Re my post a couple of months ago, I thought I would add some current observations following the AFM.
In talking with some top sales agents who attended the market, they say the same thing: if you are relying on a percentage of presales to finance your film you must have a package with very strong elements. These elements can include one or more of the following: attached, meaningful acting talent, an attached director who has generated recent cred, and/or a chunk of 'hard-to-get' financing.
As a rule, sales agents are not in the development business - although there are exceptions. Most are simply sales organizations. They acquire the rights to film projects with the intent to license ('sell') those distribution rights to various countries throughout the world, from which they earn commissions and other fees.
In some cases, they put up MGs ('minimum guarantees') allowing a producer to obtain loans against these contracts which are used to finance the physical production of the film. So, there is risk involved for sales companies.
Like any selling process, sales outfits need something valuable to sell. That's where packaging comes in - the assembling of elements that will interest buyers. Absent meaningful elements, as a producer, you'll have to seek alternative financing methods, such as raising private equity, setting up a crowd-funding campaign, or sourcing some other type of creative financing.
Producing is half selling and half execution. Once the financing is in place it's time to make the movie. Usually, the financing stage takes much longer than the actual production of the movie. Check out the financing history of Scorcese's 'The Irishman' if you're looking for a good example... and that's Martin Scorcese and his famous friends!
Speaking of Netflix, check out this great interview with Matt Helderman on Indie Film Hustle YouTube channel here. I'll address the streaming world in future articles, but this interview is worth watching.
Just my thoughts, which I hope are of value. I'll be posting more producing tips in the future. Feel free to comment or to shoot me a question.