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Hundreds of directors, producers, distributors, commissioners and others from all corners of the documentary industry, from all corners of the world, descended on Fremantle, Western Australia for this year's Australian International Documentary Conference (26-28 February). Sandor Lau, a Chinese/Hungarian-American based in New Zealand dives into the belly of the beast in search of its soul.
If you don't know who I am ... well, f***k off
Films for the Finnish housewife--Documart training
From sixty applicants, fifteen lucky finalists have been chosen to pitch their ideas to an audience of twenty international commissioning editors, in a bid to convince them to open their hearts, minds and cheque-books. The day before the conference officially starts, the lucky contestants get a day of training on how to talk to the money at Documart. Barbara Truyen of Films Transit International (www.filmstransit.com), a worldwide distributor based in The Netherlands, leads the session and shares the following nuggets of wisdom:
* Any proposal longer than two pages gets filed under 'too much time and trouble'.
* You're making films for the Finnish housewife, not for yourself and your friends.
* If you want international money, write your budget with international currency conversions.
* Make your project multimedia, with tie-ins like books, web sites, exhibitions, DVDs.
* It is every commissioner's and distributor's job to say 'no' to most of what they see.
* International broadcasters will expect you to cut your project to their preferred length and other requirements.
* Before the pitching session they will get a copy of your proposal--assume they have not read beyond the first line.
* DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Do not randomly approach commissioners or you may be trying to sell …