When Do You Submit A Project To A Financier Or Distributor? (continued)

I've written about this before, and I am sure I will write about this again.  It keeps coming up, both with my own projects and with those I consult on. I think it is really simple and it is based on both experience and common sense.

It is my belief that there is only one chance to show a script where it will have real impact -- and that is when it can be portrayed as "inevitable".  That is usually when there are both talent and finance commitments -- the two components that make a dream real for the industry.

The ideal time to submit a project is when there is enough in place to create the perception of inevitability but also room to bring in others to enhance a deal.  Why not make things better if you can?

The folks you are submitting to, need to both cover their ass (i.e. not look foolish) and be urged to act.  They need to be able to both visualize your dream, and still have room to add theirs on to it.

When Do You Submit A Project To A Financier?

I have been producing movies for about twenty-five years. And it still is a thrill when an executive asks me to submit a project. But does a simple request mean you should send the project you have slaved over on in to them?

I have never had a company actually finance a project that is not either already somewhat packaged with cast or has pre-sales done on it. I have to remind myself over and over. Good acquisitions execs craft all sorts of arguments of why I should submit my projects early -- and sometimes I fall for it. I think when they succeed in suckering me in they too honestly believe that they can get it made without already being fully realized (short of execution); but they soon learn they can't. Which is not to say that they can't get it set up, but that is often a far cry from getting it made.

Acquistions executives job is to bring projects in, period. So they ask. And often we comply. If the sign of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over, expecting the result to change, are we insane to keep doing this practice?

It would be wonderful if the corporately backed entities truly were able to climb aboard projects in the midst of becoming and enhance them with their status, capital, and expertise. I guess they do sometimes, provided the project is generated by one of the top ten or twenty directors who have produced a hit of recent times. But where does this leave the rest of us?

I understand the why though: we make movies because we are the type of people who believe magic can happen. Yet, as much as I believe we can engineer the likelihood of serendipity happening, I don't think we can summon it. I might test the waters along the way occasionally, sharing a taste with a well-chosen partner who has earned the offering somehow, but I am going to keep on trying to keep my cards close to my vest, until I know my hand can win. I do count the cards after all.