By Zeke Zelker, November 11th, 2010

Buyer Beware!
I have been getting an amazing amount of emails lately inviting me to conferences and lectures where the hosts want me to fork over copious amounts of cash to learn from their panel of experts. Can’t you already learn from these same experts at The Workbook Project or DIY Days and it’s free? These are two examples of places where musicians, filmmakers and gamers can read, listen and watch, educating themselves in an open environment, the latest trends in many things creative.
Yes I believe that experts should be compensated for their time, but some times these experts aren’t being paid for their time at such conferences, even when the audience is asked to pay a couple hundred bucks to attend. Yes there is value in networking at such conferences but what is the real benefit? Is it worth the price tag? Maybe there needs to be yet another evolution in Lance Weiler’s mega-info-platz-site, The Workbook Project, where creatives can skype/conference call with experts at a given time per week. The creatives than can donate money on how worthy they feel the expert’s information was.

This brings me to another growing problem in the indie film scene particularly. The abundance of everyone putting out their shingle as a producer’s rep. There was a time when producer’s reps actually did something for filmmakers. Bob Hawk and John Sloss have excellent reputations as well as a number of others (Submarine, WMA, Jeff Dowd, Abramowitz, established agencies). But there are others who do not. FILMMAKERS DO NOT PAY AN HOURLY RATE FOR CONSULTING. A true producers rep/consultant will represent your film to potential buyers and take a percentage of the sale, much like agents do. There are a number of people saying they are producer’s reps/consultants who are not helping make sales or the film for that matter. Instead they are billing/collecting filmmakers scarce capital, pocketing it and getting very rich. THIS IS A SHAM!!!
Here’s my example: I met producer rep/consultant at a conference in NYC a couple years back. We exchanged cards, he asked to see my film that I was working on. I sent it to him. After review, he called me and we chatted. Three weeks later he sent me an invoice for his time for watching my film and the phone calls he made to me. What the @#%&!!!!! Needless to say I told him to shove it. Do not fall into this trap. Do not sign anything and do not pay them. This is complete B.S.!
True producer’s reps will watch your film or project and evaluate whether or not they want to get involved. Not every film is right for every rep. The same is true with agents. Do not become discouraged. Keep trying. If they pass, ask if they could suggest someone who may be right for the project. Listen to what they have to say and make changes. Do not pay them for this. It’s unfair. Think for a moment. A producer’s rep has the potential of making a considerable amount of money on the sale of your film if they deem it worthy. You want someone who is going to fight for you, not have their hand in your wallet.

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Posted in INDIE FILM CAPITALSIM Uncategorized

Zeke Zelker – an award winning filmmaker, blends art and commerce in all that he does. His latest film InSearchOf is not only creating buzz about the content of the story line but also for his business techniques. Always creating new revenue streams by blending traditional distribution outlets, adapting others to suit his film’s needs, and pioneering some of his own Zeke has been forging a pathway to profitability. He is currently developing on a transmedia project that will begin unraveling 2010.

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  • Matt B

    DUDE! You are soooo right! Reps are a rip off! Never sign anything unless a lawyer has looked it over for you first.

    Also, it seems the best way to actually make money from indie film is to hold a seminar professing to know how to make money from indie film. Or sell a crappy book on indie film production or screenwriting based on shaky credentials.

    I am going to sell my own film from now on. Direct sales to territories and fans. No reps, and NO small distributors. Those people are sharks.

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