May 2019 Digest

With a plethora of noteworthy articles last month, I’m switching up the format of my digest for May and providing links rather than a summary.

Despite school being out for summer, the first chunk I’m calling your “Homework.” These are the articles I feel are the most the important to read, filled with valuable information to take into consideration when putting your projects together. The second batch called ”Extra Credit” are interesting pieces that I feel give you a leg up if you take the time to read.

In case you missed it, Dear Producer launched a new video series, Producers in Front of the Camera, which is a 14-part on-camera interview series with producers that will be rolling out over the coming months. The first four interviews are live now and you can watch them for free HERE. And please share and post for others to watch if you find them helpful.

Thomas Edison said, “A genius is often a talented person who has done all of his homework.” So start reading!

Keep Going,


Cannes Film Business Is Buoyant — If Films Are Made for a Price Producers may not be as overjoyed at market prices falling, even if it helps their films sell. And if they’re making less money that likely means that actors, directors and other key talent are going to be asked to shave their fees. It all adds up to doing the same amount of work for a smaller paycheck.

American Buyers Are Anxious as Cannes Presents a Confused Film Industry
At Cannes, weather often provides a handy metaphor to assess the state of the market. Two years ago, downpours were an easy visual aid for the gloomy prognosis; this time, the occasional rains never lasted long, but ominous clouds loomed and an eerie chill swept through the air.

Indie Film Producers Fight Series in Battle for Talent, Learn to Adapt
Dealmakers arriving in Cannes looking to assemble indie features, while buoyed by a robust economy, are saddled with a painful Achilles’ heel: dozens upon dozens of streaming services, cable and pay TV channels are competing for the same top talent, both behind and in front of the camera. 

Documentary Business Reveals Widening Gap Between Rich and Poor Highlights from several recent international documentary events show that the non-fiction business is booming — but only for certain kinds of films.

Why Breakout Documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ Didn’t Sell to Netflix, from Poop to Nuts
Molly and John Chester thought he left filmmaking behind when they bought the farm, but it taught them another way of seeing instead.

United Skates Case Study
United Skates won the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award, a buffet of official selections and prizes, attracted John Legend as an executive producer, and a deal with HBO. Tina Brown shared the filmmakers’ inspirational story for this Case Study, which is sponsored by Sunny Side of the Doc.

Naomi McDougall Jones on Her Film, Bite Me, and Why She Skipped Traditional Distribution in Favor of a 50-City Tour
A transparent look at what financing, marketing, and distribution look like in today’s indie film climate and what Naomi is doing to tackle these massive issues.

Endeavor’s IPO Prospectus for Dummies: Why the Hollywood Player Wants You to Think It’s A Tech Company
The talent agency turned media conglomerate is a money-losing, debt-laden “platform” with voting control solely in the hands of a few people and not public shareholders. Sound familiar?

Hollywood’s Changing As Fast As It Ever Has — Can Industry Lifers Change Too?
Hollywood shook with the coming of sound, as memorably depicted in “Singin’ in the Rain,” and again with the advent of television — but nothing like this.

Disney Gains Full Control Of Hulu In Deal With Comcast, Cementing Streaming Strategy
Disney and Comcast announced today that Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu, adding a crucial chess piece in one of the most serious efforts by a traditional media player to take on Netflix.

YouTube Tears Down Its Paywall For Its Original Programming
If you were thinking about shelling out $12 a month for the new season of Cobra Kai, don’t.


100 Most Creative People in Business
Each of the 100 visionary leaders you’ll read about here has accomplished something over the past year that has moved an entire industry forward in an unprecedented way.

Why Do Employers Lowball Creatives? A New Study Has Answers
Recent Duke Ph.D. graduate Jae Yun Kim, Professor Aaron Kay, University of Oregon Professor Troy Campbell and Oklahoma State University Professor Steven Shepherd studied the ways that workers’ passion is increasingly being used as a justification for their exploitation in today’s labor market.

In the Netflix Era, Hollywood Wants to Know: What’s a Movie, Anyway?
As the streaming revolution continues to roil Hollywood, more and more filmmakers—including Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg—are wrapping their heads around a surprisingly vexing question.

Gavin Polone: This Is the Beginning of the End of TV Agents
A culture change is happening in Hollywood as old-school networking and technology are making television lit reps obsolete and tipping the WGA-ATA fight in favor of the writers.

Coke Resurrects Notorious New Coke Flop for Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’
Coke is hoping that a mix of deep consumer nostalgia and fondness for “Stranger Things” — an engine of references to ’80s pop culture ephemera — will reignite interest in an offering that has lingered as a point of shame for the company and has served as a standout case study of a product launch gone wrong for more than three decades.

It’s Okay To Quit: The Surprising–and Subversive–Advice For “Late Bloomers”
In his new book, “Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievement,” Rich Karlgaard argues there’s nothing wrong, or unusual, with finding one’s way later in life.