Who Else Wants to Beat the Odds?

HOT PRODUCER REVEALS HOW HIS PROJECTS MOVE UP (WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE’S ARE GOING DOWN) Few industry professionals have better insight into the process of getting films greenlit than active producers. This month Nat Mundel welcomes Producer Monnie Wills to the Starbird. Wills is in the process of building on his already impressive list of credits, and just completed filming The Darkest Hour starring Emile Hirsch, produced at Regency and to be distributed by Summit Entertainment and 20th Century Fox later this year. In recent years, the industry has contracted, but many producers, like Wills, just won’t be stopped.  In this interview, Wills shares some of his most effective tools for keeping things moving forward. Archives April 2018 (1) March 2018 (1) February 2018 (1) January 2018 (1) December 2017 (1) November 2017 (1) October 2017 (2) July 2017 (4) April 2017 (1) February 2017 (1) January 2017 (1) December 2016 (1) November 2016 (1) October 2016 (1) September 2016 (2) June 2016 (1) May 2016 (1) April 2016 (1) February 2016 (3) January 2016 (1) December 2015 (2) November 2015 (1) October 2015 (2) September 2015 (2) August 2015 (2) July 2015 (1) June 2015 (1) April 2015 (1) March 2015 (1) February 2015 (2) January 2015 (6) December 2014 (2) October 2014 (1) September 2014 (3) August 2014 (3) June 2014 (2) May 2014 (5) April 2014 (3) February 2014 (1) January 2014 (2) December 2013 (1) April 2013 (1) December 2012 (2) July 2012 (2) April 2012 (2) March 2012 (2) December 2011 (1) November 2011 (3) October 2011 (4) September 2011 (5) August 2011 (3) May 2011 (2) April 2011 (1) March 2011 (2) November 2010 (2) August 2010 (1) June 2010 (1) March 2010 (1) October 2009 (1) September 2009 (2) CategoriesCategories Select Category Audience  (10) Blog post  (17) Book to Film  (14) Entertainment Business  (30) Font Page  (22) Pitching  (13) Presentations  (9) Producer Interviews  (8) Reality TV  (5) Screenwriting Tips  (11) The Expert Network  (10)...

The Anatomy of a Successful Pitch (Hint: It’s not what you think)

AN INTERVIEW WITH VOYAGE FOUNDER, NAT MUNDEL TS: Since Voyage does so many pitches, you have a unique vantage point on what’s working and what’s not.  What are notable trends you’ve seen lately in this highly competitive marketplace? NM: There’s definitely a higher degree of sophistication and thinking going into the marketing and sales process. With more people and fewer opportunities, the players who continue to be students of the process-the ones who remain curious and ever vigilant about fresh, creative tactics-are the ones who are evolving and ultimately winning the day. One of our clients, Jerry Bruckheimer, has employed three vastly different approaches over the last three years and each one has resulted in a successful deal.  And this is a company with a name that essentially could sell itself. TS: Can you give us some examples of what’s working? NM: For starters, it’s about analyzing who the immediate audience or customer is and then taking the steps to make an impact with that person. How can you make their jobs easier or more rewarding? What tools are you providing them with to be a champion of your work? Our most successful clients are diving deep into the process and finding ways to facilitate and incentivize the decision-makers they’re looking to partner with. These are very nuanced relationships and the more you can empower individuals to be advocates for your work, the greater your chance of ultimately selling your idea through. Pitch tools like ‘leave-behinds’, look books and sizzle reels are no longer new to the game, they are becoming the norm so the sophistication with which they...

It’s All About the Sssizzle

HOW SIZZLE REELS CAN HELP YOUR PITCH In reality TV, if you don’t have a sizzle reel, you don’t have a show. It’s that simple. Since reality shows don’t have traditional scripting, these brief video presentations are the cornerstone on which all unscripted shows are built. Interestingly, the best practices for the reality world have now become essential marketing tools in every medium. And with post-production technology becoming increasingly more cost effective, the barriers to creating a great sizzle reel have been dramatically reduced.  When every word counts, sizzles help you get to the heart of your story by saving valuable time. No more need to risk losing a client’s interest with a longwinded explanation of what can be conveyed through visuals. The benefits of using a sizzle reel in a pitch are manifold. First and foremost, they save time by getting ideas across quickly. Rather than typing out a comprehensive vision for a project, rather than forcing key decision-makers to read lengthy descriptions, a 1 to 3 minute reel immediately sets up the mood for a project. In terms of establishing different reference points, they allow you the filmmaker to frame the conversation. Would you rather have your project remembered as the next Inception or the next What Dreams May Come? A carefully edited mood reel will define the tone, cinematography, casting, performance, production design and visual effects.  If you’re not particularly great in meetings, sizzle reels can do the heavy lifting for you.  Imagine yourself deftly pulling out your ipad, pressing play, and letting the video punctuate your pitch. Many sizzle reels are structured to feel like...

Look Books Get Double-Take

DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND IN THE LEAVE-BEHIND GAME With their low-tech, tactile appeal, look books-even when sitting innocently on a coffee table- are the ultimate stealth-tease to draw attention to your work after you’ve left the room.  The nickname ‘leave behind’ has significance; these books allow you to leave behind a lasting impression of your talents and your project, and they make your point even when you’re not there to do your whole dog and pony show (or to press “play” on a sizzle reel). Look books offer an executive the attractive option of flipping through a visual overview of your story rather than paging through a lengthy, time-consuming script, or (even worse) reading coverage that someone else wrote. What’s more, look books are easily passed from one office to the next, and on up the food chain, allowing you a measure of control as to how your project is articulated when the junior execs are internally pitching your work to the key decision-makers. In our humble opinion, flipping through a look book should be an immersive and captivating an experience as watching a really great trailer in a theater.  Their benefits can go far beyond building great word-of-mouth momentum for your project. If thoughtfully and strategically crafted, they can become a vehicle to display your creativity and vision to help you communicate with your producers, actors, and crew. Picture magazine design schemes, blueprint floor plans and CAD illustrations: there is no end to the different motifs that can be applied to add sophistication and visual interest. As long as the concept stays within the framework of your project,...

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