Global production is always evolving and what everyone wants to know is “what's going on in the Global Market and how to tap in”. Though Evening Sea's mission is driven by Matt's knowledge of production and insights from the Global Market, I crave information from many sources. So I’m back on the Wheel of Fortune stage and it’s another packed room at the Produced By's SOLD OUT event.
With a seasoned panel that includes Ashok Amritraj Chairman & CEO, Hyde Park Entertainment, Jon Jashni President & CCO,
Legendary Pictures, Graham King Hugo, The Departed, The Aviator, and Walter Parkes Flight, Men in Black 3, Gladiator the room readied their pads and paper as they share their insight.
Moderator William Stuart asked the panelist how they choose a script and how much does money play a role. Jon Jashni says for him, ‘every film is looked at as a global movie’. They tend to do productions in unexplored regions, for creative reasons more than financial ones. This works.
Panelist Walter Parkes has a development fund to tap into in order to find or create projects. ‘You have to look at every aspect for financing’.
Graham King starts with the story. Then looks where to shoot his film. ‘The incentives are elsewhere, no one is shooting in LA’. He looks for value in the International market when reading a script. That is where the profit is so you must evaluate the International market when reading a script.
The panelists agree that stories that are interesting are key. You can’t tailor your projects for a certain market, it’s just not possible. You can’t make a movie just to satisfy the Russian market, it needs to be broader than that.
When the speakers were asked if they do pre-sales on their films, it was mixed. Most do it on a project by project basis or try to avoid it. Graham always does some pre-sales on every project. Though they agreed that the pre-sale market has gotten tricky.
They also seemed to agree that the smaller budget movies are under more financial scrutiny to get made. The big budget block buster movies are just that, so that is a guaranteed slam dunk. As an independent you are looked at differently and have to partner on the backend of the film.
The key is getting that script that everyone wants, buying the rights to books, relationships with writers. Graham himself has never used an agent to find content. He has some relationships with publishers and 2 years in advance of a book release is able to get the jump on optioning a book. His people are constantly looking for that story everyone wants, going through newspapers and magazines looking for stories that will make a great script. He likes bio’s and true stories.
Someone from the audience asked what genre work best in the foreign market. It was easier for the panel to say what doesn’t work, American comedy. It just doesn’t translate. ‘The Hangover’ did very well, but that is rare. Action does well, like the ‘Bourne’ series. Inception, surprisingly, did very well in China.
One of the panelists summed it all up by simply saying, producing is a process. You have to identify ideas that will attract writers, that will get named actors, that will in turn get the money. -CC