×

Felix & Paul Studios Finds Funding Via VR Outfits, Production Incentives and Savvy Distribution

Solid strategies underpin the company's business plan

Until now, the bulk of the financing for Felix & Paul Studios’ projects has come from Oculus and other companies with virtual reality platforms, including Samsung and Google. This is not corporate altruism; the moves are intended to address the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma faced by purveyors of new media technology: you can’t sell the hardware if there isn’t enough content to play on it, and you can’t finance the content if only a few own the hardware.

While sales for the first generation of consumer virtual reality headsets were underwhelming, a new batch of better, cheaper models, similar to the upcoming Oculus Go, which is wireless and self-contained, have the potential to transform the VR industry and, in turn, the business models used by companies such as Felix & Paul.

“If headsets 2.0 do as well as they’re projected to do or even come close, there are going to be enough viewers and customers, effectively, to inspire third-party financiers to jump in,” says Felix & Paul’s chief content officer Ryan Horrigan. “And if markets continue to grow, I think the budgets will get to a significant place.” Although he can’t comment on specifics, he says, “We’re getting close to cable television drama cost-per-minute.”

According to Horrigan, the business plan Felix & Paul is crafting is akin to those employed in the indie film world, which combine minority equity investments with foreign sales, tax credits and international co-productions. It works particularly well for Felix & Paul, which, because it is based in Montreal, can take advantage of Canada’s wealth of government tax incentives, as well as co-production treaties with close to 60 countries.

As with its counterparts in the traditional film and TV business, Felix & Paul can also use windowing — selling its projects sequentially to different platforms in a variety of regions.

The first window rights have typically gone to the VR platforms underwriting the content, such as Oculus, owned by Facebook, but there are a growing number of potential buyers around the world that could help bolster the balance sheet.

“It ranges from specific location-based venues that need content — that’s a No. 1 evolving market — to more traditional streaming distribution,” says Bryan Besser, co-founder of the talent agency Verve and a partner and an investor in Felix & Paul Studios. “There is a very large market for 2D 360 video, which can be viewed on mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop, so you don’t have to own a headset to experience it.”

(Pictured above: Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show)

More Artisans

  • Jeff Goldblum performs in a sketch

    Inside the High-Pressure World of Late-Night Talk-Show Prop Demands

    Television production is an area where “Hurry up and wait” is a common refrain. However, for the prop teams that work on late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” that’s not an option. They typically have only a matter of hours to deliver what’s necessary. Lou A. [...]

  • Smithsonian Handmaids Tale Costume

    Why the Smithsonian Chose to Enshrine 'Handmaid's Tale' Servant Costume

    The iconic red-caped, white-bonneted outfits worn by Elisabeth Moss and the other childbearing servants in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” created by costume designer Ane Crabtree, have become that show’s signature visual.  Hulu immediately knew it had a good thing, hiring groups of women around the country to parade in the garments to promote the show. [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Why 'Missing Link's' Title Character Was One of Laika's Biggest Challenges

    Stop-motion studio Laika pushes design boundaries in every film it makes, and the lead character in “Missing Link” is no exception. “It became pretty apparent that [the character] Link was going to be the cornerstone,” says director and writer Chris Butler. “I did this rough drawing many years ago, and it was basically like a [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    New 3D-Printing Technology Was 'Missing Link' for Laika's Latest Stop-Motion Project

    For the upcoming animated comedy adventure “Missing Link,” stop-motion studio Laika set the bar very high. To execute the designs created by director and writer Chris Butler, artists would have to speed up their 3D printing of character faces — and those faces would have to be the most complex they’d ever created. “Missing Link” [...]

  • The Old Man and the Gun

    Ohio’s Midwest Locations and Flexible Tax Credit Lure Producers

    With its small towns, rolling farmlands and industrial cities, Ohio embodies the American Midwest. Other location lures for filmmakers include the shore along Lake Erie, the campus of Ohio State University, the striking skyline of Cincinnati and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Buckeye State also provides producers with a 30% [...]

  • Nancy Schreiber Mapplethorpe Cinematographer

    DP Nancy Schreiber Captures Life of Artist Robert Mapplethorpe in Grimy Gotham

    Don’t tell cinematographer Nancy Schreiber that she’s having a renaissance. That would imply there’ve been slumps in her long career, and she won’t have any of that, even if for a time she was taking smaller jobs as the gaps widened between larger gigs. “It’s never been about the money, for me,” says Schreiber over [...]

  • What Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga Share:

    LeRoy Bennett Keeps Top Acts Like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande in the Spotlight

    You might say that LeRoy Bennett is a shining light among lighting and production designers for pop music. Doing double duty creating both touring sets and their illumination, he started out with a 14-year run as Prince’s collaborator, went on to work with Nine Inch Nails and Madonna and has counted Beyoncé’s and Bruno Mars’ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content