I am producing the Freakonomics documentary, so I am particularly interested to read the comments to Prof. Strumpf’s guest post.
Koleman properly identified the likely reasons for FRKON’s summer swoon on the Hollywood Stock Exchange. While I cannot provide a definitive explanation for precisely which of those reasons was most influential, I can offer insight into what is actually transpiring (as distinguished from its virtual performance on HSX).
1. Theory: Changes in the likelihood of the movie being made. Reality: The film will be made- it is already “green lit”. I am an independent producer, subject to no studio. The likelihood of the film getting made has not wavered since I originally optioned the cinematic rights to Freakonomics. The only variables have been the scheduling vagaries and other challenges related to using multiple directors.
2. Theory: Changes in the perceived quality of the movie. Koleman posits a couple of possibilities: “funding shortfalls” and “conflicts among the five sets of directors”. Reality: There are no funding shortfalls (I am financing the film myself). None would have emerged yet, anyway. We haven’t even begun shooting the film. The directors will not be working together, so conflicts seem extraordinarily unlikely. To date, they have universally praised each other.
3. Theory: Out of sight, out of mind. Reality: This theory is true. We announced the project in December 2007 and earned a lot of press. Things have quieted significantly since then. We will get another wave of publicity this fall when we have presentable footage. We have another announcement that should generate attention, too (I address that below). Finally, there will be the inevitable surge of publicity when we announce our festival screenings in spring of 2009.
4. Theory: Get the movie mothballed. Reality: Although I am fascinated by conspiracy theories, they don’t apply here. There are no other investors. The Freakonomics documentary is as unconventional as the book. We hope it will be as iconic, too.
My theory: When we moved the shooting schedule from March to September, in order to better accommodate everyone’s schedules, I suspect the HSX investor community got restless. Moreover, FRKON is traded on an extraordinarily small base. Just a few purchases have a profound impact. It only took a few sellers to send the price hurtling downward. Put simply, now seems like a very opportune time to buy FRKON. The graph used shows its low mark on July 13th – it is up approximately 27% since last week and should continue to climb, just based on this blog post.
As a historical reference, I was an investor and Executive Producer for the critical darling, Paris je T’aime, another film that utilized the talents of several directors. It took several years to get made. Historically, omnibus projects just tend to take a little longer to make.
Sam, I appreciate the spirit of your post. I am a devoted fan of Freakonomics first and a producer second. Like you, I would like to involve as many people as possible in this project. Fortunately, we are poised to announce an innovative way to involve the entire Freakonomics community and attract rogue filmmakers. I’ll speak with Stephen and Steven about it, and we’ll announce it here first!
I am pleased to personally answer any questions the readers have about the Freakonomics documentary.
— Posted by Chad Troutwine
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