The market is hungry for new content. Networks and broadcasters are eager to show something new to their audiences and were buying up lots of stuff this time around. This made my heart jump for joy.
Behind The Deal
I thought I was the only one who came to the realization that I’m not coming home with signed contracts. As a successful producer and creator of content, she said that her expectations are the same as mine. But would she miss a market? No.
I am still preparing to go to MIPCOM. I have my flight, my apartment and great room mates all arranged. But I got a late start on making appointments. At this time I usually have about 40 or 45 appointments. So far, I have about 30 with 10 days counting. However, I must say, these appointments are ones that want to see me for the right reasons. They have business to discuss, not just a meeting to kiss on the cheeks and pass the time. So quality over quantity is what I am going for.
When I say to friends and family that I am off to New York, France or other parts of the world, they all are envious. They think that I am off for a couple of meetings and then off sunbathing on the Cote D’Azur or drinking at some swank place in the Big Apple. No Way!
I have been going to Comic-Con on and off since ’94 and I have seen the change. Up to a few years ago, the Con, as it is now know, was the celebration of the comic book artist and writer. It celebrated a genre that had sustained since the turn of the last century.
Thirty, forty and even fifty meetings in four days is nothing. But the question is the quantity yielding the quality? The more people you meet with the more information gathered, but if your purpose is to sell a show to a distribution company, then targeting distributors early in the appointment making is critical.
What happens at these markets? Who goes? Let me lift the curtain on these shows. All of these conventions were created for the purpose of buying and selling television shows. Just so you know, there are markets for the sales of feature films, music, games and other content, which I will talk about in the future. But let’s concentrate on the “small screen” for the time being.
Several years ago, at another mobile conference, several speakers talked about the casual game player emerging because of the new device, the Blackberry. Sure phones did have games on them, but the playing was cumbersome.
Now it’s time to look at the other ways of getting brilliant content in front of audiences. Distribution is the heart’s blood of any production. If you have a Letter of Intent (LOI) or a pre-sale from a broadcaster in almost any part of the western world you have a winner in the eyes of co-producers and financiers.This means that your idea is not just looking great in the pitch bible, but someone likes it. . .
You just don’t make animation and then play it, in the game business. It is a unique combination of equipment, programming/technology and art.
Your series has been sold to the network and you get to guide it creatively and nurture it.It’s like having a baby and putting it up for an open adoption. You will take care of it everyday, but will not own it. You can love it, take care of it, but at the end of the day the adopted parents will make all of the life’s decisions.
The network loves your show. The executives see the total package potential. It is moving forward into development, but what happens next. What do you get? What do you do?
Most creators have visions of merchandising and licensing in their heads. Dollar signs dance around in their dreams, in hopes that Nick will take their property and make it a number one hit. But what do Nick, Disney and Cartoon Network want? They want the whole thing, all of it, all rights, all merchandise and all licensing.
Every one of my content client’s goals is to get their show on a US network, first and foremost. This is when I ask the question, “Are you willing to sell your rights away?” Many stop short and say “Hell NO!”
Does your concept seem to really fit into the programming line up? But are the networks really buying shows? If so, what are they buying? What do you, the creator, get out of a network deal? The big part of my teaching is to explain about the networks and how they acquire programming and at what cost.
Many will have a real clear idea of what networks they would like their shows ultimately to land on. But not all of them have analyzed if their type of show is the kind of show these networks like. They just know they like that network or know that it is number 1.
The other night I invited Mike Young, co-CEO of Moonscoop, to speak to my class about co-production and the facts of life about where money comes from. Mike’s is one of the few studios that survived post-“Fin-Syn,” which was a ruling in Congress in 1994.
Now that sunlight is being cast on my KidScreen notebook I am assessing the results. I must say it was a more positive event then in the past. One major player asked me for production bids for a television series. Another company asked for a client to quote on a style of animation for a DVD feature.
This is one of the questions being asked. Commercials are the backbone of the money used to license shows or develop content, but what if you don’t have a broadcast deal yet? Where does the money come from?
Commercials have the highest budgets above any other type of production. The advertiser only has 30 seconds to convince the viewer to buy their brand of toilet paper.Frame for frame a commercial costs more then even LORD OF THE RINGS.
For television, money eventually comes from ad sales. Advertising is what the acquisition executives, programming executives and development executives look toward when making a decision on content. Will the show attract viewers?
Co-productions seem to be the standard for most independent animation projects. But what does this mean? Where does this money come from? Today’s co-productions are as solid as a house of cards. A small breeze and the whole thing could collapse. It all starts with a great concept? So, one would think. But really it is sort of a convergence not a start. The first card is a great concept. Will the show idea appeal to an audience? Can it be translated into a brand? Will it be accepted beyond the US territory? Can there be a life beyond the series?
Just this week I visited several studios with a software client. The industry is preparing for MIPCOM in October. . . When MIPCOM, the biggest television market, is in sight, the industry changes gears and is looking for something fresh and new to whet the appetites of the international buyers. . . . During this trek around animation town, I absorbed a lot of information from a lot of different sources.