Previsualisation & Animation By Our EP Slavik I.A.
Film Industry News
Hollywood Guidelines For Re-Opening
Hollywood announced it is re-opening on June 12, 2020
However, the guidelines laid out by the governor had some of us wondering how to film anything and practice social distancing. Then it only got more interesting when the Unions, Guilds, CDC, and talent along with their lawyers added some guidelines.
In addition to the standard guidelines i.e. washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing there were some other guidelines that were privately discussed.
Talent agencies said some talent did not want to fly, but if they must fly, private jet is preferred. This came from some of the union members that are not the primaries on films.
Options for kissing and touching between talent is going to be interesting. They have not figured this one out yet. One suggestion was to have a "stand in" that had been quarantined to do the scenes and/or scripts be re-written to eliminate certain scenes all together
Makeup artists are going to have challenges given they are close to a person’s face and that person will not be wearing a mask. Jokingly a studio exec said we could lock them in the room with the stand-in. Everyone started laughing … but not the lawyers.
Auditions are online or if in person, plexi-glass or a partition must be between talent and casting team.
The union, guilds and lawyers want to know who is going to pay if their clients get sick. When you work on a film, personal health insurance is your responsibility.
Although the Hollywood industry is technically open, there appears to be some details that still must be defined. When I hear more information, I will pass it along.
Stay safe and happy,
My name is Elyse, I'm a producer with (BSI Media & Film Productions)
For this post ... I had a candid conversation with investors from the U.S. and Syd Shaffer from Europe.
Mr. Shaffer and his team have helped raise funds for some of the world’s top grossing films, including several major projects that our executive producers – Slavik I.A. and Susan B. Flanagan have helped develop and produce. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about funding independent projects. His comments are below.
*Warning … Syd has a colorful way of talking.
Elyse: What chance does an independent really have of getting a film funded?
Syd: They have the same chance as anyone else in this room, if their plan has the right people presenting it and they play by the rules.
Elyse: 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 team that has experience, credits from major studios and has contacts or access to people that do … you can play. 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. Have a team that knows both the business side of this industry and the creative. If talking to someone in this room, they want to know the genre, who’s in it, how much is needed, what financial instruments do you have in place to protect their investment, distribution and how much profit will I make .... and that has to be done in less time than it takes for them to sip out of the glass their holding.
Keep in mind, they are not going to read your script or listen to how its going to be produced, because they don’t know a damn thing about producing a film. I along with everyone in this room haven’t read a script in years. If I want to know about your script or what it takes to produce it, I’ll hire Susan or someone like her to tell me what the hell is going on. I want answers to those questions listed above. If your answers meets my client's need than the conversation will continue.
Let me ask you a question. I know most of your executives; I also know they don't have time to read scripts, I bet they have you do it?
Elyse: OK... yes they have me read them. We're the first step. We determine if it meets basic standards set by industry executives. If it gets by us, Susan and her editor will perform an evaluation and edit if needed ... but you know that. Question: If independents don’t know the right people or have a team what can they do?
Syd: If you don’t have a team or the right people or know how to put a team together, consider signing on with someone that has a team in place.
There are professional writers, producers and even production companies you may be able to retain to assist you. News flash … they’re not going to do this sh*t for free. 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. Look at their credits (IMDB) this is a good place to start.
If independents want to compete, then they need to find a way to get someone on their team that at least has credits, has contacts or at least runs in the same circles as other players. I recognize putting a team together has it challenges, the biggest one is getting the right people to help you. But I know for a fact it can be done, because we fund some of those projects!
Also, putting a team together is easier than trying to secure help from accredited production companies or getting an agent … in my opinion. These people are about making money and will not talk to you. They have their own projects they're trying to get funding for. Just like major studios most production companies do not fund or invest in feature films. Just like the studios, they get funding by approaching investment firms, hedge funds, financial institutions etc. But they can give it a try ... it might happen.
Elyse: 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, years ago you could have gone direct to the studios or networks and someone would have looked at your project. Fast forward to today, you can’t even get past the receptionist.
The reason being, 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! 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. All the steps are important. So, if they don’t want to follow the rules, what is it that they want me to do?
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. High risk and high rewards are out there for those who want to play. If an independent wants to go up against insiders for funding their films or getting a script sent to series, it ain’t gonna be easy and that’s even if they have some serious people helping them! But if you don’t follow the process, chances are the challenges will be even greater ... especially if the people you're competing against are following the rules.
But I say go for it. Find a way to do it on your own. Everyone I know on the creative side has had a project passed on at some point, some more than others and ... I’m talking big name stars in this industry. But I know independents that have still found a way to make it happen. With all the new options for producing and distributing content that’s available, independents have options ... with or without help from anyone!
Elyse: 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.
Please Note: Although Syd and other investors in his group, contact Susan, for their development and production needs, they do not want to be emailed or contacted by phone.