Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

For our interview regarding submitting to networks/cable stations click here.  

Funding feature films

My name is Elyse, and I am a producer at BSI.
I was invited by our executives to attend an event attended by domestic (North America) and international film/TV executives, insiders and investors. I had a candid conversation with investor Syd Shaffer from Europe and two of his partners.
Mr. Shaffer and his team have helped raise funds for some of the world’s top grossing films, including several major projects that our executive producers – Slavik I.A. and Susan B. Flanagan have helped develop and produce. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about funding independent projects. His comments are below.
Some of you may have already read this information. I posted it again because for those who have not read it, they may find it helpful.
*Warning … Syd has a colorful way of talking.
Elyse: What chance does an independent really have of getting a film funded?
Syd: They have the same chance as anyone else in this room, if their plan has the right people presenting it and they play by the rules.
Elyse: So, who are the “right people” and what are the rules?
Syd: The right people are those who have a f**king clue about how this process works. No one in this room has ever given millions to someone they never heard of, never met, who has no credits and only a script to show us. If you got a team that has experience, credits from major studios / networks and has contacts or has access to people on the inside … you can play. But if all you got is a script, your chances of getting funding from anyone in here is none and never.
As for the rules, they’re very simple. Have a team that knows both the business side of this industry and the creative. If talking to someone in this room, they want to know the genre, who’s in it, how much is needed, what financial instruments do you have in place to protect their investment, distribution and how much profit will I make.
Keep in mind, they don’t care what your script is about because they don’t know a damn thing about producing a film. I along with everyone in this room haven’t read a script in years. If I want to know about your script or what it takes to produce it, I’ll hire Susan or someone like her to tell me what the hell is going on.
Let me ask you a question. I know most of your execs; do you think they have time to read scripts, or do they have you do it?
Elyse: If independents don’t know the right people or have a team what can they do? ​
Syd: If you don’t have a team or the right people or know how to put a team together, consider signing on with someone that has a team in place. There are professional writers, producers and even production companies you may be able to retain to assist you. News flash … they’re not going to do this sh*t for free. But whatever you do, don’t retain just anybody to help you. There are a lot of good people in this industry that can do what they say, unfortunately there are also a lot that can’t do a damn thing. Look at their credits (IMDB) this is a good place to start.
If independents want to compete, then they need to find a way to get someone on their team that at least has credits, has contacts or at least runs in the same circles as other players. I recognize putting a team together has it challenges, the biggest one is getting the right people to help you. But I know for a fact it can be done, because we fund some of those projects!
Also, putting a team together is easier than trying to secure help from studios, networks, accredited production companies or getting an agent … in my opinion. These people are about making money and will not talk to you without the right people supporting you. All they want to know is, how you can make them money or get them ratings.
Elyse: What if an independent does not have a team and does not want to retain someone to help them, what other options can they pursue for finding an investor? ​
Syd: Really? Is this a serious question? So, you’re going to ask me for millions but don’t want to follow my rules. So why the f**k should I give you my client’s money? Listen, years ago you could have gone direct to the studios or networks and someone would have looked at your project. Fast forward to today, you can’t even get past the operator.
The reason being, there’s a shit load of money being paid out even for low budget movies, not to mention big budgeted films, even some TV shows have budgets in the millions … per episode! The rules have changed and the process has changed. No longer is a script the only most important step in the process. All the steps are important. So, if they don’t want to follow the rules, what is it that they want me to do?
This is big business! You can’t even rob a bank and get the money people are asking for these days. High risk and high rewards are out there for those who want to play. If an independent wants to go up against insiders for funding their films or getting a TV project on the air, it ain’t gonna be easy and that’s even if they have some serious people helping them! But if you don’t follow the process chances are the challenges will be even greater.
But I say go for it. Everyone I know on the creative side has had a project passed on at some point, some more than others. I’m talking big names in this industry. But they still find a way to make it happen. With all the new options for distributing content that’s available, independents can make it happen.
Elyse:  How can independents contact people like you, and do most investors think like you? ​
Syd: You’re funny. What did I just tell you, if you play by the rules you can find anyone in this room. If you don’t, you won’t.
As for do most investors think like me. Hell no! But those that don’t, tend to lose a lot of money. Nearly everyone in here makes decisions based on a variety of factors that are specific to what they’re looking for. So, I have no f**king clue what everyone else does, but I do know, if you show up here holding only a script … drink quickly, because security will be escorting you out.
Please Note: Syd and other investors from his group, as a personal favor to Susan, have agreed to participate in the … BlueStar Script Competition  / Click for details.

Elyse, Producer

BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.
To be continued.  In my next blog, my interview will continue with Syd and his team, answering more questions. Here’s an excerpt:
Q: Are you still funding projects under $3 million?
Q: What information should my team show to investors?
Please email me if you have questions or comments.
Elyse, Producer / elyse@bsimcg.com
BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.

 

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Networks/Cable Stations Are Accepting Scripts From Independents

My name is Elyse: I’m a producer with BlueStar Studios Inc.
I attended a TV and cable station event in Belgium attended by domestic (U.S.) and international TV/film buyers,  network/cable station executives, show-runners and producers. I had a chance to ask a few of the executives if they have plans to make it easier for independents to submit their projects.
Below are some excerpts from my interview:
Elyse:  So tell me, if there is such a demand for content by networks and cable stations, then why have they made it so difficult for independents to submit their TV shows?  Why not go back to allowing independents to simply submit their shows directly to a network?
John: The short answer to your question can be summed up in one word… Money! For the networks it’s cost effective to receive projects that have been edited, developed, meets their production standards and programming needs, versus paying staff and overhead to perform work on projects that need editing and development.
More information: Networks have reduced their costs and overhead by eliminating staff and budgets that were assigned to review and develop independent projects when they arrived at the network. That development cost is now the responsibility of anyone that wants to submit a script to them. Also, to ensure the script and development of the project meets both the business and entertainment needs of their network; they only accept projects from professionals, credited production companies, prime vendors and agencies.
It’s all about the money…  Networks/cable stations now reach global markets by using multiple platforms to broadcast content. The combined revenue from domestic and global markets enables them to pay millions to creators and talent whose shows get sent to series. Therefore no one wants to make changes to the process. Networks don’t want to take on that cost for staff and overhead again and insiders like the deals they’re given for mediocre shows.
Elyse: But what about independents that don’t have the resources, access and ability to edit, develop and submit their show to a network? You and I both know that it’s not that simple to get a company or professional to help them develop and submit their projects… so what’s the best option for them to pursue?
John: The short answer is, don’t make excuses find a way to get a showrunner, executive producer or company to help you compete on a professional level. Your competitors are counting on you to try and take short cuts and not use professionals or give up. Don’t give them that satisfaction.
Also, Professionals or a company will not divert time and financial resources from their own projects or those of clients that are paying them, to go work on outside projects and absorb 100% of the cost. 
There are a lot of companies out there that can help independents… if they want it.
Elyse: If an independent has a great script, why should they have to pay someone to help them submit it? 
John: first of all who told them it was a great script? The viewing audience is the only judge of how great a script is. But if no one ever sees it, the writer will be the only that knows how great it is. And by the way, they don’t have to pay anyone, for anything. 
However, if independents are looking for professionals to stop working on their own projects and work on a project they don’t own for free, it could happen… but the odds are not in their favor!
It’s important that independents understand that in today’s industry, a script remains a factor in executives decision making process, but no longer is it the only factor. Some of the other factors that networks are looking at are, development / production costs, content that can compete against a competitor on a specific day and time, and/or increase their market share, and ad sales.
Once they build a team or hire someone, these are factors that will be taken into consideration during the edit and development of their script and producers package.
 Elyse: How will they know who to hire and trust?
Unfortunately this business is not an exact science, so if I don’t know them I start by checking their IMDB. It does not tell me everything I want to know but, if I see what studios, networks and projects they’re team has worked on and/or awards they’ve received that tells me something about their capabilities. Everything else is subjective i.e. can they articulate a plan that makes sense to me, are they understanding what I want done and do they sound like someone I want to work with.
In my opinion, getting your script submitted, licensed or sent to series is an opportunity that is there for all to take advantage of, you just have to determine if you want to treat this venture as a business opportunity or a hobby.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

For our interview regarding submitting to networks/cable stations click here.  

Funding feature films

My name is Elyse, and I am a producer at BSI.
I was invited by our executives to attend an event attended by domestic (North America) and international film/TV executives, insiders and investors. I had a candid conversation with investor Syd Shaffer from Europe and two of his partners.
Mr. Shaffer and his team have helped raise funds for some of the world’s top grossing films, including several major projects that our executive producers – Slavik I.A. and Susan B. Flanagan have helped develop and produce. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about funding independent projects. His comments are below.
Some of you may have already read this information. I posted it again because for those who have not read it, they may find it helpful.
*Warning … Syd has a colorful way of talking.
Elyse: What chance does an independent really have of getting a film funded?
Syd: They have the same chance as anyone else in this room, if their plan has the right people presenting it and they play by the rules.
Elyse: So, who are the “right people” and what are the rules?
Syd: The right people are those who have a f**king clue about how this process works. No one in this room has ever given millions to someone they never heard of, never met, who has no credits and only a script to show us. If you got a team that has experience, credits from major studios / networks and has contacts or has access to people on the inside … you can play. But if all you got is a script, your chances of getting funding from anyone in here is none and never.
As for the rules, they’re very simple. Have a team that knows both the business side of this industry and the creative. If talking to someone in this room, they want to know the genre, who’s in it, how much is needed, what financial instruments do you have in place to protect their investment, distribution and how much profit will I make.
Keep in mind, they don’t care what your script is about because they don’t know a damn thing about producing a film. I along with everyone in this room haven’t read a script in years. If I want to know about your script or what it takes to produce it, I’ll hire Susan or someone like her to tell me what the hell is going on.
Let me ask you a question. I know most of your execs; do you think they have time to read scripts, or do they have you do it?
Elyse: If independents don’t know the right people or have a team what can they do? ​
Syd: If you don’t have a team or the right people or know how to put a team together, consider signing on with someone that has a team in place. There are professional writers, producers and even production companies you may be able to retain to assist you. News flash … they’re not going to do this sh*t for free. But whatever you do, don’t retain just anybody to help you. There are a lot of good people in this industry that can do what they say, unfortunately there are also a lot that can’t do a damn thing. Look at their credits (IMDB) this is a good place to start.
If independents want to compete, then they need to find a way to get someone on their team that at least has credits, has contacts or at least runs in the same circles as other players. I recognize putting a team together has it challenges, the biggest one is getting the right people to help you. But I know for a fact it can be done, because we fund some of those projects!
Also, putting a team together is easier than trying to secure help from studios, networks, accredited production companies or getting an agent … in my opinion. These people are about making money and will not talk to you without the right people supporting you. All they want to know is, how you can make them money or get them ratings.
Elyse: What if an independent does not have a team and does not want to retain someone to help them, what other options can they pursue for finding an investor? ​
Syd: Really? Is this a serious question? So, you’re going to ask me for millions but don’t want to follow my rules. So why the f**k should I give you my client’s money? Listen, years ago you could have gone direct to the studios or networks and someone would have looked at your project. Fast forward to today, you can’t even get past the operator.
The reason being, there’s a shit load of money being paid out even for low budget movies, not to mention big budgeted films, even some TV shows have budgets in the millions … per episode! The rules have changed and the process has changed. No longer is a script the only most important step in the process. All the steps are important. So, if they don’t want to follow the rules, what is it that they want me to do?
This is big business! You can’t even rob a bank and get the money people are asking for these days. High risk and high rewards are out there for those who want to play. If an independent wants to go up against insiders for funding their films or getting a TV project on the air, it ain’t gonna be easy and that’s even if they have some serious people helping them! But if you don’t follow the process chances are the challenges will be even greater.
But I say go for it. Everyone I know on the creative side has had a project passed on at some point, some more than others. I’m talking big names in this industry. But they still find a way to make it happen. With all the new options for distributing content that’s available, independents can make it happen.
Elyse:  How can independents contact people like you, and do most investors think like you? ​
Syd: You’re funny. What did I just tell you, if you play by the rules you can find anyone in this room. If you don’t, you won’t.
As for do most investors think like me. Hell no! But those that don’t, tend to lose a lot of money. Nearly everyone in here makes decisions based on a variety of factors that are specific to what they’re looking for. So, I have no f**king clue what everyone else does, but I do know, if you show up here holding only a script … drink quickly, because security will be escorting you out.
Please Note: Syd and other investors from his group, as a personal favor to Susan, have agreed to participate in the …  BlueStar Script Competition  / Click for details.

Elyse, Producer

BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.
To be continued.  In my next blog, my interview will continue with Syd and his team, answering more questions. Here’s an excerpt:
Q: Are you still funding projects under $3 million?
Q: What information should my team show to investors?
Please email me if you have questions or comments.
Elyse, Producer / elyse@bsimcg.com
BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.

 

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Networks/Cable Stations Are Accepting Submissions / Interview

My name is Elyse: I’m a producer with BSI Films a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.  A few months ago I attended a private event in Belgium held by U.S. and international TV and film executives and investors, and asked, how can independents get their TV projects submitted to networks, sent to series or licensed.
Below are some excerpts from my interview:
Elyse:  So tell me, if there is such a demand for content by networks and cable stations, then why have they made it so difficult for independents to submit their TV shows?  Why not go back to allowing independents to simply submit their shows directly to a network?
John: Actually they have not made it more difficult… they just changed the rules. Also, the reason they won’t go back to the old way can be summed up in one word… Money!
Networks/cable stations have reduced their costs and overhead by eliminating staff and budgets that were assigned to review and develop independent projects when they arrived at the network. That development cost is now the responsibility of anyone that wants to submit a script to them. Also, to ensure the script and development of the project meets both the business and entertainment needs of their network; they only accept projects from professionals, credited production companies, prime vendors and agencies.
As for going back to the old system, no one wants to make changes to the current process. Networks/cable stations now reach global markets by using multiple platforms to broadcast content. The combined revenue from reduced overhead, domestic and global markets licensing fees enables them to pay millions to creators and writers whose shows get sent to series. Therefore, networks don’t want to take on that cost for staff and overhead again to review independent projects and insiders like the deals they’re given for mediocre shows. So I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.
However independents can make this happen. John talks about options independents can pursue, his suggestions are below.
Elyse: But what about independents that don’t have the resources, access and ability to edit, develop and submit their show to a network?
John: As stated before there are potentially millions of dollars at stake and the people they’re competing against are not sympathetic to their dilemma. This business is open to those who play by the rules and there are very few options for getting around those rules. There are no secret formulas, no shortcuts or tricks that I know of.
In my opinion independents have 2 options. Make it happen on their own with the help of friends, contacts through making calls, joining groups or taking a job within the industry. Or, partner or co-partner with someone or a company willing to work with them.
Elyse: What if an independent has a great script, why should they have to pay someone to help them submit it?
John: first of all who told them it was a great script? For investors and networks, ticket sales and ratings are the only judge of how great a script is. It’s also important to remember, network executives receive the greatest scripts ever written, every day by every writer on the planet. In today’s industry having a script is no longer the only factor networks take into consideration when reviewing a show. Other factors include development, production costs, can the show compete against a competitor on a specific day and time, and most importantly can this show increase their market share of a demographic their ad sales department needs to reach.
The mind set of insiders is not convincing executives how great their script is but how it will help their ratings and ad sales. If independents want to compete for getting their “great script” licensed or sent to series, they will need a show-runner, executive producer or someone that knows how to edit the script to fit the programming and inventory needs of that network it’s being submitted to.
Also, who said they have to pay someone?  Look, independents are finding ways to produce projects with the help of other independents who exchange their time and equipment for part ownership or percentage of future revenue. That combined with online streaming and free platforms to broadcast the content, they don’t have to pay anyone, anything. But if they want to submit to networks/cable stations, there are standards and guidelines they will have to meet.
Elyse: You and I both know that it’s not that simple for independents to get a company or professional to help develop and submit their projects. Independents can spend months trying to get someone just to talk to them, least of all help them develop and submit their project… so what’s the best option for them to pursue?
John:  If independents want professionals or a company to divert time and financial resources from their own projects or those of their paying clients, to go work on outside projects and absorb 100% of the cost, then you’re right… it’s not simple.
However if they want to submit to networks/cable stations and they don’t have an individual or a team with access, then they will need help. How they get the help is not important. It can be friends, contacts, their own team or if they’re lucky and can find professionals or production companies with access and resources willing to take their project, any or all will be helpful.
As you know, we’re an investment group: we’re not writers, producers or show-runners and just like the networks and studios,  we will retain your group or groups like yours to do script, project development and produce it if needed. This is not an endorsement for your company or companies like yours, but this industry outsources work all the time they’ve been doing it for decades. With the restructuring of  staff and reduction of production personnel the networks and studios have made it a standard operating procedure.
Elyse: If they want to retain someone to help them, how will they know who to hire and trust?
John: Unfortunately this business is not an exact science. Therefore I can only speak to how we hire someone. If I have not worked with them before, I start by checking their IMDB. It does not tell me everything I want to know but, if I see what studios, networks and projects they’ve worked on and/or awards they’ve received that tells me something about their capabilities. Everything else is subjective i.e. can they articulate a plan that makes sense to me, are they understanding what I want done and do they sound like someone I want to work with.
Submitting to networks is an opportunity that is there for all to take advantage of, independents just have to determine if they want to treat this venture as a business opportunity or a hobby.
Elyse, Producer
BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.
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Networks/Cable Stations Are Accepting Submissions / Full Interview

My name is Elyse: I’m a producer with BSI Films a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.  A few months ago I attended a private event in Belgium held by U.S. and international TV and film executives and investors.
I had the opportunity to interview domestic (North America/U.S.) and international network/cable station executives and industry executives and asked, how can independents get their TV projects submitted to networks, sent to series or licensed.
Below are some excerpts from my interview:
Elyse:  So tell me, if there is such a demand for content by networks and cable stations, then why have they made it so difficult for independents to submit their TV shows?  Why not go back to allowing independents to simply submit their shows directly to a network?
John: Actually they have not made it more difficult… they just changed the rules. Also, the reason they won’t go back to the old way can be summed up in one word… Money!
Networks/cable stations have reduced their costs and overhead by eliminating staff and budgets that were assigned to review and develop independent projects when they arrived at the network. That development cost is now the responsibility of anyone that wants to submit a script to them. Also, to ensure the script and development of the project meets both the business and entertainment needs of their network; they only accept projects from professionals, credited production companies, prime vendors and agencies.
As for going back to the old system, no one wants to make changes to the current process. Networks/cable stations now reach global markets by using multiple platforms to broadcast content. The combined revenue from reduced overhead, domestic and global markets licensing fees enables them to pay millions to creators and writers whose shows get sent to series. Therefore, networks don’t want to take on that cost for staff and overhead again to review independent projects and insiders like the deals they’re given for mediocre shows. So I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.
However independents can make this happen. Either they do it themselves or get professionals to help them. Doing it themselves is not an impossible task.  Putting a team together will take time and patience. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s an option to consider.
Elyse: But what about independents that don’t have the resources, access and ability to edit, develop and submit their show to a network?
John: As stated before there are potentially millions of dollars at stake and the people they’re competing against are not sympathetic to their dilemma. This business is open to those who play by the rules and there are very few options for getting around those rules. There are no secret formulas, no shortcuts or tricks that I know of.
In my opinion independents have 2 options. Make it happen on their own with the help of friends, contacts through making calls, joining groups or taking a job within the industry. Or, partner or co-partner with someone or a company willing to work with them.
Elyse: What if an independent has a great script, why should they have to pay someone to help them submit it?
John: first of all who told them it was a great script? For investors and networks, ticket sales and ratings are the only judge of how great a script is. It’s also important to remember, network executives receive the greatest scripts ever written, every day by every writer on the planet. In today’s industry having a script is no longer the only factor networks take into consideration when reviewing a show. Other factors include development, production costs, can the show compete against a competitor on a specific day and time, and most importantly can this show increase their market share of a demographic their ad sales department needs to reach.
The mind set of insiders is not convincing executives how great their script is but how it will help their ratings and ad sales. If independents want to compete for getting their “great script” licensed or sent to series, they will need a show-runner, executive producer or someone that knows how to edit the script to fit the programming and inventory needs of that network it’s being submitted to.
Also, who said they have to pay someone?  Look, independents are finding ways to produce projects with the help of other independents who exchange their time and equipment for part ownership or percentage of future revenue. That combined with online streaming and free platforms to broadcast the content, they don’t have to pay anyone, anything. But if they want to submit to networks/cable stations, there are standards and guidelines they will have to meet.
Elyse: You and I both know that it’s not that simple for independents to get a company or professional to help develop and submit their projects. Independents can spend months trying to get someone just to talk to them, least of all help them develop and submit their project… so what’s the best option for them to pursue?
John:  If independents want professionals or a company to divert time and financial resources from their own projects or those of their paying clients, to go work on outside projects and absorb 100% of the cost, then you’re right… it’s not simple.
However if they want to submit to networks/cable stations and they don’t have an individual or a team with access, then they will need help. How they get the help is not important. It can be friends, contacts, their own team or if they’re lucky and can find professionals or production companies with access and resources willing to take their project, any or all will be helpful.
As you know, we’re an investment group: we’re not writers, producers or show-runners and just like the networks and studios,  we will retain your group or groups like yours to do script, project development and produce it if needed. This is not an endorsement for your company or companies like yours, but this industry outsources work all the time they’ve been doing it for decades. With the restructuring of  staff and reduction of production personnel the networks and studios have made it a standard operating procedure.
Elyse: If they want to retain someone to help them, how will they know who to hire and trust?
John: Unfortunately this business is not an exact science. Therefore I can only speak to how we hire someone. If I have not worked with them before, I start by checking their IMDB. It does not tell me everything I want to know but, if I see what studios, networks and projects they’ve worked on and/or awards they’ve received that tells me something about their capabilities. Everything else is subjective i.e. can they articulate a plan that makes sense to me, are they understanding what I want done and do they sound like someone I want to work with.
Submitting to networks is an opportunity that is there for all to take advantage of, independents just have to determine if they want to treat this venture as a business opportunity or a hobby.
Elyse, Producer
BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

Funding Feature Films and Submitting your TV Series to Networks:

For our interview regarding submitting to networks/cable stations click here.  

Funding feature films

My name is Elyse, and I am a producer at BSI.
I was invited by our executives to attend an event attended by domestic (North America) and international film/TV executives, insiders and investors. I had a candid conversation with investor Syd Shaffer from Europe and two of his partners.
Mr. Shaffer and his team have helped raise funds for some of the world’s top grossing films, including several major projects that our executive producers – Slavik I.A. and Susan B. Flanagan have helped develop and produce. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about funding independent projects. His comments are below.
Some of you may have already read this information. I posted it again because for those who have not read it, they may find it helpful.
*Warning … Syd has a colorful way of talking.
Elyse: What chance does an independent really have of getting a film funded?
Syd: They have the same chance as anyone else in this room, if their plan has the right people presenting it and they play by the rules.
Elyse: So, who are the “right people” and what are the rules?
Syd: The right people are those who have a f**king clue about how this process works. No one in this room has ever given millions to someone they never heard of, never met, who has no credits and only a script to show us. If you got a team that has experience, credits from major studios / networks and has contacts or has access to people on the inside … you can play. But if all you got is a script, your chances of getting funding from anyone in here is none and never.
As for the rules, they’re very simple. Have a team that knows both the business side of this industry and the creative. If talking to someone in this room, they want to know the genre, who’s in it, how much is needed, what financial instruments do you have in place to protect their investment, distribution and how much profit will I make.
Keep in mind, they don’t care what your script is about because they don’t know a damn thing about producing a film. I along with everyone in this room haven’t read a script in years. If I want to know about your script or what it takes to produce it, I’ll hire Susan or someone like her to tell me what the hell is going on.
Let me ask you a question. I know most of your execs; do you think they have time to read scripts, or do they have you do it?
Elyse: If independents don’t know the right people or have a team what can they do? ​
Syd: If you don’t have a team or the right people or know how to put a team together, consider signing on with someone that has a team in place. There are professional writers, producers and even production companies you may be able to retain to assist you. News flash … they’re not going to do this sh*t for free. But whatever you do, don’t retain just anybody to help you. There are a lot of good people in this industry that can do what they say, unfortunately there are also a lot that can’t do a damn thing. Look at their credits (IMDB) this is a good place to start.
If independents want to compete, then they need to find a way to get someone on their team that at least has credits, has contacts or at least runs in the same circles as other players. I recognize putting a team together has it challenges, the biggest one is getting the right people to help you. But I know for a fact it can be done, because we fund some of those projects!
Also, putting a team together is easier than trying to secure help from studios, networks, accredited production companies or getting an agent … in my opinion. These people are about making money and will not talk to you without the right people supporting you. All they want to know is, how you can make them money or get them ratings.
Elyse: What if an independent does not have a team and does not want to retain someone to help them, what other options can they pursue for finding an investor? ​
Syd: Really? Is this a serious question? So, you’re going to ask me for millions but don’t want to follow my rules. So why the f**k should I give you my client’s money? Listen, years ago you could have gone direct to the studios or networks and someone would have looked at your project. Fast forward to today, you can’t even get past the operator.
The reason being, there’s a shit load of money being paid out even for low budget movies, not to mention big budgeted films, even some TV shows have budgets in the millions … per episode! The rules have changed and the process has changed. No longer is a script the only most important step in the process. All the steps are important. So, if they don’t want to follow the rules, what is it that they want me to do?
This is big business! You can’t even rob a bank and get the money people are asking for these days. High risk and high rewards are out there for those who want to play. If an independent wants to go up against insiders for funding their films or getting a TV project on the air, it ain’t gonna be easy and that’s even if they have some serious people helping them! But if you don’t follow the process chances are the challenges will be even greater.
But I say go for it. Everyone I know on the creative side has had a project passed on at some point, some more than others. I’m talking big names in this industry. But they still find a way to make it happen. With all the new options for distributing content that’s available, independents can make it happen.
Elyse:  How can independents contact people like you, and do most investors think like you? ​
Syd: You’re funny. What did I just tell you, if you play by the rules you can find anyone in this room. If you don’t, you won’t.
As for do most investors think like me. Hell no! But those that don’t, tend to lose a lot of money. Nearly everyone in here makes decisions based on a variety of factors that are specific to what they’re looking for. So, I have no f**king clue what everyone else does, but I do know, if you show up here holding only a script … drink quickly, because security will be escorting you out.
Please Note: Syd and other investors from his group, as a personal favor to Susan, have agreed to participate in the …  BlueStar Script Competition  / Click for details.

Elyse, Producer

BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.
To be continued.  In my next blog, my interview will continue with Syd and his team, answering more questions. Here’s an excerpt:
Q: Are you still funding projects under $3 million?
Q: What information should my team show to investors?
Please email me if you have questions or comments.
Elyse, Producer / elyse@bsimcg.com
BSI Films / a subsidiary of BlueStar Studios Inc.

 

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