American film market is one of the biggest film markets in the world.
It is a good place to meet people from all over the place and make especially business connections.
My first impression of the AFM was like this:
It takes place in a beach front 5 star hotel reserved for production companies to sell their films. Each room is a company that has different titles. If some one has a green badge means that this person is a buyer. Purple badge means production company, Red/orange means industry professional and no badge means loser.
If you have a purple you want to talk to green badges and eventually red/orange badges. You don’t want to spend a second with purple and definitively no badges. People with no badges can be annoying. We learned not to trust a buyer that doesn’t have a badge, because badges are expensive. A minimum of $500for a buyers badge.
There is also a distinct status according to the floor that a production company is located. If the company is bellow the 5th floor, their status is not as good as someone who is in the 5th up. The 2nd and 3rd floor are called The Dungeon. They are cheaper and usually the production companies that are there are lower budget. There are a lot of Asian companies in the dungeon, but the quality of their posters and the content of their actions films are not as bad as expected from companies that are in theses floors. The 4th floor is where the lobby and the no badges are. It’s a chaos to stay there. Buyers don’t usually talk to people over there because they suffer a lot of hassle. It’s a waste of time to try to network at the lobby. There are companies in the lobby too, but their budgets are not very high as the ones on the 5th floor up.
The 5th floor is a better floor, even with part of it opened to the public where you can find no-badges there as well. The 6th floor is the beginning of the respect. That’s where I was working on. It costs a lot of money to rent a room in the 6th floor. The company that I worked for spent about 30k.
The 7th floor is way better and the 8th floor is where the big boys are. Lionsgate, Weisntein, and other are located in the 8th floor. They don’t even look at your face if you are not a buyer. They have the presidential suites and they treat a production company like a filthy dog. “There is no leftover for you here. Go away!”
Overall it is a place where business is made. Even with those notions of social separation, AFM is nothing more than an open fair. When I was younger, I used to go with my father to the open market to buy groceries. The simple elements of the open market on the Brazilian streets I saw at the AFM. The banana vendor needed to make noise, scream sometimes, and loudly reinforce that he had a better deal with a better product then his fellow, and sometimes quieter, next-door seller.