Selling Sizzle and Raising Funds for Your Film

The first note I’d like to make is to value and respect your investors and their hard earned money. Often times producers view investors as a one night stand position instead of a long term relationship. The producer gets the money and makes their movie with little to no concern about paying the investors back, much less showing them a return on their investment. This to me is not only a terrible business mistake but a moral one as well. Don’t be an asshole. Be a good person and your career will prosper. Be upfront and honest with your investors. They’re intelligent and successful people. They know business and deserve to know the good news and the bad news about what they’re getting themselves into. Don’t mislead your investors with inflated information about your project.

Moving on:

There’s a lot of information out there in books, forums, seminars, etc. on writing business plans for film projects with the investor’s POV in mind. A solid business plan is very important but what the crap do you do with it once it is complete?

It’s time to take action. There are planners and there are doers. You can have a planner’s mind, and a heart full of passion, but if you don’t have the hands to take the action then you’re at the end of the road before you’ve even turned over the ignition.

Here’s a method to TAKE ACTION:

1.) You’ve got to WOW your investors! How?

2.) Take them to the track. In high-end product sales, the salesman will often take the client to an exotic location and get them in a luxurious spirit before offering their presentation. An example would be the horse races.

3.) I don’t recommend taking a film investor to a horse race and then yelling praises about your key management team, executive summary, etc. SO:

4.) Locate a local theater that is fancy, upscale, and has a digital projector.

5.) Contact the theater manager, let him/her know that you are a movie producer and currently in the fund-raising stages. Offer to pay one of their employees $100 to come in early that day and project your sizzle! What’s your sizzle????

6.) If you don’t have a trailer for your movie yet because you don’t have any money yet then don’t let a catch 22 stop you. Find a cinematographer/director of photography with a killer demo reel. This will be one of the most important people you hire. Where do you find a cinematographer?

7.) Put an ad on Craigslist, Linked-in, Variety, Ross Reports, etc. requesting demo reel submissions.

8.) Once you have a DP locked down, you now have your sizzle reel to WOW investors.

9. Make sure your prospects have reviewed your business plan and done their legal due-diligence BEFORE the theater presentation so you can simply turn and ask them how many shares they are interested in buying.

10.) You need to close the deal during this meeting. They know how much the shares cost, they’ve had time to check you out, now it is time for them to open their checkbook and INVEST. You have to eliminate the objections ahead of time and then ASK FOR THE MONEY. If they balk for whatever reason, don’t be a little bitch–offer to put them down for a half a share.

This is one of many methods. Another note on ethics:

Make sure you let the investor know that you are screening your cinematographer/DP’s demo reel (not yours) and that they’ve agreed to work with you on your project. You don’t want to mislead someone who, if you’re lucky, will be doing business with on future projects as well. Put it all on the table and let the investor make their decision. Identifying your faults to an investor builds credibility. Again, they are intelligent business people who can smell “too good to be true” from a mile away.

Nathaniel Latimer
Direct: 323.898.9976
Email: nathaniel.latimer@gmail.com
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com
Linked-In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniellatimer

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Social Norm Screenwriter needs Script Doctor Recommendations

Hi you guys,

I apologize for being all MIA for a week. We were shooting a sick trailer to promote one of Simon and Schuster’s latest published novelists (Maya Sloan). Her new novel High Before Homeroom hits shelves on June 20th. It’s a very well written teen angst story about a confused kid living  in the shadow of his all-star older brother. He’s in love with a bad-girl that only dates bad-asses, develops a strategy to get hooked on meth, get thrown into rehab, and return to school with bad-boy cred to win her over. The novel rocks and is an instant cult classic. Perfect for the artsy indie world. Mark Darby Robinson’s performance was brilliant and lead singer of He Is Legend played the drug dealer and blew everyone away with his natural abilities.

I’ll be posting links to the trailer later this week. I played the role of the older brother.

Check out the author’s blog: http://www.mayasloan.com

Post comments that I sent you to her blog.

Production stills for High Before Homeroom are below this post.

ANYWAY! I need recommendations for script doctors for Social Norm. The individual needs to specialize in quirky Napolean Dynamite style comedy scripts. Please send referrals directly to my email or comment on this blog.

Your partner in LEGAL crime,

Nate

Nathaniel Latimer
Direct: 323.898.9976
Email: nathaniel.latimer@gmail.com
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com
Linked-In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniellatimer

5 Negotiation Tips for Producers

Sales guys make the best Producers.

Producers are businessmen.

Producers are deal makers.

When producing a film, you’re negotiating production equipment rates, talent agents, catering companies, film labs, distribution companies, attorneys, etc. etc. etc.

Sales is an ART that can make you VERY powerful.

If you want to be a successful Producer then you need to not only know the sales process but be a master when executing it. You need to learn about profit margins. You need to be able to feel out your counter’s bottom-line and get as close to it as possible. The more money you can save in the shooting budget then the more money you will have to market the hell out of your project.

Below are five basic gambits that will help you along the way. I’ll post many more in future posts because I’m full of these things.

1.) Ask for more than you expect to get.

When you go in high, you’re setting the negotiation environment in your favor. The other person already knows that they’re going to have to bend over backwards in order to make a deal work with you. It gives you more room to play with. If  you start out where you ultimately need to be then you simply have nowhere to go.

2.) Never accept the first offer.

You ever visit a website or walk into a brick and mortar business that lists all their prices on a rate card? NEVER PAY RATE CARD RATES! Why? Simple. A business owner looks at the cost of his product or the cost of his overhead and then dreams up his largest ideal profit margin that he feels he can get away with while still being competitive in the market. You can always negotiate rate prices down. There are always discounts. If you go get a job at a camera rental facility, one of the first things the recruiter will tell you is your commission rate and how much of a percentage discount you can give to your prospects in order to make a deal. That means not only do you have the company’s percentage discount as wiggle room but you also have the sales guy’s commission to wiggle with. If you tell a sales guy that you’ve got four other quotes and one of those quotes already meets his maxed out discount authority then he’s going to start giving away some of his commission in order to get the deal. SO NEGOTIATE!!! Balk at the first offer. Say you’re a student filmmaker and you’re broke. BAM 15% off. That’s one of MANY excuses you can come up with. KNOW that they have plenty of mark-up. ALSO keep in mind that if it’s something you’re renting then it’s like renting a hotel. If they don’t have somebody sleeping in the bed that night then they’re not going to make any money. They’d rather give it away for a steal price then make no money. THINK about it.

3.) Flinch at proposals:

This gambit works best when you’re dealing with a sales guy face to face. If a sales guy throws out a number you can use your body language to let him know that his offer just freaked you out. His next move is to start back peddling. If it’s over the phone then you can use your voice tones and inflections to your advantage.

4.) Reluctant Buyer/Reluctant Seller

This basically means you should act like you don’t really give a shit whether you buy the product or not. You want the ball in your court as often as possible. You want to be the guy getting pitched–not the guy pitching. You can also play this gambit when someone wants to buy something from you, i.e. a script or the distribution rights in a a specific area for your movie. You’ve got to make them think that there’s no way you’re going to sell in a million years. It’s a sales guy’s job to convince you to do what they want you to do which means they’re going to start pitching you. They’re going into the pitch knowing that they’re going to have to pay top dollar for your film, script, etc.

5.) Good Cop/Bad Cop

Some people think that they will be more advantageous when playing the role as the decision maker or head honcho. However, if you play the role of the errand boy or just any likable “good cop” then you can always negotiate down as low as they’ll agree and then say “let me run it by the producer and see if I can get it approved”. You then return to the seller and say “Dude… I’m sorry man, but my boss is kind of an a**hole. He says your price is too high, but if you could come down to X price then I can go ahead and pay you today”. You get the picture.

If you guys have any questions about gambits or what to do in an advanced negotiation then feel free to e-mail me directly and I’ll give you all the advice I can.

Thanks,
Nate

Nathaniel Latimer
Direct: 323.898.9976
Email: nathaniel.latimer@gmail.com
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com
Linked-In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniellatimer

Reach millions of investors or your niche market to drive traffic to your film’s websites!

E-marketing has proven to be a great way to increase niche market traffic to a movie site or DVD e-commerce site. It’s also a great way to market to millions of high wealth investors for a cost efficient price.

E-marketing is a science though, you can’t load millions of e-mail addresses on a system that doesn’t support that volume. Below is the correct method:

Loading accurate email addresses is a given–bad data equals bad results.

When sending out massive broadcasts, you should use a multiple IP and server trickle system. A strong trickle system has at least nine servers with 256 revolving IP addresses in each.

If you send the entire broadcast from one IP/server (basically hit send and your broadcast is over in a minute), it will hit the internet service provider’s (ISP) cut-rate (normally between 25,000 – 35,000 emails sent within a 60 minute interval depending on the ISP) and then the SPAM filters will black-list that IP/server as a SPAMMING IP address. This means your campaign is going to start bouncing.

A trickle system prevents this from happening. Once the campaign reaches an ISP’s cut-rate, the system jumps over to the next revolving IP address within the server and begins deploying from there. If the server is overloaded (happens on massive broadcasts) then the trickle system jumps to the server next to it. After the 60 minute interval is up, the system goes back to the original IP and sends a single email asking the ISP if it is accepting emails from that IP again.

If any of my readers need help with your marketing strategies then give me a call or email me and I’ll assist.

Nathaniel Latimer

Media One, LLC

1000 NW 65th Street, Ste 200

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

Cell: 323.898.9976

Email: nathan@media1llc.com

Mktg Web: http://www.media1llc.com

Linked-In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniellatimer

http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com

Basics to Forming a Production Company

This isn’t really rocket science. It’s pretty simple. I’ll give you the basics but I’d advise you to look further into the types of companies you can form and the detailed liabilities for each. You really don’t need an attorney to create your company. However, if you can get an attorney that will form your company as well as some other legal work I will mention later and do it all for a better total price then make a deal. I’d definitely recommend having a lawyer draft the contract between you and your partners (I’ve dealt with some crazy people). There’s really three main things:

1.) A company name

2.) A business license from City Hall

3.) A fictitious business statement (states your “Doing Business As” (DBA). It’s literally just a write-up in the local paper announcing your company in the legal section (normally 50-75 bucks)

The business license application will ask you your basic contact info and what type of company you are forming, i.e. Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Corporation. Below are the descriptions for each type:

Sole Proprietorship: You are in business for yourself. No legal paperwork involved. You are the only member of the company. No limitation of liability though which means if you’re sued then you’re personal assets are at stake. Sucks!

General Partnership: 2 or more people involved. Normally no govt. filing but an agreement between partners is recommended which basically states who is responsible for what and what their rights are.

*Joint Ventures* are a special type of partnership to combine two companies, i.e. co-producing, co-writing, creating a tv pilot, etc.

Limited Partnership: allows some of the partners to enjoy liability protections. There are general partners (GPs) and limited partners (LPs). Generals are liable for any legal crap that could go down. There has to be at least one GP. Only GPs can obligate the company into contracts, loans, hire/fire people, etc. Limited partners (LPs) are normally investors. They don’t have company control and will only risk losing their investment. You can be both a GP and LP at the same time. You do have to file with the state to form the LP part. You don’t have to have a GP agreement but you should.

C. Corp: Owned by shareholders which are generally the board of directors and managers. Directors and managers legally obligate the company. All shareholders have limited liability. You have to file with the state. The company will have “bylaws” governing how the company will operate.

S. Corp: *2 Big differences between a C and S corp*

  • Cs can have unlimited shareholders and Ss are limited to 75.
  • Cs are double taxed (business and personal) and Ss are only at the personal level.

LLC: This is the most popular method for production companies because there’s limited liability protection and the benefits of a partnership. It’s owned by its members, managed by members or the people the delegate. You have to file with the state. Taxed at individual level only. Company operates based on the company’s internal agreement between partners. You can own and work for your company as a director, writer, etc.

LLP: This is limited to specific professions (like Doctors and Lawyers) and would not apply to a production company.

I earlier mentioned that I would later mention the other initial things you’ll need your attorney to do. So here goes:

  • You’ll need him to create the LP (limited partnership) paperwork for your investors.
  • You will also need him to write your “Offering Memorandum” which also isn’t rocket science. It just says what each share represents, how many there are, and how much money you’re raising.
  • Finally he will need to set up the escrow account with your bank to hold the investment money.

All of this shouldn’t cost more than 2 grand.

Not too bad. Alright it’s 12:30 AM. I’m crashing. PEACE!

Nathaniel Latimer
323.898.9976
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com

A Dozen Ways to Create a Film BUZZ!

Expect the worst and hope for the best. If you create your marketing plan around nothing going your way then you’ll have an answer for everything (a back-up plan for your back-up plan). Below are a dozen ways to promote your film, create a buzz, increase sales, attract a distributor, etc.

1.) Hire a Publicist
2.) Post your trailer all over the web
3.) Buy advertising (hit your niche demographic by advertising in related publications or on related websites.
4.) Contact radio stations local to your screenings (give them a reason to give you an on air interview)
5.) Post on message boards and create blogs (I’m a huge Linked-In fan and have established a lot of marketing connections there)
6.) Local newspapers (believe it or not, people still read these)
7.) Get interviewed for a pod cast (itunes, podcastalley, etc)
8.) Create your own pod cast (it’s easy and has shown drastic improvements in e-commerce DVD sales)
9.) Enter film festivals
10.) Email campaigns (I specialize in these with a ridiculous nine server, revolving IP trickle system. Email me and I’ll help you. If done correctly then you can drive a lot of targeted traffic to your DVD purchase site)
11.) Have house parties or local screenings (anything to get the fire started)
12.) Make fliers and posters (make sure they don’t look crappy–you want your widget to sell)

Nathaniel Latimer
323.898.9976
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com

Shooting in Wilmywood the 17th and 18th!

You guys may recall my blog about my recent trip to Wilmington, NC where one of my marketing colleagues Greg Sloan (TV developer for Discovery, NatGeo, CMT, etc) introduced me to Emmy Award winning director Rob Hill. Well it looks like it panned out. I’ve been talking with Rob about new ideas for future projects ever since. I got a call from him earlier today and he asked me to come up to Wilmington on the 17th to shoot what looks to be the first of many projects for Simon and Schuster:

Simon and Schuster was established in 1924 and is a very well-known publisher and division of the CBS Corporation.

I will be playing the role of a wounded soldier/addict who returns from Iraq. This particular film is designed to promote one of Simon and Schuster’s latest published novels. I’ll be sure to post the film/sizzle trailer once I’m cleared to do so. I’ve seen Rob’s other work and I’m very excited to have these projects under my belt and on my demo reel. After speaking with Rob, it sounds like it’s going to be a rigorous and ambitious shoot with 11 locations in 2 days. I’m guessing it will be more than 2 days but either way I’m excited.

This will also be a great asset for Cuz Productions because we will be collaborating on many projects together in the future like Social Norm.

Nathaniel Latimer
323.898.9976
http://www.imdb.me/nathaniellatimer
http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/nathaniellatimer
http://nathaniellatimer.nowcasting.com/
Social Norm Movie Blog: http://www.socialnormmovie.wordpress.com