sales Reps

Posted on by Emy

These are reps/agents that are relatively established in the split rights world and specialize in the sales of foreign rights. Generally they take a higher percentage (25 percent) than producer’s reps for domestic deals and many of them charge expenses as well. However, it is much harder to get a foreign sales advance because overall deals in foreign territories are diminishing, just like overall deals in the United States. The reasons for this decline in overall deals are the same as well. Television sales however remain the strongest of the traditional rights sales in foreign territories. Tomorrow we will address television sales reps.

Join me in Cannes on May 15th at the Producer’s Network Breakfast at 9am and on May 16th where Liz Rosenthal and I will be doing a presentation at the Short Film Corner from 4pm to 5pm. Check out my blog, for more information. 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 18 Don’t Despair

Posted on by Emy

Since sales reps generally work on commission, they will be choosier about the films that they select. Hence more and more films will end up not being represented by a sales rep or will not have a sales rep for each right. So don’t despair if you don’t have one. If a sales rep is helping you obtain and negotiate split rights deals, they are helpful, but you can function without them. If a sales rep requests a large up front fee to represent your film, I strongly recommend doing your research before paying large up front fees to a representative. You must talk to filmmakers the rep has worked with to make sure that it was worth it.

Join me in Cannes on May 15th at the Producer’s Network Breakfast at 9am and on May 16th where Liz Rosenthal and I will be doing a presentation at the Short Film Corner from 4pm to 5pm. Check out my blog, for more information. 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 17 Before Bringing on Principal Crew

Posted on by Emy

If you have one or more sales representatives interested in your film, certainly talk to them. But have your distribution and marketing strategy ready before even talking to sales reps, then present it to them to determine to see whether or not they feel that they can help implement that strategy. This is so that you can put their recommendations into context for your film. Remember, your strategy will evolve, so at least have the first draft before you take these meetings. In general you should go to any meeting with the following:

1. Knowing what you want from the meeting or person.
2. Having researched the person you are meeting with so that you know what they want, or can provide for you.

Leaving for the Amsterdam tomorrow. Then to Cannes. Check out the TOTBO site for more information. Comment here or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 15 Hiring PMDs in these early days.

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I look forward to a near future in which filmmakers/directors will be able to put out calls for PMDs just as they do for DPs and Editors – and that they will get an equal volume of applications. Directors will develop long term relationships with PMDs that “get them” just as they do with DPs, Editors, and Producers etc.

The most natural PMDs initially will be from the ranks of unit publicists and social media strategists. They already have many of the skill sets needed to do this work. If you can’t hire one full time, you should at least have them consulting and advising on the project.

But there is a lot of work to be done and even if you have a PMD they will need help. Don’t just bemoan the fact that you are in distribution and all your producers have had to go onto other work (if that is the case). Go out and get some more producers involved in the project. Again if you have limited means get a social media strategist and perhaps a distribution consultant to advise you and your new distribution and marketing team on how do this right. If you have limited means, you can offer some kind of producer credit in exchange for money – just as you did on the rest of your film. (I know in the future you will properly budget for this work).

Two of the Co-Producers on Bomb It started working on the film six months after we premiered the film at Tribeca. I couldn’t get them on the credits of the film – but they are on the credits of the PAL DVD, and I will back up their credit on IMDB and in references any day – and that is ultimately what matters – a verifiable credit to someone coming up.

My workshops start this week in London and next week in Amsterdam. Check out the TOTBO site for more information. Sign up for London HERE. Comment here or on my blog, or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book here. I look forward to hearing from you.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 14 Responsibilities of the PMD

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Responsibilities of the PMD include:
1. Identify and engage with the audience for a film.
2. Development of a distribution and marketing strategy and plan for a film in conjunction with the entire team.
3. Create a budget for said plan.
4. Assemble and supervise the necessary team/crew elements to carry out the plan.
5. Audience outreach through organizations, blogs, social networking, online radio etc.
6. Supervise the creation of promotional and (if necessary due to the lack of a separate transmedia coordinator) trans media elements: including the films website script and concept for transmedia, production stills, video assets – both behind the scenes and trans media, promotional copy and art.
7. Outreach to potential distribution and marketing partners such as sponsors, promotional partners, various distribution entities, publicists.
8. When appropriate, engage the distribution process as designed.
9. Supervise the creation of deliverables.

My workshops start this week in London and next week in Amsterdam. Check out the TOTBO site for more information. Sign up for London HERE. Comment here or on my blog, or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book here. I look forward to hearing from you.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 13 Introducing the Producer of Marketing and Distribution or PMD

Posted on by Emy

As a filmmaker, I have thought a lot of about complaints from filmmakers of all these new tasks that we are responsible for in distribution and marketing. And this is how I came up with the concept of the Producer of Marketing and Distribution or PMD. Just like you most likely did not make the film on your own, you should not be distributing and marketing the film on your own. I would argue that from now on, every film needs one person devoted to the distribution and marketing of the film from inception, just as they have a line producer, assistant director, or editor. I gave this crew position the official title of PMD since we need to train people to do this task, give classes in it, write books about it, just as people are educated (or learn on their own) to become DPs.

My workshops start this week in London and next week in Amsterdam. Check out the TOTBO site for more information. Sign up for London HERE. Comment here or on my blog, or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book here. I look forward to hearing from you.