Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO, Relative Media
Hollywood has always been the epitome of creative financing. Movies may gross hundreds of millions of dollars but no one sees any money. A panel at the recent Variety Film Summit helped shed some light on movie funding.
The box office is not a horse race
Nothing says success better than being number one at the box office, right? In America, there is a strong desire to identify winners and losers, and box office rankings are the perfect vehicle for labeling movies as such. In reality, we miss a core business principle by hyper-focusing on box office numbers: it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how much money you keep.
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The 2011 AICP Production Summit in New York on October 26 and 27 stood apart from the standard have-a-big-idea creative conference by drilling deeper into concerns and changes in production. My favorite panel came at the end of the second day when people are normally burnt and ready to go home. The panelists focused on the lack of etiquette in the industry and discussed the following themes.
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On Monday, the newly reshaped AICP West Coast Board came together for the first time at the Andaz West Hollywood hotel, formally known as the Riot House. Bands like Led Zepplin stayed there and threw insane parties–one resulted in TVs being tossed out the window. The hotel choice was fitting because we hope to harness some of that subversive creative energy for the new board.
In this photo: Bill Sewell, Denise Killmartin, Matt Miller
Why am I even in the room?
Many of our customers are AICP members, so I have a vested interest in understanding their core business challenges. But that alone isn’t the answer. For years, I saw AICP as a great party-throwing group that did other political work that didn’t affect us. I listened to lots of complaints that AICP was out of touch and becoming irrelevant in a rapidly changing industry environment. These complaints had no recommendations or solutions. The problems were too big and were better solved by “them.” Well, there’s no “them,” there’s only “us.”
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We are actively recruiting a few great developers to add to our growing team, which means reviewing many resumes, interviewing a few people and evaluating talent through code and conversation. We’re finding a delta between coders’ perceptions of their skill sets and their output, shown here from lowest to highest.
This list seems out of order, but it really shows a failure of expectation management and the evolution of self-awareness. Rockstar is near the bottom because, unless you are impacting the world like Linus Torvalds (Linux) and David Hansen (Ruby on Rails, 37Signals), you have misclassified yourself. “I’m OK” sets the opposite expectations, meaning someone is competent enough to downplay his/her skill sets. Average is above advanced, because deeper experience brings more perspective and humility.
Let’s see if this list skews future interviews–if we receive 100% “I’m OKs,” at least we’ll know they are doing their background research.
A couple of weeks ago, Sam Margolius and I attended the second Variety Film Marketing Summit and came away with lots of great contacts and information. The attendees ranged from newbies like ourselves to film makers learning how to sell their movies to industry insiders, like our table-mates, Randy and Doug. They helped filter information and explain what was novel and what was drivel.
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