Day one at the IFP market ended --- it was a loooong one. I left my place at 4am and got to New York at about 9, just time enough to jump in a cab and meet Monica my co-director outside the main building. Right away Milton Talbot recognized me from when I was here four years ago, which was nice. We got our passes, took a breath, and had some coffee to prepare.
Right away we started meeting people, and within the first hour we were exchanging cards and making contacts (some with the Film Arts Foundation) in San Francisco about possible screenings and donors on the West coast.
We have a total of six "buyer request" meetings: these are meetings from industry people who have seen our material and want to meet with us. The first two of these happened today: one with a consultant and one with Red Envelope, a division of Netflix that has started acquiring and distributing movies of their own (they recently did "An Unreasonable Man," the film about Ralph Nader. The first meeting was essentially a sales pitch to us for his services, which we probably won't be interested in using. The second meeting was a bit more relevent, and we thought we were ready for it.
But we weren't. Not really. First of all, we were exhausted, as this was at the end of the day. Second, we didn't realize that he hadn't seen our trailer and really knew nothing about the film. I was expecting him to "lead" the meeting (after all, he requested it) so when he asked what our movie was about I stumbled a little on the delivery. Then Monica jumped in, and we fumbled to a stop. And then, we all kind of looked at each other, and he essentially said "well, if you get into Sundance, drop me a line." We kept talking, thinking that we needed to keep the meeting going for some reason, but afterwards realized we should have just cut it short. If he hasn't seen it, we can talk about it all day, but until he sees it (which he said he would do at the video library here) there's not a whole lot more that can happen at a meeting.
That's when I realized that these things are really just a time to meet people, not necessarily to make deals. Deals come later --- and for a guy like this, he essential just wanted to introduce himself to us in case our film starts to get a lot of success. Then he can come in and possibly make a deal with us. Until that happens, there's not a whole lot either one of us can do for each other.
Also we found out that our list of 6 meetings was on the "low to average" side. When I showed Milton our list, he looked disappointed that more industry people hadn't requested to meet with us.
In short, it was a slightly deflating end to the day. I went back to Maggie's place (a film producer friend who has generously let me crash at her apartment) and decompressed a little. She helped me put things more in perspective. And she listened to my pitch, which I started practicing. Not that things were a total bust, but hopefully tomorrow things will go a little better...