In a rare opportunity for the Chicago film community, “The Reel Strategy Workshop,” offering an intensive training seminar on how to successfully brand, fund and distribute films, takes place Jan. 28 at the Chicago History Museum, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Workshop is the collaboration of Gena Vazquez and Luis Sinibaldi, principals from Los Angeles-based Legacy Entertainment Partners, LLC, and Chicago’s Benjamin Warsinske, founder / CEO of Branded World.co and author of “Groundwork: The Foundation for an Unshakeable Brand.”
“We chose Chicago as our first stop because we get so many questions about fundraising from the city’s filmmakers,” says Vazquez.
The event will be a hands-on, educational and creative networking experience for both aspiring and seasoned filmmakers, including producers, directors, screenwriters and actors.
Attendees will learn how to establish an unshakeable film-project brand; acquire film financing via largely-unknown, innovative investor approaches and the importance of evaluating distribution options from the very onset of film development.
“Filmmakers must learn to make their scripts come to life in the eyes of accredited investors,” Vazquez says. “The days of submitting a script to big Hollywood film studios and anticipating that it will be greenlit on artistic merit alone–are long gone.
“Moreover, since this is - as of 2015 - a $38.8 billion worldwide industry, some larger institutions are trying to get into our recession-proof film game. In so doing, they are taking advantage of creatives with minimal business experience,” she adds.
(To support this claim, on Dec. 21, per “The Hollywood Reporter,” Wells Fargo was slapped with a film-finance fraud lawsuit.)
The workshop’s breakout groups will be led by Vazquez, Sinibaldi and Warsinske. They will interact with attendees as they work through applying critical lessons to their individual film pieces.
When asked what the catalyst for creating such a workshop was, Sinibaldi said, “It was conceived to teach filmmakers some business and marketing fundamentals they must know to navigate today’s entertainment industry, and to do so in an engaging, supportive, ‘there-are-no-stupid-questions’ setting. It is not called ‘show art,’ it is called ‘show business.’”
Fees range from $199 to $249. To register for the “Reel Strategy Workshop” click here.
Colin Costello, who still calls Chicago “home,” is a working screenwriter whose credits include the 2017 family film, “Traveling Without Moving.” Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.