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Mar 2017 0 Comment

Entry 36: Oh, Dear Lord; They’re Sales Agents

This is Michael Favelle and Martin Gallery. I have very strong feelings and opinions about these two people, and others like them – but who are they? Well, Michael is the founder and CEO of Odin’s Eye Entertainment, and Martin is the SVP for Asia Pacific with Odin’s.

Oh dear Lord, that means they are Sales Agents.

That’s right, Dear Reader. Gaze into their eyes and ye shall stare unto the abyss. Here be the creeping shadows and conniving whispers of the film industry, rendered into flesh. Look upon them, and despair…

…if you don’t have them supporting you and your film.

The truth is, I have warm and gooey feelings for these two human beings, and it’s not just because they are representing Contained. Many filmmakers in the local industry don’t know who Sales Agents are or what they do, but in my opinion they are the single biggest factor in the formula to create a sustainable industry in Australia, and for independent cinema, anywhere.

Want to know if your film concept has legs in the international market? Want to know if your budget matches the commercial viability of your story? Do you want your movie to have a chance of getting distributed across the globe?

Well then, you need a Sales Agent, goddammit. Why? Because they are selling to the international market every day. That is where they butter their bread. I’ve worked in sales in my day job career, Dear Reader, and I can tell you that it’s no joke. It’s a war.

So what do they actually do? At the risk of oversimplifying the many functions and achievements of Odin’s Eye Entertainment, I would sum it up thus:

They build up a professional reputation, through the quality of their character and the films that they represent, in order to make buyers feel comfortable handing over large sums of money to purchase distribution rights for movies in their catalogue. This reputation building takes years, you understand. Years of networking, flights to every corner of the globe, leaving behind family and friend, risking financial ruin, relying on instinct and passion and guts just to get a seat at a festival market table.

And then they put all of that on the line when they agree to represent your film. If they can’t sell your product, there’s no safety net. No government funding. No bailout. For them, no play means no pay – the very pointy edge of sales. So, if you’re lucky enough to pitch an idea to a Sales Agent, and that idea isn’t something that they are prepared to go to battle with, then thank them for their precious time and move the fuck along. They’ve got deals to make, and no matter how much time they have, time is always short.

In mid February 2017, Odin’s set up their booth at the European Film Market (EFM), which runs as part of the Berlin Film Festival. When Contained was added to Odin’s catalogue list, Michael, Martin and the OEE team received multiple enquiries of interest about our little film prior to being open for business in Germany. Naturally, any deals for Contained will take multiple conversations to bear any fruit, but we’ve gotten feedback on the quality of the screenplay that warms the cockles of my heart. We’ve gotten offers for distribution guarantees, equity investment, and even some potential numbers for pre-sales. We’re receiving offers, Dear Reader. We haven’t shot a frame, we haven’t cast a name, and we’re receiving offers.

Now, look. Maybe nothing will come of it. Maybe we won’t have any deal of any kind stitched up until after Contained is in the can and ready to be screened to buyers. But right now, at this very moment, that is looking unlikely. In fact, things are looking so good that we are re-thinking the level of cast we could attach to the film. This new list would have been laughable just a few weeks ago because the star power was beyond our reach to attract.

How could this have happened?

Oh dear Lord, that’s right!  They are Sales Agents. If your project isn’t represented by them, then look upon them and despair.

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