by Erik Sean McGiven on Dec 10, 2013
Leveraging your time and investment
to create more opportunities
I've attended numerous American
Film Markets and this year's event was another success. It's a market that's alive with sellers, buyers,
and promoters bartering for placement in distributor's catalogs. With
attendance around 8,000 AFM is the World's largest motion picture trade
event. Itís a marketplace where
producers and sales companies license films to distributors and this year they
had over 2,000 New Films and Projects, over 1,000
Distributors and over 400 Production
Companies. The market was based at the
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and for screenings; it utilized conference rooms
and movie theatres in the nearby area.
For struggling filmmakers and
screenwriters, AFM offers opportunities for networking, project financing, and
distribution. However, to do this in a
proficient manner takes considerable planning.
One must have a succinct coherent presentation whether it's a project in development, a
proposed script or a completed film.
So you get a meeting, maybe meet a
contact where possibilities exist. You make a pitch and receive interest. What
do you do? Following up is where most
attendees fail. They become frozen with
indecision. They don't know what to do
or how to do it. One should look on
follow up as an extension of networking. Networking is the means by
which we engage new business friends, seek out innovative and fresh ideas,
locate useful information, and foster connections that can grow into lasting
partnerships. Follow up is the means by
which we continue the networking relationship.
Without it the relationship dies of neglect.
Another caveat is that the person
doesn't have a clear idea as to what they want to accomplish. Could it be financing, distribution, or a
co-production deal? Could it be feedback
on a story idea? Defining the end goal greatly assists how you do your
presentation and what actions you take in your follow up. Another factor is the size of your goal. Big goals usually lead to procrastination, as
itís almost impossible to get a handle on how to proceed with cumbersome
objectives. Think of immediate goals
that will have an impact on your connection. What can you do now to extend the
relationship? Long-term goals progress
out of intermediate goals and will likely lead your final objectives
Tom Molloy, a film-financing consultant
wrote in his email blast that he had given out hundreds of business cards and
only a few had taken the time to respond with a follow up. And it's not just a matter of confirming the
connection, it's a matter of continuing the relationship.
To spend hundreds of dollars on
fees, plus the time attending events, networking and collecting business cards;
it's is a waste if you don't make something happen. This could be with your career, your project,
or gaining valuable information that makes you better at your profession. Following up leverages your time and
investment. It creates more
Here are some tips on following up
whether it is by phone or email.
Express appreciation and acknowledge what was
Amplify on things discussed during your meeting. Add something new.
Remind them of something promised, such as an
appointment, a favor or a deadline.
Sum up what was accomplished at meeting so there is a
record and that your view can be verified.
It pays to restate a pitch as this reinforces the idea. It also allows
the potential for you idea to move up the ladder.
Confirm a meeting date, or correspondence with a third
Request feedback on your presentation.
People in general on busy and
overwhelmed with day-to-day work. One
has to be assertive in following up to be heard. Be respectful, short, and to the point. However, showing appreciation for their
knowledge and input is the key to continuing the relationship.