June 28th 2006
Independent Filmmakers Alliance Newsletter
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We discuss the fantastic changes and features coming soon to the IFA website and Andrew Van Slee answers your Indie questions.

What's going on at the IFA
by Karina Halle

Preview of our upcoming web page

There’s been a lot of changes going on at the IFA and all to serve you and the Indie community better. We are re-designing the site to make it easier to navigate and are adding some cool new features -- I’ll be heading up the Hallewood Beat, an “Entertainment Tonight” style section with streamed and written interviews with some of your favourite Indie celebs, as well as all the latest Indie gossip. We’ll also be featuring Ask the Producer, a column where our own Andrew Van Slee will answer your Indie questions, no matter how stupid.

Another cool new segment is a feature called The Script. Of course everyone has a script or has a friend who has a script. Well, the IFA has a unique opportunity where everyone will participate in writing a script. You'll know the genre and the characters and then you’ll actually be able to write a line or two. More details coming soon.

Also, keep in mind the launch of the IFA Online Film Festival, which will keep you entertained for hours. Here's how it works: we are looking for submissions now and the online festival starts August 1st. We'll then pick four of the best to compete for the month, with the voting done by the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our site. With the winner of each month being announced in the following month, this process will continue for 12 months. Once we have 12 winners, we will showcase the films in a theater in Hollywood, CA and announce the grand winner.

In the meantime, the IFA is ready to begin production on the Van Slee directed Creepy Movie. The casting will begin mid-August, so if you'd like to be part of the film make sure you submit your headshot and resume to andrew @ifilmalliance.com.

If you want to be the first to know about this and all of our upcoming events, join our mailing list by clicking here here

Find out more....

Ask The Producer
with Andrew Van Slee

A new column coming soon to the IFA website Question of the week:How Can I get My Film Distributed?

This is a question that I get a lot. Each year there are thousands of films made that end up sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. Why on earth is this happening? I mean, we all know how much time, passion, energy and money it takes to make a film so why can’t they get distribution? Well, the truth is that even before you begin to shoot your epic Indie, you have to know if anyone will be interested in it once it’s done. It’s pretty much Business 101. You have the script, why not talk to some distributors before you start shooting? I can guarantee you that if they all pass and you still go ahead and make your film, just because you want to be a know-it-all and show up those damn distributors, they will pass once the film is done too and all of your hard work will be for naught.

So why do filmmakers keep doing this? In any other industry they’d do some research to make sure there is a market for a product. Come on people, it’s called show business for a reason. So, give your head a shake and start treating it like one. Please don’t be paranoid that someone will steal your brilliant idea, shoot the film behind your back and make millions off of your script. That always kills me -- the guy who won’t talk about the film at all because he think he’s discovered the friggin cure for cancer or something -- so they don’t tell anyone or get any feedback. Nobody is gonna steal your idea, provided that you have copyrighted your script.

Okay, so back to the question of how to get your film distributed. Well, first off, go online to IMDB and take a look at some films that are similar to yours. Click on the Company’s Info or Distributors and start to compile a list. Again, the key point here is that you’re researching a “product” that is similar to yours. No use contacting a distributor who specializes in “family films” to distribute your film about a mass murderer. So, take the time to do the research and then put together a killer query. In your letter to the distributor, you should write: “We are fully funded and about to begin production on our new film entitled ________. We are looking for a distributor and would like to meet with you to discuss our project.”

To a distributor, the words “fully funded” are like gold; they establish that you are not just a *Lobby Lizard, but actually someone who is going to be shooting a film. This makes you valuable. But don’t ever, ever mention the budget. Everything you shoot can be around a million, or under five, but don’t say whether the “five” is five million or five thousand. You get the picture right? So, send out the queries and then follow up with them, the next day at the latest. Set up appointments and pitch them. Leave them your copyrighted script and then follow up with them again in a few days. If they pass, try to find out why. Also, they may be able to tell you what you need to do to the film in order for them to sell it. Once again, I know you are an artist, but listen to them. Don’t be shy, get advice from the people who will end up buying and distributing your film, and not just your friends and family, who have to love it.

Now, when the distributors love it and love you, don’t sign anything. All you want is a letter of interest. You want something from them that states that if you execute the film’s story in the way that you stated in your pitch that they would be interested in distributing it. If no one is interested in distributing your film, then maybe you should rethink it. There is no greater thrill in life than seeing your film out there, whether it’s on 100 screens in Italy, five screens in India, on your favourite TV or cable station, or on the shelf at Blockbuster. Good, bad or ugly -- it makes it all worthwhile. Take the time to do your homework before you start shooting, so you can be one of the smart (not lucky) ones who gets a distribution deal.

If you liked this article and agree with me let me know -- if you hated it and totally disagree, let me know that as well.

If you have a question for me email me at asktheproducer@ifilmalliance.com. Please don’t send me an email about your great friggin script.

*Lobby Lizard’s are the wannabes that hang out in the lobby of the Loews Hotel during the AFM (American Film Market). They are too cheap to buy a badge, have no money -- they are just Lizards! BEWARE! For more about Andrew click here.

Find out more....

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Where: Milan's Bistro 1223 Hamilton Street, Yaletown

When: Friday, June 30th, 2006

Doors Open: 7:30 p.m.

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Tickets: $25

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