The State of Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace

 

At the American Film Market Production Conference panel Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace top executives from a range of U.S. and international production and sales companies (13 Films, The Asylum, ETA Films, Foresight Unlimited, Truffle Pictures) shared their insights:

  

·    Tannaz Anisi, Founder / President, 13 Films

     “Pre-sale in today’s market is very tricky; having a domestic distributor on board is helpful but when you can’t guarantee them something wide it makes pre-sale more difficult”

     “We are finding that it is much better to help package a film from the beginning, to come on earlier in the process rather than being handed a great script with no names or an actor with a bad script”

     “Buyers always want to know what is happening with a film domestically”

·    Tamara Birkemoe, President / COO, Foresight Unlimited

     “It is very important to go to a sales company and see what the movie would be worth internationally before setting a budget.”  

     “It is always better to come to a sales agent with a director attached, but it all starts with a script for us. Talent also helps, but only if it is the right talent…Having a domestic release can often times be more important than having stars connected to the project.”

     “If you shoot in LA you can probably get a better cast, but you can save a lot of money shooting somewhere else.”

·    Paul Bales, COO, The Asylum

     “I would rather always know that the budget I am making a film for is the correct budget, and the only way to do that is to go to the markets and speak with sales agents.”

     “The market is limited for horror films with small budgets, but they are easier to sell than horror films with a larger budget.”

     “When going to a sales agent you really need a good idea of where your money [for the project] is going to come from.”

·    Caroline Couret-Delegue, Founder, Truffle Pictures

     “It is very difficult to pre-sell horror films because of censorship issues in different territories.  It is very likely that territories that do pre-buy horror films will need to cancel their contracts with you once censorship laws are confirmed, however, there is still a very strong market internationally for horror     films.”

     “Comedies are very difficult to pre-sell because comedy translates very differently on the screen for different territories, therefore buyers like to see the   film before committing.”

     “Depending on the genre of the film, the best territories for pre-sales for us are the Middle East, Germany and the UK.”

     “The market has changed significantly.  There is alot of content but less and less release slots per territory. Buyers have become picky and sales agents   understand the marketplace and target audience for a film.”

     “Comedies are very difficult to pre-sell because comedy translates very differently on the screen for different territories, therefore buyers like to see the film before committing.”

     “We still do don’t know how Brexit will affect pre-sales, but the numbers out of the UK are low at the moment because of the current exchange rate. The UK buyers are therefore being very cautious.”