Jeff Geoffray has the distinction of being producer and CFO of a successful entertainment company, Blue Rider Entertainment (more than 100 pictures produced!) and now also co-founder and president of a tech start-up, Vumanity Media. Here are some highlights from my interview with Jeff Geoffray on the movie business today and why an established film producer would pivot to a new platform:
- Movies today are a mathematical challenge
Geoffray points out that the technology of filmmaking is cheap but the marketing is ever more expensive. The digital revolution has increased competition for viewer attention astronomically. International markets, such as China, are gaining in importance but are complicated to navigate as they play by different rules (e.g., when/ how films can be released). Content providers are struggling to monetize amidst the breadth of free content and multiple access points. It’s a mathematical challenge, and yet…
- Content still rules, and social engagement is where the growth is
Geoffray sees growth in the social aspect of online video sites such as YouTube. People still pay for movies in theatres, despite VOD and other platforms, because the theatre experience is social. Therefore, while Vumanity is a different play than Blue Rider, for Geoffray, it’s all related to storytelling, content and social engagement.
- Don’t wait for financing; just get started
Geoffray’s advice for aspiring filmmakers is to just get started. Movies are cheaper to make and distribute. Crowdfunding is a way to finance AND build that important social engagement aspect. Geoffray points to India’s healthy film industry, where the music of the film is released early, so interest and anticipation can be built over time. Filmmakers would be wise to emulate the successful build-up of these movies.
More about Jeff Geoffray:
Just after graduating from USC’s film school in 1983, Jeff Geoffray teamed with Walter Josten as producer on the successful supernatural thriller Witchboard. He was 24. After the remarkable financial and critical success of that film, Geoffray continued his collaboration with Josten as a producer and executive producer on many more films, including Rescue Dawn, Around The World in 80 Days, Then She Found Me, Shergar, Silver Wolf, Behind the Red Door, Back in the Day, Night of the Demons, Surveillance, O Jerusalem, Home of the Giants, Bar Starz, Pool Hall Prophets, The Hollywood Sign, Slow Burn, The Call of the Wild, Uncommon Kindness and Three.
Josten and Geoffray formed Blue Rider together in 1991 with the goal of creating a fully integrated financing, development, production and distribution company. In addition to producing, Geoffray also managed the day-to-day operations of Paragon Arts Releasing, Josten and Geoffray’s US Theatrical arm, and Blue Rider International, its International Sales entity. As such, Geoffray’s experience in the entertainment business encompasses the full spectrum of a film’s life cycle, from inception to distribution and collections.
Currently, Geoffray is also President of Vumanity Media, which is a proprietary tech platform for producing and hosting high-quality video talk shows.