Sep 28, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

How Attractive is Your Package? (Part 1)

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Ontario Media Development Corporation’s International Financing Forum (IFF) is a a two day event held during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). IFF is a competitive feature film co-financing market that brings together selected international and Canadian producers developing English language projects to network and do business with each other and with high-level film industry executives. As a part of the it sixth annual program, the OMDC invited media to get a first hand perspective on packaging films from industry experts at the 2011 IFF Panel Discussion, entitled “How Attractive is Your Package?”

This year’s panelists included prolific indie producer Christine Vachon (Killer Films, producer of award-winning “I’m Not There” and last year’s Best Canadian Feature at TIFF, “Cairo Time”), Chris Hastings (CEO of 1066 Productions, whose projects include “Eddie” with Thure Lindhardt and Stephen McHattie, “The Maiden Danced To Death” with Deborah Kara Unger), and Mark Ankner (Finance and Distribution Agent, William Morris Endeavor). Chris Hastings, whose company specializes in feature packaging (including casting services and script coverage and development), took a moment out of his hectic festival schedule to speak with me.

How does 1066 Productions fit in with the filmmaking process?

We are not a company that produces films ourselves, per se. We work on actually putting the package together so that it’s ready to take to investors, sales agents and with that includes attaching the cast, and working the script. We do hire story editors, line producers to break down the budget and once we’ve got that package into a position whereby we think its commercial, then we can also take it to sales agents to try and get early pre-sales. But once that stage is hit, that’s where our involvement with the film tends to end – which is quite interesting because you have no idea what’s going to happen with the film once you’ve let go of it.

Especially since only 10% of scripts get financed. They don’t tell you about development-hell in film school.

Absolutely. The thing is with development-hell, it effects producers, writers, and there are lots of different types. Essentially, it’s a script or project that hits that stage and for one reason or another it get put on a shelf. Somebody might pick it up in 10 years time and think ‘oh I want to make that’ and at other times they just disappear into the ether never to be seen again. For writers, I know that that is a particularly frustrating thing. I come from a writing background myself and I certainly worked on a project that was very exciting, the most exciting thing I ever worked on as a writer, and then suddenly the financing fell through and it just sits up on a shelf somewhere. There’s no evidence that it ever existed. So you spent a large part of your life working on something, but its not something you can put on your CV, its not something you can show somebody physically. There are a lot of really really fantastic projects that for one reason or another just don’t make it out of that stage and it’s almost humbling as a producer to see so many great projects that people put their life and soul into and they’ve just stallen and will never go anywhere.

So how do we avoid our projects getting shelved?

I think the industry’s actually changed a lot. I think you get very few people who are actually just writers now a days. Especially at TIFF. I’ve met far more writer-producers, I think, than I ever have done in my life. A long long time ago in the history of the film industry, you could be a hermit who sat in your room with your typewriter and never leave it and just send out your scripts. You just can’t do that anymore. You need to be a salesman, you need to be out there, you need to be networking etc. And I think that’s why there are so many writer-producers out there. The benefit of that is if you have written a script, you can just make sure that by hook or by crook you will get it made. There are always ways to get films made it’s just about how many compromises you’re willing to make for it.

[Continued in Part 2]

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Front Page, Industry News

How Attractive is Your Package? (Part 1)

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Ontario Media Development Corporation’s International Financing Forum (IFF) is a a two day event held during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). IFF is a competitive feature film co-financing market that brings together selected international and Canadian producers developing English language projects to network and do business with each other and with high-level film industry executives. As a part of the it sixth annual program, the OMDC invited media to get a first hand perspective on packaging films from industry experts at the 2011 IFF Panel Discussion, entitled “How Attractive is Your Package?”

This year’s panelists included prolific indie producer Christine Vachon (Killer Films, producer of award-winning “I’m Not There” and last year’s Best Canadian Feature at TIFF, “Cairo Time”), Chris Hastings (CEO of 1066 Productions, whose projects include “Eddie” with Thure Lindhardt and Stephen McHattie, “The Maiden Danced To Death” with Deborah Kara Unger), and Mark Ankner (Finance and Distribution Agent, William Morris Endeavor). Chris Hastings, whose company specializes in feature packaging (including casting services and script coverage and development), took a moment out of his hectic festival schedule to speak with me.

How does 1066 Productions fit in with the filmmaking process?

We are not a company that produces films ourselves, per se. We work on actually putting the package together so that it’s ready to take to investors, sales agents and with that includes attaching the cast, and working the script. We do hire story editors, line producers to break down the budget and once we’ve got that package into a position whereby we think its commercial, then we can also take it to sales agents to try and get early pre-sales. But once that stage is hit, that’s where our involvement with the film tends to end – which is quite interesting because you have no idea what’s going to happen with the film once you’ve let go of it.

Especially since only 10% of scripts get financed. They don’t tell you about development-hell in film school.

Absolutely. The thing is with development-hell, it effects producers, writers, and there are lots of different types. Essentially, it’s a script or project that hits that stage and for one reason or another it get put on a shelf. Somebody might pick it up in 10 years time and think ‘oh I want to make that’ and at other times they just disappear into the ether never to be seen again. For writers, I know that that is a particularly frustrating thing. I come from a writing background myself and I certainly worked on a project that was very exciting, the most exciting thing I ever worked on as a writer, and then suddenly the financing fell through and it just sits up on a shelf somewhere. There’s no evidence that it ever existed. So you spent a large part of your life working on something, but its not something you can put on your CV, its not something you can show somebody physically. There are a lot of really really fantastic projects that for one reason or another just don’t make it out of that stage and it’s almost humbling as a producer to see so many great projects that people put their life and soul into and they’ve just stallen and will never go anywhere.

So how do we avoid our projects getting shelved?

I think the industry’s actually changed a lot. I think you get very few people who are actually just writers now a days. Especially at TIFF. I’ve met far more writer-producers, I think, than I ever have done in my life. A long long time ago in the history of the film industry, you could be a hermit who sat in your room with your typewriter and never leave it and just send out your scripts. You just can’t do that anymore. You need to be a salesman, you need to be out there, you need to be networking etc. And I think that’s why there are so many writer-producers out there. The benefit of that is if you have written a script, you can just make sure that by hook or by crook you will get it made. There are always ways to get films made it’s just about how many compromises you’re willing to make for it.

[Continued in Part 2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

How Attractive is Your Package? (Part 1)

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

The Ontario Media Development Corporation’s International Financing Forum (IFF) is a a two day event held during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). IFF is a competitive feature film co-financing market that brings together selected international and Canadian producers developing English language projects to network and do business with each other and with high-level film industry executives. As a part of the it sixth annual program, the OMDC invited media to get a first hand perspective on packaging films from industry experts at the 2011 IFF Panel Discussion, entitled “How Attractive is Your Package?”

This year’s panelists included prolific indie producer Christine Vachon (Killer Films, producer of award-winning “I’m Not There” and last year’s Best Canadian Feature at TIFF, “Cairo Time”), Chris Hastings (CEO of 1066 Productions, whose projects include “Eddie” with Thure Lindhardt and Stephen McHattie, “The Maiden Danced To Death” with Deborah Kara Unger), and Mark Ankner (Finance and Distribution Agent, William Morris Endeavor). Chris Hastings, whose company specializes in feature packaging (including casting services and script coverage and development), took a moment out of his hectic festival schedule to speak with me.

How does 1066 Productions fit in with the filmmaking process?

We are not a company that produces films ourselves, per se. We work on actually putting the package together so that it’s ready to take to investors, sales agents and with that includes attaching the cast, and working the script. We do hire story editors, line producers to break down the budget and once we’ve got that package into a position whereby we think its commercial, then we can also take it to sales agents to try and get early pre-sales. But once that stage is hit, that’s where our involvement with the film tends to end – which is quite interesting because you have no idea what’s going to happen with the film once you’ve let go of it.

Especially since only 10% of scripts get financed. They don’t tell you about development-hell in film school.

Absolutely. The thing is with development-hell, it effects producers, writers, and there are lots of different types. Essentially, it’s a script or project that hits that stage and for one reason or another it get put on a shelf. Somebody might pick it up in 10 years time and think ‘oh I want to make that’ and at other times they just disappear into the ether never to be seen again. For writers, I know that that is a particularly frustrating thing. I come from a writing background myself and I certainly worked on a project that was very exciting, the most exciting thing I ever worked on as a writer, and then suddenly the financing fell through and it just sits up on a shelf somewhere. There’s no evidence that it ever existed. So you spent a large part of your life working on something, but its not something you can put on your CV, its not something you can show somebody physically. There are a lot of really really fantastic projects that for one reason or another just don’t make it out of that stage and it’s almost humbling as a producer to see so many great projects that people put their life and soul into and they’ve just stallen and will never go anywhere.

So how do we avoid our projects getting shelved?

I think the industry’s actually changed a lot. I think you get very few people who are actually just writers now a days. Especially at TIFF. I’ve met far more writer-producers, I think, than I ever have done in my life. A long long time ago in the history of the film industry, you could be a hermit who sat in your room with your typewriter and never leave it and just send out your scripts. You just can’t do that anymore. You need to be a salesman, you need to be out there, you need to be networking etc. And I think that’s why there are so many writer-producers out there. The benefit of that is if you have written a script, you can just make sure that by hook or by crook you will get it made. There are always ways to get films made it’s just about how many compromises you’re willing to make for it.

[Continued in Part 2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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