Good news in tough economic times… an exciting new studio is launching in NY, with a stack o’ cash and a distribution network in place. Is this the best time to launch? Or the worst?
And what does it mean for screenwriters who aren’t attached to a production company? A quick look at the “Greenlight Process” page seems to indicate that they’ll accept scripts, but only filtered through agents, talent, producers, etc… so your script will still need to be vetted and championed by someone with more juice than the average indie spec writer might have. That’s the part of the Hollywood model that will hopefully serve them well… a focus on projects for which they can commit the resources to complete, and for which they can identify a market. That’s just good business.
Of course, this kind of thing looks familiar for those who remember Larry Meistrich’s The Shooting Gallery (TSG).Through the ’90’s, Manhattan based TSG had big plans to build sound stages to support their slate of projects, but ended up with more misses than hits (Laws of Gravity and Sling Blade remain perhaps the two most recognizable successes) . Ultimately their demise in 2001 may be attributed to their lack of focus on proven Hollywood business practices, choosing instead to fancy themselves a dot-com technology start up with an eye on becoming a new-media powerhouse.
Will dedication to core industry business competencies (managing resources, backing projects with proven audiences, proactively managing distribution pipelines, staying in the movie business) keep DFIS from becoming a repeat of TSG? Will it have longer legs, and stay focused on the nuts and bolts of film rather than thinking it needs to be a new-technology company? Or does the new universe of online social media, marketing and distribution (that didn’t meaningfully exist during TSG’s lifetime) demand just such a bifurcated focus? Was TSG just too early, that landscape just too new and volatile?
Maybe DFIS will need to strike a balance between the two to find success. With the hard lessons of the dot-com bust firmly in our rear view mirror, we can only hope that DFIS remembers that the threat of mishandling that balance still looms larger than it may appear.
REUTERS: “Mary Dickinson and Charlene Fisher unveiled DF Indie Studios late Friday to eventually produce 10-12 films annually with a production cost of $10 million or less. They plan to guarantee distribution in the U.S. and Canada, backed by what they say is $150 million in equity financing.
DF Indie Studios (DFIS) has the support of big-name movie makers such as brothers Tony and Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) and independent film veterans Ted Hope and Anne Carey. (“Adventureland” and “In the Bedroom“).
“We’ve been amazed to see the competitors in our budget range have pretty much disappeared,” Dickinson told Reuters.
“That’s why we’re excited about this time period,” added Fisher. “We see it working in our favor.” [See the full article HERE.]
See the DFIS website HERE.