2001 - Pass the ammo and let's start firin' (this thing out
Now that I've got
a film to show the world..it's now time to find someone to
get it out there. Here's the plan of attack: find an agent
or producers rep. Someone who has the inside scoop on who
should see it and where it should be seen. In Robert Rodriguez's
Without A Crew" talks about how he managed to get an agent
at ICM (International Creative Management) and how THEY were
the ones who got his film seen by the V.I.P.'s in the industry.
great article on producers reps on the Filmmaker website:
OK, armed with
the Internet, The Hollywood
Reporter Blue Book and the Hollywood
Creative Directory of Agents & Managers, this is what
I've figure out; there are about 4 big names in the indie
world for producers reps. Producers reps are basically people
who will help promote your projects to festivals and distributors.
They usually end up getting paid once the film is sold. (15
percent?) Some want money up front. I guess we'll see who
wants what. Here are the biggies:
Pictures) - Wrote
the book "Spike,
Mike, Slackers and Dykes." He helped Spike Lee early in
his career by giving Spike 10 grand to finish "She's Gotta
Have It". John said in his book that it was the best investment
he's ever made. He also had alot to do with films like "Slacker"
and "Clerks". He said he was out of the repping business around
the time Kevin Smith (Clerks) sent him a tape. He got back
in the business.
great article about him and his book on the moviemaker.com
I | Part
Dowd (Jeff Dowd & Associates) - He's helped the
Cohen Brothers get their start. Apparently he STARTED the
Sundance Institute with Robert Redford. Helped with films
such as "Rivers Edge", "Black Stallion" and "Hoosiers". Jeff
Bridges character in "The Big Lebowski" was based on Jeff
(The Dude). Jeff is usually on every panel of experts when
it comes to indie film seminars.
Some info on
Jeff Dowd on the "Far From Glory" website: Jeff
Dowd info | The
Dudes Film School
Hawk (International Consultation for Independents)
- Bob was THE guy basically got Kevin Smith a career. The
was the one guy at the first Clerks screening who didn't walk
out. Bob made some phone calls after that and look at Kevin
today. You can see Bob in "Chasing Amy" as the guy poking
at the black, gay guy on the phone. Bob also is on every panel
of experts when it comes to indie film seminars.
Law Office) - John is basically a lawyer and now is
repping films. His name kept popping up when I was doing a
search for "producers reps" on Google. Apparently he sold
the two movies for the highest amount at the last Sundance
festival. We noticed his name was associated with Roger Marino.
Roger Marino is in the fortune 400, is basically a billionaire
and wants to make movies with John Sloss' help. He also lives
3 towns over from me....somewhere.
John Sloss Bio
on American Movie.com: John
The next group
of contacts that I want to pursue are talent agencies. These
guys are the ones who have the contacts with the major studios
and other places that can offer work for real money. The problem
is, in my Hollywood Creative Directory it lists EVERYBODY.
I've got address and names, but I have no idea WHO in these
agencies would be interested in what I'm doing. The other
thing is all of the major agencies have "BY REFERRAL ONLY"
in their comment section. The big guys usually represent such
people as Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. They notify
YOU when they want you. Here's the biggies:
(International Creative Management) - These guys
look like they're the biggest. They take a full page up in
the HCD, something like 100 agents listed.
Morris Agency - These guys used to be #1, they
only have something like 90 people listed. :-P
Talent Agency - from what I can tell, number 3.
Descent amount of people. (See the
April 14, 2001 Journal entry, I have some sort of contact
a bunch of other producers reps and distribution companies
that I will eventually hit up. The Hollywood Creative Directory
book has HUNDREDS of agents and e-mails, so hopefully I won't
be doing a massive amount of spamming in desperation to find
18, 2001 - The country is depressed, send a FAX.
and I have now made an arrangement where he will come by my
place on every Monday and try to sell this thing. (Basically
use my phone to call long distance.) As we all know, on September
8th, the world blew up and basically fucked everything up
for everybody. Dan started to make some phone calls to potential
agents and reps but found that anyone who was anyone was at
the Toronto film festival, and that most of them were trapped
in Canada because all US flights were canceled.
One thing that
we're noticing is that no one is very enthusiastic about receiving
a free tape. Almost all of the big agencies just want a FAX
sent over before they'll even consider it. I was kinda under
the impression that the only way to tell if a movie is any
good is by WATCHING the sucker. I can only imagine how much
crap they WOULD get if they let open the gates to anybody.
When searching for music for this project, I had to wade through
HUNDREDS of bland songs just to find the few that I liked.
Apparently it's like that with films too. We weren't expecting
to get very far today, so what the hell.
still has to finish the end credits and I've got a couple
more graphics that need fixing. We realized that the deadline
for Sundance Film Festival is on the 28th of this month, so
we might as well go for it.
25, 2001 - Sundance & Slamdance entries
Dan was obsessing
over the Sundance and
form yesterday, so he didn't get very far with the phone calls.
We decided to enter the film into Slamdance too because I've
got a feeling that Sundance might find the film not artsy
enough while Slamdance seems to be looking for stuff that
wants to flip the bird to the mainstream audiences. I liked
Slamdances' entry form, they wanted more information about
the filmmaker, stuff like war stories and a directors bio.
I mentioned how I bought the ACL camera out on the New York
Turnpike. They tried being cutesy on the application by asking
for the directors shoe size. I wrote, "see dick size."
I'm starting to
get concerned about my money situation. I haven't worked at
my regular corporate gig for more than a month now. (Ever
since I told them that I need to finish this damn project
for Sundance and the Coolidge Corner showing.) I've got some
money saved, but I could easily blow through that if I decide
to shoot the remaining shots and computer screens that I need.
decided to jazz up the packaging of the film that will be
going out to all the agents and reps. I figure I've got to
be able to make an impression BEFORE they even watch the tape,
or better yet, make the tape itself stand out if it ends up
in a pile of others. Since fishnet pantyhose/stockings have
a major significance in the film, I wanted to use that somehow.
Dan, John, Therese and I had also talked about marketing/promotion
gimmicks that could used to help promote the film at film
festivals. I thought that giving away an actual pair of fishnet
stockings would be kinda silly. (Stuck in some sort of bag
with an "alt.sex" label.) Others had mentioned alt.sex condoms,
but I thought that would be too explicit, since the film is
really not ABOUT having sex, nor were there any condoms used
in the film.
I noticed that
designer pantyhose come in cardboard packages with fancy labels
that could conceivably hold a vhs tape inside. I bought a
pair of designer fishnet pantyhose at Walmart, (I'm sure the
cashier thought I was a transvestite) and used that package
as a basis for the official "alt.sex fishnet stockings and
movie" package/mailer. I had my pirated copy of Photoshop,
John had his large format ink jet printer, so we were able
to create something that look very similar to a real hosiery
package (but with all sorts of goofy bits worked into the
design.) The photo I used was of Therese's legs in fishnets
that I had took almost 2 years ago when I was building the
I was going to
send the film inside a pair of fishnet pantyhose, but noticed
that once you've got a tape stuck inside them, they barely
fit inside the package I created. It would also cost me 6
bucks just for the fishnets for every tape that I would send
out this way! Therese mentioned that you can buy fishnet socks
on the cheap. Walmart had 'em for 2 bucks a pair. Perfect.
(Still want to know what kind of fashion statement a woman
can make by wearing fishnets SOCKS. How sexy can only a big
toe clad in fishnets be?) :-P
2, 2001 - At least my friends seem interested.
I've been getting
feedback from an assortment of people on the movie. They've
been going nuts! I can't seem to find anyone who DOESN'T like
it (or at least seems apathetic.) I gave a tape to Dave Chubet
(the guy whose house we invaded on September
2, 2000 & September 24, 2000),
HE was very enthusiastic about the film. He had shown it to
a few of his friends, I guess THEY went nuts over it. Therese
had a bunch of her highly intelligent librarian friends come
over and did a private screening. I was told they laughed
in all the right spots and were quite disappointed that I
was there to do a Q and A afterwards. (I ended up playing
late with the Dave Chubet Jug band that I've somehow been
drawn into.) Therese is now convinced that I might have something.
(And this is 2 years after she had read the script and kinda
went "I dunno..")
We've now had a
few weeks to make a dent into the quest for an agent or rep.
Here is where it stands:
Pierson: got through and spoke to him very quickly
on the phone. (I guess another call was coming through.) I
tried to be charming at first, he just wanted to know what
the hell I wanted. Gave him the quick spiel. (I'm an indie
filmmaker, yada yada yada.) He reminded me that he's no longer
in the repping biz. I told him that I wanted his input on
the project and perhaps he could recommend another producers
rep. "Yea fine, send it" he says and basically slams the phone
down. Didn't even get a chance to mention the title of the
film to him. The tape went out (in fishnet packaging) to him
on the 28th.
Dowd: We've spoken to someone in his office for
weeks now, but still haven't gotten through to him. (We've
called 6 different times at this point.) I want to just send
the tape, but we've been told to e-mail something first (did
that twice.) I've also faxed over our one-sheet description.
His receptionist seems nice, so hopefully something will get
Sloss: We've been told twice to fax something over.
Still waiting word to just SEND a freakin' tape. (Called 5
Hawk: Trying to contact Bob has been a bitch. I've
found his name on many webpages on the Internet. Apparently
he has had a lot to do with tons of festivals in San Francisco,
yet there are no listings for any e-mail addresses or webpages
for him or his company ANYWHERE on the web. I must've spent
a couple of nights on Google searching through EVERYTHING.
Nada. I had recently sent the film to my buddy David Schendel
who lives in San Francisco. He's a filmmaker who just finished
a documentary called "Yank Tanks" that was submitted to Sundance
this year. I tell him that I have contact numbers for everybody
except this guy called Bob Hawk. He says, "I know the guy
personally. I've been in touch with him for years." Fuck me.
:-) He calls Bob Hawk and tells him about the film and then
gives me his home phone number. I leave a message on Bob's
Talent Agency: I waited until my fishnet packaging
was done before I tried my contact at United Talent Agency.
Called the guy, he remembered me, chatted with his assistant,
sent the tape off (in the fishnet packaging) today. Yay!
Morris Agency: Called 5 times at this point. Haven't
reached the contact person we wanted. Been told to fax something
Called 4 times. Never reached the contact person we had. I
woke up the next morning to hear that he DID return our phone
call, even though it was just a "I'M RETURNING YOUR PHONE
New Horizons: Dan wanted to take a crack at contacting
Roger Corman. Since Roger Corman has given many people their
start in the film biz, Dan figured that Roger may be interested
in lending a hand. We get through to a vice presidents assistant.
She said, "send a tape! We'll look at it!" That was easy.
Off it goes in the fishnet packaging.
Wave Films: Got a tape and entry form out to there
guys. Apparently they will grant a ton of money to a few finished
features that need additional finishing costs like blow-ups
and final sound mixes. Who knows what will happen with these
8 - Talent? You want TALENT agencies?
it. Earlier in the week, someone from the William Morris agency
returned Dans phone call and wants to see a tape! I practically
shit my pants. I was tempted to be a smart ass and go, "don't
you want to see the fax FIRST?" We never sent a fax to those
guys since we never got through to our contact. What the hell.
Dan did a follow
up call today. They recognized his name and went, "ALT.SEX?!
WE LOVE THE PACKAGING!" I guess they are going to be carefully
studying the tape later this week. Woo hoo!
Dan was torqued
up by this. He then calls ICM (International Creative Management)
and figures he can bluff his way through to someone important
since the two other major talent agencies now have our tape.
He gets through to our contact. The guy seems to recognize
Dan's name. He goes, "LEMME SEE THAT TAPE!" Dan mentions that
he hasn't faxed anything over. He goes, "you can't tell anything
from the fax, SEND THAT TAPE!"
We certainly don't
want to keep ICM waiting! :-)
I'm now amazed
on the outcome of our promotional pursuit. I initially thought
that the major talent agencies would be the LAST people who
would want to look at our stuff. (We obviously aren't anyone
famous.) I always thought that the famous indie reps would
be the first ones to jump at a chance to look at our film.
Not so. They seem to be the least interested. I guess this
makes sense, it seems that TALENT agencies have a major interest
in finding talent before anyone else does. Producer reps seem
to be interested in finding YOU (once they've heard about
I had done a personal
showing of the film for John
Horrigan and his buddy Mike Lewis earlier in the week.
I knew Mike Lewis from some silly things I did back in my
cable days with John Horrigan. Mike had written and produced
an indie film called "Getting
Personal." He had raised over $750,000 and had set up
something called a "limited partnership" with his investors.
The film made the rounds at festivals and had been bought
up by HBO. He seemed to be totally knocked out by the film
and couldn't believe that I did it with only 30 grand. I told
him I was interested in learning how to do limited partnerships
with investors. John Horrigan was also surprised at how well
the film turned out. Mike sent that copy of the film out to
his producers rep. I guess we'll just see what happens. I'm
just happy that my regular corporate client called me in for
a day this week. (At least I'll be able to eat 3 months from
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