Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Make it in the Film Industry

                                                    Popcorn Monster

         This month, I’m going to talk about two film industry professionals that have worked on large science fiction and fantasy movies, and what they look for in potential films or employees.  Success in Hollywood, for producers like these, depends on understanding the business side of movies, as much as the creative side.  Kathleen Kennedy is well known as a producer and the new President of LucasFilm since the sale from George Lucas to Disney last year.  Kevin Geiger, though also a producer, has focused much of his career on visual effects for films like Reign of Fire (2002), and Species (1995).  Both producers have spent decades in the industry, and are experts in investing in the film business.

         Kathleen Kennedy started her career in San Diego at a television station.  Her first producing credit was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, at the age of 29.  Over the next three decades, she has worked with director Steven Spielberg and her husband, Frank Marshall, on more than 60 feature films. 
        Throughout that time, her films have earned more than 100 Oscar nominations and $11 billion at the box-office.  She has said about her career, "Success is always a matter of some luck and timing."

                       How to Make it in the Film Industry                                             

         When looking for a new film to invest in, Kathleen is attracted to stories with great characters, and a hopeful message.  When hiring employees, she looks for nice people with a balance to their life, as she thinks that balance is what inspires creativity.   She also believes that to make it in the film industry, you need luck, a lot of tenacity, and strong values that are evident in your work.  These things are critical to succeed in a competitive film environment.

                                  Taipei National University

          Kevin Geiger worked on his first big film in 1995, as a computer animator for Species.  He also worked as a digital artist on Reign of Fire in 2002, and became a producer in 2009 on Roads to Home.  His experience in visual arts led to being hired as a CG supervisor for Walt Disney.  Kevin worked at Disney Feature Animation for twelve years before leaving to co-found Magic Dumpling Entertainment in Beijing.  He then returned to Disney in 2012 as Vice President and Head of Creative for Local Content Production in China.  

                                                                 Fan Pop
            Kevin believes one of the most important questions for investors, when funding a new film, is the way they will make their money back after the release.  He has said that research is extremely important to any business plan or pitch, as well as organization and brevity.  “If you can’t summarize your business model in ten slides, you don’t know what the hell you are doing.”  Hiring an experienced and competent development team, and knowledgeable advisors, will also go a long way towards convincing investors to fund new films.  Knowing the way that business works in the film industry is essential to any one hoping to make movies. 

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