Monday, May 17, 2010

My Vision for AMMO, its network and function

My Vision for AMMO, its network and function


This is part of how the Arkansas Movie Makers Organization will function to assist filmmakers, actors, and to spawn a viable movie making market in Arkansas:


Membership in AMMO is NOT restricted to Arkansas residence.  AMMO is a regional organization with national and international connections that is focused on making movies in the state of Arkansas. Talent and crew imports and exports are essential to establishing AMMO's Arkansas centered regional footprint.


As we network with neighboring film markets, filmmakers from other states will post cast calls in our website network (which is currently under construction). This will eventually enable Arkansas based talent and crew to have access to hundreds of film projects per year that are within driving distance. One of our goals is to enable permanent Arkansas residence to be full-time professional actors and crew.


When Arkansas filmmakers import talent and crew, it enables regional or national grassroots marketing for the film project even while it still in preproduction. This technique has proven successful with HEARTLAND PRECINCT: Missing Girls. Posting of out of state cast calls has generated a buzz which is causing the project to rapidly become a highly anticipated motion picture. This could lead to a better distribution deal, higher overall sales, and global market coverage.


Also, when an Arkansas made movie has regional competition for its choice acting roles and / or crew positions, it is possible for the filmmaker to select the best match for the project from a larger pool of resources.


Some AMMO filmmakers will restrict cast and crew calls- reserving their film to Arkansan only participation. This is fare and acceptable since AMMO is an Arkansas organization. AMMO film producers will have the right to decide what – if any – regional participation is allowed in his/her own project. Also, budget, script, and experience concerns must be addressed. Of course, it would not be proper for a student filmmaker to post regional cast calls for a non-commercial project. Even if all compensation is deferred, the driving time and expenses of the cast / crew must be considered. As a general rule, regional participation should only be advertised for projects that have a realistic chance for commercial distribution. The exception, however, would be Memphis. The Memphis film market is well established, proven, stocked with seasoned professionals and located only 2.5 hours away from Little Rock, making it closer than many Arkansas cities. Memphis, will therefore be considered our "sister film market", and we will focus much PR attention and advertising there.


AMMO is currently the fastest growing Arkansas film network, and is poised to soon become Arkansas' largest and most powerful moviemaking resource.

Arkansas' current disadvantage in filmmaking comes from an unimpressive state  incentive package and slow moving legislation efforts to create kickbacks that are inviting to would be investors. AMMO's long term goals are not only to try to influence film-positive legislation, but also to produce our own subsidy package that would be available to qualifying productions. This would be designed to bridge the gap between Arkansas' lacking investment incentive plans and those of other states.


Therefore, it is AMMO's goal to be a privately run partner to the state's film commission, not a competitor.


Arkansan AMMO members use the slogan, "Ready to Shoot in Arkansas" However, our Marketing to out of state film markets will be "If you want to shoot something in Arkansas, you need AMMO."  


Our ability to partner with an incoming production would give us a advantage in casting and crew placement - opening up larger starring roles for local Arkansas actors (as well as non-Arkansan AMMO members)  in Hollywood films.


The difference between AMMO and the state film commission is that the Arkansas State Film Commission is focused on bringing in productions from out of state, and the Arkansas Movie Makers Organization's main focus is developing local film projects from local producers. Part of our mission is to create a non-profit film fund. Ideally, the fund would have enough currency that the interest could be used to finance, zero, micro, ultra-low, and low budget film projects without diminishing the fund. This would allow the fund to act as a bank that can make zero interest loans to qualifying AMMO member film producers. These loans would only have to be paid back if and when the project sells. Because of this, the qualification process would greatly favor commercial features over experimental, short, and / or artistic endeavors.


AMMO is to function on various levels from a passive network to a fully functional movie studio. The current idea for the divisions are described below   



Level One

The passive database. Membership and participation is free at this level. You list your production, crew and/or talent resume into the database as a form of free classified ads. All AMMO members are free to use this network. The only restriction is that no porn producers or performers are allowed. The database would be occasionally policed by "mystery shoppers" to ensure compliance.


Level Two

Private individual movie project building. Membership and participation is still free at this level. AMMO filmmakers can shop the network and put together projects from student level to professional level as long as those projects meet AMMO's minimum standards for decency. These projects do not have to be pre-approved, and they are not actively governed; it is up to the integrity of the filmmaker and the participants to police themselves and ensure conformity to AMMO's policies.


Level Three

AMMO members who wish to produce a film while retaining 100% ownership and control of their project, but lacking all of the resources to complete the project can submit work requests for whatever is needed. AMMO is being hired to fill the production's needs. These scripts need to be pre-approved for content since active AMMO participation is required. If AMMO's hired participation is deferred, then the script needs to also be accessed and qualified for commercial marketability. AMMO's deferred assistance would constitute a form of sponsorship.


Level Four

AMMO members who wish to retain 100% ownership and control of their project, can submit a movie idea and provide full funding. AMMO would staff a writing panel and facilitate the entire production of the project from conception to distribution according to the wishes of the producer who has hired the service.


Level Five

AMMO partners with local film producers who are not adequately staffed or funded to produce a commercial grade feature film. This type of project is known as am AMMO sponsored project. AMMO becomes 50% owner of the project. The producer (or his/her production company) maintains a majority share of the artistic control of the project, but AMMO assists with everything from setting up the LLC of the movie, editing the script for content and commercial marketability, auditions, casting, locations, crew staffing, and marketing. AMMO collectively is the co-producer.


HEARTLAND PRECINCT: Missing Girls is an example of a level five or AMMO sponsored project. These projects will be picked from script pitch meetings.


It is the goal of AMMO to use level five projects to develop new filmmakers. It is the goal of new filmmakers to get to the point within AMMO that they do not need level five assistance. However, for as many level five films a producer receives assistance on, it will be custom for that producer, once established, to donate that same number of projects into level five participation. In other words, if it takes four level five projects to transform a film graduate into a superstar, that superstar should then "give back" by partnering 50 / 50 with AMMO in big budget productions.


Level Six

AMMO partners with Hollywood productions coming into the state and uses its assistance and subsidy package to influence the decency content of the script. AMMO assists that production and helps staff the required percentage of Arkansans in cast and crew to entitle that production to better investment kickback rates.


Level Seven

AMMO staff writers begin with an idea and AMMO works as a single entity from concept to finish as the only producer (and investor if applicable) and AMMO is the 100% owner of the project. Such a project would be listed as "an AMMO film"


More will come, but I am out of time today,

Cody G. Carson

Cody G. Carson
film producer, director, actor, author, inventor

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