I offer Consulting and Consulting Producer services to independent makers/producers/rights holders, as well as to companies, organizations, and institutions engaged in the creative and point-of-view documentary film space.
I design and execute film festival distribution strategies. I have a high level of expertise regarding film festivals, both as a former festival employee and a professional consultant who has extensively studied, wrote about, engaged with, and attended festivals. Admittedly, it's a weird specialty, but that's been my primary avocation and a fun ride, most of the time. My unique strength is in evaluating a production and taking a pragmatic, informed, patient approach to festival submissions. Also, I'm good at solving problems, figuring out contingencies, whilst being honest, direct, and laid back.
Also, over the past five years, I've gained a modest level of expertise in marketing and rights management for independent creative and point-of-view documentaries. This has been a moving target and a challenging endeavour for a "product" that is difficult to place, in an economy that can be predatory, or ambivalent, and is in constant transition. As a Consulting Producer, working with the Producer(s), I oversee and manage, in varying degrees of depth, the overall strategy, and execution, of launching and landing feature documentaries in the industry and consumer markets. We create our own economy around a production, tastefully marketing your work and prudently managing rights with both traditional and emergent tactics.
Further, my "first career" in documentary film was focused on curation, during which time I watched thousands of docs. I studied film in a Fine Arts context at Concordia University. I fell in love with docs because the form was fluid, expressive, curious, entertaining, omnivorous and meaningful. I've been reluctant to offer "story consulting" services, for many reasons, but I'm astute, studied, and saturated in film (and literary) form. Really, I'm a geek about it, and about the creative process, and about personal growth. Therefore, I'm an effective creative coach and strive to do no harm and offer helpful feedback consultations on rough or fine cuts. I'm also open to brainstorming and troubleshooting a production at the development stage.
I'm trying to work transparently, efficiently, and directly, to be an honest broker, and to earn a humble living. If you are interested in my services, email me a brief description of your production, its status, your goals, and the support you are seeking. I will respond to your email, succinctly, and typically within 48hrs.
I may suggest that we do a one-off consultation designed for your needs and will quote a fee ($250-$1500USD) depending on the nature of the consultation and the preparation/discussion time involved. As a general guideline for setting fees, I've appreciated the "Producer Rate Sheet," beautifully conceived by Dear Producer.
If you are seeking a continuing consulting arrangement, then I will respond to your query with more information and perhaps some questions. For my Festival Concierge service, we work together over 6-12 months on a strategy to achieve the best premiere possible followed by a critical mass of festival presentations, internationally. My minimum fee for this service is $2500USD. I don't count hours. We talk a lot at the beginning and then less so, moving things forward on email with occasional meets. At times, I will reach out to a festival on your behalf, but this isn't typical of my approach, which is focused on guiding and supporting how you manage festival distribution. For Creative Coaching, let's start with a single consultation and figure out next steps, if any, on that call.
There are many caveats. For now, if you're not sure that yours is a "festival film," you should start with a one-off consultation and I'll help you with that determination. If the outcome is that you decide to pursue a robust and committed festival distribution strategy, with my support, then I will deduct the single consultation fee from the overall cost of an extended consultation service. Please note that I don't "lobby" or "advocate" or "pitch" productions to festivals. Many filmmakers believe that being selected at festivals is about leverage and connections. I disagree (with caveats). The film has to do that work. I will, however, work with you to design a coherent strategy, mitigate mistakes, help allocate your submissions budget prudently, and ensure that you are fully prepared (emotionally and materially) for the daunting task of launching a film on the international festival circuit. And, if I think you're wasting time and money that could be more effectively directed to other sales and distribution paths, even if less "glamourous," I will let you know. You didn't hire me to wax your car.
For an introduction to my thinking and approach regarding film festivals, I suggest you read "What Are Film Festivals For?," a report that I wrote for the Documentary Organization of Canada.
Typically, I only become a "Consulting Producer" after we've been engaged in an extended consultation, and we agree that there's a need for further support and that I'm able to provide that support. My Consulting Producer fees are $5,000USD - $25,000USD. If we get to this stage we'll know each other, have trust, share goals, are committed, understand our skillsets and how to supplement where there are gaps, and want to work together over the 12-36 months it takes to land a new independent film production in the market.