As the Executive Producer on this film project I have a detailed plan for: 1) earning a pedigree for “The Boys Are Back” in the film festival circuit, 2) delivering the “deliverables” our film distributors will want, and 3) rolling out to DVD.
First, I will earn a pedigree for “The Boys Are Back” in the film festival circuit by getting press coverage, doing interviews, receiving quotes from critics, and winning awards in multiple categories. When we win the lottery and get a slot at one of the top three film festivals (Sundance, Toronto, or Cannes) we are ahead of the competition because we have a team of people mostly in place already: an agent associated with one of the top agencies in Los Angeles who will quickly bring on a great PR firm, and a distinguished entertainment attorney.
Second, I have a complete plan in place to deliver the “deliverables” our distributor will want many of our so-called filmmaking competitors will not be able to deliver. There are some basic things a filmmaker needs to supply that are pretty obvious. There is no way out for this list. I will save the distributor time and money, and earn myself a place at the front of the line for getting a good distribution deal in our favor. Number 1) Feature film on HD Cam SR or digital file (Original aspect ratio and Native frame rate) - Advantage points: 5.1 mix and Trailer - Extra Advantage points: Additional versions: Clean output (no titles). I will split dialogue, music and effects (DME) into separate audio output tracks for foreign language dubbing and trailer editing. Number 2) Key art/Poster art - 300 dpi - Bonus points: I will separate the art layers. Number 3) Audio output: Channel 1: 5.1 track: Left; Channel 2: 5.1 track: Right; Channel 3: 5.1 track: Center; Channel 4: 5.1 track: Low-Frequency Effects; Channel 5: 5.1 track: Left Surround; Channel 6: 5.1 track: Right Surround; Channels 7+8: Full Mix Stereo L&R; and Channels 9+10: M&E Stereo L&R. Many Extra Advantage Points I will fulfill are: 4x3 pan and scan – provides additional flexibility for certain outlets although most now will accept the film letterboxed within a 4x3 frame. Audio Commentary – standard for DVD release. Good production stills and footage which is the hallmark of every marketing savvy filmmaker. Social media outlets & web presence (built-in marketing platforms and hooks). Pre-organized binder of all clearances, releases, and music licensing information. Number 4) I have established the Delivery Material Checklist. I will handle the responsibility of collecting all the appropriate materials. Pre-production - I will consider all pre-production materials that might be useful as DVD extras such as audition tapes, storyboards, script meetings, and so on. All talent agreements will be negotiated and firmly in place. Production - I will capture behind the scenes footage. I will get good production stills. I will get a video blog going. I will collect material for our Electronic Press Kit (EPK) which will primarily be used by journalists as they gather information for any articles or interviews they create related to our film. However, portions of our Electronic Press Kit may be used as Special Features on the DVD. Editing - I will set up our project for ease of output for audio channels during assembly of the feature film and trailer that includes the following items: a) Narration, b) split Dialogue, Music, and Effects into stems, and c) Music. I will save and organize for future use: a) Outtakes/deleted scenes, and b) Alternative Endings. I will confirm all legal materials are in progress or finalized before I finish the edit: a) All talent agreements (promotion & appearances, approvals, likeness and image grants), and b) Music cue sheet (with prioritized notes about out-of-content usage). Post-edit – I will complete a Press Kit and Marketing Handout Preparation: a) Press clippings, b) Premiere footage, c) Trailer, d) Electronic Press Kit, e) Promotional Clips, and f) Continued social media presence. I will create the DVD Extras audio commentary: a) Interview footage, b) Casting tapes/story boards/notes on napkins, and c) Audio Commentaries. Distribution Preparation: a) Transcript, and b) Closed captioning. I will structure a complete Delivery Folder so I am positioned to supply a list of legal documents and paperwork to the distributor that includes: a) Archival Clip Licenses, b) Cast and Crew Restrictions, c) Certificate of Authorship, d) Certificate of Origin, e) Chain of Title, d) Credit Items, e) Insurance for Errors & Omissions (E&O) which is a pre-requisite for establishing a distribution network for the film production that indemnifies all the producers from lawsuits that may arise from the content of a production, including lawsuits alleging i) infringement of copyright, ii) libel or slander, iii) invasion of privacy, iiii) plagiarism or unauthorized copying of ideas, v) defamation or degrading of products (trade libel), and vi) infringement on title, slogan, or trademark, f) Literary Materials, g) Motion Picture Association of America Documentation, h) Music, and i) all other Agreements. Additionally, I will prep the film for digital distribution, encoding it into a wide variety of CODEC’s for everything from PlayStation to mobile phones to web viewing.
Third, I have a detailed plan for rolling out to DVD which continues to be the largest revenue generating segment of the entire film industry. Last year alone it generated 16-17 Billion dollars in revenues. Many Americans are happy to rent cheap discs from Redbox whose kiosks outnumber McDonalds and Starbucks outlets combined. There are a lot of Topeka, Kanseses out there and that’s still a robust lucrative market. Add into that 1) Kids need it – during summer vacations watching movie and TV content on disc will remain the best way to travel. Plus, even at home, bonus features add more value to kids’ titles, as does packaging. It may be true that mobile devices and tablets are being used by kids at younger and younger ages, and that Netflix streaming has eroded linear viewing of Nickelodeon and other kids’ channels. But when it comes to home entertainment and long-term usage, DVD is simply a better value. 2) The industry’s own marketing says so - UltraViolet, a cloud technology embraced by a broad consortium of distributors is selling the concept of multi-platform content access. That means if you buy a disc, you also get to access the digital copy, a “combo-pack” strategy that is now an industry cornerstone. 3) Specialization favors it — Beyond the Digital Entertainment Group data there are myriad distributors trafficking in a range of areas from sports to music to fitness to spiritualism - vast realms where the marketing opportunities and venues may be greater for physical discs than digital files. It’s easier to sell an official championship team DVD at supermarkets, gas stations and other retail outlets, for example, than an official championship download. 4) Blu-ray is still the best viewing experience – For cinephiles or even anyone inclined in that direction, HD content viewed on the finest Retina tablet display or LCD flat screen can’t come close to a Blu-ray. Gaming platforms, such as PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, will continue to drive significant Blu-ray business. The rollout of Blu-ray has been a bit of a New Coke experience for Hollywood but after the smoke and disappointment has cleared it remains a superior format attracting all of the top content producers. 5) It’s the collector’s choice – If you were baffled by the format wars of a decade ago pitting Sony’s Blu-ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD, the confusion around cloud storage is exponentially greater. The notion of a “digital storage locker,” as easily managed as one’s iTunes music library or Netflix account, has long been promoted by Hollywood (hence, UltraViolet). But there are an array of factors that will keep this concept from taking over and dominating. One is bandwidth - cloud DVRs are just now rolling out from cable companies that serve multiple communities like Comcast, and already there are questions about the cost and feasibility of bandwidth and storage. Old-school DVD collecting, while it involved an initial price tag, didn’t get progressively more expensive the more you bought. Also, many players are cashing in on the demand for popular shows by creating packaging that lures hardcore fans. AMC’s blockbuster series Walking Dead sold out its run of 35,000 packages designed by McFarlane Toys. The price of this boxed set: $100. That’s a couple extra million right off the top. I have designed a very special 2-disc DVD set for “The Boys Are Back” movie.