The National Angel Capital Organization, led by Executive Director Bryan Watson, is one of many venture capital investor groups in Canada. There are different types of VCs—the difference between angel investors and your standard venture capitalist is that they specifically focus on creative industries in general such as film, television, marketing, gaming, and more.
Canadian shows like the Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, featuring folks such as billionaire Kevin O’Leary, have boosted the profile of venture capitalists in the public eye since Canadians love these shows. As a result, NACO sort of borrowed the format and held a trial run of three pitches from Aircraft Pictures, Amish Patel (a video blogger), and Conquering Lion Pictures, with a room full of investors and interested parties rather than just five Sharks or Dragons.
Aircraft Pictures, an independent Gemini Award-winning film, television, and digital media production company—perhaps best known in Canada for their role in the continuing comedy series Todd & The Book of Pure Evil on the Space Channel—is an $8 million dollar company in a $2 billion dollar Canadian video production market. The company is seeking $900,000 over two years to open up a production office in Los Angeles, with some of that money going to established California executives that President Anthony Leo would rather hire than start from scratch with.
He explains that in California, Canadian production studios can access more talent to compete alongside with American programming as the CRTC mandates that Canadian broadcasters must have a certain amount of Canadian programming to renew their license each and every year. Leo further says that there are still older opportunities in broadcasting, just as there are new opportunities in new digital streams. For example, you can use your existing library of content and license it out re-runs to Netflix.
Amish Patel is a video blogger on the YouTube channel fadetobrowncomedy. He’s seeking $200,000 because he wants to focus on just acting in sketch comedy cinema, rather than producing, and has seen other video bloggers like him become stars on sitcoms like Community.
Amish says lots of money is going toward YouTube and other digital means, rather than traditional, and that the key to YouTube views and success is to jump on trends quickly. The Dictator with Sacha Baren Cohen as you may have noticed is set to release in the Summer of 2012 and his comedy is sort of similar.
He further says that you can find the top 2,000 projected earning video channels on Statsheep—and Patel hopes with his Toronto-based D Films background, which has seasoned distribution executives, he can launch himself into contention with the rankings. Many video bloggers have around 60,000 subscribers and can pull in around $40,000 a year through Google. The top ranked vlogger, Ray William Johnson, has made $4 million over five years. You can check out one of Amish’s videos, called “Arranged Marriage Biodata,” which has over 110,000 views.
CONQUERING LION PICTURES
Emmy- and Genie-nominated Conquering Lion Pictures is an independent Canadian production company born in Toronto and based in Los Angeles It has earned a reputation for developing and producing innovative films for both theatrical and television markets, with a focus on character-driven projects exploring cultural diversity and urban themes. They are seeking funding for their latest $20 million dollar production which they’ve acquired rights to in “The Book of Negroes.”
The book made Oprah’s Booklist and won a 2008 Commonwealth Prize while selling over a million copies. Last week, it also won the Canadian “Freedom to Read” award as selected by the Writers’ Union of Canada after a Dutch protest group threatened to burn his novel in Amsterdam, according to the CBC.
The company believes in diversified traditional and digital distribution, including “mobi-sodes” for digital download, and are currently working on a six-part mini series with the CBC in addition to the $20 million production they are planning. As an independent production house they also use one production vehicle for each production they do so that money earned is allocated in the correct way.
Producer Damon D’Oliveira says that a finished film would be similar to “Schindler’s List”, “Precious”, and “The Colour Purple” which were all widely successful. You can check out a YouTube video of the proposed production.