Tag Archives: film marketing

TO CROWDFUND OR NOT TO CROWDFUND? IS THAT THE QUESTION? Part 4

money pile

Some projects don’t get funded right away, some do and then lose funding. Any number of things can happen that can make the going tougher than one imagined but don’t you quit if this is truly important to you. When you stick with it, with the right attitude, you will find another way. Stay focused on the goal, the solutions and believe in yourself, your project, your team and that you will prevail.

Consider this: Movies get funded and made every day.

I repeat: MOVIES GET FUNDED AND MADE EVERY DAY!

Sure, it is tough but it happens. Projects get green lit from the studios, independent films find their funding, crowdfunded pictures get their money to move forward, and more….

Part 4 The Crowdfunding Psychology You Must Know

Raising money and crowdfunding revolves all around the mindset you have. In this post I’ll will discuss some important principles as it relates to crowdfunding.

As stated crowdfunding takes an inordinate amount of work for most everyone. Some celebrities may have an easier go of it for a number of reasons. Regardless, crowdfunding takes a massive amount of effort.

Raising money the traditional way takes an inordinate amount of effort. Long hard hours, over a long period of time, getting closer and closer, losing this investor, gaining that one, piecing it all together is a lot of work. It is a struggle and people have been doing variations on this in the film business for quite some time.

Traditional methods have changed through the decades.

I think crowdfunding runs the risk of burning people out. While only a fraction of the population may know about crowdfunding platforms the fraction that is aware of it gets bombarded over and over again.

New territory, new people needs to be found.

Some filmmakers naively think that they will lunch crowdfund campaign when the time is right for their project. Usually sometime between preproduction and production. Then they will put it out there on the internet using social media.

Crowdfunding is much more complex than that. I think it operates like this: Everyone out there in internet land (your target audience)  IS your uncle or your aunt. Why would I think this.

Your relatives, because they are related to you, may be more willing to help out, (or in some cases because they DO know you they may not be so inclined. Let’s hope the latter is not the case).

Obviously, your social media audience aren’t related to you but consider why relatives will give to and most strangers won’t.

Most likely relatives give or support your efforts because there is a connection to you, they may like or love you, they may feel obligated to help family because ‘blood is thinker than water’, they watched you grow up and took care of you or other family members. Whatever it the reasons may be it is because they have a history with you.

The two KEY concepts that I believe are necessary to have are connection and history. Your relatives help support you because they are connected to you and they share a history with you.

I believe successful crowdfunding is based on the same principles. This may be the reason why celebrities may have an easier time with crowdfunding. People know them, love them and have a history with them. They have watched them or followed their careers. They want contact with the celebrity, for whatever reasons, and they feel good collecting celebrity memorabilia. The connection (even though it may not be real or exist in reality) still is important. The fans feel they have a connection. They have a history together too. The fans know or are familiar with the celebrity and have been for years.

I repeat: I believe successful crowdfunding is based on the same.

Crowdfunding is based on having an established network or community of people who are interested in you, your work, your projects and who already know and trust you (at least they don’t distrust you).

The are fans, followers, friends whom you have been engaging with for awhile. They are not cold strangers. They are relatively warm enthusiasts for you and your movies. This is important to understand because you aren’t really reaching out to strangers when you crowdfund you are reaching out to people who know you already. Strangers aren’t inclined to help you but friends or family may.

You must work to establish a good connection with your social media friends. These are the people who are your target audience for your project. They may become potential contributors to your campaign but you must provide value to them LONG before you ever ask for anything in return.

You must engage them and get to know them and they have to get to know you. You must find a way to make communication with them a two-way street communication.You must take them on the journey with you and keep their interest all along the way. You have to figure out ways to attract them. You want to keep them interested and eager for you to make and complete your project and get it into their hands.

They are not interested because they will make money off your project, they are not investors. Although recently, investing through crowdfunding platforms has become possible. Your friends and followers, your fans have much different interests than traditional investors and you must appeal to their wants and needs and meet those if you want to be successful.

They do want something in return for their attention and their loyalty and their potential contribution. You must give them what they want prior to the launch of your campaign.

Then during your campaign you offer perks that are meaningful to your fans because you know took the time to discover what is they desire. Because of connection you have established you know what will appeal to them.

A basic principle in sales states that you succeed when you can meet a need, solve a problem and/or give the customer what they desire most. When you are able to fulfill these you may make a sale. Think of your audience as your customers because that is truly what they are. They are people who may buy from you once or many times. You may not want to hear it but as a filmmaker you need to learn about selling and making sales.

When you have ACTUALLY made a sale to your customer is not just the time they part with their money and leave with your goods. When you have really made the sale is when the person returns and wants to do it  with you again. It is this moment the sale is made because they are convinced that you have something they want.

It is much like dating. You go out on the first date. You know you have ‘made the sale’ when the other person wants a second and third date. At whatever point you stop meeting their needs they will lose interest. As long as you have a mutually fulfilling relationship you will stick together. This is true of the business relationship and the crowdfunded relationship.

When you have a repeat customer, so much of your work is done for you, it is amazing. The lion share of expense goes into generating new leads and converting new customers. When you have a fan base who is eager for each of your projects you have laid some really solid ground work. You have established an important connection and together you share a history.

The key to making the sale is not to think, ‘what is in this for me,  how do I get what I want’, but to think, ‘what is it they want that I can readily give them?’

You have to appeal to the other person’s wants and needs and find a way to meet those if you wish to be more successful. Your success comes from adding value to the other person first.

This takes thought, it takes planning, it takes work and it begins long before you make your movie.

Just as you plant a seed you first need to prepare the soil. Next, you plant the seed then you nurture the seed while it grows underground by providing the proper care. Later, much later, it sprouts. You must continue to nurture it, take out the weeds that may choke it and help it grow strong. Eventually, you harvest the crop from the seed you planted but that is at a much later date. For everything there is a season. You sow and then later you reap.

Some people try to reap without preparing or sowing and that rarely, if ever, works. You do your part first and foremost and then others may reciprocate. Of course, not everyone will, so don’t get your hopes up too high. It is a numbers game, you do what you can to grab the lion share.

As in baseball it is about upping your batting average. You get better percentages, but rarely do you get 100%. As long as you are moving in that direction you are doing okay. You increase your opportunities and your chances.

The basic work of crowdfunding IS everything you need to do long before harvest time.

There are these two phases: First, you plant seeds to attract the interested and keep them close by engaging with them. You have to offer them something first. Just as you use bait to lure a fish. You offer something of value to attract followers to you. You keep them close by continuing to give them things from time to time and by communicating with them.

Perhaps you give them a behind the scenes look at what you are doing, you give them photos or videos, you help them solve problems by writing articles or dispensing tips, advice or ideas. Maybe you share with them where they can get discounts or items they might not know where to go to. The point is you offer them things of value, things that they are interested it.

Since it is the age of social media one assumes you have a page dedicated to you and your projects, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and any of the other platforms.

Second you launch the eventual campaign (in which you begin this planting process all over again). In this phase you again offer them something BUT in return for their support, their contribution and spreading the word. This is when you ask them to respond by giving back. Why will they give back. One reason is because you have been giving to them and they will want to reciprocate. The other reason is because they have a connection and history established with you and they want to see your movie. They actually want to see it!

During the Second Phase, you are requesting that they part with their money to support your efforts in return for VALUABLE perks. Perks are the items or opportunities you offer that they want to and must have. If they don’t want them then the perks are not valuable to them. This should be obvious, but for some reason it isn’t.

So in Phase One you attract and nurture your followers. You engage with them and provide them value for free. You give them things, you acknowledge them, you have dialogue so that they feel close to you and want to stick by you. In Phase Two you again provide things for them but in exchange for something they do for you. If Phase One is successful and you orchestrate Phase Two correctly you are more likely to succeed.

You attract the moths to the flame, capture them, take care of them, feed them and then when you are ready, you launch your campaign and hope the moths now will respond by contributing because you took such good care of them. During Phase Two strangers will get introduced to your campaign. They may not have the history with you because they just now are learning about you and your project. Your campaign should be structured and managed to help them feel right at home. A well run campaign should help them to connect to you thorough your video, photos, text, updates, engagement, credits, cast and crew. In Phase Two you hope to convert strangers to fans who will support your efforts.

When it comes to perks you need to think this through and get good advice. What is important and valuable to you may not be to someone else. So you want to research this area more. Remember, people are motivated by ‘What Is In It For Me?’ So to motivate your followers you must discover what they want when they think that about that question. 

You need price your perks smartly too. For example:  If most downloads sell between $1.99 and $14.99 don’t offer a download for $25.00.  Price it as the market place does. If you buy a DVD or Blue Ray for a certain amount don’t price yours higher than the lowest popular place they can obtain it. The only time your a perk like this could be higher prices is when you offer something else along with it. Perhaps, the jewel case, or the art work is signed by cast and crew. Something that makes it reasonable to be priced higher. Sometimes scarcity works. The price may be higher because you only have a few. 

Corporations spend billions of dollars every year targeting and appealing to consumers. They have it down to a science. Do your research and use the best methods they do tailored to your needs.

If you have an absolutely one of a kind valuable ‘must have it’ give away, it is rare and sought after by millions well, you may be able to name your price.

If you have something that most people don’t know who or what it is or could care less about it well giving it away could be difficult. People want what they perceive to be valuable and that is why celebrity swag is sought after. SO be smart about selling to your customers. By the way, that is precisely what a ticket holder is – a customer. All of your fans and friends and followers are customers. While it seems Corporate America has forgotten a  worthy tenant they used to adhere to don’t you forget it. Keep in mind, the customer is always right!!! Even if it is not always true it will serve you better if you act as if it were. Be driven to provide your customer what your customer wants most and you will succeed.

You must figure out ways to attract and capture your fan base. You want to engage them and create a connection and history together so that they want to want get more movies from you. You attract them, you hook them and then make them offers they find difficult to refuse. This is the basis of business and the basis of crowdfunding. It is about using psychology to get what you need to make your film project. Be smart about it and be wise. 

Make GOOD plans and then work the plans WELL.  You can succeed. Movies are funded all the time. You just have to find a way that works well for you.

All of what has been covered in this post and much more ARE some of the reasons why you need to be thorough in creating your campaign. Remember, it ALL begins BEFORE iyour campaign is officially launched. Take the time to do it well.

There are reasons why Business Plans exist. One reason is to show others; you potential partners, the bank, investors, etc. the plan for your intended business. It doesn’t yet exist so you need a crystal clear outline, a plan for what you will do, how you will do it, when and on and on. It is designed to leave NO stone unturned.

You have to think it through really well BEFORE you implement it. Never skimp on the planning phases of anything. Your crowdfunding campaign, traditional means of raising money, or your production. This is why good movie makers spend the right amount of time preparing during preproduction.

Consider this, professional sports teams take all the time off season preparing for the games. They practice offense and defense. They develop plans and strategies to use when playing. They rehearse. During game season they continue to prepare. Then they play the game. Whether they win or lose they return to analyze how to be better, and implement it. They continue to practice and rehearse.  Why should we think that we should do anything less than this when it comes to raising money for movies and getting good at it? As with anything you get better at it the more time you spend at it. Remember this point it is important!

How much money can you crowdfund? The upper limit is not yet known? More on all of this next time.” Rex SIkes

Have a great day!

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

To Crowdfund Or Not To Crowdfund? Is That The Question? Part 3

“…Consider this: Movies get funded and made every day. I repeat: MOVIES GET FUNDED AND MADE EVERY DAY!Sure, it is tough but it happens. Projects get green lit from the  studios, independent films find their funding, crowdfunded pictures get their money to move forward, and more. These happen all the time.  It all boils down to a simple thought: If others can do it so can you! Keep the faith.”

Crowdfunding Part 3

“In my book the single most important ingredient for hoping to get a project launched IS to have a great movie to make.  It makes it much more likely you will be able to move ahead when you start with something that has incredible value. You should have an excellent script. Top of the line!

First and foremost here is what you need to consider and ask yourself: Do you have a film project worth investing your time, money and energy in? Do you have a film project worth another person investing their time, money and energy in? Do you have a film project worth an audience investing their time, money and energy in? Well, do you? Be honest.

These are important questions. Do you have something great that is worth making? If you can honestly answer yes, you may be on your way. If you cannot, keep looking for a great project.

No one wants mediocre or just okay? Everyone wants to be captivated, they want their attention grabbed and they want to go on a two hour roller coster ride. They want to laugh or cry or both. They want to be involved and live through the characters.

Movies are supposed to be for escape so people can forget the drudgery of their circumstances for a while and be transported somewhere more fun, enjoyable or even terrifying. They want to be entertained and not wonder why they wasted minutes of their life. Make sure your film project is worthy of you, your funders and the people it is intended to please – your audience.

It is true that even with the best script, the best director and the best available cast, the movie still may not get made.  There are many factors in getting a movie produced and all need to line up for it to go. That is the art of juggling a production. There are so many things to work on all at once it IS  like trying to keep a number of balls in the air. Some  productions will make it some will not. This is critical whether crowdfunding or using more traditional methods.

It is important to put together the best possible project so start with. You start with the best script. You seek the best producing team, the best cast and the best crew. You may or may not need any of these ‘attached’ to seek funds but ultimately you want to have the best to work with regardless. Often, you raise seed money first to be able to launch your LLC, set up a bank account and hire on the others.

It is important to have a good entertainment attorney who can advise you when and how to certain things. For example, when DO you launch you LLC,? Some say that should come first, (as I just described) get some money and incorporate.  Others advise that you wait, you don’t need to set up an LLC until you have funds coming from your sources. Investors understand the LLC will follow.

Savvy investors know the all the steps you should too. Seek wise, legitimate, experienced legal counsel. This is not an area you want to skimp on.

Even though some movies do not get made  the money out there for movies is still plentiful.  The proof that there is more than enough money to go around  IS this: even mediocre and terrible movies get funded and released. Haven’t we all wondered, ‘how on earth did this ever get made?’

Whatever  the reasoning behind the financing of a ‘bad movie’, which may have reasons, (often  tax shelters) the movie still got made and released. Most of us like to think that filmmakers don’t set out to make a bad movie but that is simply not the case, there are those who do.

My point is funds can be found! Money is plentiful! Bad movies are part of the  proof that the money is available if the conditions are right.

What are the right conditions that got the movie made regardless of whether  it was a good or bad. It was the ‘deal’,  the tax shelter, a vanity project, it was for any other reasons that some people invested. Apparently, it was to make money or to lose money but it was not to release a great movie. Funny, you wouldn’t think it to be the case but bottom line rules. Good or bad movies are financed because the investors saw fit to invest.

Funds exists. You just have to tap into them.  You are better served if you do everything smart and right from the get-go. Aim high! Make a really good movie. Make a great movie. If you are going to put all this time and work into it you should absolutely love it.

The attitude a filmmaker needs is to maintain is a positive attitude. You should have a great script you are passionate about, that you believe in 1000 per cent.  If you absolutely believe in it and are passionate about it others can jump on board because the believe in you and trust in your commitment. If you have a great script and great package it makes it more likely others will be interested too.

So chose something you will still be passionate about years from now because it could be a long road. It can be easy but it usually isn’t. Raising money is an art and a science that you should learn to do well if you want to produce your own projects.

Once you have  your budget and your producer package together you need to plan how to get financed either by traditional means, crowdfunding, both or by some new novel approach.

The bottom line is that you will have to be dedicated and you will have to know where to look. Fund raising can begin anytime you have a legitimate project to fund raise for.

You will need to know where to look for your money. Perhaps, your investors will be those who are in the field, or interested in the field you movie is about. Perhaps, they are medical people. law enforcement, attorneys, scientists, bankers, who have money and are interested in your topic. Perhaps, they are financial people who have no actual interest in your topic but like a well put together project that has potential.

You could piece them together from all over or it could mostly come from a few or even from one source. You will have to do the leg work to find out who and from what walks of life your investors come from. This is another area where a smart entertainment attorney may be of some help. Sometimes attorneys know people whom they can put you in touch with who are looking for investments. The entertainment attorney may be a useful resource in this area.

Besides a great script/project you REALLY need to know and understand people. You need to understand why and how people invest.  You want to get inside the investor or contributor mindset. You need to understand them to know how to approach them, to pitch them and to sell them. You not only have to know how to do these things you have to know when and how to close them.

Your first thought should be about getting to know these people and understanding their wants and needs. You need to learn how to create rapport with others and how to add value to them.

If you know why they invest and in what they invest you help yourself out in many ways.  As a producer you will spend more of your time raising money than making movies so you ought to understand how the people think that you are trying to get money from. This may be more  important than anything else for you to appreciate and know.

Savvy investors, if they even give you the time of day, will see you coming miles away. They will size you and your project up within seconds of first contact. This is the world of finance! It is not art. This is the world of business. No one cares about you as much as they care about their bottom line. So be prepared. Be professional!  You must have something they want. Be able to speak to them in the language that they speak (finance – not their native tongue) and in the world they understand.

At the very same time understand if you have a great project you may have something of value others will want. YOU also have to qualify investors just as investors will qualify you. Not everyone you approach or who approaches you is worth your time. You will want to learn how to separate the legitimate investor from the person who will waste your time because it makes them feel good to act the big shot around town. Getting legitimate investments is a two-way street.

You have to understand the laws and the rules too. You do not want to violate any in this area. Trust me, you don’t.  Do your homework.

As filmmakers we all want to just make films. In order to do that and make and pay living wages we need to finance our projects. You would be best served to read everything you can. Find someone who will mentor you in the art of financing or fund raising.

Today, filmmakers may be better off getting an MBA and going to business school than going to film school.  At the end of the day it is the business part of show business that rules and that determines who is successful and who isn’t.

Crowdfunding, at least for the time being, may be a way around all the legalities of traditional investing. Still, you have a responsibility to the funding platform, your ‘funders’, your team to be ethical, honest,  and completely above board. Be transparent so people know who you are and what you are all about.

Remember, HOWEVER, you raise funds it takes an enormous amount of energy, planning and working the process.  It is a lot of hard work. The people best suited for it may be the people who already have a passion for it. Perhaps, if this is not an area that you are drawn to you can partner up with someone who is. It requires dedication, passion, know-how and commitment. It requires being both smart and wise.

DO NOT EVER use the funds except as specified and when specified. They should be in escrow or considered escrowed in the case of crowdfunding. You owe perks to you funders always make sure you raise enough for what you intend to do and then some.

So when it comes to getting funded you have to do your homework More about all this next time.” Rex Sikes

Enjoy your day!

(Disclaimer: I do not purport to be an expert in crowdfunding or traditional means of financing. Nor am I able to dispense legal advice. Filmmakers are best served by finding a qualified entertainment attorney to work with and guide them in these areas. I bring up the topic to share a viewpoint and to encourage thinking and discussion).

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS blog.

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Persistence is the key to success.

I decided to republish a blog from my other site Daily Inspiration and Gratitude here: I have included the link to my other blog and I invite you to visit there and check it out if you haven’t yet. There are a lot of blog posts applicable to anyone in filmmaking.     Persistence is the key to success..

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It is the consistent, persistent, daily actions that bring success in all things, you family, your health, your wealth and career, your life. Daily dedication to doing something positive that moves you closer to your goal makes all the difference.

You start with a clearly, well stated ‘burning desire’, the mental images of your ultimate goal. You envision it daily (as often as possible, but at least for sometime in the morning and before going to sleep) and infuse it with positive energy and enthusiasm. You keep at it no matter what. You do not give up! You keep at it until you get it. This IS your daily regime. Your mental nutrition.

Keep your goal alive and in sight. Keep it burning and stay passionate about it. Believe in your heart and know in your mind that you will have it, YOU will ATTAIN it, as long as you never give up. Once you quit it is over, so you must not stop. You keep the faith and keep going no matter what is going on or not going on around you. You do not let present circumstances distract you from getting the end game that you want.

Keep this goal burning hot in your mind each moment. Focus on things to be grateful for and feel good about because when you do you are opening up your mind to discovering greater opportunities, events, situations and people that can help you reach your goal.

Your mind awakens and you can think more clearly and easily about how you will make it happen. You form plans using your creativity, your intuition and you smarts. You may have to adjust the plan as you go along that is just part of the process. Each day you move forward and you make adjustments as necessary but no matter what you keep moving forward toward your ultimate destination.

YOU WILL GET THERE as long as you keep going toward it. No matter how long it takes or how many detours there happen to be you will get there if you just never stop.

Persistence means you keep going even when you may not feel like going.

That is why it is important to find things you appreciate, small and large miracles and good and new discoveries, and the best thoughts and feelings along the way, so that you stay inspired and dedicated.

The person who succeeds is the person who ‘wills’ it to happen not who wishes it to happen. You make all the changes inside of you to be better equipped to handle all those aspects outside you you, the challenges and opportunities that come your way. You make all the changes inside of you to better manage the inside of you so you are optimistic, positive, powerful and committed to your outcome. You won’t do it if you wimp out.

Yes, occasionally someone lucks into it but frankly, most people who ‘make it’, who succeed in their personal or professional lives do so because the go after it relentlessly until they succeed. These people pursue health, wealth and well being because it is the most important thing to them. They don’t let circumstances dictate or prevent them from prevailing. ‘When the going gets tough the tough get going’.

You must stick with it no matter how impossible it seems. Whatever hardship comes your way learn to overcome it. Go through it. You will find a way if you are determined to find a way.

Manage you mind and you emotions. Manage your time and your efforts. You will do it, when you believe you can. As Napoleon Hill stated, ‘If you can conceive it and believe it you can achieve it’. Just don’t stop.

If it is truly worth it and it makes your life better and the lives of those around you better and it does not harm anyone of prevent others from fulfilling themselves, go for it. Get on course, stay the course and find out how to make the journey most delightful. Whether you get closer by leaps and bounds or inch by inch you are getting closer. Stay positive and stay focused. It is completely UP TO YOU! So do it! Just do it!

What can you do today to keep yourself on track? How many marvelous feelings might you discover as you look into finding these within you frequently during this day? How much fun can you stand as you continue to pursue your dream? Hmmmm, I wonder… ” Rex Sikes

Find those special moments in this day and have an incredible one!

via Persistence is the key to success.. at Daily Inspiration and Gratitude. Subscribe to both blogs and enjoy.

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Brian Herskowitz Producer, Director, Screenwriter, Author ‘Process To Product’

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For the last twenty years Brian Herskowitz has taught screenwriting, first with WRITER’S BOOT CAMP, then with UCLA EXTENSIONS, and for the last five years he has held the post of Lead Faculty for the prestigious BOSTON UNIVERSITY in LOS ANGELES WRITER IN HOLLYWOOD graduate degree program.  His script writing textbook, PROCESS TO PRODUCT: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SCREENWRITING, is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores.

As a writer, Brian has completed well over a dozen feature films. His first screenplay KAMI HITO E (THE THIN LINE) was based on his experience as an international Judo champion training in Tokyo.

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Producer, Screenwriter, Director Brian Herskowitz

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Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with Producer, Screenwriter, Director Brian Herskowitz PT 2

From there he continued to write and his first produced feature was a low budget slasher titled DARKROOM. He wrote and directed the award winning short film ODESSA OR BUST starring SEINFELD’S Jason Alexander, ACADEMY AWARD WINNER Red Buttons, and RUSHMORE’S Jason Schwartzman. Brian wrote, directed, and produced the documentary 1736: SOMEWHERE TO TURN – about a family crisis center for domestic abuse victims, and the short film JOANNE – the story of a woman going through hard economic times and a mid-life crisis.

As a voice over artist he’s been heard in hundreds of films, games, and commercials including, FORREST GUMP, TOTAL RECALL (with Colin Ferrell), X-2, WOLVERINE, the hit video games DILBERTS DESKTOP GAMES, and MEDAL OF HONOR:AIRBORNE, as well as national commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Beringer Wine.

His voice has been heard in hundreds of hours of TV including the classic horror shows BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and TRUE BLOOD.  Brian recently took on the duties of Voice Director for the new Animated Children’s series ANNIE SUNBEAM produced by Debbie Margolis-Horwitz.

Brian’s theatrical directing credits include the world premieres of I.A.N. (THE ITALIAN AMERICAN NETWORK), CONFESSION AND AVOIDANCE (based on the book of the same name written by his father, prolific biographer Mickey Herskowitz), JESSICA AND THE COUCH POTATO, the west coast premiere of  SHUFFLE OFF THIS MORTAL BUFFALO, and the recent hit CIRCLE OF WILL.

As a writer in TV his credits include a staff writing position on the NBC sit-com BLOSSOM, multiple episodes of the syndicated series HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, and ACAPULCO HEAT, the HBO hit comedy DREAM ON, CBS’s RENEGADE, THE EXILE, MURDER, SHE WROTE, the TV movie MURDER OF MY AUNT, the FOX Network’s YOUNG HERCULES, and CBS’s critically acclaimed was series TOUR OF DUTY (associate producer).

Brian co-wrote the FOX pilot MANTIC with Jason Alexander. In addition, he worked as a punch-up writer on BOB PATTERSON, and LISTEN UP.

Working with Co-Op Productions in New York (THE GUITAR, THIS REVOLUTION), Brian line produced Candace Bushnell’s web series THE BROADROOM, which starred JENNY GARTH, JENNIFER ESPOSITO, and TALIA BALSAM.

As a feature film producer Brian just finished principal photography on UNTIL SOMEONE GETS HURT (co-writer), and BUCKY AND THE SQUIRRELS a comedy from director-writer Allan Katz (M*A*S*H*, BIG MAN ON CAMPUS),  MUSICAL CHAIRS, directed by Susan Seidelman (DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN), TIO PAPI directed by Fro Rojas, which he co-wrote.  He will producing the feature films SUSPENDED and AN INVISIBLE MAN for Scatterbrained Media.

In addition, Brian has several producing/directing duties on the boards including the slacker comedy MARTY AND VAHE TAKE A RIDE, and the HEF supported projects SHE FEEDS, THE WHANGDOODLE, and CREATURE FEATURE:THE MOVIE MUSICAL.

In his personal life, Brian is married to actress Gina Hecht (Mork and Mindy, Seven Pounds), and has two amazing daughters.  A fourth degree black belt in Judo, Brian continues to compete in the martial arts and is the 2014 U.S. National Masters Champion in Judo and 2013 Pan American Champion in Jujitsu.  Brian is thrilled to be a part of the HEF team.

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

To Crowdfund Or Not To Crowdfund? Is That The Question? Part 2

money pile

“… reality is more like this, you make your movies and get them honestly funded, however you are  able to, without breaking the bank. Your bank, your parents or relatives bank, or your real life investors bank.”

Part 2  Attitude is Everything!

Crowdfunding takes an inordinate amount of work for most everyone.  Funding of any kind takes massive effort and requires time and care. It is as time consuming (if not more) and as difficult (if not more) than making  and releasing the actual movie.

Some celebrities may have an easier go of it but then, remember, they had a career path to celebrity-hood that they finally are able to utilize. As a celebrity they are now able to cash in and draw attention to charities or projects. I do not begrudge them their success or that they crowd fund. Let them, it brings more attention to the process.

As filmmakers we need to believe there is room for everyone.  We need to believe that there is enough of everything for everyone.

We should not think that what we do is for a select few. Anyone may make movies. Whether they succeed depends on their talent and commitment, the gatekeeping mechanisms and whether or not the public embraces them. Everyone is welcome to try.

We should not think that there is only one correct way to do anything. There are many roads to the same destination. We should not let our thinking limit us from finding new ways and means and forging ahead as pioneers. Only a brave few will forge ahead and create new roads for the rest of us but we should celebrate those who are willing.

We must not think that money or resources are limited. They aren’t. Look around you there is plenty of money. Money is everywhere! You may not have access to it yet but it is out there. There is more than enough money! There is money available for you!

Sadly, some people think they have to divide up the pie. They think there is only so much and they have to fight to get their share. These people  believe  that when it is used up it is all over. They think in terms of finite resources.  They usually have an ‘us against them’ mentality. In actuality, there is enough for all.

This limiting frame of mind comes from focusing on ‘lack’. They concentrate on what they do not have. It is poverty thinking. People with this mindset see resources as scarce instead of as plentiful.  In the midst of the most difficult depressions and recessions millionaires and billionaires are made. It is not that there isn’t money out there, there is tons of it.

You can’t expect to climb up the hill if all your thinking is down hill thoughts. If you are focused on what is broken, or not working, or what you don’t have you will be missing what is actually potentially available. If you are thinking you won’t succeed failure is assured. If your time is spent feeling jealous or criticizing others when they succeed your success is so less likely.

Some people encounter a problem and all of their energy and thoughts go into ‘having a problem’. They think about the problem day and night, they wonder ‘why me’ and resent that there is an issue. This person is focused on the problem so guess what they see most of the time. The problem AND it looms large in their mind.

What a person needs to do is recognize when there is a problem and then focus on the solution. How can I solve this is a better question than why do I have this problem? What can I begin to do to move forward is a better question than remaining stuck. What resources do I have, who do I know who can help me through this, what do I need to learn are all better ways of thinking.

Once we truly realize that there IS plenty of money to fund our project, and that we can find it when we look for it, no matter what it takes, we operate from a position of power. We have a positive mind set and we think positive thoughts which lead to positive actions.

Since many of us already engage in limiting thinking we need to turn our thinking around. We need to free ourselves from what ‘can’t be’, and move into what ‘can be’.  We have to manage our thoughts and our feelings so our energy is freed up to do whatever it takes to get the job done. So we put the poverty, limited, scarcity thoughts out of our minds.

What we really need to do is make more pies. We need to create and keep creating and demonstrate there is enough for everyone. We need to maintain a positive focus and continue to work to make our dreams come true.

Success leaves clues. One way to set yourself up to succeed more readily and easily is to learn from others who have already done what you want to do. Study the successful people to know what they did and what you might do. Study the failed campaigns to know what not to do. You will learn from both.

Seek people who can mentor you and advise you. Learning means gathering useful and accurate information and acting on it appropriately. It means enlisting others who can work with you and help you accomplish your goals. Read whatever you can, talk with others, become an intern, go to work fundraising for charities or other concerns. Learn everything you can about the world of finance and business because that IS what the motion picture ‘business’ is truly about.

Movie making is all based on commerce. It is a commercial venture. It is the creative manufacture of a product for sale in the marketplace. It is about raising money, spending money, making and losing money.

Hey, I get it. You want to make movies. You consider yourself an artist. You don’t want any part of the money side. Yes, I know. All I want to do is make movies too.

Well, if that is ALL you want to do, get your friends and a video camera, film your story and edit it. Show your friends and family. Congratulate yourself for having made a movie. If it is good and you enjoyed making the movie do it again if you like. You are a filmmaker.

If you want to compete in the marketplace of movies and media that is all about business. Movies are made, marketed and positioned in the same way a detergent is so that it ends up eye level on a super market shelf. Product is made and distributed  TO MAKE SOMEONE MONEY!

So your mind set is definitely important! Define yourself and your career. Are you a carefree artist? Would you be happy making movies to show to a few in the desert or a you filmmaker attempting to break into the commercial world of filmmaking? Whichever it is, pursue it. One choice is much easier than the other, unless you decide as an artist, that you need to raise money to make your movie. Then BAM you are back in the world of finance.

When you take money from people, UNLESS it is a NO STRINGS ATTACHED GIFT (rarely if ever IS that the case) YOU have a responsibility to return their money and them some (or at the VERY LEAST make every reasonable attempt to) if they invested  or you have to deliver on the perks and promises of your crowdfunding campaign. Either way you OWE those who supported you.

So mind set and attitude is important. Having the proper confident mindset will see you through the easy times and the difficult times. Having a winning attitude, a can do attitude means you have learned the ability to stay focused on what you want and seek solutions when the going is tough or everything around you is crumbling.

Because raising money, by whatever means, takes a lot of work you have to go into it believing you will succeed. You should be optimistic and expect good results. You should expect it to be tough and take time but you should know that it IS possible and that you can do it. You have to believe in yourself and be confident. If you don’t know what you are doing be assured you can learn how to do it and do it well. One thing about people that is certain is that we can learn to do anything if we will apply ourselves and seek out useful resources.

You want to be certain you put together the right team for your fundraising project. Everyone should be on the same page about what you are attempting to do and this requires excellent communication skills. You need to make certain everyone understands what your plan is and agrees on the plan. It is ok for people to have alternate ideas and  to sort through them.

You want to get positive input from people. You want people to suggest reasonable ways that work. You do want to be able to think outside the box, as well.  You want to put everything on the table and sort it out prior to implementing your plan. Once you come up with a good plan you work the plan. You want everyone understanding what the plan is all along the way and working the exact same plan.  Likewise, you want everyone making the same movie, when it is in production, not the versions they have of it in their heads.

Not all plans work so you may need to adjust along the way. Since raising money is a lot of work you want to make sure your team is loyal and committed and that each does what is required of them so that everything goes smoothly.

If you go into this expecting to divide the work evenly among committee members and then everything ends up on the shoulders of one or two people no one is going to be very happy. You don’t want skirmishes to rip your team apart once you begin so do everything you can in the beginning to make sure you have all the right team members. No one ever actually succeeds alone.

So you want to be careful about the ‘bad apples’. For whatever reason some people can create an awful lot of discord and you want to maintain a positive team and frame of mind. If you have to let someone go, if a person or two is not a fit or a good team player,  let them go respectfully. There is never a reason to create enemies. Keep goodwill.  You may suggest that you work together at another time on a more suitable project for both of you.

Fundraising is tough but if you focus only on how tough it is, it will only be tougher. This is why you need to be dedicated and committed, educated and confident that you are able to succeed. Stay cheerful in both the good times and the not so good times. Keep your eyes on the end goal when times are tough. Attitude is everything so keep your chin up. Investors can tell when you are low or if you don’t fully believe in yourselves or your project. You need to believe your project is worth making and that you can get it made.

Work on developing a powerful positive mindset. There  is more to a positive mindset than a’rah rah’ cheerleading squad type motivational shout up. You should learn what you need to do, learn how to do it, be confident that with the right mentors and practice you will get better and that you will be able to reach your goal.  Remember always that you can do it when you work at it. Work smarter not harder.

As you inch closer and closer to making it happen it is natural and good to be enthusiastic. Don’t lose sight of what you are working to achieve. Make it happen and enjoy it.

A good team leader has the right mindset all the time. A good leader needs to be able to be enthusiastic when times are tough so that the team is not discouraged. A good leader needs to be understanding, compassionate and a great motivator. A truly great leader leads by example not by orders. When people are around someone who walks the talk they want to walk it too. Bottom line, if your goal is to add value to all and be an inspiration to all you will be working well whether the team leader or a team member. Again, attitude IS everything.

Believe that you can do it. Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right.’ No sea captain starts a voyage thinking they won’t get to their destination and neither should you. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is if you keep at it, if you are open to feedback and adapt your plans as may be necessary, you can make it happen.

Some projects don’t get funded right away, some do and then lose funding. Any number of things can happen that can make the going tougher than one imagined but don’t you quit if this is truly important to you. When you stick with it, with the right attitude, you will find another way. Stay focused on the goal, the solutions and believe in yourself, your project, your team and that you will prevail.

Consider this: Movies get funded and made every day.

I repeat: MOVIES GET FUNDED AND MADE EVERY DAY!

Sure, it is tough but it happens. Projects get green lit from the  studios, independent films find their funding, crowdfunded pictures get their money to move forward, and more.

These happen all the time.  It all boils down to a simple thought: If others can do it so can you! Keep the faith.” Rex Sikes

Next time well will discuss what I believe are some important factors in launching your projects and determining how to move ahead to fund it.

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site

Daniel Veluzat | Executive Producer | Director | Actor | StuntMan | Studio Manager | Movie Set | Ranch Owner

daniel veluzat

Daniel Veluzat is an entrepreneur like no other. He started off in the entertainment business over 30 years ago. As a young boy Daniel grew up on movie / television sets such as 1941 starring John Belushi, Baba Black Sheep starring Robert Conrad, McMillian and Wife starring Rock Hudson, and Maverick – The Lazy Ace starring James Garner.

Daniel has had such unique opportunities as visiting “Fantasy Island”, spending the day on “Gilligan’s Island”, and cruising the streets of Hazzard County in his family owned General Lee’s from “Duke’s of Hazzard”. His family built many vehicles for television and movies. He rode in General Lee’s, Army tanks, Kit from “Knight Rider” and even the “A-Team” van.

TO LISTEN CLICK THE BOLDED LINK Below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with producer Daniel Veluzat PT 3

TO LISTEN CLICK THE BOLDED LINK Below:

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with producer Daniel Veluzat

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat chats with producer Daniel Veluzat PT 2

As Daniel Veluzat became a young man his experiences in the film industry continued to grow. He owns and helps run The Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch and Melody Ranch Studios located in the Santa Clarita Valley area.

Both Motion Picture Ranches have been the backdrop where countless movies, television shows, commercials and music videos have been filmed. Daniel has worked on the ranches as a location liaison on many television shows. Daniel has a great love for music seeing how he fronted his own Heavy Metal band “Untaymd” and he has been able to continue being around music as he has been able work on music videos for many artists.

Daniel has been part of working on some of Hollywood’s biggest films. He has been a part of over 150 film and television productions and has also had the privilege to work alongside many of Hollywood’s most famous people.

He has worked as a Executive and Co Executive producer, Director, Actor, location liaison, studio manager, Stage Manager, stunt man, production designer, art director, set dresser and more! Daniel has also provided equipment to the industry such as motion picture vehicles, water trucks, production trailers, props and set dressing.

Official Veluzat ‘s Melody Ranch Studios Website

Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch Official Website

Veluzat’s Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studios FaceBook Page

Veluzat Motion Picture Studios FaceBook Page

Yellow Rock Official Website

Director Nick Vallelonga Yellow Rock interview on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Yellow Rock Co-stars Eddie & Michael Spears Interview on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Yellow Rock Producers and Writers Lenore Andriel & Steve Doucette Interview on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat

Subscribe and Follow Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Blog!  Visit often & please share with others!

*** Please also visit Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Website.

Stay up to date with the live shows on Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat. You can join us and listen live as the show records. You can hang in chat and ask questions. All shows are recorded and archived at the official site.

Updates will be posted at this blog,  at the official site,  on the RSMB Friends page on FB,  through twitter and elsewhere.  When you can’t join us live you can still  listen to archived show from official site, from blogtalk radio and you can subscribe to the podcast at itunes.

Over 400 hours of professional filmmakers share their expertise and tips and secrets with you. All discussion may be listened to live and archived from the Official Site too! Check the INTERVIEWS

Rex Sikes’ Movie Beat Official Site