Gemma Creagh reports from the Filmbase and FÁS Screen Training event, ‘Adventures in Independent Cinema’ featuring Ted Hope (21 Grams, In The Bedroom, Happiness) and Christine Vachon (Far From Heaven, Boys Don’t Cry, One Hour Photo).
Still munching our tasty Radisson cookies and downing the end of the complimentary coffee, we shuffled inside the conference room and took our seats. My audience compadrés were a mixed bag of filmmakers, writers and general enthusiasts. So as we all settled in, Filmbase’s MD, Alan Fitzpatrick, took care of the general announcements and introduced us to the two producers, Ted and Christine. These easygoing pair of old friends treated us like one of their own and began by chatting to us about their body of work (which collectively was a very impressive 140 films).
What started as a masterclass, soon turned in to a lovely, unceremoniously informative chat – with the bubbly Ted and engaging Christine continuing on to give us an overview of independent filmmaking in the US. They provided great insight into the business side of the industry, using their own more recent films as an amazing case study. This, coupled with some near unbelievable celebrity-themed anecdotes, got us through to the break and we were sent away with Ted’s advice still ringing in our ears; ‘The more that you produce, the more opportunity you get to produce […] Design a career that allows you to be prolific.’ Word.
After the sunshine-soaked break, we piled back into the conference room. Here the amazingly still-very-animated-despite-being-jetlagged Ted and Christine began to talk about the film market, stressing the importance of VoD; a platform on which over 100 titles a month are being released. With such a high volume a films coming out they both agreed on the importance of a social media campaign (unless of course your film title includes sex, drugs or local crime, then apparently, you’re fine!)
Ted stressed the element of participation; people want to get involved and comment on culture so there must be room for participation. Finally they opened it up to the floor, and we got in some of the questions we were dying to ask, all of which were surprisingly sane for a Q&A, where you tend to get one or two crazies.
For a day-long Masterclass, this was well worth the cash, they both provided some excellent and practical advice for pitching for funding that I plan on keeping in my back pocket – along with a few of the celebrity stories, that we were all sworn to secrecy on.