Office Hours: Hope & Vachon's Killer/Hope Twitter Q&A

This past Tuesday Christine Vachon and I did a Twitter Q&A. For one hour we answered whatever questions the community put forth. We tracked them under the unifying hastag: #KHQA (which also happened to be a radio station's call letters, but...). These sort of Twitter meet ups are not only a lot of fun but a great way to connect and share info. I think it should become standard operating procedure for any filmmaker who premieres a film or is about to. They can also then be repurposed into a blog post so it keeps generating new content!

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- TONIGHT-- Ted Hope and I answering your questions from 8pm to 9pm EST here on twitter!
-- Tonight's hashtag for Ted Hope and me is : #KHQA

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- Tonight's Twitter Q&A w me & Christine Vachon @kvpi will be using #KHQA Tweet in at 8P Eastern.
-- 30 min countdown to the 1st ever Killer / Hope Twitter Q&A. Join me and Christine Vachon on #KVQA
-- Oops. Typo on my hashtag. THe Killer Hope Q&A is actually #KHQA and not what I just typed on the last tweet...

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @TedHope are you tweeting under the influence???? you mean #KHQA!!!

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @kvpi Right you are. Not about the TWI but about the mashed hash tag. It is #KHQA. 17 minutes and counting...

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- ted is using 2 screens (I only have one computer) so I will be slower-- sorry in advance--#KHQA

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- What if you threw a twitter Q&A and no one asked a question? 6 min until @kvpi find out! #KHQA

@Swishpan (varda the message) -- @kvpi Can we submit questions now?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Swishpan!

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Too early to post a Q? Is there still a market for an indie film that is not integrated into a transmedia platform?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 A market yes? In fact, #Sundance is that this month. But w so many films I wonder a just-a-movie gets discovered unless they've got $
-- Okay the Q&A has started

@Armakk (Randy Mack) -- @TedHope SUPER made me think "Yup, this is definitely how a real Batman would play out. And hence nobody trying to film this before."

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- Yes, SUPER had some of the greatest cinema moments of 2012.

@kingisafink (King and Keck) -- Who's in for the @TedHope / @kvpi Q&A?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @kingisafink @kvpi We are!

@JJoshua_Johnson (Jonathan J. Johnson) -- Is it at all possible to see more $500k indie films, well developed, with both seasoned and new producers, and new talent, per year?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @JJoshua_Johnson absolutely-- we're making several right now--

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JJoshua_Johnson see? as in screen or have more made? The trick for most is how to earn a living at that budget

@JJoshua_Johnson (Jonathan J. Johnson) -- @TedHope @kvpi See them made. Making a living is always the trick. Somehow it seems there is a sweet spot in there somewhere. Thanks!

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @JJoshua_Johnson @TedHope agreed

@brianjude (Brian Jude) -- @TedHope @kvpi Where else can one go for development funds when personal connections/crowdfunding seem to have been exhausted?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @brianjude I spend years developing financing contacts. The trick is how to supply deal flow so you educate them

@passerbyco (Passerby.Co) -- @TedHope @kvpi Better indie film scene: NY or LA?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @passerbyco What's "better"? just different. LA has to be in Hollywood's shadow whereas NY is the unwanted orphan

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @passerbyco @TedHope I think both are good but LA getting more interesting--

@Swishpan (vardathemessage) -- Varda the Message asks @kvpi who/where was your 1st rock concert in nyc? best concert? Thanks for fab music films! Keep making them!

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Swishpan best concert-- clash at BOND'S (6 times!)
-- @Swishpan first concert: AMERICA in central park!

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi So, is a project with a sort of "transmedia development plan" more likely to get a prod co interested?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 @kvpi for a budget below $5M & w/o financing, I ONLY want to consider one with a transmedia plan

@FalseCheese (False Cheese) -- @TedHope What would be an artist's best bet in getting work in a film's art dept? Is sending a portfolio to a prod co advisable?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @FalseCheese Yeah I think having a great portfolio AND great connections is best to get on art dept. It's what I wanted 2do but had neither!

@averagejenn (Jennifer Liao) -- Paying personnel fairly & not breaking budget: Can it actually be better to budget more days rather than know there will be crazy OT?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @averagejenn but the problem often is the financier won't approve a budget that way. People blv you'll hit OT no matter what

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @averagejenn yes-- if you have the choice-- problem is the bond co often holds you to the fewer days scenario)

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi How do you structure a team to dev a project that is anchored in film and "grows" in diff directions in multiple media ?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 It's a lifelong process: surround yrself w good ppl talentd in many varied fields & sharing ideas & being willing to brainstorm

@tanktv ( -- @TedHope @jcle1 @kvpi might sourd stupid here but what is a transledia dvpt plan

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @tanktv Transmedia development plan= how to extend story world to different platforms & forms of engagement byd core

@averagejenn (Jennifer Liao) -- @kvpi @TedHope Thank you both! Follow up: Is there anything novices overlook in what crew most appreciate when working low budget?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @averagejenn Respect, preperation, organztn, good food, good examples & leadership, personal sacrifice, sense of humor, quality

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi What role does potential global mkt/media exploitation play in your decisions to dev/prod a project? What are key terr for u?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 I do my own P&L and foreign estimates; compare vs. "experts" -- US & the six major territories are key always

@AquariusFilmsOz (AquariusFilms) -- @TedHope @tanktv What are some good examples of excellent transmedia models for film Ted and Christine? To use as case studies

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @AquariusFilmsOz @tanktv True, we need good transmedia models and beyond TV they are few& far betwn

@cinemamusings (Cinema Musings) -- Your best advice for a producer bringing their first film to a festival.

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @cinemamusings which festival? important to set your goals, know who your audience will be there--

@myjumpsuit (Cort Johns) -- Have you looked at the reworked 2012 Michigan film incentives?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @myjumpsuit Briefly. Shame that minimum was raised but glad they brought back. Tax incentives are job stimuli

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @myjumpsuit no-- can you give us all an outline?

@WZRichard (Zack Richard) -- @TedHope Any advice for a DP looking to shoot bigger budget indie features? Just bought an EPIC.

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @WZRichard Buying an EPIC is a great start. Where are you located? I am sure there are filmmkrs who need a DP!

@WZRichard (Zack Richard) -- @TedHope I'm in NY.

@reelclever ( -- What are 3 main questions a filmmaker should ask when looking to attach a producer to their film project? How to choose right one?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @reelclever 1) Do they want to make the same movie as me; 2) Can we eat dinner together & grow; 3) Can they make it happen

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @reelclever make sure you both want to make the same film first and foremost--

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Can you envision a time when you'd anchor a project on the INternet (webisode/stream) and use other media as ancillary?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 @kvpi Absolutely. Both @kvpi & I are platform, budget, genre agnostic

@Armakk (Randy Mack) -- @TedHope @kvpi My concern: directors will "cut the corner" to marketing, create films around hype/controversy/etc & those'll dominate

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Armakk @TedHope the real filmmakers won't-- and audiences really want authenticity

@JJoshua_Johnson (Jonathan J. Johnson) -- @kvpi @TedHope Audiences, esp online, seem to be increasingly content hungry. Can't get enough. Could reward prolific indie producers.

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JJoshua_Johnson @kvpi But are audiences willing to pay for great content or even good content? I think so if they respect creator

@myjumpsuit (Cort Johns) -- What's the best no-name approach to fundraising?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @myjumpsuit I think crime & bribery are great fundraising approaches as long as no one gets hurt or finds out

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @myjumpsuit be more specific

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @kvpi what was the most difficult decision you had to make on a film?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @TedHope always when to walk away
-- @TedHope what's yours?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @kvpi My most difficults were firing actors, putting an actor in rehab, calling Health Dept about hepatitis outbreak

@Christina8ryant (Christina L Bryant) -- @TedHope @kvpi Emerging writer w/ list of SW labs/contests to enter, but looking at past winners, all loglines sound same. Thoughts?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @Christina8ryant Orgs generally support artists like the others that succeeded. Best to always differentiate yourself. but may not win

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi What's the most amount of time you put into a project before you abandoned it

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @JCle1 @TedHope Boys Don't Cry had 7 years, Savage Grace almost 15-- we don't abandon, we just pull back!

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 I like to see ppl stick it to the pricks & never give up

@AquariusFilmsOz (AquariusFilms) -- @TedHope @JCle1 @kvpi But aren't revenues generally higher from other platforms for indie films?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @AquariusFilmsOz @JCle1 @kvpi Yes theatrical is generally a loss leader and ego builder

@averagejenn (Jennifer Liao) -- @kvpi @TedHope Really enjoying this Q&A! How do you gauge the readiness of the script? External reads, mutual agreement among team?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @averagejenn @TedHope unless its very high concept I say script necc

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @averagejenn To get financing, you MUST make it "feel" inevitable. Script goes a long way + image book + attachments + projections

@kingisafink (King and Keck) -- QUESTION: What's more valuable for screenwriters: getting agent/manager OR getting screenplay produced on an indie level?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @kingisafink obviously getting a (good) screenplay produced!

@Rebeckakaka (Rebecka Pitman) -- For an aspiring producer about to graduate. What is the best way to learn the film industry? internship or make independent films?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @Rebeckakaka Jump in and do it. Don't ask permission. Always b student learning. B prolific. Ask how 2 stay motivated despite haters

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Rebeckakaka ha-- both! you can't REALLY learn the biz till you are in it, film school is a fake place for a producer-

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Do you think there are themes/ideas you care about personally that come through ea of your projects? If so, what?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 Mostly I like stories that have emotional truth and take me somewhere I cant get on my own
-- @JCle1 I love stories that make me care about someone I don't think I hv much in common w

@kingisafink (King and Keck) -- @kvpi Thanks so much for answering my question! Do producers watch other ppl's work, approach writers based on produced work?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @kingisafink absolutely-- all the time!

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Is it easier to pick projects since you've gained some success (and $$) or more difficult?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 "easier?" I have made so many commitments I rejoice when I have the space to take on something new

@passerbyco (Passerby.Co) -- @TedHope @kvpi Biggest risk you've taken in your career (and outcome)?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @passerbyco @TedHope I have taken so so many-- taking some as we speak! 1st time directors, unknown actors- DPs/PDs on their first gigs..

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @passerbyco Biggest risks? Each movie is a testament of faith in artist & humankind in general
-- @kvpi @passerbyco Even taking on rent and employees is a risk in this time of economic collapse!
-- @passerbyco Each film is a five year minimum commitment (often MUCH longer) & world could end b4
-- @passerbyco But I have claimed several times I could do things I did not know how to do in order to get the opportunity

@ Swishpan (vardathemessage) -- @kvpi I still regret missing Clash at BONDS!

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Swishpan yeah, it was pretty awesome...

@AquariusFilmsOz (AquariusFilms) -- @TedHope @kvpi @passerbyco How do you keep the costs down but still keep up with the workload?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @AquariusFilmsOz @kvpi @passerbyco Yeah, that's the challenge: job description increase tenfold. Billfold reduces 10x further!

@Armakk (Randy Mack) -- @TedHope @kvpi What're the most common mistakes in thinking you've seen in young/new producers lately?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Armakk @TedHope that theatrical is the holy grail and only thing worth making

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @Armakk Common new producer mistake? Not collaborating w many, not staying prolific, not increasing skill set, not audience bldg

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi What would you say are the key successes of your particular business model? Creatively, financially, operationally?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 I try to make sure that I love what I do, whom I am doing it with, how I am doing it, & the terms I am doing it under

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @JCle1 @TedHope I don't HAVE a particular biz model-- different one for every movie!

@myjumpsuit (Cort Johns) -- @kvpi What did you learn producing Hedwig and Velvet Goldmine?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @myjumpsuit how FUN it is to make music driven movies-- still love doing them, LCD Soundsystem movie at sundance this year

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Better ... what do you find are the key challenges to raising financing NOW and how are you addressing those

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 Financiers & collaborators are risk adverse. What gets funded easiest is not what I want to invest my time in

@Groovyfokker (David Hughes) -- @tedhope @kvla If you had a Martha Marcy May Marlene-style script (The Bends) but no ambition to direct, who should you point it at?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @Groovyfokker I would definitely give it to Sean Durkin, Antonio Campos, & Josh Mond. Or Michael Heneke

@Groovyfokker (David Hughes) -- I've optioned an unproduced Peckinpah script, 40 years old but with many modern themes, and low budget. How do I go about casting it?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @Groovyfokker Even great projects need 2hv a coalition behind em. Get ppl to recognize it's greatness first. You can only reveal once

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Groovyfokker if its a great script it won't be hard

@passerbyco (Passerby.Co) -- @TedHope @kvpi Who helped you launch your careers? Key early mentor or moment?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @passerbyco closest to a mentor was Jill Godmilow. Lindsay Law was great help. But the directors are who launched my career

@kingisafink (King and Keck) -- @TedHope: enjoyed yr talk at @FlywayFilmFest, yr mention of The Bible as greatest #transmedia idea ever. Question...

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- Thanks @kingisafink @FlywayFilmFest Thanks 4 reminding me that The Bible as greatest #transmedia idea ever

@myjumpsuit (Cort Johns) -- @TedHope @kvpi what are your feelings about seasoned producers lending their name to up&coming producers?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @myjumpsuit we do it a lot IF we like the movie. I think its a great way to help each other--

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @myjumpsuit "lending" name diminishes everyone. Either be in or not at all I feel

@kingisafink (King and Keck) -- @TedHope QUESTION: How involved are u w/ transmedia for yr projcts? Do u bring in experts / ppl w/ good transmedia track record?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @kingisafink I am working with @LanceWeiler on one. Is he an expert?

@grking (Gary King) -- @kvpi @TedHope what are some of your favorite film fests that you like to attend?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @grking sundance of course--- love venice and sarajevo--

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @grking I like film festivals best when they have cultivated a real community w artists & audiences

@ Swishpan (vardathemessage) -- @kvpi @myjumpsuit And to have made a must-see rite of passage for teens! If it's ok, can you tell us if G has seen Hedwig and/or VG?

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- @Swishpan she's seen hedwig-- not VG yet--

@averagejenn (Jennifer Liao) -- @kvpi @TedHope Really enjoying this Q&A! How do you gauge the readiness of the script? External reads, mutual agreement among team?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @averagejenn script is ready when the director can answer all of my questions. when it is true.

@JCle1 (Just J) -- @TedHope @kvpi Just curious ... Why did you each want to do this Q&A?

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- @JCle1 @kvpi did this Q&A for those that could not attend our masterclass & because ppl give us so much. People need answers

@TedHope (Ted Hope) -- Thanks to all for joining the Q&A with @kvpi and me. It was fun and hopefully helpful. Let's do it again sometime! Gotta go

@KVPI (Christine Vachon) -- thank you for participating!

Indie Film Lives, Thrives, Blossoms & Blooms!!!

It is no longer the dawn.  We are now officially in the new era of a Truly Free Film Culture. Yes, the business of indie film is back.  The rapidity, volume, and consistency of deals blossoming ($30M and counting!) at Sundance should give investors more confidence that you no longer have to rely just on foreign; the US acquisition climate seems quite robust again.  Whew.  But the good news does not end there.

Indie Film has been infected by a new breed that -- like those that came before them -- refuses to ask for permission.  But unlike the earlier wave, their go-get-them attitude doesn't stop at production, it extends into all the pillars of cinema -- from discovery and participation on through production, distro, appreciation, and presentation.  The content, the form, the plans of cinema are not only for re-examination, but the rules have been thrown out.  Time to get out of the way, and let the fresh air disrupt the stale space.

It is so happening in every which way. Yes, there are new stars, but also new ways of working.  This Sundance there are plenty examples of "tribal filmmaking" (thanks to Brit Marling for that phrase) -- teams of collaborators, working together, and moving beyond single authorship.  The web world calls this "collabs", but the spirit of this can be found in Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Sound Of My Voice, The Woods, and Another Earth.  We will find more teams taking over in the days ahead -- and it is an incredibly refreshing antidote to the antiquated construct of pure "auteur" cinema.

New spirit is there in old bodies too.  Kevin Smith's self-distribution plan recognizes the realities of the day.  No one in indie film has used social media as well as Kevin Smith has. He understands clearly the need to eventize his picture, and he has done it well. Things started off with a bang at Sundance, and he plans to keep it going.  He gave a nice lecture on his past and his plan for the future.  In between the curses, he lays it out how he plans to go forward.  His roadshow approach of teaming the local premieres with his live act is a value-add propisition that his million plus fan community hopefully can not resist.

Smith's RED STATE plan has the core indie value at it's heart.  To me previously I only really saws this value in terms of content & production, but now has extended well beyond this. Indie refuses to ask others for permission. Smith makes movies his way -- as he learned what happens when he doesn't.  He gets his fans the way his fans get him.  It is not a one way street, but a true community.  He might be divisive, but he is a model to follow.  Perhaps, precisely because he is divisive!

The failure of corporate filmmaking to represent the world we live in, particularly compared to indie's success at that, is evident at fest like Sundance.  It is also painfully drummed home by the Oscar noms, when all the Best Actress candidates hail from indie projects.  As long as corporate filmmaking fails to offer realistic takes on women's lives, Indie Film will always thrive as a welcome alternative.  Sundance must be acknowledged too as a tremendous generator of quality content; Sundance's responsibility in delivering 15 Oscar nominees is nothing short of mind-blowing.  If the world was just, the Oscar would be renamed the Bob.

I left Sundance boosted and relieved.  As great as it was to license our film to a top distributor for a significant profit, it is more the spirit launch that I seriously needed -- and that came from the individuals I got to meet with and hang out with.  We are at time of change -- but as someone pointed out to me, what is so great about the now we are in, is that the new breed recognizes change as a constant.  They will not take this moment for granted.  They accept the fluidity of all.  They recognize how the whole world must turn for that one leaf to fall.  And they are okay with it.

We ARE going to work together to make this better.  Whew!

Ambition In The Best Sense (aka Lance Weiler)

I've had the pleasure of working with Lance Weiler for maybe two years now.  I love how he thinks.  I love how he takes that thought and transforms it into action.  Process is more key to what he does, than virtually anyone else I have worked with.  The journey is the destination.  He is willing to walk without knowing where it all might be going.  He is collaborative to the Nth the degree.  His vision for cinema truly knows no limits.

Wired Magazine singled him out this summer as one of the fathers of transmedia.  BusinessWeek credited him with changing cinema alongside Thomas Edison, The Warner Bros., and James Cameron.  Between his features, The Workbook Project, & DIY Days, the man is profoundly generative.

If you were in Sundance this past week (and even if you weren't), you probably witnessed how he infected Park City with a Pandemic.  Others certainly did.  Jamie Stuart shot this beautiful video for Filmmaker Magazine on Lance's Pandemic activities. FearNet has acquired his short which was screening at the fest. For those that like to hold their stories in their hand, you can follow it on Twitter here. AND  of course there is a website. Granted, I am producing the feature, but believe me when I tell you it is thrilling, horrifying, beautiful, and groundbreaking; it's a shame you have to wait until I raise the money to see it.

Christine Vachon and I also got to speak to Lance for KillerHope on Hulu.

Lance created this short as a style template for collaborators throughout the world to help capture the outbreak in their local territories.  Check it out and get filming!

How I Spent My Sundance Non-Vacation

To think I once got to see movies when I went to film festivals...

I had one film to share with folks this time around, Sean Durkin's MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, which I had the pleasure and good fortune to Executive Produce -- even still I did not plan to see any others.  I knew I was going to be too busy with the work that festivals have become for me.

The reception for the film was great -- which has generated a lot of meetings (and which has yielded some nice announcements ).  I forgot to read the latest Exec Prod job description though and did not realize it now means moderating press conferences.  Check out the video here, and let me know how you feel I did.

When I wasn't dealing and celebrating Sean's movie, I was doing my part to aid in the promotion of indie film.

Christine Vachon and I have been doing this talk show on and off now for several years, now dubbed KILLER / HOPE.  Hulu's got it up on their Sundance page. Please check it out while you still can (at least in all its glory). New episodes will be added daily throughout the festival.  Additionally, we were invited to talk to Eugene Hernandez for the local NPR station.  Gotta get the word out, but man does all that yapping, make for some seriously dry mouth.

But man, what a test of will power it is.  I admit I am an addict for great film, and even noble failures.  To be in Park City and to have booked myself into back to back meetings to extent that I am unable to watch movies, leaves me quaking and shaking.  I want to see some movies!

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