Friday, December 16, 2011

How Cinema News Wire Can Help You

Cinema News Wire is an information resource for film distributors, journalists, tv and radio show producers, and independent film producers.

Our Selected News provides links to stories of interest to independent film producers.

Our Featured Films are of interest to film industry professionals and journalists interested in learning about our clients' completed projects, and also their projects in development.

When I do a press release distribution for a client, I refer the journalists to my client's page where they can download the press release and other relevant information.  Here's a sample of Richard Yeagley's The Tradesmen: Making an Art of Work, which included clips of Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe.

Baltimore journalists used that page to obtain introductory information on the film before they prepared their coverage of his premiere and subsequent screenings.  You can see how Michael Sragow covered the film as a result of our publicity outreach.

Many times journalists like Michael who visit our pages to learn about a specific client, will browse the site and then inquire about other films on the site.

Our Noteworthy section displays films that may be of interest to media outlets and distributors.

Here are four samples of Noteworthy section pages that I prepared for these four producers:  Frank Huguenard, Sebastian Doggart, Victor Goss, and Gavin Rapp.

The Noteworthy section is passive marketing.  Google and other search engines routinely index our sites, so those pages will be returned to people using those search engines searching for the terms and phrases included in those pages.

We also provide active publicity and marketing services to independent producers and production companies who would benefit from professional outreach to media outlets and potential distributors.

I encourage you to submit your project for editorial consideration for our Noteworthy section.

Please feel free to contact me for more information about our sites and services through the Cinema News Wire Contact page.

Steve Thompson
Thompson Communications

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Charles A. Thompson, Phil Lansdale, Cliff Robertson

Charles A. Thompson

Things didn’t go quite right somehow, during a routine childhood procedure I developed bleeding or something and almost didn’t make it.
  When I awoke, the first thing I saw was my father’s face.  He stayed with me, made sure I came through.  Then he taught me a great deal about how to get things done. 
  To this day, my guiding force is “What would Dad want me to do?”

Don Carr and Phil Lansdale

Phil Lansdale hired a ninteen year old living in Laguna Beach who decided to make something of himself.  Phil’s door was always open, and he tought me everything I needed to know about the advertising agency business.
  Once I made a mistake that cost 4day Tire Stores around $10,000.  He and partner Don Carr were as understanding and forgiving as anyone might be in those circumstances.  Phil said “Well don't worry Steve, there are things I did when I was sixty-nine that I wouldn’t do today at seventy.”

Academy Award Winner Cliff Robertson

On the day I met Cliff Robertson he asked me “Where were you born Steve?”  He put me at ease immediately.  I had to take him back to his hotel in Philadelphia, he and I got into a Cadillac STS rented by the producer.  I said “You’ll have to bear with me Cliff, I drive a Mustang.”  He said “So do I Steve.”
  Over the next nine years Cliff’s door was always open to me, and I learned everything I needed to know about the movie business from Cliff. 
  Cliff Robertson was a genuine gentleman.  He was the most grateful person I have ever known.
  There was nothing quite like checking my business voicemail and hearing “Hello Steve, this is Cliff . . . “
  I learned as much through observation of Cliff as I did through asking him questions.
  Three years ago we met up at East Hampton Airport for an interview with a Swiss journalist, where he proudly showed us his Beech Baron.  After the journalist took some photos, and I helped him return the plane to the hangar, he complimented my flight crew skills (which of course I had only learned that day!)
  We drove to the town of East Hampton for lunch, and we followed him in his ’68 Mustang with “Beverly Hills Ford” framing the license plate.
  I will miss Cliff, as will many, many others.

But Charles A. Thompson, Phil Lansdale, and Cliff Robertson haven’t gone completely.  They leave behind the gifts they graciously and generously gave.  Those parts of themselves that they gave freely, which have become a part of me and everyone else they touched.

The world is a better place because of these men.

Steve Thompson
September 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who is this guy?

I'm Steve Thompson, and I love movies.  

I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to see The Alamo back in the early 60s.  

I remember seeing Bonnie and Clyde at the Crest Theater in Philadelphia in the late 60s.  Then Steve McQueen in Bullitt, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many others.
Back in 2000, after twenty years in the advertising agency business, 
I decided to move out of manufacturing marketing and into promoting movies, 
and I'm grateful that the industry has welcomed me.

I've been fortunate enough to promote over thirty films and work with 
Academy Award Winner Cliff Robertson for ten years.

In late 2010, I got to attend a screening of Bullitt in Hollywood with the cast,
and Steve McQueen's family.  To me, that was a once in a lifetime opportunity, 
which I was extremely fortunate to be able to experience and enjoy.

Now, no one can tell me what's impossible.  I have no magic powers.  I decided upon what I wanted to accomplish with my life, and I did what I thought was necessary to attain my goals.  And one day at a time I made it happen.

There are no guarantees in the movie business, and there is no one right or wrong way to do things.  I have a set of opinions based upon my experience, but I also know that everyone has their own path to follow.

I know what has worked for me, and that's what I offer to my clients.

I encourage you to contact me if you would like to join me in this journey in one way or another.


August 31, 2011


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When Should an Independent Producer Consider Distribution?

I can easily understand why so many producers focus on story first, cast second, production funding third, and distribution a distant fourth.  After all, why consider distribution when there isn't even a project to distribute?

Once again I turn to the wealth of  information clarified in the recently published Producer's Business Handbook from Variety.

Major producers fund the development stage of their projects.  That funding covers the project's legal groundwork as well as initial contact with potential distributors.  In fact, major producers go as far as to form separate business entities, usually an LLC, for the development stage of their films.  That way at any time, even though the project is still in development, the project can be valued and sold to another company.

Naturally your goal is to obtain a distribution commitment, as would be possible when developing a film like The Da Vinci Code where the book enjoyed a substantial proven existing following.

So if you are going to consider distribution during your development phase, you are going to have to think like a distributor -- demographics.  Who is your film's audience?  How will your story be received across the US, and in foreign countries?  What are the personal demographics of your audience, and why will your film appeal to them over all of the others available to them?  In other words, how will your distributor make money with your film?  If you answer these questions, and provide the info to your potential distributors, you'll enjoy a great advantage over all of the other producers looking for distribution who are focusing solely on story.

Of course obtaining any level of distribution agreement during the development phase has a positive effect on the availability of production funding.

But what if you don't obtain a distribution commitment during development?  Then you want to continually stay informed of which companies are acquiring which films, so you'll always know who has an interest in your style of film.

As your film continues to take shape, keep all of your potential distributors informed of attachments, as any one of them may appeal to one of your prospects.  As you move into production, you'll want to continue to keep those potential distributors informed, for the same reason: at any time one may develop a serious interest in your project.

And what if they don't respond?  Distributors, particularly acquisition executives, are extremely busy, listing to pitches from every media, day in and day out.  Even if they don't respond, they are likely still aware of your project, and can therefore always respond to you when conditions change on their end in a way favorable to you.

I would advise anyone interested in developing and producing a film to pick up a copy of the Producer's Business Handbook from Variety.  It's a great resource for gaining an understanding of how the larger established producers work profitably, and it will provide you with inspiration on how you can reach your goals in a minimum length of time.

Order a copy of Variety’s Producer’s Business Handbook at Use discount code 46436 to receive a 30% discount with ordering through Focal Press.

Learn more about the marketing services I provide to producers at:

E-Mail me directly at 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Your Film, and Your Production Company as a Brand

The newly published third edition Variety’s Producer’s Business Handbook is a must read for anyone involved in the business end of filmmaking.

Coming from a publicist background, I found it highly informative in helping me “fill in the blanks.” In the film business there’s always more to learn. This volume may help you to see the big picture with much more clarity, by providing you with an expanding foundation of knowledge of film industry best practices on a wide range of issues. I think it will help you make better, informed decisions on all of the day to day issues you face as producer.

Various distribution issues are reviewed, and I’ll write about them in subsequent postings, but I found one section in particular exceptionally thought provoking.

The authors make a compelling case for viewing your film, and your production company, as a brand.

Of course that principle is easy to understand with respect to a large established company like Disney, but what relevance might branding have on the typical indy film? Plenty!

During the pre-production process a producer’s primary concern is funding the film’s production, which naturally involves analyzing the plusses and minuses of various forms of investor and bank financing.

But what about ancillary rights? Your characters will be wearing clothing, eyeware, footwear, and probably jewelry. Won’t they be using computers, cell phones, driving cars, eating at restaurants? All of these aspects and many, many more are potential revenue streams for the producer through the licensing of product placement and other ancillary rights. Plus relationships with major brands can help build the producer’s credibility with potential distriburtors.

Naturally, product placement revenue stems from your charactors’ favorable use of those branded products.

To discover how widespread product placement of branded products is in feature films, check out: then think about how some product placement might work for establishing your characters, and enhancing your story.

Then add it all up, and you can easily envision how all of those well known brands, used skillfully, can in turn help you to establish a brand for both your film, and your production company.

When you begin approaching distributors -- which from now on you’ll be doing beginning in pre-production -- those distributors are going to consider one fundamental question: Who demographically and geographically will be seeing your film? Therein lies the true value of developing a brand consciousness for your films and your company: People really do respond positively to brands. You will be presenting an extra level of proven audience demographics to your potential distributors for their consideration, and distributors know that when a film works, the audience wants more!

The audiences you develop are going to want to see the same characters again, or other films with characters they can identify with and relate to in a similar manner.

Films will always revolve around a strong story, but by considering your story’s branding potential, you can face the competitive financing arena, and improve the probability of producing subsequent films by considering the branding aspects of both your individual film, and your company producing your films.

Order a copy of Variety’s Producer’s Business Handbook at Use discount code 46436 to receive a 30% discount with ordering through Focal Press.

Learn more about the marketing services I provide to producers at:

E-Mail me directly at