Do You Have Creative Works for Sale?
I have been doing book publicity for over ten years and the
business of selling books has changed tremendously during that time. Self publishing has become respected and
mainstream; buyer habits have changed; social media has become the new
broadcast, endorsement and merchandising tool; and distribution has
narrowed. In fact, selling books has
changed so much and is changing so rapidly that to be successful, one must be
as dynamic as the market.
The same thing
is happening in the film, music and art markets. I would submit that film, music, art and
books have become or are quickly becoming one business. The reason?
Technology is the new distribution method for all artistic
endeavors. It is the voice, the kiosk,
the measurement tool, and the power.
producer of creative works can now see in an instant where they are, what works
and what doesn’t, and they can control and distribute the message like never
before. It’s no longer enough to produce
the work—how you have to sell it, baby!
And the MBAs running the music, publishing, film, and art businesses are
looking for the producers of creative works to be ready to go. This means a creative must have a platform.
The best book I have ever read for writers wanting to build
a platform is Chuck Sambuchino’s book, Create Your Writer Platform. You can follow him at @ChuckSambuchino or at
his website @WritersDigest The principles
in the book apply to the music, film, and art business as much as they do the
business of selling books. Buy the book
and energize your creative platform. Please follow me at @SherryFrazier
I get a lot of calls from writers who have been told that
their book would make a great film. I am
lucky to be able to work with some very good story tellers and they all have one
thing in common: They have a great story
and they are the best person to tell that story. My favorites also learn the process and continue
working while the big engine takes their project to film. They understand that there are no guarantees,
it takes time, and one step leads to another.
It takes years for a film to be made. Just look at the films at Oscars 2014. Some of those projects sat for years, but
because someone stayed with it, committed to the project and didn’t give up, a
movie was born. And Oscars were
won. Miracles happen but they only
happen after years of hard work, belief, tenacity, and a big talent attaches to
the film. I am so inspired by the actors
who believe in making a difference and are committed to contributing to society
through their voices and influence. I
loved Jared Leto’s speech at the Oscars--he made me want to be a better person.
And to cherish my dreams.
That being said, the writer has toiled, sometimes for years,
to create a unique and compelling work. If
the work is a book, it can be sold and enjoyed.
If the work is a screenplay, the project flies under the public radar. I am always impressed with a writer’s
confidence and patience as writing is not a job for those who need constant accolades. Easy compliments can be found in the chat
rooms where writers congregate to talk about the best thing anyone ever said
about their work….but those people are not real writers. They are people who wish they were
writers. The real writers write. Someone who spends time talking about what
they are writing or going to write just takes the spirit away from the
story. Writing is a need, the soul’s
demand to create. It cannot be satisfied
by talking about it. It can be diluted
by doing so, though. Talking about it and
then writing is like photocopying a copy.
The work is not as sharp as it could be if it went directly from heart
to story without the filter of ears and mouths offering opinions. All that noise should come after the work is
done, but before it is published. Not before it is written.
Once the story is optioned,
the producer takes over. And he/she is
the boss of the story. I probably get
three calls a week from new writers who want total control of their script when
it goes into production. They want to
participate in all aspects of the project, get a producer credit, star in the
film, and have the ability to change decisions that are made during the filmmaking
process. When I tell them that their
demand is impossible, they say that they want to work with creative people, not
business people. 6.5 – 9 million dollars
will allow them to take that approach but it will take a better person than me
to strike a deal with a producer to give a new writer any kind of control over
the film. Unless, of course, they bring
money along with their demands. And even
then, it is all about the work.
In the end, the art of film making is a business. The story is important. The script is important. A great movie cannot be made without a great
script. A great script can sit around even
if all of the stars in the Universe are aligned. A film will never happen if all the
players who make a film get a sense that the writers demands make it feel like
the whole project is starting out with bad karma. “If it is this difficult to work with them
BEFORE we begin, what will it be like after?”
Producers have to have a passion for the story, distributors and
financers have to know they can make a profit, and talent has to believe the
project is managed by people who know what they are doing.
Making a film is a confusing, frustrating, emotional, and
physically tiring process. It is not for
everyone but for those who prevail, film is an art form. It takes on many shapes, personalities, and
messages. Crooked edges are the norm, Murphy’s
Law prevails. The story is the catalyst for
everything that comes afterward. The
story touched someone who is in a position to attempt to make something
happen. It is the critical first step but
it is just one of many important steps that must occur.
Getting a film deal is like sending your baby to war. The baby will cross dangerous waters, be hit
by friendly gunfire, be blown up by roadside bombs, and it might die. It might come home a hero or maimed. Being quietly confident and easy to work with
is the only way you can show support.
Your child doesn’t write, doesn’t call, you don’t even know where they
are until suddenly you are notified that the film is going forward. Or it isn’t.
It is a 3000 mile journey and everyone with experience knows this. Don’t be the writer asking if they are there
yet when the odometer says 100 miles.
Many good writers are very goal oriented so they believe that
there must be something they can do to move faster. The fact is, go with people you trust and
then let them do their work. Work on
your next project, fill your pipeline, and create! I always say that you can’t put nine one week
along pregnant women in a room for a month and produce a baby….it takes as long
as it takes. Your activity will not
produce better, more, or even any results.
In fact, your activity can blow up the whole deal. In an industry where so much can go wrong,
the worst person to be on the film team is the person needing constant
In the creative world, artists trust their gut. The good ones don’t care what anyone thinks
about their idea; they just know they have to do it. There has never been a greater time in
history to be a writer. Work. Live with passion. Make people feel. Tell the story. Be authentic. Work.
I had a great interview with Carl David on Sunday, December 15.
Carl David is the third generation of a four-generation family art business in Philadelphia which was founded by his Grandfather, David David, circa 1910. The business was later expanded by Samuel David, his son, to incorporate paintings, watercolors and sculptures of both European and American origin. Many exhibitions were mounted over the years, including a major assemblage of Baroque paintings accompanied by a concert by the Philadelphia Baroque Quartet. Samuel David was a force with which to be reckoned in and out of the art world. His legacy lives on long after his untimely passing.
Carl David is the author of Collecting & Care of Fine Art published by Crown in 1981. At a time when art was being wantonly touted as an investment vehicle, Carl felt the obligation to inform the public of how and why the art market really works, divulging facts and dispelling myths of illusory nature. Collectors, both seasoned and novice were thrilled to get a realistic appraisal of the art markets. His earlier article about Martha Walter, an American Impressionist painter (1875-1976), was published in the American Art Review in May 1978 and dramatically expanded the awareness of the well credentialed artist and her work, which Samuel David discovered and promoted in the late 1960’s
Carl David is a philanthropist, and has organized and produced fundraising exhibitions for the Washington DC branch of the National center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Delaware Valley Burn Foundation, The American Red Cross and the Make a Wish Foundation. David gives appraisals and consultations for many museums, universities and the FBI, the State of New York, the White House, the office of the Attorney General, the DuPont Family and many others. David was a charter member of Sothebys.com and a member of the Art and Antique Dealers League. He is also a panel member for The Art News World Art Market in NY Many art journals and financial magazines have called upon David for his angle on the state of the art markets and he is a contributing journalist for www.groundreport.com
Mr. David's latest book, Bader Field, embodies the emotional story of a son's loving relationship with his father—the legendary art dealer whose life is suddenly taken by a massive coronary at the young age of fifty-eight years. His death plunges the twenty-four-year-old man onto the front lines of the family art business, which he had entered a mere three years prior. Battling with his own grief while trying to help his adoring but fragile mother survive, David forges forward with all of the elemental tools his father imparted to him. His journey proves a difficult one, not having yet recovered from the horrific loss of his brother who was found dead on the fourth floor of the Rittenhouse Square townhouse, which was home to the prestigious David David Gallery. His self-imposed obligation was to successfully take the family art business to the next generation and to give his own children, years later, every bit of love, kindness, and wisdom bestowed upon him by the unique man whom they will never know other than the mark he left on everyone who knew him. Bader Field adds significant insight into the mysterious workings and dealings of the art world. David speaks from
experience of having been immersed in it all of his life and having lived it from the inside out. There will be a tremendous crossover interest in this book as it combines the elements of an American family, its goodness and its tragedy interfaced with the multifaceted aspects of the mysterious art business and flying small airplanes. Bader Field in Atlantic City was the oldest airfield in the country. With little sophistication, its two asphalt runways juggled single and twin engine aircraft exuding a character and charm that created memories to last a lifetime. That is where this saga begins and where it ends as life comes full circle.
David’s initial reason for writing this book was for his sons to know the greatness of their extraordinary Grandfather. As the years passed and the book developed, there became an even larger quest; to reach out to those tortured souls on the brink of desperation contemplating taking their lives and show them through the nightmare of his darkest days that there is always a better way, that there is love, hope and help out there and that such a violent act of finality not only ends their life, but also forever scars those of their family and friends. David is on a quest to save lives and prevent anybody from having to endure the horrific tragedy that nearly ripped his family apart. It is his way of paying it forward.
Carl's gallery, The David David Gallery is located at 260 South 18th Street in Philadelphia. You can see it at www.daviddavidgallery.com
Carl David's book, Bader Field: How My Family Survived Suicide was published by Nightengale Press *SBN: 978-1-933449-66-1 and can be purchased at www.amazon.com or at www.carledavid.com
I was lucky to interview Pavlina Osta on December 8. Pavlina is founder and host of the popular weekly radio show, Pavlina's Kidz Place. She is 16 years old now and started her show 5 years ago. She has featured interviews with over 300 musicians, writers, actors, broadcast media giants, and celebrities on a weekly radio show targeted at the tween and teen market. She has secured interviews with big names such as Ed Sheeran, Jessie Ware, Sick Puppies, Mikky Ekko, A Great Big World, Big Time Rush, The Wanted, Carly Rae Jepsen, Miranda Cosgrove, Katie Couric, Shaquille O'Neal, Steven Forbes, Kevin Jonas, Dr. OZ, Michael Winslow, and many more. She plays the steel drums, has danced with the Joffrey in NYC, is Junior Editor for I Am Entertainment Magazine as well as a contributor for Full Access Magazine and Equanimity Magazine. She is amazing.
It is going to be fun watching Pavlina's career as she moves into nationwide syndication, ports her show onto television, takes over a role in a television sitcom or film and shows up on the red carpet. When Bruce Burch was on my show, he talked about how long it takes to become successful in the music or entertainment business. He said it takes almost exactly five years. Pavlina Osta is just at 5 years. Look out everyone, you are about to hear her roar! Let's all support the young, beautiful, gifted, talented, hardworking souls who share their hearts to give us joy. Please follow Pavlina Osta on twitter @Pavlinamusic. You can also find out more about her at PavlinaOsta.com
Pavlina Osta is founder and host of the popular weekly radio show for kids called Pavlina’s Kidz Place. 16 year old Pavlina Osta started her radio show at age 11 where she has featured her interviews with over 300 musicians, writers, actors, broadcast media giants, and celebrities on a weekly radio show targeted at the tween and teen market…. She has secured interviews with big names such as Ed Sheeran, Jessie Ware, Sick Puppies, Mikky Ekko, A Great Big World, Big Time Rush, The Wanted, Carly Rae Jepsen, Miranda Cosgrove, Katie Couric, Shaquille O’Neal, Steven Forbes, Kevin Jonas, Dr. Oz, Michael Winslow
, and many more. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trianglevariety/2013/11/25/authors-corner-with-sherry-frazier-queen-of-hoopla
I was honored and delighted to host Bruce Burch on my show Sunday. I have known Bruce for years and everytime I talk with him, I am inspired.
Many heartfelt thanks to an artist who has stood the test of time in many aspects of the music industry. Bruce Burch eats, breathes, and lives for country music. And yet it is his spirit of sharing knowledge with others who hope to make it in an increasingly difficult business and the life he lives as a role model for others in the industry that make him extra-extraordinary. He is a true leader---he knows what he is doing, he cares about the music and you can trust him to do the right thing. He’s the real deal you'-all. Bruce Burch is a living, breathing, musical fire breathing dragon in a world where those guys are rare. So we can listen and learn…..and try to be a little bit like him in our focus, our treatment of others, in our generosity and our spirit. And, we can certainly give our perseverance and belief that in the end, it is all about the music. Thanks very much, Bruce Burch! Here's the show:
Here's some background:
Mega-Star, Move and Shaker, hit song writer….. and the nicest, most sincerely helpful person in the Country Music World—Bruce Burch.
Bruce Burch has had success in many facets of the music business including being a hit songwriter, operating his own publishing companies of hit songs, working for a major music publishing company, as well as being an artist manager.
As a songwriter, Burch co-wrote two #1 singles for Reba McEntire, “Rumor Has It” and “It’s Your Call”. These two songs were also the album titles for two of Reba’s most successful albums. Burch also co-wrote songs on two other Reba albums, all of which have gone multi-platinum, selling well over 15 million records and CDs. He has also had top 10 songs on Billy Joe Royal (“Out Of Sight and On My Mind”), and T. Graham Brown (“The Last Resort”), a Top 20 song “Train Of Thought” recorded by Barbara Mandrell, and a Top 40 single “You Can’t Keep A Good Memory Down” recorded by John Anderson. Bruce has also had platinum and gold album recordings by George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys, Collin Raye and Dan Seals.
As a music publisher, Burch operated two companies, Burch Brothers Music and Bruce Burch Music. These two catalogs contain songs co-written by Burch and recorded by Aaron Tippin (Top 20 hit, “I Got It Honest”), T. Graham Brown (Top 40 hit “Wine Into Water), Faith Hill (Multi-platinum album recording “I’ve Got This Friend”), and his second Collin Raye recording (“It Could Happen Again” on Collin’s critically acclaimed Christmas album w/ Johnny Cash providing narration).
Bruce has also had songs recorded by artists as diverse as Wayne Newton, Cledus T. Judd, Tommy Roe, Slim Pickens as well as many others.
Burch discovered, co-managed, and masterminded the beginning of Cledus T. Judd’s comedy career. Cledus has gone on to sell over a million CD’s.
Bruce served as Creative Director at EMI Music Publishing. During this time he worked with artists such as Brad Paisley, Phil Vassar, Jamie O’neal, Darryl Worley, and Joe Nichols. He has gotten songs placed as a songplugger on projects by Travis Tritt, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and Aaron Tippin among others. Burch also worked with EMI’s older catalog songs and has gotten cover recordings of the classic tunes of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Todd Rundgren, and Tammy Wynnette. He has gone in the studio with Mac Davis, Billy Swan, and Tony Joe White (“Rainy Night In Georgia”) to produce new demos of many of their hit songs from the past to bring them up to date for possible placement in today’s market.
Bruce also authored a book “Songs That Changed Our Lives”. Two chapters of this inspiring book were picked to be included in the “Chicken Soup For The Soul” series of books.
Bruce founded the music business program at the University of Georgia and also established the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program at Kennesaw State University.
He has served on the national and regional boards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the national board of the Music and Entertainment Industry Education Association, and cofounded and serves on the board of the John Jarrard Foundation.
Bruce is currently an Executive in Residence at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. .
You can follow Bruce Burch on Twitter at @bburch
Excited to be working with the beautiful, talented, smart & amazing 16 year old wonder woman. She created The Kidz Place at age 11 and continues to secure interviews with giants such as The Wanted, Jessie Ware, A Great Big World, Mikky Ekko, Ed Sheeran, Sick Puppies, Carly Rae Jepsen, Chris Distefano, Miranda Cosgrove, Katie Couric, Shaquille O’Neal, Steven Forbes, Kevin Jonas, Dr. Oz, Michael Winslow
, and many more. The celebrity interviews air on her radio show and can be found on her YouTube channel: Pavlina Music, Facebook Pavlina Osta, and www.PavlinaOsta.com
. Currently in the market for broader radio distribution and to move her radio show to television. For interviews and opportunities, please contact me at [email protected]
Sunday's Guest: Top Literary Agent, Matthew Carnicelli.
Matthew Carnicelli is a literary agent and publishing consultant in New York City. He specializes in topical nonfiction, including such categories as current events, politics, science, history, sports, business, health, and psychology. His authors include the Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Kaminski, brain and movement expert Anat Baniel, NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd, Sports Illustrated’s Jim Gorant, top fashion designer Marc Ecko, and the National Review’s Kevin Williamson. Before becoming an agent nearly ten years ago, Carnicelli held senior editorial positions at several major publishing houses, including Contemporary Books and the Penguin Group, and he worked with such authors as historian Martin Duberman, Vice President Al Gore, novelist Cathleen Schine, scholar and activist Cornel West, legendary coach John Wooden, and New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson. His authors’ books have reached the New York Times bestsellers list and have received major literary awards.
Here is the link to the show:
Author's Corner Guest, October 27, 2013: Joel Franco, Director and Producer at Chesapeake Films. Chesapeake Films, a full service film and television production company, was founded by Joel Franco and Solidaris, LLC in 2006. Chesapeake Films’ mission is to blend artistic talent with engaging stories to create feature films and television that delight audiences of all ages. Chesapeake Films’ documentary, One Man’s Journey to Truth profiling energy healer Denie Hiestand’s life was sold to Giam in 2012 and received an Award of Merit at the 2012 London Independent Film Festival (LiFF). Led by founder Joel Franco, Chesapeake Films has secured option agreements on a full slate of impressive stories for feature films and television programming.
Tonight, We will talk about the documentary recently completed about the life of sports shock jock Dino Costa and three of the feature film scripts he is shopping at American Film Market in early November: Poe, by C. C. Long--an original and provocative screenplay shedding new light on a beloved American writer and what C. C. Long calls, "America's first Rock and Roll Star;" What About The Boy, an original screenplay by Stephen Gallup based on the inspirational memoir about his disabled son; and the captivating first screenplay in a film franchise by Jennifer Deane adapted from the unbelievable but true story told in the book Smooth Criminal written by retired CBS newsman Bill Deane .
Latest Show--Jim Steffman. Here’s the link!
Tonight’s Guest on Author’s Corner: Jim Steffman, author of a novel based on a true story, “Shadow of Death.” and the screenplay based on the novel and called “For What It’s Worth”.”For What It’s Worth” is the recent winner of the Feature Screenplay category screenplay at the Moondance International Film Festival.
“For What it’s Worth” is a tough-luck, true-crime drama, with a motley cast of lethal illusion-busters: one of the FBI's ten most-wanted mob figures and a bunch of openly corrupt government agents “just doing their job”. And, caught in this evil crime web, is a man absolutely determined to fight for his civil rights – to protect his family, his health, his wealth, and, more importantly, his freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, against all odds.
Jim Steffman was a highly successful and upwardly-mobile businessman who possessed a natural talent for turning anything mundane into something extraordinary. When the opportunity arises for Jim to begin his rapid ascension in the lucrative world of big business, he jumps at the opportunity for a special deal, a deal which would become an unintended and deadly steppingstone into the shadowy world of the nefarious East Coast Mafia, and put his life in mortal danger.
Jim’s new business venture is a resounding success and ultimately propels Jim and his family into the rarified world of millionaires. But, as the business continues to grow, fate deals a strange hand to this man who had always seemed destined for greatness. On an ordinary day, without fanfare or fireworks, Jim meets John Hurley. Hurley is a fellow business man who has a penchant for expensive and rare automobiles. Their initial meeting reveals common interests, leading to a seemingly genuine friendship.
But it would not be long before the unexpected occurs, in the guise of his new attorney and new business partner, J.R. DeChellis. Unbeknownst to Jim at that time, DeChellis is a shady member of a major crime family. Hurley brings in some “insurance” in the form of Bruno "Big Numbers" Conti, a colossus of a man and a soldier in the crime family.
One night, Jim receives a call from Hurley, asking to meet him, and during the meeting, Hurley reveals that he is a member of a crime family from Italy and is also one of the Top Ten Most Wanted in America, and has called to warn Jim that the Mafia, in three East Coast states, has their eyes on him. Hurley tells Jim that the Feds would soon be knocking at Jim's door, and that the DEA would try to force his testimony against the Mafia, even though it would be putting Jim and his family in dire danger.
The threats and their tactics of consistently operating above and beyond the scope of the law is now a reality. To this day, Jim has never been arrested, charged with or convicted of any crime, nor has he spent one single hour in federal prison, and has lost almost everything but his strength of character. He and his family have suffered well beyond anyone who actually committed the unsubstantiated crimes of which he is accused, but by telling his story now, he hopes for redemption, and that peace and freedom we all deserve.
So, net-net, Jim Steffman was persecuted, tortured and ruined by the DEA because he refused to sacrifice himself and his family by acting as bait. Meanwhile, John Hurley remains at large and is considered armed and extremely dangerous.
An interesting side note about my guest. This is not only fine work by an exciting writer….it is HIS true story. It is not often that a survivor of such an elongated period of trepidation would be able to come out the other side victorious. Tonight we celebrate a survivor, a winner, a man of deep character---Jim Steffman.
In a time where everyone is inventing ideas for the next great screenplay, Jim Steffman forced himself to sit down and recant the nightmare. Sometimes truth beats anything anyone can invent in their mind. You really could not make this up. I admire Jim’s character, his tenacity, his bravado even under fire. If good things happen to good people, this is one really good person that should be on the receiving end. In the scheme of things, life is short but our story is forever.
As a white man, a successful white man, the persecution of Jim Steffman is the kind of thing that rarely happens. Young, white, attractive, aggressive, ambitious white men are celebrated. Usually. But in reviewing this, it makes me think of the black story, the Jewish story, the Muslim story, the special needs story, woman story, the fat story, the pimpled story, the gay and lesbian story, the mentally ill story---all the stories of persecution that are not told, that are accepted as part of life. Until someone stands up. Steven Spielberg is taping all of the survivors of the Holocaust so that we will never forget. Maya Angelo and Oprah Winfrey and now Sheila Johnson are bringing black stories into our homes, helping everyone to understand, feel, and act. Harvey Weinstein is probably the biggest promoter of stories about social issues in his provocative films, their distribution, and maybe even more importantly, their promotion. Famous, talented, Amazing people are standing up. We can stand up with them by supporting them and their films.
I’d like to acknowledge the musicians responsible for my intro music titled, “Through the Night.” Arranged and produced by Ian Gallagher, music and lyrics by Grant Frazier, Vocals by Grant Frazier and the beautiful and talented Erin Taylor. Guitar by Ian Gallagher. My show closed with a song called “Drowning in Tears”—by a new artist Grant Frazier, guitar by Ian Gallagher. The music comes from Ian and Grant’s first album. If you would like to license their music, hear more about these exciting new artists, or if you are a label and want to sign them, contact Sherry Frazier at [email protected]
I will be back with another great show next Sunday night at 8:30 PM Eastern time on Triangle Variety Radio. This is Sherry Frazier, and you have been listening to Author’s Corner. Good night!
If you are interested in optioning Jim Steffman’s screenplay, “For What It’s Worth,” adapted from the novel, “Shadow of Death” and based on a true story, please contact Sherry Frazier at [email protected] or call 703-431-7895. |