Low Budget 3-D: Panasonic Brings 3-D to the Indie Market

Low Budget 3-D: Panasonic Brings 3-D to the Indie Market

For the indie film producer, the cost of hardware, the skills required of operators, and the extra shooting time it takes are all barriers to using 3-D. Panasonic’s AG-3DA1 solves these problems. For about $30,000, you get the fully HD 3D camera, a monitor, and two pairs of stylish glasses.

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Technology Good News & Bad News for Indie Films

Technology Good News & Bad News for Indie Films

There’s good news and bad news about technology for independent filmmakers. It’s cheaper and easier to make a film: anyone can make a movie with a low-price camera and a laptop. But the bad news is, independent films are competing for distribution and exhibition screens with big budget studio movies – and those movies are benefiting from some pretty nifty technology, too. Is there still room at the multiplex for the personal storytelling and character-driven drama of indie film?

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Whitewater Films Roundtable: Indie Film & the Tech Effect

Whitewater Films Roundtable: Indie Film & the Tech Effect

We may live in the era of connectivity, but the Internet is no substitute for real, in person discussion about changes in independent film. Here’s our report on Whitewater Film’s latest roundtable and their efforts to create an indie community.

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Enough with the NDAs

Enough with the NDAs

In my experience, when it comes to film finance discussions, non-disclosure agreements create more liability than they prevent. There are just too many similar projects with similar players for NDAs to make sense. Plus, NDAs are the mark of a novice producer.

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UK Film Finance Mag Interview

UK Film Finance Mag Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by Kingsley Marshall, contributor to Big Screen, Film International, Little White Lies, and Shook, for a story on film finance.

Do you find this Q&A interesting? What additional information would you like to know about?

Here is the Q&A from this article not yet out:

Kingsley Marshall: How hard is it to find movie financing in 2010?

JEFF STEELE: It’s very, very tough out there for single-picture, indie films. There are about six entertainment banks left that are actively lending, down from 12 in 2008, and only a handful of gap funds, down from a zillion in 2008. Wall Street equity, like hedge funds, has pretty much abandoned the single-picture finance business as well, but is still present in slate financing structures. And yet, films are still getting made.

Kingsley Marshall: How much is the credit crunch to blame?

JEFF STEELE: The credit crunch definitely played a key part in the production freeze in 2009, where the streets of Cannes and Toronto were paved with dead deals. 2010’s glut has to do more with (1) the plethora of bad film deals that were made during the go-go years of 2005-2008 that have barely recouped this budgets, (2) high net worth individuals not having the disposable income they once had (or thought they had), and (3) the lack of U.S. distributors (and P&A) available to the indie market. The credit crunch is definitely having a direct impact on the ability of foreign buyers and distributors to finance pre-sales and pre-sales deposits, which are critical elements in indie film financing.

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Can Indie Films Make Money on YouTube?

Can Indie Films Make Money on YouTube?

I recently heard a report on NPR’s “Marketplace” about amateur videographers making a killing on YouTube, most famously the father behind “David After Dentist,” and Nebraska teenager Lucas Cruikshank, the creator and star of “Hey, It’s Fred.”

“David After the Dentist” seen by about 60 million people, has resulted in direct sales of merchandise, along with licensing of David’s catch-phrase, “Is This Real Life?”

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Short Post on Hard Costs

Short Post on Hard Costs

Just to set the record straight from previous comments about one of the main reasons entertainment banks ignore film budgets under 10m.

The traditional finance model (via senior banks and mezz lenders) does not willingly service films with budgets under $10m because there are numerous hard costs that (as a percentage of budget) cannot be reasonably sustained by low budgets.

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Crowd Film Funding: Losers and Winners

Crowd Film Funding: Losers and Winners

Crowd-funding has a future, but that future will not look anything like the present. The current online crowd-funding models will soon be extinct, but it’s not too late for any of them to do a quick re-vamp of their business models to make them work. Here are my predictions as to the future of the crowd/tribe financing institutions as they currently stand

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Announcement: A New Method for Indie Financing

Announcement: A New Method for Indie Financing

If nothing else, film financiers like myself need to try to incorporate new sources for film funding. This merging of crowd/tribe financing into the traditional model may indeed be possible.

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Film Finance Events: Worth the Money or Waste of Time?

Film Finance Events: Worth the Money or Waste of Time?

Those in attendance all have the same high hopes of learning that silver bullet of information they are dying to know, or meeting the people they need to meet to finally make their financing dreams come true. Should you attend or should you not attend?

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