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Old 03-16-2017, 08:47 PM   #1
Mr.Struggle
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Question Business vs Creative Decisions in a Script

I just met with a producer! A small fry, but at least he’s on the menu. Our meeting was going well, but he rejected my script, stating that it lacked “international appeal” because it was set in America, had American characters and was about American politics. China is a huge market and he wanted my script to play to that audience.

This interaction had me thinking. Moving forward, should I include international and Chinese elements in all my scripts? Should I think about making a script that's enticing to buyers when writing? What are your thoughts on balancing business and creative script decisions?
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Struggle View Post
it was set in America, had American characters and was about American politics.
Shouldn't be a problem even if you're trying to appeal to China.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Struggle View Post
and was about American politics.
Definitely a problem if you're trying to appeal to China.... and even America
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
What are your thoughts on balancing business and creative script decisions?
If your aim is to get paid, attention must be given to the business elements.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:46 PM   #4
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How many movies does China let in each year?
I understand the potential appeal of the Chinese market. But the odds seem so much worse than any other market.

Chinese market: no politics, no rebeliion, no struggle for freedom.
Yes: sacrifice for the community.
Read Confucius to get a better understanding of the roots of Chinese rule.
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:52 AM   #5
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The balancing act is the art of management.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:48 PM   #6
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How many movies does China let in each year?
I understand the potential appeal of the Chinese market. But the odds seem so much worse than any other market.

Chinese market: no politics, no rebeliion, no struggle for freedom.
Yes: sacrifice for the community.
Read Confucius to get a better understanding of the roots of Chinese rule.
24 films, unless it is co-produced by a Chinese company.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:55 AM   #7
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That are slim odds.
And while there are indeed many people in China, far from everyone can affort to go to see a movie.
The only difference is that, when you are in that market, you'll have only a few western competitors.

Does he have the connections to get it co-produced with a Chinese studio?
Does he know and understand the constraints you'll have when writing for Chinese audience?
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:42 PM   #8
directorik
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This is what I find interesting:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Struggle View Post
Moving forward, should I include international and Chinese elements in all my scripts?
One producer you met with is looking for scripts with international
appeal, specifically the China market. So now you are wondering
if all your scripts should have international (specifically Chinese)
elements. You know that China accepts only 24 films a year yet
you're wondering if every script you write should appeal to that
market. You know that this producer has never made a movie that
has been released in China yet you're wondering if going forward
all your scripts should appeal to him.

Seems to me China isn't a huge market.

Two films that came out within one week of each other; “The Great
Wall” and “Get Out”. One was geared toward the international (specifically
Chinese) market and made $44 million on a budget of $150 million.
Although it DID make $170 million in China – still not enough to break
even. The other was set in America, had American characters and was
about American issues. It made (so far) $133 million of a budget of
$5 million.

The producer you met with would have rejected “Get Out”.

If you want to sell to this producer you need to write a script that meets
his needs. However there are producers out there who want to make
movies set in America with American characters and about American
politics and issues.

Yes, thinking about what will sell is important. I'll bet that you could name
five movies that did NOT seem like a good business decision but made a
lot of money. My advice is to not take that too far when one producer
rejects a script you have written.
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Old Today, 12:26 PM   #9
Mr.Struggle
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I had a similar conversation with another producer (wasn't pitching, just discussing). Do people think this may be one of those fades that producers are now chasing?
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Old Today, 12:55 PM   #10
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Struggle View Post
I had a similar conversation with another producer (wasn't pitching, just discussing). Do people think this may be one of those fades that producers are now chasing?
Producers chase money. Producers have been chasing the China
market for decades. During much of the 90's they found there was
no money there. As we move through the 2010's it seems there is
a bit more of a market. But as you point out, still very few American
produced films are allowed into China.

If you want to change what you write to appeal to those producers
you should. If it works out and these producers you're talking to
buy your scripts then you succeed.

Next time you're talking with one of these producers I like you to ask
them which movie they wish they had produced, "The Great Wall" or
"Get Out" And then ask why they are pursuing the China market.
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