May was an encouraging month. I was able to launch the new Branded Pictures Entertainment business plan to an array of capable and receptive investors. I had the chance to visit Taliesin West in Scottsdale and The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright’s work up close and personal, which is inspiring as we put together a movie on the great architect for 2014. Although we postponed the start of a separate independent film here in LA, we did it for the right reasons – the script needs more work. And we have locked dates for our first production of Heathers The Musical for September here in LA. No shortage of exciting projects on the horizon.
While I did not attend the Cannes Film Festival, I followed it closely, and it seems that the art and commerce of cinema remain dynamic and encouraging. Some quality movies to see finally include 42, Mud, Kon-Tiki. Baz Luhrmann keeps it interesting with The Great Gatsby. Box office in the US has picked up with the early start to summer thanks to the branded Iron Man, Star Trek, (and the now branded) Fast/Furious 6. I’m sorry The Hangover 3 and After Earth are disappointing, but the business feels healthy to me. Personally, I enjoyed Now You See Me despite its gaping implausibilities, and I think it will do nice business.
The competition for eyeballs remains fierce. Whenever I open the Friday New York Times Arts & Leisure section and see that 12-16 new movies are being reviewed, I try to project the movies I’m making into that mix and imagine how they would stack up. It’s worth imagining your completed movie entering the marketplace. What is it really going to be like? It seems like more and more movies are premiering on VOD, which is rapidly pushing toward the cusp of being a smarter and more realistic option for quality independent films. Whatever the platform, we need a reason to pay attention to your movie with all the other choices surrounding us.
I’m teaching two classes at Stanford the second week of July and finalizing other Bay Area plans for that week. The fall is starting to book up with likely excursions to Chicago, Baltimore/DC, Texas, and other burgeoning filmmaking markets. I’ve enjoyed the private consults with a few newer filmmakers and been excited to make a writing discovery or two in the process.
Hoping our paths will cross.