Focal Press - Variety Series Author Louise Levison Offers '5 Tips for Networking at Sundance'

Levison to present advice at "Financing Your Film" panel at Sundance

Jan 25, 2010, 08:00 ET from Focal Press

PARK CITY, Utah, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Louise Levison, author of the business plan for The Blair Witch Project, will be among 5 panelists helping filmmakers struggling to finance their films. The event, Financing Your Film: Avoiding Pitfalls From Development to Distribution, will take place on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at The Yarrow Resort and Hotel as part of the Sundance Film Festival.

Says Levison, "Knowing how to attend and network at film markets is critical. There is no trick to meeting and greeting, no secret handshakes or passwords. Just get out there and shake hands!"

Here are Levison's 5 tips for networking at Sundance:

  1. Be prepared: Bring your short-term promotional materials, and bone up on who is who before you go. Let your fingers do some walking through the trades.
  2. Be aware: Distribution companies usually focus on certain types of films. Look at their posters and at the items listed in their market catalogs. Try to match your films to their inventory. After all, the distributor is your shortest route to those foreign buyers and presales.
  3. Be considerate: In introducing yourself to distributors, pick slack times. Very early in the day and at the end of the day are best. Whenever you reach a distributor's display room, notice if buyers are there. If they are, go back later.
  4. Be succinct: Keep the discussion short and sweet. Your objective is to get a meeting at a later time. You want your "prey" to feel relaxed and be attentive. Try for a meeting at the distributor's office.
  5. Be dubious: Lots of people are milling around screenings, hotel lobbies, and expo halls pretending to be something they are not. Listen carefully, take cards, and try to verify the facts afterward. Do not give your scripts or proposals to anyone unless you can validate their credentials.

Louise Levison is President of Business Strategies ( and the author of Filmmakers and Financing, 6e, the release of which marked the beginning of a publishing partnership between Focal Press and Variety Magazine.

The Focal Press - Variety partnership unites two respected voices in the industry to deliver expert guidance on the business of filmmaking to professionals. Amy Pedersen, Vice President, Marketing, Focal Press, said "I am excited that two companies so rich in film and entertainment history, can partner to produce what I know will be inspiring, reliable, and foundational books on topics that appeal to all levels of professionals within the industry."

"Together, we'll release the best, most current content on the entertainment industry and help our readers develop strategies to navigate all the changes," said Kimberley Gebbett, Marketing Manager, Variety

The partnership began with the publication of two new books:

Filmmakers and Financing, 6th Edition

AUTHOR: Louise Levison

ISBN: 9780240812526

PUB DATE: October 2009

LIST PRICE: US- $29.95 EUR- 17.95 GBP PRICE- 14.99

The first, most crucial step in making a film is finding the funds to do it. Louise Levison, who wrote the innovative business plan for The Blair Witch Project, shows filmmakers how. The sixth edition contains up-to-date industry data, information on distribution including online and foreign markets, and interviews and case studies with industry veterans.

In jargon-free terms, Levison teaches filmmakers not only how to create a business plan, but also how to avoid common business plan mistakes, in order to attract and secure an investor. A companion web site featuring exercises and spreadsheets get filmmakers comfortable with crunching the numbers.

The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV and Video Content in an Online World

AUTHOR: Jeff Ulin

ISBN: 9780240812007

PUB DATE: October 2009

LIST PRICE: US- $34.95 EUR- 20.95 GBP PRICE- 17.99

Written by the insider who headed sales for Lucasfilm across distribution markets and managed the release of Star Wars Episode III, this book provides a unique apprenticeship to the business.  Producers, media execs and students will learn how all related media distribution markets, including television, video and online, work together and independently to finance and maximize profits on productions.

Author Jeff Ulin demystifies how an idea moves from concept to profits, illustrates how distribution quietly dominates an industry otherwise grounded in high profile elements (e.g., production, marketing, creative, finance, law), and explains how online and digital delivery applications are changing the landscape.

About Focal Press

Focal Press has been a leading publisher of Media Technology books for 70 years. We provide essential resources for professionals and students in many areas including: film and digital video production, photography, digital imaging, graphics, animation and new media, broadcast and media distribution technologies, music recording and production, mass communications, and theatre technology.

About Variety

Recognized and respected throughout the world of show business, Variety is the premier source of entertainment news. Since 1905, the most influential leaders in the industry have turned to Variety for timely, credible and straight forward news and analysis - information vital to their professions.

SOURCE Focal Press