Talent Agency Producer Reps

September 10, 2001 - Pass the ammo and let's start firin' (this thing out there)

Now that I've got a film to show the world..it's now time to find someone to get it out there. Here's the plan of attack: find an agent or producers rep. Someone who has the inside scoop on who should see it and where it should be seen. In Robert Rodriguez's book "Rebel Without A Crew" talks about how he managed to get an agent at ICM (International Creative Management) and how THEY were the ones who got his film seen by the V.I.P.'s in the industry.

Here's this great article on producers reps on the Filmmaker website: Honest Brokers

OK, armed with the Internet, The Hollywood Reporter Blue Book and the Hollywood Creative Directory of Agents & Managers, this is what I've figure out; there are about 4 big names in the indie world for producers reps. Producers reps are basically people who will help promote your projects to festivals and distributors. They usually end up getting paid once the film is sold. (15 percent?) Some want money up front. I guess we'll see who wants what. Here are the biggies:

John Pierson (Grainy Pictures) - Wrote the book "Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes." He helped Spike Lee early in his career by giving Spike 10 grand to finish "She's Gotta Have It". John said in his book that it was the best investment he's ever made. He also had alot to do with films like "Slacker" and "Clerks". He said he was out of the repping business around the time Kevin Smith (Clerks) sent him a tape. He got back in the business.

There's this great article about him and his book on the moviemaker.com website: Part I | Part II

Jeff Dowd (Jeff Dowd & Associates) - He's helped the Cohen Brothers get their start. Apparently he STARTED the Sundance Institute with Robert Redford. Helped with films such as "Rivers Edge", "Black Stallion" and "Hoosiers". Jeff Bridges character in "The Big Lebowski" was based on Jeff (The Dude). Jeff is usually on every panel of experts when it comes to indie film seminars.

Some info on Jeff Dowd on the "Far From Glory" website: Jeff Dowd info | The Dudes Film School

Bob Hawk (International Consultation for Independents) - Bob was THE guy basically got Kevin Smith a career. The was the one guy at the first Clerks screening who didn't walk out. Bob made some phone calls after that and look at Kevin today. You can see Bob in "Chasing Amy" as the guy poking at the black, gay guy on the phone. Bob also is on every panel of experts when it comes to indie film seminars.

John Sloss (Cinetic Media/Sloss Law Office) - John is basically a lawyer and now is repping films. His name kept popping up when I was doing a search for "producers reps" on Google. Apparently he sold the two movies for the highest amount at the last Sundance festival. We noticed his name was associated with Roger Marino. Roger Marino is in the fortune 400, is basically a billionaire and wants to make movies with John Sloss' help. He also lives 3 towns over from me....somewhere.

John Sloss Bio on American Movie.com: John Sloss Bio

The next group of contacts that I want to pursue are talent agencies. These guys are the ones who have the contacts with the major studios and other places that can offer work for real money. The problem is, in my Hollywood Creative Directory it lists EVERYBODY. I've got address and names, but I have no idea WHO in these agencies would be interested in what I'm doing. The other thing is all of the major agencies have "BY REFERRAL ONLY" in their comment section. The big guys usually represent such people as Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. They notify YOU when they want you. Here's the biggies:

ICM (International Creative Management) - These guys look like they're the biggest. They take a full page up in the HCD, something like 100 agents listed.

William Morris Agency - These guys used to be #1, they only have something like 90 people listed. :-P

United Talent Agency - from what I can tell, number 3. Descent amount of people. (See the April 14, 2001 Journal entry, I have some sort of contact there.)

I've collected a bunch of other producers reps and distribution companies that I will eventually hit up. The Hollywood Creative Directory book has HUNDREDS of agents and e-mails, so hopefully I won't be doing a massive amount of spamming in desperation to find SOMEBODY.

September 18, 2001 - The country is depressed, send a FAX.

Dan and I have now made an arrangement where he will come by my place on every Monday and try to sell this thing. (Basically use my phone to call long distance.) As we all know, on September 8th, the world blew up and basically fucked everything up for everybody. Dan started to make some phone calls to potential agents and reps but found that anyone who was anyone was at the Toronto film festival, and that most of them were trapped in Canada because all US flights were canceled.

One thing that we're noticing is that no one is very enthusiastic about receiving a free tape. Almost all of the big agencies just want a FAX sent over before they'll even consider it. I was kinda under the impression that the only way to tell if a movie is any good is by WATCHING the sucker. I can only imagine how much crap they WOULD get if they let open the gates to anybody. When searching for music for this project, I had to wade through HUNDREDS of bland songs just to find the few that I liked. Apparently it's like that with films too. We weren't expecting to get very far today, so what the hell.

John still has to finish the end credits and I've got a couple more graphics that need fixing. We realized that the deadline for Sundance Film Festival is on the 28th of this month, so we might as well go for it.

September 25, 2001 - Sundance & Slamdance entries

Dan was obsessing over the Sundance and Slamdance entry form yesterday, so he didn't get very far with the phone calls. We decided to enter the film into Slamdance too because I've got a feeling that Sundance might find the film not artsy enough while Slamdance seems to be looking for stuff that wants to flip the bird to the mainstream audiences. I liked Slamdances' entry form, they wanted more information about the filmmaker, stuff like war stories and a directors bio. I mentioned how I bought the ACL camera out on the New York Turnpike. They tried being cutesy on the application by asking for the directors shoe size. I wrote, "see dick size."

I'm starting to get concerned about my money situation. I haven't worked at my regular corporate gig for more than a month now. (Ever since I told them that I need to finish this damn project for Sundance and the Coolidge Corner showing.) I've got some money saved, but I could easily blow through that if I decide to shoot the remaining shots and computer screens that I need.

I decided to jazz up the packaging of the film that will be going out to all the agents and reps. I figure I've got to be able to make an impression BEFORE they even watch the tape, or better yet, make the tape itself stand out if it ends up in a pile of others. Since fishnet pantyhose/stockings have a major significance in the film, I wanted to use that somehow. Dan, John, Therese and I had also talked about marketing/promotion gimmicks that could used to help promote the film at film festivals. I thought that giving away an actual pair of fishnet stockings would be kinda silly. (Stuck in some sort of bag with an "alt.sex" label.) Others had mentioned alt.sex condoms, but I thought that would be too explicit, since the film is really not ABOUT having sex, nor were there any condoms used in the film.

I noticed that designer pantyhose come in cardboard packages with fancy labels that could conceivably hold a vhs tape inside. I bought a pair of designer fishnet pantyhose at Walmart, (I'm sure the cashier thought I was a transvestite) and used that package as a basis for the official "alt.sex fishnet stockings and movie" package/mailer. I had my pirated copy of Photoshop, John had his large format ink jet printer, so we were able to create something that look very similar to a real hosiery package (but with all sorts of goofy bits worked into the design.) The photo I used was of Therese's legs in fishnets that I had took almost 2 years ago when I was building the website.

I was going to send the film inside a pair of fishnet pantyhose, but noticed that once you've got a tape stuck inside them, they barely fit inside the package I created. It would also cost me 6 bucks just for the fishnets for every tape that I would send out this way! Therese mentioned that you can buy fishnet socks on the cheap. Walmart had 'em for 2 bucks a pair. Perfect. (Still want to know what kind of fashion statement a woman can make by wearing fishnets SOCKS. How sexy can only a big toe clad in fishnets be?) :-P

October 2, 2001 - At least my friends seem interested.

I've been getting feedback from an assortment of people on the movie. They've been going nuts! I can't seem to find anyone who DOESN'T like it (or at least seems apathetic.) I gave a tape to Dave Chubet (the guy whose house we invaded on September 2, 2000 & September 24, 2000), HE was very enthusiastic about the film. He had shown it to a few of his friends, I guess THEY went nuts over it. Therese had a bunch of her highly intelligent librarian friends come over and did a private screening. I was told they laughed in all the right spots and were quite disappointed that I was there to do a Q and A afterwards. (I ended up playing late with the Dave Chubet Jug band that I've somehow been drawn into.) Therese is now convinced that I might have something. (And this is 2 years after she had read the script and kinda went "I dunno..")

We've now had a few weeks to make a dent into the quest for an agent or rep. Here is where it stands:

John Pierson: got through and spoke to him very quickly on the phone. (I guess another call was coming through.) I tried to be charming at first, he just wanted to know what the hell I wanted. Gave him the quick spiel. (I'm an indie filmmaker, yada yada yada.) He reminded me that he's no longer in the repping biz. I told him that I wanted his input on the project and perhaps he could recommend another producers rep. "Yea fine, send it" he says and basically slams the phone down. Didn't even get a chance to mention the title of the film to him. The tape went out (in fishnet packaging) to him on the 28th.

Jeff Dowd: We've spoken to someone in his office for weeks now, but still haven't gotten through to him. (We've called 6 different times at this point.) I want to just send the tape, but we've been told to e-mail something first (did that twice.) I've also faxed over our one-sheet description. His receptionist seems nice, so hopefully something will get his attention.

John Sloss: We've been told twice to fax something over. Still waiting word to just SEND a freakin' tape. (Called 5 different times.)

Bob Hawk: Trying to contact Bob has been a bitch. I've found his name on many webpages on the Internet. Apparently he has had a lot to do with tons of festivals in San Francisco, yet there are no listings for any e-mail addresses or webpages for him or his company ANYWHERE on the web. I must've spent a couple of nights on Google searching through EVERYTHING. Nada. I had recently sent the film to my buddy David Schendel who lives in San Francisco. He's a filmmaker who just finished a documentary called "Yank Tanks" that was submitted to Sundance this year. I tell him that I have contact numbers for everybody except this guy called Bob Hawk. He says, "I know the guy personally. I've been in touch with him for years." Fuck me. :-) He calls Bob Hawk and tells him about the film and then gives me his home phone number. I leave a message on Bob's answering machine.

United Talent Agency: I waited until my fishnet packaging was done before I tried my contact at United Talent Agency. Called the guy, he remembered me, chatted with his assistant, sent the tape off (in the fishnet packaging) today. Yay!

William Morris Agency: Called 5 times at this point. Haven't reached the contact person we wanted. Been told to fax something over.

ICM: Called 4 times. Never reached the contact person we had. I woke up the next morning to hear that he DID return our phone call, even though it was just a "I'M RETURNING YOUR PHONE CALL." (click)

Concord New Horizons: Dan wanted to take a crack at contacting Roger Corman. Since Roger Corman has given many people their start in the film biz, Dan figured that Roger may be interested in lending a hand. We get through to a vice presidents assistant. She said, "send a tape! We'll look at it!" That was easy. Off it goes in the fishnet packaging.

Next Wave Films: Got a tape and entry form out to there guys. Apparently they will grant a ton of money to a few finished features that need additional finishing costs like blow-ups and final sound mixes. Who knows what will happen with these guys.

October 8 - Talent? You want TALENT agencies?

Couldn't believe it. Earlier in the week, someone from the William Morris agency returned Dans phone call and wants to see a tape! I practically shit my pants. I was tempted to be a smart ass and go, "don't you want to see the fax FIRST?" We never sent a fax to those guys since we never got through to our contact. What the hell. :-)

Dan did a follow up call today. They recognized his name and went, "ALT.SEX?! WE LOVE THE PACKAGING!" I guess they are going to be carefully studying the tape later this week. Woo hoo!

Dan was torqued up by this. He then calls ICM (International Creative Management) and figures he can bluff his way through to someone important since the two other major talent agencies now have our tape. He gets through to our contact. The guy seems to recognize Dan's name. He goes, "LEMME SEE THAT TAPE!" Dan mentions that he hasn't faxed anything over. He goes, "you can't tell anything from the fax, SEND THAT TAPE!"

We certainly don't want to keep ICM waiting! :-)

I'm now amazed on the outcome of our promotional pursuit. I initially thought that the major talent agencies would be the LAST people who would want to look at our stuff. (We obviously aren't anyone famous.) I always thought that the famous indie reps would be the first ones to jump at a chance to look at our film. Not so. They seem to be the least interested. I guess this makes sense, it seems that TALENT agencies have a major interest in finding talent before anyone else does. Producer reps seem to be interested in finding YOU (once they've heard about you.)

I had done a personal showing of the film for John Horrigan and his buddy Mike Lewis earlier in the week. I knew Mike Lewis from some silly things I did back in my cable days with John Horrigan. Mike had written and produced an indie film called "Getting Personal." He had raised over $750,000 and had set up something called a "limited partnership" with his investors. The film made the rounds at festivals and had been bought up by HBO. He seemed to be totally knocked out by the film and couldn't believe that I did it with only 30 grand. I told him I was interested in learning how to do limited partnerships with investors. John Horrigan was also surprised at how well the film turned out. Mike sent that copy of the film out to his producers rep. I guess we'll just see what happens. I'm just happy that my regular corporate client called me in for a day this week. (At least I'll be able to eat 3 months from now.)


Next | Previous | Journal Home Page

Main Page | alt.sex Journal | Tech Info | Publicity | Film Clips | Indie Links