I just got an email from Henry, the indy filmmaker going into production in a few weeks. Just when I thought his cast couldn’t get any more impressive with Traci Lords and James Franco’s mom (see below), he’s locked down…wait for it…Karen Black! No shit! How you land Karen Black on a film without a studio budget is a puzzlement to me…but exactly the opposite.
Now, he did point out that she’s an Academy Award nominee. He didn’t have to remind me that her nomination took place before I was born. Please know, I’m not trying to demean Karen Black in any way; she was in some great films a long time ago. I just have to shake my head that a producer/director can think that getting an actress that has been out of the spotlight for decades is a big deal…or even a medium deal. In fact, how can he think it’s anything but a small deal. Actually, is there a smaller word for “deal” itself so I can accurately describe my thoughts on this?
So, I’m sure it’s surprising to him, but I’m still no impressed enough with the cast to put money into his project. Now, maybe, if he writes me next week that he’s locked down Bob Saget’s gardener…
Surprisingly, it seems I do have at least one friend who appreciates my advice and the fact that I’ve been involved in this industry for a while. Perhaps he’s the only one, but he’s surprisingly willing to admit that I know something of what I’m talking about when it comes to filmmaking and selling films. (How I fooled him, I don’t know…)
This friend, Randy (not his real name), has made one film to date. Actually, he’s made one very good film to date. For having a very small budget, he did a wonderful job. I’m impressed and I don’t give out that accolade lightly. He put together a hell of a cast and crew and delivered a project that’s solid in every respect. Recently finished, I have no doubt he’ll get it out there…I’d even be very surprised if it didn’t turn a profit…I just hope the distributor he’s working with doesn’t screw him.
So, he’s developing a new project and wanted some advice. Actually, now that I think about, maybe he didn’t want advise at all, maybe he just wanted to share with me his ideas for the new project, but it ended up in advice from me. Lots of it, in fact. He’s stepping up his budget and wants to do a comedy for the next project. Right out of the gate, I warned him that, all things being equal, not the best genre to start with. Comedy is very tough to pull off. Everything thinks they have a sense of humor and are funny; very few people actually are. Even those who are often fall on their faces when it comes to making a film. But Randy wasn’t remotely deterred. ”We have an amazing script!” Okay, I told him I’d take a look. Continue reading
I received a call a couple of weeks ago from a local actor who is trying to put a film together. His name is Tommy (not his real name) and he’s one of the stars of a local film that’s been wallowing in post production for years. The thing is, I saw a trailer for the film he’s in probably three years ago or more. It looked like they did a very nice job with a limited budget. Shot on the Red camera, it seemed slick and impressive. Of course…the more years that pass, the less impressive it seems it has to be. I recently reached out to the producer. I wanted to know if the film would be done in time for the 2012 American Film Market. I mean, since he missed 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 market, I thought he might be inspired to hit the 5 anniversary show celebrating the wrap of this picture. I also figured, maybe, I could get a look at the film to see if it is something my company could handle. His response was “We’re still working on sound”. Yep, that was the same reason (does “excuse” sound too negative?) I’ve been hearing for years. It probably doesn’t matter to me, because first time filmmakers, be it producers, directors or actors, are living in a fantasy land of sorts. I can say that, because when I was a first time filmmaker I was guilty of exactly the same thing. The reality is, this producer, I’m sure, is still adamant that he’s going to sell his film for more than they have into it. Whether that’s an advance against even more obscene profits the film is sure to bring, or an outright sale putting them comfortably in the black, he is no doubt convinced this is going to be his foray into successful filmmaking and open all kinds of doors. Again, I know, I was there. Now, granted, I haven’t seen the film, but the reality is, I don’t have to. I mean, not really. I know roughly what they have into the film, probably around $200k. And I know what they might, MIGHT get out of a distribution deal. If someone will advance them $50k, they should take the money, but if an offer along those lines comes in early, I assure the producer will hold out a few months until he realized “it aint’ gettin’ any better”. At that point, maybe that deal will still be there, maybe it won’t. Of course, the odds of getting even that $50k deal are slim, but maybe they slowing playing (and I mean REALLY slow playing) a greay indy film. Of course, odds are against that as well. Regardless of the deal, I hope they talk to some people who have been through the process or their contract will ensure they get fucked over as that’s the rule, not the exception in this game. My guess is, egos will prevails and producers will be convinced they’re smart enough to decipher the contract themselves. Good luck with that… Continue reading
The latest film I’m involved with is now done.
My hats off to the team including stars Danny Trejo, Steven Bauer, Oscar Torre and Camila Banus for their outstanding work.
I’ve no doubt the film will find a good home and big distributor to handle it domestically.
Seems my John Carter box office prediction was off by a mere $5.7 million as the domestic haul came in at just under $71 million. If we start with the $250m price tag and add what was probably $50-$100m in marketing and subtract the exhibitors fees…it’s official!!! - John Carter is a colossal flop!
Who would have thought?..aside from EVERYONE!
I have a friend, and by friend I mean acquaintance. Kyle (not his real name) is a filmmaker here in Las Vegas. We met many years ago when I was working on my first film, “Impact.” Clearly a movie buff and fascinated by the business, Kyle kept in touch with me over the years and finally got around to tackling his own feature a couple of years ago. In case you haven’t figured it out, yet, this story isn’t going to end well.
Kyle would occasionally check in with me over the years to hear about what I was up to, but when he was ready to make his first film, I started hearing from him a bit more as he had a lot of questions. The fact that he knew he didn’t know everything was a good sign. The fact that he reached out to someone that had been through the process for those answers was also a smart decision. The fact that I, unlike other people around him, told him the truth instead of what he wanted to hear…well, it seems that may not be what he was hoping for…but I digress.
He made it clear early on that he had no budget to speak of. And when I say no budget, I mean NO BUDGET. The final production, I was told, cost was around $3000. Now even finishing a feature is an accomplishment, so my hats off to him for that. To do it with no money at all, even more so. The problem is, most creative people have little to no business sense. Surprisingly many even seem to lack common sense. Kyle is a prime example of someone creative who has no business handling the business side of this industry. Continue reading