Opportunities in Film Have Never Been Better
Original posting date: Jun 24 2019
By Robert Hymers
I have spent time working in film industry as an Executive Producer on two award winning films and I can honestly say that the playing field for film has never been more level. Years ago major studios controlled development of projects. They put millions of dollars into a variety of projects to spread out their risk. As some of those projects acquired attachments because of the power of the screenplay or subject matter the decision to greenlight a project was relatively simple. Today, these models only exist for very large budget films and there may be as many as a dozen people that end up writing the screenplay some of which are credited and some of which work as ghost writers.
Big studios gravitate toward the larger franchise pictures because they need guaranteed revenue from audiences that are built-in on their films. The recent mega acquisition of Fox by Disney creates the largest superhero studio that has ever existed. Now the possibilities are endless for big budgeted films that relive every possible comic book plot and many new ones as well. The people that make these films are a virtual cartel. Breaking in is almost impossible but that shouldn’t discourage you from making your mark in film.
High-tech companies have descended upon Hollywood. The Westside Pavilion has been taken over by Google, The Culver Studios has been taken over by Amazon, and Netflix has the master lease on Raleigh Studios. The digital era of film is upon us. Now more than ever independent filmmakers have opportunity to create content that can connect with an audience. Additionally, YouTube provides access to content creators to create a following. Channels that blow-up on YouTube get consideration to become the next television shows.
Distribution was once a mysterious business. Content creators were never really sure how to get their films to market. Many distributors kept the accounting fuzzy so that revenue never really came back to investors. Today, content creators can distribute their content directly through Amazon or Google. Additionally, there are a number of aggregators that are able to get films on platforms ranging from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and many other platforms. This creates a much more level playing field for the content creator. Foreign distribution is a bit more complicated but there are lots of reputable companies today that can navigate the opportunities in the various countries that may be right for your film.
I advise my clients in entertainment to engage my services early so that the revenue model can be established to take advantage of tax credits, co-production opportunities, and casting to maximize the revenue potential of their film. Some of the distribution companies that I work with provide financing. The two award winning films, Skin and The Kindergarten Teacher, that I produced were released through PaperChase Films. I serve as the CFO of the company. Previously, in my career at Ernst and Young, Lionsgate was my tax client. That has given me rich experience to draw upon in my current film and television endeavors. In addition to my position at PaperChase I advise many clients in Entertainment. Best practices must be established early on to account for the monies spent and provide the mechanism to recapture investment and then to pay out profits. These are areas that I have vast experience establishing for my clients.
Naturally, the content must be compelling as audiences now have many choices when it comes to what to watch. They are becoming more sophisticated but the tools to make quality films have never been more affordable. Drones, digital cameras, and technological advancements have put tools into millions more content creators than have ever existed before. Moderate budget films are able to be made in almost any genre.
So if you are thinking of getting involved in any aspect of film, I can help you achieve your goals. I am here to advise my clients to avoid the pitfalls. I am also here to help them maximize their opportunities to grow as content creators.