What next for Impact50? As the deadline looms, what should we do next? Have your say…

We stand at the end of a phase, the edge of a decision.

In around one week’s time, the existing filmmaking phase of Impact50 will close.

ADDENDUM… I am adding this line a day after this went live. All of my suggestions here are about ADDING to Impact50 and NOT taking anything away. Any changes made are entirely in the interests of elevating phase one for all involved so far, both writers and filmmakers.

Critically, the films submitted already will be assessed and judged as if there were no phase 2. We will complete a version of Impact50 (roughly) based on what has been submitted and then ask, what can we do now? What can we add? How can we best fill any gaps? I have a pretty good handle on where I think we will be in just over a week when it closes, and so this post reflects that perspective.

The 55 winning screenwriters will still be credited as the writers of the film. There may be more added but no-one will be taken away.

We are also considering exciting and seductive ways to attract filmmakers to the scripts already submitted to Impact50, as well as ways to help improve any submitted films where necessary, so as to improve their chances. Our clear desire is, and has always been, to facilitate as many filmmaker/writer collaborations and an enable as many original scripts to be produced as possible.

As it stands, at that point, no more films will be submitted (bar a handful of films where a waiver has been agreed to extend for reasons beyond the filmmaker’s control, and only for a week or two).

At that point we will look at the films submitted and consider, in the cold light of day, what kind of film could we make from the submissions? What kind of feature film, out in the real world, will ‘The Impact’ be?

On a technical note, yes we could select the best films from the submissions, string them together and have a feature length film. We could have a premiere. We would all enjoy that I am sure. It would be a fun night.

But if I am honest, as someone with a great deal of experience in film sales, I know in my heart that all that will happen to the film after that is that we will upload to Youtube and say ‘well, we all did the best we could given the resources to hand…’

There are people in film sales involved now and they echo this.

We have significant interest from a major player in distribution. They LOVE the idea of a crowd-created film. They LOVE the trailer. They LOVE the President’s Speech intro… And they LOVE the few films I sent them.

I have suggested that more outstanding films are coming and that the end feature will be to this same standard.

So here are our options.

  1. Complete to the existing timescales. The film will have a great premiere and end up on YouTube.
  2. Open a second phase and attempt to elevate the film further.

First I need to acknowledge everyone involved. My team, the ones who worked hard and had to leave. Those who still work hard. Those who have joined and look up at the mountain with trepidation.

The writers who worked so long and hard in the first stages of Create50. It seems so long ago and it’s easy to forget how much blood, sweat, tears and passion was given.

The filmmakers who have put their time, money, contacts and passion into their films that are already part of the the process.

We have moved heaven and earth.

Now to the task at hand.

Here are some things to consider, and filmmakers with distribution experience will know this.

Really, there is no place for the film in the marketplace unless we ourselves create a place for it through epic spin and outstanding filmmaking. That’s the promise of Create50. Together we have power. Yet, we may never achieve this. Great films regularly die a death.

The market is hostile and unforgiving. Unbelievably so. That’s one hard truth to take onboard.

Consider also…

It took until a month or so ago to make the trailer because enough films with a trailer shot just had not been submitted. I wish we had had the submissions a year ago to make a cool trailer. We didn’t.

This trailer was then instrumental in attracting our star to play the president, to the location owners giving us the location for free, and has, as I am sure you would agree, suddenly given the whole project an injection of momentum. I wish this had happened a year ago, but one thing follows the next and until we had a trailer, something REAL to show people, we couldn’t get traction.

The Trailer, The President’s Speech and a few of the best films submitted have been instrumental in attracting a real and significant distribution company to the process.

Without one, the next step could not happen.

This is the nature of Impact50, and in fact ALL films and ALL creative processes in then real world.

Incremental evolution and tiny wins that accumulate to win the war.

Further, as James Cameron says, ‘No film is ever completed, it is abandoned…’

So with all this behind us, we consider the next steps.

Here is what I propose.

And yes I am sympathetic to all opinions.

I also want a film we can all be proud of.

So let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water…

Second Phase… Impact50 

  1. We close the initiative as planned (end of May), and all films continue to be completed and locked by the end of June.
  2. We assemble a ‘dream team’ of 25 dedicated creatives, marketers, filmmakers etc to execute phase two.
  3. The dream team builds phase 2 in detail during June, and each member of the team reaches out to their community to ask for small amounts of help over phase 2. This should create massive traction.
  4. The exact details of phase 2 are not agreed or locked yet, but I have some broad stroke ideas and principles in place.
  5. July 1st we re-launch with the President’s Speech trailer, a website update and announce the Dream Team who spring into massive action to engage filmmakers.
  6. During phase two, any winning script can be produced. Also, ANY script submitted to Impact50 can be produced.
  7. We also want to open up to filmmakers who want to make their ideas too, so in essence ANY idea can be submitted as a final film.
  8. We have ideas for micro films, bridging films and shots, leveraging filmmakers around the world who are happy to invest two hours making something small or capturing one shot.
  9. We will actively encourage writers and filmmakers to collaborate.
  10. We plan phase two to last six months after which we close and complete the film, ideally for launch in Cannes 2019.
  11. No matter what we choose, we will acknowledge the best films of Phase one at the British Screenwriters Awards 2018 and present awards to the winners.
  12. ADDENDUM… The 55 winning screenwriters will still be credited as the writers of the film. There may be more added but no-one will be taken away.

Let me talk a little more about opening up to new scripts, as I know there will be writers out there who may be disappointed by this.

ADDENDUM… We are considering exciting and seductive ways to attract filmmakers to the scripts submitted to Impact50, our clear desire is to get as many produced as possible.

That said…

The reason I want to open Impact50 up to new stories or scenes is so that there is no creative barrier to entry for filmmakers into the Impact50 process. That way, we will attract not just a higher number of films, but also greater experimentation and innovation.

In conclusion…

If we continue, business as usual, we will close at the end of the month with all the advantages and drawbacks we have discussed.

If we want The Impact50 to be like the real world, then this is the moment when the producers look at the rough cut and say, OK we need a new strategy. No-one is fired, no-one is out, but we need a new strategy. Phase two is my strategy to get to Cannes 2019 with a real shot of success.

I favour the latter.

We need to ask ourselves, do we want us to make a film that people genuinely want to watch, or just one that our friends and family come along to because they love us, in the same way they showed up to our ballet show or football match when we were kids?

Incidentally, the latter means a TONNE more work for me, my immediate team and the Dream Team. All unpaid.

Consider that carefully. I REALLY don’t want to do this. But I want a movie that lives up to our collective potential way MORE.

I believe in The Impact50.

I believe even more passionately in the Create50 community.

Let’s create something MAGNIFICENT together.

Chris Jones

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