While equally important, Thursday was somewhat more relaxed with direct presentations running on schedule, film business panels scheduled for the afternoon and a special book signing with Michael Uslan at The Great Escape in the later afternoon.
The morning dawned crystal clear and blue skies beckoned as filmmakers arrived eager for their sessions targeted to either television, feature film or documentary; each was held in a separate room with executives who specialized in that area of entertainment. The primary focus of Film-Com is putting filmmakers together with the right executives, those who are not only interested in that specific niche (film, TV, doc) but have the credentials and contacts to help filmmakers reach their goal of seeing their project become a reality.
A savory catered lunch at the CMHoF (Country Music Hall of Fame) was served by a professional staff in picturesque surroundings while area buzzed with conversations about (I’m guessing) plans for the next film, television series or documentary.
Adjourning to the first session of the Film Business Seminars (Studio vs. Independent Financing) we were taken behind the fabled Hollywood curtain as Michael Uslan – Branded Entertainment, Christa Zofcin – River Road, Dan Stutz – Exclusive Media Group, Diego Martinez – Nu Image / Millennium, Nikki Levy – Wedgework / Fox and Chevonne O’Shaughnessy – American Cinema International spoke with candor about taking an idea and turning it into reality. It might not be for the faint of heart, but for those willing to “go the distance”, the panel outlined the process.
Session Two, moderated by Susan Hahn of FilmWorkers Club delved into areas where many of live, or at least strive to, creative financing. If you don’t have studio financing (or a rich uncle) is it still possible to get a film made? Hint, this is a new era and the Internet has opened avenues not available to our predecessors. Today all of us (if we have the passion) can show our projects to the world, and with the right amount of social buzz (facebook, twitter, youtube, vimeo) get noticed no matter where we call home. The panelist Kevin Cninoy – Freestyle L.A, John Crye – SharpeCrye, Todd Sharpe – The Mayhem Group, Roxanne Benjamin – Collective L.A., Seth Willenson – Willenson Film Consulting, Tim Tortora – ASA Management, held the audience in rapt attention. In fact the Q&A session might still be going on if we weren’t on a schedule.
Next up, “The Boy Who Loved BatMan”, a book signing by Michael Uslan at The Great Escape, with “The Nashville Scene” editor Jim Ridley asking the questions, but not before a long line of avid fans stood patiently as Mr. Uslan penned his name (adorning his signature with a Bat Sign) to everyone in line. If there was one thing (but there were many) that could be taken away from this session it would be this, never, never, never, never, never give up on your dreams. If they aren’t happening the way you imagine them, don’t wait for FATE to step in, step in yourself and MAKE IT HAPPEN. This was exactly what he did years ago when teaching the first accredited course on the serious study of comic books. Taken a gander at the Wikipedia article, it’s fascinating.
The session ended with a very gracious Michael Uslan saying he would not leave till every book was signed, and he didn’t, I know, I was near the end of the line.