As I review the past year and plan for the years to come, I keep shaking my head over a deal that was offered to us for InSearchOf by Cinetic Media. I wanted to get the word out. FILMMAKERS BEWARE! For those who do not know who Cinetic are, they’re the bull in the China shop in the indie film world. They’re big guys, the ones who made the careers of Kevin Smith, Edward Burns and the like. They do a good job representing filmmakers at places like Sundance but this is why I am dismayed of what they are currently offering filmmakers who pour years of hard work, talent, and copious amounts of money into their vision.
Out of the blue Cinetic called me and stated that they wanted to represent our film. I had sent them an earlier version of InSearchOf in hopes of representation. But wait! They passed before, why the sudden change? They established Cinetic Rights Management and felt that our film was a great fit. I felt elated! John Sloss liked my film and was interested in representing it. JACKPOT!!! I guess they weren’t doing their homework, all they had to do was read Indiewire’s announcement to know that I was already working with a couple of distributors through the From Here To Awesome Film Festival. None-the-less I wanted to see what their offer was. I was excited until I got the e-mail of their “deal”.
Why would Cinetic try to pull the wool over the eyes of so many filmmakers by offering an exclusive 10 year deal with no advance, take 50% of total receipts, have the right to assign the film to whomever, with no specific details of their intentions and then have an indemnification clause holding them not responsible for their actions? Greed perhaps? The entire deal wreaked of “grab as many films as possible then sell the library to a large entity for gobbs of money” benefiting CRM. I am not an attorney but even I smelled this one out
The current state of independent film is a fragile one and Cinetic may be destroying what is left standing because of their own greed. FILMMAKERS BEWARE! Seek out companies that offer non-exclusive deals, empowering the filmmaker to promote their work over as many platforms as possible. They should work with companies/aggregators that are filmmaker friendly such as Indieflix, who ask for less then 30% of gross receipts, promote films, and create other opportunities for filmmakers. There has been so much talk about what is right and wrong in the independent film world and some people are offering ways to fix/change it. If there is one lesson that was learned it is greed is not good. Filmmakers can’t be greedy, expecting seven figure deals, representatives can’t be greedy wanting more and more of the pie and distributors can’t be greedy expecting every film to be a million dollar hit. Instead all forces need to work together in making a film a success. Sometimes it takes years, with Cinetic’s deal it would take a lifetime.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: | aggregators, Cinetic Media, Cinetic Rights Management, CRM, distributors, FHTA, filmmakers, From Here To Awesome, Indieflix, Indiewire, InSearchOf, Sundance, Zeke Zelker