Welcome back to our continuing journey into the feature film world.
We are super behind in the telling of our story, (sorry!) and we now need to look back to ten months ago, when we hopped on a plane and jetted off to the beautiful city of Bordeaux to attend Cartoon Movie.
Cartoon Movie is an international pitching and co-pro event, showcasing some of the best and biggest animated film projects in Europe.
“For two days, producers have the opportunity to pitch their film project in order to speed up financing, find co-producers and interest international distributors.
Since its creation in 1999, 295 films found financing, representing a total budget of 2 billion EUR”.
Cartoon Movie Site
So in March 2017, we spent three days (including an interactive conference on day one) in back to back meetings and screenings, getting the lowdown on film-making practices on the continent.
Cartoon Movie offered us a huge opportunity to see brilliant and beautiful films in all stages of production. It was fascinating to see behind the scenes of some of the big UK and European powerhouses, as well as up and coming filmmakers. Every morning at the Croissant Show clips and trailers would be played over (tiny) French cups of coffee.
It just didn’t click between us and many of the other attendees. We thought we were really onto a winner, bringing a project with high production standards on a micro-budget. However, many of the producers and financiers we met with were looking at this from a co-production standpoint, and therefore the lower budget was actually a turnoff. Without a fully fleshed out script (how important the actual content of these 90 pages were seemed to be disputed), it was difficult to gain any meetings of real substance.
We were given huge amounts of advice, people kindly taking the time to suggest best next steps in our journey, yet we were unable to have the serious conversations about sales and financing we had hoped for.
Our disruptive attitude was often perceived as naivety, and it became apparent that the package we were offering was wrong for this crowd. The film industry works in it’s own way, and a set of rules are followed for the majority of productions. This is the path, this is how it has worked for years. We now see that we are unorthodox in terms of story, style and approach, and therefore following the set path is the wrong direction for us.
We landed back in rainy Britain, sleep deprived and full of thoughts and feelings. It was as though we had been shown into a world we would never be a part of, and now we knew we had to find a new world to join. There was a strong temptation to conform, and tweak our project accordingly to make these seemingly forward moving steps to join this industry. Yet it ignited something stronger in us in exactly the opposite direction. Our story was bold and new, so why shouldn’t our approach to making it be the same?
At our first Monday meets, we sat down with Jason, (who was unable to attend CM) and printed out pages full of comments we had had from various people we met, from the positive to the… not so positive. Sifting through them, we discussed whether we thought this was apt for us or not. Were we pitching to an impossible audience? Were we naive? Or groundbreaking? Probably most likely a mix of all of the above. We honed in on a few pieces of advice that we thought led us to our best next steps and left the rest to be mulled over.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we hit the ground running with new ideas. Ok, this isn’t our path – so what is? We didn’t know it, but in about six months we’d find the right path for us.