C-47 Houston Entertainment Magazine's Headline Interview and Cover with Marketing Producer Andy Valadez 03-22-11




Below is the unedited version of an interview C-47 Houston Entertainment Magazine conducted with Marketing Dynamics Andy Valadez. Mr. Valadez was our April 2011 Feature Headline Interview and our Cover for that month. We had to edit for length in the original Hardcopy and e-Copy versions published in April of 2011, as space was limited. But we felt that a lot of what Mr. Valadez had to say is information that is insightful as well as helpful to film and television makers thinking seriously about the industry.



Headline Interview:


Marketing Producer

 Andy Valadez

                                                                      By John Lozano


© 2011 All Pictures by PDL Studio's Heather Leigh Jackson and Sanjay Patel

Reviewed by and special thanks to: Jane L. Fitzpatrick.

How to get your project from the a camera to the silver screen is a daunting task. And, trying to fund a project is even more of a challenge. But, you can start with a business and Marketing plan, a public relations personnel and of course money.

C-47 Houston is pleased to present Mr. Andy Valadez of Marketing Dynamics. Mr. Valadez is an Industry “Marketing Producer” - a combination of producer and marketing expert who deals with moving a concept from an idea to a viable and marketable product. He is constantly on the go and he is comfortable thinking “outside” the box when it comes to utilizing the current technology that is needed to succeed in today’s competitive market. We are happy to introduce and present:

Mr. Andy Valadez

Q: Thank you Andy for taking some time to sit down and chat with us. Where are you from?

A: I was born in Bryan, Texas on June 7, 1965.  As a child I lived across the street from Texas A&M University with my cousins who loved the Aggies, the bonfires, the games, and just having fun on campus. 

 In 1977, my family moved to Austin.  I really enjoyed the small city feel of that town (even now I visit there about every 6 months with film-related work).  When I was 15 years old, in 1981, I met my future wife, Tina.  I later joined the United States Marine Corps in 1988, and was stationed in New Orleans, where I also attended Tulane University.

When I got out of the Corps in 1991, I made my way back to Aggieland, where I graduated with a Marketing Degree from Texas A&M in 1993 (a dream come true).  My first corporate job brought my wife and me to Houston that same year, and I have been a fan of our city ever since.  I started my company Marketing Dynamics in 1999, with the goal of focusing on strategic marketing.  My wife is a CPA in oil and gas. We now have two beautiful actress and entrepreneur-minded girls, Kayla (10) and Kenna (7).

Q: You are in a field that involves the TV/film industry, how did you get into this field?

A: As a strategic marketer, I have written and produced radio and television commercials, produced radio and video for the web, worked with media personalities, web developers, content writers, photographers, sales professionals, CEOs, retail stores, etc. 

In early 2007, friends of mine in Austin, Texas, introduced me to film.  They had commissioned a screenwriter to produce their first film and asked me to help.  So, we added “feature films” to our development capabilities over the last few years.

Our diverse interests are now focused on technology, broadcast, film, music, publishing, motor sports, and start-ups.  Film has presented many challenges, but it is just like any other business to me, with the script/movie as the product.  My film focus primarily lies in marketability.  The burning question is, “Who will go see it?”  Our goal is to realistically answer that question for all involved and build a team to support it and make it happen.

There are many tangible and intangible rewards that come with film and many obstacles that build character.  I have learned that “trust” is critical when dealing with any business relationship, but it is even more important in the film industry.  It really is a tight community and small world -- the “real world of make believe.”  The screenwriter’s job is to write the “fantasy,” it is our job to make it real.

My company primarily focuses on feature films for national distribution (a very tough niche).  We have accumulated a portfolio of films with budgets ranging from $2M to $30M; and total budgets equaling $300M.  Much of my job is to work directly with our team to acquire funding opportunities.  We are always searching for ways to self-fund our movies, attract investment capital, develop distribution interests, and enlist the interest of A-list talent, (i.e. directors, acting, music, writing, producing, etc.).

As marketers, we effectively make our films stand out in the crowd.  We are confident they will be truly marketable, unique, and bankable, and therefore, we know people will go see them.  But, so does everyone else in the business.  We generate and secure serious attention around our writers, directors, actors, musicians, and team.  Talented marketing makes a huge difference in the success of a film and there are many case studies that prove this out. The greatest film can flop at the box office if not marketed properly.  Likewise, a bad film marketed well, can be very successful.

Q: What kind of education does it require to do what you do? OR are you self taught?

A: Many say marketing has changed.  But, in reality marketing has not changed, because marketing always adapts to new conditions.  For a while now many have championed social media as the “new marketing.”  But, social media is really public relations mixed with a bit of marketing research and sales.  Technology has certainly enabled marketers to reach their audience faster and with positive effect.

Many on our team are formally trained in marketing; however, specialists are needed to tactically execute the strategy well.

Personally, I love to read books on marketing, experiment with new ideas and resources, learn from others, watch and listen to commercials, review what other marketers are doing and create my own processes, etc.  I do have a Marketing degree from Texas A&M University and an applied business certificate from Tulane University with an emphasis on teams and business strategy.  

 I continue to stay in touch with my marketing professor at Texas A&M, and I am involved online through my blog at www.TheMarketingVortex.com, and via social media sharing ideas and resources we are discovering in our sectors of interest. For example, my company is involved with The Entrepreneur Broadcasting Company.  We are launching The Entrepreneur Channel, which is designed to help entrepreneurs learn more about the start-up process (on the order of the Discovery Channel and the Military Channel).  It will be an integrated and converged media channel that is specifically for, and about, the entrepreneur (the marketer).  These will be the heroes of the new economy – those raising capital, creating jobs, and opportunities for others.

I believe that a novice can learn a lot about marketing through self-education.  By reading a book a month, living and breathing marketing, one could attain more knowledge than the majority of self-proclaimed marketers.  Still, these days a successful marketer must be as sharp as a producer in the film world.  Strategy is one thing, selling it and making the cash register ring is another.  The marketer is more like an entrepreneur and business developer.  They are a way-maker.

Our company tries to put its money where its mouth is, in this regard.  I am personally vested in many of our ventures and try to present proposals to our clients that we would do ourselves, that require minimal capital to start their ongoing campaigns using “gambling money” (new found money through our developed marketing opportunities).   

In my opinion, marketing intellectual capital is very valuable.  I have found that marketing, like beauty, is in the “eye of the beholder.”  We are careful to select those clients who can appreciate what we have to offer them.  Most people “think” they are marketers.  Just like in the film world, everyone wants to be a critic or a director when it comes to what they think a film is about.  But, we aren’t lawyers, accountants or mechanics, for that matter.  The reason we don’t practice those disciplines is because we aren’t good at them.  But, we are really great at marketing.

Q: What is a “marketing producer”?

A: Marketing Producer is a new title I created for the film industry and business community.  In the film world the producer is like a marketer, however most producers are not classically trained in marketing.  The film producer is responsible for many facets of a production including raising capital, securing distribution interests, rallying a team around the production, and ensuring the film gets seen.\

In the business world the marketer is not a producer, per se.  However, there are similarities as the successful marketer must produce, meaning they must not only come up with the marketing plan, but also a selling strategy, the venues, the appeal of the brand, and more.

As marketing producers, my company has helped many of our clients from the very early stages of a project (the idea) to distribution.  We have helped many clients accelerate their interests.  In addition, we enjoy producer status with many of our productions, to include an ownership stake in the venture.  We’ve helped structure business models, and we’ve assisted our writers, fellow producers, agencies, actors, supporting investors, directors and their crews to see the opportunities associated with our productions.

Q: What is your target market?

A: In regards to film, we are targeting movie goers, those who love the theatre, those who view movies online, and buyers of DVDs and music.  However, in the early stages we may target a team who also wants to reach these audiences.   I really love to discover talent before they become too famous, or talent that isn’t famous yet, but should be.  These are the people we want on our team, people we want to grow with – and vice versa.   We avoid ego-driven, “me-oriented” takers – it really does take a team.

Many of our projects range from $2M to $30M, which is still in the independent film territory.  Our body of work is focused primarily on family, inspirational, redemptive, challenging social themes, international appeal, Americana – films and stories that help people discover.

As a result of this focus, we have attracted veteran A-list producers, those close to distribution, and those talented professionals who are represented by top agencies in Hollywood and Texas.

Finally, we believe in affinity marketing, which is targeting influential population groups.  For example, we are working on a film entitled Windcatcher: The Story of the Birdwoman, by Jane L. Fitzpatrick.  This epic film is being produced by my company and Ed Elbert, a former Fox Studio executive and producer of Anna and the King.  “Windcatcher” is based on the true story of Sacagawea and will be budgeted in the range of $20M to $25M. 

Our producer believes our funding source should come from tribal communities and we are mobilizing resources, and our contact base, to develop a truly remarkable offering that will be beneficial to Native Americans corporately. This project has been an exciting journey and it continues to be as we compare it to Dances With Wolves which generated over $400M at the box office.  “Windcatcher” is a story that is overdue and it is building a momentum that will naturally overflow beyond the film in the form of tribal music, artwork, concerts, documentaries, and future stories that also deserve to be told.  This film will perpetuate a true celebration of our country’s Native American heritage.

Jane and I have marveled at the dynamic energy around this film and the incredible people we have enjoyed meeting on the journey.  Although this story is about Sacagawea with the backdrop of the Lewis & Clark expedition, our target audience will be people who yearn for a look back into our heritage as Americans and those who want to celebrate the spirit of a woman who changed their destiny.  Sacagawea was a dreamer and a doer.

In short, a marketing producer is a film professional who not only produces but markets their films to the next level -- a smart bomb approach to strategy, focused like a laser.

Q: Who would benefit most from your services?

A: We are interested in helping those who really want to be helped.  We ask our clients to commit to a 30 minute introductory call, then, we ask them to research what we do.  If they like what they see we will schedule a meeting to review their needs and how we can help them.  Each client is unique – their motives, dreams and aspirations are also unique and deserve the careful review by trained marketers.

I like clients who have the drive to do something big, but are willing to start small and grow.  Marketing needs to be a priority and we must have access to the CEO or decision-maker in the process.  There are many instances where the marketing department is doing one thing and the CEO or leadership team is doing something else.

There must be open communication, as a business relationship is difficult when communication is non-existent.  Just like a marriage, discussing what is happening in a business is crucial to adapting goals and knowing where to adjust.  I’ve adopted a saying I use from time to time, “Have you hugged your marketer today!”  Most strategic marketers I know are very passionate about what they do.  They thrive off the energy of their clients, the marketplace, and the brand’s success.  The old adage is true, “Success breeds success.”  If your campaigns are boring -- maybe it’s your marketing.  Is it time for a shake-up?

 Q: How can they benefit from your services?

 A: We believe our clients benefit from their relationship with us because we are committed and professional marketers.  Clients receive real recommendations they can use, and we make sure they understand all that we can do for them.  Our methods are versatile, depending on the need, as we share ideas and resources they can implement or hire us to implement.  Either way, it is their choice and they feel more confident about what to do.  We can help them connect with their audience, whether one influential person or millions.

Here is a great example showing the value of marketing: Sergio Zyman (former marketer for Coca-Cola) once marketed Nestcafe to the Japanese.  He noticed that hot coffee sales dropped in the summer and picked up in the winter.  Sergio jumped on a plane to Japan to study the buying habits of the people.  He discovered they typically don’t drink hot drinks in the summer which prompted him to introduce “iced coffee” into the marketplace.  For the cost of ice, he changed the world.  This leverage point didn’t change the cost of advertising one bit, just the advertising message – “Buy iced coffee.”  The Japanese did, as did the rest of the world.  Ever had an iced coffee?   If so, thank Sergio Zyman.

The value of the strategy, or a new idea, is truly in the mind of the decision-maker.  A client can pay our company for advice but never use it; or they can be like the clients we love, and use what they learn to change the destiny of their company and the employees who work there.  Marketing is that valuable.

Q: What area of the industry do you feel has the most growth potential?

A: 4G technology.  I love that people can watch movies anywhere (yes, I watch videos on my iPhone).  I personally love the theatrical experience of the films I go see with my team, my family, or by myself.  I love that when I go see a film it is “Market Research.”  I am always up for a screening!  It’s best when no one is in the theatre except my team and me.

I attended the Machette premiere in Austin with one of my clients in September, 2010 (we were the guest of the co-writer).  When I got back to Houston, I went again with my marketing assistant and a movie director friend. We had a couple of beers afterwards to talk about the opportunities we saw in this film and our own interests.

I have friends who are into GPS, Smartphone development, and on-line distribution.  The filmmaker is getting very wise when it comes to monetization of their work.  Distribution to theatres is getting harder and harder and requires more money to get seen.  One veteran producer told me he allocates $1M for print and advertising to 100 theatres, as a rule of thumb.  So, you can see that distributors have to invest in excess of $30M in many cases to attract an audience.  I think we will soon see a lot less spent on print and more allocated to digital media, strategic partnership, co-promotions, reliance on more product support (not necessarily product placement), unique media coverage, contests, and more. 

To me a film is much more than a theatre experience.  Stars will be more accessible, the audience will be a part of the story (have you seen Never Say Never, starring Justin Bieber and his fans?), and I believe many marketers will target power communicators to be a part of their production team – “the socialrati” and “the technorati”.  Do you know who some of these people are?

Regarding GPS and online broadcast, one of my clients and business partners/friends is now placing his GPS equipment in major brands of vehicles to help car owners reduce theft and enable them to control their property from afar.  The service will also include the ability to download movies and concerts directly to the vehicle for a fee.

I see many film producers doing a limited release of their films online for their early adopter fans, keeping a majority of the funds from that release to be plowed back into securing better and better distribution deals for their works. 

I also see film companies being developed that focus on population groups.  For example, we are working on one about the Asian community.  It happens to be an American success story we believe will have International appeal; we aren’t just relying on the American buying public for our productions.  Can your film be translated?  Would ethnic groups purchase it on DVD, or go see it if offered in a foreign language?

Q: In your professional opinion, where do you see the film industry five years from now?

A: I really don’t know where the film industry is going in the next five years.  I am often quoted, “I’m just trying to get through the day today!”  My hope is that Texas filmmakers and our state will acquire more visibility.  Many producers seem to be worried about “incentives,” but to me I am more interested in “the network” and the support of our films.  I think Texas has the best of all worlds when it comes to film production including resources, networks, business climate, and creative relevance. There are some really bad stories out there, but I have come across some excellent writers in our own back yard.

For example, one filmmaker is making a feature film with many country stars.  Our research shows that Texas has the highest gross sales of country music in the country.  We believe he needs to make his movie here, tapping into our network of country music listeners, business networks, and more. With the rise of digital filmmaking, I see the market getting tougher.  I think marketing is the element that will make a difference in films being produced and seen.  But, filmmakers must to become better marketers and business people.  It will require them to be “Marketing Producers.”

Q: What can the industry as a whole do to bring about an even more vibrant industry?

A: I like the idea of joint venturing.  If people have a financial stake in the success of the film, they are more likely to see success.  It has to be “our film.” So, I am a big fan of structuring a property so that everyone wins.  The budget is the budget, but the joint venture is something that lives on.  We usually want to reserve shares for cast and crew, producers, investors, etc.  It doesn’t happen that way all of the time, but when people know there is opportunity their contacts become more available to support your work.

I would like to see more venture funds being developed.  Many of them will require a complete checklist of “must haves” before they fund, but that will force the filmmaker to think about those things before they make their film.

There are many issues filmmakers want to bring attention to, and it all doesn’t have to be commercial, but it does have to connect with those who have resources to help the cause.  There is a market for every film and reaching the target is the filmmaker’s challenge -- not the movie goers.

Q: Do you think Houston has the resources to make that happen?

A: Houston is an incredible city of business people, artists, technologists, connections, etc.  I am getting to know more of the filmmakers here and I think we are learning fast.  People have shared with me that in the past our film community was fragmented, but, now there seems to be a “coming together” momentum building.  However, we have to avoid the “group-think”; for example, many have clamored around horror “because it sells.”  I like horror, but I don’t want to make a horror movie.  I’d rather do something different.  If the crowd is doing something, that is usually my signal to go another direction.  That should be a valuable trait of any filmmaker.  Don’t get typecast and never be predictable.

I love Houston.  I have family members who have gone to Hollywood to make their mark, and they are doing very well.  I have two young daughters who have gotten involved in acting and have done a couple of projects here and in Dallas.  We have many opportunities for them to go to LA, but we have decided to cultivate here.  When the right projects come along, we will support them.  Until, then we are building a brand and a franchise for their interests as long as they have the interest and that takes time, planning, training, and long-term thinking.

For now, I just want my girls to be kids and enjoy the opportunities that come along when the time is right.  Hollywood will come knocking when they are known.  We hold the same principles for our team.  We will get visibility for them here in Houston -- we don’t have to go to Hollywood.

I have clients who are developing projects from Houston.  One of our projects, by a known writer, is in Austin, but he is talking directly to studios and others we are coordinating from here.  I am also aware of some really incredible film initiatives that will put Texas on the map.  I think Houston deserves to be in the mix and our filmmaker community can do that by focusing on big movies and rallying investors, business people, and funding companies to support their projects.  

My company is currently creating a venture fund and contacting those companies that fund movies.  We are developing film companies for the sole purpose of attracting capital for a genre of films we believe will have market reach and entrenchment. 

For example, one of my business friends is focused on building a Veterans Museum here in Houston that will be in excess of $300M to develop.  We are creating a film company to share stories in tandem with the museum historian.  One of our films in development will be a $30M production entitled The Rose Garden, www.RoseGardenTheMovie.com.  We met with the Texas Film Commission last year and the museum architect to discuss our plans and believe this film company will be beneficial to the state’s film community at large. We also founded a company Bun Burners Entertainment, LLC, spotlighting motorsports and the racing or riding community – our first production Jodie Goes to Sturgis: A Survivor’s Ride (www.JodieGoesToSturgisTheMovie.com).

Q: As a Marketing Producer, are you given credit in the “Credits”.

A: I am usually personally involved with the films we represent, and typically like to earn a position unless it is a film I originate.  I have gone from Associate Producer to Producer/Executive Producer in many instances.  We are about helping a film when others aren’t aware of it or the project has stagnated for some reason.  We try to get a project moving forward and that usually requires actionable marketing advice.  Most of the producers we work with have appreciated our assistance and recognize my company’s efforts.

For example, for two years I worked on a recent project involving my daughter.  I had done everything from grip, photography, driver, extra, sound, website, to script coaching.  I am very fortunate to be able to work “on location” (have laptop will travel).  I have to say, I wasn’t doing this for my interests but for my daughter’s.  We helped bring in the first investors that made his film possible.  The director was so appreciative of my help he offered me a share of the distribution in the property.  I hadn’t requested it, but he wanted to recognize my steadfast support.  So, I really hope his film sells big!

I do have an IMDB account.  But, right now I am working my way up.  A priority for my company is to maintain a caring attitude should things really go in the right direction -- we return every call and treat people with the respect they deserve.  Many doors have opened up for our interests and we are happy the people we work with do return our calls, too. I think the Marines taught me a lot about leadership, trust, loyalty, dedication, resolve, and a mission-focus.

Q: You have been in the industry for sometime as a marketing producer, what is the number one problem you see that can be easily resolved with a marketing producer or the use of a marketing producer?

A: Marketing is really critical for any business.  A film is like a start-up.  In the beginning, finances may not be available.  Marketing can begin to communicate “value” in the very early stages.  We once got a project moving from a $10 investment.  My client had the non-revocable rights to a bio-picture.  The estimated budget was $20M.  I suggested we buy the domain, post a free Wordpress 3-pager, then, send the link to her potential investor and supporters.  As soon as the site was up, the project became real.  My client managed to secure the interest of her investor, who required some due-diligence which lead to a top agency and major film production company that had worked on over 50 films.  This piqued the interest of a top movie director who had previously worked on a successful biopic featuring a musician.  Opinion leadership plays a critical process in any early-stage venture.  The art of telling “the story of the story” is what marketers do.

Q: What kind of projects have you been involved with as a marketing producer?

A: We are developing a portfolio of films.  I started with School of Redemption ($2M budget, still in development); worked on In Search of the American Dream, by Director Baldemar Rodriguez (shopping for distribution now); Broken April ($3M budget), written and directed by Robby Henson, starring Kris Kristofferson, Jewel, and Gretchen Wilson (to be shot in the fall after Jewel has her baby); The 12th Man (working title - $12M budget); Windcatcher: The Story of the Birdwoman ($20M budget), by Jane L. Fitzpatrick, being produced by Ed Elbert; Haley’s Angel and El Cascabel (The Rattlesnake) movie shorts by Dallas Director, Israel Marquez; Jodie Goes to Sturgis: A Survivor’s Ride, a documentary directed by JC Locas; Sword of Eden (live action, $25M budget), by Patrick Scott (Creator of Archangels); Thy Will Be Done (taking to studio), written by Alvaro Rodriguez (co-writer of Machete) and Jeff Stolhand; The Rose Garden ($30M budget), to be written by Dan Roberts, and more.  For a detailed slate profile e-mail:  Info@TeamMarketingDynamics.com (subject to NDA and Non-compete/Non-circumvent).

Q: If there is one project you would like to tackle what kind of project would it be?

A: That’s a good question.  The film business is one of the toughest businesses I have ever experienced.  I’ve invested four years of my life to it and we are still tackling it now.  It really is a miracle that a film ever gets made.  But, diligence, consistency, and hard work do have a pay-off.  I feel very fortunate to have accumulated a great body of work, great contacts in the industry, and the interest and support of veterans in the film community.  There are a few disappointments here and there, but the journey is part of the story.  I love seeing a film in production and knowing that I helped make that happen!  Whether I get credit or not is okay with me, but the film business hasn’t let me down yet and my family and I have really enjoyed being a part.  We walk by faith and not by sight.

Q: How do you measure the success of a project that you are working on as a marketing producer you compare one project with another that you have worked on?

A: I measure success one event at a time.  For me, production begins the day we start talking about making a film.  It’s a marathon.  I personally want to see box office successes -- films that we produce making in excess of $100M or more at the box office (I don’t care about the awards so much, but we’ll take them.).   

So, we still have a ways to go!  Until then, I take the daily victories as they come.  This magazine cover, for example, is one of many successes I have seen over the years.  I asked Hector Luna, Publisher, to place some special people on the cover with me, because I couldn’t do it without them.  People like James R. Boy (my investor), Jessica Hoover (Marketing Producer/my assistant), Patrick Scott (my creative friend), Brian Allen (venture maker), Stephanie Robinson (publisher), Nina Garza (actress and sales), Carole Baker (friend), Michele Fraga (door opener), Jeff Stolhand (producer), Robby Henson (director/writer), Kirby Lammers (business friend), Jane L. Fitzpatrick (screenwriter), and Sheila Harrison (business friend). These people and more have helped open doors for our interests and it takes a team to succeed!  We are locking arms and moving forward together. 

Q: Where do you see yourself in this industry?

A: I see myself behind the scenes and in the “eye of the quiet of the storm.”  I really enjoy being behind the scenes.  I would rather my clients or one of my team members enjoys the spotlight; however, I have been in the marketing world for some time and can step in where needed.  I enjoy spending time with my wife and two beautiful young girls.  We really want to be free to work on the things that inspire us as a family. I want our team to continue to create and develop great things.  We are only just beginning -- who knows what the future holds!

I really like the idea of being a venture capitalist, investing in people and realizing the rewards that come from that investment.  It has been our goal to invest our marketing intellectual capital in those we love and care about, to build assets that attract capital, and to leverage that capital to do even more.  “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Q: As a marketing producer, what advice can you pass along those who aspire to be in your chosen field that could have benefited you when you started off?

A: People, typically, promise a lot of things.  My advice is to make few promises, but deliver more than the client expects. 

I usually trust everyone until given a reason not to.  I don’t like being lied to, cheated, or forgotten.  I return every call and expect people to do the same.  Patience is a virtue, but so is persistence.  In my business I have to forgive a lot of people and if I am lucky, I will also be forgiven (we all make mistakes).  People may doubt you, but that is okay -- Success is the best revenge! 

Dream bigger!  In film anything is possible, you will be surprised by who you will meet and who will get interested in your work.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.


Andy is the owner of Marketing Dynamics a strategic marketing firm working with emerging entrepreneurs and growth-oriented companies, movie makers, musicians, Radio and Television shows, bloggers, technologists and a variety of other fields and cross-over businesses with gross annual sales under $50M. You can learn more about Marketing Producer Andy Valadez and Marketing Dynamics at their website at:


You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. Also visit their blog page at:


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