Tuesday 27 November 2012

Let’s make a deal

I sat next to an interesting young guy on a flight to India recently. He is an asset manager. We got onto a conversation about the money business and he said this about the micro-lending industry, "I am not saying that don't do some good, but they do more harm than good."

I told him my view on stoke brokers and asset managers, and he didn't disagree, but he did say that his work can be important, and in the humblest way. I do believe that protecting one's assets is necessary, but what I don't understand are smug asset managers and stock brokers who act like what they do is the ultimate thing in the world. The way most of them go on and on one would think that if they were not there then the world would not function.

We need all kinds to make the world go round. But more importantly, we need the building blocks. The fundamentals. Without the assets to manage these guys would have no deals to make. And the last time I checked there was no university degree or course called deal making.

The get-rich-quick mentality in the world just seems to be increasing. People want to make deals, and get bucks. I am not sure what this means. I do know that the money industry used to be the domain of older men. And now, we see more and more younger people, who know nothing about nothing, tell you how the world works. I liked the young guy who I met recently. He told me he listens to his mother. I meet many "money people" and I call tell you, they generally don't listen to anyone.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Incredible India

Craig Freimond and I are in Goa this week for the IFFI event. This is the biggest film festival in India, and the list of world talent here is impressive. Let's hope our magical little movie stands out.

Our first screening is tomorrow ... bring it on.

I have been to India once before, and I remember it being a big, chaotic machine. It is busier and more hectic than I remember. A real attack on the senses. Craig looks overwhelmed.

What a journey!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 18 November 2012

What is a producer ... ?

A producer, in the most obvious sense, needs to produce. In the case of a business, a result. A positive result.

So what then is a film producer? The movie business is a business, and like any other business, it is about making and selling products/services. A film producer makes a product and sells a product. In the non-studio world of independent film producing, a film producer is a serious entrepreneur. A film producer should not to be confused with a production manager - that is someone who runs a production.

A successful entrepreneur has to produce a good product, and he/she has to produce a good result. In the case of the film business, the product, or movie, has to be good and it has to be sold. Producing only the product is not entrepreneurial - it is actually irresponsible. Ask an alleged producer if they are entrepreneurs and then ask them about their track record of taking a product to market. We are not in Hollywood here - we are not part of the studio system. We need to sell the products we make. That is the bottom line. Making a film without any regards for distribution leaves you in a highly vulnerable situation. Of course, if you do have a distribution deal concluded and the film has been "pre-sold", then there is still no guarantee of success, but at least you have a chance. You are always vulnerable in the business of the arts, but to make art, without having a distribution scenario in place before you make the product, is very very risky.

Let's look at an example in another industry. If you bake 10,000 cakes and go to Pick 'n Pay and ask them to distribute them, ie, you ask them for shelf space, well, they are probably not going to be interested. Because, for a start, they don't know you. You will most likely be stuck with the cakes and they are gonna go off and you are take proper strain. But, if you go to Pick 'n Pay and say that you want to bake 10,000 cakes and you want them to distribute them, well, then if they say no, you don’t go and bake the cakes. Same with an indie film - if you can't find a distributor before you make the film then don't do it.

The key is to make, say, a dozen sample cakes and then see who bites (excuse the pun).

Los Angeles is 90% in development and 10% in actual film making/production. That is why most successful indie producers have a sleight of film projects, ie, lots of sample cakes on the go.

Movie producing is about making and selling a product. Just like the guy who bakes and sells cakes. Taking care of business first is critical. And if you do, then you are producing for real.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 11 November 2012

Dr. Riaad Moosa on CNN

This weekend I put on the TV and I watched the half hour programme on CNN called African Voices and I was stunned ... there was Riaad Moosa doing his thing. WOW !

This show is being broadcast all week. If you don't have CNN you can watch it online. Here are the links:

This is just surreal.

Riaad is going to fly !!!

Viva Material, viva !!!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Obama !

I was up early this morning, watching the news, and I was relieved that Barack Obama had been re-elected. I don't know what it was with that other cat, but he just gives me the creeps.

Last night a friend sent me this - I fell on the floor with laughter when I saw this video - I had to share it:

Well done Mr. President - the world is better off with you as the leader of America.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 4 November 2012

Easy come, easy go

More than 50% of the couples getting married in America, in this day and age, met online. And also interestingly enough, half of America is getting divorced online too. It is easy to meet a partner in this era of point of click. So, if you can meet one partner so easily, then why not two. Yes, easy come, easy go.

Perhaps the Western world is just working too much. Perhaps love has taken a back seat in this age of looking for purpose in a pay cheque. And then, on another note, I was reading that in France, people feel more guilty cheating on their diets than cheating on their partners. Whatever it is, relationships are not getting the time they need. Relationships require work and we all seem to have forgotten this.

It is all about quality VS quantity. Yes, we can have many friends on Facebook, and followers on Twitters, etc. but these are not real relationships.

I often think of that line from that beautiful movie Stand by me, from all those years ago : "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?" This film was from the 80s. There were no cell phones then, and no Internet. And we all did just fine.

I love the Internet, and the power it gives us all. But I don't like they way we have all become.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker