There is a sad, often unspoken, reality in the world of low-budget filmmaking…and I am aware that I now defy all expected conventions in revealing this coveted truth – your poster and your trailer are actually more important than the movie itself.
As myself and the rest of the Robin Hood Films team gears up for the upcoming American Film Market, a large portion of our energies, as expected, are being spent on putting a shine on otherwise mediocre trailers and creating new artwork and, in some cases, new titles for films that might otherwise suffer for their lack of marketability. (For those who don’t know, The American Film Market is an annual event which takes place in Santa Monica, CA where buyers from all over the world can meet with distributors and sales agents with product to license. Along side the big studios and notable independent labels are many smaller players in the game, such as myself. And just like in the U.S., there are buyers for dozens of territories around the world looking for big, medium and small feature films to take to theaters, TV, DVD, VOD and any other outlet they feel they can turn a profit in their territory. This is the biggest event of it’s kind in the Western Hemisphere.)
At the show, buyers will be inundated with hundreds of films they’ve never heard of and trying to fill a quote for their company. This might be as simple as “1 drama, 3 horror, 3 sci-fi, 2 comedy, all $1m-$3m budgets”. If that is their agenda, and I have a horror film available, it’s my intention to make my film more desirable than my competition. Now, of course, I can’t compete with Lionsgate shopping around “The Cabin in the Woods”, and fortunately I don’t have to. Anyone looking for an A-list title like that has no interest in my little zombie film. Of course, a buyer for Germany wanting “Cabin in the Woods” might have to pay $750k for those rights (probably not the best example as the really big films will actually get released in that country by the studio or the distributor they have a relationship with…but you get the point). A small film like “Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards” might only cost $40k for all rights in Germany.
Now, I’m not sure if you caught it since I tried to slide it past you in the previous sentence, but the title of the film is “Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards”. Or should I say the title “was”…..
Fortunately, the filmmaker, Neeley, has proven himself a pragmatic businessperson in that he’s deferred to my suggestion/advice/genius (people always get high marks for this!) and agreed to change the title and the poster. The previous poster falls squarely into my previously posted concerns about bad posters (see below). It was terrible, but as is often the case, resources were limited and the team knew whoever picked up the film would rework the artwork anyway.
So what you see here is the new poster we commissioned from a very talented artist we’re happy to have on our team. Continue reading