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Phil Cooke Podcast

Jul 9, 2019

Producer Simon Swart shares how to be a successful indie filmmaker in Hollywood in this interview with Phil Cooke. https://philcooke.comGain insight on financing independent movies, the future of faith films, and the distributing and marketing strategies that can help guarantee an indie success. Executive producer of “I Can Only Imagine” with a long career with major Hollywood studios, Simon is the president and CEO of Nthibah Pictures.


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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help you get from where you are to where you want to be in your career.


More about this episode:

Simon Swart Interview – How You Can Succeed as an Independent Filmmaker

Simon Swart has worked in executive positions with major Hollywood studios, including Fox, MGM, Relativity, Dreamworks and Disney and has played a pivotal role in distributing Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars and other top films. In this interview, he shares the secrets he’s learned of what it takes to be successful today in the world of independent film production. (Make sure to listen for Simon’s key tips for new producers at 31:00.)


Here are some takeaways from the interview:

The Film Industry Business

-People forget it’s a business. You get to do it again if you make money.

-You’ve got to have a plan for releasing and that’s a business proposition. You’ve got to be able to look at the numbers; you’ve got to be able to read the budget.

-How do we deploy our capital in the most effective way? As a creator, you have to think about that.


Story and Producing

-You always start with who your audience is. Who’s your market?

-Don’t take a project you don’t absolutely love.

-Just remember there’s a difference between a story and a concept and an actual movie that’s packageable.

-If nobody’s connecting with the script, there’s probably a reason why. As a producer, you’ve got to be really honest about the project you’re putting together.


Faith as an Independent Filmmaker

-As a Christian, my faith has played a pivotal role [in the development of Nthibah Pictures].

-Faith based movies – The danger now is to keep doing what people have been doing.

-Audiences don’t want to be preached at when they go to the movies; pick the stories properly [and you don’t have to preach]. 

-When you connect to our humanity and give people hope and you bring people together [you’ll make] way more money. You can “do good” by doing good.


Simon Swart is the president and CEO of Nthibah Pictures, a global media company with offices in Johannesburg, South Africa and Los Angeles. Nthibah Pictures works with established talent and leading studio partners to finance, develop, produce, market and distribute films for the U.S. market and beyond.


Find out more about Simon Swart and Nthibah Pictures here:

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