What He Said…

I was recently thinking about blogs, contributing to the discourse, the dilemma of knowing if anyone was really reading what you write (or if they were, were they really processing it, turning into thoughts they could think, and so on) — and how there should be more cross pollinating in, to use my hobby horse, Canadian film & TV.

So today — I’m mainly drawing attention to a post over at another blog, in which commentator Allen Markuze comments upon a new Canadian film funding initiative by CineCoup. He goes into more detail, so read what he says, then come back…or just stay there ’cause, really, he pretty much says it all. CineCoup is trumpeting itself as a “disruptive” new model (and, yeah, I tend to be cynical when people or companies are quick to tell you how radical they are) but Markuze has some concerns and, sadly, I think he has a point.

CineCoup is inviting film pitches in the form of mock trailers. Now, on one hand, given my comments in my last few posts, maybe there’s something to be said for that. Of forcing the filmmakers to come up with ideas that are supposed to be catchy and marketable. But it seems like a problematic idea to sacrifice the script — the thing that is the bedrock of your movie — in favour of a few quick edits.

But what really struck me was that CineCoup, after forcing prospective filmmakers to jump through innumerable hoops, and put up their own money (in terms of entry fees and promotion) then generously brags it will offer “up to $1 000 000” in production money to the final, selected film. Note the key phrase “up to” (in other words: it might be considerably less).

And the problem I have is that $1 000 000 ain’t very much in the movie biz. It’s basically a “low budget” — heck, there are TV series which spend more than that on a single episode! It isn’t that unusual for low budget Canadian filmmakers — both the serious Art film makers, and the purveyors of horror and exploitation flicks — to cobble together a million bucks in funding. In other words, far from being a radical new idea or “disruptive” to the status quo, CineCoup’s idea seems to pretty much business as usual.

I’ll be impressed by its nerve and sincerity when a company comes along and offers 5 or 10 million to an up coming filmmaker. When a company is willing to actually put some serious money behind a film, and prove that they actually believe in the project and believe it can go toe to toe with the slick, professional American and British films in the theatre.

But “up to” a million dollars?

That’s like someone promising to sponsor an athlete in a triatholon…then handing then a tricycle with tassles on the handle bars.

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