Prelude To Attaching Talent
Start with the preparation that needs to happen before you do even one iota of outreach and that’s R&D (yep, research and development).
Earlier in the week I started writing my Path To Production series and talked about first things first: evaluating the story and script.
Then, once you’re sold on the idea that the script is producible and there’s an actual market for it, the next step in the process is everyone’s favorite - attaching talent. But since it’s Friday and we’re all a bit checked out before a long holiday weekend, I’ll just tee up this subject for next week and start with a prelude.
The Puzzle To End All Puzzles - Attaching Talent
And now for the most laborious part of the Path To Production process! I’ll say this - it’s gotten even harder over the last couple of years because the volume of series particularly brought on by the streamers means that more actors have constant work (yay for them!) but have very limited availability (boo for us!). Even on projects where I’m making paid offers on fully funded and green-lit films, it can take the better part of a year to get someone to read, engage, and ultimately attach and commit to some small window of availability several months out. It can get extremely discouraging, but you just gotta patiently stay the course.
However, before we get to all that, let’s start with the preparation that needs to happen before you do even one iota of outreach and that’s R&D (yep, research and development). My favorite form of talent R&D is tapping into my network of sales agents and distributors who tell it like it is, for better or worse ranking your wish list and probably telling you to attach people who are far FAR from realistic. Again, extremely discouraging but stay the course.
Research the films the sales agents and distributors are putting out and the talent that are in them. That’s a good starting point for making your talent hit lists. Go to markets and see who they are listing on all their posters. Keep adding to that list. And then eventually whittle it down to who you love creatively, who isn’t on the biggest show on TV right now (a common mistake I see), and who doesn’t have a wall of CAA agents on their IMDB that will likely be impenetrable for you as a newer producer/filmmaker with an unfunded film. Get real with yourself…. who has a manager that might be gentler/kinder to approach. Keep whittling down that list until you have what is mostly ‘realistic’ choices for your project and where you’re at.
Now I’ve painted this like it’s a simple process and the truth is it’s not. There’s a lot of nuance involved and inside baseball and ideally you have a Producer or EP part of your team who packages and sells films regularly and knows how to read between the lines and approach this process with a level head.
I’m involved in packaging multiple films at the moment, some funded and others unfunded - some of my own, and some for clients. So I’ll get into more of the nitty gritty of outreach next week in my next installment but wanted to leave you with some good research homework you can start doing from the comfort of your home.
If you’re looking for resources and guidance during the packaging process, you should join our FS Pro group where we’re all very active in the process and sharing intel, tactics, and connections. I also have sample outreach templates in the FS Pro Resource hub for emailing agents and managers. Check it out and apply here.
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Alright I’ll leave you on that note for now and please do comment below if you have any questions - happy to answer them and point you in the right direction if I can!
Have a wonderful rest of your day and speak to you again soon…
To your success,