Eric, has you may know, if a friend and really knowledgeable person. He’s been around the film industry since before he was even born 🙂
I’ve learned so much from him, it’s hard to quantify… not only that, if it weren’t for him… I wouldn’t be making movies!!!
Read this pearl of wisdom, then head off to Eric Sherman’s blog on the film industry, and sign up for updates!
“It ain’t what you don’t know… that hurts you; it’s what you know that ain’t so.”
So said the great baseball player Satchel Paige.
Also quite apt for filmmakers.
I’ve known so many bright, dynamic, or enthusiastic people who pushed forward and took some action in their film careers–that turned out to be a big mistake.
While some of these can be fixed relatively easily, some are disastrous, taking about 20 hours to handle for every single hour that could have been spent pursuing the proper path.
A few examples:
1. Selling off the rights to your film first to Germany. Germany has long been the single best customer for American-made movies. Naturally, they make the first offer. If you leap at it, you’re now without the right to that country–and subsequent buyers’ first question will be, “Do you still have Germany?” If your answer is, “Uh, no,” many buyers will turn around and walk away. The answer is to have a distribution strategy up-front that maximizes your opportunity for good international sales overall.
2. Sending out “screener” tapes or DVDs to distributors when they first request it. Not only is there a significant chance for piracy, but you have lost any say-so over who sees your film; do they skim through it looking for “the good parts?”; do they see it at all? Instead, you can work out how to maintain control over who sees your dvd, when and under what circumstances.
3. Sending out copies of your script that haven’t been asked for (“unsolicited scripts”). Most production companies won’t read them, nor even mail them back (at $5.00 per script, why would they?). Most won’t even acknowledge that they’ve received them. The few that will acknowledge receipt will ask you to sign a “release form,” which removes your right to ever claim plagiarism. Instead, now that you know this, you can and must create a workable strategy to have your script valued. You can work out an exact approach.
4. Hiring “highly experienced crew” without checking their references. By my own observation, nearly 50% of “references available on request” are bogus! I have worked out ways to assure you get a competent and honest crew.
5. Looking at someone’s “demo reel” and not researching to discover whether the submitter actually was responsible for the images. Again, by count, almost 50% of all reels are phony.
I’ve spent my career compiling hard-won information which I love to use to head-off these situations for my consulting clients.
And, if the error has already occurred, there is almost always something that can be done about it.
For more information, please visit my website, www.ericsherman.com.
All best wishes,