J. Joly, a CEO, Founder and entrepreneur, based out of Vancouver, shared his industry knowledge and expertise with our attendees at FITC Vancouver 2012 back in mid-November. We have been hearing a lot about his upcoming film production project, CineCoup, so we wanted to get the inside scoop from Mr. J. Joly himself.
First and foremost, let’s get to know a little bit more about you. Where did the fascination with the film industry start?
I have always felt a deep connection with the art and science of film and would describe myself as a child of cinema based on how I grew up. My father was in the Canadian military and as a result I moved around every few years from birth until I left home for University. Despite all the change, new places, new schools, new friends... the one thing that remained a constant in my life was the inside of the movie theatre. Although television and video games played an important role in my formative years, outside of music, film played an enormous part. This relationship was cemented in my first part-time job working as an usher at a theatre on a Canadian Military base in West Germany.
Returning to Canada I next worked in a video store and had my first on-set job at 17 on a Japanese Samurai epic shooting outside Calgary. After University and an exciting time as a touring musician, I spent 10 years in film working at every level of production, making award-winning short films and packaging my own features.
You are currently the CEO and Founder of OverInterActive Media, and now there’s a lot of talk on the web surrounding your groundbreaking film production project, Cinecoup. Now that the project is ready to hit the ground running, can you give us a little insight about its roots and your inspiration behind it?
Like any entrepreneur I saw opportunity where others did not. CineCoup was born organically out of my boutique Vancouver-based social agency, dimeRocker. The tech stack and playbook created developing branded social initiatives for clients that include, CBC, Telus, etc. proved out many theories that form the backbone of the film accelerator.
These learnings in tandem with living in a highly accelerated time of media disruption, increasingly
fractured audiences and broken distribution models reinforced that CineCoup was potentially the right model at the right time. The effects of this change can be seen in the fact that there are really only two kinds of films that work with any consistency in the marketplace. They are the studio “tentpole” pictures and sub-$5 million independent features. Now, where the big-budget blockbuster need their theatrical to be successful, the low-budget indie does not necessarily as they can generally recoup from VOD, BluRay, etc. When these indies do premiere in theatres it creates a multiplier effect on the follow on windows (VOD, Broadcast, etc.) significantly increasing the return on investment.
The opportunity I identified was what if I could design a model that leveraged my tech and analytics to achieving five key goals:
1) Discover new talent or surface existing talent that has not developed a critical fan base
2) De-risk bold narratives and franchises
3) Build audiences earlier and faster than ever before
4) Reduce barriers to entry and discovery costs for new filmmakers with original feature ideas
5) Measure all activity to better understand, target and build audiences.
Can I ask you one thing - how are you managing it all?
I don't sleep... seriously.
There was a cross-country promotional tour that took place this past November. Was it effective in drumming up a lot of attention?
Absolutely! In terms of meeting filmmakers from different places with different sensibilities and yet common pain points around getting their films financed, produced and distributed -- it was invaluable. As an entrepreneur launching a disruptive new model, I wanted to present CineCoup to the widest possible audience and have them push back on it.
I never want CineCoup to be seen as a faceless web company, but instead as a transparent independent film studio that just happens to be platform-enabled. The feedback and concerns from filmmakers has resulted in us extending the intake period, shortening our option period and a rewriting of our rules and FAQs. The tour was the best possible grassroots marketing strategy for our business. We are already planning to visit more in other towns we missed -- particularly out East.
The term ‘film accelerator’ has been thrown around a lot lately. Could you give us a little more insight into the idea behind this ‘disruptive, new model’ for filmmakers?
In the case of CineCoup the “Accelerator” concept is taken from a popular model in the tech sector that is used to find and support new entrepreneurs with big ideas. In fact, CineCoup was a recent graduate of Growlab, a Vancouver based tech accelerator. The basic concept of an accelerator is that a group of serial entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, etc. select a group of strong startups to participate in short, intense period of support, feedback, and mentoring, all designed to help them prove out their business model and get to market.
The top companies that emerge are capitalized in exchange for equity and what would normally would take an entrepreneur a year or more in terms of building their business, the accelerator model accomplishes in under 4 months. This accelerator concept we realized could be applied to film and in combination with introducing agile methodology is at the core of CineCoup.
This project appears to be a huge leap forward for the underdogs in the Canadian film industry. How does it feel to be behind such a huge movement?
I really haven't had much time to think about it as CineCoup has lots of moving parts and, like any agile startup, we are moving quickly to get to market so we can prove and iterate our platform. We opened our filmmaker intake following a successful cross-canada tour where we met with filmakers. Launching is everything, execution is everything... Wait, since when is this a huge movement?!
And, just because we’re all dying to know – what are three must-see films that you have in your collection that you couldn’t live without?
This is an impossible (Judas) question to answer. In no particular order here are three films I never get tired of watching: "Mon Oncle" (Tati), "Cool hand Luke" (Rosenberg), "Jaws" (Spielberg)... ask me again tomorrow and I might tell you something else ;)
It really sounds as if J. Joly’s revolutionary film project is going to change the face of independent filmmaking in Canada! We will be keeping our eyes locked to http://cinecoup.ca/ for upcoming news about the project, and so should you! This is big news for Canadians; so if you’re interested in the film industry or want to see what all of the fuss is about, check it out!
Props to J. Joly for taking the time out of busy schedule to answer our questions, and if you want to get to know more about him, check out his speaker bio here.