Waiting on my flight back to PDX. 4 days in Santa Monica (with a brief foray into Hollywood). I’ve not attended the American Film Market before, never felt the need to, but thought I’d give it a whirl this year. It seemed to me that Lower Boom had a few projects that might make it worth subjecting myself to the cold calls, cold meetings, and uncomfortable (for me) networking. I opted to not get too worked up about number of meetings scheduled, especially since I was not there pitching a completed feature film, which is the majority of the action here. What Lower Boom DOES have is a really diverse set of projects, and by diverse I mean in multiple senses of the word. Women-created projects, women-driven narratives, diverse characters in the narratives – and platform diversity as well. I came down prepared to talk about an episodic documentary, an episodic narrative about Portland, a video game and VR experience, and the Lower Boom Discovery app.
I didn’t get a lot of meetings, despite considerable elbow grease applied, and I avoided most of the networking events. I felt like saving my energy for the meetings I did get, and using the remaining time to write, reflect and work.
And turns out the meetings I did get were 100% worth it – fun, friendly, informative. I am glad I didn’t come down here with a do or die attitude, make or break etc. There’s a time and place for that, this didn’t seem like the time or place to run around sweaty and desperate. I’ve plenty of other opportunities for sweaty and desperate, believe me!
I was able to meet with the CEO of one of the top doc companies on the planet, with multiple Academy awards noms and wins to their name, about our Jump the Fence project, and it really couldn’t have gone better. We shall see, of course. When by the end of a meeting that goes twice as long as planned you’re talking about mutual love of David Bowie, Barcelona, the Ramones etc., it’s probably a good sign. My goal was to get meeting #2 with someone I really wanted to work with, so mission accomplished. I also met with a company who I wasn’t really sure was a great fit in terms of our projects and their focus – but I really liked the attitude they showed off on their website. They seemed like kindred spirits, perhaps, attitude-wise.
And that turned out to be accurate! A really fun meeting, and though she correctly saw that our projects weren’t necessarily a good fit with her company’s vision, she got on the phone, and connected me with other folks she knew who she thought might go for the projects, and then asked if I had any features in development. I hadn’t planned on pitching any features, but decided to pitch her the feature script MUSCLE CARS. And she loved it, and requested the script and pitch package. She called her next meeting and bumped them, and we spent over an hour talking projects.
Who knows! Lower Boom is a boot-strapped start up, so coming to the American Film Market was a gamble in terms of potential ROI – it wasn’t cheap, and neither is staying in Santa Monica, and of course the expense account comes right outta my wallet.
That said, I head back home to Portland knowing that both our projects and our presentations were worthy of the time, energy and money spent. Maybe nothing comes of this trip other than that knowledge.
For right now, that’s good enough for me.