Category Archives: OUTFEST

Distributing Your Indie Film

In the past six years, I’ve helped with the distribution of two indie docs and one indie feature. Over the years, we’ve developed a set of practices and resources that might help other indie filmmakers. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing what I know to help other indie filmmakers!

Here is my point of view:

In the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, there were 4,057 feature films submitted for consideration and 8,161 short films. Of those 12,217 submissions, there were only 119 features and 66 shorts that were actually accepted. Of the accepted 119 features, 45 were eventually picked up for distribution. So, if you are one of the 2.9% chosen for Sundance, you have a 38% chance for successful distribution. (Entertainment Media Partners and Cultural Weekly)

Other film festivals have their own set of statistics. some are easier to get into, some have lower distribution success. Overall, for the indie filmmaker, a RESPECTED film festival is still the best route (use WITHOUTABOX.COM and Chris Gore’s film festival guide book to maximize your chance of success. If you are unsuccessful on the festival route, we’ll be covering these other avenues.

Theatrical Distribution
Producer’s Rep
IMDb Pro
Film Festival Exhibition and Sale
Without A Box
Press Kit
Promo Reel

International Distribution
http://www.americanfilmmarket.com/
IMDb Pro
Original deal is all you will get

Video on Demand (VOD)
Aggregators
Muso for Torrent Takedowns

Theater on Demand (TOD)
Gathr, Tugg, Eventful, OpenIndie, Four-walling

Direct to DVD/BluRay
VES for production
PreSales
Post Sales
Merchandise Incentive Sales
Shirts, Beanies, Hats, Swag

Ancillary Products
Soundtracks, Alternate Versions
TuneCore for Soundtrack Production

Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit
Wordpress Film Site
Promotional Items and Freebies
Wallpapers Stills

Financial Essentials
Authorize.Net for Order Processing and Banking
Formsite for Secure Ordering and Forms

Howard Bragman’s New Series

HOLLYWOOD — Several news and entertainment outlets are reporting that celebrity publicist Howard Bragman is producing the show in conjunction with JUMA Entertainment for air on A&E. The show will turn the cameras on the journeys of public figures who are looking for a vehicle to support them as they come out of the closet as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Bragman is known for representing celebrities like Meredith Baxter, Chely Wright, Chaz Bono and Isaiah Washington. (Note: For this post, I use gay to mean all LGBQT people.)

I met Howard at the OUTFEST “Coming Out in Hollywood” panel on Saturday. He’s an incredibly tall man; I think he’s twice my height! He was very sweet and got down on his knees next to me for this photo. He’s a formidable presence and, on the panel, he spoke passionately about the importance for people to be out in our industry. Although it is complicated and difficult (knowing the once adoring public can turn on dime), Howard talked about how more visibility leads to more acceptance for everyone. He made a comparison to the lack of blacks in film and television in the 50’s and 60’s and how their insistence on being included brought diversity to mainstream media.

While listening to the panelists discuss the pros and cons of being an out actor, I was having a revelation. The focus of the panel was, in my opinion, a minor point in the bigger conversation. Don’t get me wrong, whether an actor is out or not does have an influence on the public but it really isn’t the big kahuna. A gay actor isn’t the same thing as a black actor. A gay actor is STILL INVISIBLE to the audience. That’s the “problem” with being gay, it can be quite easy to “pass for straight.” More gays in the industry and more gays being open doesn’t really change anything because, onscreen, it’s all the same. It’s not like putting a black, an asian, a hispanic or disabled actor on screen.

It hit me like a thunderbolt and I had a hard time sitting there. Howard was right. It was incredibly important that Meredith Baxter came out because everyone saw her as the all-American Mom. Her coming out made the public more aware that the all-American Mom could be a gay woman with five children and grandchildren (as Meredith is). For much of the audience, Meredith Baxter (the person) is indistinguishable from Meredith Baxter (the actress). Meredith’s coming out revealed gay Moms in America like me. It put my son’s life into the public dialog in a whole new way.

What is missing, in my opinion, are gay characters in mainstream film and television. Gay parents, gay teachers, gay repairmen, gay plumbers, gay farmers. Current estimates are that 1 in 8 Americans are gay. Imagine if there were one gay character for every straight character in contemporary television shows and movies. Just average, every day people who do their jobs, raise their children and live in the world like everyone else. And, in this regard, I disagree with some of the panelists. I do NOT think our coming out is our most important story. It is one of our stories. We have many others. Our sexuality is only one aspect of our personality. And just as the sexual rites of passage are important to the LGBQT population, it is important to the straight population. But, for all of us, it is just PART of who we are, not all of who we are.

I want every human being to have the right to “live out loud and proud” … no matter who he or she is. Everyone. And, I’d like us all to be visible in our media, in the stories we tell.

I wish Howard the best of luck on his new series. I do think it is important. Most of all, I hope it leads to the creation of many more gay roles in television and film … roles that are played by GAY AND STRAIGHT actors. That’s what I’m waiting for! Howard’s agency is FIFTEEN MINUTES, as in “Hey, where’s MY fifteen minutes of fame?!?”

A MARINE STORY Gets Attention at OUTFEST

OUTFEST, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is coming to a close today and the awards were announced this morning. I was delighted to see that A MARINE STORY won the audience award, the grand jury award and an acting award for Dreya Weber. Sweet. A MARINE STORY is the first film I worked on when I got to town. I went to one of the weekly industry mixers held by LGBQT icon JD Disalvatore (The Smoking Cocktail). Since she was producing the film, she introduced me to director Ned Farr and lead actress (also Mrs. Farr) Dreya Weber and the rest is history. I loved the project and thought it was important and told a story that needs to be in the mainstream. I loved that the script didn’t take predictable, cliche routes. And, as it turned out, actress Paris Pickard (Saffron) was good friends with Alec’s girlfriend, Jamie. (The film world is so dang tiny.)

I was also delighted to see that the Peruvian film CONTRACORRIENTE received a Special Artistic Achievement Award. Kathy Wolfe (Wolfe Video) said it was incredible and not to be missed. As usual, she was right.

I must also mention a LAUGH OUT LOUD short film I saw, YOU MOVE ME. The premise line for the short did NOT impress me at all and I thought I would hate it. But it was really funny. Witty dialogue, two funny characters, and I hear it may become a feature. You’ll want to catch it for sure!

The full list of OUTFEST winners:

Special Programming Award for Freedom, Sponsored by ONEHOPE Wine
THE TOPP TWINS, Directed by Leanne Pooley

Special Programming Award for Artistic Achievement
Sponsored by The Los Angeles Athletic Club
UNDERTOW (CONTRACORRIENTE), Directed by Javier Fuentes-Leon

Special Programming Award for Emerging Talent
Sponsored by Kodak
Drew Droege, Actor

Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Short Film
Sponsored by CRE – Computer Rentals & AV Solutions
I’M JUST ANNEKE, Directed by Jonathan Skurnik

Audience Award for Outstanding Dramatic Short Film
Sponsored by Entertainment Partners
YOU MOVE ME, Directed by Gina Hirsch

Audience Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Flm
Sponsored by Yellow Cab
FOREVER’S GONNA START TONIGHT, Directed by Michelle Lawler

Audience Award for Outstanding Dramatic Feature Film
Sponsored by Overture Films
A MARINE STORY, Directed by Ned Farr

Audience Award for Outstanding First U.S. Dramatic Feature Film
Sponsored by HBO (cash prize of $5,000 from HBO)
THE FOUR-FACED LIAR, Directed by Jacob Chase

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary Short Film
Sponsored by Stella Artois
CLOSE (POD BLUZKA), Directed by Lucia Von Horn Pagano

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Short Film
Sponsored by Wolfe
SAMARITAN, Directed by Magnus Mork

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature Film
Sponsored by The Directors Guild of America
STRANGE POWERS: STEPHIN MERRITT & THE MAGNETIC FIELDS, Directed by Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding International Dramatic Feature Film
Sponsored by Absolut
THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS ANNE LISTER, Directed by James Kent

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film
Sponsored by The Standard Hotel, Downtown and Sunset Blvd.
Dreya Weber, A MARINE STORY

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film
Sponsored by Ramada West Hollywood
Stephen Guarino, BEARCITY

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Screenwriting
Sponsored by APA Talent and Literary Agency
Douglas Langway and Lawrence Ferber, BEARCITY

Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. Dramatic Feature Film
Sponsored by Lexus
A MARINE STORY, Directed by Ned Farr

Meredith Baxter’s Family Ties

I went to the OUTFEST shorts program last night and it was fantastic. Apparently there is something call “All Girl Friday” and there’s a shorts program that is part of that. The theater was full and the audience was in good spirits. Several of the shorts were quite funny! Laugh out loud funny.

The best part of the evening was meeting Meredith Baxter. You may remember her as Alex P. Keaton’s mom on the hit television series FAMILY TIES. Most recently, she appeared as Lilly’s mother on the television drama COLD CASE (a show that I have loved, loved, loved since the beginning). Meredith is big news at OUTFEST because she just came out a short time ago. TWO people asked me to photograph themselves with her. She asked if I was the official photographer. Cute. Made me like her more than I already did. Apparently she’s doing a panel today on what it means to be gay in LA … so I’m off to the panel for insights. Should be interesting. Will write more on it tomorrow. Meredith is waiting.

Post note: Went to the panel and enjoyed it immensely. The main point of discussion was about the consequences for actors coming out. Given the big dust up over Sean Hayes’ performance on Broadway, it was an interesting topic to view from the perspective of the actor seeking work and trying to build a career. Building a successful production film career is capricious, complicated, and volatile. It is, however, a cakewalk compared to building an ACTING career. The public is a fickle lover. And when she turns on you … well, enough said …

So it was interesting to hear the point of view of the panelists. Meredith was the only female on the panel (shocker? not!) She was quite clever and had several witty comments. Howard Bragman (Fifteen Minutes Public Relations), Meredith’s PR guy was also on the panel. His firm specializes in guiding actors through difficult media times. He had a lot to say about the importance that coming out made for the LGBQT community. The more visible and present we are, the better it is. I had heard Writer/Producer Don Roos speak numerous times at Sundance. I really loved his film, HAPPY ENDINGS. I did not know the two other actors on the panel. They both spoke about how important it is to be out and how they always had been. And I didn’t know either one of them. I thought that was significant. I have since been able to discover that one actor was Doug Spearman of NOAH’S ARK. I’m still searching for the other one.

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