How To Be Accountable
I absolutely love the distinction I’m going to talk about this week. Accountability! This one may hurt a little. We like to think of ourselves as pretty accountable… at least some of the time. Well that’s not okay. It’s like integrity… either you have it or you don’t. Can we count on you to show up on time, for example. Really count on you to do what you said you were going to do. This is not necessarily something that will happen overnight. I worked for a long time of this one.
For those of us in the entertainment industry we’re only weeks away from the American Film Market. It’s a great place to meet people, do some serious networking and to find out what’s happening in the film industry. However, no matter how great your work is, how eloquent your pitch is, how talented a writer you are, how amazing your composer reel is, if you’re someone I can’t count on when the rubber hits the road, none of the other great stuff I just mentioned will matter. It’s probably one of the most important distinctions to master. <--read more-->
10 Tips to Put You On the Leading Edge – Part 2
I love this time of year. The fall reminds me of the magnificent colors of life surrounding us. A perfect time of year to stop and enjoy the vibrant colors and be present… really present to appreciate the wonders of life.
It couldn’t be a more perfect time to stand in leadership. Last week I offered 10 Tips on Leadership and I promised I would give you ten more. I truly believe I’m giving you gold here so really take a good hard look at who you’re being in the world in terms of leadership. Are you stepping up to the plate? <--read more-->
10 Tips to Put You On the Leading Edge
The topic I’m going to focus on this week is LEADERSHIP. No matter what level or what facet of the entertainment industry (or any industry) we’re in, it’s our job to keep raising the bar. The bigger we get the more we allow the people around us to rise to the occasion. It’s in that type of space that people shine, and their creative brilliance will shine through as well.
As I always do with each of these topics, I engaged in an inquiry on Leadership. I listened, observed and inquired. I read and researched. Looked at people I respected and admired… remembered people who inspired. Recalled presidents, teachers and heroes… thought about the average guy and gal who quietly make a difference and enrich our world. And did some soul searching of my own. It all boiled down to this, leaders are people who make the extraordinary possible… who hold a vision for life and see the world not as it is, but as it could be. <--read more-->
10 Tips to a Killer Sales Presentation
Years ago, my film partner and I decided to launch Windchill Films. A low budget genre division of Snowfall Films where we had done bigger budget films. Thriller/horror movies were doing fantastic box office back then so we chose our first project, “Candy Stripers.” It was early fall at the time, and we did the paperwork, opened the LLC, created a great business plan, set the production date for May 12th, and even opened a bank account. We were thrilled to get started.
Christmas came and went and the next thing I remember is looking at the calendar and screaming, “Oh my God! It’s March 1st!” Two months had gone by and we’d sold two units (shares in the film) and that was to each other! I called Kate and together we realized that the fear of getting out there and selling the units… raising the money and approaching potential investors was overwhelming. We had completely shut down and disappeared. In the past our projects had for the most part been co-productions where you work with a representative from an investment group, get government funding, tax incentives and do gap financing. <--read more-->
10 Tips to Help Attract Investors
When I was deciding on which article to write this time all I had to do was think back to the first question everyone asks anytime I’m on a panel or doing a speaking engagement in front of producers. “How do we fund our films?”
And the question doesn’t usually end there. It continued with “How do I raise money for my film in this economy?” Or “in the face of having to deal with unions on my ultra- low budget film?” Or “When I don’t have enough producing experience?” Or “What if the script I’ve optioned isn’t commercial enough?” My answer is always the same. The economy and the rest of those issues have nothing to do with it. If you buy into the doom and gloom of whatever conversation your telling yourself, you might as well go watch a movie, because you sure as heck aren’t going to make one. My business coach always said, “You take actions correlated to the way the world occurs for you”. So, if you think it’s impossible to raise money for your film… guess what actions you’re going to take. <--read more-->
Enhancing Your Communication Skills
I am super excited about this topic…. Communication. It doesn’t get any more important than this. Some of you reading this blog are in the entertainment industry so you are in the center of communication. It’s what we do. We bring our voice to the screen, the stage, the networks. We get to express ourselves publicly, globally. There are few people on the planet who get to do that. It’s a gift and it’s a big responsibility. My question to you is, how conscious are you of your own communication. It starts here, and it starts with you.
Are you aware of the fact that everything we do is a communication of sorts? Language is a small part of it. If you cross your arms during a conversation, you’re communicating. If you are sloppy in your written correspondence, you’re communicating. If you do a mediocre job, you’re communicating. If you hand your script in late, you’re communicating. It’s all communication. Be conscious. Really take notice this week as to how conscious and aware you are of all aspects of your communication. <--read more-->
Pitching Yourself and Your Projects
I’ve been on many panels on “Pitching” over the years, heard pitches in my office and heard tons of pitches at various PitchFest events. I am always amazed at how many pitches are unclear, confusing, too long and too generic.
I am not trying to be critical here… I know first-hand just how hard it is to pitch your projects and yourself. I’ve been on both sides of the table 100s of times. In fact, I use to love watching “Dragon’s Den” because it is fascinating to watch people pitch. I always learn so much.
As a film producer, I have been hearing pitches for years and I think what people don’t realize is the fact that they are pitching all the time. It starts when you walk in the room or get on the phone or the email. I’ve seen people at networking events, film markets, festivals, interviews and auditions and for the most part they are completely unconscious as to how they come across. They just don’t get it! You aren’t just pitching while you’re pitching… you’re pitching all the time! Your speaking, who you’re being, how you’re occurring… it’s all pitching! <--read more-->
Networking & Creating Relationships
With the American Film Market just around the corner, it’s time to master the Art of Networking! For Indie filmmakers it’s one of the most important weeks of the year. And the better you are at networking and creating relationships, the more successful you’ll be.
Early on in my producing career here in Los Angeles I would be at a party or event and all to often people would approach me and say “Suzanne, I hear you’re a film producer, I’m an actor, here’s my headshot”. Or, “hi, my friend told me you’re a producer, I’m a director, he’s my reel.” Or “here’s my screenplay”, “my composer CD”, etc. It drove me crazy! In every other business in the world we create relationships (or should!) first. Don’t just jump right into action… “please read my script”. Create a relationship, talk about the possibility of working together, the opportunity and the benefits that that could provide and then and only then make a request (take the action). <--read more-->
Staying Focused & Inspired in this Crazy Industry – Part 2
A few years ago I had the privilege to be at events where Lisa Nichols and Dame Helen Mirren spoke. These women have raised the bar for all of us. To me Lisa Nichols is the Queen of Inspiration. I don’t think I took a breath during the entire hour. She has the ability to enroll you into truly believing that you can be, do and have anything and everything. During her speech at the Women’s International Network (WIN) event, Lisa said that she was there to remind us of our brilliance… to remind us of our magnificence… to remind us of our innate power and ability to fulfill our dreams.
At Brit Week hearing Dame Helen Mirren interviewed was like being in the presence of a living breathing depiction of the words elegance and grace. Both women were beyond inspiring. In keeping with this article’s theme of “focus” I feel that both women’s lives and careers are perfect examples of the importance of staying focused and inspired. <--read more-->
Staying Focused & Inspired in this Crazy Industry – Part 1
Staying focused and inspired in our crazy industry is not easy. When my film partner and I were wanting to produce our first film, we couldn’t figure out why we keep feeling like we were spinning our wheels. We had developed 16 screenplays, created tons of relationships in the industry, sent out literally hundreds of scripts and had more meetings than I am sure anyone else in the film industry! Also, we had actually set up deals with major companies in Hollywood on some of the projects. Yet, nothing was happening! Nothing! We finally met with our coach and she said only a few words, but extremely important words…. FOCUS! PICK ONE, AND FOCUS! It may sound crazy but that had not even occurred to us.
The minute we picked one, our favorite romantic comedy called “Undertaking Betty,” all of a sudden, things started happening. Within a year we were on location in Wales producing the film! An indie film with A-list talent. The other amazing part of this story is that the moment we focused on what we really wanted to do, we became inspired. We got very excited about getting started and moving forward on the film. And the actions we took toward that end were fun and effortless.<--read more-->