The Entertainment Engine podcast music, film, tv, Music supervision for film


An ongoing series of informative entries

Music Marketing Strategies & Tips for Artists & Bands!

15 October 2020

This week we take a look at marketing ideas for bands and artists. 

Once you have decided that you’re getting serious about your music career, you know that you have to start putting in serious effort to come up with effective band marketing and artist PR ideas, right!

But if you haven’t gotten much farther than “making a Facebook page,” don’t worry — we’ve got some essential marketing strategies and tips for you.

Promoting a band or artist in this day and age is a very tricky business these days. Tools and tricks that worked wonders a few years ago don’t work nearly as well today. In case you haven’t noticed, the music industry has undergone a complete transformation in the span of just a couple of years.

Where listeners used to rely on full-length albums for their music, they’re now running to playlists. This means that to get the most out of promoting your band and artist, you’ll have to approach things a lot differently.

How do bands and artists market themselves in the music industry today?

1. Know your brand

Before you can market and artist or band, you need to have your brand in place.

  • What’s unique about your act? 
  • Which aspects of your story are the most compelling that really set you apart from every other band out there? 
  • How will you present yourself consistently — from your onstage look to your social media to your logo and merch and photos?

Once you’ve honed your brand, the specifics of your band and artist marketing strategies and fan communication will flow from that point.

To learn more about marketing artists and bands, check out the links below to listen to the latest podcast episode and blog post's on Medium and Get Pocket...

The Entertainment Engine podcast


Get Pocket

By Pete Moore

Pic: US Rapper & Actor - Ozie (AKA) ZMNY

In conversation with US Rapper and Actor ZMNY (AKA Ozie Nzeribe) - He's taking Hollywood by storm!

8 October 2020

This week on The Entertainment Engine podcast we welcome the US Rapper and Actor — Ozie “ZMNY” Nzeribe on the show.

He's taking Hollywood by storm with his latest roles, in the TV series "Shameless" -  starring William H Macy and "Little Fires Everywhere" -  starring Reese Witherspoon & Kerry Washington...

Ozie is the one the newest fresh-faced artists hitting the scene and is dominating the scene as a "World Peace Youth Ambassador" bringing new energetic sounds to music all over the World! 

Ozie "ZMNY " Nzerbie hails from Monrovia CA USA. 

Zmny,  exudes the creativity and talents expressed at such a young age. He began his career, when he recorded his first song at Old Firehouse Recording Studio in Pasadena CA, this is where he has truly started to showcase his talents. 

His first single "Hater Free" ft Ray J Norwood was just an introduction to his confident and clever rap style. They shot the video for "Hater Free" and with the high production value, creativity and youthful energy displayed, was a big door opener for Zmny. 

With his continued growing fan base and skill set growing daily, he shows his numerous fans, he is around to stay. 

His fan base extends from Africa to the USA and beyond, and is growing by the day!

Zmny's released his songs on his own independent record label entitled "Zmny Records", which features his EP and many singles.

Zmny is the captain of his own ship paving the way forward for a very fruitful career. His music is distributed to radio outlets and DJ's across the country with feedback that has been very positive. His "Promise" video has set a new bar. 

Zmny prides himself on growing higher, which helps take his career to the next dimension. 

His influences range from Jay Z, Kanye to Snoop, which gives him some big shoes to follow, that's for sure, taking this game by storm in a short amount of time and not only is he a musician, but he is also a budding actor.

You will be able to see Ozie staring in the recurring role of "Todd" in the Comedy-drama series Showtime -"Shameless" going into its 11th successful season, and boy it's a great show really very funny.

Also starring alongside "Reese Witherspoon" and "Kerry Washington's" in ABC TV mini-series "Little Fires Everywhere" welcomed Ozie on the show this past September as a Guest star "2 Pac Shirt".

He is also staring as "Royale" a series regular with the highly anticipated Apple TV/CBS production of "Swagger" Produced by NBA star - Kevin Durant.

And That's not all, Zmny is also "slated" to be in further productions, one of which is staring alongside - the Hollywood "A" Liste - "Jamie Foxx" new Netflix series entitled “Dad Stop Embarrassing Me", this is really EXCITING!

Check out the link below to learn more about ZMNY’s story and up and coming projects…

One of the other projects ZMNY is involved with is  - "The Legend of Johnny Jones" starring as "Andre" starring  - "Kevin Sorbo", "Danny Trejo" and "Clifton Powell"

Ozzie has also appeared in a National Adidas commercial with Childish Gambino and Louis Vuitton's spring campaign.

And that's not all just recently, Zmny was privileged to collaborate with Olamide one of the biggest celebrity musicians in Nigeria, with the songs "MuMu Button - Carbon Copy" and the latest release ZMNY X OLAMIDE - STREET TREASURE ZMNY X OLAMIDE - STREET TREASURE produced by Pheelz, which is making big waves all over the country.

Pic: US Rapper & Actor Ozie (AKA) ZMNY

From all this activity over the past years, Zmny is now on numerous prospective executives radars and is being sought out as the next big talent.

Zmny has been recognised at many awards shows from the — Billboard Music Awards to the Grammy Recording Academy Governance plus the Teen Choice Awards and many more.

As he continues to grow and embraces other sounds and creative energy to keep evolving to new heights.

When he's not working, he loves to kick back by watching movies, hanging out with his friends, and hitting up amusement parks

Zmny is a high schooler, a Humanitarian and is a "World Peace Youth Ambassador" which is supports against violence, racism, tribalism, suicide, and human trafficking.

Stay tuned to see him on your television and big screen very soon. As he continues to be prepared for all opportunities! As we all say, opportunity meets preparation, that's true enough.

Zmny is here to stay and is a true talent to watch over the coming years.

Get to know ZMNY as he talks about how he discovered his passion for music and what's up next for him only on The Entertainment Engine podcast, it's going to be an exciting ride as we support this young man on his journey!

By Pete Moore

Pic: Hollywood Film Producer Ken Atchity

In Conversation with Hollywood Film producer, Author, Literary Agent & Screenwriter Ken Atchity.

1 Oct 2020

This week on the Entertainment Engine podcast we are in conversation with Hollywood author and scriptwriter Ken Atchity.

Ken was born January 16, 1944, in Eunice, Louisiana, son of Fred J. and Myrza (née Aguillard) Atchity; he grew up between Louisiana and Kansas City, Missouri.

His son, Vincent Atchity, graduated from Georgetown College (Ph.D., USC) and his daughter, Rosemary Atchity, from Columbia University, (RN, MSN, FNP-c; Contra Costa College ).

Atchity is married to documentary filmmaker and former NHK producer Kayoko Mitsumatsu, founder of the non-profit organization Yoga Gives Back for which he serves on the board of directors. He resides in Los Angeles, California, and New York City.

Looking at Atchity academic career.

After receiving a Jesuit education from Rockhurst High School and Georgetown University, where he received an Ignatian Scholarship to study Greek and Latin classics.

Atchity then received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Yale and received his MPhil in Theatre History and his PhD. Comparative Literature from Yale. 

His dissertation, Homer's Iliad: The Shield of Memory, was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize. 

He went on to become a professor of literature and classics at Occidental College, where he served as the chairman of the comparative literature department, a distinguished instructor at UCLA's Writers Program, and as Fulbright Professor of American studies to the University of Bologna. 

During his teaching career, he was a frequent columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book Review. With Marsha Kinder, he founded and edited Dreamworks. An Inter-disciplinary Quarterly. 

Its advisory board included John Cage, William Dement, Ann Faraday, John Fowles, J. Allan Hobson, John Hollander, Ursula Le Guin, W.S. Merwin, Denise Levertov and Robert L. Van de Castle.  

Atchity resigned his tenured professorship at Occidental in 1987 to devote full-time to entertainment and publishing.

Atchity Entertainment career.

In 1976, Atchity founded L/A House, Inc., a consulting, translation, book, television, and film development and production company whose clients included the Getty Museum and the US Postal Service. 

L/A House began by extending Atchity's teaching of creative writing to manuscript consultation and soon moved on to publishing with the production of Follies, a magazine covering creativity, and CQ: 

Contemporary Quarterly; Poetry and Art of which he was the editor. In the 1980s L/A House moved into television, with a syndicated television pilot of BreakThrough! of which Atchity was executive producer and co-writer.

In 1985, L/A House began development of a set of video/TV romance film projects entitled Shades of Love, which became 16 full-length films, produced in 1986–87 with Atchity as executive producer, that aired throughout the world, distributed by Lorimar, Astral-Bellevue-Pathe, Manson International, and Warner Brothers International, nominated for Canada's Gemini Award; in the U.S. they premiered on Cinemax-HBO.

In 1989 he sold L/A House and founded AEI (Atchity Editorial/Entertainment International), a literary management and motion picture production company. 

Hollywood film producer Ken AtchityAtchity sold Steve Alten's Meg to Bantam-Doubleday at auction in a $2.2M deal; and then to Disney, partnered with Zide-Perry, for $1.2 M(later, to Newline Pictures for a similar price)

In 2011 Atchity was nominated for an Emmy for producing The Kennedy Detail (Discovery) based on their clients' Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbin's New York Times bestselling book by the same title published by Gallery/Simon & Schuster in 2010.


AEI's films include Joe Somebody (Tim Allen, Julie Bowen), Life Or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns), and The MEG (Jason Statham).

With more than fifty years' experience in the publishing world and over thirty years in entertainment, Dr Ken Atchity (PhD Yale) has been called a "story merchant" - writer, professor, editor, producer, and literary manager. 

He's made over 200 film or television deals - with every broadcaster and every studio in Hollywood, and plenty of independent film companies as well.

​Atchity has more than thirty films which include; The Meg (Jason Statham), The Lost Valentine (Betty White), Angels in the Snow (Kristy Swanson), The Madams Family (Ellen Burstyn), Hysteria (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie).

​He's published over twenty books of his own, including six for writers at every stage of their careers.

​Before he left his tenured position at Occidental College to pursue his lifelong mission to bring writers to succeed in the story marketplace, he was Fulbright professor to the University of Bologna, Italy, Distinguished Instructor of scripts and novels at UCLA Writers Program, and regular columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book ReviewHe's a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The Messiah Matrix.

In 2012, Atchity published his completion of William Diehl's Seven Ways to Die and his first solo novel, The Messiah Matrix.

The novel centres on a fictional marine archaeological find of a rare Herodian coin honouring Augustus.

A romantic interest develops between the American archaeologist who has discovered the coin, and a young Jesuit priest intrigued by its implications. 

Hollywood Film Producer Ken Atchity & his wife Kayoko MitsumatsuA powerful faction of the Jesuits has been preparing to announce that the fictional character Jesus of Nazareth was inspired by the life of Caesar Augustus, and the coin is crucial evidence for their claim. 

Regarding the premise of his novel, Atchity said that it is based on actual historical facts linking Jesus and Augustus.

Ken has the energy and enthusiasm still after all these years and has several new projects at various stages including; Staring John Dillinger, The Seeding, Firefly, Rikki Tikki Tavi and the MEG 2 so a lot to look forward to over the months and years to come. 

If you have a story then sit down, get a pen and paper and let's begin. I look forward to catching up with Ken very soon.

By Peter Moore

Pic: Jesse Kinch

Jesse Kinch US singer-songwriter in conversation winning ABC's Rising star competition, signing to Capitol Records, and with new music on the horizon!

17 Sept 2020

This week's guest on The Entertainment Engine podcast, we speak with Jesse Kinch is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. 

He was the first and only winner of the American series of Rising Star international franchise based on the Israeli series HaKokhav HaBa. The American series was broadcast on ABC

The show was hosted by Josh Groban and the panel of judges were Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris

In the beginning.

Kinch, a Seaford, Long Island native picked up a guitar when he was 6, after discovering an old, beat-up acoustic in his parent's basement. 

They began to notice a mature sense of rhythm and pitch, convincing them to buy Jesse his first electric and soon introduced him to the great rock 'n' roll bands of the 1960s, 70s and the 90s grunge scene which he quickly embraced. 

These influences became an essential part of his musical foundation and sound. 

In some of Jesse's interviews, he recalls that even before he picked up a guitar and embraced the sound of classic rock, he was heavily exposed to operatic pop singers such as Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli

He considers the pure sound and beauty of those singers a major influence on him to this day.  At age 7, he began performing in clubs on Long Island and attracted attention from a local newspaper that called him "The Boy Wonder" in reaction to his precocious musical ability. 

At age 8 he was featured as a news item on TV News Channel 12, Long Island where he played a medley of classic rock 'n' roll songs. Jesse continued to play the guitar at local clubs through age 9 and at 10, he was invited to the Sam Ash Guitar Competition where he finished third amongst seasoned pros.

At age 11, Jesse found his voice and began to sing. 

He soon started performing around New York City where people would take notice to his strength and conviction filled rock 'n' roll voice. 

Throughout ages 12 and 13, he also became interested in writing his own songs which regularly became part of his set during shows.

In 2009, Jesse was chosen to portray the lead role of a young Eddie Money in the musical Two Tickets to Paradise after Money took notice to his energetic rock 'n' roll performance as his opening act in June 2008.

Money originally mistook Jesse for being in his early 20s at the time but soon realized he was only 14. Although Money wanted an adult to portray his life in the musical, he felt Jesse was the only one that captured the look, sound and spirit of his younger self. 

After months of rehearsals, the show opened in June of that year at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Centre where Jesse sang 14 songs a night with no understudy.

Rising Star.

In 2014, Kinch auditioned on the premiere episode of the US Rising Star show broadcast live on June 22 that year on ABC singing "I Put a Spell on You" by Screaming Jay Hawkins getting 92% of votes including 7% from each of all three panellists and a standing ovation. 

During the "duels" round on July 16 against Will Roth, he sang "Whipping Post" from The Allman Brothers Band prevailing over Roth with a 90% score (89% on West Coast vote). 

On "The Round of Thirteen" stage on August 3, he again excelled with "Seven Nation Army" from The White Stripes garnering 88% (87% on the West Coast) ending with best score percentage of all thirteen contestants with Austin French a close second.

In the quarterfinals on August 10 with Top 8 remaining, he performed "Money (That's What I Want)" getting 88% on both coasts with Austin French getting 89% (but 86% on the West Coast).

In the semi-finals (Top 6) where he sang "Billie Jean" from Michael Jackson, he yet again finished first among all semi-finalist with a vote 83% on both coasts and all three panellists voting "yes".

On the final broadcast on August 24, 2014, with Top 4 remaining he performed "Fortunate Son" from Creedence Clearwater Revival eliminating rival Dana Williams (87% to 30%) whereas another finalist Austin French eliminated rival Audrey Kate Geiger with a closer margin 70% to 49%.

In the second and final round of the final the same day, he faced Austin French singing "Love, Reign o'er Me" from The Who, whereas French sang "Bless the Broken Road" from Rascal Flatts

Kinch clinched the title with a public vote of 76% against French's 61%. Due to the large gap between percentages, the officials changed the scores to make it appear closer. 

This was a common theme throughout the competition!

The post Rising Star.

Jesse received a recording contract with Capitol Records as a result of winning the show, but shortly parted ways due to creative differences.

After parting ways with Capitol, he began performing sold-out shows in New York and Nashville in front of larger audiences all from the exposure he received after performing on national TV.

In May 2015, Jesse performed two songs on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" and shortly after that, he met Kerry Gordy (Industry executive and son of Berry Gordy) and Al Bell (Former head of Stax Records) who helped introduce him to Curb Records.

In early 2016, Jesse signed a record deal with Curb Records and quickly went into the studio that summer to record his long-awaited debut albumHis album was recorded at Cove City Sound and Tiki Recording studios on Long Island.

2018 Jesse Kinch - Debut Album Release.

On March 16, 2018, Jesse announced the release of two music video releases of his original song "Preaching Like The Pope" and his cover of Michael Jacksons "Billie Jean". 

The songs continue to garner popularity and attention on Rock radio all around the country. 

In April, Jesse and his band embarked on a short New York tour to promote the release of his debut album "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" on vinyl. 

The tour was followed by a number of performances in "Los Angeles", CA and "Nashville", "Tennessee". In June, his album was officially released on all platforms.

On October 26th 2018, Jesse released a cover of "John Lennon"'s Happy X-Mas(War Is Over).

Throughout the next year of 2019, Jesse and his band performed in many different states around the country including "North Carolina", "Colorado", and "Missouri", and eventually made his debut overseas performance in "Manchester", "England" at the Blackthorn Music Festival. 

His debut album even managed to crack two top ten charts in the U.K. At the end of 2019, Jesse's contract with Curb Records ended and he officially parted ways with them after 3 years of working together.

What's next for Jesse?

At the beginning of the year, Jesse announced new tour dates in a number of different states and has also dropped hints about new music with an EP or album over the coming months, watch this space it's going to be great!

By Pete Moore

Live band on stage

Independent label vs The Major labels. The Pros and Cons!

11 September 2020

When it comes to getting a record deal, finding the right fit and structure with a label is crucial — but is an indie or a major record company a better overall fit for you?

Firstly, you will need to know the difference’s between a major and independent record label.

The common perception of a “record label” is one of the major record labels, located in London, Los Angeles or New York, which signs all of the major artists and bands.

These major record labels, including Sony, Warner, EMI, Capitol and Universal Records, are major corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars behind them to support projects they choose too.

This allows them to fully fund the biggest artists out there. In the eyes of emerging artists, a record deal with a major label was always the big prize to go after.

Bright lights and big city — sound familiar!

However, the major music industry is on life-support (or dead men walking) with the introduction of online social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc) and digital music retail stores such as iTunes & Amazon.

The fact that major releases are often leaked to the internet weeks before their release day.

Enter the Indie (short for Independent) record label.

What Makes a Record Label ‘Indie’?

Any music recording label that operates without the funding of the organizations of the major music labels is considered an indie (independent record label).

While major labels are global and operate their own publishing and distribution companies, indie labels work with other smaller companies, either in long-term partnerships or in smaller contractual relationships for their distribution and publishing needs.

The Indie Niche!

While indie labels can’t offer the kind of funding for artists that the major labels can, because of the benefits, indie label contracts are fast becoming a new goal for many artists — and a more realistic goal at that to be honest.

Indie labels offer many benefits that the Big labels can’t. Because of all the upsides (and the fast trend toward social media and all digital platforms), indie labels have created a true niche for themselves in today's music industry climate.

The Pros of Working With an Indie Label

Indie labels generally have the freedom to work with whomever they like.

There’s no pressure like you’d find at major labels to sacrifice your tastes in favour of seeking chart success.

When you are signed to an indie label, in almost every instance it’s because the label is a huge fan of your music; that translates into dedication because they believe in what you’re doing as an artist and band.

Close Working Relationships

Because indie labels have smaller staffs and tighter rosters, musicians can more easily develop a close relationship with the people working on their record.

Although it’s not always the case that artists can pick up the phone and get an immediate answer, the odds of closer communication are greater than they are with a major label.

Artist-Friendly Deals

Some larger indie labels have relatively complex contracts, but smaller indies often do business on little more than a handshake and a profit split agreement.

You seldom find indie labels demanding any measure of creative control over their artists, and most indies don’t lock their artists into long-term, multi-album contract deals.

The Cons of Working With an Indie Label

Indie labels are not without their drawbacks.

Consider the following before you decide who you want to sign with.


While money is the top reason to sign with a major label, it definitely tops the list of negatives for indies.

While some indie labels are sitting pretty financially, most small operations are just trying to stay afloat.

They usually don’t have the finances to fund an all-out media blitz like the major labels, and they often have to get creative with promotion and PR ideas to stay ahead of the game.

They also can’t afford big advances, fancy packaging, large recording budgets, tour support, and other perks a major label has the funds to offer you. With indie labels, you’ll usually have to remain financially invested in your own music career.


Although the intimate size of indie labels has its upside in terms of closer and more accessible relationships, there is also a downside to being small.

Indies don’t have the purchasing power of major labels, and with a small roster, they have fewer strings to pull with the media. 

Also, the smaller the label, the less influence, and power within the music industry and the press.

The Pros and Cons of signing to a major label!


  • Larger promotional budgets
  • More connections
  • More clout and influence
  • Can do business in bulk


  • Resources spread among many acts
  • Staff turnover
  • Limited personal attention
  • Limited negotiating leverage

Many dedicated music lovers work on the major label side of the music industry.

However, you will find not everyone who works at a major label loves music.

You’ll find a higher concentration of people who are in the business strictly for the money in major labels than you will at indie labels, and that sometimes ends up rubbing musicians up the wrong way.

There are good and bad points to sign with a major of an independent record label, and if you find your self in this situation.

Then look at the best way forward and seek advice from your professional team music industry attorney and account to help you navigate, so you are able to make an informed decision as an artist/band.

By Peter Moore

Pic: Charlotte Armitage

In Conversation with Charlotte Armitage Media & Business Psychologist and Founder of (YAFTA) - Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting.

3 September 2020

This week's guest on The Entertainment Engine podcast, we speak with Charlotte Armitage Business Psychologist & Founder of (YAFTA) - Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting based in Leeds.

It was great to catch up with Charlotte earlier this week and learn more about her background and working life as an; 

Agent, Business psychologist and Founder of YAFTA!

Charlotte is The Media Psychologist, specialising in the Film & TV Industry, particularly, the psychological duty of care processes in production. 

She is a registered psychotherapist with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), an accredited business psychologist holding principal practitioner status with the Association of Business Psychologists (PPABP) and is currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.

With practices on Harley Street, London and Kirkstall Road, Leeds, Charlotte works with clients in both the North and South of the country. 

Charlotte also works on-set in the UK and internationally where required.

Charlotte is also a member of the Media Ethics Advisory Group for the British Psychological Society (BPS) and is involved in developing policy and regulation for those in the Media. 

She was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commence in 2019 for her widespread contribution to the Film & TV industry.

In addition to this, Charlotte is the Managing Director of the Yorkshire Academy of Film & Television Acting (YAFTA) and YAFTA Talent Agency and has over ten years of experience in the industry.

"For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the human mind and the psychology behind our beliefs and behaviours".

"My experience working as a businesswoman, owner of a film & TV educational establishment (YAFTA), agent and psychologist, place me in a unique position to understand the implications of working in the film & TV industry, and I use this viewpoint to bring originality and depth of understanding to my work as a duty of care psychologist".

In 2020, Charlotte launched Outsourced Psych LTD which is a psychological health care provider for organisations. 

The company ensures that registered and qualified psychologists and psychotherapists deliver psychological care for employees, thus facilitating legal and ethical compliance with health & safety legislation within the organisational structure and beyond.

Bringing together her expertise in business, psychology and the Film & TV industry, Charlotte is also a columnist for the Yorkshire Post, MANDY, Women in Trade and Topic UK and regularly provides commentary and contributions for press, radio and TV for;

CNN, Virgin Media, The BBC, The Sun, The Independent, The Telegraph plus much more!

Charlotte is also a resident expert for BBC Radio where she regularly contributes to pieces on a wide variety of psychological topics including mental health, mental health in the workplace, the acting industry and disability representation in the media.

Charlotte is a resident psychologist on BBC Radio, you can hear her on BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio York on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Promoting diversity on screen.

In 2016, Charlotte was delighted to find that the YAFTA syllabus had been shortlisted, along with the NHS and IBM, for an 'Excellence in Candidate Assessment' award in the Association of Business Psychologists awards.

Shortly after YAFTA was incorporated in 2013, YAFTA Talent Agency was developed to help students break into the industry when they were ready to start gaining work. 

YAFTA students have secured roles in mainstream film & TV productions.

In 2014, the whole team were very proud that YAFTA Actor, Liam Bairstow, became the first actor with down syndrome to secure a lead role in Coronation Street

Then in 2019, another YAFTA actor, James Moore, made television history by becoming the first actor with a disability to win a National Television Award for his role as Ryan Stocks in Emmerdale.

YAFTA continues to champion actors from under-represented groups including running courses for actors with disabilities and holding the inaugural Disability in the Media event with BBC Radio Leeds in July 2019. 

Charlotte was honoured to be awarded the 2019 Institute of Directors, Director of Inclusivity Award for Yorkshire and the North East.

It was great to speak with Charlotte and learn more about her world, which has been a very fascinating and diverse conversation. 

By Peter Moore

Pic courtesy of: 

Matthew  Kalapuch  -  Rock Concert 

A Note on Band and Artists Agreements!

31 August 2020

The first thing which comes to mind when starting a band is playing music together with your mates and having a good time. This is all well and good and necessary to form chemistry with band members

However, what bands fail to consider in the early stages is creating a Band Agreement.

A Band Agreement might single-handedly be the most important document a band could do in their lifetime. This document could save thousands if handled correctly should a dispute arise. 

During the lifetime of a band, there will likely be a dispute, as no band is perfect and we are all human. It is also crucial to note that this agreement is cheaper than most equipment needed to perform, and is worth paying for.

This document would detail how income is distributed. This is essential as it will decide the share of revenue each band member will obtain, be it equally distributed or weighted to the artists who write the songs. 

Also, this document delves into the areas of how much revenue each member should have from Touring, Record Sales, Merchandise Sales and publishing. 

As well as this, it includes provisions of distribution when members aren’t available for tours or recording. This is done to reduce the risk of unnecessary disputes and reduce the risk of a court case.

Ownership is another key issue that has faced many bands, the issue is here is ownership distribution. Be it equipment, compositions, recordings or the band name

These can all be issues if ownership is not distributed at the start. One of the major issues is who owns the logo. Cases have arisen in the past with high profile bands such as Guns and Roses, regarding ownership of a logo and what happens on the event of a member leaving the band.

Also, this document will detail what will occur when a member leaves, or on the event of the band breaking up and also how decisions are made, either by a unanimous decision or a majority vote.

The reason this is so important is to reduce the risk which may arise later on in the career of the band, as a band is a company at the end of the day. 

So there should be a document detailing how the company is run and how the property is divided. So, on the event of a Band member leaving, or the band breaking up or even a dispute between the members there are provisions in place to make sure the band will run smoothly and efficiently.

By Mark Reed

Pic courtesy of: 

 Myke Simon - Movie Night

Movie Print and Advertising (P&A), is this just all Smoke and Mirrors?

28 August 2020

The world of movie financing is complex, to say the least; equity, debt, mezzanine, first in, last out, oh my god it just goes on and on!

It just seems so difficult to finance a movie, in truth people don't really want you to know how anything works in the film financing world — so it’s all about the smoke mirrors game, a place where you can hide movie losses with some creative accounting!

The key elements of Prints and Advertising (P&A) that a distributor must consider at this stage are;

The quantity and production of release prints and movie trailers.

Specialised films will often be released with fewer than 10 prints into key independent cinemas, with these prints subsequently ‘toured’ over a 6-month period to all parts of the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, commercial mainstream films will often open on over 200 prints, simultaneously screening in all major UK towns and cities.

Press materials, clips reels, images, press previews, screener tapes.

For the majority of movie releases, favourable press response is a key factor in developing the profile and desirability of a film. Distributors consider both the quality and breadth of coverage, and this is often inscribed into the nature and scale of a press campaign.

The design and printing of posters and other promotional artwork.

The cinema poster — in the UK this means the standard 30" x 40" ‘quad’ format — is still the cornerstone of theatrical release campaigns. Numerous recent examples indicate that the poster design is highly effective in ‘packaging’ the key attributes of a film for potential audiences.

Distributors will also consider other poster campaigns, ranging from Underground advertising, black cabs, flyers to billboards.

Advertising campaign — locations, advert size and frequency.

Advertising in magazines, national and local newspapers works in tandem with press editorial coverage to raise awareness of a release. Press advertising campaign for specialised films will judiciously select publications and spaces close to relevant editorial for that specific medium.

For mainstream films, scale and high visibility is the key.

The cost of print advertising in the UK is comparatively high and is seen as making the distribution in the UK a riskier business than in most other countries.

In order to extend the reach of advertising and develop more effective communication with audiences at low cost, distributors are looking increasingly to ‘viral marketing’ — different forms of electronic word-of-mouth via the internet, email and mobile phones.

The Press campaign and contracting a PR agency

Many independent distributors, in particular, do not have press departments, and will consequently hire a press agency to run a pre-release campaign.

This is especially the case if the distributor brings over key talent for press interviews to support the movie release.

Arranging visit by talent from the film

The use of talent — usually the director and/or the lead actors — wins significant editorial coverage to support a movie release. The volume of coverage can far outweigh the cost of talent visits.

Other preview screenings.

A distributor will consider the use of advance public screenings to create word-of-mouth and advance ‘buzz’ around a film the P&A applies when a theatrical motion picture is completed or is in the advanced stages of completion.

P&A financing is the key determinant to assuring a picture’s return on investment (ROI) and can run anywhere from 30% to 100% or more of a picture’s total production budget.

The P&A addresses a picture’s theatrical release along with its ancillary and subsidiary releases (e.g., Netflix, VOD, Cable, DVD/Blu-ray,), both domestic and international.

P&A financing is always “last in and first out” on the ROI (return on investment) for the movies waterfall. It's important to carefully monitor the distribution process to ensure that residuals come back to the right parties.

The placement of P&A can sometimes allow a partial repayment to the film’s equity investors. When financing the P&A it typically would expect a 20% coupon and a maximum of 12 months to repay the principal and coupon.

After the P&A recoupment, it's also a good idea to incentivize the producers and the talent residual pool.

The film’s distributor will normally take 8–12% at the placement of the P&A contract, at which time the film is fairly well defined and the talent is in place; with, box office projections are much easier to forecast at such time.

Some P&A financing companies are capped at $30MM. (but this is subject to the individual financer), for that movie or TV project.

The P&A financing agreement typically also caps distributor reimbursable expenses at $300,000.

Minimum Guarantees cannot be paid out of the P&A financing. However, Guild residuals can be honoured as part of P&A financing structure.

You can sometimes split the distribution revenues between the financer and the Production Company and its investors on a 50/50 basis after the financer recoups their investment.

The financing of the P&A then allows the Production Company to “pre-sell” to foreign markets.

The domestic sales are tied to paying back the P&A. We discourage the pre-sale of domestic revenues, as it is a debt that subordinates all the investors and the residual pool.

Pre-sales are practically impossible to obtain without a firm commitment for P&A to be in place.

The financing of a movie is complex, so we are producing a series of podcast episodes and blogs to help demystify this area for independent film creators to move forward and create great movies and TV shows for years to come!

By Peter Moore

Pic: Tracey Webb

A chat with Tracey Webb Owner and Music Executive for Power Promotions…

20 August 2020

This week's guest on The Entertainment Engine podcast, we speak with music executive and company director of Power promotions Tracey Webb based in London.

With over 30 years of experience in the music industry starting from humble beginnings at her first job with CD pool - packing CDs and general office duties.

Tracey soon rose to be one of the shining lights in the "music promotion" side of the industry working with major and independent record companies including;

Atlantic Records, Ministry of Sound, Columbia Records, Black Butter, Positiva plus much more...

Tracey and Power Promotions have also worked with an eclectic mix of artists, over the years  which include;

 Ella Henderson, Faithless, Craig David, Sigma, Becky Hill, David Guetta, Sigala & Jonas Blue plus much, much more.

Tracey experience spans several decades and has the ear’s and knowledge for the right songs, whether it's for a major or independent record label.

And she is not afraid to say NO if the song doesn't quite work for the label or artist!

Power was formed in 1989 and soon became one of the leading dance music promotions companies in the UK.

In the very early days the company was little more than a mailing service sending a handful of records to DJs but as the club music scene exploded during the nineties so did the company.

The Power Group now consists of many specialist units dealing with the many specialist areas of dance music from;

Club Promotion, Pop Promotion, Underground Dance, Breakbeat, R n’ B and Hip Hop, Specialist Radio, seasonal Balearic Island Promotion.

The group also includes the highly successful Videopops Promotions and the superb Power Studios.


Columbia records — Stacey Tang (Head of Marketing)

“Power are an important extension of the Columbia promotions team — Mark & Tracey’s passion, hard work and 100% commitment to breaking records at club level have helped us deliver many successful dance singles.

Most recently they’ve had a record-breaking run of 8 club chart # 1′s with Calvin Harris.”

The objective of the Power Group is to provide a full range of club music promotion and marketing services to run in conjunction with the client’s marketing and release strategies.

Tracey’s aim is to build relationships, customising their services to the client’s needs to obtain the best results for their record.

Working hand in hand with the client, leading to greater success and more profitable results for the record and, ultimately, the label.

Tracey believes honesty is always the best policy; if she thinks a particular single or album is not going to fulfil the hopes of the client then she will say so.

Power is not afraid to lose a job today to gain a client tomorrow.


Ministry of Sound — Nicola Heyes (Marketing Director)

“Power is an integral part of our promotions team — Mark & Tracey’s hard work; drive and passion for breaking club records always yield results.

They’ve been instrumental in helping us deliver many of our massive dance hit singles across the years.


David Guetta / Caroline Prothero

“David Guetta has had more club chart №1′s than any other electronic artist in UK history. WOW! Power Promotions; we salute you. "Guess Nothing Really Matters To Power But The Beats”

Why Power Promotions?

The Number 1 Club Music Promotion Company in the UK with More №1s in the Music Week Club And Pop Charts since it’s inception than any other promotions company.

Power and Poparazzi have worked on over 300 UK National Top 40 records in the past 4 years and established in 1989 and still on top over 31 years later.

I am looking forward to the next 30 years with Power promotions with Tracy Webb at the helm of music promotions for the major and the independent labels, the ship is in great hands…

By Peter Moore

Rolling Stones unreleased songs made public for a day to extend copyright duration.

17 August 2020

On New Year’s Eve, 75 rare Rolling Stones songs were released on YouTube. 

It seems that this has been done to stop the songs from entering the public domain as their copyright rights were expiring, and by placing the songs on YouTube they have just before they expired they have extended the lifespan of the copyright protection.

These songs were made public on YouTube by the YouTube account 69RSTRAX, who posted the collection of the 75 unreleased songs and recordings. These videos contained no commentary or explanation and were set to private just hours later on the 1st of January.

69RSTRAX’s YouTube channel was only made two days before the recordings were made public and the profile had no personal details, only an email address which linked to business enquires at ABKCO – the music publishing company which own the rights to a substantial amount of the early recordings of the Rolling Stones catalogue.

Copyright is a right which happens upon the creation of the work. 

Sound recordings are protected regardless of the software or the method in which the sound is reproduced. 

Upon creation of a sound recording, it will have copyright rights for the duration of 50 years from the end of the calendar year that the recording was made. This duration can be extended by a further 20 years if the music is published during the 50-year period or if it is played or communicated in public.

By posting these sound recordings on the biggest video sharing platform, ABKCO’s recordings of the Rolling Stones songs have been lawfully communicated to the public and therefore extended the duration of the copyright for a further 20 years, meaning that the songs are still protected and not part of the public domain. 

This may be questionable dependent on whether the EU would deem it as being sufficient with regards to the public communication of the works, as the songs were only accessible for a few hours and seem more like a ploy to extend the duration of its copyright rights.

Mark Reed - Lawdit

Pic: Alan Glass

A chat with Alan Glass Legendary Record Producer and Songwriter…

12 August 2020

This week on The Entertainment Engine podcast, we speak with music producer and songwriter Alan Glass based in London. 

Who can truly justify the term 'legendary songwriter.'

If something has taught me all through Covid-19, its to be able to take time and stock of our own situation, so when you get five minutes to check out the podcast to learn more about Alan's career, I am sure your find some great tips and inspiration.

Alan will be joining us to discuss his creative approach to writing hit songs, craft killer productions and discusses the real 'business' of music in today's environment.

Born in New Orleans, Alan absorbed a rainbow of musical styles from that amazing city. That exotic mix informs his love of all genres of music and his hit songwriting credits totally reflect this, from 'Soul' to 'Country' to 'Rock' to 'Dance.' and even 'Opera'!

With his roots deep ingrained into music culture, spanning many decades in the music business!

Glass got his break and was mentored in production after starting off his career in music during the late seventies as a staff writer for Philadelphian legend Thom Bell as well as Maurice White (Earth Wind and Fire).

With such great and inspiring mentors, Alan has been able to craft a career, writing over 5,000 songs with his brother Preston Glass which is impressive to write that many songs in your career, most people only write one album maybe two.

BUT 5,000, wow!!

Both Alan and Preston continued their career playing on Aretha Franklin's 1980 album Aretha and Stacy Lattisaw's 1981 LP Sixteen. 

And later producing Johnny Gill and Stacy Lattisaw on their 1984 LP Perfect Combination and played on Teena Marie's 1984 album Starchild.

Glass also performed on Patti Austin's 1984 self-titled album, Aretha Franklin 1985 LP Who's Zoomin' Who? and Whitney Houston's 1985 self-titled album

Glass then produced Kenny G on his 1986 LP Duotones and George Benson on his 1986 album While the City Sleeps.

As well Glass performed on Stacy Lattisaw's 1986 LP Take Me All the Way, Aretha Franklin's 1986 album Aretha and Whitney Houston's 1987 LP Whitney. 

Glass later worked with Earth, Wind & Fire on their 1987 album Touch the World and Jennifer Holliday on her 1987 LP Get Close to My Love

Glass then produced George Benson on his 1988 LP Twice the Love, Kenny G on his 1988 LP Silhouette. He also composed on Diana Ross' 1989 LP Workin' Overtime and Natalie Cole's 1989 album Good to Be Back.

Alan continues his amazing career today, with not only writing for Aretha Franklin, George Benson and Earth Wind and Fire but, other acclaimed acts including;

Al Green, Kenny G, Shena Easton Lighthouse Family, Maxi Priest, George Benson, Aswad, BeX, Natalia, Liberty X, Mis-Teeq plus countless more including X Factor winners all over Europe.

It's not that often you get to speak with people in the business with such an impressive career and pedigree of writing credits but today was one of those days!

Alan is humble and down to earth with a great sense of humour and a real genuine love for music, a real privilege to speak with the legend himself and learn more about his journey as a songwriter and how he navigated the music business…

By Peter Moore

Pic: Layra Harmony 

A chat with Layra Harmony Creative Director and Fashion Stylist based in London.

29 July 2020

This week on The Entertainment Engine podcast BeX Gregory speak's with creative fashion director and stylist - Layra Harmony based in London.

Check out the podcast link below to listen more about Layra's experience in the fashion industry, available now to downland on all your favourite platforms;

Plus continue reading the blog to find out more.

Layra is an internationally published Creative Director and Fashion Stylist. Her work has been featured in various glossy magazines including Marie Claire, L'Officiel, Hollywood as well as in commercial publications.

Layra has well-established partnerships with elite model management agencies and high-end designer brands such as;

Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and plus more.

Layra is originally from picturesque mountainous Northern Caucasus, one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the world. Since early childhood, she has enjoyed various artistic and creative activities.

Layra started dancing classic ballet at the age of 4 and moved into ethnic dancing, later on, becoming a dance artist of the renowned dance company Lezginka and performing on big stages nationally & worldwide. At a point in her life, she moved to Israel to study.

During her Sports Sciences degree, she started working as a health & fitness expert as well as a nutrition consultant.

Following this degree, Layra studied in Sackler School of Medicine; medical sciences research with a focus on molecular biology and biochemistry. In parallel, she was working as a cardiac physiologist in Sourasky Medical Centre in Ihilov hospital.

This is when Channel 9+ invited her as a guest speaker to their 'Good Morning' TV show to talk about the impact of physical activity on our hormones of happiness Serotonin & Endorphin.

Nine years on, Lyra is in the UK developing and building her business. In 2010, she had a random opportunity to participate in a fashion editorial photoshoot for a US magazine. It was her first-ever experience in the industry. 

This photoshoot became her inspiration for a new hobby which naturally developed into a full-time career. 

A year later, in April 2011 she applied for a brand new BA degree 'Creative Direction For Fashion' in London College of Fashion, University Of The Arts. 

During the interview, it appeared Layra was overqualified' - ahead of the other applicants; portfolio and experience. 

So her final decision was not to proceed with the degree and continue progressing with her way, along with the then full-time job.

In March 2012 she produced her first fashion editorial which also was her first-ever published work. 

Layra assembles outstanding photoshoot production crews from her wide network of highly skilful artists: photographers, make up artists, hairstylists, dancers, musicians and assistants. 

She organised and art directed crews of 10 to 20 members, orchestrating the productions.

Layra appeared as a guest judge for the Best Dressed Lady competition in Dubai International Arabian Horse Race and as a panel judge in Tel Aviv - Riga Festival.

In addition, as a brand consultant, she sourced British designer brands for the Fit For Fashion reality show. 

Layra also styled celebrities for front covers and editorial features including the Profesional Boxer Antony Joshua, Dolce & Gabbana model David Gandy and Victoria Secret Model Alicia Rountree, as well as produced and art directed the photoshoots.


By Peter Moore

Ep 6 - Discussing Music Licensing options for Artists and Bands!

25 July 2020

Have you ever wondered how "licensing your music" works? Then check out the latest podcast show from the Entertainment Engine to find out more by clicking on the link below;

Plus on next weeks show  BeX will be joined by our first guest - Layra Harmony who is an internationally published Creative Director and Fashion Stylist based in London. 

Her work has been featured in various glossy magazines including Marie Claire and working with high-end designer brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Hugo Boss and Paul Smith to name just a few.

So be sure to subscribe to the show,  on your favourite platform so you never miss an episode...

By Pete Moore & BeX Gregory

Global Cinema experience ‘is over’ if movie studios hold back releases for another year!

20 July 2020

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has Hollywood studios holding off new releases and major theatre chains delaying their opening dates for moviegoers, but for how much longer!

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was originally expected to open on17 July but has been pushed until 12 August, while Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan has been delayed from July to 21 AugustThe sequel to John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, which was set to debut on 20 March, is now expected in early September 2020.

In response to the delay in release dates, theatre chains are holding off on opening their doors. AMC Theatres, the world’s largest cinema chain, initially planned to open on 15 July but has pushed the date back until 30 July.

Regal Cinemas, another major American movie theatre chain, also remains closed through the pandemic.

With postponed blockbuster release dates and the sustained closures of cinemas have had huge consequences for the film industry. The North American box office is expected to drop 61% per cent from 2019. Wedbush securities estimate that the box office will total $4.4bn in 2020, compared to $11.4bn in 2019.

Part of the uncertainty for theatres arises from the fact that some US states have not given any guidance about when they can reopen their doors.

With Maryland, New York, North Carolina, New Mexico and New Jersey have not given reopening dates, according to, The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).

Studios have said they are ready to release films when health officials give the green light for theatres to open again to the public.

Looking across the pond to UK cinemas they have taken a step closer to reopening with the publication of government-endorsed guidelines for operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A 29-page document, titled ‘Cinemas — keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19’, has been issued ahead of a government-approved reopening date of July 4 in England and comes pretty close to three months since cinemas shut their doors as part of a nationwide lockdown.

It covers all social distancing (which is reduced to one metre) and hygiene measures that should be considered both in and out of the auditorium to tackle the spread of the virus.

The guidelines currently only apply to England and not the devolved nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales at this time. The document will help exhibitors restart their businesses after a costly period of closures.

UK cinemas estimated loss of £5.7m ($7.1m) per day through a combination of eliminated revenues such as box office and screen advertising revenue, according to the UKCA.

With the reopening date of July 4 marking 105 days of closures since March 20, that adds up to total losses of £110.7m ($137.5m).

This week, exhibitors have been announcing plans to get back to business following a green light from the UK government to reopen cinemas from July 4. 

The Scottish Government made its own announcement the following day, setting a date of July 15.

All cinemas are expected to complete a Covid-19 risk assessment, in consultation with all unions, workers, before reopening their doors for business.

In these very uncertain times, we may just see more and more theatrical releases coming to the BIG streaming services; like Netflix, Amazon and Apple definitely watch this space. I believe the “entertainment” arena is going to look a lot more different over the coming months even years to come.

By Pete Moore

How to set up a DIY record label - Part 1

15 July  2020

Many record labels have been started by someone saying, "OK, right, I've got a record label!"  Really is it that easy to set up, let's take a closer look. 

Many of the best record labels have made it up as they've gone along. 

But, if you want to give yourself the best chance of success, and protecting your investment, you are going to have to go through a proper set-up process which is really important to do.

This podcast will help you get your label up and running with some interesting tips and useful information to help you on your creative journey…

Check out the link - Part 1 of "How to Start a DIY" Record label!

We hope you enjoy this podcast, so please share the show with one friend and you can subscribe to all your favourite platforms including -  Google podcast, Apple podcast and many others.

We look forward to sharing more podcast show with you... Enjoy!

By Pete Moore

The Entertainment Engine podcast series

10 Strategies To Promote your podcast. Part 1.

3rd July  2020

The “Entertainment Engine” podcast is just launching its first-ever podcast, so we decided to go to work, researching the best tips and strategies for getting a podcast seen by lots of people, downloaded as many times as we could, and hopefully listed on iTunes’, Spotify and Google list respectively.

How do people promote podcasts? Well, we haven’t promoted a podcast before until now!

Here’s what we found out and all that we’re very excited to do, below are the first 5 strategies/tips to promote your podcast the next blog will show the next 5 ideas for podcast promotion.

  1. iTunes is responsible for as much as 70% of a podcast’s listens and downloads.
  2. There are more than; 850,000 active podcasts, 30 million episodes, 100 languages.

1. Leverage your guest’s audience.

Make it easy for guests to share by creating snippets and quote images

We think it should be easy for guests to share and promote their podcast episode(s).

One idea is to send them a note on the day their podcast goes live and include a series of shareable media, for example:




Treat a podcast promotion like you would content promotion. Here are the specifics from the Growth Hackers thread:

Quality > Quantity

Solve a problem

Provide actionable insight

  1. Hustle just as hard to distribute your podcast as you did to create it
  2. Leverage your guest’s audience — maximise as much as possible

2. Promote your podcast on all social media in many different ways.

You can share rich media with, soundbites, video, images, teasers, — anything you can think of to promote your podcast to your potential audience

In the beginning, share an update when the episode goes live.

Some ideas:

Pin your episode tweet or Facebook post, featuring the iTunes URL.

Create quote images in Canva. Share these as standalone social updates with a link to iTunes.

Create 10/15-second soundbite clips. Upload to Soundcloud and share on social media platforms.

Tease the next episode 24 hours.

Reshare the podcast episode multiple times — across many platforms…

3. Release at least (3) episodes on your launch day.

Publish 3 to 5 episodes when you first launch your podcast.

From the research out there, the very minimum number of episodes to have at launch is three (3). In general, the more the better.

We have (3)shows completed before we launch our podcast, with a further two episodes planned for the following week.

1- Record and release several podcasts on launch day (3–5)

2- Build your audience before launching if you can (not easy)

4. Convert the audio to a YouTube video.

One thing we would like to do with the podcast is to repurpose it in as many ways as possible.

Some companies do cool things, mixing live video (on Facebook and Periscope) with the live podcast interview, now that's interesting.

We are very keen to add every episode of the podcast to our YouTube channel.

With a YouTube version, you can receive a handful of benefits:

  1. Video to share on social media
  2. Closed captioning and transcripts automatically from YouTube (great for accessibility if you’re not going to transcribe)
  3. SEO benefits

5. Submit your podcast to podcatchers and aggregators.

Podcatchers — a pretty cool name? — are simply apps that play podcasts.

The most popular one is the main podcast app in iOS; it’s the one with the purple icon and a picture of a microphone, you know what I mean.

Beyond the iOS podcatcher, there are many other apps that collect and play podcasts, and there are a host of websites that feature new podcasts and assist with the discovery of new shows.

Here’s a list of 12 of the more popular podcatchers:

Apple podcast


Google podcast


Radio public





Pocket Casts


Cast Box

Above are just a few points on how to promote your podcast, the next blog will be sharing some more interesting ways to share your podcast to the community.

We are ready to launch the “Entertainment Engine” podcast, so hopefully, some of the above points will help us too.

Good luck with your podcast show and let us all keep pushing the boundaries …

By Peter Moore

Subba Fest - Not Live, All Aid

26th June 2020

Over the weekend of June 26th to June 28th, Subba Fest is coming to a screen near you! Get excited, like properly excited…

The last few months have been tough for a lot of people. Nearly everyone on the planet has been affected in some way by the impact of COVID-19; whether it’s being apart from friends and family as a result of social distancing, changes to employment and working or even catching the virus and being unwell. For most of us, we've stayed home to stay safe, while our front-line workers have become our everyday heroes supporting those in need, at great personal risk to themselves.

Inspired by these incredible people, the Subba-Cultcha team decided we’d like to lend our support by trying to raise as much money as possible for charities supporting front-line workers. We’ll be hosting "Subba Fest – Not Live, All Aid", featuring an array of amazing up-and-coming artists. It will be hosted on our YouTube channel from June 26-28th and all money raised will be donated to Direct Relief and NHS Charities Together.

Who's performing?

We’ve curated performances from more than 50 awesome artists from across North America, the UK and Europe, covering nearly every genre of music available - it’s shaping up to be a cracking weekend of (not) live music! We’re adding more artists all the time, but so far confirmed we have: Georgia & The Vintage Youth, Jasmine Ward, Lorna Dea,  BeX, Kieran Taylour, Caitlin McCarthy, Leanne Jeffers, Maddox Jones, Me and Mae,  Ellie Moon, Sam Johnson, Two Car Train, Steven Malcolm, Caiine, Madeliene, Three Of Us, and Jekyll & Family Jools.

What do you mean ‘(not) live’ music?

The digital festival will feature recorded performances directly from the artists – captured raw and untouched from their homes. It will be free to access, but as the event is designed to raise money for charity, we've created a "donation ticket". Tickets are $5/£5/€5 (or however much you’d like to donate) and all money raised through ticket sales will be going to the charities, aside from a very small service fee.

Why is Subba Fest happening?

In short, we miss live music. With all physical shows and festivals cancelled for the foreseeable, we wanted to create something a bit different for music fans around the world – and do our bit for front-line charities. We also wanted to provide an opportunity for great up-and-coming artists to be heard at a time when, sadly, all live music venues have fallen silent. So Subba-Fest will bring you exclusive performances from lots of different artists – some names you’ll know and others you might not, yet. That’s the joy of music festivals – creating a memory with the musicians you love but also stumbling across a new band or singer on the verge of breaking through.

Follow us across our socials for further announcements as we get closer to the 26th and if you'd like to donate by buying a ticket, simply click the orange "Buy Ticket" button at the top of the page!

We look forward to (not) seeing you on the 26th!!

by Mark Jennings

To watch Subba-Fest on our YouTube channel from 8PM GMT head to:

Insta: @subba_cultcha_com

Twitter: @subbacultchacom

Courtesy of SXSW Film Festival

‘My Darling Vivian’: SXSW Film Review

21st June 2020

The team at seamless work with some really talented composers and recently came across composer Ian Hughes on our travels- who has worked on several projects including, the feature film 'American Bred' starring Academy Award nominee Michael Lerner (Godzilla, Elf, Mirror Mirror). 

2019 he scored 'The Onania Club' dir. by Tom Six (director of Human Centipede Trilogy), and just finished working with Johnny Cash's grandson Dustin Tittle on the documentary 'My Darling Vivian' dir. Matt Riddlehoover…

I recently was exposed to Ian's composing skills, which complemented the project, 'My Darling Vivian' so I decided to take a deeper look at the documentary based on Johnny Cash wife - Vivian Liberto, which is a fascinating counterpoint to the Johnny Cash mythos.

“My Darling Vivian” offers a sympathetic portrait of the late country great’s first wife, Vivian Liberto, that stands in stark contrast to the woman’s unflattering depiction in the 2005 biopic “Walk the Line.

To be sure, director Matt Riddlehoover’s documentary — which had been scheduled to premiere last month at the SXSW Film Festival, and instead bowed on Amazon Prime — often has the air of an authorized biography, in that it consists almost entirely of talking-heads testimonies by the couple’s four daughters, ranging in age from late 50s to mid-60s: singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash, Tara Cash Schwoebel.

 But neither they nor the movie as a whole seems overly intent on revisionist score-settling with June Carter Cash, Johnny’s second wife, whom the women indicate took far more credit than she was entitled when it came to raising them, and who’s widely credited (again, according to the mythos) with “saving” their father from self-destruction after he divorced their mother.

Rather, the daughters are much more concerned with setting the record straight about a complex woman too long relegated to the status of a footnote, or worse, on those rare occasions when she’s been acknowledged at all.

“My Darling Vivian” was a labour of love, in more ways than one: Riddlehoover made it with his husband and production partner, Dustin Tittle, a grandson of Vivian and Johnny Cash. Deftly illustrating the testimonies with a treasure trove of material — photos, home movies, personal correspondence — provided by the daughters, the filmmakers have fashioned a narrative that begins as a sweet fairy-tale romance, then gradually turns sour.

The daughter of a devoutly Catholic Sicilian-American family in San Antonio, Vivian Liberto was 17 when she met Johnny Cash, then an Air Force cadet, at a skating rink. (During one of the documentary’s most amusing sequences, the daughters offer contradictory accounts of how he did or didn’t, deliberately bump into her to break the ice.) 

They fell in love before he was shipped off to duty in Germany, and continued their relationship by exchanging love letters virtually on a daily basis. Occasionally, he would also send her recordings of spoken words, and songs.

They married shortly after his return to the United States, and moved to Memphis, where he hoped to find work — and soon launched his musical career with Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Before long, Johnny was on performance tours that lasted for weeks and months at a time, leaving Vivian to raise their slowly growing family more or less on her own.

 It was a pattern that continued — indeed, worsened — as his success allowed them to afford a spacious yet secluded mountaintop home in Casitas Springs, Calif.

It was supposed to be a dream house, but, as the daughters recall, dreams have a nasty habit of turning into nightmares. While their father was away for increasingly lengthy stretches, they were repeatedly bothered by unannounced (and unwanted) visits from fans and plagued by even worse pests. 

At one point, Vivian used a shotgun to kill a large rattlesnake in their driveway.

Each of the daughters has memorable stories to tell — Cindy Cash remembers being distraught when she saw her father “killed” while guest-starring on an episode of TV’s “The Rebel” — but Rosanne Cash is the one who gets the lion’s share of screen time, and she uses it effectively. She is especially poignant as she remembers the first time her father seemed “different” (i.e., diminished by drug use) when he returned home, and how, even as a child, she could sense he was drifting awfully close to another entertainer, June Carter.

Arguably the most unsettling scenes in “My Darling Vivian” involve Johnny Cash’s 1965 arrest for possession of amphetamines in El Paso. When Vivian flew to Texas to stand by her man, many people who saw her in a widely disseminated news photo mistook the Sicilian-American as African-American — at a time when mixed-race marriages were illegal in several states, and racist hate-mongers would launch vicious attacks on anyone they thought might be “passing” for white. Vivian and her daughters feared (with ample justification) they might get a late-night visit from the KKK while alone in their mountaintop home, and Johnny felt compelled to release documentation to prove his wife was indeed Caucasian so she would not be threatened (and he could continue performing in the South).

“My Darling Vivian” repeatedly emphasizes that, while the couple’s divorce was inevitable after a certain point, Vivian (who died in 2005 at age 71) was most certainly not a shrill and nagging harpy who drove her man away, an impression one might easily get from “Walk the Line.” (Ironically, that biopic took its name from the title of a song Johnny actually wrote for his first wife.) Instead, the documentary persuasively makes the case that she was a loving mother who, despite her love for Johnny, simply wasn’t an infinitely patient wife.

‘My Darling Vivian’: SXSW Film Review

Reviewed online, Houston, April 26, 2020. (In SXSW Film Festival.) Running time: 90 MIN.

Production: (Documentary) A This Heart of Mine presentation of an Element Twenty Two production. (Int'l sales: The Film Collaborative, Los Angeles.) Producers: Dustin Tittle, Matt Riddlehoover.

Crew: Director, editor: Matt Riddlehoover. Camera: Josh Moody. Music: Ian A. Hughes. With: Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash Tittle, Cindy Cash, Tara Cash Schwoebel. By Joe Leydon.

Supported by

 Seamless Entertainment Ltd

Is podcasting the new Record label, Radio station, and Marketing tool?

8th June 2020

Over the past several years, podcasting has become a mainstream way for people, companies and businesses to share their message with the world.

You don’t have to fight with a social media algorithm, you just upload a new podcast episode each week or month and your subscribers can listen instantly on many platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Google Podcast etc.

It does feel like wherever you turn people are starting to really recognize the power of podcasting, we think this is very exciting and is most definitely a way of exposing people to your services or products.

Podcasting awareness has exploded in recent years. In 2006, only 22% of consumers knew what a podcast was, but by 2019 64% of consumers were aware of podcasting, now that is a huge jump in only a decade. 

By 2022, it’s estimated that podcast listening will grow to 132 million people in the United States, which is extremely positive. The top countries for podcasting as of March 2019 include Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, and China

Podcasts are the most popular medium in South Korea, with 58% of the population listening to podcasts.

Just in recent days, Joe Rogan has signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, which will see his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, disappear from all other platforms. The deal is believed to be worth $100m (£82 million), according to the Wall Street Journal.

Joe Rogan’s podcast, which is one of the most popular in the world, will arrive on the streaming giant (Spotify) on September 1st. It will then be housed on Spotify exclusively by the end of the year and removed from all other podcast platforms.

The team at Seamless Entertainment believe podcast is a great medium and positive way to express your individual or company message, with Joe Rogan working with Spotify from September.

In a funny way, we see this a positive and not a negative for all independent artists, musicians and bands moving forward.

With Music, Film, TV, Comedy and Tech the most popular podcast in US households. With music, showing 61.1 million households being big fans.

 With TV/Movies the second most popular podcast with 60.5 million households.

The entertainment engine podcast is sponsored by seamless entertainment and is a new and exciting podcast show. Which I am proud to be part of hosting the show with Becky Gregory.

The entertainment engine podcast will be providing helpful tips and information on navigating the entertainment industry across; Music, Film and TV, with informal chats and discussions, providing in-depth knowledge, advice and professional experience.

We’ll also have special guests on the show from the world of entertainment along with keeping our listeners updated with current industry news, fun facts and trends.

The weekly show will launch in the coming weeks, the first episodes will be based on “What qualities to look for in a music manager” Part 1 and Part 2.

The show will follow the above format each week with a new discussion from within the entertainment area, the show will also include, entertainment news from the majors and indies.

We have a special section of the show called the “engine-spotlight” on NEW independent acts/bands from around the globe, plus the show will have a weekly twist with some “fun facts” and a Question of the day for our listeners…

So I hope you get a chance to check the show out. As you can see, podcasting is exploding in the US and around the world

People are listening to more podcasts than ever before, which is really cool!

It would be great to have your feedback on the show, so you can always drop us a message anytime, that would be great!

So, make sure you subscribe to the podcast on so, you never miss an episode.

We look forward to welcoming you to the show.

Written by: Peter Moore

Credit: Michael-Giacchino


Planet Of The Apes: Wes Ball Has 'A New Take' That Continues The Story

29th  May 2020

Back in December, we learned that Wes Ball, heretofore best known as the director behind the Maze Runner trilogy, had been handed the keys to the Planet Of The Apes franchise, which had been successfully brought back to life for the prequel films directed by Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves. 

And, talking to Discussing Film, he outlined how he's moving forward.

"We have a take," he says. "We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff. Again, I’m trying to be careful here.

 I’ll say this, for fans of the original three don’t worry – you’re in good hands. The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they’re also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. 

We will feel like we’re part of that original trilogy, but at the same time, we’re able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible."

He acknowledges the challenge of living up to what has come before, and also brings up how the film might potentially start shooting earlier than some thanks to technology. 

"We have a giant art team cranking away on some incredible concept art. We’ve got the screenplay continuing to move forward, that will take the time that it takes, and so that’s all good. 

Planet Of The Apes is moving forward, baby! Not only that, but we could actually be in virtual production relatively soon because it’s largely a CG movie." 

There's no date for the movie yet, for obvious reasons, but at least it sounds like real progress. For more from Ball, head to Discussing Film's site.

Sources Links

Discussing Film

By: James White

Credit: Disney

The Mandalorian Season 2 Won’t Be Delayed By Coronavirus, Says Disney CEO

18th May 2020

With the Coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, all kinds of productions are delayed and plenty of highly-anticipated movies and TV series have had to pump the brakes. 

But Star Wars fans needn’t worry about the next season of Disney+ series The Mandalorian – according to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, there won’t be any setbacks in Mando and Baby Yoda’s next set of adventures hitting the streaming service on time.

Speaking to CNBC, Chapek spoke about the impact Covid-19 is having on the entertainment pipeline – and confirmed that it’s only films and series shut down mid-shoot that are facing difficulties. 

“We have a certain amount of inventory that we’ve got, particularly for Disney+, that is still fuelling the machine. It’s important to know that pre-production, the development phase, can still happen during these times of lockdown. And post-production can still happen. So it’s only films that are mid-stream, right in the middle of production,” he said. “Take, for example, The Mandalorian – [that] was shot before COVID really hit, so we’ve been in post-production, and there will be no delay on Mandalorian. Same thing for Black Widow, which is coming out in November.”

Notably, Chapek didn’t offer any updates on the Marvel shows currently scheduled for arrival this year on Disney+ – The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Loki – which were all reportedly forced to halt production amid the pandemic. Still, it’s good news about The Mandalorian, which is expected to return with weekly episodes around October this year. 

Recently, filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Peyton Reed confirmed they have directed instalments of the upcoming season – and reports indicate that fan-favourite Star Wars universe characters like Ahsoka Tano and Boba Fett will be popping up in the upcoming episodes. We’ll find out how it all plays out later this year.

By Ben Travis 

Steven Knight And Tom Hardy Working On Great Expectations Adaptation

15th  May 2020

Steven Knight and Tom Hardy clearly enjoy collaborating, because they've worked together on several shows and films. They're back together behind the scenes for a second Charles Dickens adaptation, this time Great Expectations.

Knight will produce the miniseries alongside Hardy, Ridley Scott, Dean Baker, David W Zucker and Kate Crowe, and it'll be shown on the Beeb in the UK and FX in the US, as with Christmas Carol.

"Adapting Dickens’ work is a delight. I chose Great Expectations as the next work to bring to the screen not just because of the timeless characters, but also because of the very timely story," Knight tells Deadline. "A story of class mobility and class intransigence told through an intensely emotional and personal first-person narrative. As the son of a Blacksmith myself, Pip’s journey from the forge into society is a very special one to me."

The coming-of-age tale has been adapted many times, including movies in 1998, 1946, and 2012, and a TV version in 2011.

Source link: 


By: James White

Ariana Grande facing 7 Rings Lawsuit

10th May  2020

Ariana’s popular 2019 hit ‘7 rings’ is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Josh Stone for infringing the copyright rights of his song ‘You Need It, I Got It’, a song produced in 2017. 

He is alleging that Universal Music and Tommy Brown have used a substantial part of his work and had access to the song, therefore infringing his copyright rights.

He claims that he played the song in 2017 for music executives and producers, including Tommy Brown who has worked with the popular artist for all 5 of her studio albums and alleging that Tommy liked the song a lot. Therefore, Tommy has knowingly infringed his work and copied him in the chorus of Ariana Grande’s ‘7 rings’.

He is also claiming that two forensic musicologists have found that the rhythm and notes within the song are similar as well. Josh Stone is alleging that the 39 notes in the songs, as well as segments of the lyrics, are identical.

John Stone is seeking damages as a result of a loss of reputation he otherwise would have gained if he was credited on the song. He is also looking to destroy all copies of the song.

If it is found that ‘7 rings’ has taken a significant part then it’s likely that John Stone’s case has succeeded. This is because copyright protects the song for 70 years when published and as a colleague has listened to the song, and used part of it, and the fact of the similarity, Stone would be awarded damages. However, it is also possible for this to result in a settlement as the court fees for a case like this could be quite expensive.

Mark Reed - Lawdit solicitors

How To Finance Movies For Independent Filmmakers

3rd May 2020

Wondering ‘how are movies financed?’ or ‘where does film financing and funding comes from?. I assure you, it is not easy to finance movies or slates (two or more movies). This article will help demystify financing independent films, and provide tips and suggestions to help explain how to go about financing movies.

You will have to work hard and be transparent and professional to have any chance of securing trust and obtaining film funding from film finance companies. This will be hard to achieve in terms of equity, debt or bank finance from potential stakeholders. You may even have some film investment from friends or family. Being an indie filmmaker and an indie musician is quite similar, and you can learn tips from both industries that can help. So, let’s look more closely at your options.

The Idea And Concept:

All movies start with a moment of inspiration. I call it the lightbulb moment from the producer, screenwriter or director. This could appear whilst sitting in the office, or driving in your car. You never know where this moment can occur!

Good ideas and concepts are the foundation of any movie project. Ideas for movies can be original or adapted from a novel or real-life events turned into a screenplay. Screenwriters usually have the initial idea, but it is the producer who oversees production and is in charge of raising money for the film.

Protecting Your Work:

From equity players to banks, producers come up with ideas and are well versed in financing movies. Unfortunately, ideas cannot be protected by copyright or any other intellectual property right. This is because copyright exists only in the tangible expression of ideas. For example, copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems or methods. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself. This is referred to as the idea/expression dichotomy.

Therefore, all independent filmmakers must take measures to protect their ideas and stories. They should only divulge their project after taking protective measures (such as having a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement). I would also suggest subscribing to producer errors and omissions insurance and multimedia risk insurance. This covers legal liability and provides defence for the company against lawsuits around unauthorised uses, plagiarism, formats, ideas, characters, plots, and unfair competition.

Another area to consider to protect your movie concept is sending the script to yourself (the copyright holder) in the post with all of the screenwriters, director and producer’s notes. Send it using First Class recorded delivery, and only open under the instruction of a legal advisor in the event of a lawsuit. It is best to have the “belt and braces “approach!

Development Of Film Financing:

The next stage of movie development is to turn an idea into a script ready for pre-production, and finally full production when the film’s finance is ready.

Development funding is the funding that you need to invest into your movie idea until it is in the position for presenting to your potential investors. Development movie finance is used to pay the writer. While the script is being written, this will pay the producer’s travel expenses to the major film markets in order to plan and execute the contracts for pre-sales financing.

Script Development:

Once the film development and funding is in place, negotiations can begin between the screenwriter and the producer (or production company).

The screenwriter will hire an agent (or may already have one) who will represent them. Agents are critical in ensuring that the writer’s interests are represented in the process, ensuring that the screenwriter is paid in accordance with what the writer’s IP (intellectual property) rights could be valued in the future.

The producer does have an alternative option for the film project to move forward, as they can buy the movie rights to the material from which the script was adapted outright, or buy an portion. The first transaction is an assignment of copyright. Buying a portion of the film rights means that the producer owns the right to develop the film, but only for a certain amount of time. This is around 6-12 months or longer, and is an exclusive licence of the copyright.

In either case, the producer is the only person allowed to develop the movie idea into a full screenplay. He will then pay the screenwriter a fee, with agreed future installments. The producer may also agree to pay the screenwriter a higher amount for film rights once shooting begins. The writer then begins drafting the screenplay synopsis. Unlike a ‘treatment’ (a summary of everything that happens in a screenplay), a synopsis includes the most important parts of the story.

Packaging The Film Project:

Once the script is complete, the producer will send it across to the directors to gauge their interest. The director/producer will then decide how to film the movie, and who they will employ to support them.

A common way to make the movie project more commercial is to attach well-known actors to the script. This can come with a big fee, depending on the actor and their representatives. Reasons for this can be attributed to many factors, for example, the fee, travel, and scheduling.

Potential investors would want to know how the producer plans to raise the money, and how they plan to pay back the investor over the course of the next 3-5 years. This will come down to a solid business plan, keeping the process as seamless as possible. Agents and artist managers are key players within the movie business, as they structure the deals. Having strong relationships in this space is as important as having a strong story on which to base your project.

Film Financing:

Film-making is an expensive business, and the producer must secure enough finance to make the film at the highest possible standards to stand a chance in the film marketplace.

To obtain the financing from film financing companies, the producer must travel and meet with all potential investors, partners, banks and/or sponsors. The producer’s attorney will draw up contracts to agree on the financing deals between the producer, equity investors, film financiers and banks. As a detailed process, you will need to be guided by your attorney.


Once the financing is in place, the film production company can hire cast and crew with detailed shoot preparation.

Make a clear distinction between above-the-line personnel (director, screenwriter and producer) who began their involvement during the film’s development, and the below-the-line ‘technical’ crew, who are involved only with the full production stage.

The Film Shoot And Production:

Filmmakers must take a careful approach to green lighting a movie project. Make sure to get unanimous consent from producers, directors, sales agents and the board of directors of the film’s incorporated company before proceeding.

A large film production can involve hundreds of people and crew, and it can be a struggle to keep up with the shooting schedule and budget. Strict and clear planning and agreed timelines for the film’s completion is necessary. If film production falls behind schedule, the financiers and the completion bond insurers may step in and take over the project in order to mitigate the possible losses and keep the film on time and within budget. This will only happen in extreme circumstances.


Allow me to explain the post-production process in more detail. It usually starts during the movie shoot, or as soon as the first ‘rushes’ (raw footage and sound) are available. As the footage comes in, the editor will turn it into scenes and assemble it into a narrative sequence for the movie.

The editor will then read the script and storyboards and look at the rushes. With this information, they will cut the film according to what makes the story better for the big screen.

Movie Sales:

While the film is still in post-production, the producer will try to sell it to international distributors (if they have not sold the rights at the financing stage).

Filmmakers must have a pre-sales distribution and a clear market strategy in place that benefits the back-end commercials of the movie. While targeting the major film markets like Cannes, Berlin, London, Toronto, Tribeca and Sundance.

Movie Marketing:

As the finishing touches are being made, the distributors will plan their marketing and PR strategy to sell the movie to the public and movie theatres.

Knowing your audience is key, and the marketing and PR team will run test screenings to see how the film is going to be received. Publishing Press kits, posters, flyers, newspaper and magazine ads will build awareness and visibility on a commercial platform.


Cinema expedition (also known as theatrical release) is still the primary channel for films to reach their audiences. Box office success equals financial success for the movie project, so it is very important. Film distributors usually release a film with a launch party, a premiere, press releases, interviews, press preview screenings, and so on.

The Studio Model:

The strategy here is to put together 3-5 films of a similar genre, and approach investors with a slate of similar films. If just one film is successful, it will pay off.

While this strategy consisting of the mitigation of your risks sounds great, a reality check is necessary. Do you really think that you can get more than one project together? Look very carefully at this area, and seek advice from your professional advisors.

Government Film Funding:

Many countries have attractive tax and investment incentives for movie makers. For example, Europe’s MEDIA programme has 20+ programmes for media and filmmakers. You will need to apply for this funding.

Another example is the UK government, which pumps millions of pounds into British films every year with National Lottery funds. Following the demise of the UK Film Council, UK public money is now distributed by the British Film Institute (BFI).


This is a cash investment for your movie project from a single investor, or a group of investors. Equity film investments require investors to own a stake or percentage of the film (i.e. the operating structure, or special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the movie). You can expect an investment return of around 20% before profits are seen, but negotiating higher equity is not out of the question depending on the deal you have agreed.

Pre Sales And Co-Productions:

Pre-sales agreements are pre-arranged contracts made with film distributors before the movie is produced. They are based on the strength and quality of the project once it has been reviewed by the distributors. Factors include the script, the attached talent, the team involved, and the marketing strategy. Once you enter the pre-sales agreements, there are a couple of ways to proceed

  • You can take out a bank loan using the pre-sales as collateral
  • You can receive a direct payment at a discount from the distributors themselves.

This strategy requires the filmmaker to either repay the loan based on the pre-sales, or receive a direct payment from the distributors before profiting. The filmmaker will likely have to personally guarantee the loan or advance payment in the event that the movie cannot be completed. Due to the complexity of these pre-sales deals, it is wise to consult with your professional advisors before entering into this type of agreement.

Loans/Gap Or Bridge Financing:

If the producer has raised equity for the movie, they may be able to procure a loan from a bank or private lender on the unsold territories of the movie. There are possible additional elements of collateral, such as the intellectual property or corporate guarantees.

Gap financing is only available when other elements have been agreed, and there is security for the investor to bridge the movie funding against.

Film Tax Credits:

Interestingly, tax credits are useful for filling in the gaps between the money raised and the budget of the film.

Individual states in the US and other countries allow producers to subsidise the money spent on production through tax benefits/incentives. Tax credits are based on an application process, and are often very difficult to obtain for a movie.

UK Film Tax Relief is:

  • UK Film Tax Relief (FTR) is available for all British qualifying films of any budget level. The film production company can claim a payable cash rebate of up to 25% of UK qualifying expenditure.
  • Tax Relief is capped at 80% of core expenditure. So, even if you spend 100% of the qualifying expenditure in the UK, tax relief is payable on up to 80%.
  • There is no budget limit.

The US State Tax Relief Options:

  • Movie Production Incentives: This refers to any number of film tax credit programs, perks and spending incentives that the state offers.
  • Film Tax Credits: This covers a portion of income tax that a production company would owe to that state.
  • Cash Rebates: This is a percentage of a production company’s spending, distributed to production companies after filming.
  • Grants: These are given to production companies before the production process starts.
  • Sales Tax Exemptions: This area covers a portion of in-state spending by a production company by starting with minimum budget spends.
  • Lodging Exemptions: This covers a portion of in-state hotel spending taxes. It usually applies to all members of the film shoot residing over 30 days.


Crowdfunding companies such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Ulule, Junction and Rockethub are serious contenders in the film space to help you raise money. These are contributions-based model for capital to be raised without selling any equity.

The strategy is that you get rewards (like DVDs, t-shirts, dinner with the film director or movie star). You should also offer these rewards to friends and family and encourage them to make a contribution. The idea is to build a community who believes in your story. Standing out in the crowd is important in this competitive space. Therefore, you will need a really solid and structured business plan to successfully approach crowdfunding.


Most independent filmmakers will defer their producer fees in order to lessen the amount of money they need to raise. The problem with this is that they are working for free and relying on the film’s success for payment. This method is a gamble, especially since all deferred fees will only be paid after the loans and investors have recouped the initial investment.

Whether a first time or experienced filmmaker/producer, you will probably have to use a combination of these financing options. The key is to present a completed, professional package with relevant, legally airtight attachments. It is also important to have a solid budget, and an experienced person onboard to lend gravitas, awareness and visibility to the movie.

Film Financing: A Summary:

I hope the above information helps to provide you with some understanding around how movies are financed. You can now begin with a clear idea of how to start your project.

In today’s world, it is very difficult to raise finance in general. Having clear information on where to start and who to talk to is vital. I wish you great success in your movie projects and future endeavours. Stay motivated, research your options thoroughly and remember that planning and organisation is key.

Please see the original article at:

Written By: Pete Moore

Image: Marvel

Spider-Man's Next Movies Shifting Release Dates

27th April  2020

The tide of movie release date shifts continues to sweep all films to new slots, and no one is invulnerable – just ask Tom Cruise. Now Sony and Marvel's Spider-Plans are completely affected, as the next live-action Spidey film and animated Spider-Verse are both being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let's now look at the next installment of the current main Spider-Man series, starring Tom Holland ( some have already made a joke, which could be titled Spider-Man: Working From Home). Originally dated for 16th July 2021, it will now debut on 5th November 2021. Given that the live-action movies fall (for now) within the MCU, that has Disney/Marvel moving Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness from November 2021 to 25th March 2022. In that same announcement, Thor: Love And Thunder was moved up a week to 11th Feb 2022.

Talking of Tom Holland films – the long-gestating Uncharted adaptation, which had been shooting for all of one day before the production was shut down because of the world-wide pandemic of Covid-19, is now going to arrive July 16th, 2021, which represents a move forward from its original October date of that year.

As for the Spider-Verse follow-up, that will be delayed from April 2022 to 7 October 2022. 

Sources Links

The Hollywood Reporter

Note on Copyright and Infringement

15th April 2020

Copyright Cases have become more prevalent in recent years with more high-profile cases. Such as the Katy Perry Dark Horse case and the ongoing Led Zeppelin case. This arises the question of why?

Firstly, lets cover what Copyright is concerning songs. When a song has been created and documented or recorded it becomes copyright protected. To document this, there needs to be a way of producing a date of when it was created, so that you have copyright protection from that date for the next 70 Years. The most common methods of this are mailing the song to yourself, or have some form of time record by emailing the song to yourself. Once this has been fulfilled you have the sole authority to copy, licence, perform and broadcast your work as you now have copyright rights for that work.

These rights are important, as they allow you as the owner to do what you want with the work you created. As well as this, in the result of an infringement you are able to claim compensation for the damage of reputation you might have face, or obtain a percentage of royalties from the infringing song.

What happens when someone has a song which is similar or identical to your song?

Firstly, you need to get in touch with a law firm who can act on your behalf to take legal action so they can try to obtain a settlement which best suits your needs/preferences and if it comes to it litigation. A settlement is a way to negotiate with the offending party, so that you come to an amicable agreement regarding royalties for licencing and being given writing credits. If this amicable agreement can not take place and they deny that they have used your work, legal action is the only route where the court can decide whether they have infringed your copyright rights or not.

There is a fine line with music copyright infringement, which is the result of the law allowing people to use someone else’s song if they are modified to the extent that they are unrecognisable to the ear. If they do not satisfy this requirement, they must obtain permission from the artist. Anything else it is for the court to decide whether it is distinct enough from the claimant’s original work.

It seems that more and more relatively unknown artists are using their copyright rights to obtain huge financial settlements from well-known artists, if they find that there are similarities between their works. However, there is an exception if an artist is so unknown that the popular infringing artist would never have heard their song, then they wouldn’t be infringing their copyright.

Mark Reed - Lawdit solicitors

Image: Marvel

Disney gives Black Widow and Mulan new release dates, moves Artemis Fowl to Disney Plus. Almost every Marvel movie has shifted

6th April 2020

Disney is making a number of changes to its upcoming theatrical release dates in order to accommodate delayed films like Black Widow and Mulan. The studio’s upcoming Artemis Fowl movie, originally set to release on May 29th, is now ditching theaters entirely for a Disney Plus debut later this summer.

Mulan will now open on July 24th, four months after the film was originally set to open on March 27th. The move suggests that Disney believes people will be going back to theaters by mid-July to watch big blockbusters. Fox’s Free Guy, which stars Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds, will now open on December 11th instead of July 1st, and Jungle Cruise moves back a full year to July 30th, 2021.

Other notable delays from Disney include the untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie going from July 9th, 2021 to July 29th, 2022, and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch moving from July 24th to October 16th. New Mutants, Fox’s constantly delayed X-Men movie, notably does not have a new release date.

In order for Disney to release Black Widow — the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home — in 2020, a number of Marvel movies have shifted their dates, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Black Widow will now open on November 6th, which was originally held by The Eternals. The Eternals will now open on February 12th, 2021, a spot originally held for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The release date bumping continues as such. Shang-Chi will now open on May 7th, 2021, which moves Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to November 5th, 2021. Thor: Love and Thunder will now open on February 28th, 2022. Black Panther 2’s May 8th, 2022 release date remains unchanged, but Captain Marvel will open two weeks early on July 8th, 2022

“To avoid catastrophic losses to the studios, these titles must have the fullest possible theatrical release around the world,” an earlier statement from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) reads. “While one or two releases may forgo theatrical release, it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal.”

That doesn’t mean Disney is rearranging every movie to ensure they all receive theatrical releases. Instead, Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney Plus, the company’s streaming service. Disney previously made Frozen 2 available on Disney Plus three months early and moved Pixar’s Onward to digital retailers and Disney Plus early, as well.

What we’re seeing instead is studios like Disney — among others like Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. — starting to make pipeline decisions. The question for many of these studios is which films are likely to generate a good return on investment (Mulan, Black Widow) and which ones might perform better as digital and streaming exclusives (Artemis Fowl).

Correction (April 3rd, 5:30pm ET): An earlier version of this story said The Jungle Book was delayed to 2021, but should have read Jungle Cruise. The story has been updated to reflect these changes. We regret the error.

By Julia Alexander - Apr 3, 2020


Universal to Make ‘Trolls World Tour,’ ‘The Hunt,’ ‘Invisible Man’ Available Early on Home Entertainment

31st  March 2020

With movie theaters closing or reducing seating capacity due to coronavirus, Universal Pictures will make its movies available on home entertainment on the same day as the films’ global theatrical releases.

The initiative will kick off with DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour,” which is scheduled to debut on April 10 in the U.S. The company will also make films that are currently in theaters available on-demand starting as early as Friday, March 20. These films include the horror movies “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man,” as well as “Emma,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel from Focus, Universal’s specialty label.

The films will be available for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and for roughly the same price in international markets. The announcement is a blow to movie theaters, which have long resisted any attempts to shorten the amount of time that movies are available exclusively on the big screen.

“Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement. “We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.

“Trolls World Tour” is the latest tentpole to shake up its release plans as Hollywood grapples with coronavirus. Last week, Universal pushed “Fast and Furious” installment “F9” back a year, while Paramount’s “A Quiet Place 2,” Disney’s “Mulan” and MGM’s James Bond movie “No Time to Die’ were indefinitely shelved.

The move by Universal to release “Trolls World Tour” on digital comes after the domestic box office plummeted to a two-decade low last weekend. In light of concerns about coronavirus, movie theater chains limited the amount of tickets sold in individual auditoriums to avoid crowding and increased sanitation efforts.  

By - Brent Lang

Rolling Stones unreleased songs made public for a day to extend copyright duration.

27th March 2020

On New Year’s Eve, 75 rare Rolling Stones songs were released on YouTube. It seems that this has been done to stop the songs from entering the public domain as their copyright rights were expiring, and by placing the songs on YouTube they have just before they expired they have extended the lifespan of the copyright protection.

These songs were made public on YouTube by the YouTube account 69RSTRAX, who posted the collection of the 75 unreleased songs and recordings. These videos contained no commentary or explanation and were set to private just hours later on the 1st of January.

69RSTRAX’s YouTube channel was only made two days before the recordings were made public and the profile had no personal details, only an email address which linked to business enquires at ABKCO – the music publishing company which own the rights to a substantial amount of the early recordings of the Rolling Stones catalogue.

Copyright is a right which happens upon the creation of the work. Sound recordings are protected regardless of the software or the method in which the sound is reproduced. Upon creation of a sound recording, it will have copyright rights for the duration of 50 years from the end of the calendar year that the recording was made. This duration can be extended by a further 20 years if the music is published during the 50-year period or if it is played or communicated in public.

By posting these sound recordings on the biggest video sharing platform, ABKCO’s recordings of the Rolling Stones songs have been lawfully communicated to the public and therefore extended the duration of the copyright for a further 20 years, meaning that the songs are still protected and not part of the public domain. This may be questionable dependent on whether the EU would deem it as being sufficient with regards to the public communication of the works, as the songs were only accessible for a few hours and seems more like a ploy to extend the duration of its copyright rights. Written by Owen White Third Year Law Student at Solent University .

Mark Reed Lawdit Solicitors.


16th March 2020

Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) continues to see its market cap valuation driven dramatically down by fears over the spread of the so-called Coronavirus.

Today (March 11) the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially categorised COVID-19 as a “pandemic”.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said today: “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”

Noting successful efforts to curb the speed of the virus’s spread in South Korea and China, he added: “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a Coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.

“WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases… We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” As much as this is worrying news for the world’s general population, it’s especially so for Live Nation’s board and its investors.

UPDATE: The live concerts giant’s share price finished today on the New York Stock Exchange 16.58% down on the prior day.

That means, according to Google Finance data and MBW calculations, Live Nation has seen $1.8bn wiped off its market cap value in the past 24 hours – down to an end-of-trading valuation today of $9.01bn.

In the past week (from trading close on Wednesday, March 4 to now), Live Nation’s share price has tumbled 29.7% (from $59.77 to $42.01), representing a market cap value fall of $3.8bn.

As recently as three weeks ago, at close on February 19, Live Nation’s stock reached a year-high, at $76.08. From then to now, the firm’s share price has fallen by a painful 44.8% – not far off cutting Live Nation’s public value in half – with its market cap plummeting by $7.3bn.

Today’s news comes amid a raft of commercial damage wrought on the live music industry by Coronavirus fears. SXSW, which was due to kick off this Friday (March 13) has been cancelled for 2020, as have other events including Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference.

US festival Coachella, meanwhile, has re-scheduled its April dates into October as the live music business hopes to ride out the worst of Coronavirus fears through the summer.


How To Get All of the Royalties You Never Knew Existed..

3rd  March 2020 

A 2015 Berklee College of Music report found that anywhere from 20-50% of music payments do not make it to their rightful owners. The indie publishing powerhouse Kobalt calculated that there are “over 900,000 distinct royalty payments for artists and songwriters.” What are these royalties? Where do they come from? And most importantly, how do you get them?

I’m not gonna lie, it’s complicated. But I’m going to attempt to lay all of this out as simply as possible. In plain English. I’m here for you. We’ll get through this together.

OK, let’s go.  

Artist’ vs. ‘Songwriter’

As you study more about the music business, you’ll see the distinction over and over again between “artist” and “songwriter”. It’s an important distinction to make because the royalties for “artists” and the royalties for “songwriters” are completely different.

The reason I’m putting quotes around “artists” and “songwriters” is because so many of us are both. And many of us use these terms interchangeably. And back in the day, when labels started signing artists who also wrote their own songs (which, at the time, was quite unique), they put in clauses in the contract to limit the royalties they’d (legally) have to pay out to their newly signed artists/songwriters.  One of these clauses is the infamous Controlled Composition Clause.

The major labels have always tried to screw artists out of money. They look out for their own best interests and use artists’ ignorance (and blind pursuit of fame) to manipulate and deceive. This is part of the reason why so many established artists and songwriters have jumped ship from their major labels (and major publishers) and headed over to Kobalt.

A quick history lesson.

Before the digital age, royalties were difficult to track. But there were fewer platforms to consume music, so there were far fewer royalty streams to worry about.

With physical sales plummeting, and people shifting from downloading to streaming (like Spotify and Apple Music) and the rise of digital radio (like Pandora and Sirius/XM), there are suddenly more royalties out there. But they can be tracked much easier through sonic recognition and content ID software.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting closer every day. For indie artists without a label or a publisher, you have to know what these royalties are and know where and how to get them. So let’s break them down.

First, some terms you need to understand:


Artists record sound recordings. Rihanna is an artist. She did not write her song “Diamonds.” So she is not the songwriter. Record labels represent artists. A band is an artist. A rapper is an artist. A singer is an artist. Typically whatever name is on the album, is the artist.


Songwriters write the compositions. “Diamonds” was written by 4 songwriters: Sia Furler, Benjamin Levin, Mikkel S. Eriksen, and Tor Erik Hermansen. Publishing companies represent songwriters.

Sound Recording

Some call this the “master.” It’s the actual recording. The mastered track . Traditionally, labels (because they own the master), collect royalties for sound recordings. Sound recordings are not to be confused with compositions. Artists record sound recordings.


This is the song. Not the recording. Traditionally, publishing companies (because they own the composition and represent songwriters) collect royalties for compositions. Songwriters write compositions.


Performing Rights Organizations. In the US, these are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. In Canada this is SOCAN. These organizations represent songwriters NOT artists. These are organizations that collect performance royalties (NOT mechanical royalties – we’ll get to those in a bit).

The way these PROs make money to pay their songwriters and publishers royalties is PROs collect money from thousands of venues (radio stations, TV stations, department stores, bars, live venues, etc) by requiring them to purchase “blanket licenses” which gives these venues permission to play music in their establishment (or on the air). The PROs then pool all of this money up and divide it amongst all of their songwriters and publishers based on the frequency and “weight” of each song’s “public performance.” The PROs then pay the publishing companies their 50% and the songwriters their 50%.

PROs split “publishing” and “songwriter” royalties equally. 50/50. This is not a deal you negotiate. This is just how they do it for everyone from Taylor Swift down to you and me. 50/50. Any songwriter in the US can sign up for ASCAP or BMI without being invited or having to apply. ASCAP and BMI are both not-for-profit organizations, SESAC is for profit and you must be accepted.


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers represents 550,000 members (songwriters and publishers) and over 10 million compositions. ASCAP is owned and run by its songwriter and publisher members with an elected board. They have paid out over $5 billion in the past 6 years. They represent songwriters like Katy Perry, Dr. Dre, Marc Anthony, Chris Stapleton, Ne-Yo, Trisha Yearwood, Brandi Carlile, Lauryn Hill, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers, Carly Simon, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington.


Broadcast Music Inc. represents over 700,000 members (songwriters and publishers) and over 10.5 million compositions. They represent songwriters like Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Maroon 5, Michael Jackson, Linkin Park, Sam Cook, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Fats Domino, Rihanna, John Williams and Danny Elfman.


SESAC is not an acronym… really. It represents over 30,000 members (songwriters and publishers) and over 400,000 compositions. They represent songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, RUSH, Zac Brown, Lady Antebellum, The Avett Brothers, Shirley Caesar, Paul Shaffer and Thompson Square.

You can only sign up for one PRO.

You cannot be a member of ASCAP and BMI. So you have to make a choice. Find out what the PROs are in your country and pick one and sign up.

**It’s important to note that if you sign up with ASCAP as a songwriter, you also need to register a “vanity publishing company.” That means, just make up a name (mine is Proud Honeybee Music) and register your publishing company with ASCAP. You must do this to get paid all of your money. If you don’t have your vanity publishing company registered as a corporation, or have a bank account under its name, make sure to tell ASCAP you are “doing business as (dba)” the vanity publishing company so they can write the checks appropriately. You can also sign up for direct deposit which expedites this entire process. ASCAP pays out 50% of the total money to the songwriter and 50% to the publisher. If you don’t register a publishing company, you will only get half of your money.

If you are an unaffiliated songwriter with BMI, you don’t need to register a vanity publishing company. BMI will pay you 100% of the money. HOWEVER, If you sign up for an admin publishing company (like SongTrust, CD Baby Pro or Tunecore Publishing), they will collect your publishing money from ASCAP or BMI, take their commission (10-15%), and pay you out the rest. So, you don’t need to register a vanity publishing company (if you’re with ASCAP) or register it as an LLC or open a bank account. 

I recommend you make sure all of your songs are registered with ASCAP or BMI (or SESAC) and that you work with an admin publishing company.

If you distribute through CD Baby, use CD Baby Pro. If you don’t, use SongTrust or Tunecore Publishing. And if you haven’t registered with a PRO yet, signup for an admin publishing company FIRST – they will then register your songs with a PRO (save some time and steps!).

Digital Distribution Company

Some people call them digital aggregators. These companies are how you get your music into iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Deezer, Tidal and 80+ other digital stores and streaming services around the world. The biggest digital distribution companies for indie artists are CD Baby, DistroKid and Tunecore. 


Harry Fox Agency. HFA handles US mechanical royalties (what are mechanical royalties? Patience young grasshopper. We’ll get to it). They are hired by companies like Spotify to calculate and pay out mechanical royalties to publishers. HFA represents 48,000 publishers. They have streamlined licensing services (their program is called Slingshot) for companies needing to license music.

HFA calculates, collects and pays mechanical royalties. They also issue “mechanical licenses.” You can’t signup for HFA unless you are a publisher and have songs released by a third party label (not self-released). BUT, you don’t need to signup with HFA to collect mechanical royalties. Admin publishing companies like SongTrust, CD Baby, Tunecore and Audiam will collect mechanical royalties for you if you signup for their publishing programs.

 Admin Publishing Companies

Admin stands for administration. All publishing companies have an admin department. They also have a synch licensing department. An A&R department. And many other departments. But, admin publishing companies have started popping up over the past few years to help unrepped songwriters (like you and me) collect all the royalties out there from around the world.

Again, companies like SongTrust, CD Baby, Tunecore and Audiam are some admin publishing companies who will do this. (Note, Audiam technically describes itself as a digital rights management company – but they will collect your mechanical royalties and YouTube money).

Synch Licensing

Synch stands for synchronization. A synch license is needed to synch music to picture. TV shows, movies, commercials, video games all need a sync license to legally put a song alongside their picture (get it? “synching” audio to picture). Technically, so does YouTube (and you, when you make a cover video and upload it).

Fun fact: virtually every YouTube cover is illegal.

A publisher (remember, publishers represent songwriters and compositions), could legally get YouTube to remove your cover if they wanted. But no publishers are really doing this because they realize how great the promotion is. And, YouTube is now monetizing cover videos and getting the publishers (and songwriters) paid through ad revenue.

Some musicians have expressed to me their reluctance to put up covers on YouTube for which they have not obtained the proper licenses. The honest folk of the world. Those who wouldn’t dare fill up their free water cup at Chipotle with soda. I applaud your ethics. However, it’s virtually impossible for an indie artist to obtain a synch license from a major publishing company. Believe me, I’ve tried. They don’t make it easy. There’s no streamlined way to do this. But, there IS a very easy way to release cover songs, like on iTunes (not videos, songs). Read about how to do that here.

Licensing Company

Licensing companies work to get your music placed in TV shows, movies, trailers, commercials and video games. Independent licensing companies have been popping up left and right over the past 10 years. Before that (and still currently) all the synch licensing was done within publishing companies. All publishing companies have synch licensing divisions.

Licensing companies typically take 30-50% of the up front synch license and master use license fee. Some take a percentage of your PRO backend royalties as well, others don’t.

Licensing companies typically only represent artists who are also the sole songwriters. Licensing companies are one stop shops for music supervisors. They want to make it easy as possible for the ad agency or TV show to use the song. Licensing companies can clear the songs immediately for the music supervisors.

So if you co-write with anyone, FIRST make sure they are NOT signed to a publishing company (if they are, it makes things very difficult and will almost certainly prevent a licensing company from working with you – or rather repping that song). And make sure you get in writing (email is fine), that you have full rights to the song to license without getting permission from your co-writers.

Word to the wise: NEVER pay a licensing company money up front to go pitch you.

If they believe in your music, they will pitch you and work solely on commission.

Some of the biggest and best independent licensing companies out there include:

Secret Road

All Media

Cellar Music

The Music Playground

Razor and Tie

Big Yellow Dog

Words and Music

Catch The Moon Music

However, there are literally hundreds more. You can purchase a music licensing directory containing most licensing companies, publishing companies, music libraries and music supervisors from The Music Registry here for $100. The above licensing companies mostly won’t take submissions directly from artists (they’re too big). It’s best to get someone they trust to refer you (like another artist on their roster, a manager or lawyer).

Music Library & Licensing Companies

Also, there are music library and licensing companies (like Triple Scoop Music, Audiosocket and Music Bed) that specialize in issuing inexpensive synch licenses for wedding photographers, corporations (for in house training videos) and indie film makers. This can help you bring in some extra dough.

These kinds of companies are definitely worth looking into. They don’t work to get you the $200,000 Verizon commercial spot, they’re soliciting wedding photographers to pay $60 to license your song in their personal use wedding video. But these can add up.

There are a bunch of these music library companies out there. Just Google around a bit “music for wedding video” or “license music for indie film” or “license music library” and these companies will populate. Most are quite selective about what songs they bring on (to keep their quality up). But they all take applications from unknowns. If the quality is there (and it fits their format – they’re probably not going to take death metal or gangsta rap for a wedding video licensing business). Most are non-exclusive, meaning you can work with a bunch of them.

Again, DO NOT pay anything up front. If any company charges you up front for these services it’s a scam. Run away (to this comment section and let us know who these scam artists are!)


A lot of people confuse SoundExchange with PROs. Because technically SoundExchange IS a performing rights organization, but I’m not including them in the “PRO” classification out of clarity. And when most in the biz discuss PROs they are just referring to the aforementioned ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.

SoundExchange represent artists and labels whereas (the other) PROs represent songwriters and publishers. Over 110,000 artists and rights owners (labels) are registered with SoundExchange and they have paid out over $3 billion since inception.

“Non-interactive” means you can’t choose your song.

Unlike the 3 PROs in America, SoundExchange is the only organization in America that collects performance royalties for “non-interactive” digital sound recordings (not compositions). “Non-interactive” means you can’t choose your song. So, Pandora radio is non-interactive, whereas Apple Music and Spotify are “interactive.” Beats 1 (within Apple Music) is digital radio (non-interactive). Spotify’s Pandora-like radio service is also non-interactive, but more on that in a sec.

But, SoundExchange has agreements with 20 foreign collections agencies. When your music is played in their territory, they pay SoundExchange, and SoundExchange pays you.

Like the PROs, SoundExchange issues blanket licenses to digital radio (non-interactive) platforms (like Pandora and Sirius/XM) which gives these outlets the ability to play any song they represent. Like the PROs, the outlets pay an annual fee for the blanket license. BUT, SoundExchange ONLY collects digital royalties. The PROs collect both digital, terrestrial (AM/FM radio) and live royalties.

Broadcast radio royalties (or lack thereof)…

There’s a weird copyright law still on the books (and lobbied heavily by Big Radio) that makes it so AM/FM radio only has to pay composition performance royalties and NOT sound recording royalties. Makes no sense. The US Copyright Office has recommended that this law be changed, but thanks to the Big Radio, it hasn’t.

This, unfortunately, can only be changed by passing a bill in Congress. And our current American Congress doesn’t pass sh*t. Pardon my American English.

So, again, SoundExchange = digital sound recording royalties for non-interactive plays.

But, interestingly enough (I know this stuff is SOOO interesting – stay with me!), Pandora, pays BOTH digital sound recording performance royalties (to SoundExchange) AND digital composition performance royalties (to PROs), but, thanks to Consent Decrees (set by rate court judges and, once again, for which the practices can only be changed by Congress), pays about 10x more for sound recording royalties (to SoundExchange) than for songwriter royalties (to the PROs). 

The Songwriter Equity Act (bi-partisan) has been in Congress for about two years now to make this change. But Congress moves slower than an Adele ballad (but contains about the same number of tears shed).

And to just complicate matters worse, not ALL digital radio services work with SoundExchange (but 2,500 do). Some opt out (Spotify non-interactive radio has opted out) and they just negotiate rates directly with each label/distributor.

You can find a full list of who SoundExchange collects from here.

How To Signup For SoundExchange?

Go to If you are both the performer (artist) and the owner of the sound recording (meaning you don’t have a record label) simply select “Both” on the 2nd page of the registration when it asks you to select: Performer, Sound Recording Copyright Owner or Both. It’s a long process and you have to submit a full catalog list. When I did this, I had to email in a complicated Excel doc with lots of info. Plan a weekend to do all of this. It’s time consuming, but worth it.

Fun fact, I encouraged an Ari’s Take reader and children’s musician to sign up for SoundExchange and the first check he got was for $10,000! Apparently Pandora had his songs included on all the most popular children’s music radio stations and he had no idea. Boom!

SoundExchange will hold your back royalties for 3 years, so register now if you haven’t already. And if you HAVE registered (maybe you did years ago), make sure you have also registered as the Sound Recording Copyright Owner (they previously called it “Rights Owner”). Because the “Both” option is very new, you may have missed it and are only receiving 45% of your total money.

Why 45% and not 50%? Keep reading.

Session Musicians

Session musicians can get some of this money too! If you are a session musician, 5% of the total money earned for each song that you played on has been reserved for you. Contact the American Federation of Musicians (AFM union) to grab this moolah!

SoundExchange’s breakdown for payment is: 45% to Featured Artist, 50% to the Sound Recording Owner (label – or you if you self released), and 5% to session musicians or, how they put it, “non-featured artists.” Regardless if you have session musicians or not on your record, SoundExchange holds 5% of all royalties from everyone for them.

What About Canada?

If you’re a Canadian artist, you can signup with Re:Sound (which is Canada’s version of SoundExchange). And, best thing, Re:Sound (unlike SoundExchange) WILL collect royalties from commercial, terrestrial radio (and other non-digital venues) for you! So, just to clarify, here is a breakdown for the royalties Artists and Songwriters earn (and how to get them):

Artist Royalties:

Sound Recording Digital Performance Royalties.These come from non-interactive (you can’t choose the song) digital platforms like internet and satellite radio.

Download Sales

These come from when someone downloads your music on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc.

**note: BandCamp and Loudr also sell downloads, but unlike iTunes, they are artist managed stores and you get sales revenue directly from BandCamp and Loudr.

Interactive Streaming Revenue

There’s lots of different kinds of streaming revenue. But “interactive” (meaning you choose the song) streaming revenue (like from Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal) goes to the artist/label. But when these services claim they pay out 70% of all revenue, the 70% is for both the artist/label revenue AND the songwriter royalties (mechanicals). Streaming revenue to artists is WAY more than the mechanicals paid to songwriters.

YouTube Sound Recording Revenue

Technically there are a bunch of “assets” or streams of revenue for each YouTube video. To make it simple, we’ll just get into how you can earn money. First, for the sound recording (we’ll get into the composition in the next section). Any video that uses your sound recording you can make money off of (whether you uploaded the video or not) if you allow YouTube to put ads on the video (they call it “monetize”). Either videos you upload or fan made cat videos with your sound recordings can generate ad revenue that you can collect. YouTube splits the ad revenue 45%/55% in your favor.

How To Get Paid: Most digital distribution companies have this option via an opt-in check box. You can see which do and which do not on this chart. If your distribution doesn’t handle this, you can sign up for independent YouTube revenue collection companies like Audiam, AdRev or InDmusic. But it’s easiest if you keep everything under one roof.

Master Use License

Any TV show, movie, commercial, trailer or video game requires both a master use license (from the artist/label) for use of the sound recording and a synch license (from the songwriter/publisher) for use of the composition. These days, most music supervisors (the people who place the music), will just pay you (an indie artist) a bulk amount for both the master use license and the sync license (because most indie artists wrote and recorded the song).

But if you’re repped by a label and a publisher, the supe (that’s short for music supervisor) will go to your label and pay for a master use license and then to your publisher and pay for a sync license. Usually it’s the same amount, but not always. These monies range from a thousand bucks for background music on a cable TV show all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for commercials and big movies/trailers.

How To Get Paid:

Directly from the TV studio, ad agency (for a commercial), production company (for a movie or trailer), or game company. It’s best to work with a licensing company for this.

TV Royalties

If your music gets on a commercial, TV show, trailer or movie, you can get residuals from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). And these definitely add up. I was recently in a Bud Light commercial (as an actor – yeah I do a bit of that too, hell it’s LA, why not?), and in SAG-AFTRA residuals, I got about $10,000 A MONTH for as long as it was on the air. And that was for hanging out at a (fake) barbecue holding a can of Limearita and laughing on cue a lot. So if your song gets in a commercial, you’ll make about the same because you’re treated as a voice over actor. Many commercials run about 6 months, that could be $60,000 just in SAG-AFTRA residuals.

If, however, SAG-AFTRA doesn’t have your mailing address, they won’t know who to pay. You can check here to see if you have outstanding royalties. Or, contact SAG-AFTRA directly and give them your info when you have music played on TV. You don’t technically need to be in the union to get paid from the union.

Songwriter Royalties

Composition Performance Royalties. These come from plays on the radio (FM/AM or digital), interactive and non-interactive streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music) live at a concert (yes even your own), in restaurants, bars, department stores, coffee shops, TV, literally any public place that has music (live or recorded) needs a license from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC to legally be able to play music in their establishment. 


The only exception is movie theaters. For some reason (politics), American movie theaters are exempt from needing a public performance license and no one gets paid when songs are played in movie theaters. On TV, yes. Movie theater, no. However, royalties are generated for Foreign (outside the US) movie theaters. And for an international smash, it could add up to be some serious cheddar. And oh: I’ve heard in the hundreds of thousands.

AM/FM vs. Sirius/XM

Of course if a coffee shop has the AM/FM radio playing, you won’t get paid when your song is played there. But if they have Pandora or Sirius/XM on, this is tracked and you will (eventually) get paid on the plays. The system is currently being worked out and not everything is tracked yet, but eventually, say, in a few years, it will be.

Kobalt is leading this front. Hopefully ASCAP, BMI and SESAC follow suit and improve their tracking systems. ASCAP uses a “sampling” method, where they use an electronic monitoring system, MediaMonitors/MediaBase, for sample performance data from commercial, NPR & NCR radio. The sample data is then loaded into ASCAP’s Audio Performance Management system where it is (mostly) electronically matched to the works in the ASCAP database. ASCAP states that they supplement this data with station logs and other technology vendors and methods that capture ads, promos and themes and background music.


BMI also uses sampling. They say they use “performance monitoring data, continuously collected on a large percentage of all licensed commercial radio stations, to determine payable performances.” They also use their “proprietary pattern-recognition technology.” They call it a “census” and claim it’s “statistical reliable and highly accurate.” For college radio, BMI pays a minimum of 6 cents “for all participants.” Not sure if that’s per station or what.

Personal Anecdote: my song “Young Blood Dig Down” was played as bridge music on NPR’s All Things Considered (for 13 million people). And I won’t be getting paid for this. But, had ASCAP had a census (instead of sample) tracking system setup, I would have. Hopefully, this will change soon. BMI doesn’t pay for “cue, bridge or background” music on radio, period.

Tip: Both ASCAP and BMI have a program where you can import your setlist and venue information to get you paid for your live performance royalties (for performing your originals in a club, theater, grocery store, arena, wherever). They’re called BMI Live and ASCAP OnStage. Last I heard, most indie artists playing under 500 cap rooms were making about $10 a show. It ain’t much, but it can add up – especially if you’re a live act playing 200 dates a year. Who couldn’t use an extra $2K?

How To Get Paid: Your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN). 

Remember you can only join one..

Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical royalties are earned when a song is streamed, downloaded or purchased (like a CD or vinyl). In America, the rate is set by the US government. It’s currently 9.1 cents per download and it’s a very complicated formula to figure out what you get per stream. But you can check out HFA’s charts here to attempt to make sense of it. But, it’s AROUND $.0007 per stream – but of course varies based on the streaming platform’s user numbers, revenue, etc. Worldwide, it’s about the same – about 8-10% of the total sale/stream.

Worth noting: in the US, mechanical royalties get passed onto the label/distributor from iTunes. However, for nearly everywhere else in the world, mechanicals get collected by local collections agencies BEFORE the money gets to your distributor. And that’s why when you look at your statements, an iTunes download in the US nets you $.69:

70% of $.99 — Apple retains 30% from iTunes sales.

Whereas, a download in England nets you around $.60. So, if you don’t have an admin publishing company you won’t get any of your international mechanical royalties from download sales.

Like SoundExchange, these international collections agencies will hold onto this money (for about 3 years) until a publisher comes and claims it. You technically could try to do this by calling up collections agencies in every country, but I just recommend going with an admin pub company. They already have all the relationships built (and they only take about 10-15%). It’s worth it.

How To Get Paid: Admin publishing company.

See my comparison between CD Baby Pro and Tunecore Publishing. There’s also SongTrust and Audiam. And of course, Kobalt (but you have to be “signed” — anyone can signup for the others).

YouTube Performance Royalties

Because your music is being played on YouTube videos, it’s technically a public performance. And that includes any video on YouTube (by you or anyone else): cover, live performance, original recording lyric video, music video or cat video. As long as it has your compositions in it, it earns a public performance royalty.

YouTube Composition Royalties

In addition to performance royalties, you can earn a percentage of the ad revenue generated from the video. Again, any video on YouTube that has your composition in it (uploaded by you or anyone else) can get an ad placed on it and start generating revenue. Your admin publishing company will handle this.

I know you’re wondering, ‘but how will my admin publishing company know when Joe Schmo from Lincoln, Nebraska uploads a cover of my song? Especially because my song title is “She Loves You” (and it’s not the Beatles song)?’

Yeah, you can see the difficulty. And YouTube’s Content ID program doesn’t catch these, because covers and live recordings are different sound recordings than the original. Some admin publishing companies and YouTube collections companies are better at tracking this than others. Some do manual searches/listen. Others have other systems in place. But you can always ask your company how they do it.

How To Get Paid: Admin Publishing Company

Synch License

Like the master use license, any TV show, movie, commercial or video game requires a synchronization (synch for short) license to put the composition alongside their picture.

How To Get Paid: Directly from the TV studio, ad agency (for a commercial), production company (for a movie or trailer), or game company. It’s best to work with a licensing company for this.  

By Ari Herstand

Getty Images - Gerard Butler

Berlin’s European Film Market Off to a Sluggish Start

22nd  February 2020 - by Scott Roxborough

Concerns over the coronavirus' impact on the Chinese market — including shuttered theaters and a growing backlog of Chinese and Hollywood tentpoles waiting for release — have cast a pall over EFM.

Berlin’s European Film Market has gotten off to a slow start — but there are signs of life.

Leonine, the new German studio formed last year by KKR’s acquisition and merger of German indies Tele Munchen Group and Universum, picked up German-speaking rights for the Gerard Butler action thriller Remote Control from STXinternational in a mid-seven-figure deal, the largest reported pact of EFM so far. The deal followed a buyer’s presentation in Berlin this week where Butler, who is also co-producing the film through his G-Base shingle, pitched the project to international distributors.

In the movie, Butler plays a former war correspondent turned corporate security consultant who gets caught up in a global conspiracy. Oscar-nominated cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator) will direct from a screenplay by Mark Burnell. Principal photography is planned for later this year.

The deal came a day after Leonine nabbed German and Austrian rights for Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road, the latest in the popular French comic-book franchise, which Pathé Films is selling worldwide.

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) was in town as well to meet one-on-one with international buyers and pitch The Thicket, the Western from director Elliott Lester in which she will star alongside Peter Dinklage and Charlie Plummer. The strategy seemed to work, with The Exchange, which is handling international on the picture, reporting strong business.

"The presale business is really tough right now, but we hit our targets and exceeded them for The Thicket," says Brian O’Shea of The Exchange. "Berlin is an efficient market because all the buyers come and it’s cheaper than either Cannes or AFM."

But concerns about the coronavirus and its impact on the Chinese market have cast a pall over EFM. Many sellers are worried that, with Chinese theaters still shuttered due to quarantine and a growing backlog of Chinese and Hollywood tentpoles waiting for release, their indie films will be squeezed out.

"It is impossible to know what will happen," says Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of Constantin Film, whose action feature Monster Hunter, made with Japan’s Toho and Tencent in China, is scheduled to roll out in September. "But it’s clear that these big independent films, budgeted at $60 million or up, cannot be made without the Chinese market."

Exploring Music Podcast

2nd February 2020

I was recently asked by the Sync Lodge Podcast team/owner - Lionel Lodge to provide a podcast session on the navigation of the music industry for a new artist, with my colleague Mark Jennings from Subba-Cultcha. 

The series also covers other aspects of exploring music, where the sessions explore the obscure, where the sessions delve in deep, into the vast vaults of great, but maybe, not so known, music and the industry that, for better or worse, supports it.

For each episode the Sync Lodge team bring together two music industry professionals, to discuss in depth area of music, and/or the industry, they are passionate about and have an intimate knowledge of. Each episode has a link to a playlist, in the episode description, with all the music and artists mentioned during the conversation.

Mark and I felt, with Lionel it was really important to provide up and coming artists with positive but real information about the changing and challenging entertainment industry of today, with a relaxed and informative discussion about the - Navigation of the music industry.

Part 1

Exploring Music Podcast Episode 12 Music Industry Navigation for New Artists Part 01 of 02 with Peter Moore and Mark Jennings

Part 2

Exploring Music Podcast Episode 13 Music Industry Navigation for New Artists Part 02 of 02 with Peter Moore and Mark Jennings

Please see further link's below to take a look at other episodes in the series;

Exploring Music Podcast:



Thank you taking the time to take a listen to the above podcast's, and I hope it has sparked you interest further or for a new artists - helped you navigate the music industry just that little bit better.

Enjoy and thank you...

Financing Independent Movies

19th January 2020

Movies have always had and always will have that elusive magic of going to the movies to watch your favorite movie star, their is something really magical and exciting about this experience, and always will be from selection of your seat to your favorite popcorn/drink... The major studios have held the pure-strings to the film world with a tight grip, and not letting go anytime soon to this exclusive network/club, which has been around for decades. In this short blog, we look at how the independent film maker can raise funds for their productions and can this really happen and what choices do they have.

The usual way for a major studio to fund a movie is through the studio's own budget's and then providing the P&A support, (print and advertising) for the movie, through the major studio subsidiary as an example, so the whole process is buttoned up from the start with very little or no room for the independent sector to move, the film will be successful due to the major studios pull and influence on the market, this is not quite the same for the independent film maker though, as we look at this more closely

People know and love the The Coen Brothers for cult films like “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski,” but many people don’t know that the brothers struggled to raise $$$ for their first film “Blood Simple” (1984). They ultimately locked in around 60/65 private investors (entrepreneurs, doctors and small business owners) with most of them contributing $5,000 to $10,000. The film grossed just under $4,000,000 at the box office.

This story is not as uncommon as you might think. Anyone who has produced an independent film or films will tell you the most difficult task is raising money to pay for the production and talent (actors) (although the rest is not easy). If you’ve never produced an independent film, it is almost impossible to raise the money for it outside of a friends/family round or by being fortunate enough to obtain intellectual property with a following (i.e., book rights, life story rights, etc.). Raising money is the key to any independent film, regardless of your position, experience, and past credits, history etc and there are only a few ways to actually accomplish this. Those ways are as follows:


Equity based financing is simply having investors contribute money—actual cash—to the production in exchange for an ownership interest in the film and the profits derived from the exploitation of the film. While there are many ways to structure these types of deals with many different ways for the investors to re-coup their investments and turn a profit, they all revolve around the same questions that must be answered: (i) How much ownership does the investor receive for the investment? (ii) How will the investor re-coup their investment? (iii) How will the investor’s see a profit?

The main thing to remember when dealing with investors is to be up front with them regarding the production. Investing in film is an inherently risky game, especially considering that independent films rarely make money for their investors, and you must disclose this risk as well as all other investment risks or you could be held liable for misrepresentation and/or violating other securities regulations. Therefore, it is imperative that you spend the money to consult with an attorney on any equity structure.


Pre-sales agreements are pre-arranged and executed contracts made with distributors before the film is produced, and are based on the perceived strength of the project as assessed by each distributor after reviewing numerous factors, including the script, the attached talent, and the marketing strategy. Once you enter the pre-sales agreements, there are two ways to go: (i) you can take out a bank loan using the pre-sales as collateral; or (ii) receive a direct payment at a discount from the distributors themselves.

This financing strategies requires the filmmaker to either repay the loan based on the pre-sales or a direct payment from the distributors before profiting on the film, and the filmmaker will likely have to personally guarantee the loan or advance payment in the event the film cannot be completed. Because of the complexity of these pre-sales deals, it is wise to consult with counsel before entering into one.

Loans/Gap or Bridge Financing

Many filmmakers obtain loans for their films, although loans are usually only given once other financing is in place. Usually, filmmakers only use loans to fill in the “gap” or as “bridge” financing between what they have raised and the total cost of the film. Again, a filmmaker will likely have to personally guarantee a loan and put up the film and related intellectual property as collateral. If the film does not earn sufficient return to repay this loan, the filmmaker will be on the hook for the total unpaid loan amount. Another area to make sure that you are protected.

Tax Credits

Like bridge loans, tax credits can be helpful in filling in the gap between the money a filmmaker raises and the budget of the film. Individual states and countries allow film producers to subsidize the money spent on production through tax benefits. Typically, this requires the filmmaker to film a significant portion of the production in a local area, hire a certain number of local crew employees, rent from local vendors, and run payroll through local services. Tax credits are based on a lengthy application process and are often difficult to procure.

 But, depending on the state or country, the benefits can be significant. For example, a $1 million movie can end up actually costing $750,000. This means that the filmmaker only needs to raise 75% of the film’s budget. Moreover, certain credits are sellable, transferable, and even trade-able, which means that if the filmmaker does not use the full amount of the granted credit, they can sell those credits for hard cash. As with the other forms of financing, due to the complexity of these transactions, its important for a filmmaker to know the rights regarding tax credits.


Crowdfunding is a relatively recent phenomenon with a lot of hype. In reality it is expensive to do a full campaign and, unless a filmmaker has intellectual property rights with a cult following or a major attachment to the film, they likely will not be able to raise significant money via crowdfunding. However, it is an easy way to tap friends and family for small dollar donations through social media websites like Facebook, twitter and Instagram to raise money for films. A filmmaker with 500 people donating $100 raises $50,000, which is a good start. Moreover, crowdfunding can be done through donations or equity—when using donations, the filmmaker does not have to repay that money to the donor.

Deferred Payments

Most filmmakers in the independent film world likely have to defer their producer fees and, if other talent will agree to defer their fees, then that much less money has to be raised to make the film. The problem with this method is that the “risk takers” are working for free and relying on the film’s success for payment. Certainly a gamble especially since all deferred fees will likely be paid only after the loans and investors have recouped.

Whether a first time or experienced filmmaker/producer, you will probably have to use a combination of the above financing options to make a film. Under any of the above options, the key is to present as complete a package as possible with all relevant, legally airtight attachments, a fleshed out budget and, at least, one experienced person to lend gravitas to the film. You might give financiers some assurance that the film will be made if all of these requirements are met.

The Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Over the coming weeks, I will look at how the benefits of the blockchain for the film industry, for example the film distribution processes: global transactions are typically costly, frequently people don’t get paid for the work they do, and the accounting books on numerous independent productions either is non-existent or riddled with errors... We will look at this area more closely over the coming weeks and how this can help the independent movie maker raise capital, through this new finance opportunity and what are the pros and cons are....

Film Financing.... !!

20th December 2019

Well, here is the lowdown: it’s not easy. You will have to work hard and in an efficient and professional manner to secure the trust and hard-won cash of all those stakeholders who can finance your film project or, at least, allow you to save money while producing your film.

The idea

All films start with a moment of inspiration. Good ideas and story concepts are the foundation of any solid film project. Screenwriters usually have the initial idea or story but producers, who are in charge of raising money for a film project, frequently come up with ideas as well. Ideas for films can be original or adapted from plays, novels or real-life events, which make up approximately half of all Hollywood films.

Ideas cannot be protected by copyright – or any other intellectual property right for that matter – because copyright subsists only in the tangible expression of ideas. This is referred to as the idea/expression dichotomy.

Therefore, film makers must take all adequate measures to protect their ideas and stories, by only divulging them after having taken some prior protective measures (such as having the recipient of the information relating to the idea sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement) and/or by even subscribing to producer errors and omissions insurance and multimedia risk insurance which cover legal liability and defence for the film production company against lawsuits alleging unauthorised uses, plagiarism or copying of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots, as well as unfair competition or breach of privacy or contract.

Development finance

The next stage in the development of a film project is to turn a rough idea or story into a final script ready for production.

Development money is the financial sum that you need to invest in your idea, until it is in a form suitable for presenting to investors and capable of attracting production financing. Development money is used, for example, to pay the writer, while the script is being written or re-written, as well as the producer’s travel expenses to film markets to arrange pre-sales financing from investors, as well as location scouting and camera tests. It also covers the cost of administration and overheads until the film is officially in pre-production.

Producers typically pitch to secure the money for the development of the script, or, if they can afford it, put up development money themselves.

Indeed, development finance is the most expensive and financiers who put up development money typically expect a 50% bonus plus 5% from the producer’s fees. Bonus payment is usually scheduled to be paid on the first day of principal photography (i.e. the shoot or production), along with the 5% of the producer’s profits as the film starts to recoup.

Script development

Once development finance is secured, and once a story idea is firmly in place, the negotiation process between the screenwriter and the producer (or production company or film studio) begins.

The writer hires an agent who represents him and plays a critical role in ensuring that the writer’s interests are represented in the negotiation process. The agent also ensures that the writer is paid appropriately in accordance with what the writer’s intellectual property rights may be worth in the future.

The producer has an alternative, in order to move the film project forward on the script development front: either he can buy the rights to the story idea or the material (a novel or play) from which the script was adapted outright, or he can buy an option of the film rights. The first transaction is an assignment of copyright. Buying an option of the film rights means that the producer owns the right to develop the film but only for a certain amount of time, it is therefore an exclusive licence of copyright.

In either cases, the producer is the only person allowed to develop the film idea into a screenplay. He pays the writer in smaller, agreed-upon installments throughout this period, and may also agree to pay such writer a significant higher amount for all film rights once shooting begins. After the terms are negotiated, the writer can finally start working on the screenplay.

The scriptwriter then enters into action and, if needed, may first write a screenplay synopsis, also called “concept”. Unlike a “treatment”, which is a narrative of everything that happens in a screenplay, a synopsis includes only the most important or interesting parts of the story. A synopsis is a short summary of the basic elements in your story. It describes the dramatic engine that will drive the story in no more than a few sentences.

If the producer likes the synopsis, then the writer will proceed onto drafting the treatment, which, as mentioned above, is a prose description of the plot, written in present tense, as the film will unfold for the audience, scene by scene. A treatment is a story draft where the writer can hammer out the basis actions and plot structure of the story before going into the complexities of realising fully developed scenes with dialogue, precise actions, and setting descriptions. The treatment is the equivalent of a painter’s sketch that can be worked and reworked before committing to the actual painting. It’s much easier to cut, add, and rearrange scenes in this form, than in a fully detailed screenplay.

The author’s draft is the first complete version of the narrative in proper screenplay format. The emphasis of the author’s draft is on the story, the development of characters, and the conflict, actions, settings and dialogue. The author’s draft goes through a number of rewrites and revisions on its way to becoming a final draft, which is the last version of the author’s draft before being turned into a shooting script. The aim of an author’s draft is to remain streamlined, flexible and “readable”. Therefore, technical information (such as detailed camera angles, performance cues, blocking, or detailed set description) is kept to an absolute minimum. It is important not to attempt to direct the entire film, shot-for-shot, in the author’s draft. The detailed visualization and interpretation of the screenplay occur during later pre-production and production stages.

Once you have completed your rewrites and arrived at a final draft, you will be ready to take that script into production by transforming it into a shooting script. The shooting script is the version of the screenplay you take into production, meaning the script from which your creative team (cinematographer, production designer, etc.) will work and from which the film will be shot. A shooting script communicates, in specific terms, the director’s visual approach to the film. All the scenes are numbered on a shooting script to facilitate breaking down the script and organising the production of the film. This version also includes specific technical information about the visualisation of the movie, like camera angles, shot sizes, camera moves, etc.


Once the script is completed, the producer sends it to film directors to gauge their interest and find the appropriate director for his film project.

The director and the producer then decide how they want to film the movie and who they will employ to support them in achieving this result.

One common way to make the film project more commercial is to attach well-known stars to the script.

In order to turn the film into a proper business proposition, the producer must know how much the film will actually cost to be made. Potential investors would want to know how the producer plans to raise the money and how the producer plans to pay them back.

Agents and agencies are the lifeblood of the film business. They structure the deals, they hold the keys to each and every gate and often make or break projects. Having strong relationships in this space, for a film producer, is as important as having a strong story on which to base your project.

Agency packaging refers to the fact that an agency will assist in one/all of the following: talent packaging, financing, sales and international representation. Keep in mind that agencies earn their revenue based on a 10 to 15 percent commission of their client’s fees (not only talent, but also writers, producers, directors, etc) and therefore having an agency package an entire project as opposed to having them simply have a single member of their roster involved, will go a long way.

The underlying principle to remember is that agents are looking at each opportunity as a business transaction: regardless of the project, it still boils down to a decision based on the bottom line. As such, finding the right agency (the big agencies are not always the right fit for smaller projects) and incentivising agents by offering full packaging capacities will yield the best results both financially and strategically.


Once the financing is in place, the production company hires the full cast and crew and detailed preparation for the shoot begins.

A distinction is made between above-the-line personnel (such as the director, the screenwriter and the producers) who began their involvement during the film project’s development stage, and the below-the-line “technical” crew involved only with the production stage.

It is worth noting that, in France, most film directors do not only direct but also produce, co-produce and almost always write the screenplays for their films. Therefore, their income is made up of a salary, as director-technician, to which is added a minimum guarantee as director and another minimum guarantee as screenwriter of the film, with or without additional screenwriters.

All heads of department are hired, such as the location manager, director of photography, casting director, script supervisor, gaffer, production sound mixer, production designer, art director, set decorator, construction coordinator, property master, costume designer, key make-up artist, special effects supervisor, stunt coordinator, post-production supervisor, film editor, visual effects producer, sound designer. The shooting script is circulated to all of them as pre-production begins.

The casting director, director and producer begin to identify and cast the actors.

Storyboards are made, out of the final script. They are used as blueprints for the film where every shot is planned in advance by the director and director of photography. They have a sequence of graphic illustrations of shots visualising a video production. Most high budget films will have a very detailed storyboard. Those storyboards can really smooth out the post-production process too, when it is time for editing.

The production designer plans every aspect of how the film will look and hires people to design and build each part. All other heads of department also go through this planning process and hiring process, for their respective department. Effect shots are planned in much more detail than normal shots and could potentially take months to design and build.The shoot or production.

The Shoot or Production

Filmmakers and producers must take a careful approach to green lighting the film project and moving forward with production, by requiring unanimous consent from producers, sales agents and board of directors of the film specially-incorporated company, before proceeding.

Shooting starts and funding is released, which is a key stage in film making.

A large film production can involve hundreds of people, and it is a constant struggle to keep up with the shooting schedule and budget. Film productions are ran with strict precision. Production schedules are typically between 9 to 30 days, and you usually spend 12 to 14 hours on set, shooting from dawn to dusk. If film productions fall behind schedule, financiers and insurers may step in.

A 90 page script produced on a 24 day shooting schedule allows the director proper time on set, while keeping overall costs minimum – averaging under 4 pages per day.

The camera department is responsible for getting all the footage that the director and editor need, to tell the story.

Once lighting and sound are set up, and hair and make up have been checked, the shoot can begin. Every special effect is carefully constructed and must be filmed with minimum risk of injury to cast and crew. Production is a very intense and stressful process, especially for the producers and film director.


Post production usually starts during the shoot, as soon as the first “rushes” – raw footage – and sound are available. As the processed footage comes in, the editor turns it into scenes and assembles it together, into a narrative sequence for the film.

The editor will read your script and storyboards, and look at the rushes, and from this information, cut the film according to their opinion of what makes the story better.

There are two ways of doing post-production: 

the old way, i.e. celluloid film way. Shoot film and edit, or splice film on film editing equipment. There are few filmmakers who edit this way today;

 the new way is the digital way. You get all your rushes digitised (if shot on film, you will need them telecined, or scanned to a digital format).

The normal schedule for editing a feature is 8 to 10 weeks. During this time, your editor will create different drafts of your film. The first is called the “rough cut”, and last is the “answer print”.

There are two conclusions to an edit, the first when you are happy with the visual images (locking picture) and the second when you are happy with the sound (sound lock).

Once the picture is “locked”, the sound department works on the audio track laying, creating and editing every sound.

Digital effects are added by specialist effects professionals and titles and credits are added.

The final stage of the picture edit is to adjust the colour and establish the final aesthetic of the film.

During that post-production phase, it is also usual to get: 

a digital cinema package – a hard drive which contains the final copy of your film encoded so it can play in cinemas; 

a dialogue script, so that foreign territories can dub or subtitle your film, which has the precise time code for each piece of dialogue so the subtitler or dubbing artist knows exactly where to place their dialogue; 

a campaign image (with titles and credits), which is the first thing a prospective distributor or festival programmer will see of your film and which should let the viewer know exactly what your film is about; 

a 90 to 120 second trailer that conveys the mood and atmosphere of your film, knowing that programming and distribution decisions will be often be based on the strength of your trailer.


While the film is still in post-production, the producer will try to sell it to distributors (if he has not already sold the rights at the financing stage).

Filmmakers and producers must have a pre-sales distribution and market strategy in place, that optimises back end profitability of the film. Targeting major film markets – Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca, Venice and emerging South by South West – is key to a successful B-to-B marketing strategy, while the same sales agent who packaged the film oversees the final sale.

The film sales world is split up as the domestic market and international market and there are specific sales companies for both specific markets.

Producers tend to work without sales assistance on the domestic deals as it is in the best interest of the producer to form these relationships and close the deal personally, to have an open door for future projects that will need similar distribution.

To help sell the film internationally to distributors, the producer secures the services of a sales agent and markets his film by sending it to film festivals. High profile screenings at top film festivals can be great to generate “clout” for the film.

The trailer is used to show buyers the most marketable aspects of the film.

Distributors are fickle in many senses. The business has changed and international versus domestic deals are becoming challenging. Indeed, being a distributor is still a risky business: if the film is a success, distributors only earn their commissions; while if it is a failure, they loose their minimum guarantees, prints and advertising expenses (P&A). This is why the best way to be a successful distributor, nowadays, is to be also the producer, or at least co-producer because you then earn money on the much higher residuals and international rights, compared to domestic theatrical rights only.

Finding the right distributor takes time. Example of boutique distributors are HBO, IFC, Magnolia, Focus Features or Miramax for broadcast, VOD and content streaming. The search process of the most appropriate distributor for your film project,will give you practice pitching it, as well as the ability to review many different sellers to gauge style, ability and creative fit.

Just as the agencies are self-motivated, so too are sales agents (international film brokers) and distributors (buyers and exhibitors) motivated by the bottom line economics of the deal. Yes, there are buyers and sellers who specialise in content-focused for the art-house driven markets, but they are becoming fewer and fewer.


As the finishing touches are being made to the film, the distributors plan their marketing strategy to “sell” the movie to the public.

Knowing the audience is essential and the marketing team runs test screenings to see how the film is received.

Press kits, posters and other advertising materials are published, and the film is advertised and promoted. A b-roll clip may be released to the press, based on raw footage shot for a “making of” documentary, which may include making-of clips as well as on-set interviews.


Cinema expedition, also called theatrical release, is still the primary channel for films to reach their audiences.

Indeed, box office success equals financial success.

Film distributors usually release a film with a launch party, a red-carpet premiere, press releases, interviews with the press, press preview screenings, and film festival screenings.

Most films are also promoted with their own special website separate from those of the production company or distributor.

For major films, key personnel are often contractually required to participate in promotional tours in which they appear at premieres and festivals, and sit for interviews with many TV, print and online journalists.

The largest productions may require more than one promotional tour, in order to rejuvenate audience demand at each release window.

Other windows

A successful run in cinemas makes the film a sought-after product, which can be sold through other more lucrative channels such as DVDs and games.

Since the advent of home video in the early 1980s, most major films have followed a pattern of having several distinct release windows. A film may first be released to a few select cinemas (limited theatrical), or if it tests well enough, may go directly into wide release.

A popular option, to develop the domestic sales potential of a film, is to have a first phase initial release on a limited theatrical platform, paired with a joint digital download release on iTunes and Amazon – sales are driven by major market theater visits and digital downloads in smaller markets. The second phase release via VOD and pay cablers such as HBO, Showtime and potentially Hulu – sales are then driven by word of mouth built from first phase. This is often followed by a third phase, which pairs Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming with a wide DVD release to drive streaming view and build DVD purchases. 

Finally, in its fourth phase, the film builds upon steady sales and word of mouth audience reception, to gain network television sales and eventual syndication. In broadcasting parlance, syndication is the licensing of the right to broadcast television programs by multiple TV stations, without going through a broadcast network.

Next, the film is released, normally at different times several weeks (or months) apart, into different market segments like rental, retail, pay-per-view, in-flight entertainment, cable, satellite, or free-to-air broadcast television. Indeed, the film may be released in cinemas or, occasionally, directly to consumer media (DVD, VCD, VHS, Blu-ray) or direct download from a digital media provider. Hospitality sales for hotel channels and in-flight entertainment can bring in millions of additional revenues.

Indeed, today, residuals, or neighbouring rights, as those additional revenues are called, bring in most of the profit for the film, not theatrical rights. Those residuals are collected by collection agents, such as Fintage House and Right Back, which adds transparency to the process of collecting revenues generated by the film.

The distributor rights for the film are usually sold for worldwide distribution.

The distributors and the production company then share profits.

As a film producer, you should “trust the shuffler but cut the deck”, by ensuring that you have an audit clause inserted in the distribution agreement, which will allow you to audit the accounts of the distributor in order to check that all collected revenues, from all sources, are indeed included in the residuals statements that you received from such distributor.

It is worth noting that, in at least 10 countries from the European Union, including France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, distributors of pay-TV services and/or operators of VOD services are required by law to contribute to the funding of production, either through contributions to support funds or by means of direct investments in production. The arrangements are generally complimentary to and extend tax law provisions requiring contributions from exhibitors, broadcasters and video distributors: all distribution activities must contribute to the funding of production

2. How do you finance a film nowadays?

First things first: have you made a business plan? Creating a business plan is almost as important as finding a terrific script. You need to prepare a plan of attack to get the money to shoot your film. Indeed, as a producer or filmmaker, you need to make creating a viable and realistic business plan your first priority. Many filmmakers create an outline business plan first, and then find a script that matches what they think they can raise.

The studio model

The strategy, here, is to get 3 to 5 films together of a similar genre, and approach investors with a slate of similar films. If one of these films is successful, it will pay off for itself and the other 2 to 4 other film projects on the slate.

While this strategy consisting in hedging your risks by having more than one egg in your basket sounds great, a reality check is necessary: do you really think that you can get more than one project together? You may want to collaborate with some like-minded filmmakers with similar projects.

Government funding

Many nations now have attractive tax and investment incentives for filmmakers. Individual state and country legislation unable producers to subsidise spent costs for production.

For example, Europe’s MEDIA programme has twenty-odd programmes for media and filmmakers. You need to apply for the funding and lobby decisions makers until you get your soft money.

Many European filmmakers design a business plan around the rules and regulations surrounding the MEDIA money. The same applies for soft money from other countries as well.

Another example is the UK government, which pumps tens of millions of pound sterling into British film every year (using National Lottery funds!). Following the heavily criticised demise of the UK Film Council, UK public money is now distributed by the British Film Institute (BFI). Film London has also put in place a Production Finance Market (PFM), its annual two-day film financing event, run in association with the BFI London Film Festival. PFM encourages new business relationships, between UK filmmakers, producers and investors, attaching international sales companies and securing various forms of investments in companies and film projects.

As soft public money funds are always heavily over-subscribed and lobbied for by competing filmmakers and producers, you should not be over-reliant on getting government funding. In addition, those funds will impose restrictions, that could easily compromise your creative integrity.


Hard cash investments made to your film project by a single investor, a group of investors and personal investments from colleagues, friends and family.

Equity investments require that investors own a stake in the film (i.e. the operating structure, special purpose vehicle incorporated for that particular film project). They also must be paid back (typically on their principal investment plus 20 percent) before profit is seen on the side of the filmmakers and producers.

Tax finance

It’s all about de-risking your film package.

Through its Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and (Small Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), the UK government has created one of the world’s best environments for de-leveraging the risk of investments made in small businesses up to 98 percent (depending on the investors profile). EIS is designed to support smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in those companies.

Film projects are qualifying business for EIS and SEIS, however we heard that the European Commission has audited the UK EIS and SEIS schemes and only wants long-term UK small businesses to benefit from such schemes, ruling out special purpose vehicles incorporated for each film project. With a Brexit in the works though, it is likely that EIS and SEIS will still be used to finance UK film projects, in the future.

To get all EIS or SEIS up and running, you need to get a strong business plan together with a budget and schedule. Fill in a few online tax forms and get your UK limited company registered for EIS. If you get stuck, phone a really nice lady in Wales who will make sure your secure the paperwork.

While investing in a film is seen as “sexy” by many private investors, the recent economic downturn, Brexit and the competitiveness of securing EIS and SEIS among filmmakers and producers, make investors shy and cautious. It may be worth speaking to UK film financiers, such as the Fyzz Facility, who have a pool of private investors who are ready to invest, via gap funding (as this term is defined below in paragraph 2.6 (Gap financing)), through EIS and SEIS.

In France, Sociétés de financement de l’industrie cinématographique et de l’audiovisuel(SOFICAS) are the equivalent tax-wrappers to EIS and SEIS. They are equity funds financed with tax-related money and are allowed to invest in both films and TV productions, on a selective basis. Their money comes from banks which are allowed to collect, from French tax resident private investors who want to pay less income tax in France. As SOFICAS want their money back, they tend to do mostly gap funding (as this term is defined below at paragraph 2.6), providing producers with the last (and most expensive) money. SOFICAS generally stand behind the distributors in the recoupment order. Only part of the SOFICAS money is invested in independent film productions. Each SOFICA can invest 20 percent of its money in foreign-speaking (qualified) co-productions, as long as the film’s language matches the foreign co-producer’s country’s language. In 2015, SOFICAS invested Euros37m in 112 movies, 11 of which were majority foreign co-productions, mostly from British or Belgian producers. A top manager of SOFICAS for the media and entertainment sector in France.

Tax incentives require a producer to hire a certain number of local crew employees, rent from local vendors and run payroll through local services. Tax credits are based on an application process and are often lengthy (12 to 18 months) and difficult (as they may involve a substantial amount of tedious paperwork) to procure.

For example, UK film tax relief ensures that, for film spending GBP20m or less, production companies can claim a cash rebate of up to 25 percent of qualifying expenditure. For films spending more than GBP20m, production companies can claim a cash rebate of up to 20 percent of qualifying expenditure. The UK film tax relief is largely responsible for the recent influx of international blockbuster movies into the UK: “Star Wars: the force awakens” (LucasFilm), “Avengers: age of Ultron” (Marvel Studios) and the latest James Bond film “Spectre” (EON) have all been shot in the UK, mostly out of Pinewood Studios.

In France, the Tax Rebate for International Productions (TRIP) concerns projects wholly or partly made in France and initiated by a non-French film production company. It it selectively granted by the French national centre for cinema, CNC, to a French production services company. TRIP amount up to 30 percent of the qualifying expenditures incurred in France: it can total a maximum of Euros30m per project. The French government refunds the applicant company, which must have its registered office in France. “Thor” (Marvel Studios), “Despicable Me” and “the Minions” (Universal Animation Studios) and “Inception” (Warner Bros) have benefited from TRIP.

For French film productions, the Credit d’impot cinema et audiovisuel (CICA) benefits French producers for expenses incurred in France for the production of films or TV programmes. The CICA tax credit is equal to 20 percent of eligible expenses – increased to 30 percent for films for which the production budget is less than Euros4m.

Certain tax credits are sellable, transferable and even trade-able based on the local legislation. US states such as New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Michigan offer the strongest solutions here.

It is really worth for film producers to organise a “competition” between various countries and territories as well, based on available tax rebates and government funding, before deciding in which country to produce and post-produce a film. Indeed, the UK and France are always in rivalry, Film France CEO Valerie Lepine-Karnik noting that “last year (in 2014), American blockbusters spent more than Euros1.6bn in the UK, which is half a million more than the total amount of money invested in French domestic film production in 2014″.

Pre sales and co-productions

The strategy, here, is to sell your film cheap up front (pre-sales) and hook up with producers in other countries to secure soft public money in other territories. Indeed, by co-producing, you can take advantage of soft money otherwise not normally accessible to your film production.

Pre-sales agreements are pre-arranged and executed contracts made with distributors before the film is produced. These agreements are based on the strength of the project’s marketability and sales potential in each given territory. A distributor will generate a value for your film project, given the scrip, the attached talent and crew, as well as the marketing approach, and then enable you to take out a bank loan using the pre-sales deal as collateral. Pre-sales can also result in direct payment (at a discounted rate) from the buyer themselves. Pre-sales investments require that the producer pay back the bank its loaned capital before profiting on their respective upside.

Both the UK and France have bilateral co-production treaties in place with certain countries such as:

Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, France, Jamaica, Morocco, New Zealand, Occupied Palestinian Territories and South Africa, for the UK; and Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, South-Korea, Lebanon, Luxemburg, Morocco, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Palestinian Territories, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela, for France.

For example, Ken Loach’s films, mainly produced in the UK, benefit from French funds through French production company Why Not since “Looking for Eric” in 2009. “Mr Turner” by Mike Leigh was co-produced by Diaphana.

Moreover, the European Convention on cinematographic co-productions applies for now, in both countries, although this will cease to be the case for the UK after Brexit.

While co-production can work, it can be difficult to set up co-productions and you will now have financial partners in various territories who will probably all want to exercise creative control. Also, you, the producer, will have to share any revenues generated by your film not only with the distributors, but also with your co-producers scattered in various countries.

Gap financing

With partial equity raised, you are then able to procure a loan from a bank or a private lender on the unsold territories of the film (and additional elements of collateral, such as the intellectual property or corporate guarantees).

Gap financing is only available when other elements have been assembled and there is adequate security for the investor to “bridge” against.

Product placement

The strategy is to team up with brands and get cash for including their products on set.

For example, Heineken reportedly paid a third of “Skyfall” ‘s USD150mn budget to turn Daniel Craig’s James Bond into a lager drinker!

Not only do you get some of your film funding through product placement, but the product exposure the brand enjoys may have a far greater value than the cost of the product placement and is generally seen to be cheaper than comparative advertising on TV or print.

However, having a product placement in a film means that you will always be under the scrutiny of brand managers, which may hamper the film creative process. Moreover, few independent filmmakers have the polling power of James Bond! Brands will always want to know what the marketing strategy of your film is, before they invest in, or even allow their products to be used.


Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Ulule, Kiss Kiss Bank Bank, etc.) is now a serious contender to raising finance for your film projects. It enables a contributions-based model for capital to be raised without selling equity.

For example, the “Veronica Mars” Movie project and Spike Lee’s latest film project “Da sweet blood of Jesus”, were all financed through Kickstarter in 2013. Spike Lee raised USD1.4m for his horror flick on contemporary vampires, not a negligible amount by any means.

The strategy is that you get some rewards (such as DVDs, t-shirts, sharing dinner with the famous film director) together and offer them to friends, family and fools, as well as to the crowd, hoping to entice them into making a contribution to your film project. The idea, here, is to build a community who adheres to your story.

Even the studio biggies are using crowdfunding nowadays: Charlie Kaufman, an American screenwriter, producer, director famous for writing “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”, raised over USD400k for his new project Anomalisa.

This is crowding the pitch and makes it even tougher to get enough noise directed your way. Therefore, you need a really good business plan in order to successfully approach crowd funding.


The strategy is to get everybody to work and be paid later, out of profits if any. Indeed, producers are able to avoid nearly all costs on a project if they are able to negotiate a deferred deal.

Convince everyone that in order to get the film made now, you cannot wait for investment. In exchange, you offer up a percentage of the share of profit, meaning that everyone’s salary could potentially increase depending on the success of the film.

Deferred agreements basically state that crew, cast, vendors, locations and services are all rendered upfront at no cost, until the film generates money upon release.

Deferrals may work but are reliant on the trust the producer has with his team. Often, deferrees are unpaid, even though the film goes on to commercial success. There is also the temptation to overstate the value of the deferment which can lead to bitter arguments if the box office returns do not meet expectations. Moreover, deferred financing is difficult because experienced cast and crew are unwilling to work under these types of structures.

Self-financed film projects

Self-financed movies mean you do not have to deal with investors. It also does mean that you have to be very careful with the money, which is yours.

For example, Tangerine’s director, Sean Baker, shot his feature film entirely on 2 iPhones and went on to become one of the most hyped film directors in 2015, as Tangerine was reviewed by many critics as one the the best films of 2015. In an interview with Bret Easton Ellis in 2015, 45 years old Sean Baker confessed to still be heavily in debt and reliant on the goodwill and empathy of his parents, to make ends meet.

While getting your film done immediately with your own resources is an enticing prospect and very achievable in today’s digital world, it is worth noting that most of these thousands of self-financed movies fail, mostly due to the fact that their scripts are not good enough. By going the self-financed indie route, filmmakers have side stepped the development cycle and no one has told them that their script sucks.

 3. How do you make your film project stand out to financiers?

As mentioned in our introduction, it is tough to get films financed in today’s market. Of course, a strong script, a great team with experience and a game plan for success are pre-requisites, but that’s not enough. The key factor to equity investors and debt lenders, is to remove risk, financial exposure and speculation – meaning, when are they going to start earning a return or their money back, and can you guarantee that? The more risk and speculation you remove, by utilising the steps below, the better chance you will have of securing capital in “hard money”.


As mentioned above in paragraph 1.4. (Packaging) above, talent agencies are a difficult nut to crack. They are well-guarded, highly established and protected entities. They are the gatekeepers of taste, talent and possibility – and more than anything they are the lifeblood of the independent producer seeking to put projects together with financing.

Once you have a suitable piece of material, get an agent/agency excited about the project as well. The way forward is approaching the major five talent agencies – William Morris Endeavor, United Talent Agency, Creative Artists Agency, The Gersh Agency and International Creative Management – for the packaging of quality source material – script, paired with proven name talent – actors and directors, under the representation of a successful in-house sales agent.

As with most of the entertainment business, agents think in numbers – how much will my firm/I make from this deal? Incentivize the agency by offering them the ability to package the project – place multiple roles with their roster rather than just one or two roles – which gives them the ability to earn 10 to 15 percent of multiple deals across the board.

Furthermore, offer them the ability to have a first look opportunity for domestic sales representation – again, finding ways to incentivise. By packaging these elements early on, you will be able to bring strong talent to the project and gear up to be more ready to approach equity players.

Strength of team and experience

A first time producer/director/star is a tough sell for many in the film business. Sales teams are unable to project value (pre-sell), agents are unable to place large name talent (packaging) and financiers are unable to gauge project return on investment (ROI).

Therefore, your best bet is to find a director who has carried a project before, find an agency who is interested in packaging and will keep you/your project in the stratosphere of content that matters and you will be in a great starting position.

The team must bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and relationships to the production phase, in order to properly execute feature film’s full production schedule. All the while, the producers and filmmaker must mindfully nurture the creative necessity, without neglecting the overall commercial nature of the film’s back end.

If you have to utilise unknown talents to make your project, then surround them with experience on all fronts. An unknown star with a strong director, director of photography, producer and writer is a reasonable recipe.

Soft money options

With your packaged talent signed on, a strong team on board, and a well-developed script, you can now approach “soft money” options, i.e. tax incentives/pre-sales/debt financings.

Tax incentives offer a percentage of the in-state or in-country spend back in rebate form. This means that you can bankroll/cash-flow this piece of financing to offset your investors’ risk.

Pre-sales offer projections of value based on the elements you have brought together. This, in turn, also implies that you can bankroll/cash-flow this piece of financing to offset your investors’ risk.

The same goes for debt options

As a filmmaker or producer, you need to find ways to cover 50 cent or pence of every euro or pound your investor is putting up before the cameras even turn on.

Shoot in tax incentive rich states, with a strong pre-sold package, and with a great sales team onboard to execute. You can then reduce the level of speculation and guarantee a return of X percent, based on Y investment in a tangible timeline.

Plan of execution

With these elements on board, make your investment proposal personable, professional and tailored to your investors specifics. Do not pitch high level equity film financing to first-time entertainment investors. Keep it simple, honest, and remind equity investors that while smoke and mirrors often run throughout the business, you are putting together a basic structure returning X percent on Y investment over Z timeline.

Lastly, look into completion/guarantor insurance guarantees, as a way to assure your equity investors that the project will be completed on time, schedule and budget, and with the elements they have agreed to finance. The liability is now removed via an insurance company and investors’ return is partially guaranteed via tax incentives and additional soft-money.

Pitch smart, often and confidently knowing that you have done your homework and that the investment is well-structured for a return.

Good luck !!!