We are back from the American Film Market in sunny Santa Monica, California where we spent three days learning, pitching and meeting the film industries biggest players from around the world. The American Film Market hosts one of the industries biggest events for film makers, screenwriters and distributors. We also interviewed 8 film industry heavy hitters.
Our #1 tip for success at the American Film Market is preparation. Setup your meetings in advance, don’t wait for the last minute to schedule them because the likelihood of getting into a meeting without an appointment is very low. Even if you have an appointment the odds of it being on time may dwindle the later you wait to make that meeting. Not only do you have to prepared to schedule meetings with buyers and distributors, you have to be prepared with your pitch. You need to be professional and have a plan and understand why your film may be saleable and even more importantly what aspects of your film may not be saleable.
Tip #2 for success at the American Film Market is having a completed project. Nobody wants to hear about your concept or idea. Everyone has ideas. Distributors won’t even touch you if you don’t have a completed production. Screenwriters need completed scripts. Networking and building relationships take time. If you’re a first time filmmaker, nobody is going to hand you a check after a 15 minute pitch meeting. If they do, we’d love to hear about it on our podcast!
Interviews at the American Film Market
Creator of On The Page Script Consultation Company. Pilar is the director of the screenwriting and TV writing program On the Page®, host of the popular On the Page Podcast and author of the top-selling book “The Coffee Break Screenwriter. She was at AFM as the moderator of the Pitch Conference for the 2nd year in a row. The Pitch Conference at AFM was eye opening to us. If you’re a screenwriter her podcast is invaluable.
We submitted our pitch for Seymour the Unfortunate Vampire and while we weren’t selected to pitch live, we learned how to craft and deliver a pitch for the meetings we were about to take.
Filmmaker and Creator of Indie Film Hustle. Alex shares what he’s learned over the years as a writer, director, producer and post production/VFX supervisor. We were excited to finally meet Alex in person after having him as a guest on our podcast. Alex was more than generous with his time and shared a ton of insights with us. Look for his interview with AFM Director Jonathan Wolf on Indie Film Hustle.
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Jason is a Los Angeles based movie distribution executive specializing in direct to consumer distribution strategies. He is the Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Distribber. Jason is also the founder of Filmmaking Stuff, a professional resource for independent filmmakers and provides tips on screenwriting, producing, crowdfunding, directing, movie marketing and film distribution.
A Native American actor, stuntman and singer most known for his role in Renegade with Lorenzo Lamas. Branscombe stands at 6′ 3″ and has been on the receiving end of the fists of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando (1985), gotten pummeled by Carl Weathers in Action Jackson (1988) and tangled with Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill (1990). At the American Film Market we saw a different while he was there to represent the Southern Kentucky Film Commission.
The most fun about meeting Branscombe is that he is long time friends with Marshall Teague who was on our show as well. Check out our Interview with Marshall Teague.
General Manager of Shanghai Pusheng Translation Co. Susan was there as a translator helping a producer navigate the film market.
Paul has been writing and creating comedy for 15 years now and has worked with some of the biggest names in comedy – including Jeff Goldblum, SketchShe and toured with The Umbilical Brothers through Germany, Denmark, Austria, Slovenia and Sweden. He won the biggest prize in webseries history: $70,000 for The Justice Lease in which he acted, wrote and produced. We caught up with Paul at the pitch conference where he delivered one of the most animated pitches at the AFM. Check out his work at http://severecomedy.com
Sean was another dynamic presenter at the AFM Pitch Conference where he asked the audience “Would you kill for fame?” For more on Sean and his film Twisted check out https://www.twistedthefilm.com/home. Sean also organized an indie horror filmmaker meetup on Saturday night which was a great place to meet other like minded filmmakers.
Michael Lippert is an Ontario-based Writer/Director/Producer. He was at the AFM shopping his debut feature film called Expecting. Mike had a great story to share about how managed to get Lloyd Kaufman to do a cameo in his film.
Mark is the Vice President of Sales & Acquisition at Adler & Associates Entertainment. They pride themselves on being a true indie company, one with a risk-taking spirit and an unbiased eye for new talent from around the globe. If you’re an indie filmmaker looking for distribution and a true partner we recommend a conversation with Adler & Associates Entertainment.
Share Your American Film Market Experiences
If you’ve attended the American Film Market and want to share your story, tell us in the comments. If you have questions about AFM and whether or not its right for you give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook and we will answer anything you want to know!
Have a question for our guests on this episode of the Imperfect Podcast? Leave it in the comments and we’ll make sure they answer it for you.