By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
The American Film Market is going to be held from November 2 – 9 in Santa Monica, California. They expect over 2,000 films and projects. What’s important is that you attend, but what is most important is that you are prepared to attend. If you are an independent filmmaker, this is for you. AFM is produced by the Independent Film and Television Alliance, http://www.ifta-online.org/; they offer a strong line up of conferences and roundtables that are a must for all involved in independent filmmaking.
The value of the market to filmmakers depends on what they are trying to accomplish. Over the years I have met many that attend the market the same way they attend film festivals, they are just there to see what they can do and do not have a plan. Many also think they will find a financier or a distributor that will “help” them by distributing their film or by “giving” them the money to make it. This is certainly the wrong approach, if you want to be entertained, there is AFI Fest happening across town.
If you are there to try and sell your completed film, do you have the chain of title for the film? Do you know what that means? If you don’t, you need to review all of the paperwork that establishes that you own the film. If you do not know if you have those documents, it’s likely you may not, so you won’t be able to sell it. Do you know which distributors may be more open to your story? Take a look at who is there and make sure you target them. The badge for access at the market range from $295 to $1,545, http://americanfilmmarket.com/badges-prices/. The cost of not selling your film or not knowing whom to approach is easily a cost much steeper than this. I also meet many folks that are trying to sneak into the market because they do not have the money to buy the badge, this is a business and it is also your business, make an effort to put some money aside for at least one day, it’s a business expense. Your “dream” of being a filmmaker, is one of the most expensive dreams that you will have. Its either your time or your money or both.
If all you have is an idea and not sure how to proceed with your cinema dreams the conferences, http://americanfilmmarket.com/conferences/ and the roundtables, http://americanfilmmarket.com/roundtables/, can certainly help you get a practical understanding on what you need to consider before jumping into this business enterprise.
The American Film Market should be a destination for any independent filmmaker because it is a place where folks are expected to make deals or the start the beginning of a long business relationship. Distributors, financiers, producers and other entertainment business folks are there to meet with folks and also to look for new opportunities, yours may be the one that fits their model, as long as you are ready for that conversation.