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Win Edson
04-18-2013, 09:13 AM
After a lengthy attempt to find distribution for my first feature, The Dinner Date, I've decided to self distribute via YouTube. Although I've opted for the monetization option which adds a few adverts, I'm not under the illusion that I'll be quitting my day job any time soon. It's just that I want my film seen and I just want to get it out there as a possible calling card for new opportunities.

So, if you want to know what a feature film that was shot in 7 days for 700 ($999) and where one guy took on the roles of writer, director, cameraman, producer and editor looks like. And you're in the mood for a light hearted Rom Com, then please check out. - Win

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtYD-wjuDEc

Nick Soares
04-18-2013, 10:55 AM
Hey Win, I thought you went with Distribber?

Win Edson
04-18-2013, 11:32 AM
Hi Nick,

I did go with Distribber and was very excited when I got accepted to Hulu. But the Errors and Omissions Insurance would've cost me thousands, maybe even close to $10,000 after the attorney fees and title searches, clearances, etc. I couldn't afford it.

MrJay10
04-18-2013, 03:58 PM
I loved the opening credits! Also the writing is actually surprisingly well done, I watched a little bit of it, I enjoyed it :P

2001 Productions
04-18-2013, 04:59 PM
the Errors and Omissions Insurance would've cost me thousands, maybe even close to $10,000 after the attorney fees and title searches, clearances, etc.

That is outrageous! Did you get a sense that such an amount is typical, or was there something in particular about your film that drove the cost up? I'm looking at distribution for my own feature, so your post has me a little nervous...

I watched your movie, btw. Enjoyed it. Colorful characters. I hope it takes off for you.

EuropeanDistributor
04-18-2013, 06:12 PM
E&O can definitely get up to $10,000 in some cases.

Most independent filmmakers I have talked to have said their E&O have cost around $3k-$5k, these are movies budgeted well under $500k.

However, not all distributors will demand an E&O insurance, many foreign buyers will not care, the same goes for many domestic buyers.
The bigger distributors, especially in USA will demand it in most cases.

payperfilm
04-18-2013, 08:18 PM
Gravitas Ventures which distributed my movie Geek Mythology didn't require E&O.

Vance Baryn
04-18-2013, 08:23 PM
I've watched about 40 minutes of it so far. I'll have to finish it later as i have to go out. But I have to say Steve is by far the most likable character in this movie.

Nick Soares
04-18-2013, 09:06 PM
For those that do not know E&O is not needed when you go to a distributor, but when you are an unrepresented and a person, then you need to provide E&O for liability reasons. A company like Distribber works with the direct producer and not a REP or Distributor, therefor you need E&O. With a company like DiGi Distribution (http://www.digidistribution.com) you do not need E&O

Win Edson
04-19-2013, 12:10 AM
Thanks everyone for the nice comments and for taking the time to check out my film. I really appreciate it.

As for E&O insurance, there are ways around it, and Nick's DigiDistribution seems like a very good option.

Basically, I researched and found an E&O Insurance that specializes in Video on Demand distribution.

leekrugman[at]optonline.net - broker, very helpful.

He quoted by $2670 (months later said it had gone up signficantly?), but I also needed a title search ($390) and an attorney's assistance with the application. I found an attorney who, instead of charging hundreds per hours, would do it for $1000. This was for a special VOD deal. His email is

arw[at]andrewwoodlaw.com

Here's his breakdown:

1) Drafting of a certificate of authorship for the screenplay
2) Registration of the screenplay, certificate of authorship, and final cut of the picture itself (in MP4 or .mov format) with the US Copyright Office
3) Drafting of a copyright report and chain-of-title
4) Review of all actor and key crew agreements, with Attorney’s letter on their suitability
5) Review of all art, title animation, and music agreements
6) Clearance review (and report) of final cut for publicity/defamation, trademark, and distinctive location issues.
7) Assistance with and attorney certification on E&O insurance application.

I believe there's more costs in there that I'd have to pick up like the registration fees? Not sure.

Anyway, I was concerned that a mistake I made in my film (character wearing a superman logo T shirt) might cause problems and bring up the costs. I was told it wasn't a deal breaker, but I'll avoid anything like that in the future.

Interestingly, everyone involved had asked me if I had consulted with attorney's BEFORE filming. I politely told them how much I made the film for and then they kind of understood where I was coming from.

The first thing they always asked was 'does your film refer to or based on actual people, living or deceased, in a negative light'. Mine didn't.

My plan for my next film, which I want to publicize through festivals, is to have nothing in my film that could make the E&O Insurance more costly or complicated. I'll still wait until the end as I won't have the budget to get attorney's involved at the inception.

And as Nick was saying, if you get represented, i.e. sales agent or distributor, then there's ways around it. Good luck!

Win

payperfilm
04-19-2013, 06:48 AM
Thanks for sharing the information, Win.

I have a question. I noticed that your film is running 65 minutes. Was that an issue? My film is running in the 65-70 minute range and I'm debating about whether to add scenes or not.

EuropeanDistributor
04-19-2013, 07:08 AM
Too short running time on a movie can definitely become a problem when seeking traditional distribution.

Most distributors and buyers will want the movies to be of adequate length, like minimum 90 minutes.

This of course can depend on many issues, if your movie won Sundance and/or has sellable names, you'll have no trouble selling it even if it might be under 90 minutes. ;)

payperfilm
04-19-2013, 07:34 AM
Too short running time on a movie can definitely become a problem when seeking traditional distribution.

Most distributors and buyers will want the movies to be of adequate length, like minimum 90 minutes.

This of course can depend on many issues, if your movie won Sundance and/or has sellable names, you'll have no trouble selling it even if it might be under 90 minutes. ;)

A few years ago, I would have agreed. But this is the VOD era and I'm not so certain. The Dinner Date apparently could have been on Hulu at 65 minutes. It could be a combination of shorter attention spans as well as technological issues which make shorter lengths more palatable.

Nick Soares
04-19-2013, 09:05 AM
Traditional distribution = minimum of 72 minutes - 90 is preferred

VOD (feature) = 60 minutes

The reason my 72 is needed for traditional is because many territories request a 72 minimum, and if it is 60 then that is a lot of money getting missed out on.

Win Edson
04-19-2013, 10:39 AM
Also take into consideration Film Festivals, by my research, want films around 85-95 minutes long. This makes screenings easier to organize. So if festivals are your route to distribution, you might want to add a couple of scenes.

Having said that, I would never add length to a film if it's going to ruin the pace and make it drag. You know your film, you instinctively know what's best.

The Dinner Date was a 100 page screenplay. But being dialogue based, it didn't translate to a minute a page. Also, I had to cut a lot out during editing, which strengthened it. There were two scenes in the screenplay that I didn't have time to shoot initially, and I had always planned to shoot at a later date, but never had the opportunity. Would they have made the film better, who knows?

One thing that's pleased me is that, although it's only 66 minutes, a lot of people have commented that it didn't feel short. It felt like a good length and a feature film.

So it depends what you're going to do with it. As Nick said, for VOD distribution, it's not so crucial.

Good luck!

Win

Mark
04-19-2013, 01:31 PM
Here's his breakdown:

1) Drafting of a certificate of authorship for the screenplay
2) Registration of the screenplay, certificate of authorship, and final cut of the picture itself (in MP4 or .mov format) with the US Copyright Office
3) Drafting of a copyright report and chain-of-title
4) Review of all actor and key crew agreements, with Attorney’s letter on their suitability
5) Review of all art, title animation, and music agreements
6) Clearance review (and report) of final cut for publicity/defamation, trademark, and distinctive location issues.
7) Assistance with and attorney certification on E&O insurance application.

I believe there's more costs in there that I'd have to pick up like the registration fees? Not sure.


A great amount of info here. Thank you so much Win for joining this forum and discussing your project here. I cannot stand the other forums and I hope you can continue to help us newbies

payperfilm
04-19-2013, 04:55 PM
Traditional distribution = minimum of 72 minutes - 90 is preferred

VOD (feature) = 60 minutes

The reason my 72 is needed for traditional is because many territories request a 72 minimum, and if it is 60 then that is a lot of money getting missed out on.

On the other hand, there are significant deliverables cost to foreign distribution. I turned down representation for foreign sales for Geek Mythology because I felt I might not recoup the expense associate with putting together the deliverables.

Nick Soares
04-19-2013, 06:40 PM
On the other hand, there are significant deliverables cost to foreign distribution. I turned down representation for foreign sales for Geek Mythology because I felt I might not recoup the expense associate with putting together the deliverables.

That is were a NET contract can get ya :) an endless about of expenses.... That is why we offer Gross, not only that but we allow you the "producer" to approve or decline expense -

But yea, that was smart of you

payperfilm
04-20-2013, 07:56 AM
I'll add one more thing to the discussion. The problem with DVD is that it is less forgiving than VOD. The reviews of Geek Mythology were far better on Youtube than on DVD. I suspect people who watched it on DVD had problems with the production values whereas on streaming they are less noticeable and thus could enjoy the movie more.

The point is that projects shot with lower end cameras as great as they are or have generally lower production values may find a cold reception on DVD whereas VOD may embrace them.

brianknapp
05-13-2013, 05:23 PM
I love your intro so much how did you pull that together? Did you outsource or use an editor I would love to know!

Win Edson
05-22-2013, 02:37 AM
Thanks so much Brian.

Basically, while film making is my passion, I make a living as a motion graphic designer, here's my website.

www.win-me-over-design.com

Also, my girlfriend is an illustrator, so for the title sequence we combined our skills. I took her drawings, scanned them and painted them in photoshop, creating separating the layers for arms, legs, etc. Then, in adobe after-effects, I designed the space and animated the characters with extensive use of the puppet tool.

Someone told me it reminded them a bit of the old Ealing studio films of the 60's, which made me happy as I was trying to create a kind of vintage style.

Again thanks!
Win

L A Morgan
05-22-2013, 07:38 PM
If your distributor feels your work will bring in high profits, is it possible that he or she might pick up the costs you can't afford? Does all of this also apply to a ten-to-twenty minute short?