For a long time I was optimistic. The talk of the “credit crunch” is everywhere and I thought as I have no property to sell it won’t really affect me. I will be OK, slowly making my way out of red and into black figures. Things were looking up: A few weeks back I was delighted to sign a distribution deal with a big record company and film distributor for my soft films. My friend Ian, a gay erotic film producer, hooked me up with them and I was so happy to finally have found a company that would get my films into high street shops such as HMV and Virgin. The soft cuts were made, a new BBFC license was paid, new covers were designed and a print run was done. All of this is not cheap and comes in at around two thousand pounds per film. But I was optimistic that I would not only make my money back but eventually make a small profit too and that without me having to pack boxes and write invoices.
On Tuesday Ian and I went to meet the sales team of the company to firm up the “Feeling it!” soft-cut release. Everyone was in high spirits for the year that lay ahead and the team was very appreciative of our chocolates and bucks fizz. Smiley faces all around. We chatted briefly about the fall of Woolworth and an attached multimedia company but when it came to discussing a contract renewal for next year, we were assured that all would be well. The happiness did not last. Not even 24 hours.
The next morning, when I opened my mail box I found a mail from the distributors stating that the company had gone into administration and will not be able to pay me or Ian for any of our sales. They will also withhold our remaining stock and if we get it back at all after two months we will have to pay a fee for the packing, handling and delivery.
My whole world came crashing down. It’s not just about the stock and the price for the print run as such. It is also about the huge investment I made to do the soft cuts and get the BBFC licence in the first place. I would not have done that if I had not been sure to finally have found an efficient company that could represent me and generate some serious sales.
Now I don’t even think that I will ever do a print run of “Feeling it” in the soft 18 rated version, so the re-edit, BBFC license and cover re-design were all for nothing.
I have tears of anger and frustration in my eyes. This is the second time that a company that owed me a lot of money had gone bust. A few years back I was owed a large amount by a publishing company for articles I had written and lots of photos I had taken. I always delivered way before my deadline, worked my ass off typing and photoshopping until the small hours and then I did not get a penny. What an easy way out for them – they just don’t pay their debts, shed them like an old skin and then start afresh without being weighed down by the red numbers. Very convenient for them but terrible for all the little sole traders and companies that are left to pick up the pieces and pay the price. Because there is no easy way out – we still have to pay our bills that allowed us to create a product for them to sell. It really sucks and it is not what I needed a few weeks before Christmas.
I tried to contact everyone of eight the sales team members that we met on Tuesday but they have except one all been let go – just like that, without any notice. I am deeply shocked and sorry for them. And it leaves Ian and I in limbo because we have no one to communicate with.
I can’t believe that this is happening. It just seems so unfair. And the collapse will continue; without stock we cannot trade and supply stores with our goods and the customers will not be able to buy any of our products, even if they wanted to. It’s a lose-lose situation.
They call it the “credit crunch”. But it’s no joke. This is not a “credit crunch” but a full-on recession that has hit the UK and me.