Monday, March 01, 2010

What We Do

Apologies for being a little tardy on our posts of late, we’ve been distracted by a few projects and time has flown by. It’s been a busy time for us, and it seems that things are picking up in general in the movie business.

We met up with a few friends at the beach yesterday, along with a big crowd of dogs. We were all talking about what we do and of course a lot of folks around here are in the movie business. The feedback at the production level is that there’s a little more going on right now. A couple of friends are working more regularly and our mad hairdresser buddy has been working almost exclusively on movie shoots for the last year or so. He’s doing great contracting to be on set for a couple of weeks at a time and even travels internationally as crew. There’s quite a lot brewing at the Movie Beach right now so we thought we’d jot down a few snippets of the sort of stuff we work on every day:

We’re currently advising a maverick genius who has defined a completely new method of creating movies in order to ensure they gross $1 billion or more. Sounds fanciful, for sure, but there’s a lot of precise methodology behind it, including several years of analysis and non-conventional modeling. We’re encouraging gently as he aims to secure financing for a prototype movie, then slate, then movie company, to become a beacon for this new approach to the science of making movies.

We’re moving ahead with our China fund plans, cautiously optimistic and taking things step by step. We’re now discussing a proposed business plan, and the next step may be to meet the partners and their official backers in China in the near future. We had been expecting things to progress reasonably slowly, but they’re actually moving fairly rapidly for now. This is an exciting prospect.

We’re working on a couple of new film funding structures which will enable us to offer a capital guarantee to institutional investors looking to profit from the movie sector but uncomfortable with the risk profile. The holy grail in film finance is to offer investors a way to benefit from this great investment sector while still protecting their capital. No risk and great profit potential? – that’s the plan.

One interesting deal we’re working on is to secure 70% of a budget for a friend who’s got 30% pledged to his movie. It’s a formula that can work well, but usually in practice we find that most producers who say, or believe, that they’ve got their 30% funding in place, actually don’t. This is usually because they quantify their project funding extremely optimistically – it’s the producer’s job – and they tell us they’ve got 5% here, 10% there, or even 30% in place, when most of the time it’s in some form of soft money. This can run the gamut from simple pledges of talent or crew working on deferred payment, to P&A services pledged to the production at cost back-end, to tax credits from some state or country. In short, it’s not money. If our producer has 30% in real money, then they can get their movie made.

Most days of the week we’re patiently tracking down some investment commitment or other. Somehow there are always plenty of folks out there who really want to say “yes” to becoming a part of the movie business, but when it comes to writing a cheque they’re a little less committed. That’s the story with one particular participant of ours: we’re already contracted to make movies together, bring in investors, introduce partners and basically all live happily ever after. But getting this much-loved partner to pull the trigger and transfer the money has proved trying, to say the least. We’re still optimistic that he really means what he says but we can’t figure out what makes him continue to be so elusive. That’s usually not a good sign.

We had an approach the other week from an East Coast capital management group with a diverse range of media interests. They have a goal to invest into movies and are seeking to partner with a group which has access not only to Hollywood projects but also a solid financing structure to work within, so we’re evaluating where we might combine some of our efforts there. It could be a nice fit and enable us to look at a wider range of projects.

Stay tuned for more from Movie Beach.

The Out Of Obscurity team.

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