Is the film industry its own worst enemy? Judging by some of the more colorful quotes and comments that have come out of our monthly FILMONOMICS TALKS, the answer is an emphatic yes. But just don’t blame the unscrupulous scorpions for giving film investing its bad name; blame the film business frog for making it so easy to hitch a ride.
The very complexity of indie film funding means that film remains a haven for unethical behavior and bare-knuckle negotiating tactics. Thankfully, there is a rising chorus in the indie film industry of those who want to change film financing for the better. Read what they have to say in this first in a series of roundtable discussions, culled from those FILMONOMICS TALKS in both New York and West Hollywood, that highlight some of the smartest new ways for overcoming the industry odds.
Why do Hollywood’s new tentpole-carriers, that young generation of filmmakers who have been entrusted with the Godzilla, Spiderman and Jurassic reboots, have to be so predictably male? That’s the billion-dollar question posed by Dan Cogan during one of our recent Filmonomics Talks in New York. “You can’t name a situation where a major franchise has been given to a filmmaker who did a film for under $5 million who is a woman - and yet you can name half a dozen who are men,” he observed. “The bottom line is very simple: people don’t trust women to make money." The result, as Jane Campion reminded the Cannes Film Festival only this week, is that “the guys are eating all the cake.” Thankfully, reams of market data suggests this inherent sexism is founded on a commercial fallacy. Leaving aside issues of human equality and social justice, there are real financial benefits that come with a more objective, less discriminatory marketplace.
Every investor is different. They each have their own distinctive tastes, personal motivations, preferred methodologies and, yes, creative expertise. They are as individualistic, in other words, as the filmmakers they support. Which is why we at Slated have just inaugurated our Filmonomics Talks, a monthly series of candid film financing discussions that recognize investors as much more than just the money. Investors are full partners in the filmmaking process and like every other player in that ecosystem, they want to learn from one another, swap war stories and make meaningful connections both across the industry and among their peers. Slated’s online filtering tools, scoring systems and informational resources are designed to remove much of the guesswork out of that matchmaking process; Filmonomics Talks now adds a personal dimension to what is after all a human business still driven by personalities and preferences.
Ever wonder why certain film projects gain rapid acceptance by the industry, while others languish in development? Or why the lists of talent attachments that excite - or turn off - film financiers, sales agents, studio greenlighters and acquisition scouts seem governed by their own confounding logic?
In this guest Filmonomics post adapted from his initial think pieces on the Cinema Research Institute (CRI) blog, CRI 2014 fellow Colin Whitlow explains why the film industry would benefit from a dedicated performance index – and how he is approaching building just such a valuable tool.