Film Courage: Keith, do you come from a line of filmmakers?
Keith Sutliff: No. No, I don’t. I’m the first one actually (in my family).
Film Courage: Okay. So I just find it fascinating that you had sort of this business vision along with a creative vision to go to AFM [American Film Market] with a script that was not finished yet?
Keith Sutliff: Correct.
Film Courage: And already trying to find distribution for it. That’s pretty amazing. Where are you getting that…those ideas from?
Keith Sutliff: You know…American Film Market is usually in November of every year in Santa Monica, California. And when I went there I was in the process of writing THE MASON BROTHERS and I had two other projects with finished scripts that I was trying to get off the ground. However, one of my good buddies in the business (also a director and a producer). He recommended to me prior to that (a couple of years ago)…he’s like “Hey, you have to go to the American Film Market. This is the place you have to go for meeting distributors and it’s just great networking. You’ve just got to go.” He was just telling me how it worked and stuff. He kind of mentored me and gave me advice on how the whole process worked, and walking to the different hotel room suites and meet with the distributors and stuff.
He kind of pitched the idea to me. This is a business, that’s what it is. It is creative, but in my opinion it is more business that it is creativity in a sense. I mean it is creative but it’s business is what it is.
So you make a film (especially a feature film) your goal should be obviously you want to make a product. You do what you love and you’re passionate about it but also try to make some profit off of it, if you can.
It’s just smart to go some place like a like the American Film Market or some other market to try and sell a film or anything you have from your production company, or other projects which you are trying to get started. So it’s just wise to do that. I was just thinking with a business mind that’s what should be done and my friend was telling me to do that, so I did it.
Film Courage: Do you see other filmmakers around you, maybe the ones you went to film school with or people that you’ve talked to here in Los Angeles that have that same mindset? Because some people get very offended thinking that their work of art is also a product? And I can see how it would make people mad, but in actuality it’s true, it’s a product.
Keith Sutliff: Right, that’s just what it is. Some people have that same mindset but some people don’t but they have a lot of their own agenda of how they want to do things. Most filmmakers that I’ve met, a majority go to film festivals to try to get distribution for their films or just some type of exposure. Yes, a lot of people have that mindset but maybe some more than others. Some people treat [filmmaking] as more of a business and some don’t. Some hustle harder and trying to get their film distributed or some kind of pre-sales deal prior to shooting it. It really just depends on the individual. I’ve seen seen different people do it different ways. But me, I think American Film Market and going there to get some type of distribution deal prior is important.
Question for the Viewers: Have you tried to sell a screenplay or movie before it was finished?
WATCH THE MASON BROTHERS
MORE VIDEOS WITH KEITH SUTLIFF
From the American Bankers Association Foundation – Students can participate by submitting their short, up to 90 seconds, savings videos to banks in their area that host a contest. The 2017-2018 contest, open to students between the ages of 13-18, will run from Oct. 1 – Dec. 1. Thanks to this year’s generous sponsors,the Foundation will award cash prizes of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 to three national winners. No fee or purchase to enter or participate.