Navigating Troubled Waters

Posted on April 24, 2009 by Mike Riddell

Yesterday’s seminar in Auckland was called ‘Navigating the SPIF’ (SPIF being the Screen Incentive Production Fund). It was an excellent and well-organised seminar, with helpful and very practical information. The level of detail and careful manoeuvring required is scary – rather akin to sailing your way through the proverbial minefield. But then the rewards are great – potentially a $2m rebate on a $5m film.

Later in the afternoon it was a visit to the base of a television network to meet with a gatekeeper. I was trying to interest them in a licence deal, to show the completed film following theatrical release. And alongside it, of course, a joint application to NZ on Air for production funding for the film.
But the person I was dealing with wasn’t too sure about the project, and whether it would find an audience among their viewers. It was a difficult session. As I said to someone afterwards, it’s a bit like having someone tell you your baby is ugly, and you trying to persuade them of the child’s good points. I’m not the world’s best at pitching my own projects, and by the end of the time it seemed that the answer was a no.
I came out of the meeting depressed, got in my car and drove straight over a pothole, bursting the front tyre. Seemed symbolic somehow, but didn’t improve my mood.
Anyway, this morning the development exec, having looked at the promo DVD I’d left, was having a rethink, with a slightly more positive attitude. So who knows? Ah, the twists and turns of the filmmaking business…

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