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Old August 16th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #1
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A Question About The Sponsorship For 2nd Unit

Without prying too much, I was curious about how the sponsorship is structured for your awesome little enterprise. Do your sponsors provide monetary assistance, software/hardware or some other renumeration for the sponsorship? The primary reason I'm asking is I'm in the planning stages for creating a DVD series for our local children's hospital and I'm looking at creative ways to fund it in order to make the final product free to the hospital. Obviously the ideal sponsorship involves a cash outlay but equipment would be handy as well. I'd be very grateful for any help/information in this regard and if you feel more comfortable PM'ing me then please feel free to send one my way.

Thanks, and as always, cheers!
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Old August 16th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #2
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Greg- This is a really important question and one i want to answer fully...for you and all of our viewers. So, being as we shot on set of the Unit last night until; 2:00am this morning and our day started again at 6:00am and i just got hoome, let me get to bed, start the crew tomorrow and sit down to the new MacBookPro (shameless plug because I love this laptop!) and give you the answer that's due such a great question.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #3
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This is a really important question that I want to answer fully because it goes to the very heart of me, us and 2nd unit. First, support by the various entites is varied and indeed subject to specific agreements of confidentiality. I can tell you that support today involves all aspects of assistance, a far cry from our first days when we didn't even look to corporate America for support. I urge you to look back through the first postings in 2nd Unit to see it's history because that history really answers your questions and shows you what 2nd Unit is made of and what you can expect with your wonderful and ambitious project. Suffice to say that 2nd Unit started off as a simple idea of helping independent filmmakers see, via an additional production crew, how a sports program was produced...hence the name "2nd Unit". Back then we put out a call for people from DVXUser.com to man cameras and microphones and chronicle the making of Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association's World Championship first in Phoenix, AZ and then in Tunica, MS. And it wasn't free. I had to pay them a couple hundred bucks a day and pay for transportation and accommodations. They shot our First Unit which was busy shooting the action and the results were received so positively at last year's NAB in Vegas and on-line that “2nd Unit” was born; thus the 13 week episodic series you enjoy today.

Seeing the pure intent of the mission, to help the independent filmmaker with no ROI expected except “seeing the light bulb go off”, we started getting offers of assistance. The result was so outstanding that we committed to the series "2nd Unit" now for 2 seasons with a 3rd being planned. The most important benefit of the offers wasn't money but accessibility and information. Each of the Corporate America companies which lent their assistance to us initially saw that viewers trusted our word, our reviews and our recommendations. Why? Because we bought our own stuff instead of relying on sponsors. That meant we owed nobody! Ciorporate America gave us simple information. JVC is a great example of that. To shoot the first episode of 2nd Unit, we needed cameras. So we quietly tested every sub-$10k camera available and came down on the side of the JVC. The picture quality of all of them was excellent but when we considered the specifics of our needs, the JVC was perfect. So instead of calling JVC and asking for a camera, I just walked into EVS in Burbank and bought 6 of them out of pocket. That turned some heads because anyone willing to put his money where his mouth was was worth looking at and listening to. Adobe is another one. We've been using Adobe products for 15 years. When I had to select an NLE for the very first 2nd Unit show on Cowboy Mounted Shooting, I had already decided on and purchased a complete Professional Suite. I then contacted Adobe to let them know that we were already using their product and didn't need anything from them other than their help in "helping the independent filmmaker produce better productions" through 2nd Unit. We told them to us, nothing was more important than providing a clear, unbiased education in how movies are made and that we needed their assistance in providing that education. Adobe was all to happy to support us because no one could ever accuse us of being "bought off". Now, after 8 successful shows, each with a few more viewer downloads than the last, we have some substantial funding at our hands with 2 major corporations we're hopefully closing with on Friday that, without the initial “sweat equity” and partially “deep pockets” we'd never have. So the bottom line is first, you need to start the venture and prove your theory, irrespective of the charitable tone to it and, if it's successful, even partially successful, Corporate America will see that you're serious about the effort, its workability and chip in to help you. Now I know this probably isn't what you wanted to hear because a year ago when we were starting “2nd Unit” it wouldn't be what I wanted to hear. I just wanted Corporate America to say, “Gee, what a great idea. Here's some money!” But it just doesn't happen like that. Helping people is a lot of hard, usually thankless work. And this is exactly why I'm so truly grateful for our viewers, their attention to detail, their honesty and their viewership. It's, exactly as Paolo, Scott, Chris, Isabella, Joyce, Jaime and Michael, say; “Their comments, good and bad, makes all the hard work worth it.” And anyone who's been on set with us knows how hard the work can be. And afterward, the editing is a monumental effort for which Paolo can't be thanked enough. He spends hours and hours and days and nights piecing together these stories on his own, all for the benefit of the viewers and, well, I just wanted you to know how hard he works above and beyond the rest of us. And when your venture's up and running, you'll look back at doing the same thing with the same sense of satisfation.

E-Mail me off-line and tell me what you project is all about. I know a few people who might be willing to help you out with a kick start.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #4
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What a great answer and a great story. Any word on the must have filter kit yet?
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Old August 17th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #5
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Yup, we've selected the filters, are working on the posting explaining why we selected them for both camera sets and should have special pricing back from Tiffen for 2nd Unit viewers by this weekend!
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Old August 17th, 2006, 02:22 PM   #6
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Awesome response and way more than I expected. Thanks again. BTW, I sent ya an email. Actually, I sent ya two but the first one timed out and along with the timeout I lost a really long, detailed one in the process.

The second one is more to the point though so I guess it's good that the timeout occured (nothing like a forced edit) since it saved you the time of reading a long winded one.


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Old August 17th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #7
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Jonathan, that was a very inspiring reply. That gave me even more strength to move forward with my current and future projects. I like what you said about thankless work. If it weren't for gracious actors, awesome crew, sponsors and dedicated behind the scene supporters, a producer/filmmakers life is otherwise empty and overwhelming. People and friendships make everything worth it.

You, Paolo and the 2nd Unit team are a great example to us all!!!
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Old August 18th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #8
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Your willingness to share information is inspiring. Thank you again for all that you and your team do.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #9
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It truly is refreshing to see someone giving back. I don't think there is any better way to pull back the curtain on "major productions" and peer inside. If you think watching the web clips is amazing, try going on set with the 2nd unit team and seeing how they work, now that's amazing.

Bravo to all the guys who put so much time into it.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #10
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Thank you all very, very much on behalf of our entire team. I guess that's why our sponsors are signing on to support us...and you in independent filmmaking.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #11
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From me too, thank you guys, it's very much appreciated.
Paolo http://www.paolociccone.com
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