Screening: Hating Breitbart

From Weinergate to the dismantling of ACORN, Andrew Breitbart singlehandedly took on a billion-dollar leftist media empire and changed its landscape forever. His brash, fearless style of exposing truth to the world led the resignations of Representative Anthony Weiner and USDA State Director Shirley Sherrod. Newly released, Hating Breitbart takes an in-depth look at a man who challenged societal media norms through a passionate and abrasive approach: by publishing shocking stories and exposing media lies. The Princebury team attended a pre-screening of the documentary at the Gaslamp Stadium Theater in San Diego, CA this past Tuesday. Hotly controversial, Andrew Breitbart never backed down and consequently changed the face American journalism and media.  It is now in select theaters and worth checking out.

For more information, visit www.hatingbreitbart.com.

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“You can judge man from his enemies.”

Top 5 Reasons Your Film Could Fail

The film-making business is a very tough field to enter with “Goliaths” in Hollywood dominating the industry with much larger budgets than any newcomer has access to.  However, there are niches, measures, and ways to side step Hollywood and be successful in the early stages of your film-making career (even your first film).  Awareness to the issues most newcomers have will give you a HUGE advantage towards financial success.

5.  Theatrical Release – There is a thin line when deciding whether to release your film in theaters, especially when you have a low budget.  Choosing not to strongly decreases the amount of exposure your film will get.  However, most films lose money in theaters, so on a small budget, how much can you afford to lose?  By only choosing a small amount of theaters, and rolling out into more as the film grows popularity and success, you can mitigate a large amount of theatrical release risk.  Note: Do not be afraid to pull the film the moment it starts to drop off.

4.  Lack of (Solid) Business Plan – There are two sides to every story, even film-making: Creative vs. Business.  Both sides are equally important.  It is true that without the creative side, the film would not exist, but without the business side, you will lose money.  Because most independent films are started by creative people with a vision, it is rare they want to spend their time planning the business side.  Without a clear plan of where you are going, it is very easy to lose sight, stall, and have the film fall through the cracks.  Note: Almost all investors will require not only a business plan, but a solid one.

3.  Over Spending – Hollywood, as the Goliath’s in this industry, has the access to huge budgets that most independent film-makers can’t even dream of.  High budgets allow for better quality, more marketing, and large distribution, but can often be a plague for the film’s success.  For every Avatar, there is a million John Carter‘s.  Due to the split up of profits between theaters and distributors, film-makers keep roughly 1/4 of the film’s revenue.  So for every $1 million you save, it is as if you are making $4 million.  Note: Keep the budget’s tight, we have heard to many horror stories of budgets inflating during production.

2.  The Script - The backbone of the film is the script.  It will be the first thing production companies will see, investors will want to read through, and at the early stages, is the film.  Too often, writers bring a script that has not been fully worked out to a production company, expecting it to work itself out as production takes place.  No company will green-light a film with a flawed script, and it will always be broken.  Note: Make sure it never contradicts, work through a storyboard, take it to multiple non-biased editors, make sure the Protagonist is likable and relatable, etc.

1.  Funding – Money and investors are hard to come by in the film industry.  Because they are “high risk, high reward,” most investors are weary of investing in films.  Most films are financed by a film fund, or a combination of government grants, tax shelters and incentives, and debt and equity finance.  Although there are several options, they are hard to come by and can often leave a movie stalled in production (if it can get to production).  Explore all options and be creative when financing your film.  Note: Veronica Mars met its goal of raising $2 million in less than 11 hours on kickstarter, and totaled $5,702,153 from 91,585 backers.

As you can see, film-making is difficult even with a great movie idea.  There are plenty more obstacles than have been mentioned, but being aware of these will give a HUGE advantage.

Princebury Productions & Media offers fee-based consulting. Contact us at info@princebury.com

Charter

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We are currently working on a documentary titled “Charter”. This story focuses on the inter-workings of the Charter School System, specifically on a Charter school in Escondido, California. Instead of having experts of education talk about the problems with the education system, this documentary takes a twist and uses a student of the charter school to help us gain insight into the problems in education. By using a student’s first hand encounter with the education system, it allows us to show a different perspective to the things that are working, and that are not for the current generation.

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This documentary shows how the charter school system offers a successful alternative to the normal modes of the learning system. By following the student’s stories we will show how creativity and mentorship are a part of the solution. We will show the transition from troubled past and poor grades to exemplary work. Every student should be challenged and inspired to do their very best, yet for some reason our schools do not take this perspective. In order to change the problems with our school system, we need to first figure out the best way to energize our students and encourage them to grow. This documentary shows how the charter school has adapted this innovative perspective and the strides that their students are making.  If you are interested in being a part of this incredible project please contact Chelsea Landers at: cblanders@princebury.com.

A Night to Remember

            Launched in 2011, “A Night to Remember” is an extravagant celebration where students with special needs can feel honored, loved and celebrated. Each Honored Guest is paired with a high school student that remains at their side for the entire event; from hair and makeup, to dancing by their side all night.  This night is meant for breaking down walls and to bring all students together to celebrate these Honored Guests.  This is truly a magical experience for these students, which is why they doubled the number of students that attend the event from 300 in in their first year, to 600 in 2012 from a total of 51 San Diego County High Schools.

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             The most amazing thing about this event is that it is completely free; it is all made possible by individual and company donations. In doing this, these students are able to experience a night of a lifetime. They receive a prom dress/tuxedo, jewelry, hair and makeup, corsage/boutonniere, professional photos, and a limo ride. Once they arrive to the Prom, “paparazzi” and tons of fans welcome them.

If you would like to be a part of this event for 2013, it’s not too late.  You can donate here at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/honoring-students-with-special-needs?c=home.

Welcome Rich Melheim!

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We are honored to welcome our newest member Rich Melheim to our Advisory Board!  We were blessed enough to be invited by him to Aspen for a think-tank this last March.  We spent the week exploring future opportunities in global markets, as well as nurturing relationships with members of our Board of Advisors, including Ron Forseth and John Lasko.   We were also able to set aside some time to ski the beautiful iconic slopes of Snowmass and cook in the massive Glenwood Hot Springs.

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Rich Melheim was a great host and an incredibly interesting man.  He has a strong passion for God and His people.  He has been and still is involved in several projects ranging from preschool programs using music and the arts to animated biblical stories to books designed to keep families together.  Rich has just started his book tour, which will span in 55 cities three months.  His book, Holding Your Family Together introduces the “Faith5,” five steps to bringing your family closer to God and each other.  We will be attending the event in San Diego on June 18, which will be a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at his future best seller.

Aspen was an incredible trip and we look forward to putting the information we learned and the strategy we revised to work in this coming year.

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Distribution on a Budget

Distribution, in film terms, refers to the process in making the film available to watch by the public.  In modern times, distribution is no longer restricted to the typical theatrical release and home entertainment release through DVD sales.  Several distribution options include:

  • Theatrical Release: is where the motion picture will be distributed nationwide (and AMCabroad) to all the major and minor theaters.
  • walmartDVD Sales: Retailers for DVD sales include Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and many others.
  • iTunesElectronic Sell-Through: EST vendors include iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Zune Store, and Xbox.
  • NetflixSVOD:  SVOD is a Subscription Video-On-Demand, the major example being the Netflix streaming content model.
  • HuluAVOD: AVOD is Advertising supported Video-On-Demand, such as seen on YouTube and Hulu.
  • DIRECTVCarrier-based TVOD:  This includes Video-On-Demand through cable or satellite with carriers such as DirecTV and Comcast.
  • appletvDigital TVODWith emerging technologies in home entertainment, Smart TVs are using Google TV, Apple TV, and Roku to utilize TVOD platforms.
  • TVguideBroadcast: Broadcast refers to the television networks distribution of TV series and movies.


Technology has made distributing a film much easier in recent years.  Although a non-theatrical release can limit the exposure of the film, it can be cost effective to avoid theatrical distribution.  The method of distribution should depend on the budget and nature of the film.

Princebury Productions & Media offers advising services on all facets of film, including distribution.  Contact us at info@princebury.com

Princebury at the San Diego Ballet

IMG_0423This February, the Princebury team saw the original ballet, “Don Juan” put on by San Diego Ballet at the Lyceum Theatre, Horton Plaza in San Diego, Directed and Choreographed by Javier Velasco.

The San Diego Ballet is best known for their traditional romantic productions such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Nutcracker”, but this season, choreographer Javier Velasco created a ballet based around a not-so-traditional tale.

Most ballets are choreographed around a female lead: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Ondine. Instead, Velasco wanted to create a piece around a male lead, Max Tchernychev. “Don Juan” is inspired by a retelling of Lord Byron’s poem of love, intrigue, and the folly of humanity. Byron reverses the classic Don Juan story by portraying Juan as not as a womanizer, but a man easily seduced by women, although IMG_0424Javier Velasco puts even another twist on the classic. Along with the female lead dancer, Stephanie Maiorano, it took us on an epic retelling of Don Juan. The dancers sent us on a journey into Don Juan’s life as a legendary lover and scoundrel. The production immediately lures us in with the ballet set to upbeat guitar concertos.

Throughout the performance Don Juan finds himself frolicking with sea nymphs, servant girls, gypsies, and food vendors, although one young woman really out does the rest. The talented duet made it an unforgettable performance.  There was also a very memorable solo by dancer Zoe Marinello-Kohn in the gypsy camp. As I watched her dance around like it was second nature, I couldn’t help but think THIS is what made the ballet.

As a ballet performer of 17 years, I know it takes to put on a performance.  Watching this ballet as a dancer gave me an extra appreciation for the San Diego Ballet and all the blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes. The story line had a twist, the talent was natural, the technique was beautiful, and the passion was over flowing.

Support the Ballet

A professional ballet dancer will go through 10 or more pairs of pointe shoes in one season. If you would like to support San Diego Ballet, you can donate to The San Diego Ballet to keep these dancers on their toes.

Don’t Miss the San Diego Ballet’s Annual Spring Fling & Fundraiser March 16th

For More Information, Call (619) 294-7378 or online at www.sandiegoballet.orgIMG_0427

Movie to Movement

We were lucky enough to welcome Jason Jones into our office last week to discuss our collaboration in upcoming projects.  Jason is a brilliant humanitarian, pro-life activist, and film producer.  He has helped with multiple political campaigns and spoken out against abortion. His passion for human life led him to start Movie to Movement.

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Movie to Movement is a film production company based out of Hawaii.  Movie to Movement was created to promote a culture of Life, Love & Beauty.  They do this through the production of their own films, as well as sharing others.  Past projects include The Stoning of Soraya M., which won the NAACP Image Award in 2010 as well as the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award in 2009, and Bella, which won several film industry awards, most notably the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Movie to Movement also just released Crescendo last Thursday internationally.

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Crescendo is a short, 12 minute film about a mother faced with a difficult decision of whether to go
through with her pregnancy and subject her child to the broken world in which she lived.  Crescendo received eleven international film festival honors, including “Best Short Film”.  A few of us joined Jason at the premiere in San Diego, and were extremely impressed.  This film is a must watch!  It entertains as well as inspires.

We look forward to working with Jason Jones and Movie to Movement in the future.

Princebury at Sundance

photo Sundance Film Festival takes place over 10 days in Park City every January.  With 46,731 attendees in 2012, it is one of the largest film festivals in the country.  Many famous actors and producers attend from all over the nation to premier their new films.

Princebury’s Greg Fox and I (Jeff) attended the festival during its last weekend.  With the San Diego Christian Film Festival only two months earlier, it was a great opportunity to attend a festival as a guest and see it from a different perspective.

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Although we saw a few amazing films, one documentary definitely stood out.  “The Square” by Jehane Noujaim won the award “Audience Choice” in the “World Documentary” category.  The documentary was about the revolution in Egypt, which has been going on for the last two years.  For an event with such a large global impact, it has received too little coverage by the media.  It was very interesting to see the event through the eyes of the Egyptian revolutionaries themselves.

Overall, it was a great experience and we will definitely be back next year!  Princebury is also planning on submitting a documentary to next year’s festival, so be on the look out!

Where Passion is Taught, Success is Found

Approximately 93 percent of students in Finland graduate from high school, a whopping 17.5 percent higher than the United States. So what are we doing wrong?

The average elementary school student in the United States gets 30 minutes of recess, while the average student in Finland gets 75 minutes, and a 15 minute break after every lesson. New York City has the same number of teachers as Finland, but nearly double the amount of students. The average student in the United States starts school at age 4, while the average student in Finland starts at age 7. There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, that is not taken until age 16. Although sounding counter intuitive, Finland is ranked number one in the education system.

Our team at Princebury is producing a documentary on the education system. We met with schoollogoEscondido Charter High School to take a glimpse at an education system that is pushing the boundaries of our Westernized ideals. Looking up to Finland as a big brother, this high school has an education system that not only works, but has the numbers at the end of the day to prove it. In 1996, Escondido Charter’s President and Founder, Dennis “Coach” Snyder made it his personal mission to create a different kind of high school. With a strong emphasis on fundamentals and individual passions, they build from the ground up with every single student. When meeting with Mr. Snyder, passion rubbed off on you as you shook his hand. This was more than a job for him, this was a dream.

After walking onto the campus, you could immediately sense the calmness in the air. The students radiated a sense of independence and passion. This, indeed, was not your average American high school. We met with a small body of students in a entrepreneurship class to sit and talk to them about their experience and insight on their education. It only took one look into one of those students eyes to see they loved where they were. Bullying, lack of counseling, inadequate teachers, poor quality of lectures and lessons… these were just a few things that lead those students to the seats they sat in that day. They were there to fulfill their passions and prepare for their careers.

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In the early 1930’s, a young girl at the age of 8 was taken to a psychologist by her mother for her lack of focus and under-performance at school. The girl was fidgety, and never paid attention in class, and her grades showed it. The teachers assumed she had a severe learning disorder and urged her mother to take immediate action. Little did her mother know, she was potentially putting her daughter’s future at stake. After endless questioning and analyzing, the psychologist asked to speak to the mother outside of the room away from the little girl. As he left the room with the mother, he turned on the radio. Once out of the room, he waited a moment and asked the mother to peek inside and watch her daughter. With awe, the mother watched her daughter rise to her feet and start to dance around the room as if it was her natural habitat. It was then the psychologist urged the mother to enroll her daughter into dance school. Today we know this young lady as Gillian Lynne: choreographer of “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera”. If her mother had taken solely the advice of the education system, she would have put her daughter on medication and sent her back to school. Gillian was not a poster child, she was a dancer. It took one man to see what others assumed was a disability, and allow what came naturally for her to emerge.

Gillian Lynne’s story should not be the exception. Our generation and the one’s after us should always have full range of choice: from getting a Ph.D to being an artist. It’s education systems like Escondido Charter that, like Gillian’s psychologist, bring out the very essence of a passion and continue to build a path for these students in the direction they naturally follow, not the path the education system tells them to follow.