The Watch List – Spring 2017. With Sundance, Berlinale and the Oscars behind us, which directors and stars are rising to the top of packaging list for 2017? Who’s bankable for financiers and gets distributors interest?

I tease out the trends from Q1 and track the people and projects to follow for the year.

I tease out the trends from Q1 and track the people and projects to follow for the year.

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Happy New Year! I’m taking a look at 2015 with trend spotting and advice on distribution. Why is horror falling out of favour? Are we seeing a rise in branded content? And why are there consultants cropping up everywhere?

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Agent and exec producer Julian Friedmann and I talk producing, pitching and raising finance in the second half of my interview filled with pragmatic and practical advice for indie filmmakers. How can you build a connection with a producer when you’re pitching? What do sales agents look for in films? How do you write a script which engages with audiences?

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Good films start with good scripts. It’s all about story. I sat down with my friend – agent and executive producer Julian Friedmann – to talk about screenwriting. What producers are looking for? What makes a great writer? How do you get an agent? What’s the best route into the business?

As usual, he was full of insight and knowledge. Here’s the first half of the interview. The second half will be posted next week where we talk pitching, producing and what sales agents look for in scripts and films.

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Talk to any sales agent or distributor about your film and one of the first questions they’ll ask you is who’s in it? Cast is critical for distribution these days across all budgets and genres. But what’s a name? How do you balance the cost of a named actor versus the value in distribution?

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Have We Fallen Out Of Love With The Rom-Com? The big picture from the box office looks grim, but is the genre just evolving for modern times. Smart storytelling and commercial casts with chemistry might be able to revive the genre for modern times.

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Film is a collaborative process. Chances are you’re not the next Orson Welles. Filmmakers who can do everything are a rare breed. This post outlines why you should find your community, build a team and make a film together.

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Action films when done right are commercial, travel well and sell across multiple territories. The challenge is balancing the costs of making an action film with the returns from distribution. What do you need to keep in mind to blow them away at the box office?

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In praise of data. Before you option that script or put pen to paper, a smart filmmaker will do some market research. How are films in the same genre and budget range performing? Is there market demand for your film? Content might be king, but data can make sure you’re making the right content that will have an audience. Here are some sites which can help you with your research.

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One of the challenges of film is finding the money. Here’s a round up of UK film funds who offer grants to help get your film off the ground. Whether you’re making a short, feature or documentary, there are schemes out there that offer support and make your film a reality.

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