The American Film Market is a great place to find partners and pitch projects and films – if you have a plan. Use these steps to increase your chances of success.
If you have a project or script, the most effective use of your time and money is to purchase an AFM Industry Badge or Industry Badge Plus which allow access to all offices, booths and most screenings beginning on Saturday (Day 4). The Industry Badge Plus includes all conferences and the writers workshop. Buy your badge before you attend AFM!
STEP 1: Homework: Create a List of Target Companies
Over 400 production / distribution companies have offices at the AFM but not all are right for your film. Focus your time and effort on the companies that are best suited for your project.
Starting about one month before the AFM, go to The Film Catalogue. Most AFM companies list their projects, profile and staff contact information. Do further research on the web. Find the companies that are the best candidates for your film.
Once you have created a target list, if there are less than 10, you’re being too picky. [“No distributor is right for MY film!”] If there are 100 or more, your homework grade is “incomplete.” Keep working. A good target list for most projects is 30 – 40 companies.
STEP 2: More Homework: Create a List of Target Executives
For each of your target companies, identify the key executives, especially those in charge of acquisitions, development and production. Look for their names in the trades and on company websites. If you can’t find the right names, call the company’s main office and ask.
Finding out who’s who is critical. You will never get anywhere by walking into an office unprepared and saying: “Hi, who is your head of acquisitions? I’d like to meet with him… or her.”
STEP 3: Start Scheduling Meetings
Most companies begin setting their meeting schedule three or four weeks before the market. The best way to contact them is to send a short, personalized email. After a few days, follow-up by phone.
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