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Word On The Street

So I’m walking down the street just now – my son’s trailing after me and the buggy with his sister in it since everything is VERY EMBARRASSING these days, most of all me and Lil. To be fair this is probably because we sing everywhere we go and when he asks us not to, we sing louder (revenge for Lil because she’s the second born, revenge for me because my son spent most of his first year crying).

Anyway: we started a particularly loud and screwy rendition of the Code Lyoko theme tune and Alf yells in the middle of the street to make us stop: “Mum, Please! I will go and live with the freaks if I have to!”


Well I’m moving next week, plus it’s half term, so I probably won’t be hanging around this cyber gaff much since real stuff needs some of my attention.

In the meantime I would like your thoughts on Ashes To Ashes Versus Life On Mars – is it better? Worse? Different? Why? – since that will be the subject of one of my posts when I get back.

Also, here’s a couple of things that may be of interest to you. Ciao my pretties. I’ll miss you. This is not a goodbye, but a “see you soon”… Oh this is so hard – eh? What was that at the back??

Dirty boy.


Jim Mercurio is inviting people to apply for his Killer Screenwriting Course. Limited to just twenty participants and an entire week, the course covers Concept, Structure, Dialogue, Genre, Action Description, Prose, Style, Character Orchestration, Dilemma,Character Arc, How to Get an Agent, Managing Your Own Career, Succeeding Without Representation, Pitching and many other things. There’s even optional activities in the evenings. Pretty comprehensive stuff!

Now I haven’t done this course obviously with it being over The Pond, but Jim’s a great guy and regular readers will remember how much I loved his production Hard Scrambled. He’s got some fab knowledge to impart and I for one would love to go. Also, if you mention thia blog or Bang2write when you sign up, Jim will give you two DVDs – “Theme” and “Killer Endings”.

Watch free tutorials by Jim Mercurio here.


The End for the Pier International Film Festival is doubling its efforts to promote UK and other independent features submitted to the main annual event.

The Event Director Bryan Gartside anticipates a quadrupling of feature submissions for 2009 and will be actively looking to premirer more commercially viable films in the future.

The EotP has over the last five years focused strongly on short independent films made by young and new film makers. However, the festival’s ‘participants’ and ‘audience’ have grown and moved on, creating a greater demand for feature presentation exposure.

What does the Festival Offer?

Under the current terms and conditions of submitting any content to the festival, the festival organisers reserve the right to use that content to further promote the aims and objectives of the festival. This is achieved by creating compilation DVDs of the ‘Best of the Fest which go out to a wide range of press, industry professionals and broadcasters. Sponsors are also given complimentary DVDs to demonstrate the ethos of the festival. Unless a Film Maker states otherwise,
content maybe used in this manner. However, the festival does not undertake in any way shape or form to derive income from such, or to offer material to third parties for re-sale. It is not within the festival brief to attempt to distribute content commercially. However, the organisers would assist with and support any Film Maker in endeavouring to find commercial markets for his or her content – subject to negotiation and agreement. This is not and never has been an automatic undertaking by the event organisers.

The new initiative will however move towards a deeper working relationship between the Film Makers, the event organisers and potential buyers. In the future features will have a stronger and more positive promotion behind them, be that as part of the annual UK based festival, or any satellite events or special premiere screenings.

“Our aim”, states Festival Director Bryan Gartside, “will be to bring more commercial buyers into the feature screenings, with a view to close distribution deals with Film Makers and or their agents. The role of the eotp is not going to be one of buyer or distributor negotiators, that is up to the people behind the film. The festival will however offer the most attractive setting and environment it can possibly achieve within budget restraints to make such commercial interaction possible.”

In general terms the festival will not sell or promote your film for you, outside that is, of the festival confines. What this means is the festival will screen the content and invite as many of the appropriate people along as guests to watch it. The festival also offers a limited reception experience to those guests to enhance the occasion. However, there are always exceptions and cases where a film may not have an international sales agent, or representation in the UK or other regions. Or the Director/producer is unable to attend the event. Subject to promotional budgets the festival can in certain circumstances assist any Film Maker gain wider exposure for his or her feature film. This of course costs money and therefore productions need to take this into account before committing to that production.

Subject to budgets, it is possible to assist Feature Film presentations gain wider exposure through a number of practical undertakings. Such as: exhibition exposure through limited distribution via UK independent theatrical circuits. Placing of content on IPTV sites. Sites vary from free viewing access used for promotional reasons only, or specialised sites where content is screened together with advertising content to derive revenue. Films can also gain wider audiences through the eotp network of European Film Festivals, or through the festival’s new initiative of creating an eotp presence in a variety of other nations. It will be possible in the future to have a feature premiering in the UK at the main eotp event, then premiering in other nations, such as the USA, Australia, China and India as well. The theory here is bringing the mountain to the prophet, not every buyer in the USA can fly over to Bognor Regis in May – so we will take the content to the buyer! 2009 will also see a strong representation from the eopt at major world markets and other top festivals.

‘We have the old chicken and egg situation – to go out into the market place we need something of value to sell, to pull in that valuable commodity we need to have a presence in the top markets. The EotP in time will, I believe, become one of those ‘top‘ markets where buyers will come because they will know we have an extensive range of products and film representatives also in attendance.’ Concludes Festival Director Bryan Gartside.

What do filmmakers have to do?

Firstly there seems to be a great deal of feature content being produced without due consideration to its commercial potential. Film Makers obviously want to exercise their creative skills. However, many go ahead without considering their product’s position in the market place. Before committing to a script it is wise to talk to people in the industry who can create distribution and other openings for content. Internet broadcasting has clearly begun to redefine the way in which content is consumed, which in turn has created more openings than ever before for content exposure.

Film Makers must be prepared then to ‘get behind’ their product and sell it in the market place through exposure, public exhibition, press interviews and so forth. The entire crew and cast of any feature must all act as ambassadors for their handiwork. Budget considerations must include promotion and publicity – the levels of which need to be a much as, or to exceed that of total production budgets. More money needs to be spent on PR and advertising a film than the actual production costs. This should be obvious to all concerned, you only need to look around at the publicity behind a latest dollar backed movie – billboards, buses, the subway promotions, it all adds up to millions of $. UK and indeed European Film Makers may be purists and make films for the sake of art, or their burdened conscience. However, if they want people to view their work out in the wider world then more consideration must be made to, not just content, but how that content is promoted.

Of course this is a tall order if you do not have millions to spend on your PR and promotional budgets. Which brings us round nicely to a further development by the End of the Pier’s parent Company 3P Media. For sometime 3P have been actively looking for partners to work with in both source funding for feature film productions, and the Film Makers behind such. To date their efforts have been both limited and fairly exclusive to a small number of mainly in-house projects. However, with the co-operation and support from a major European funding source 3P will in the near future be in a stronger position to promote their funding streams through the eotp festival and other film related initiatives. This will it is anticipated, enable UK based Film Makers to access source funding for a range of production requirements, from simple lease purchase agreements, to the setting up on Companies, the acquisition of commercial properties, and the funding of feature and television productions. The consequences of such could mean that the 3P Media Group, of which the eotp festival is party to, will be able to source funding for UK productions, whilst also premiering through its UK and other festival outlets, arrange limited theatrical release, place on commercial IPTV and other broadcast platforms, whilst also committing to DVD reproduction to direct sell to consumers – everything will be in one neat and tidy package…
Thanks Bryan! Some interesting stuff there for you filmmakers out in If you go to the End Of The Pier Festival this year, let us know what you think.

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4 thoughts on “Word On The Street”

  1. I’ve finally had some thoughts on Ashes To Ashes… alright I always had them but I hadn’t put them down. They’re a bit long for a comments box: here they be!

    They’re a bit long, a bit twonkish, quite possibly ill-informed and eccentric. On the other hand I liked Ashes To Ashes. So bear that in mind.

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