Films of London
Films of London is a new style of film production and development company. Drawing on the success of its founders in the world of commercials, the company will focus on producing well-developed, dramatic stories with popular appeal for relatively low budgets (£500,000 to £2,000,000).
Employing the latest technologies to deliver cost-efficient, cinematic narratives, Films of London's key strength would be the way it develops its projects.
Experienced script developers and producers would work with new and established directing and writing talent to ensure the quality of each project.
With an Advisory Panel that includes some of Britain's finest filmmakers, Films of London will be a new company backed by experience.
The Company currently has seven feature-length films in development: three documentaries and four fiction dramas. It plans to go into production on its first and second films in autumn 2015 and summer 2016. Below are a couple of key images from these upcoming projects.
Films of London believes it knows how to make stories that people will want to watch - both in the cinema and at home.
We believe we have a unique double skill-set: an understanding of how to develop and produce quality films while also knowing how to maximise the revenue cycle for this product across the ever-evolving distribution landscape.
We believe that retention of intellectual property rights is vital and a core Films of London strategy will be to retain as much control over the ownership of its catalogue as it can.
We hope that we can build a brand that stands for quality, and gather loyalty from audiences not just in the UK but around the world.
Drawing on our experience with commercial filmmaking and with online and interactive projects, Films of London believes it can create a user experience for its films that begins long before the film is released.
We will engage an audience through participation in the processes of filmmaking, from storyboarding to casting as well as through charismatic and carefully planned advertising campaigns.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Since launch we have developed four projects, the first two of which are planned to be packaged before Cannes (May 2015) in order to raise/close finance.
The first film is FOURSTAR, our South London car-chase thriller. We have a near-final script (available to investors), a sales poster, a finance plan and we have identified key cast. This will form the package that we will take to Cannes.
The second film is GLORIOUS (a comedy), where a dysfunctional family fall apart at a Glastonbury-type music festival. This has been written by young talent Gillian Park, who is drawing a lot of attention. We anticipate a second draft to be ready for Cannes along with a casting wish-list.
A third film, Jocky, a documentary/fiction hybrid about the life of darts legend Jocky Wilson is currently being written by award-winning documentary director James Bluemel.
Revenues in the first instance would be generated when Films of London has packaged its film projects and sells the developed project to a Special Purpose Vehicle (while retaining intellectual property participation which it will share with each film's financiers).
In the second instance, revenue would come from subsequent sales and distribution participations, including:
Pre Sales in certain territories
Straight sale to television
DVD and streaming.
In addition, each film project would be assessed for its potential merchandising and associated rights potential, including soundtrack and third-party licensing.
Films of London has also been studying with interest the relatively new business model where a film is released at special event screenings - a value-added event, or series of events, where ticket prices are higher and receipts remain in the control of the production company. For example, the director, stars or subjects of the film might participate in a discussion panel before or after the screening, or the film's musical score might be played live.
Use of proceeds
This money is intended to be used to top-up Films of London's pre-revenue start-up costs including designing of the prospectus for the films described above, and travel and accommodation costs for Cannes Film Market.
Money would also be used to option additional story ideas from writers and to pay (modest) on-going writing and development fees.
Films of London is still based at an existing production company (owned by its founder) and so running overheads have remained extremely low.
Film fans of all ages. International and domestic UK.
The UK has an extraordinary film-viewing capacity. Currently - across all platforms - the average Briton will watch 80 films per year. More than double the audience at film's theatrical heyday - the 1940s and 1950s - when we estimate that film viewing was approximately 36 films per person per year (all theatrical).
Films of London will deliberately target its content to the most prolific film-goers and at home movie-watchers, particularly the 17-24 year olds and the ever-increasing silver pound market (55 and overs).
Characteristics of target market
Remarkably, given the competition for our entertainment spend, both domestic and worldwide film audiences are increasing. Revenues for theatrical box office increased year on year to record highs in the last three years: from £12.2 billion in 2009, to £13.6 billion in 2010 and £14.5 billion in 2011. UK box office spend has seen year-on-year increases for the past five years, topping £1bn in 2011 and again in 2012
Meanwhile there has been a revenue drop in DVD sales that has yet to be recovered by new outlets such as streaming (through services such as Netflix) and download purchases (through iTunes). This is due in part to the proliferation of illegal file sharing on soft versions of films. However, we feel that the ratio of legal to illegal downloads is trending towards a reversal and expect that the shortfall in DVD profitability in the revenue chain will be made up within the next two to three years.
Particularly relevant to lower budget productions, an audience connection will begin at the development phase of production.
Ahead of any distribution deal or marketing release strategy, Films of London would run a small, intelligently-budgeted marketing and PR campaign aiming to demonstrate an audience for each film ahead of production.
This campaign would be run in-house, employing freelance, tech-literate marketing graduates to focus on strategies for maturing each project among its target audience, gathering awareness for a film ahead of its release.
A mix of strategies would be applied to encourage interactive engagement in each film including the creation of a content-led website and Facebook page to showcase creative materials and processes, including:
• Work-in-progress storyboards;
• Filmed rehearsals and on-set interviews with cast and crew;
• Online casting for certain roles (particularly extras), inviting self-filmed auditions;
• Location suggestions;
• Sharing trailers – asking audience to vote on the effectiveness of different versions of the promotional trailer.
An important element here will be the use of cast and crew as a marketing tool. They would be trained / encouraged to blog, tweet, and comment on Facebook about each film.
The application of a focused but relatively low-cost social media campaign would engage the public and provide distributors with proof of an audience ahead of securing sales and distribution agreements.
Films of London believes it has the skillset to develop films at a higher level than its direct competitors.
While budgets for its initial slate will be modest, we believe our development procedures - honed both on long-form projects and on short form commercials - will match much larger, more established studios.
Working with PHD script development specialists as well as the creative producers and storytellers on its Advisory Panel, Films of London's core operations would be its high-level project packaging. These developed packages would deliver well-crafted, engaging and believable stories, unique and charismatic characters and intelligently attached acting and film-making talent.
Add into this the central philosophy that we want to make films for as wide as possible audience and we believe we can make films that are both critically well-received and financially rewarding.