As the motion picture industry shrinks and TV arena expands, more creative power should be relegated to producers. That was the message today at INTV’s panel “Creative Financing and Strategic Partners: Thinking Outside the Box.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about the producers and the content they want to create,” said Anonymous Content COO Matthew Velkes.
Packaging all of your talent, behind the scenes and in front of the camera and attaching it to IP is the only way to go before selling it around town, said the panel at the Jerusalem-set fest, which was also comprised of Jan Motjo, CEO of Beta Films; Todd Hoffman, founder and CEO of Storied Media Group; and Emilio Schenkar, CEO of Tadmor Entertainment.
That said, the biggest problem in expanding streaming and TV universe is “finding talent,” added Velkes. “It’s not easy to find talent available for your production whether it’s in front or behind the camera.” At the same time, he said, production budgets are swelling “because of the limited availability of top talent.”
A burgeoning means of funding projects comes from branded content sponsors. We saw this at the early part of the millennium before YouTube took off with BMW funding a short film series. In such cases, the branded content sponsor funds the production and owns the rights in perpetuity. A broadcaster wouldn’t pay for it, and the value is for the funding sponsor to wrap around the series with traditional advertising. During the session, Velkes showed a teaser for a work-in-progress reality series with the working title Self Made.
Hoffman, whose Storied Media Group develops content based on true stories, i.e., Netflix comedy series Insatiable, mentioned his firm aims to offer more artistic license for writers in a way that other studios might not.
“Writers are always struggling and they want to write,” he said. “One thing we’re doing with our company is taking risks and spec-ing out scripts. Writers control their own destiny, we can develop the project and pitch it to 30 places. They’ll get paid, but not nearly their quote. They’ll make a fraction of their quote and they won’t own it. They develop their own script in-house and they’ll get a bump.”
Despite the whirlwind that the entertainment industry is in, Hoffman reminds confident that great ideas will always thrive.
Asked about the trick to financing projects in this era, Hoffman said, “I think it starts with the idea. If you have a great idea, and a great showrunner, then the money will come. It could take eight months or eight years.”
Keshet Media Group’s INTV conference is taking place at the YMCA in Jerusalem from March 11-12.