Should You Attend AFM?
AFM is right around the corner and if you are in the film industry you should probably be there. Here’s why I’m going and how you can get ready to join me.
All right. AFM is right around the corner. If you are in the filmmaking world in any capacity you should probably go.
Here’s three reasons why you should go and three ways to prepare. One. AFM is a great way to meet a lot of other important people in the industry. Meet other crew people, meet potential talent, meet the money people – it’s kind of important – meet potential Distributors, sales agents… if they’re in the industry they’re probably gonna have representation there. And as I’ve talked about in previous videos, networking is kind of the biggest deal about being in the filmmaking business. It’s about who you know. More than the film, more than the story, more than anything else.
So when you’ve got a whole bunch of people gathered together in one place that are all like-minded in the same business – networking is important. So big reason to go to AFM.
Two. If you have a film or a project that needs distribution, there’s a lot of opportunity to find a distributor or a sales agent at AFM. If you have an awesome film but nobody sees it… who
cares? No one.
Now there’s going to be a lot of Distributors there and they’re looking for different things. Not every distributor is the same. Some are super Shady that you should avoid like the plague. Some are legit. But they all have their own agendas, they all have their own projects that they’re looking for, and yours may or may not be the right fit so you kind of have to do some homework before you go to figure out which distributor you should even talk to about your project.
Maybe your film isn’t even made yet. Some Distributors will pay money up front to acquire the film before it’s even made and that’s a pretty sweet deal if you can get it. You could get a sales agent for the film that’s going to go to a bunch of different distributors and try to get the best bang for the buck so to speak. Yeah a lot of the time sales agents do take a cut but if they get you really good deals, you know, who cares?
Some Distributors are looking to commission projects which means they find projects that they like and then they commission them to get made which means they give you some money ahead of time to work with to make the project and that’s huge If you’re an indie filmmaker because let’s face it you never have any money. That’s just how it is.
And along with the Distributors you might find other co-producers there – people that are wanting to jump in on the producing end of films they might like your project and maybe they step in, maybe they know other money people, maybe they have other sales agents involved, maybe they know other Distributors that they have good relationships that have worked well in the past. Either way, meeting these people, connecting with these people, make the chances of getting your film distributed much much better.
Number three. Go to AFM to get more work. Not only do I shop my films hoping to find other people to get involved with my stuff – I’m also looking for people that have film projects that need an audience, that maybe don’t have an audience, so that we can come alongside them help them find Their audience by creating great content and promo material and get it out there in the world.
See a lot of people wait until after their film is made to think about the prints and advertising side of the business, but it’s kind of more important than the film itself in almost every way because even if you have a masterpiece and no one sees it, then nothing happens. It’s just dead.
You have to have a plan to get your film seen and to find the audience for your film. You need to do this at the beginning. Don’t wait until it’s already done. It’s it’s just a huge mistake. Personally I will never again do another film Project without planning out my P&A strategy long before I ever roll cameras on a film. Never gonna happen again. It’s more important. It just is.
Take that to the bank.
With that said here are three ways that I think you can prepare to make your AFM visit the best it can possibly be. Number One. Come ready to actually meet people. Bring your business cards, bring your pitch decks, prepare to meet a lot of people and make sure you give them something where if they remember you later that they can contact you.
What a waste to meet 100 people and then leave and then they’re gonna be like, ‘what was
that guy’s name again? I don’t remember. Was it was it Bob? No it was Willie… I don’t know .’
Number two. If you have a project, make sure that you bring pitch decks with you to give to the right people – and even better than pitch decks – is video. If you have a teaser, if you have a trailer, if you have clips of the film already being made or even concepts of the film that you’re going to make in video form, start using that. Bring it with you. Have an iPad, have some way to show it to people because video is a huge Gateway into meeting with the right people. It just takes you that extra step.
Here you are with nothing but the idea. You’re like, – imagine that this is you right here, and this is you with nothing. You have an idea for a film and you go to AFM. You want to talk about it. Most of the doors are going to be shut because everybody and their mother has an idea for a film.
But then you got the next person who has a script, also good. Good – still long way to go.
Then you get the script and the pitch decks involved – now you’re talking to some people, some people are interested and you’re opening a lot more doors.
But the people that have video already in hand, ready to show, ready to send through emails, ready to pop out that iPad, say ‘check this out…’ that is the most likely option to get the right meetings with the right people.
So if you have video real good.
And the third thing that you can do to prepare yourself for AFM is to start making meetings now, as soon as you can. When you sign up for AFM there’s a database that you can start seeing everybody, who’s going to show up, and what they do, and what companies they’re with, and what they’re working on, what they’re looking for…
Figure out who the people are that you need to meet with and then start sending out emails early so you can make those meetings before you ever get there.
Don’t just show up with no meetings in hand because man that would be a waste. It’s just the smartest way to maximize your dollar and better your chances on getting your film distributed and seen by the world and then you win Awards and you do crazy stuff that people blog about it…
I don’t know – that’s 20 years – does anybody blog anymore? I don’t – I don’t know. Just ignore that.
All right so that’s it AFM.