Archive for the ‘DVD Releases’ Category

I’ve been Googling templates for business plans. There are quite a lot of them out there, with varying levels of complexity and helpfulness. Most of them make me a little uneasy, but the fact is that I want to get some kind of focus as to what my company is going to achieve over the next five years and somewhere in all these various bits of paper I hope that I can start to find the answer.

The business/company side of things is something I still find challenging to manage. Jinx Media has existed for ten years (this July!), but the basic mechanics of keeping a company going is something I doubt I’ll ever find simple. I’m a creative guy rather than a business guy, and I’d have never ended up as a company director were it not the only sensible way legal framework with which to pull my projects together.

Completing the end-of-year accounts that first year was a rude awakening. I attended various seminars about doing your own accounts and ended up panicking that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I signed with an accountancy firm who ended up billing me over three times the amount that they’d verbally estimated, despite the fact that the first year’s accounts literally couldn’t have been simpler (mainly because they consisted of a single page of A4 and were ALL outgoing). That experience left me annoyed and feeling a bit helpless. I didn’t feel capable of doing my own accounts, but couldn’t afford to keep paying stupid amounts of money to other people to do them for me. I eventually ended up signing with a local accountant who was friendly, reliable and charged exactly what he said he would, and we stayed with him for many years, but that first experience still haunts me a bit. It sometimes feels like there are traps all over the place when you’re running a company, and some of them can cost you serious amounts of cash.

In the ten years since we got our articles of association the industry has changed almost beyond belief. The giants who seemed enormous and permanent in 2003 are now largely either laid low or gone altogether. Everything has changed, from the way films are shot through to the way they are delivered to consumers. In terms of our particular niche (horror features shot on micro-budgets in the UK) we’ve gone from being a small fish in a deserted small pond to being a small fish in a small pond that’s so full of other small fish you can barely see any water. The arrival of home computers that can edit video straight out of the box, buddied up with countless devices that can shoot high-quality video, has meant that the filmmaking process has been thoroughly democratised. The disappearance of any ‘gatekeepers’ standing between filmmakers and their potential audience has meant that anyone can get their stuff out there.

In other words, it’s a very, very different jungle out there to the way it was ten years ago. Not necessarily easier or harder, but very different.

The smartest thing we ever did was to get TrashHouse shot before it was easy to edit on home PCs. I can’t help feeling that if we’d have shot that same movie five years later, it would have been forever lost in the deluge of home-grown horror and would probably never have seen the light of day. Luckily, back in 2004 a cheap home-grown horror movie was still something of a novelty; novelty enough that people would watch it, anyway. Nowadays there are a couple of hundred such flicks slated for completion in the UK this year alone, and nobody thinks there’s anything particularly special about shooting a feature all by yourself. I would hate to be in this environment trying to get people to pay attention to my first film. It may be a million times easier to make something nowadays, but getting people to pay attention to it (let alone give you money for it) gets tougher with each passing week.

So, where does this leave the business plan? Well, we announced our feature for 2013 at the Horror-on-Sea festival last week. Our official online launch for the project is still a couple of weeks off, so if you weren’t in that room last Saturday I’m afraid my lips are still sealed, but the fact that I’m still talking about feature shoots will be enough to tell you that we’re not suddenly putting our 7Ds down and entering the flower arranging business any time soon. What happens before and after that shoot, however, is the stuff of business plans and late-night brainstorming sessions. We aren’t in a position to simply think, “hey, we’ve already done this a half-dozen times, let’s just do the same thing again” because that’s the kind of thinking that would land us on that pesky extinct pile pretty damn quickly.

We’ve made mistakes over the last decade, of course we have, but I’ve always prided myself on making all-new mistakes every time rather than making the same ones over and over again. So we need a plan. A plan to ensure that I’m still sitting here typing something about Jinx Media when we’re approaching our 20th anniversary, too.

I’m really proud of the work that’s being done on the new movie, and we’ll be giving you guys the chance to get involved in that production like never before. But that’s a tale for another update.

Me, I’m just looking at these business plans.

Regardless the size of fish, the size of pond or the amount of competition out there.

A five-year plan.

A ten-year plan.

No matter what, we’re going to keep swimming.

PS. Since writing this blog, we’ve released a filmed version of our 2013 live show Werewolves, Cheerleaders & Chainsaws, which details many of the experiences of running a small production company. The video can be seen below. Please note that it features strong language, bloody violence and partial nudity.

People often assume that because you’ve got movies on the shelves of mainstream shops, these films will be supplying you (or your company) with a regular supply of money. When they start digging for details of deals that you may have signed in the past, this belief seems to get more deeply ingrained.

Let’s take a hypothetical example.

“Right, so let me get this straight. You signed a worldwide distribution deal on this movie, right? And it has come out in at least ten territories in the world, right? And you’ve got a deal for how much of the profit? 50%? Jesus, that must be bringing you in at least some money” And then you truthfully admit that in the case of that particular movie, your company has seen nothing. Not just no profit, but nothing. Not a single cheque has been written to you in the two years since the movie came out. And then they ask; “But people are buying it, right?”

And you have to tell them that, yes, you get sent a sales report every three months detailing these international unit sales and advances for different territories, and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars your feature has generated for the distributors, all neatly accounted for down to the last cent. But there’s another column of expenses detailing exactly why none of that is going to be heading your way. And every three months, just as the incoming sales figure grows so does the expenses column, so it seems that you actually get further away from being due your cut the more money the film generates.

And then they say “But, hang on, that’s got to be illegal, right?” And you say no. And then they frustrated and start insisting that it must be illegal, surely, because you can’t just make profit disappear with accounting, and how can you just sit there are take it and why don’t you do something? It only crossed my mind this week to point out that, effectively, that international distributor is in the same position as Starbucks (who paid £8.6m in corporation tax in 14 years of trading in the UK, and nothing in the last three years up to 2012, despite UK sales of nearly £400m in 2011) with the small indie producer playing the role of the UK taxman. As long as the expenses on paper tot up faster than the income, they never have to pay that indie producer a single penny of the money generated by their film.

This goes on, frankly, all over the fucking place. Just because it’s morally rotten that doesn’t make it illegal. It’s a tough world out there for those distributors too, and shit rolls downhill. If there’s a legal way to hang on to every penny then quite a few of them will do exactly that. A few, however, don’t. A few write up contracts that they actually honour in spirit as well as in small print; a few have decided that, ultimately, totally screwing over the people who make the product that they sell isn’t always the most cost-effective way to do business, as you’re effectively kicking the geese to death before you even find out whether they can lay golden eggs or not. Which is why when those decent honourable distribs start getting crapped on by the companies larger than them, it breaks my heart all over again.

A colleague of mine who has worked in distribution for decades posted on Facebook this morning bemoaning the nightmare situation that indie distribs sometimes face when the big chains go into administration, namely; “…administrators approaching distributors/labels and offering them pence in the pound for stock sold and also for stock they don’t actually own. Look out for lots of small indie labels going to the wall because of this” Now, hopefully this won’t be the case with any of the current high-profile chains that might be crossing your mind but it’s clearly something that has happened in the past. Once again, shit rolls downhill, and when a giant crashes to the ground it might just use a few smaller folks to cushion the fall a bit.

All this stuff is, obviously, utterly depressing. Another symptom of a dying business model? Perhaps. Either way, it’s something that makes me hate and fear the small print of contracts even more. It’s not just distribution contracts, of course; screenwriters everywhere should beware of the type of contract that promises enormous rewards over countless pages, (percentage points, payments, etc.) and then has a tiny caveat of ‘subject to retaining sole screenwriting credit’ somewhere around page 8. Unless this caveat gets argued tooth and nail, it simply allows the producers to bring someone else onto the project to make some contributions to rewrites and thus void all of the rights that the screenwriter has fought for, leaving them in some cases with absolutely nothing.

Once again, back to the old mantra. Make sure you treat everyone with decency and respect, and hang on to all the ones who do the same to you. It’s a lifelong process of whittling out the assholes and making sure that, when the shit rolls downhill, as it inevitably does, there isn’t someone trying to make you get splattered worse than everyone else.

Be sure to check out the new hour-long interview with Pat over at IAmDoFilmmaker, in which Pat discusses his career so far and spills the beans about various stories (from being a walking cliche through to how to build relationships with distributors)

It’s a really good listen, packed with detail and stuff that you probably haven’t already heard.

 

Latest newsflashes!

First up, we’re delighted to announce that the Director’s Cut of our award-winning movie The Devil’s Music has signed for distribution in the UK with the wonderful folks over at Cine Du Monde and will be hitting DVD early in 2013. This new cut features some never-before-seen footage (no, not even seen on the previous stuffed-to-the-gills US release) and the disc will be full of brand new exclusive extras.

 

 

In case you’ve forgotten how awesome the movie is, this is the one that won Best Independent Feature at the Festival of Fantastic Films and has been variously described as “Absolutely Terrific” , “Brilliant… A gem to be experienced” , “a wickedly thrilling treat” and “A master class in engrossing story-telling”.

More details on the new disc as we get them through.

Next up.. We’ve got the actual date for the first of the new live shows confirmed!

As we mentioned, the new show will be called “Werewolves, Cheerleaders & Chainsaws: Filming Horror with No Bloody Money” and the first date will be:

Saturday January 19th 2013: Horror-On-Sea Festival

 

We’re still planning the various bits and bobs, (which we’re keeping hush-hush for the moment) but it should be a really fun show. The festival itself is shaping up to be pretty goddamn awesome too, with Alex Chandon’s Inbred hitting the screen as well as our own mighty Nazi Zombie Death Tales and a whole host of other gruesome goodies. Make sure you make a note in your calendar for the festival, and show some support and love for the newest horror treat in the festival calendar.

What else? What else?

Well, how about some absolutely brilliant Death Tales merchandise? Check these suckers out!!

 

These wonderful garments are beautifully designed and look absolutely fantastic. Go and treat yourself (or stock up for your indie-horror loving friends for Christmas) and support independent filmmaking as well as looking cooler than everyone else you meet that day. I promise you, you won’t regret the purchase! CLICK HERE TO GO SHOPPING!

What else? What else?

Well, we’re moving forwards as mentioned on our shoot for House on the Witchpit, which will be Jinx Media’s big project for 2013. Since the funding collapsed on this flick (through no fault of our own, I hasten to add, or indeed the lovely people we were dealing with; this industry is going through horribly difficult times at the moment and companies go bust left, right and centre) we’ve been a little bit in limbo with it, but it’s revving up and moving forwards for next year. We should be announcing some investment opportunities very shortly (we’re looking at various options at the moment) but if you’re interested in potentially getting involved in the project in some capacity a bit further down the line, don’t be afraid to visit the official Jinx Media Facebook page , ‘like’ us and post something on our wall.

 

 

Cast, crew, whatever. It’s always lovely to network with likeminded souls, and the project is shaping up to be awesome. It’s the first time that we’ve ever shot a movie where the main intention was to scare the living shit out of people (rather than broadly entertain/make ’em laugh/intrigue them) and we can’t wait to get started.

What else? What else?

Well, I wrote the words ‘The End’ on the screenplay for Chainsaw Fairytale last night.

But maybe that’s a story for another time…

 

Battlefield Death Tales (retitled Nazi Zombie Death Tales for UK release) hits DVD in the UK in two weeks, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon by clicking the lovely cover below…

UK DVD Cover for Nazi Zombie Death Tales

We had a fantastically enjoyable premiere last week, and you can witness our drunken babblings from the event (as captured by Nerdageddon) below…

It’s been a while! First of all, if you’d like more regular updates and info you’d probably best follow my Twitter account, where you’ll be able to find out all sorts of fairly useless information.

Second of all, if you haven’t seen Bordello Death Tales yet, you can buy that sucker from Amazon, HMV or wherever. It’s all over the place. HERE, for example. Or you could try and win a copy somewhere like HERE. Oh, and don’t forget to sign up on the official Death Tales Facebook page OVER HERE

Third, we proudly announced last month that filming has started on Battlefield Death Tales; all the madness of Bordello Death Tales but significantly more war. All three directors (myself, Jim Eaves and Al Ronald) are back, and you can check out the very first images from the shoot over at HORRORTALK. It’s been a blast so far, and there are many more brilliant images to come from the Battlefield shoot. Keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive monster-tastic image in one of the big genre mags next months.

What else, what else? Well, as of this morning something cool happened with one of our older titles, but I can’t tell you about that just yet. Soon, though. Soon.

As I type these words, I’m actually laid up with a stinking cold which has completely taken my voice away. It’s a very weird sensation. Funny how you get used to being able to communicate so effortlessly; I keep forgetting that I can’t talk, and then I’m all surprised when I open my mouth and nothing emerges but a strained squeak. It’s pretty bloody horrible, (especially as I was hoping to record some DVD supplemental stuff this evening, and now can’t).

Pretty sure I haven’t even mentioned Chainsaw Fairytale on this blog yet, have I?

Maybe that’s a story for another day.

And they lived happily ever after.