Category Archives: editorial

What makes a good mentor? part 1 of 3

What makes a good mentor?

I didn’t want to ask this question before, because many of my connections – those who think of themselves as mentors – do not fit my definition of the word. Some of these are very nice, well-meaning people, and I don’t want to judge them or their work.

To define mentor, it helps to define bass. Just because you have a deep voice, that doesn’t mean you can breathe underwater. In other words, a word can have more than one definition.

Most of my mentors have been good mentors. However, I think it’s better to have no mentor than a harmful mentor. Anything that can do you good can also, in the wrong doses or the wrong direction, do you harm.

First of all, what do we mean by mentor?  Some people are professional “mentors” but that’s not what I’m talking about. And I’m not necessarily talking about ancient Greek mythology, and how the “Goddess” Athena appeared in the shape of a wise man to encourage Telemachus to find his father. I love old stories, but I think the professional context is a little different. I’m talking here, as most people are, about someone who can help you further, rather than find, your career. Continue reading What makes a good mentor? part 1 of 3

When value based pricing is NOT a good idea

I previously tried to answer the question on how much artists should charge for their work.  It’s a complex question really, as so many artisans and fine artists offer different services, and different projects require varying amounts of work and resources.

No matter how much (or how little) you enjoy your work, you’ll have to make a living from something.  Therefore, it makes sense to charge enough so that the income you receive can cover your expenses, as well as enough money to live on, and enough to pay a fair wage to anyone who is working for you.

In other words, artists are just like anyone else.

Continue reading When value based pricing is NOT a good idea

Ben Franklin’s financial advice

Since the following quote is so long, I won’t put it in quote format.

TO MY FRIEND A.B.,

As you have desired it of me, I write the following hints, which have been of service to me and may if observed be so to you.

REMEMBER that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour and goes abroad or sits idle one half of that day though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness ought not to reckon that the only expense, he has really spent or rather thrown away five shillings besides.

Remember that credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest or so much as I can make of it during that time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit and makes good use of it. Continue reading Ben Franklin’s financial advice

Why I left Vimeo Pro (again)

I received the following email:

You’ve lost 15 of your videos.
Renew Vimeo PRO now to get them back online.
Hi Ptara Motion Pictures,

Because your membership has expired, your account has been downgraded to Basic, and you and your viewers have lost access to 15 of your videos.

Why? Your Vimeo PRO membership paid for the ongoing costs of video storage. Since you’ve downgraded to a Basic account, we can only store 10GB of the videos you uploaded as a paid member.

To get them back as soon as possible, renew your membership now.

Continue reading Why I left Vimeo Pro (again)

It takes more than 100 days

stone cylinder tower
Top of Wellington Monument, Pen Dinas, Penparcau

2 years ago, I witnessed the re-enactment of the battle of Waterloo.  Thousands of talented volunteers from around the world walked through the footsteps of Napoleon, Wellington, and Blücher, and their allies and armies.

Although we didn’t have the best seats on the field, it was wonderful that so many dedicated re-enactors, or living historians, brought history to life for us.  If you missed it, you should have been there. Continue reading It takes more than 100 days

Filmmaker admits awards are political

When The Hollywood Reporter asked producer Janine Jackowski if she was disappointed that Toni Erdmann didn’t win the foreign language Oscar, she said no. She expected it, when she heard the news of “Trump’s travel ban.”

“Two hours later I talked to Maren and we both said, ‘It’s gone.’ We knew the Academy would want to send a signal with the Iranian film. Up to that point, Toni Erdmann was one of the favorites.”

Continue reading Filmmaker admits awards are political

What is a Special Purpose Vehicle? (or SPV?)

wagons in a dreamlike state with ptara logoA Special Purpose Vehicle, or Single purpose vehicle, is a company that is created for a single project.

Single Purpose Vehicles are used in construction, public works and many other ventures.  While they are becoming less popular for other ventures, SPVs have become increasingly popular in film production.

Now, in the old days, film companies shied away from Special Purpose vehicles.  When film producers also owned the cinemas and actors were on contract, it made little sense to create more paperwork for each film.

But today, with changes in the way a film is financed and sold, a special purpose vehicle can be extremely useful.

Films can carry with them many long term obligations, from credits and percentage points for the actors to content agreements and more.  As most production companies don’t distribute their own films, it often makes little sense for them to continue dealing with a film after it’s made.

The “vehicle” keeps the film separate from the production company’s other activities. When the film is finished, the SPV can be sold to a distribution company, allowing the production company to focus on the next project. It also allows investors to benefit from tax breaks.

There’s a mention on the British Film Commission’s website.

http://www.britishfilmcommission.org.uk/film-production/uk-film-tax-relief/

So, while Ptara is the company that produces films, does a lot of paperwork and runs our office, another company, an SPV, may be the one that you invest in or sign a contract with.

When the SPV is taken over by a distributor, the distributor will take over the SPV’s obligations and Ptara will concentrate on new projects.

On occasion, an SPV continues as a company on its own and produce more films.