Duncan Cork presents Slated to participants at the #ArtistServices San Francisco Workshop. Photo by Brandon Jospeh Baker
Nate von Zumwalt
As San Francisco Film Society Executive Director Ted Hope—a man who keeps a discerning finger on the pulse of the indie film world—delivered his opening salvo at last April’s #ArtistServices Workshop, he addressed a curious dichotomy facing independent filmmakers.
“The irony of the times is that despite the abundance of content today, people seem to discover less movies, find less things that they care about, and get stuck in echo chambers. How do we solve it?”
There emerged a palpable frustration in his tenor that vacillated between anger and hope. How, in this age of seemingly unlimited content, are we so challenged with distributing and digesting that content? “This isn’t for you to solve, and this isn’t for me to solve,” Hope assured. “This is for all of us to solve. This is a collective enterprise.”
With that call to action facing audience members, Ted Hope introduced a man whose work doesn’t directly resolve these issues, but rather aims to facilitate the creation of quality content that is in turn digestible. Duncan Cork is the CEO and co-founder of Slated, an online marketplace that matches filmmakers with investors and industry members to help fund and package their projects. Slated is unique in that it is comprised only of “Accredited Investors,” or, someone with an income of $200,000, household income of $300,000, or a net worth of $1MM, according to Cork. And fittingly, Slated requires a particular set of qualifications for films and filmmakers seeking investors. Among those stipulations are separate budget requirements for documentary ($250K-$1MM) and narrative ($500K-$15MM+) films, as well as a director attached to the project.
The beauty of Slated is not so much that it is an exclusive funding hub, but rather that it is a market that suits both the artist, the industry and the investor and maximizes the probability of them finding each other. Since releasing Slated at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Cork says the company has received over 5,000 submissions, of which only 175 have been accepted. Perhaps those numbers provide a deterrent for some filmmakers, but that natural vetting process is what makes the business such an attractive marketplace for investors. Slated offers some semblance of security in the creative industry where financial returns are less than ideal.
Duncan Cork pitches Slated to filmmakers with the ultimate selling point being access to capital. However, opportunities for official (secure) networking and the “multiplier effect” make the company a bona fide professional network for serious independent filmmakers. And maybe, as Ted Hope so envisions, Slated can begin to offer a solution to the artist/user disconnect by ensuring we support the best artists in helping them tell their stories.
Check out Zach Braff talk about Slated in this recent interview with the guys from the film project “Kickstarted” (jump to 13:22).