Les Deliverables

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Blumenthal has officially closed its deal for distribution. We are beyond thrilled... and that is all I'm allowed to tell you for now. An official press release will come out in the new year at which point I can give you all the nitty gritty details of the cutting-edge distribution company that we are partnering with and the nature of the deal itself. So for now, forget I even said (typed) any of that. The important thing is that you will ALL be able to see the film!

Any indie filmmaker probably thinks that the closing of a distribution deal for his or her film is the point at which they can finally sit back, put their feet up, and give a sigh of relief that it wasn't all for nothing. Not the case.

The moment after the terms of a distribution deal are finalized, an indie film producer is sent a document from the distribution company. On the document is a list of DELIVERABLES. Deliverables are all of the materials that must be delivered to the distributor upon execution of the agreement so that they can perform their duties. Deliverables are also the final obstacle in the life of an independent film. The reason that it's an obstacle is that it forces a filmmaker/producer to confront any corners that may have been previously cut just to get the film done and save as much money  as possible.

A perfect (and common) example of what I'm talking about is the issue of music rights. Sometimes, a filmmaker will put a popular song in the movie with an idea to pay for the rights to that music once the movie sells. Now, this assumes that the film is being sold with some sort of advance or minimum guarantee that would afford the producers money to pay for it. But, even in such a case, the distribution deal would be contingent upon the film having rights to the music in the first place. Not only is there the issue of coming up with the money, but what if the rights to the music aren't available? Then that awesome song that makes the climax of the film so great is all gone. That's a hypothetical here, but stuff like that happens all the time.

For those of you who are curious what sort of deliverables are required for a distributor, here is some of what's on the list:

1. Video Content: Video assets must be original dimensions and frame rates from production. Accepted tape or digital delivery formats include:

  • Tape Delivery: HDCAM, HDCAM SR, Digital Betacam
  • Digital Delivery: Container: QuickTime.mov or AVI, Codec: ProRes HQ or Cineform, Standard: NTSC, PAL, or HD

2. Audio: Must deliver 5.1 surround and M&E track if created 5.1 audio should include L, R, C, LFE, Ls, Rs channels.

3. Trailers/Preview Clip: One (1) trailer, or a generated two-minute preview clip delivered. Must be the same aspect ratio as the associated feature.

5. PUBLICITY / PROMOTIONAL / CREATIVE

  • POSTER/KEY ART: One (1) layered poster Photoshop (.psd) or Illustrator (.ai) image 150dpi minimum, One (1) flat (single layer) 2143x3000 (jpg, tiff) image 150dpi minimum. Flat image must not contain release date, credit block, DVD logo, film rating, website, and/or promotional tagging (but OK on layered file).
  • COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY: Twenty (20) or more different production digital photos depicting key scenes in the Picture and/or behind-the-scenes with members of the cast appearing therein. The photography shall be delivered digitally in the highest resolution format possible (preferably 300dpi). Necessary for service specific promotions.

6. CLOSED CAPTIONS / SUBTITLES:

  • SUBTITLES: One (1) subtitle file in .SRT or SAMI/.SMI file formats that conform to Picture time code.
  • CLOSED CAPTIONS: One (1) caption file in .SCC (Scenarist) or .ASC (Cheetah ASCII) - must conform to Picture.

7. LEGAL DOCUMENTS:

  • PRODUCER’S ERRORS & OMISSIONS (E&O) INSURANCE
  • CHAIN OF TITLE DOCUMENTATION
  • MUSIC CUE SHEETS

8. INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION: 

  • M&E Audio Tracks - Used for dubbing content in different languages.
  • Written Script
  • Textless movie file. Used to add credits in alternate languages
  • Subtitles or Dubs required on a territory specific basis.

Like any other small indie film, we have a couple of snags on the delivery list (though nothing like the music scenario above). For our part the only real issue will be dealing with the closed captioning, which we may or may not end up letting the distributor handle and recoup the cost. C'est la vie...

All the exciting details of our distribution deal to come!

Blumenthal at San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

SFJFF33LOGO I'm pleased to announce that BLUMENTHAL will have its Northern California premiere at the 33rd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. This is the first Jewish festival at for us to screen and we couldn't have asked for a better place. It is the oldest and largest Jewish-themed film festival with attendance numbering up to 30,000 people. Naturally, we are all very excited!

For those of you who haven't yet seen the film, you might be wondering what about the movie constitutes as "Jewish". I have, up till now, shied away from describing the film as "Jewish" mainly because I think that would be reductive and might narrow the audience. The fact is that is the film, like any other "Jewish" film, is really for everyone.

Here's the Jewish(est) spin on the film: BLUMENTHAL is about a Jewish family in New York in the wake of a relative's death. For many Jews, the loss of a family member can end up being a decidedly Jewish moment in their lives. It is a time where they are forced to confront their feelings of loss and must grapple with their emotions. That loss is the catalyst for much of the action in the story. Additionally, there are more socially relevant issues touched upon in the story such as interfaith relationships, hypocrisy between people's philosophy and actions, and self-loathing within a secular society.

I must confess, the above paragraph is the first time I've consciously gone through the Jewish elements of the film. Much of what transpires in the film is actually based on a very common dynamic of a show-business family. "Jewish" and "dysfunctional" sometimes go hand in hand in this New York arena which is where our story blossoms.

As we gear up to schedule a release of the film, the Jewish Film Festival circuit will be a key part of reaching the Jewish film-goers and cultivating that niche part of our audience. Anyone who knows anything about the movies or the movie industry knows that Jews love film. Almost every community in the country has their own annual festival, often with sold out screenings. We are thrilled to kick off the Jewish fests right. San Francisco, here we come!

Tickets and dates here.

 

 

New Fests! Distribution in the works! My Eyebrow!

The "New Fests" part is really just a tease. I said tease, not a lie. We have two really cool film festivals coming up at the end of the summer, but neither have announced their programming slates yet, so my lips must remain sealed for the time being. I should have more details soon. We are also in the midst of mapping out the details for our distribution model. As things develop, I can promise some juicy transparency throughout the process.

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In other news, Jacob Salamon and his awesome Napkin Note Productions did nice little blurb about Blumenthal and  in addition to asking me why in the hell anyone would do things the way I'm doing them. There is also a smarmy portrait of yours truly exercising his eyebrow.

For those of you unfamiliar with Napkin Note, they are a cool little production company on a meteoric rise in the webisphere and in Hollywood. You've most likely  seen their viral video series Bubula, Please. If you haven't, it's hilarious. They even did a recent episode with BLUMENTHAL alumnus, Fred Melamed!

A Scene Comes Together

I recently came across this little video from a location scout we did way back during pre-production. What's nice about having documented so much of this process is that you can stand back from the project and look at a specific scene in each phase of production. Let's start at the beginning. [vimeo 24679219 w=500 h=281]

The major things to note are where we talk about putting the camera, where we talk about putting a fish tank, and the entire look of the room we are standing in. While so much can change your plans on the day of shooting, I'm surprised at how much we stuck to the initial map.

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As you can see, Marie Lynn Wagner did a killer job dressing up the place. Harder to tell in the behind the scenes shots, but check out these stills from the final cut once the lights were up. Below, you can see the main camera setup we were discussing in the video.

EthanFionaOne thing that completely changed from our initial discussion at the top was the placement of the bookshelf. The idea was that we would follow a character, Saul, from the couch to the bookshelf. We ultimately put the bookshelf opposite side of the wall in order to keep the lighting scheme consistent as we did the move. The end result was a reverse shot like the one below.

SaulBooks

Finally, you can see some other angles of this particular setup in the trailer for the film. Specifically, look at moments from 1:25-1:29.

[vimeo 46904894 w=500 h=281]

BLUMENTHAL Tickets Now on Sale for NY Premiere!

First Time Fest is around the corner (Sunday, March 3rd @ 2:30pm) and seats are filling up fast. If you are in the city or surrounding areas, book your BLUMENTHAL  tickets now! you can do it with a couple clicks on the festival's website here. We also got a mention in the festival's press release in Variety, which is very cool indeed! Variety_logo_green_tm

 

Screening #3

Like Us! To our surprise there was yet another long line of 10AMers wrapping around the theater on Sunday. Talk about commitment! I couldn't think of a worse time to go and watch a movie than a Sunday morning before I've had a chance to down my mimosa and Quiche. Nevertheless, the Barbarians (of Santa) filled up our theater to watch some BLUMENTHAL. Not our loudest audience to be sure, but they definitely stuck with it.

The Q and A was nice, too. A lot of people are asking how their friends could see the film and when we will have a distribution deal. The answer I give is the same message that I'll pass on to you all: Talk about the film! Seriously, tell your friends, like us on facebook, and repost the link to our trailer. All of this helps to generate buzz about the film and thus the demand for it. That demand is what ensures that BLUMENTHAL will eventually secure distribution so you all can see it. From the very beginning, this film has been helped along by its audience and now you are all more important than ever. Keep up the good work.

Back to the Q and A. One of the recurring questions that I get is about how we shot the Chinatown sequence. People want to know how we did it with no permit, without hurting anyone, and not getting arrested. Here is a repost from our Shooting Diary, Day 19 where you can see us ignoring traffic directions, almost kill a pedestrian, and fly right past a police car.

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Watch Me Watch a Movie

Part Two... 7be15dbb9c8740662068b7a60c81463b103352f5-1359240422

Sold out. People turned away at the door. Me and the producers gave up our own seats to cram more people in. The lights went down, the festival sponsors' ads went up, and then HAROLD BLUMENTHAL SPEAKS! I need write a whole other post about how the whole world shuts up when Brian Cox opens his mouth to start off a movie.

The picture was there, the sound was there, and most importantly, the audience there. I had no interest in seeing a movie I've watched hundreds of times, believe me. But, I must confess that today was like the first time I'd ever seen it. It was pretty awesome. I don't know what more to say, other than that. Although we still have a ways to go with this thing on the festival circuit and distribution etc, this was the whole point: People crowding into a theatre, turning off the lights, blasting awesome music (thanks Noah and the Megafauna), and watching a movie. It's as simple and as sweet as that.

I'm tired and tipsy and producer Garrett and cinematographer Zak are still texting me. Here's to my awesome team!

L'Chaim