The most valuable currency in Hollywood is trade announcements. Unfortunately, 85% of that currency is created by counterfeiters (being projects that never get made, yet blanket the trades on a daily basis). The legitimate currency consists of small pocket change, which is the 10% of film announcements that luckily come together to get made. And the big bills (the ones that buyers see as true legal tender)… the ones that come from the 5% of producers who have established a consistent reputation for actually making the films they announce.
The value of this currency cannot be overstated. A consistent supplier of mediocre films will get their projects expedited (and their calls returned) faster than most hit makers can.
Why? Because at its core, people need to get paid, and a sure thing is always more coveted than a definite maybe. As such, a reliable producer becomes a watering hole in the wasteland of combustible films. You may not like the smell of the water, it might have a funny taste, you may even get bit by an alligator once in a while, but if you want to survive, then you must periodically return to those watering holes (this is true for reps, artists, producers, buyers, and more.)
You do not have to be prolific, in order to be a watering hole. You just need to be reliable. Foreign buyers treasure this quality perhaps above all others. Because buyers have to put up cash deposits and fill release schedules, dependability is paramount.
I don’t think anybody posses more of this currency than Avi Lerner (Nu Image). At any given film market, he’s the guy that has that satisfied smirk on his face, because he sold everything he came to sell. Are his movies any better? Are his stars any bigger? Does he always have domestic distribution? Not necessarily. But he is probably the most consistently reliable producer, when it comes to making what he announces. Ryan Kavanaugh (Relativity Media) is another. If you’re not sure where the watering holes are, just look for the foreign output deals (where foreign buyers contractually agree to buy an entire slate of future movies); that’s your best indicator.
It takes patience and strategy to properly package a project and put together its finance plan before announcing it to the world. Unfortunately, too many in Hollywood feel compelled to announce every step in the development cycle of their projects. This just becomes an embarrassing pubic record of those who create the counterfeit currency in Hollywood.
Q: Which of the 8 Al Pacino projects currently being shopped around right now holds the most currency?
First to provide the right answer wins!