Walters's Blogg
Walters Beskrivelse:
No desc available

okt 10

Rikke Ennis, Trust Nordisk, on Navigating international film markets

Publisert i Trust Nordiskspillefilmseminarkurssalgs agentRikke EnnisprodusenterNFIlanseringsdagenKristian B. Waltersfilmfestival av Walters |

Venue : Filmens Hus, Oslo 170912, in cooperation with the Norwegian Film Institute



Trust Nordisk (TN) were the sales agents for Lars Von Trier's Zentropa until they merged in 2008 with Nordisk Film and changed their name from Trust Film to Trust Nordisk.


They specialize in sales, PR & marketing, legal, delivery, VOD.


80% of the films they sell are from the Nordic countries.


They sell all sorts of films including arthouse, thriller, animation, family, crime, action and drama.


Why do you need a sales agent?:

Sales agents take 25%-30% in commission. But they think they're worth it for many reasons.


Buyers don't have the time anymore to go to all 50 markets and the markets they do go to they may only stay at for 3 or 4 days.


Approx. 80% of sales are done in a total of 20 days annually, with Berlin, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto being the most important.


A sales agent can help with visibility, networking, creative consultancy, strategies, pricing, windows of opportunity, advertising.


Distributors prefer to talk to sales agents. A sales agent spends a lot of time lining up press before the festival.


Trust Nordisk like to get involved as early as possible - preferably at the screenplay stage. They will give an honest evaluation and comments and advice on the script, casting, promos, stills, artwork etc.


It's more important than ever to start early - visual work, promos, stills, teasers etc. should be done before the film is finished.


They did promos on FLUKT (Escape) and HEADHUNTERS with great results. 


Ideally you want to sell the film before you even complete the film. It's about creating a buzz, making the distributors fear they will miss out on a great film if they don't move quickly. Both the aforementioned films were sold largely on their promos (3 and 4 minutes respectively). HEADHUNTERS has sold to 84 territories and generated €15 mill. from those sales, FLUKT has sold to 57 countries.



It's not just about which distributor will pay the most, it's about which one can nurture your film and release it in the best possible way.


There's always an asking price and a go price. You always aim for the asking price, but to get that you need competing distributors that help to push the price up.


Most distributors take theatrical, video, TV, DVD and VOD.


Netflix have just started paying some serious money for rights to good Scandinavian films.


Films working in the market right now:

Crime films, films coming off of a book success, genre films with high production value (i.e. exotic nature), children and family titles (adventure stuff, or stories with animals). A strong drama with a screening at a prestigious festival either works or doesn't. Dramas can be tough - happy endings always work but suicide or death at the end doesn't sell well. Nordic blockbusters i.e. films that can travel successfully within Scandinavia often do well internationally.


It really can be a barrier to have a Norwegian title. With HEADHUNTERS - in the other Nordic countries - they did everything they could to hide the fact that it was a Norwegian film.


Films not working in the market right now:

Low budget dramas with no festival release, family films with musical elements (dubbing is a nightmare), teenage films and local comedies. For comedies to work abroad they have to be original or quirky.

Nobody wants to watch a slapstick Scandinavian comedy if they can get the same kind of thing in their own language.  Hans Petter Moland's A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN worked because it had its own brand of humor. Coming of age films are very, very hard to sell.



From 2010 to juni 2012 61% of TN's turnover stemmed from presales, 13% from catalogue titles and 34% from completed films.

After 2 years of sales on a film the film goes into their catalogue. But most sales for a film are made between the date of their international launch to about 3 months after.

A film gets old very fast. You can hype the film up in presales but it's harder once it is released and it perhaps gets one or two bad reviews.


Turnover by label: 2010 - family 9%, mainstream 33%, arthouse 58%.


In 2012 the number is much higher for mainstream and much less for arthouse - basically because they have a lot of big selling book and film franchises incoming.


The top three presale genres by far are thriller, crime and drama.


Presales by country: 50% Denmark, 36% Sweden, 10% Norway, 4% Iceland. Top selling titles recently; The Fjällbacka Murders, The Hunt, Escape and Love Is All You Need.


Why presales?

You can fire up the competition between buyers, festivals and press.


It's about being the first with the newest.


It's about the hype, the anticipation, the tease.


Sales news attracts attention to your film (Variety, Screen magazine, The Hollywood Reporter are the most important trades).


99% of the time, the price of selling a finished title is not higher than what it can get in presales.


In Cannes 2011 66% of the total press coverage was about presales. In Berlin the same year it was 78,5%.


Make the presales expense part of the financing of the movie.


Buyers are afraid of missing out, that's why they pay in advance. HEADHUNTERS in the UK went to Momentum, who beat out 3-4 others. So they had to be aggressive.


The HEADHUNTERS strategy was a combination of the script (based on a book by best selling author Jo Nesbø), the promo, market screenings and festival participation.

1) Release teaser poster at the AFM 2010

2) Cannes 2011 - closed market screening & press conference (rough cut, no titles)

3) Locarno film festival premiere.


FLUKT had an exclusive VIP screening in Berlin 2012, then a closed market screening in Cannes, then a market screening at the AFM.


General selling points for Nordic films:

A good script, Nordic humor and quirky, edgy, unique stories. Also character driven and deeper stories.


In closing:

Consider getting a press agent - they are key for getting press attention.


Tease with 1-3 stills before the film is released, don't confuse the audience with too many stills.


If you have a sales agent you can apply for financial support from NFI to make teasers, trailers etc.


You must have teasers, posters, stills upfront so the sales agent can do their job.


Your international market should come way before your domestic market.


See also NFI's 3 short interviews with Rikke Ennis, Dieter Kosslick (director Berlinale), Sonja Heinen (head of Berlinale co-production market):

apr 04


Publisert i non linear writingmanustipsmanusLondonKristian B. WaltersGuillermo ArriagaBabel21 Grams av Walters |

Non linear feature screenplay construction London, Regent’s College 28th-29th januar 2012. Guillermo has written Babel, 21 Grams, Amores Perros, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. He has won best screenplay at Cannes and has been Oscar and Bafta nominated.  He also wrote and directed The Burning Plain starring Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger in 2008.

 After reading a great many screenwriting books and having attended several masterclasses I jumped at the chance to participate in Arriaga’s class because of his non linear approach to screenwriting.  The only screenwriting book I’ve read where this is covered extensively is Linda Aronson’s excellent The 21st Century Screenplay.

 Arriaga is a charming teacher with a devilish gleam in his eye and a penchant for really, really, nasty and/or rude jokes – by his own admission – and we got a few samples of that.  He also ‘breaks the rules’ in his writing method and often contradicts most other books on the subject – which is great and felt like a breath of fresh air.  When his big break came in 2003 with 21 Grams he was referred to as the Mexican Quentin Tarantino – which confused him because he had never heard of Quentin or seen his films.  Now they are close friends and he considers Quentin a genius writer.




- Free yourself from any preconceived structure.


- He never researches (it’s his life, there is no need).


- He doesn’t write outlines (‘cos then he’d have to follow them).


- He NEVER knows the ending to the screenplay before he starts writing, and urges you shouldn’t either.


- He wants characters to surprise him so he wants to know as little as possible.


- He doesn’t even know what’s coming in the next scene until he’s actually writing it.  He didn’t know 21 Grams was about a hit and run until the last possible moment.


- Look for ONE word to describe what your screenplay is about, this can be very useful when you get lost and need to know what the scene is about. 

The word for Amores Perros was “love”, for Babel “misunderstanding/miscommunication”, for Three Burials “friendship.”


- Force everyone on the production to embrace and understand the one word/theme.


- Question everything.  Constantly redo scenes in your head – How can I make this more dramatic?


- Never write a script chronologically and think you can juggle the scenes about afterwards to create a non linear script – it must be written that way to work.


- The concept of Amores Perros was that the dog represents the personality or the action happening to the character i.e. if the dog becomes a murderer, he becomes a murderer.  But the theme is ‘love.’


- Don’t confuse concept with theme.  Concept should serve theme and both should serve story.


- 21 Grams came from the vision of a man dying.


- The Burning Plain represents the four elements air, fire, earth, water.


- The concept of Babel was the last day of many things, including innocence and the turning point where everything changes.  Almost every story takes place in 24 hours.


- Search for your story within the story.


- Audience members generally don’t pick up on themes or concepts and that’s okay – they are mainly tools for you to build a better story and not get lost.  They bring you back to your original intention.


- The biggest problem for a writer is getting lost.


- ALWAYS work with people who have the same taste as you.


- NEVER try to be deep and profound, if you are deep and profound then your story will be so also.


- You can’t say to yourself I’m going to write a ‘deep’ story, understand which tradition you belong in.


- When he was on the jury at the Venice and San Sebastian film festivals 90% of the films were about how bored people are with their lives.  This also resulted in boring film language.  Lost In Translation=people bored.


- Arriaga likes narratives where things HAPPEN.  Look to Shakespeare and ancient Greek plays – a LOT happens.


- Think ‘how would Shakespeare solve this?’


- The closer the characters the larger the conflict, i.e. Hamlet’s uncle killing Hamlet’s father.


- In Amores Perros boy meets pregnant girl who is married to his brother.


[ In the film the dog of the character played by Gael Garcia Bernal  - runs off for a few hours and comes back covered in blood.  It turns out the dog ended up in a fight with a champion pitbull fighter and killed him before returning home.  This results in the wrath of the thug owner crashing down on the Gael character.  The exact same thing happened to Arriaga – his dog killed a champion fighter and the owner demanded compensation.]


- A character and a dramatic objective HAS to relate into ACTION.  I.e. NOT ‘to feel free’ but to get divorced.


- People don’t tell stories about their life in a linear fashion, they get side-tracked, go back and forth.


- Seduce with words.  Don’t think of a screenplay as technical, consider it equal to litterature, NOT a minor way to express oneself in writing.


- Think of locations in terms of storytelling, as characters, not because they look ‘nice.’


- Always think ‘in medias res’ [into the middle of action] – you are raising a question for the audience, wanting them to ask ‘what happened?’


- ‘Personality’ is how we expect to behave, but your ‘character’ appears in extreme situations.


- Arriaga loves to reveal the character of his characters.  When pushing them to the extreme are they brave or cowardly?  The captain of the Costa Concordia probably didn’t know he was a coward until he was put in that extreme situation.


- A character that decides or is on the verge of deciding is much more interesting than one who simply obeys.


- Every decision you make weighs down the rest of your life – i.e. a man sitting in front of a woman, both trying to say something important to one another and not being able to.


- When you raise the dramatic conflict, that is when you cut.


- In the Hemingway short story Hills Like White Elephants he never uses the word ‘abortion’, though that is what is being discussed.  Sometimes the word unpronounced has weight.

If a scene is not working, take out a key word, it can make it more interesting.

He gives an example of someone he knows killed in an accident.  His parents never mentioned his name again, but they kept a place at the dinner table for him.


- If a scene is not working give the characters TOTALLY different objectives.  In Amores Perros Gael Garcia's character is saying to his brother’s wife ‘Come away with me’ whilst she just wants to be listened to about her pregnancy dilemma.


- Try writing no scene longer than one page and no dialogue longer than two lines.


- Try and cut out the first ten pages of your script and/or try writing scenes with no dialogue.


- He doesn’t recommend actors improvise – “Why do they think they can do something better in five minutes that I have spent years on?” Also it can have a snowball effect and you can lose the intent of the scene. 


Above is just a small example of the wealth of information Arriaga imparted in the masterclass.  He went on to “reveal all my tricks” – of which there were many – here’s just five of them in closing:


1) Make characters lie.  We see them say something and then find out it is untrue.


2) Create some questions that are not solved in the screenplay so that audiences can discuss them later.


3) Physical and emotional scars and illness is interesting, give your characters scars.  Kim Basinger in The Burning Plain has had a double mastectomy.  He cites Faulkner “Between pain and nothing I choose pain.”


4) POV – who’s story is it?  Finish each scene on the person we should feel most attached to.


5) The dramatic question must be raised otherwise the audience will be lost in complex structures i.e. 21 Grams.


And finally – about Arriaga not doing research but taking stories from his life and people he knows.  I’ve already mentioned Arriaga’s dog and the dog in Amores Perros, there’s also a terrible car crash in the film.  Arriaga was in a terrible car crash too where his car went over a cliff.  Parts of his face including his nose had to be completely reconstructed.


In The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (my favourite Arriaga film, with 21 Grams a close second) there’s a wonderfully moving scene where an old blind man living alone in the desert feeds soup to the Tommy Lee Jones character (Jones also directs the film) and then asks him to shoot him.  He says he is a religious man and doesn’t want to offend God.  His son hasn’t been by with supplies for a long time and he’s probably not coming back.  The Lee Jones character says he cannot, because he doesn’t want to offend God either.  This is one of Arriaga’s favourite and most personal scenes.  Arriaga has worked with many severely handicapped and sick people.  He used to sit with a blind woman and explain soap operas to her while she listened.  Her daughter died and the woman was all alone.  She asked Arriaga to kill her.


The number one lesson is writers write every day.  Arriaga writes from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day including most holidays. 


For more info on Arriaga and his courses visit



des 14

Gratis online seminar med Ted Hope & Christine Vachon

Publisert i Ted HopespillefilmprodusenterKristian B. Waltersgratis online seminarChristine Vachonamerikansk indie film av Walters |


Jeg har tidligere skrevet en blogg her om seminaret med

ovennevnte som var i Oslo i fjor.  Christine og Ted har produsert

 over 100 filmer, mange av dem klassikere - for å nevne noen :


21 Grams, Happiness, Boys Don't Cry, One Hour Photo,

 Storytelling, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Kids, American

 Splendor, Adventureland, Thumbsucker, The Savages, In The

Bedroom, The Ice Storm og Mildred Pierce - HBO mini TV serie

med Kate Winslet basert på romanen til James M. Cain

(The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity m.fl.)

Ted på IMDB :

 Christine på IMDB :


Her er en time fra seminaret (alle 5 linjene er linken) :





Vil du se hele seminaret på 4 timer i 4 deler må du logge inn her :


Kristian B. Walters



okt 13

Guerilla Film Makers Masterclass with Chris Jones

Publisert i Utagget  av Walters |

(author of The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint)

London, Regents College 4. og 5. juni 2011

written by Kristian B.Walters, attendee.

Chris Jones is one of the key figures in independant film in the UK sharing his knowledge of filmmaking with full transparency and offering a huge array of resources to film makers via his numerous websites and courses.

He has directed and produced feature film The Runner (1992), a low budget action film that he admits is crap.  It was shot for around £80 000.  Then in 1994 he directed White Angel, shot for £20 000 over 18 days (on super 16mm).  He managed to get the well known Peter Firth for the lead as the serial killer.  Chris credits the acting chops of Firth for elevating the film and giving it some artistic merit.

Both films were sold to several Countries, but it was a hard slog.  White Angel was made to capitalize on the success of Silence Of The Lambs a few years earlier.  But Chris admits there were some hurdles.  For a start the title is very vague and doesn't conjure up images of a serial killing thriller.  An American distributer initially passed on the film, but later bought it when the title was changed to Interview With A Serial Killer.  In Cannes a great poster, a few great stills and a snazzy trailer are the main selling tools.  Most buyers just fast forwarded through White Angel stopping only at the sex and violence scenes.  An Asian buyer stopped at a shower scene with a woman only to proclaim "No tits in shower, I no buy!"  Chris realized that the film wasn't delivering on the sleaze and violence of the serial killing premise and spent a weekend shooting pickups of women being murdered supposedly filmed by the killer with a video camera.  It helped sell the film to more territories.

In 1998 he co-wrote and produced Urban Ghost Story (no title mistakes this time!) for his partner Genevieve Jolliffe to direct.  £250 000 budget, 6 week shoot.

These films didn't really help Chris advance his career, but provided a wealth of knowledge and experience, all of which was poured into his DIY filmmaking books.

In 2008 he changed strategies and decided to make a world class short, with top actors, and first rate cinematography.  Gone Fishing, a 13 min. film about loss, cost around £7000 and the goal was an Oscar nomination.  It got the next best thing - Oscar shortlisted, i.e. on the list of 10 films from which the Oscar nominated films were chosen.  Chris has an online course detailing every step of the way to getting Oscar shortlisted including how to make money from a short via video on demand sites and direct DVD sales at comic- and film conventions.

Rocket Boy is the name of Chris' dream project - a script he's been working on for years in the $30 million budget reign.  Gone Fishing was designed to show the professionalism and artistry needed to pull of such a big production.  Gone Fishing was entered into over 100 festivals and got into about 75% of the US festivals it was sent to.  The percentage was only 4% in Europe.  Gone Fishing is a bit sentimental and Chris reckons that's why it went down so well in the US.  The short won many awards on the festival route and he got some big meetings with power players in the US.  But when Chris would mention the awards he would often get the reply "Nobody gives a shit about short film awards unless it's an Oscar!"  At the end of the day it's all about having that perfectly crafted killer feature screenplay - any short film festival recognition is just the icing on the cake.  In hindsight Chris regrets the year on the road travelling from festival to festival - no work was done, it was all parties and Q & A's - he noted several festivals are more about the parties than the films. 

Chris' editing mate on several of his projects, Eddie Hamilton, has managed to make the leap to the big time with gigs editing Kick-Ass and Xmen - First Class.  Another long time friend, Jonathan Newman, made two shorts : Foster (sentimental schmalz about an adopted boy) and Sex with the Finkels (a cheeky partner swapping comedie).  Producer Deepak Nayar (Bend It Like Beckham) saw the short and offered a budget of a few million pounds to produce it as a feature.  The feature was renamed Swinging With The Finkels and snagged martin Freeman (The Hobbit) in the lead, but completely miscast his wife by hiring Mandy Moore.  The film got dreadful reviews, but it didn't stop Deepak producing a feature version of Newman's other short Foster (starring Toni Collette and Richard E.Grant).



Much of the course is covered in the over 600 page above mentioned book, complete with drawings, photos, contracts, release forms etc.  This course had about 370 delegates and we were encouraged to not sit in fixed seats but to mingle and network which is half the reason to attend these live events.  The course was ten hours a day for two days, and kudos to Chris for being able to talk for that amount of time, barely stopping to drink water.  Here are a few random tips and facts :

All filmmakers are in one of 5 stages in their career.  Define which stage you are in so you can strategize how to make it into the next stage.  Basically Chris Nolan is in stage 5 - carte blanche to make whatever he wants at whatever budget.  Most don't make it past stage 4 - that's the leap from short films or a low budget feature into multimillion pound features.  Stage 3 is making and promoting the world class short film.  Stage 2 is honing your craft and making a decent short or two.  Stage 1 is just gettinng the experience by filming several no-budget disposable shorts with any gear you can get your hands on and with anyone who wants to be an actor.  These shorts are only meant to be shown to friends and family.

DON'T make a no-budget feature with crap actors or friends and relatives as actors because you can only debut as a director or writer or producer once and that film won't do you any career favours.  Use professional actors, keep rewriting and improving the script.

DON'T get a gear fetish. i.e. don't spend all your dosh getting the latest camera and tech equipment that'll be outdated in a few years.  Borrow stuff, use the money to make a short instead.

After rewriting your killer feature script till it's as great as it's ever going to be - here comes the news nobody wants to hear - go back and write two more feature screenplays!  At the very least a couple of treatments.  Because if somebody sees your work and wants a meeting they will always ask what else have you got?  And you better be ready to pitch them some other movies on the spot.  Chris Jones learnt the hard way - Urban Ghost Story got him a meeting with Steven Spielberg.  Spielberg liked the film and said he had some money to allocate into a new project and asked what else he had.  Chris had nothing, said he'd get back to him on that, but the moment had passed, he blew it.

"Filmmaking isn't taught, it's caught," he says, "it's like a bug."  It's all about the storytelling.  There's always been someone telling or miming stories to eager listeners since the beginning of mankind.  The key is connecting with an audience, especially essential in crowdfunding. 

One of the main sins on a low budget shoot is shooting too much coverage.  Cut out the middle of any walking from A to B etc. etc.  Nobody has ever seen a film and said it was too fast and exciting, but they have seen a film and said it was too long and boring.  Cut, cut, cut in the edit.

Partner with someone of equal drive and talent but with a talent in a different area of filmmaking than yourself, together you'll acheive five times the stuff you would alone.

Take the time either by studying books, studying other films or taking courses to do stuff right, rather than just rushing out and shooting something.

A good TITLE is crucial - it should give an unknowing audience member a whiff of the flavour of the movie and entice them to know more.  Stay away from generic titles with common words or phrases - they can make your film hard to find online.  Don't name your film something that five other films are already called - do an IMDB search to check.

You must have clear artwork, posters, clear genre (drama is not a genre and is the hardest sell to a sales agent).  Good casting is crucial - the first thing a sales agent or distributer asks is who's in it?

The edit can never be too tight. 

Have an awareness of the market place for your film.  Is there one?

Have a survival strategy - for the long term.  This journey has no end, no destination.

No distractions, get laser vision.  Ask yourself why am I doing this?   If it's not the thing you have to be doing or the thing you want to spend your life mastering, don't do it.  It's the love for the craft that gets you through the long haul and all the rejections.  If you love it you'll hang in there, if you just like it it will wear you down and you'll quit.

DON'T have a long title sequence for your film, sales screenings have to rock in five minutes or they're out.

DON'T use the word donations in your crowdfunding - contribution is a much stronger word.

Distributers never have time to watch the whole film, so make a 5 minute promo of the film, basically a mini version of the whole film, all the key beats.

Count on four months to a year for a feature edit.  Do it at your home, you'll get much more done and it's easier to pull all-nighters.

If you need to record a wild track outdoors, do it in a car - good sound booth.

If you have a black and white flashback or shot in your film, put it in the distributer/broadcaster Q.C. report and state it was a creative choice otherwise it will be considered an error and failed.

If you sell your film to a distributer/broadcaster they will ask for a list of deliverables that is up to four pages long.  Have a discussion about what they really need and try and get the list dramatically shortened.  A tech savvy person could create all the deliverables themselves, but it could take an extra 1-2 months work in pure man hours.  Budget for deliverables up front.

Be aggressive with sales agents - the minute they fail to deliver threaten them with legal action.  Look for sales agents aligned with your budget and preferably one in the same Country as you so you can knock on his door.

To screen your film to sales agents hire a cinema screen for a Tuesd., Wedns. or Thursd. before lunch, i.e. 11 a.m.  Six weeks prior to screening you've sent them press packs, posters and called them to make sure they'll come and not just some intern.  Introduce the film briefly, say you'll be around for chats afterwards.  Half the sales agents will leave within the first ten minutes.  The sales agents won't want to show their interest to other agents so they won't be talkative.  Don't be pushed, bullied or take a short deadline to accept an offer.  Try and hold back your domestic territory to sell yourself.  Hold back the right to purchase DVD's at cost and sell i.e. 1000 on your website (where you keep all proceeds).

Any promise a sales agent gives you of money down the line rarely ever appears - it's all about the money up front.  Cannes is by far the number one film market, a ways back is The AMF (American Film market) and Berlin.

Your films must work in the worse possible screening environments so don't make your master too dark.

If you sell your film the broadcaster will need you to put it through a Q.C. quality control - which can cost about £750.

You will most likely need a E&O policy too - errors and omissions insurance which can cost £7500-£15 000!  The BBC don't buy films without it.

Be honest with yourself whether there is a market for your film - car makers wouldn't just make a nine wheeled car and present it at the Geneva car show and hope there was a market for it.

It's all about the 3 P's - Polite Professional Persistence.

The next masterclass course is 17 & 180212  in London, tickets and photos of our class here : 






jun 29


Publisert i Utagget  av Walters |

SUITFIGHT trailer her :

eller her

eller her

eller her 

eller her 


Molly, en knallhard uteligger i sekstiårene, med forkjærlighet for ballet og kidnapping, jakter på et par superrike aksjemeglere til kveldens underholdning i den hemmelige bomseleiren.  Molly har med seg to kvasikompetente bomsehjelpere, en handlevogn og en rullestol for å gjennomføre planen sin. Uteliggerne er så vant med å ikke bli sett av de A4 massene at de slår like godt til midt på lyse dagen i Stavanger sentrum.  En mørk komedie med aktuelle undertoner.

 Tittelen Suitfight figurerer som et motsvar til det råtne Bumfights fenomenet.

Nasjonalteaterets Anne marie Ottersen er Molly, vis á vis Øystein martinsen, Svein Harry S. Hauge og Cato Skimten Storengen fra Rogaland Teateret, og ikke minst Thomas Aske Berg.  

apr 05

Doin It Low Budget - seminar med bl.a. Killer Films

Publisert i Utagget  av Walters |


Doin’ It Low Budget – NFI organisert seminar med – Christine

Vachon fra Killer Films og bestevennen Ted Hope fra This Is That

på Filmens Hus 23.-25.mars 2010.



Se websites : (Christine radio

intervju) (Christine) (Ted)


Ted og Christine har hvert sitt produksjonsfirma men har av og til jobbet ilag

(bl.a. på Happiness). De har laget utallige kvalitets indie filmer som Kids,

Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Boys Don’t Cry, Eternal Sunshine Of The

Spotless Mind, Thumbsucker, Adventureland, 21 Grams og mange flere.


Seminaret er først og fremst om film fra et amerikansk ståsted.

I begynnelsen av seminaret er det en del snakk om at filmindustrien er i en

slags krise. Foreign Sales har gått ned 40%. Killer lager nå en $7-15 mill.

film hvert tredje år, før gjorde de to i året.

Flesteparten av filmene Ted og Christine lager nå er budsjettert mellom $1-3

mill. Dette krever at indie film må tenke på nye måter å finne og bygge sitt

publikum så tidlig som mulig i prossessen.


I dette klimaet har TV blitt mer akseptert av store navn. Christine går straks i

produksjon av TVserien Mildred Pierce for HBO, regissert av Todd Haynes,

med Kate Winslet i hovedrollen. Basert på en James M.Cain roman.


Ted er snart klar med sin ’ekte’ superhelt actionkomi ’Super’, skutt på RED

med The Office’s Rainn Wilson samt Ellen Page. Filmen har en del

likhetstrekk med Matthew Vaughn’s mye større budsjettert Kick-Ass.


Det tok kun et år fra Ted fikk manuset til Super til den var ferdig innspilt. Han

ser etter WTF (what the fuck!?) moments. Han vil ’shake people up and

disturb them’ i tillegg til å underholde. De prepped i kun FIRE uker på en 24

dagers shoot. De filmet det meste i Louisianna som har et stort ’tax rebate’

og fullførte filmen i L.A. i helgene.

En av grunnene til at Ted var interessert i filmen var at Rainn Wilson var #48

av dem med mest Twitter followers og regissøren James Gunn hadde mange

Facebook fans. De kjente sitt publikum med andre ord, og hadde allerede

lagt grunnlaget for filmens seere.


Ofte har man to år fra utvikling til lansering – BRUK TIDEN GODT.


Tenk annerledes. IFC (Independent Film Channel) betaler filmskapere så lite

som $50 000-$70 000 for en VOD (video on demand) deal som skal vare i 20

år! Hva med å lage din egen VOD site – Ted’s undersøkelser viste at en

kunne få laget en slik site for knappe $50 000.


Prøv å bygge P&A inn i budsjettet når en samler kapital – f.eks. $3 mill.

budsjett samt $1 mill. til P&A. Før i tiden var filmens plakat den største

markedsføringsredskapen, nå er alle reglene borte. Det er ingen eksperter



Christine snakker litt om The Neistat Brothers som et eksempel. To brødre

som lager 20-30 minutters hjemmelagde episoder fra sine liv. Hun tok

episodene og solgte dem til HBO. Brødrene lagde bl.a. en liten film om Apple

som hadde bygget inn et batteri i sine tidligere iPods som var designet for å

dø etter et år og som ikke kunne erstattes. Filmen tvingte Apple til å forandre




”Let the budget be your aesthetic – let it be a strength.”

Finn ut hvilke stater i USA eller hvilke land har store tax rebates og bruk det

som en del av budsjettet. Michigan har f.eks. 40%.


Hold regissørhonoraret ditt høyest mulig slik at du kan evt. bruke deler av det

til å skaffe musikkrettigheter, SFX eller annet som det ikke er dekning for i



”You have to make a deal seem INEVITABLE.”

Prøv å holde investorandeler lavere enn 20% slik at de har ’no claim in


Finansører har ofte sine lister over skuespillere og hva de tro de er verdt for

billettinntekter. Ofte er listene utdaterte. Dersom Ted eller Christine spør

finansører hvor mye de kan lage en film for og ikke tenke på salgbar

skuespillere. Svaret er $2 mill.


Vachon kommer med noen regissørtips for spillefilm pitches :


- Directors must articulate their vision in a clear way.

- They should know some film history

- They should know what has been done similarly to the film they are pitching

and equally important what makes it different.

- They should have answers to everything that may be asked.

- They should know what the visual style is and build look/image books.

- Any director worth his salt has made at least one short movie by any means

possible or with any tools available to him/her.

- Use their director’s statement as a selling tool, show they are collaborative

but not weak.

- Think about a marketing plan, find dozens of links online that are relevant to

your project.


Begynn alltid med 30 sekunder om hvem du er og evt. hva du har gjort før. Si

filmsjangeren du pitcher med en gang, helst med referansefilmer. Maks 5

minutter om handlingen i filmen – avslutt ’with them wanting to know more.’


Begge to foretrekker writer/directors fremfor to separate i de rollene. Ted sier

de beste writer/directors ’don’t respond exactly to my notes on their script, but

they get the problem and solve it their own way.’


”Scripts must be EXECUTION DEPENDANT!” Ikke skriv inn en location eller

en prop osv. du ikke kan skaffe. 25% av manusene Ted/Christine utvikler er

basert på artikler eller bøker de selv har funnet og gitt til forfattere/regissører.

25% kommer fra samtaler med finansører eller studioer ”We’re looking for

something like this or that right now, do you have anything suitable?” Og

50% fra filmskapere som kommer inn med en pitch.

”Always respect the money – never say it’s only $100 000 – that’s still a lot of

money if it’s not your money.”



”Actors reading scripts are always looking for transformation, confrontation,

emotional things revealed in the moment. Look for actors who are either a

discovery, a reinvention, have international pull or have domestic (USA) pull.

Then you have four angles for the press. Try and find actors either on the

way up or on the way down.


The last thing an actor wants is to attach themselves officially (i.e. in the

media) to a film that doesn’t get made. It can be perceived as something

negative and hurt their quote (fee). Often times actors will say yes to a script,

but not allow the producers to use their name to promote it or get more

financing. If the star is 20 years old, you often have to cast name supporting

actors, but actors don’t generally like being labeled as a ’supporting actor.’”



”Send as close to a finished script as possible. You only get one chance to

make a first impression. There are people at the agencies who’s job it is to

track new European talent. They often have foreign sounding names

themselves – seek them out. Don’t call people at the top, get the people just

starting out. The same goes for contacting financiers – go for the assistants

and junior people. Get your local or national Norwegian film subsidizers to fly

over some agents to ’talk about the Hollywood system’ or whatever so you

can approach them.


Always send a dvd of a short along with a script, great if you have testimonials

on the back and those little laurel reef things to show the festivals it’s been to.

Tell them what made you send it to them.”

At Killer they go through ten scripts a week. First an intern covers the script,

then if it’s good it will go to Christine’s assistant to cover, if she really likes it it

will go on Christine’s pile of scripts.


”Include a two paragraph synopsis, send a director’s statement saying visually

and tonally what you want to do. Do NOT make it too pretentious or too long

– that’s a huuge turn off. Don’t show all your cards, save some info for later.”

Ted får ca. 2000 manus i året. Han sier han aldri aksepterer

manusforespørsler via Facebook, Twitter o.l. – men han kan inngå i en dialog

i de forumene. ALDRI gi et manus uoppfordret til noen på en film festival e.l.

– det havner rett i første bosspann. Det handler like mye om hvem

filmskaperen er og om Ted har lyst å tilbringe et par år av livet med han, som

hvor god selve manuset er. Les –


før du er vurderer å gi noen et manus uoppfordret. : )


Ted synes det er bra hvis en manusforfatter kan balansere utvikling på 4-5

manus samtidig og ikke bare fokuserer på ett. Tema er viktig – det som

forfatteren synes er temaet i manuset må ha scener som understreker det.

Christine sa at Alexander Payne var på et Sundance panel med henne og ble

spurt om det å ta imot manusutviklingspenger fra studioer. Hans svar var

’Don’t get paid to write.’ Han mener det blir for mye innblandinger og

komprimisser da. Du har tatt pengene, du er tvunget til å høre på dem. Ted

betaler helst ikke for manusutvikling – forfatteren kan stikke når som helst.


”Keep asking yourself what are the things you love about movies. How can

we make better more challenging movies than the big studios are churning




”Communication is the key. Being able to articulate clearly and succinctly to

all members of cast and crew what your vision is. We have an injoke about

bad directors ”My indecision is final!”

If you have only a short time to prep your movie, have detailed shot lists,

rehearse in locations, tech check all locations. When everything is well

planned you do have time for a little serendipity. On a movie, something

always has to be emphasized – i.e. are you going for performance or beauty?

Remember – if the DOP, make-up or the lighting is taking too long – it is

taking time from the performance. The make-up trailer is a place for

meditation, so the actors often like to linger in there. It’s all about establishing

trust and conficence.”


Everone has an agenda for doing a movie – the DOP may want something for

his showreel, someone else just wants their ego fluffed, someone else just

wants to have a good time. Bring everyone’s agenda to the same page! Tell

people what you expect from them. The bond companies can sometimes be

useful to play the heavy i.e. ’If you don’t hurry up and make your days, the

bond company will be down here to take over.’



”There’s a trend in European film directors not to show their films as a work in

progress. But sometimes seeing a cut with an audience can give you new

fresh eyes after seeing the material a dozen times. When you see film on a

big screen in a darkened room, you are more committed than you would be

seeing it on a monitor. Always start screenings with friends and trusted

colleagues then broaden. It’s not the actual length of the film it’s the

perception of length.”

Christine ”I hate watching assemblies, they used to be necessary when

cutting on film, but are kinda outdated now because we can get from point A

to point B much quicker now. Also it detracts from that first screening.”

”Cinema is an ongoing conversation.”


For mer info sjekk ut Ted’s mange websites eller les Christine’s ypperlig bok A

Killer Life.

- walters april 2010