Category: marketing/sales

An Interview With Digital Media Producer and photographer Willie Pena

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Willie Pena is a Digital Media Producer and photographer; here is a link to his website:

 

http://williepena.com/

Q: What made you interested in digital media?

A: I first became interested in digital media due to my earlier career as a DJ. I used to have to carry around hundreds of extremely HEAVY and breakable 12 inch records to play, along with bulky turntables and other gear. It was entirely impractical and a giant pain in the neck.

Then compact discs came out and changed everything…especially when it became possible to burn your own music CDs. I remember that back then, audio “purists” hated the compact disc…calling the sound unnatural. The same effect happened when mp3s came out, and now that movies are also being shot on digital media rather than film, I see the same exact reaction again.

But I have always had a different reaction — one of excitement. To me, digital media is game-changing technology because it takes asset creation and delivery out of the hands of big monopolies and puts them into the hands of everyday people. You no longer have to rely on printers and manufacturers to get your work out into the world…everything is easily created and distributed, and that has changed the world for the better in most cases.

Q: What kind of services do you offer?

A: I do pretty much everything related to digital media. I think bullet points would be easier so here goes:

  • Freelance writing for websites, blogs, marketers, ad agencies
  • Scripts for commercials and films
  • Storyboards
  • Content marketing and social media planning
  • Web marketing strategy
  • Video production and video editing
  • Directing
  • Photography and photo editing
  • Infographics
  • E-books and whitepapers
  • Graphic design and Illustration
  • Original music production and scoring
  • Red carpet coverage and interviewing
  • Film, book, product and music reviews
  • And yes, I can still DJ with the best of them!

Q: What kind of training do you have?

A: There are a lot of different disciplines involved in what I do as you can see from the list above. As far as the illustration and design stuff, I received early training from my dad, who was a commercial and fine artist most of his life. The video work is all self-taught.

As far as the content marketing side, apart from some basic writing and journalism classes in college, all my training has been on-the-job and through studying what experts do. You have to stay on top of the latest trends to be in this business, and I get daily digests from many sources to keep up with all the different technology and strategies out there to grow a brand and drive revenue.

Q: What is the oddest thing you have been asked to promote?

A: Probably weight-loss pills. I am amazed that companies still peddle this stuff…and that people actually buy it!

Another weird situation is regarding one of my side projects, a teen website and video program called Teens Wanna Know. I am constantly pitched adult things by publicists for this site, even though it is for kids, such as stories about the latest sex toys and celebrity porn, stuff like that. I’m like, I am sure some teens really WANT to know about this stuff…but a family-friendly site isn’t the best place for them to find out about it haha!

Q: What are some simple things people can do to increase their social media popularity?

A: You need to post a lot, simple as that. That is RULE NUMBER ONE! No posts equals no activity.

So an easy trick is to share/retweet cool things other people have written around the web…so you don’t have to come up with so much material yourself.

If I were a dentist, for example, I would share interesting things posted by Colgate and other familiar brands daily in addition to my own self-created content. This helps would help establish my social media channels as go-to places for everything regarding oral care, instead of just being places where I pitch my services.

And never cheat and buy followers on sites like Fiverr or Craigslist just to get your numbers up. It is very easy to spot people pumping up their numbers and this harms credibility.

Plus…if you cheat, you never really fix the problems that are causing your social media efforts to be duds.

Q: Do you only do red carpet events or do you take paparazzi pictures as well?

A: I do red carpet events mostly because stars expect to be photographed and videotaped there…they are happy about it.

I did “paparazzi” work for ONE DAY as a trainee before I quit. It was awful to go up to people and just shoot them without permission, I hated it — and so did the celebrities I shot.

Q: Why do you think celebrities feel compelled to say they don’t want their picture taken?

A: Because it gets to be too much. It really is an invasion of their space and privacy, even if they are in public.

Celebrities simply want to do their thing and eat lunch or buy groceries or whatever, and having a horde of stupid, aggressive low-lives getting in their face every 10 seconds gets old quick.

Believe me, from hanging out with paps in Los Angeles for a while, I can say that most of these people leave lots to be desired as far as ethics, integrity and even basic human decency…so that’s why celebs hate them. The good ones work red carpets and events, and the idiots rudely chase after people in the streets.

Q: What do you like about Los Angeles?

A: The whole city is a creative haven. Wherever you go you will find someone involved in a creative field, whether that be filmmaking, theater, music, painting, or even making YouTube videos. It is a city of artists, and very laid-back despite its size.

I grew up around New York City, and that place is pretty harsh. I don’t miss it at all. L.A. is sunny and inviting and inspiring.

Q: What would you change about it?

A: There is so much I would change, you’ve opened up a can of worms! Here are some bullet points haha:

  • I would reduce bureaucracy and throw out about 90 percent of our laws and regulations which are simply a burden and most people don’t even know what they are in the first place, instituting a “no victim, no crime” policy for most infractions.
  • Get a sensible plan in to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Improve conditions in inner-city neighborhoods through outreach, employment opportunities, education, and the reduction of dependence on the government for basic survival.
  • Reform the police department to improve their reputation and decrease their violence against citizens. I would make them “peace and safety officers,” rather than “law enforcement officers.” Plus I would have them in brighter cars and uniforms like in Europe instead of scary dark uniforms and cars that look like Killer Whales and intimidate people, rather than make them feel taken care of.
  • Reward businesses by reducing taxes and eliminating many of the barriers to doing business here, such as overregulation, licensing fees and requirements, etc.
  • Reduce the cost of healthcare and break the monopoly of the AMA by piloting reduced certification and education requirements for general healthcare practitioners within the city and encouraging smaller “mom & pop” medical offices to spring up to compete with major hospitals and corporations. Also, allow other practices besides allopathic medicine.
  • Reform our judicial system through reduced requirements to practice certain types of law, allowing more people to participate in our judicial process and lowering prices.
  • Reward citizenship, production, and contribution…and do not reward those who leech off of everyone else or who are here illegally.

How’s that for starters? : )

Q: What can I do to become an internet superstar?

A: Here is what I wish were true:

  1. Post a lot of good, entertaining, engaging, informative, and awesome content.
  2. Market the heck out of it however you can until it goes viral.

Here is how it actually works:

  1. Post something dumb, ridiculous, or horrible — such as videos involving cats, nudity, or people beating each other up in the streets.
  2. Sit back and watch the clicks come in.

Yep. As in everything else in life — the answer is not so simple, nor fair.

But given enough persistence, funds, and ingenuity, you CAN make it even if no one know who you are right now. I have seen it happen, and the main differentiator seems to be having the burning desire to make it happen no matter the cost or effort.

And you can always write to me at willie@williepena.com for some ideas…

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Vice President Edgar Makhshikyan

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Edgar Makhshikyan is a composer, real-estate agent and Vice President of East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce; here is a link to the website:

http://www.visiteasthollywood.net/

A; During my college years I was a Program outreach coordinator.. Under the direction of Executive Directors and Board of Directors I worked with youth from Los Angeles community colleges, universities, and high schools. Encouraging students to participate in community service projects. In 2007, I was hired as the secretary of the Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce. I worked closely with the businesses and community members to strengthen the economic and cultural integration. Directly report to the Executive Board Directors and Board of Directors to undertake different objectives that impact the welfare of the community in East Hollywood.

During the same time, I was hired by the Hollywood Neighborhood Council as an Outreach Committee Board Member. I organized and worked with a multitude of community stake holders in Hollywood. I hosted monthly meetings to voice local concerns. In 2011, Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce changed to East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce where I was elected the Vice President of the EHCC..

Q: What inspired you to start East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce?

 

A: During my college years I was a Program outreach coordinator.. Under the direction of Executive Directors and Board of Directors I worked with youth from Los Angeles community colleges, universities, and high schools. Encouraging students to participate in community service projects. In 2007, I was hired as the secretary of the Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce. I worked closely with the businesses and community members to strengthen the economic and cultural integration. Directly report to the Executive Board Directors and Board of Directors to undertake different objectives that impact the welfare of the community in East Hollywood.

During the same time, I was hired by the Hollywood Neighborhood Council as an Outreach Committee Board Member. I organized and worked with a multitude of community stake holders in Hollywood. I hosted monthly meetings to voice local concerns. In 2011, Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce changed to East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce where I was elected the Vice President of the EHCC.

Q: What was the most challenging thing about stating it?

 

 

 

A:  One of the most challenging things about starting the Chamber was focusing on the small businesses in the neighborhood, recruiting new members, appointing  new  board members and spreading the word about the Chamber. The challenges we confronted gave us the strength to try harder and expand what we had already created- and this in turn will bring joy and success to our community. Our mission includes representing “the strongest brand in the world- HOLLYWOOD”, “Our goal is to promote the individuals as well as enterprise.

 

Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it help you in running the Chamber of Commerce?

A: I have been working as a part- time Realtor for over 10 years. This ambition started as a hobby and turned into a part-time commitment to help new home buyers and sellers invest in real estate in the community…As a part- time Realtor, I am able to manage my own time, coordinate business events and host local meetings in the neighborhood

 

Q: There has been some controversy in East LA about converting public housing in to private housing. Do you think less public housing will ultimately help or hurt East LA?

 

A:  .A rental assistance demonstration program., Known as RAD, is a mechanism to convert public housing units into public/private developments that in turn provide rental assistance through-term Section 8 subsidy vouchers that are tied o those developments. It would also mean that ownership of some Ann Arbor public housing properties would be transferred to a new entity, in which the AAHC would have only a small ownership stake- likely 1% or less. The arrangement would give AAHC access to private financing to renovate the current public housing properties, using tax credit financing, loans, equity or grants that are not otherwise available to the housing commission. Older run down housing projects have been rehabbed and are a good model for turning around a blighted are by making the homes nicer but still accepting Section 8 and housing assistance. East LA would benefit from affordable housing being stabilized or increased and any good method to arrive at this outcome with improved quality of the units would appropriate. Increasing access to private financing to renovate the current public housing properties, using tax credit financing, loans, equity grants that are not otherwise available to the housing commission is a proven method:  Unfortunately, when the real estate bubble burst and the Real estate market crashed, things have become extremely challenging due to credit crunch. my clientele have decreased due to the decline in market activity.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges of selling real estate in East LA?

A:  Unfortunately, when the real estate bubble burst and the Real estate market crashed, things have become extremely challenging due to credit crunch. my clientele have decreased due to the decline in market activity.

Q:  What are some of the benefits?

A:   .As a professional Realtor, I extend my participation in working with different ethnicity’s to present real estate opportunities in Los Angeles. and of course by bringing new home owners and business owners in our Community.

Q: What kind of music do you compose?

A:  Most of my compositions consist of romantic music. My compositions are primarily done by keyboard. You can always find my music on you tube. Dance with Lily by Edgar, romantic piano-Infinite love, modern tango( coming soon) born again ( coming soon).

 

Q: If you got a recording deal would you continue to sell real estate?

A: … selling real estate is something i really enjoy, if I were to get a record deal, I would still continue selling real estate as a hobby, or investing in real estate for myself.

Q: What is your oddest work story?

A: Nothing stands out specifically …..

Q: If you could change one thing about LA what would it be?

A: I will provide the change Los Angeles needs. I will make our local economy stronger again for business and empower all of us-by creating new jobs that are much needed in our community…..

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

An Interview With Publicist Erika Ellis

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Erika Ellis is a Los Angeles based publicist at EE Service Management; here is a link to her IMDB page:

 

www.imdb.com/name/nm4313914/

 

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in becoming a publicist?

A: I found I am great with people and comfortable communicating. People tend to tell me everything before they even know my name.

Q:   How do you go about acquiring clients?

A:   Most of my clients are referrals or friends noticing my skills and noticing people they know that need publicity.

Q:  Where do you start when publicizing an unknown talent?

A:   I start by sending out press releases to known publications and to some of my other PR friends and connections.

Q:  What is the biggest mistake you see people make when it comes to publicity?

A:   They think they need publicity when they really need marketing.

Q:   What is an example of a weak publicity campaign that you have seen and what made it so?

A:   Some of my friends aren’t represented they best way possible or in comparison to other clients their PR agencies rep. Also some great   movies have not been publicized well, causing them to fail at the box office.

Q:  What is an example of a very strong publicity campaign (and what made it so.)

A:   Coke and Pepsi to me have the strongest marketing and publicity campaigns overall to date. But Kim Kardashian has a strong publicity campaign. She is famous for being famous and her publicist does a good job with promoting her.

Q:  What is the oddest thing you have had to publicize?

A:   I haven’t had that opportunity yet. But I promoted a food truck opening and with the turn out, the cooks were a bit unprepared.

Q:  What is the best free form of publicity?

A:   Word of mouth. Also social media is great for free publicity.

Q:  Truth or myth, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

A:   It’s true. How the publicity came about is nor good or bad, it’s what comes up of that’s the moral question.

Q:  Is there anything you would refuse to publicize?

A:   I know my strengths and my weaknesses, therefore I know what I will be good at and what I will be passionate about. If I don’t like a product or a product just doesn’t work, I will not promote it. I won’t promote someone who can’t genuinely sing or act and I won’t promote someone just because they pay me too.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Matchmaker Genevieve West

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Genevieve West is a professional  matchmaker in Portland; here is a link to her website:

http://genevievewestmatchmaker.blogspot.com/

Q: What made you want to become a matchmaker?

A: I love marriage! I want to see people falling in love and marriages flourishing. I believe that singles who want love can find it and that broken relationships can be avoided. My heart is for helping to equip singles so that when they do find themselves in a relationship with a wonderful person they won’t get in their own way and sabotage themselves. I believe that couples will find happiness when they are functioning within the role they were created for and fulfilling God’s design for marriage.

Q:  What other kind of jobs and training have you had and how does it help you in your work?

A: I’ve always worked in customer service of some sort because I love working with people. In fact, my husband Eric and I met while working at Starbucks together. He was my supervisor. Scandalous, right? My husband and I still get to work together, running Mix ‘N’ Match Creamery, the food cart that makes Ice Cream right in front of you with Liquid Nitrogen.

Actually, the biggest influence on my Matchmaking business is that we didn’t always have a healthy marriage. Nobody taught me about being a wife and I always just thought it either came naturally or you were with the wrong person. I am very thankful that a dear friend gave me a book that explained what marriage is, what to do, what not to do, and how to communicate with my husband. This book not only helped transform our relationship, but it also ignited a passion in me for seeing other marriages saved! And ever since then I’ve been elbow-deep in independent study to further my education on dating and relationships!

Q:  You have a seminar called “Finding Love in Portland.” Is there a specific way one would find love in Portland that wouldn’t apply to other places?

A: Well, if you want to know, you’ll have to attend the event! Anyone who watches Portlandia or sports a “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker (most likely upside down) would agree that everything about Portland is unique! Between the uber independent culture and gender roles being so fluid here, people forget that men and women really do think and communicate differently, setting themselves up for failure in a relationship. My desire is to give singles resources and coaching in these areas before they fall in love to give their future relationship the best chance for success.

 

Q:  What makes for a long lasting match?

A: A match where their foundational values align, where they’re both people of integrity, and they both are actively loving, respecting, and trusting each other, even when the other doesn’t deserve it, will be a long lasting match. Contrary to the popular “soul mate” belief, and what I believed to be true even after I’d been married for a time, is that a long lasting match does not depend so much on who you’re with, but on what you do.

Q:  With all the matchmakers out there why should my readers hire you?

A: Actually, I was surprised by how few professional matchmakers there are in Portland! I offer personal introduction services, and I’m very selective about who I work with. I have to believe in the product I’m selling, so to speak! My clients have to be marriage-minded and emotionally ready to begin a long term relationship with the right person. I will always tell my clients the truth because I sincerely care about their personal and spiritual growth in this process of finding a match, and about their future happiness. Because I take the time to get to know my clients, I’ve actually become friends with many of them!

Q:  What is the biggest dating mistake couples make?

A: Sex. And I don’t mean just on a first date. When people who are not in a 100% committed relationship do the hippidy-dippidy, it artificially ties them together without any real steadfast devotion to each other. Setting the boundary early on that a physical relationship will not happen until after a commitment is made helps weed out people who’s intentions are not honorable. A person of integrity can handle waiting for sex because they care more about the person than their body or their own instant gratification. Sex is a level of intimacy and vulnerability that was designed to be shared by a husband and wife. When it’s shared in this way, it is a beautiful, mysterious, and crazy fun way to build up a relationship!

Q:  What was the strangest thing anyone ever told you they wanted in a mate?

A: What I find strange is how so many people think they need to marry up. They’re drowning in debt, but they don’t want anyone who’s in debt. They’re uneducated, but they want a college grad. They’ve been divorced, but don’t want a divorcee. Basically, they wouldn’t choose themselves. It’s strange and heart breaking that they don’t think they’re situation is worthy of being loved. In these cases, my goal is to gently burst their bubble and help them see themselves as loveable.

Q:  Do you think relationships that begin on line have a better chance of lasting?

A: I can see the argument for why they would! Ideally, they’ve read about each other’s values and have gotten to know each other’s personalities before chemistry and hormones have had a chance to interfere. However, I find it interesting that half of the singles in the US are going online to find dates, yet almost half of the people in the US are still single! Something isn’t working. So many people misrepresent themselves online, even if it’s not on purpose. And it’s just exhausting work! Online dating can be a full time job of sifting through profile after profile, then going on date after date, all the while seriously considering writing a book about dates from hell based on your own personal experiences. It’s also nearly impossible to avoid making a list of “deal breakers” that are really just preferences which the couple could usually navigate through. It’s easier to be judgmental online, scrolling past photos of quality people because they don’t fit the picture you have in your head. Hiring a professional Matchmaker who offers personal introduction services is more efficient, letting them do all the leg work of vetting values and seeing any blatant character flaws, and gives the client an opportunity to learn about relationships and grow personally.

Q:  Why is romantic love so confusing to people?

A: You know that rush of excitement you feel when the caller ID says it’s them? Or the butterflies in your stomach when they’re close to you? Yeah, that’s not love. I think many people mistakenly believe that love is an emotion, so when that emotion fades or changes, they think the love is gone and they move on to someone who gives them that feeling again. But real love is more durable than feelings and emotions. It’s building a life together based on trust, loyalty, sacrifice, commitment, serving, and submitting to each other. Love is a decision that’s made several times a day. Like when I get annoyed with my husband but instead of snapping at him I choose to do or say something that will build my marriage instead of tearing him down. Like when my husband is invited out with the guys but he knows I’ve been looking forward to seeing him so he comes home instead. Love is the opposite of selfish, and in this narcissistic culture it’s easy to see how love could be confusing to some people.

Q:  What can people expect to learn in a matchmaking seminar?

A: To get the juicy details, you’ll have to come see for yourself! It’s pretty much everything we would go over during a personal consultation, but for a really great deal. I want singles to become empowered to find healing from past breakups and learn how to be content in their singleness. We’ll also look at why they might be single. This part might sting a little, but I hope it acts as a mirror, helping singles see parts of themselves that might be keeping eligible singles away. I mean, if you have spinach in your teeth wouldn’t you want someone to tell you? Singles will also get some equipping on how to communicate with the opposite sex in order to enjoy fulfilling relationships when they do meet their future honey! To stay in the loop for future workshops around Portland, follow me in Facebook and Twitter!

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

 

 

An Interview With Commercial Producer Jamee Natella

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Jamee Natella is the founder and executive producer of BLUEYED PICTURES a company that produces commercials, live events and multi-media entertainment. Here is a link to the website:

http://www.blueyedpictures.com/

Q: What does your company offer to a client who wants to make a commercial for their product?

A: Blueyed (BLU) is an innovative and imaginative production company where creativity can thrive. We strive to engender a hip and artist-friendly work environment. We are fully integrated and able to provide clients with a roster of award winning directors and the world’s leading production crew. If necessary, we also have access to top creative teams (e.g. when an ad agency is not involved). And we are full service – everything from concept to production to editorial/post-production, including visual effects.

Q: What does planning a film premier entail?

A: It depends on whether the client is a major studio or an independent company. If it’s a studio, we usually collaborate with the studio’s in-house publicity and marketing departments, in order to implement their vision and ensure that it is incorporated into the event. We watch the film itself several times in order to get ideas for themes – e.g. if the film’s story takes place in the winter, we might bring in snow for the premiere after-party. We liaise closey with the studio to ensure that the correct media are invited to the event, and properly placed on the red carpet etc. and that they get access to the stars/director for interviews. For an independent client, it’s a similar process to the above, but there is usually less money available which forces us to be more creative. We would also watch the film, and make sure that the premiere “theme” matches the product. Blueyed would create a budget for the event, hire all vendors, and provide our camera crew.

Q: How do you secure celebrity guests?

A: By working with the studio’s in-house PR team and/or the outside public relations company, and using their established lists. Sometimes we bring in nightlife professionals, who have their own celebrity invitation lists, and tastemakers like Bolt House Productions. We also work closely with the agencies – CAA, WME, UTA etc.

Q: . How did you get into the business?
A: I started working as a PA on commercial and film sets at a young age .I managed to work my way up to production coordinator and then eventually a production manager . Shortly after, I landed a studio job at Warner Brothers and later Touchstone . After working the studio environment for years I was asked to produce in Tokyo and realized there was a strong need for Western service production in Asia.
I had support from ad agencies such as BBDO/ BBH . Dentsu. Virgin Enterprises , Pioneer and many others.
It was inevitable for me to start my own company. In 1998 Blueyed pictures was born. We now have offices in London Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Q: What is your strangest work story?

A: I was flown to Alaska to line produce a kids movie, where I had to work with four different sets of twins, in 30 degree-below weather . I had my own four year-old son in tow, who was curious about twins and kept as asking me if there was two of him. On another occasion, I was hired at the last minute (48 hrs beforehand) to oversee a movie premiere in Los Angeles, for TRANSFORMERS. It was a big budget event, and we closed down several streets in down town Westwood. I had to incorporate the actual Transformer cars from the movie, using art directors and set decorators (not the actual props from the movie).

Q: Who was the most challenging client you ever had to deal with?
A: The hardest client to work with this is the client who doesn’t know what he/she wants. But when this happens, we always sit down with them and try to work through the problems. It is really important to get everyone on the same page.

Q: What is your greatest success story?

A: The “Boo Boo Campaign” which was to publicise a campaign to promote giving blood. For a period of time, anyone who bought a box of Band-aids and had a boo boo, was encouraged to swipe the blood from their boo boo (a swab was provided in the band-aid kit) and then you could mail it for free to a doner bank. The campaign saved lives and added a lot of new names to the doner list. Blueyed produced the campaign in Europe and was involved in it from its conception. It put us on the map as a company but we also got to help people.

Q: What do you like about working in Hollywood?

A: It is a dynamic, exciting and rewarding environment. I get to meet and work with a lot of different people from all over the world. I get to learn a lot about different ways of working, and different ways of seeing the world, and that in turn informs how I approach my job in LA, and makes me a better resource for my clients. In addition, being based in Hollywood gives me access to the top professionals and equipment in my line of work. This is still the center of the global entertainment industry.

Q: What don’t you like about it?

A: Because Hollywood is so entertainment-driven, and so dominant in LA, it can get a bit insular and suffocating. But I am lucky as a I get to travel a lot, and my company has offices in London and Tokyo, so I don’t lose my sense of perspective.

Q: How important would you say looks are in your business?

A: It’s Hollywood…so your looks may get you in the door, or help you get started, or enable you to stand out in a crowded field. But that’s all. This is a very competitive industry, and people are ultimately interested in results. So, expertise and a strong work ethic are more important than looks. You have to be able to deliver.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Film Financing Consultant Robert S. Fingerman

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Robert S. Fingerman Is a CPA and film financing consultant who owns Independent Films Production Consultants, Inc. Here is a link to his Linkedin.com page:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-s-fingerman-cpa/2/535/112

Q:  What kinds of services does your company provide?

A: My Company, Independent Films Production Consultants, Inc. provides a wide range of financial consulting, accounting & tax services to the motion picture, recording & media industries.

IFPC also provides management and consulting services to artists, film producers, financiers, film funds, studios, distributors, directors, government film agencies, screenplay writers and playwright authors, as well as providing on-site film production accounting. The firm also consults filmmakers on all the various state, federal & international film production tax incentives, including filings and tax preparation

Q:  What is the main difference between being a consultant for the film industry and being an accountant for other kinds of businesses?

A:  You never have to wear a suit & tie, and I rarely shave. You are well paid for your vision & experience. A good personality & speaking skills are very important and rare for a typical accountant.

Q: What is the most common financial mistake that independent film makers make?

A:  Speaking to investors & talent before their investment package and budget are complete.

Q:  What is the strangest thing you have ever seen anyone try to write off?

A: Their wife’s face lift.

Q:  Are artist really less discipline when it comes to money than other people?

A: Yes: Artists, in the film business, by nature do not like, trust, respect or feel comfortable dealing with bankers, lawyers & accountants. And the craziness of the financial roller coaster life they live makes them less disciplined.

Q:  How can my readers tell if a film is a good investment?

A: Three important conditions must exist. 1-Does the film project have an audience. 2-Does the film producers know how to reach its audience. 3- Do the film producers respect the investors goals.

Q: What are some little known financial resources you can recommend to young film makers?

A: Crowd funding, Non-profit organizations that support film projects, & Wealthy investors looking for films with a social or political conscience.

Q:  If an artist only wants green M&Ms can I write off the whole bag of M&Ms or just the green ones?

A:  The whole bag, even though you could buy only green ones at the Times Square, NYC M&M store.

Q: How can my readers tell if an accountant is honest?

A:  If they are in business for a long time, with the same, satisfied client base, and still perform the same services over decades, then they are honest.

Q: What do you think is a fitting punishment for Nicholas Cage?

A:  Really don’t understand the question. I like most of his films. I know he has had problems with the IRS, his choice of business managers and wives. This is very common to most of the talent in the film business.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Moviebytes Owner Frederick Mensch

Frederick Mensch runs the web-site Moviebytes which offers a  list of contests and resources for screenwriters. Here is a link to the site:

http://www.moviebytes.com

 

Q: What inspired you to start Moviebytes?

A: I’ve got an entrepreneurial nature, and a background in both screenwriting and programming. I wanted to start a website, so I looked around for a market that wasn’t being particularly well served. Screenwriting contests looked like a good fit.

Q: What is your own background in film?

A: I studied screenwriting at NYU. I’ve sold a couple of scripts, including an indie satire titled Supreme Ruler with Marcia Gay Harden and Vincent D’Onofrio attached to start. That’ll start shooting next year, hopefully.

Q: What are some of the qualities that make a good screenplay?

A: Characters in conflict. That’s pretty much it, I think. I’m partial to character-driven stories, so I’m a stickler for honesty and a distinctive point-of-view, as well. I like my heroes to have flaws, and my villains to have virtues.

Q: What makes for a really bad screenplay?

A: For me, the worse screenplays are the ones that are primarily regurgitations of movies that have already been made. Needless to say, I don’t go to studio movies very often!

Q: What is the most prestigious contest out there? (and what makes it so?)

A: The Nicholl Fellowships. In terms of prestige, the Nicholl is pretty much the beginning and the end of the conversation. There are a number of other great contests out there, but none of them are sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. If you look at the credits of their previous winners you’ll get a pretty good sense of what a Fellowship can mean to a writer’s career.

Q: What was the most unusual request you have ever had from a writer or contest judge/owner.

A: Every couple of months I’ll get an off-the-wall email from someone who wants me “write up” a great idea they have for a movie. They’ll describe the plot in mind-numbing, incoherent detail (I remember one about flying dinosaurs), and generously offer to share the profits if I’ll just write up the screenplay. Sweet deal!

Q: What is the most realistic film you have ever seen about Hollywood?

A: Day of the Locust. It’s a dark, apocalyptic depiction of folks on the fringes of the film industry in the 1930s. I’m not sure I’d describe it as realistic, but that movie (and book) has always struck an emotion chord with me.

Q: What film do you think has the best dialog ?

A: The Social Network. Aaron Sorkin tends to write about hyper-verbal overachievers, which means he can reveal character and show off his dialogue skills at the same time. Less articulate characters don’t lend themselves to that kind of treatment.

Q: What do you think is the most overrated screenplay ever?

A: 500 Days of Summer. I doubt it necessarily qualifies as the most overrated screenplay ever, but it did win an Indie Spirit Award, and a WGA Award nomination, and I just hated the gimmicky nature of the screenplay. If the story isn’t compelling, jumbling the narrative just makes it worse.

Q: Are you more of a Charlie or Donald Kaufman ?

A: I have a full complement of neuroses, so I think probably puts me in Charlie’s camp. He’s a genius and I’m not, though, so there is one small difference.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)