Thanks for visiting the new Samaco Films blog!

As an independent producer, I have decided that it is finally about time that I share the wealth of experience, knowledge and insight I have gained over the past decade (having produced and/or executive produced over twenty successful independent feature films) with those of you who are either just beginning to embark on a film career or to provide tips for those of you whom have already made your mark on the film industry.

Whether you are a writer, producer, director or any other entertainment industry professional, it is my hope and intention that this blog will provide you with much of the basic, fundamental information, know-how and inspiration that you may need to help you get your project off the ground or complete it.

So, keep your eyes on our blog for daily tips, definitions, challenges and anecdotes, we look forward to your feedback and wish you the best of luck on all of your endeavors.

Thirsty? Have a coke.

Product Placement versus Product Integration – Product placement is when a company pays money to have its product shown on screen being used by the characters. For example car companies often place their cars in chase scenes or Coke or Pepsi bottles are seen in the characters hands. In the case of Product Integration, the product is actually written (integrated) into the screenplay and becomes an integral part of a scene such as “Ray-Ban” sunglasses in the “Men in Black” movies. Companies pay significantly more for product integration than they do for product placement.

Hard or Soft?

Hard Money versus Soft Money – Hard money is cash equity, period. Anything else is considered to be “Soft Money” and does not mean anything unless and until the hard money is in place. Examples of soft money include state tax incentives and rebates, minimum distribution guarantees and product placement.

So you’ve made a film…how are you going to get it seen?

Platform Release- It is extremely difficult to get a good distribution deal and DVD sales are nearly non-existent so filmmakers are always looking for alternative ways to get their films seen and released. A platform release is a great alternative which means that you include an additional $150,000 in your production budget to release the film in three to five theatres in up to ten cities. If the film does well, then the number of theaters and/or cities increases exponentially. This allows for more control and greater profits. If you have a completed film that needs distribution and have the means and/or access to the funding required to release it, Samaco Films can help.

Budget vs. Bust-It

Budget versus Bust-it – It always amazes me when a filmmaker throws out a purely random, unsubstantiated dollar amount when asked for their production budget. The ONLY way to create a realistic, accurate estimate of how much your film is going to cost to make is to hire a reputable line producer who has a great deal of experience in your genre and have them prepare a proper line-by-line calculation of your budget.

How to fund this project….and the next one…..and the next one…..

Investors- If you receive millions of dollar from investors and they do not ever see their investment money back (much less a profit) you and your film will carry the stigma of being a bad investment for a lifetime. Paying your investors back should be as much (if not more) of a priority for you as a film maker as making an outstanding film.

What You Should Really Know When Talking To Investors

Investment Return Strategies- There are a number of ways to secure funds for independent film, all of which will be outlined in painstaking detail in my new upcoming E-Book titled “The Ultimate Guide to Indie Film Funding” (so keep your eyes open for it).  But most writers/producers spend 100% of their time, energy and efforts devising ways to spend the investment money rather than spending a considerable amount of that time developing strategies for its’ return.

The one thing people don’t think about when trying to get funding.

Securing Funding – People approach me for funding on a daily basis and everyone that does is focused on one thing and one thing only which is the question “How am I going to get the money I need to make their film”? A question to which my immediately response is “Getting the money will not be the hard part to [to figure out], the hard part is figuring out HOW TO GET THAT MONEY BACK! It is astonishing to see their reaction to this as, in most cases, the notion of returning the investment to an investor never occurred to them.

Prove you’ve got cash, not trash

POF? “POF” stands for “Proof of Funds”. Let me start by telling you what POF is NOT. It is not a copy of some random person, friend or relatives bank account statement showing a balance of $1,345,890.00 with the account holders name and account number whited out. The only REAL TRUE ACCEPTABLE proof of funds for a film is when you already have your film set up legally as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) which then has a bank account opened in its name and the cash equity deposited into it.