This division is led by Susan B. Flanagan our Executive Producer, Creative Producer, Emmy® Award Winning Writer, Award Winning Producer and Showrunner - All of the visuals in this clip were created by Slavic I.A. our Creative Executive Producer, Director, and Previsualisation / Digital Artist Supervisor. Slavik and our team have helped produced some of Hollywood’s most recent worldwide major box office hits and currently working on major films to be released soon.

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Investors and Industry Executives (Streaming, Studios, Cable, Broadcast Corporations) Answer Questions Regarding

How Can Writers and Independents

Get Funding or Production Deals in 2022

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Writers: How have writers with less creative talent than you, been able to get their scripts reviewed and produced?​

My name is Sophie Marcelle, Producer, BSI Films. During my interview with Pamela Bernstein, (Investor of Independent films) and Carlton, executive with Netflix I asked them to answer the following questions.

I asked Pamela Bernstein, (Investor of Independent films) - about Insiders and what is it that they’re doing that Independents are not doing.

Pamela: responded by stating Insiders are Independents. Basically, Insider are simply Independents who have gotten a production deal with an investor, studio, or broadcast company. Note: over 90% of Insiders are new to the industry.

*2nd part of my question; How were they able to get deals or funding?

Carlton, executive with Netflix stated: They followed directions executives have provided for submitting their scripts. It really is that simple!

Note: over the past 2 decades over 90% of films produced have been by Independents and not by Insiders.

Sophie: can Independents contact you if they just want to submit their script

Carlton, not until they have gotten beyond the 4th or 5th step of development. The first step is to work with your producer and determine the approach you want to take for developing a package and marketing your project. Once that step is completed, they will determine who, when and how to contact an investor. 

* The above takes time but can be done on their own, the option below is more challenging but faster way to submit.

*Sign with an agency, work with a person or company that has access, or have "A" list talent attached to your project.

Sophie: What is the 5th step and how many steps are there?

Pamela and Carlton had different answers to most of my questions, but here is what they both agreed on

1. Every Independent that has gotten a production deal, had a Producer that knew both the creative and business side of this business. Contact us with your questions or if assistance is needed.

2. Create a Development Package - This is the information investors and executives are asking for when they ask for information about your project.

 

a. Development Package - List of basic information to put in your Package

b. Sample of a Development Package presentation

4. Get a Script Polish by credited writer - Make sure Development of your project reflects both the creative and business value of your script based on who you plan to submit it to - Click here - editing standards set by investors and industry executives.

 

5. If you don’t have an agent, talent, director or meet the other criteria for submitting scripts to industry executives, consider options that market your project direct to the public – Contact us with your questions or speak with your Producer, 

 

6. Write more than one (1) script Contact us with your questions or speak with your Producer.

 

7. For submitting a project for funding, your Development Package is created containing business, production, and financial information. – Contact us with your questions or speak with your Producer.

 

8. Which is easier to secure? Funding or a Production Deal with studios, streaming, cable, or broadcast companies. Contact us with your questions or speak with your Producer.

 

9. What happens if your script gets submitted, but gets "Passed" on? Contact us with your questions or speak with your Producer.

 

Sophie Marcelle, Producer, BSI Films

 

#pitchingscripts #contentwriters #film #streaming#writing #writers #publishing #books #scriptwriting #adaptationofscripttobook #adaptation #marketingscript

 

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March 27, 2022

Writers and Independents

followed these suggested steps as guidelines for taking their script to the next level and resulted in Production Deals

 

I asked Samantha Swenson (Sam) a Senior Executive of an international hedge fund group ...

 

Questions: It appears only Insiders and not Independents are getting funding and production deals

  • What Are The Steps For Taking A Script To The Next Level?

  • How Can Independents Contact You or Investors Like You For Help?

 

Sam: First of all, Insiders are Independents. Basically, anyone that does not work for a studio or content company (streaming, cable, or broadcast) is an Independent. An Insider is simply an Independent who has gotten a production deal with an investor, studio, or broadcast company.

 

Note: over the past 2 decades over 90% of films produced have been by independents!

  • Sophie: Can independents and writers contact you for assistance

 

Sam: Absolutely Not! At least, not until they have gotten beyond the 5th step of development. But you already know the answer to that question, you just want to hear me say it so you can print it. The first step is to work with your producer and determine the approach you want to take for developing a package and marketing your project. Once that step is completed, they will determine who, when and how to contact an investor. 

  • Sophie: What is the 5th step and how many steps are there?

Independents got a production deal by doing the following ...

1. They wrote a script then began treating it as a product for their new business. There are 2 primary levels for being in the film industry, creative and business. You've already started the creative, you wrote a script.

2. Now take the time to learn the basics about how the business side of this industry works. Some writers say its easier than writing a script, it's not complicated, but like any business it takes time and effort. 

3. Keep in mind, one day someone could pay you a lot of money for one of your scripts. You can be one that knows nothing and get very little or one that knows a little and get a lot. Everyone in this business has made mistakes, from Spielberg on down, the key is to minimize them so that they don't hurt as much when they happen. Scarlett Johannson and Disney settled but neither side is happy or talking about it.  

4. In today's film industry many credited Producers are working with Independents and their information is available online. Be careful who you approach, not all of them can confirm who they are. Search IMDB.com if you contact one you're considering to help you. Also, every Independent we've worked with had a Producer that knew both the creative and business side of this business. Get with a credited Producer to help guide and develop your script so that it can be sent to 3rd parties for review and consideration.

5. Develop a package to send out to 3rd parties. Note: they want to see more than a script, click here for suggestions to include in your package 

6. If you don't have access, resources to submit to industry executives or investors, an agent, access to talent, a director or equity investor there is another option to consider. You and your Producer can look at options to build public interest in your project. Studios are following projects on social media, adaptation of script to Books, YouTube shorts, etc. They check to see how big their following is and what the public is interested in their project. Streaming, Broadcast, Cable Executives and Investors like projects that come with ticket buyers and viewers already in place

8. Write more than one (1) script or turn the one you have into a series. Its always best to have more than one script to present, ask James Cameron, he wrote a lot of scripts before one got produced. 

9. How to find a Producer you can work with. No agent or Producer can guarantee you will get a production deal, but they can help you to compete for funding and production deals. 

Note:   If you want someone to spend millions to produce your script, it is no longer a hobby but a business. Take the same steps to get millions for your script as you would for building a business. Get help. Everyone in this business has had help. Research what’s popular, what kind of movies, series or content studios, streaming and broadcast companies are putting out, then edit your script to meet that demand.

Write me your questions and I will get you an answer / gigi@bsimcg.com

 

Sophie Marcelle, Producer, BSI Films

 
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Previous Posts
 

Given the demand globally for content, do you anticipate

making rules easier for independents to compete for funding or production deals?

Samantha Swenson (Sam) is a senior partner of a Wall Street hedge fund group that has raised funding for some of the biggest studio box office hits in recent years and continues to negotiate production deals for independent films and series (she and Syd Shaffer have worked together) 

 

Sophie: I understand you will attend the Film Finance Forum 2022 in London this year. Given the demand globally for content, do you anticipate making rules easier for independents to compete for funding or production deals?

 

Sam: Why would the film industry make rules easier for independents? The rules are the same for everyone including independents. Additionally, over the past 2 decades over 90% of films produced have been by independents!

 

Writers, some more than others, have figured out this is a business first and entertainment second. They also know writing a script is not a hobby especially if they want a company or investors to spend millions to produce it.

 

As a result, Writers are realizing the rules help guide them on what they need to do and that allows them to compete for funding and production deals. 

 

Sophie: What are the rules! What is the process? Most independents/writers don’t have the resources, time or understanding of what’s needed to address both the entertainment and business needs of executives or investors. So, what can Writers do on their own with, or without assistance of insiders or independents to help them.

Sam: Answer ...

 

Send Us Your Questions or Check back throughout the week

for more Q&A 

Gigi / gigi@bsimcg.com

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Q&A interview with

North America and International Investors and Buyers

 

My name is Sophie Marcelle, Development Executive and along with Elyse Ferrari, Producer with (BSI Films) we had a candid conversation with investors Syd Shaffer and Samantha Swenson regarding funding and production deals for independents

 

Mr. Shaffer and Ms. Swenson are senior Executives of an international hedge fund group that has raised funding for some of the biggest Hollywood film box office hits and negotiated production deals for independent films and series in recent years 

*Warning … Syd has a colorful way of talking and uses strong language

Although some of you may have already read this post, I posted it again because for those who have not read it, may find it helpful, if seeking funding or a production deal with studios, streaming, cable, and broadcast corporations. 

 

 

*Warning: Syd has a colorful way of talking and uses strong language. 

 

 

Elyse/Sophie: What chance does an independent really have of getting a film funded or a production deal from streaming, cable, or broadcast company?

 

Syd: They have the same chance as anyone else in this room with the right people presenting it and they play by the rules.

 

Elyse/Sophie: So, who are the “right people” and what are the rules?

 

Syd: The right people are those who have a f**king clue about how this process works.

 

No one in this room has ever given millions to someone they never heard of, never met, who has no credits and only a script to show us. If you got a producer or exec. producer that has experience, credits from major companies, has contacts or permission to contact players, you got a chance. At the very least, know how to develop a project so that when it's presented, we get info we're looking for. But if all you got is a script, your chances of getting funding from anyone in here is none and never.

As for the rules, they’re very simple. Learn how both the business and entertainment side of this industry works. Or work with a producer that has the resources, accesses, and knowledge of how this process works. If talking to someone in this room, they want to know the genre, what talent is attached, how much is needed, what financial instruments do you have in place to protect their investment, is there distribution in place and how much profit will I make. If you don't have any of the above can you prove there's public interest in your project, i.e. social media, book sales etc., and all that has to be said in less time than it takes for them to sip out of the glass they're holding.

Keep in mind, they are not going to read your script, listen to how great you think your script is or want to hear how much money other movies made that are similar to yours. We already know how much money other movies have made, hell the people that financed those films are probably in this room.

 

However, we are open to hearing about what the public thinks about your project. Have you promoted your script on social media, do you have a following, has your script been adapted to a book and are there book sales, do you have a channel on YouTube with a following? Basically, any numbers that proves there are people interested in your project, we will listen to. If you have a script and want someone to fund or negotiate a production deal that will pay you millions to produce it, be prepared to know both the entertainment and business sides of this industry or get someone that does. 

 

 

Syd: One more thing, I along with everyone in this room haven’t read a script in decades. If I want to know about your script or what it takes to produce it, I’ll hire your EP, Susan or someone like her to tell me what the hell is going on, so don't ask me to read your script. 

  • Let me ask you a question. I personally know your executives, I also know they don't have time to read scripts, I bet they have you do it. Am I right?

 

 

Elyse/Sophie: OK... yes, they have us read them. We're the first step. We determine if it meets basic writing standards set by industry executives, where the concept ranks in current marketing trends, does it go beyond 2 quadrants, and if it's on the "The List" (this is an exclusive list of unproduced scripts anonymously chosen by various Studio Development Executives and pulled if the need arises. As you know, a script does not have to be on "The List" to be considered by you, or the studios. The majority of projects you and the studios send to Susan are not on that list, but you know that. So yes we read them first.

  • Question, if independents don’t know the right people or have a producer, what can they do to compete for funding or a production deal with studios, streaming, cable, or broadcast corporations? ​

 

 

Syd: If they don’t have a team or a producer with the knowledge and resources to develop their project or know how this game is played, find someone that does. 

This is big business! You can’t even rob a bank and get the money people are asking for to make a movie these days. There’s a shit load of money being paid out even for low budget movies, not to mention big-budgeted films, even scripted series have budgets in the millions … per episode! Look, most writers/independents don't treat this industry seriously. But writers can play in this game, if they're serious. I know for a fact it can be done, because our firm and others fund those projects and negotiate production deals with studios, streaming, cable, and broadcast companies on behalf of independents.

There are credited writers, producers that are able to assist them. News flash, they’re not going to do this sh*t for free. They have their own projects to develop. But whatever you do, don’t retain just anybody to help you. There are a lot of good people in this industry that can do what they say, unfortunately there are also a lot that can’t do a damn thing. When you find one, look at their credits (IMDB) this is a good place to start.

 

Elyse/Sophie: What if an independent does not have a team, does not want to retain someone to help them, or follow your rules? What other options can they pursue for finding an investor? ​

 

 

Syd: Really? Is this a serious question? So, you’re going to ask me for millions but don’t want to follow my rules. So why the f**k should I give you my client’s money? Listen, if they want to go solo and fund their own project then go for it. But if you want some investor to give you millions of their client's money for a high risk investment, but not give them the information being asked for, they won't even look at you.

 

Raising money to produce content is a high risk and high rewards investment. That's why there are rules. The rules are proven to protect that investment and hopefully make a profit.

 

So, following the rules and process is mandatory. Keep in mind, no longer is a script the only or most important step in the process. Studios literally have millions of them. So stand out, at least on paper show you know what the hell you’re doing.

 

Elyse/Sophie:  Please give me examples of projects you've gotten deals for by independents. How can independents contact people like you, and do most investors think like you? ​

 

 

Syd: You’re funny. What did I just tell you, if you play by the rules, you can find anyone in this room? If you don’t, you won’t.

 

As for do most investors think like me. Hell no! But those that don’t, tend to lose a lot of money. Nearly everyone in here makes decisions based on a variety of factors that are specific to what they’re looking for. So, I have no f**king clue what everyone else thinks, but I do know, if you show up here holding only a script … drink quickly, because security will be escorting you out.

* Definition - Quadrant Movie - A movie that appeals to all four major demographic “quadrants” of the movie going audience: both male and female, and both over and under the age of 25. Movies usually shoot for two quadrants in order to gain as much of an audience as possible. Investors and executives want to reach all four.

 

 

Sophie Marcelle, Development Executive

Elyse Ferrari, Producer

 
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