Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crowd Funding: It's more about the politics than the money



Sylvester Stallone and Spike Lee both using crowd funding has been a mixed blessing. They have given more credibility to crowd funding, but they have also changed the expectations of donors. With so many projects seeking different levels of funding, donors have begun to feel overwhelmed. How should they decide which film to support? Which film has the best chance of being made?

When choosing a project supporters need to decide what is important to them. Do they want to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? Donors, who support large films, will be nothing more than an anonymous name in a long list. Small Independent films are more heavily dependent on public support and small investors. Unlike Stallone and Lee, more often than not they don't have access to traditional funding venues, therefore they are more grateful and offer more to those who support them. Those who enable independent films to be produced, not only give themselves more options at the box office, but they can legitimately take credit for launching careers and changing the entertainment industry.

Although the amount raised is important, the number of people supporting a project is far more of a game changer. Like the Nielsen Ratings, each donor represents a level of interest, which translates into box office receipts. The more people who back a project, the more likely the film will be produced. Each donation is an endorsement. The number people endorsing a film is what investors, studios and distributors look at when making their decisions.

One person donating $100 helps the producers short term, but four people donating $25 or ten people donating $10.00 proves there is a greater support for the film. The multiple small amounts actually make a great impact even thought the total remains the same. It is the difference between a single vote of confidence and ten votes. The only exception is when the amount reaches investors status, but that is an entirely different situation.

Those who support independent films have the power to create change for everyone involved. The only question that remains are you one of those who want to make a difference?






Love can be a blessing or a curse.
Have you ever met someone and suddenly felt love or hate? Did you wonder why? What if you had forgotten the reason? Would you want to remember if it could save you life? 

Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriler-horror that combines a traditional ghost story with unique plot twists.




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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Failing Box Office a Symptom of Bad Industry Leadership


Normally, during economic challenging times the entertainment industry continues to do very well. People need the diversion from their personal challenges. Yet, in the last decade, film and television projects have not had the ROI of previous years for three simple reasons.



* Diversification of venues
* Redundancy
* Lack of leadership 


The diversification and increase of venues gives the audiences more options, thereby increasing the competition for the audiences' attention. With every challenge comes opportunity. They are the flip side of the same coin. Yet, instead seeing the possibilities, studios are using it as an excuse for failure. The increasing venues also mean an increased need for content. However, instead of producing a couple of hundred low to medium budget films a year, studios have been gambling the whole pot on one role of the dice. The former spreads the economic risks among many projects and provides content for many venues, which decreases the gamble factor and increases the profitability margin for both the studio as well as the investors. The latter increases the failure rate and lowers profitability, while opening the door for competitors. The venues need content; they will get it from wherever they can.




The industry used to be about innovation and entertainment with 80% original projects and 20% remakes or rehashes. However, those numbers have been reverse. Instead of new films the SOP has become remaking, rehashing, and rerunning old television shows and film--good, bad or indifferent, it doesn't matter as long as someone else did it first it should be a safe bet. But following someone else' s lead means that the projects are always a day late and a dollar short.

Realistically, how many super hero movies to they think the audience will watch? How much gratuitous sex and violence can a film contain before it crosses the line into porn? How many animated features, which are little more than thinly veiled toy commercials, will parents sit through? Could that be why the July 4 box office receipts were down 44% from 2013 to 2014 even with the rainy weather? If it was because of the World Cup as some studio heads claim, why was June box office down 16%?

Thirdly, but more importantly the quality of the projects have become stagnant due to lack of leadership. In order for any company, but especially those industries that are so heavily dependent on the whims of the masses, to be successful the leaders must know their industry enough to know how to push the boundaries and have the courage to do take those risks. Front runners don't follow trends; they create them. That is the difference between Gone with the Wind and Transformers: Age of Distinction, which is latest of the super hero movies.

Early television was a new venue that became successful very quickly because the networks and studios were smart enough to bring on the people from film, vaudeville, and the theater, who knew what they were doing. They had track records for producing, directing, and acting in successful projects. The creative people created the projects; the bean counters followed their lead and took care of the financial details. However, the bean counters have been pushing out the innovative and creative leaders. In their little world of ledgers and spreadsheets, the numbers always add up the same. In accounting, two plus two always adds up to four. The reality is that people aren't so simple. They can't be summed up on a balance sheet. What worked once doesn't guarantee that it will even work once more. The failure of the leadership has been to keep the experts doing their jobs and to keep the budgets in perspective. Creative people don't always make good business people, nor are business oriented people always capable of seeing past the numbers. It is only by working together as a team that projects are successfully produced and make a profit. 

 


























 

When promoting our Paranormal Thriller-Horror feature, Never Can Say Good-bye, I compared it to Ghost, Always, and What Dreams May Come. I was advised by a friend to change the comparison, because all three films were so old that no one in the industry remembers them. She advised that I update the list to more current projects so that the younger studio executives would be able identify with our concept. Her advice started me researching. However, with the exception of "The Others", there aren't any current movies that are comparable. Even then the only things Never Can Say Good-bye and The Others have in common are the ghost theme and the unique twist at the end. 



 


 

Part of the issue is that the leaders don't know their industry history. They don't know what has been done, so they don't know what can be done. In 1946, Howard Hughes produced and directed a western called, The Outlaws. Starring Jane Russell as the vamp Rio McDonald, Hughes created an immediate interest and a media flurry when he shelved the film for a year, claiming the censors said it was too racy to be released. By today's standards, the film would be considered tame. Most people think it was a dreadful movie, but it made history because of its presentation. John Carter on the other hand is an excellent movie that cost way too much, but it was horribly marketed. The marketing staff should have been fired along with the head of the studio. The lack of team work and fiscal responsibility turned what could have been very profitable venture into a financial disaster.






Until innovation, leadership, and team work once again become the standard in the industry, the audience will continue to look else where for their entertainment.






Love can be a blessing or a curse.
Have you ever met someone and suddenly felt love or hate? Did you wonder why? What if you had forgotten the reason? Would you want to remember if it could save you life? 

Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriler-horror that combines a traditional ghost story with unique plot twists.


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Do Ghosts Kill?



Never Can Say Good-bye has had two excellent reviews. The reviewers loved the script.

“Never Can Say Good-bye” is a gripping, ghostly tale of love, betrayal and revenge. With ghosts interacting with humans, who will win? This unique story has so many shocking twists, it made me gasp for breath.” –
Betty Dravis

Roy Sexton compared it to:
"Never Can Say Good-bye reinvents the reincarnation conceit (Christopher Reeve’s/Jane Seymour’s 1980 film Somewhere in Time, Ellen Burstyn’s 1980 film Resurrection) in the guise of gothic paranormal psychodrama (Nicole Kidman’s 2001 film The Others, Julie Harris’ 1963 film The Haunting, Deborah Kerr’s 1961 film The Innocents). The plot concerns two families united by a doomed marriage in the 1950s and explores the dissonant legacy that familial discord has had on subsequent generations. (See the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for another take on this thematic concept.)"



Never Can Say Good-bye is a new film, which combines genres to create a ghostly tale that will scare you sock off. Reading the first ten pages of the script is our gifts to our team mates. Give yourself an option other than the remakes, sequels and super hero movies by joining our team.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-ghostly-tale-of-love-revenge/x/94403#activity



Love can be a blessing or a curse.

Have you ever met someone and suddenly felt love or hate? Did you wonder why? What if you had forgotten the reason? Would you want to remember if it could save you life?
Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriler-horror that combines a traditional ghost story with unique twists.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Following the Tradion of The Others, The Haunting, The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County...




My my downright caustic review of the latest Transformers installment caught the attention of Traverse City-based independent filmmaker Theresa Chaze (click here for her website). She is also a published author, experienced video producer, and accomplished communications professional, and she is hard at work launching her new film Never Can Say Good-bye (IMDB page). I was honored when she asked if I would read her script and offer my thoughts.

(And the animal lover in me adores this part of her impressive bio: “As the media specialist for Angel Protectors of Animals and Wildlife, she produced several public service announcements and micro-documentaries. The messages remained informative and promoted positive action to save our nation’s wildlife.” Yes! Another of her potential projects is a TV show about equine therapy for veterans – Horses and Heroes.)

Never Can Say Good-bye reinvents the reincarnation conceit (Christopher Reeve’s/Jane Seymour’s 1980 film Somewhere in Time, Ellen Burstyn’s 1980 film Resurrection in the guise of gothic paranormal psychodrama (Nicole Kidman’s 2001 film The Others, Julie Harris’ 1963 film The Haunting, Deborah Kerr’s 1961 film The Innocents). The plot concerns two families united by a doomed marriage in the 1950s and explores the dissonant legacy that familial discord has had on subsequent generations. (See the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County for another take on this thematic concept.)


I finished reading the script earlier this week. It is so well done and layered and clever. I love the notion of turning a ghost story on its head through the lens of reincarnation. I thought the characters were all clearly and thoughtfully drawn, and the script is definitely a page turner in the best sense. The disparate threads cohere in a denouement that is both chilling and poignant. The dialogue is believable, and the insular college-town setting (somewhere in northern Michigan, I believe) lends a nice chilly, hierarchical vibe.
Different actors are reported to have been attached at various points, including Lauren Holly, Bill Hayes, and Dyan Cannon. Stanley Livingston is connected to direct. Obviously, “name” performers would bring added attention to the project, but I daresay a cast of unknowns would keep audience attention focused on the narrative and the dense web of challenging relationships therein.


And, as in seemingly all creative efforts these days, there is a crowd-source funding campaign afoot through Indiegogo – you can donate here. From the campaign’s page …
We love a good ghost story. How about you? We are not talking about films that gross out the audience or are so dependent of special effects that the producers forgot to give the characters personalities or have plots that are based on clichés or simply don’t make any sense. Much like Dark Shadows, Never Can Say Good-bye is based on suspense and plot twists that will scare the socks off the audience and make them suspicious of the dust bunnies under their beds.


Best of luck, Theresa – hope this script makes it to the silver screen soon – it’s a keeper!


To read the review on its original blog click here.




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Love can be a blessing or a curse.
Have you ever met someone and suddenly felt love or hate? Did you wonder why? What if you had forgotten the reason? Would you want to remember if it could save you life?
Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriler-horror that combines a traditional ghost story with unique twists.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Are you ready to have your socks scared off?




We love a good ghost story. How about you? We not talking about films that gross out the audience or are so dependent of special effects that the producers forgot to give the characters personalities or have plots that are based on clichés or simply don't make any sense. Much like Dark Shadows, Never Can Say Good-bye is based on suspense and plot twists that will scare the socks off the audience and make them suspicious of the dust bunnies under their beds.

So many films in the genre use shock value with graphic sex and violence to gain an audience. But that is the easy and chintzy way. It's much harder to draw the audience in not only because they identify with the characters, but they also want to know what happens next. More than just a thriller, Never Can Say Good-bye is about forever love and how those we love are never really gone. Unfortunately, the same can be said about those we hate and those who hate us.

We are a new team. This is the first of many projects. Many of the names you will see attached, you will recognize. Some are just beginning their careers. Several are coming back to the industry. The one thing we have in common the belief that quality comes from well developed character and plot rather than sex, violence, and the latest special effects. The box office receipts are down, because the audiences are tired of the endless remakes, sequels, and comic book movies.

Helping us will be giving you another option at the box office. Instead of having to chose between remakes, super heroes, and two-hour animated commercials, whose sole purpose is to sell to kids, you will be able to choose a movie that will give you a window seat with a view into the unknown that is most people's greatest fear--death. Only we will show you that death is just a doorway to another room, another life, and another chance to make difference choices.




Contributing to our campaign will make a world of difference for our production. It would be really nice if we could get our full production budget from this campaign. But that would take a major miracle. We have created this campaign to produce a professional sizzle reel to present to investors. We can't expect our cast and crew to work for free. A professional reel will also help the presentation to distributors, who have a history of paying pre-sales. It's easy to find distribution afterthe film is finished, but finding one that is willing to come on board before completion is more of a challenge.

Like most campaigns we have some really good incentives for helping us. However, we are doing something that is just a little different. We are asking you to putting in the equivalent of your two cents worth in and let it be your vote for the kind of entertainment that you would like to see. The first option is two dollars. That little bit of money will prove that you have the means to go the theaters, but are choosing to stay away. Another incentive is to be able to read the first ten pages of the script. If you are unable to help us financially, please share our campaign with your friends, family, and on your social networking sites. Every posting and every tweet is one more person and one more opportunity to make miracles happen. 

 Please go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-ghostly-tale-of-love-revenge/x/94403 to help us produce Never Can Say Good-bye and share our link so that the six degrees of separation will make miracles happen. 


" Instant Karma is going to get you."
                                       John Lennon
Have you ever met someone and suddenly  felt love or hate? Yet you couldn't remember  them.  Would you want to  remember? Would you want to know if it could save  your life?

Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriller  feature film--If you were given a second chance, would you choose love...or revenge?


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Courage isn't the lack of fear, but the ability to set it aside and  focus on what is truly important

Friday, July 11, 2014

Love can be a blessing or a curse

Love can be a blessing or a curse.

Even as the ghost of a small child begs her to forgive, the memories of another time arouse feelings of hatred that they  don't understand and cannot control. When they again meet  their lives are thrown onto a dangerous collision course from which they can neither run, nor can they hide.  The question is, "Can they
overcome their tragic past or will they be doomed to repeat it?"

Never Can Say Good-bye-when love and hate survive death.is a traditional ghost story with a unique twist.  It combines the best elements of a paranormal thriller with that of a horror to create a suspenseful tale, which asks, "If you were given a second chance, would you choose love or revenge?"



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Saturday, July 05, 2014

The past and the present collide as love and hate survive death








Have you ever met someone and suddenly felt love or hate? Did you wonder why? What if you had forgotten the reason? Would you want to remember if it could save you life?

Elizabeth was asked by her mentor to teach a writing course at a small college. Since she never forgets a kindness, she reluctantly agrees. Arriving in town, she instantly regrets her decision. She wants to run, but she is honor bound to stay. Even as the ghost of a small child begs her to forgive, the memories of another time arouse feelings of hatred that she doesn't understand and cannot control. When she meets Shane, all of their lives are thrown onto a dangerous collision course from which they can neither run, nor can they hide. The question is, "Can they overcome their tragic past or will they be doomed to repeat it?"