Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Things I Learned from American Film Market

Screenwriter and producer Ed Fletcher delivers his pitch for "Pink" at the 2014 American Film Market as pitch expert and forum moderator Stephanie Palmer looks on.

By Ed Fletcher

Armed with a stack of business cards, some new pink ties and a four-day pass ($500), I recently attended American Film Market in Santa Monica, one of the world’s largest film markets, to develop or sell my screenplay Pink. For more information on Pink, a sexy dramatic comedy based on Sacramento’s 1969 bottomless stripper trial, read my blog or find us on Facebook. What follows is a rundown of things I learned or reconfirmed from attending American Film Market for the first time and as someone new to film.

  1. Hollywood is not about openness or inclusion. It’s a meritocracy based on your ability to make them money. That’s not an indictment, just real talk.
  2. In the film world there are creative types and business types. AFM is more for the business types. It ain’t called a market for nothing.
  3. There is little demand for comedies, dramas, sports movies or urban movies overseas. As a result, there are an exorbitant number of low budget thrillers, action movies and beast/zombie movies being made and marketed. 
  4. Getting on stage at the Pitch Conference can make you interesting to all the other filmmakers in the room, but since heavy hitters were in the their temporary sales offices blocks away, you’re still a nobody to them. 
  5. Just because somebody retweets you doesn’t mean you’re somebody to them.  
  6. Having a good pitch is one thing, but have it packaged (name director or talent signed on) and you’re cookin’. I wasn’t cooking.
  7. Wearing a Pink tie everyday was a great idea. Who forgets the Black guy, wearing a pink tie, and talking about a screenplay named Pink?  
  8. Cell phones are a security blanket for people afraid to be alone. It’s hard to spark up a conversation when people are checking their security blanket.
  9. The Producer Forums are popular: Get there early. Disregard this if you have a confirmed “producers” credit and can skip the line. 
  10. Despite the new ways to network through social media, nothing beats spending time in the lobby bar in terms of making connections.

The event offers a bevy of high level forums on the film business.
The rooms of two Santa Monica hotels are turned into temporary film offices.
Ed Fletcher posing for a picture at American Film Market 2014.

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