The guest of our producing course from Hollywood: Jonathan Halperyn
During the fall we had a chance to hear some insights about how the Hollywood studio system works. Our guest teacher at Budapest Film Academy was Jonathan Halperyn who was the Managing Director of Focus Features International which is an independent studio that released films like Lost in Translation, Brokeback Mountain or Cloud Atlas.
It was great to hear stories firsthand from a US industry specialist. Among other things he talked about financing structures and the green lit process which is basically a decision chain that the studios take before they release or even start the production of a film. We learned about the difficulties of gap financing and the importance of packaging a film idea. My personal favorite was the ‘comp’ system when you try to find as much comparable titles to your film as you can just to show the studio how competitive your film idea is. I always thought that they would look for new ideas instead of making the old ones over and over again.
Jonathan had up-to-date topics and shared a great load of sources where we can read the industry insights.
For someone who doesn’t have any experience in the international film industry this class was a great opportunity to have a glimpse inside into this huge business which drives Hollywood for so many years now.
We wish to have more time to talk about the new trends that are changing the film making world oversees. Maybe next time.
Peter Rosko (Budapest Film Academy)