Each year that Vancouver is visited by the VIFF Film Festival, it also has the added bonus of the VIFF Industry Conference. Bringing together a bountiful collection of CEO’s/Owner’s of some of the most influential film companies today including Indiegogo, Drafthouse Films, Cine Coup, Screen Siren Pictures and much more. All took part in roundtable discussions that included marketing, distribution, directing and all things film. I had the chance of attending this four day event and summed up some of the highlights from this year VIFF Industry Conference 2014.
Emily Best (CEO of SeedSpark) and Marc Hoffstatter (CEO of Indiegogo) Debate about Crowd Funding Campaigns
On day 1 of the Conference the first panel on Marketing and Crowd Funding started off with a rather unexpected and heated debate.
Two of the speakers, Emily Best and Marc Hoffstatter went head to head in a passionate discussion about how to properly take responsibility for improper use of crowd funding to help fund your film project. Emily took a stance on the position that if you are going to use crowd funding and do not reach your financial goal, that you owe it to your public investors to put whatever money you made towards your project, in anyway possible.
Marc then responded by saying that it was a choice that should be left up to the user to decide what they choose to do with the money they raised. He then added that If they did choose not to spend whatever funds were raised on their project, then most likely, nobody will fund their next project.
Once those words were said, tensions started to rise as both speakers went back and forth on their perspectives on the situation. I personally loved seeing their passion and love for the craft come out and even though it made the audience feel a little uncomfortable, it was a moment that I won’t soon forget.
Screenwriters Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club) and Kelly Masterson (Snowpiercer) Panel
It takes a lot of self confidence and “keeping the faith” when in self doubt in the artistic world. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to keep those creative juices pumping and this was personified perfectly in the writers panel with Craig Borten and Kelly Masterson. Both having the title of “over night sensations” while both having worked in the industry for over 20 years each, had amazing tales of perseverance and persistence within their careers.
Kelly Masterson had been working at a bank for several years before landing his first script with “Before the Devil knows you’re Dead”, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei.
Craig Borten script for Dallas Buyers Club had almost been optioned multiple times in 20 years but never sold. With different directors and actors being attached including Brad Pitt, ryan Gosling and Woody Harrelson, it wasn’t until Matthew McConaughey came on board that the film finally got that push it needed to go into production.
Hearing their tales of triumph and proof that if you keep your head down and focus on moving forward, anyone has a chance of making it. This was very inspiring and left the crowd in very high spirits.
Writing for Video Games with Corey May, Lead writer of the Assassins Creed Franchise
This was one of the most technically interesting panels at the Conference this year. With Vancouver having such a strong gaming community, I felt like I kind of took for granted the level of complexity that goes into making a video game, especially the writing part of it. Corey May expertly laid out an exact blueprint of how his company goes about making video games, particularly, with an instalment of Assassins Creed.
Going from stage to stage, Corey broke down the process in various ways from the philosophy of experience that a player would want, to how a writer works with the various departments of the company, coming together to create a collaborate, cohesive vision. The presentation was both very stimulating and informative, giving us an exclusive, inside look into the behind the scenes world of how games are made from their very inception.
All Kinds of Funny panel with Adam Reed, the creator of Archer
Finally, the icing on the cake for me was the Archer panel with creator Adam Reed. Adam opened up the panel by showing the audience the entire first episode of the new season of Archer and the crowd went nuts for it.
Adam gave the audience a personal look into his creative process and insight into how Archer is made. Answering fan questions and hints about the upcoming season, Adam was both relaxed and very down to earth in his presentation.
You felt like you were just sitting down with one of your friends that you haven’t seen in a long time, he felt very accessible and I think that’s what Archer fans like about this man the most.