Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Current State of Affairs


There are no members currently but the goal in the near future will be to recruit a community of artists and business people with the aim of content and job creation servicing lower-middle income communities within film/TV. More likely than not the launch platforms will be Vimeo, VHX and Youtube supported by other media outlets like Instagram, Vine and Twitter.

Harnessing the greater-than-average need placed on our demographic means more impassioned pleas and more superior planning when asking for funds. The art of the campaign and community outreach is ours to master.

To be very clear, when I say "our demographic" I mean people who are educated and talented, or otherwise destined to be, but are at or near the poverty line. This also includes anyone without disposable income capable of handling a medical emergency, providing for one's own expenses, or being able to set aside and prepare for a family.

It's hard to lead without content and without first-hand case-studies and preferable to lead from the front. So the steps for this program moving forward require that I fit in personal projects so that my portfolio reflects an active philosophy and service offering.

You can catch up on my personal progress at http://carlosmsanchez.weebly.com. I will be updating this blog monthly as things progress in preparation for development of the community. The first step will be individual outreach for as many as 100 people divided by specific groupings and represented by leaders appointed by criteria to be written and revised by a committee of founders.

B.A.U.S will ultimately become a staging ground in pursuit of financial independence and fringe benefits for its members yet to be included in professional unions within the film and TV industry. Here members will learn to write for grants, mount a social media campaign, employ and protect their peers while contributing to the greater community through youth mentoring or green efforts.

Stay tuned.

Carlos Sanchez

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Roots Behind a College Film Exchange


Primer Tuesdays
by Carlos Sanchez

Vertical IntegrationIn microeconomics and managementvertical integration is an arrangement in which the supply chain of a company is owned by that company. Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or (market-specific) service, and the products combine to satisfy a common need.

Vertical integration has also described management styles that bring large portions of the supply chain not only under a common ownership, but also into one corporation (as in the 1920s when the Ford River Rouge Complex began making much of its own steel rather than buying it from suppliers).

Vertical integration is one method of avoiding the hold-up problem. A monopoly produced through vertical integration is called a vertical monopoly.

In the context of film historyAlthough the term [Studio System] is still used today to refer to the organization and output of the major Hollywood studios, historically the term refers to the practice of large motion picture studios, between the 1920s and 1960s, of producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under often long-term contract, and which dominated exhibition through vertical integration, i.e., the ownership or effective control of distributors and exhibition, guaranteeing additional sales of films through manipulative booking techniques.


Disruptive Innovation (according to Lucy Postins, interviewed by Fastcompany):  I think of disruptive innovation as creating something that consumers didn’t realize they needed; it’s developing a product that changes the status quo and refreshes the set of options consumers have, with something new that makes the old options (which they previously thought were fine) suddenly seem dull or flawed.


Context: Filmmaking is more accessible now than ever.  New media, grassroots marketing, crowd-sourcing, micro transactions, and self-distribution offer a means for a dedicated and talented group to sustain themselves independently.  I believe that group exists within the Brooklyn College production community.  I think BCFS can usher in its arrival.

By considering disruptive innovation, we think about the ways that a wide consumer base views and interprets short form media and then proceed to mold that into a demand.

By recognizing and officiating departments that cover the range of producing content under one roof (Production, Development, Marketing and Distribution, Exhibition), we'll be able to create product, set our prices, reverse engineer solvency and create a living for our corner of indie cinema.

We start out doing this the same way we engage a production, we come together and plan it out.


Contact the film society at info.bcfs@gmail.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You're hearing it here first: BAUS

(actually you're reading it here first.  I was just excited)

the Brooklyn Apprentice Union for Storytellers.

No bullshit.  I'm going after health insurance.

http://goodnessofgodministries.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/full_davidgoliath.jpgThere's a system I have written down with some loose anchor points detailing the organizational and individual operations allowing for things like wages and benefits to be provided or pursued in every production.

There would be production registration and certain basic allowances made (like proper holding, scheduling and a hot lunch).  The members crewing would have undergone a probationary period escalating tiers of involvement from production assistant to department assistance to assistant operator and eventually department head.  There are hierarchies even without our student group as we move through years at BC and through productions beyond.  You're experience and positive referrals will allow you to claim higher tiers of work.

The primary reason why low-budget shoots may not afford fringes and wages is because the producers are trying to make content that will attract funding.  However, it's important that they learn how to ask and they learn how to market.

It could be that with a proper film business plan and proper vouching from credible affiliates, an emerging producer without previous noteworthy accomplishments might make a case for enough of a budget to pay minimum wage to his crew (no less that $10/hr and then growing in scale to accommodate a favored nations model).

There might also be grants available to support a cause-based production, fiscal sponsorships and crowdfunding.  It's been my experience too few student producers consider these options available to them when finally contemplating an independent production aimed at profit.

Additionally marketing practices involving social media and other online content goes into creating the hype surrounding a picture.  Without buzz, you can't attract the opening download and if you never put a price on it you certainly can't expect a donation.

The truth is a filmmaker must ask for payment to continue his/her work.  And that payment in part has to go toward sponsoring his crew (like the captain of a ship).

That means health insurance and proper amenities on set.  And it may mean wages, or a production audit to make sure the money isn't available and then one time workshops on the above for the producing team with a signed good-faith agreement to provide the on set amenities even if wages can't be afforded (but must be paid upon any profits of the film, just like SAG).

These are the basic bits and I'm drafting something more formal to present for petition.

The benefits to crew - protection from exploitation
The benefits to producers - higher quality content and exposure from established best practices
The benefits to clients, financiers, and others - The middle-class sweetspot that is more affordable productions, commercials, tv spots with organized labor for all the independent activity trying to break into the higher unions brackets.

The film society might be able to pull this off if we can get enough members to negotiate a really forgiving deductible (I'll be brightly optimistic at $20 a month; I know nothing of negotiating with health insurance companies).  This way you can freelance and while part of the BCFS community (or at least while a student) you can be covered while we work on establishing other components of the Union to seek out jobs that the pro-unions won't do, but that still have worthwhile budgets for an experienced crew.

We can do it.