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Attention, Sundance Filmmakers: Here’s the Best Advice from the Top Junior Agents

Attention, Sundance Filmmakers: Here's the Best Advice from the Top Junior Agents

“Perseverance will allow great stories to be told. While there are inherent financial obstacles to getting independent films made I have been privy time and again to the success stories coming from those that never ‘shelved’ it. When all options are exhausted find some more options. Trust in your own lunacy.” – Gabriel Mena, Paradigm

“I would encourage emerging directors and producers to think more globally in their creative development. Most films receive the majority of their revenue from distribution outside of the United States. English-language movies that are designed to have particular appeal in established and emerging international markets can attract talent, financing and distribution in a way that more domestically focused stories and packages do not.” – Adam Paulsen, CAA

“Go after what you want. When you introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met, be sure to pay attention. You never know what nugget of information you’ll find in your conversations at Sundance and what it can lead to. Be inclusive. This is a business that thrives on collaboration, so make sure to connect the dots when you’re in Park City. You’ll thank me later.” – Samantha Chalk, Gersh

“No matter what happens, remain calm. Seeking out distribution, receiving awards, and reading reviews makes the festival process an emotional ride. You just have to stay focused and keep reminding yourself that it’s no small feat to put a film together. Just being selected by the Sundance Film Festival is a huge deal.” – Justin Austin, WME

“Persistence goes a long way. In this business, your voice is your currency, and you have to stay true to your vision and fight for stories and projects that you believe in. You have to be open to exploring opportunities, while still maintaining strong opinions. My advice to filmmakers is that the entertainment business is dynamic and the best way to enjoy the highs and survive the lows is to have a strong team around you. Most importantly, I would tell them to enjoy the ride.” – Ryan Feldman, WME 

“Keep your mind open to creative ways of splitting up rights; we have had a lot of success splitting up TV, theatrical, and digital rights between different companies. In some cases, we’ve ended up with better deals that way than with all rights deals. Also, when it comes down to choosing between distributors that may be interested in acquiring your film, keep in mind that one of the most important things is to find a partner that you know sees the film the same way you do and will be on board with marketing and releasing the film in the way that you envision it. Sometimes the higher MG is not always the way to go. When you are deciding on a distribution partner, remember you are entering into a partnership where their team is going to be intertwined with your daily life, day in and out for the next year. It’s so important to pick people that will be collaborative and fun to work with.” – Benjamin Braun, Submarine Entertainment

“Never get comfortable. Always continue to push yourself. Stay out of your comfort zone.” – Jamie Hughes, Paradigm

“When in doubt, take Swede Alley; traffic on Main Street is a nightmare!” – Mikey Schwartz, UTA

READ MORE: Sundance 2015: Here Are the Top Junior Agents You Need to Know

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