What is the mission of Blue Sky Producers Lab? – Blue Sky’s mission is to build on the success of New Mexico’s film and television industry by providing opportunities for above-the-line talent. Our goal is to teach producers, directors, screenwriters, and content creators about project development, packaging, and marketing. We want to nurture and prepare projects to attract financing and distribution. By fostering homegrown content creators, we can help build a sustainable industry in New Mexico.
What exactly is development? – Development is the earliest and longest phase of the filmmaking process. It includes acquiring the rights to a story idea, drafting and polishing the screenplay, and attaching above-the-line talent. Once the producer acquires the rights to a property, she works directly with the screenwriter to help build the concept. Development, like the entire production process, is collaborative. The screenplay’s development can take several months and many rewrites to be satisfactorily crafted. The screenplay’s final draft is polished with input from the director. When the script is ready, the producer prepares an appealing package for financiers and investors, which includes above-the-line biographies and a financial plan evaluating the project’s commercial prospects. Once evaluated, if a project gets its “green-light,” then it moves from development to pre-production, followed by the production phase.
What about funding? Will Blue Sky fund my project’s production if they like it? No. That’s not what Blue Sky does. We will explore various options for funding the development phase of the project. That includes seeking out industry investors, studios, and independent production companies, as well as private investors attracted through equity crowdfunding. Our goal is to build a professional package to pitch to potential funders, which includes, but is not limited to, our partners at InvestNewMexico and Turquoise Trail Releasing.
What distribution partners will Blue Sky be working with? – New Mexico’s own Turquoise Trail Releasing will take the lead in shopping packaged projects everywhere from studios like Lionsgate, to independent production companies, and outlets including HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.”
What type of projects are you looking for? – Initially, we are focusing on projects with budgets of $5 million or less to be produced in New Mexico. Blue Sky can’t guarantee a project will be shot and edited here, but our commitment is to attract funders who will keep production and post- production in New Mexico. Projects do not necessarily have to be New Mexico- themed, but must be able to be shot in-state.
What does Blue Sky get out of this? – Blue Sky will own a percentage of each project and be reimbursed for development costs when a project is sold or produced.
Okay, I’m in. How do I submit my project to Blue Sky for consideration? – “To launch Blue Sky, we are issuing a call for projects beginning May 16, 2016. We will choose up to five commercially-viable projects and shepherd them through the development process, before handing them off to our partners to explore finance and distribution options.
What types of projects are you looking for? – We want feature films, television series, mini-series, documentaries, docu-series, web series, and reality shows. If we think it’s commercially viable, we’ll consider it.
What happens if my project gets accepted? – Initially, we’ll create a development contract and set up the business entity you’ll need to move forward. Then you’ll work with our team of mentors through the development process described above.
Who are some of the industry professionals we will get to work with? – We have business relationships with many individuals in the industry, some examples include Paul Presburger (Pantelion Films’ CEO), Stewart Lyons (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), Brian E. Frankish (Field of Dreams, Flight of the Intruder), and Stacey Parks (FilmSpecific.com), among others. We also have the combined expertise of our own crack team.
I’m not a producer, and I’m not sure I want to be one. What do I do? – If you’re not interested in producing but have content to submit, we will match your project with a producer.
I want to submit a project. What will you accept? – We prefer your finished, full-length script and its 1-to-3 page treatment. If you don’t have a finished script, we will accept a treatment. If the treatment is based on a short film or sizzle reel, send that material in as well. We will assess its potential.
If you submit a treatment based on a published book, magazine article, or graphic novel, and we consider it for development, its rights will need to be secured. Remember, we are looking for projects that can be produced in New Mexico, and preferably for under $5 million.
Do I have to live in New Mexico to be considered? – No, but it would be helpful. Projects accepted for development will be New Mexico corporations and you’ll be required to pay New Mexico taxes. Our preference, of course, is to use local creatives on these projects. While you don’t need to live in New Mexico to be considered by Blue Sky, it would be wise to plan to spend a lot of time here during project development.
If my project doesn’t get accepted, what happens? – Not to worry. This first call for projects is to launch the company. We will continue to look for additional marketable projects. If your work shows promise but we don’t accept it, we may ask you to resubmit it at a later date. However, our intention is to focus on a few quality projects at a time.
How will Blue Sky projects help New Mexico? – Fostering a thriving, local creative community will provide many potential benefits to New Mexico:
1) The industry as a whole will look to New Mexico for content, not simply as a location or production center. By driving content, New Mexico becomes less dependent on the whims of Hollywood;
2) Locally created, funded, and produced projects will ensure steady work for crew members throughout the state;
3) More of the profits from successful projects will remain in the pockets of New Mexicans and stimulate local economies;
4) With the right tools and connections, local creatives can carve out solid, viable careers in the industry, instead of shooting projects while “hoping for the best;
5) Launching profitable film and television projects will attract more creative talent to New Mexico, ensuring the industry’s long-term success.