g The Film Panel Notetaker: Netflix 101 & A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (original post 9/19/06)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Netflix 101 & A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (original post 9/19/06)

Yesterday, I attended the Netflix 101 panel discussion, but had to leave about half-way through to attend the Independent Film Week opening night premiere of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. If anyone attended the entire Netflix 101 panel discussion, and would like to continue where I left off in my notes, you're more than welcome to do so. Just post them in the comments section of that blog entry. Thanks!

BTW, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was great, and I had a ton of fun at the premiere. Thanks to IFP Executive Director
Michelle Byrd for the invite. The film is set back and forth between 1986 and 2005 in my old neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, with Shia LaBeouf as a young Dito Montiel, the real-life director of the film, and Robert Downey, Jr., the grown-up Dito. I felt really nostalgic watching all the places I used to walk by every day, and take the same subway in the film. . Present from the film were writer/director Dito Montiel, stars Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Weist, Channing Tatum, Melonie Diaz, producers Trudie Styler and Sting. I also had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Ruth Westheimer. I sat next to and had a nice talk with the very sweet Marilyn Agrelo, director of last year's hit indie doc Mad Hot Ballroom. – Brian


The Film Panel Notetaker's Notes From…

IFP's 2006 Filmmaker Conference:
Netflix 101 – Understanding the Prolific New Player on the Block
Monday, September 18, 2006

Panelists
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix
Liesl Copland, Head of Acquisitions & Distribution, Red Envelope Entertainment
Jeb Brody, Producer – Sherrybaby & Little Miss Sunshine
Laurie Collyer, Director – Sherrybaby
Michael Skolnik, Director – On the Outs & King of All Nations (working title)
Moderator
Eugene Hernandez, Editor – indieWIRE

Eugene – Outside of DVD mailings, there's a whole other production aspect to Netflix with its recently launched division Red Envelope Entertainment. There's an article in Wired Magazine with a serious quote from Ted Sarandos that has been the buzz with film bloggers: "Last year we acquired four new titles from Sundance, and this year we're working on about 12 deals… Eventually we'll be coming to Sundance and saying, 'We can buy everything.' There's a deal for every film."

Ted – This plays into the fundamental belief that the challenge to distribute any film is its marketing, building an economic model, and crafting a deal that makes sense for a film.

Eugene – Asks if anyone has read the book The Long Tail from the editor Chris Anderson of Wired. About where the economics of traditional retail model ends, the economics of online retail keeps going. Does this apply directly to Netflix? Elaborate on the idea of targeting to niche audiences.

Ted – The ability to single-case a product to someone is what keeps the diversity of content going. We ship 35,000 movies every week. Not everyone agrees what a great movie is. It's a personal choice.

Eugene – How do you break a film down to target it to the right audience?

Ted – It starts with an emotion. Smaller films that touches someone on a deeper level. Example- Sherrybaby.

Eugene – [To Liesl] What are you doing for Netflix?

Liesl – Head of acquisitions & distribution for Red Envelope Entertainment, the original content division of Netflix. Previously a film rep at Cinetic Media. Red Envelope looks at films at their early stage of development that we have confidence will find an audience.

Eugene – [To Michael] How do you get involved with Netflix?

Michael – On the Outs got to Netflix through luck. Sent an email to Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, who responded the same day.

Eugene – [To Jeb & Laurie] How did you work with Netflix?

Jeb – Big Beach Films doesn't have a business plan. We make movies we're passionate about. What we liked about Netflix is they have passion. Netflix has new ideas that other distributors don't have. They target homes directly.

Laurie- Did a lot of press for Sherrybaby. Doing a lot of press for a small movie is really important.

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