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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Institute for International Film Financing: Notes from May 16 event

I moderated a panel discussion last night at the meeting of the Institute for International Film Financing in San Francisco... some quick notes and impressions. (I should also mention that they're also putting on an event tomorrow night in San Jose that will feature Movielink CEO Jim Ramo as a speaker.)

- eBay attorney Michael Richter talked a bit about some of the indie film investing he has been doing of late. (One of them is Kedar Korde's `Platonically', about love in the post-dot-com Bay Area.) Some of Richter's guidelines for investing:

  • Character is key
  • `I invest in people'
  • Better to come across as passionate, rather than arrogant/egotistical (seems like a fine line to me)
  • Looks for people who finished previous projects on time and on budget (seems like this data can easily be fudged)
  • Business plan should be good; script should be great
  • Producer/director should "treat my money better than your own" (IE, not ensure that they get paid back before outside investors)
  • Look for people with tons of prior experience
  • The way to minimize risks as an investor, he says, is to focus on projects:
    • with name talent
    • a marketing strategy
    • a distribution plan
    • a director/producer with industry contacts
    • diversification/investing in a slate of films, not just one

- A guy I sat next to mentioned that Cyan Pictures in New York has picked up `The Oh in Ohio,' a movie I saw and enjoyed at South by Southwest, for distribution this summer.

- Paul Sigmund of Q Media Partners, a San Francisco TV production firm, mentioned that there's "lots of demand for original broadband content," with people sometimes paying between $2000 to $3000 for individual episodes.

- Colin Wiel of the Keiretsu Forum said that angel investors who ordinarily invest in tech companies might be attracted to film investing because it is "fun." Investors in search of fun sound like a dangerous species to me.


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