It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

That pretty much says it all for me right now, outside whatever Mrs. Southcott and the cock-lane ghost were up to.  Monday morning, September 17, 2012, I was notified that trading on our company had been suspended by the SEC for a period of 10 days.  This, after the best year the company, and its stock, have had since inception… reduction of authorized shares, reduction of outstanding shares, reduction of debt and liabilities, with an increase in project flow, increase in revenues and increase in overall shareholder value.

I called the SEC immediately in hopes there was a mistake, but my call was met with an outgoing message system.  I began reading the statement they made that morning: http://www.sec.gov/news/digest/2012/dig091712.htm and realized they had concerns about what they believed to be discrepancies in our financials, press releases and ‘touting’ of the stock.

I finally received a call back and was told casually, in a very friendly manner, that the SEC wanted to notify us that we were suspended, that there are no allegations, no accusations and that it was for a definite, not an indefinite period of time: 10 days, after which we will resume trading.  Is this a punishment I thought?  Over a concern?  I asked what I could do to provide explanation or material for due diligence on their part to quell any concerns.

They simply said, “you’re attorney can call us if you like, we’re not asking you to do anything; this is a 10 day self-terminating order so there is no remedial procedure.  It is simply an expression of SEC concerns.”  Self terminating order?? And then everything is fine??  So I hung up in a state of bewilderment.  This can’t be?

So our attorney did call, and prior to, I implored, again  via email to my atty: “I’m wondering– perhaps you should ask them— I wouldn’t do this without them, but WHAT IF, we were to address all of their issues in a press release– perhaps if they feel investors may be under false pretenses for whatever reason, we can clarify each and every issue in a public statement to clarify?”

I was told again, that they did not want clarification, there are no allegations, accusations or findings as such, only a “concern” that they felt warranted a suspension and dismissal into the grey sheets.  Whether it simply didn’t hit me yet, much like the delay I sometimes have between a relative or close friend dying and an outpour of emotion or maybe I just wasn’t able to take this as a serious concern due to the fact that I’ve done everything I can to ensure we are dotting our ‘i’s’ and crossing our ‘t’s’ with an allegiance to shareholders and the company for sustainable, long-term growth, doing something not many, if any, have achieved in the pink sheets as far as I remember.

This must be serious for the SEC to authorize an act that would potentially shatter investor confidence and liquidity in one fell swoop. But what?

From my attorney shortly after– FINALLY, a list of concerns I can address!  What possibly deems a potential devastation of shareholder equity, let’s find out:  (my responses to atty in italics)

Mark, Here are some of the issues that he highlighted:

There were questionable internet activity and concerns about  PRs from Decemebr 2009 to February 2010.  As an example, on January 21, 2010, you put out a PR stating that you are expecting revenue of $100 million by 2013.

 They are referring to this release:  http://markets.hpcwire.com/about/news/read/11565026/mike_the_pike_productions_new_media_announces_servenation_revenue_projections  These are actual revenue projections that have been reviewed by Discover Card and First California Bank prior to our approval of ServeNation by First California Bank and reviewed by Discover Card for a National Card program.  These are also conservative projections.  They have not yet materialized because we began focusing on the film projects, etc. and have not yet raised the collateral reserve necessary to implement the program.  I stand by these projections in terms of what the program will generate, simply that it’s been on the back burner and we’ve been very clear with shareholders as to that fact. 
There was also heavy touting in the stock-  Not sure what qualifies as heavy touting…Strategic focus, reduction of debt, reduction of shares and continual acquisition/creation of assets- please do make note of the strides we’ve taken thus far.

They also had specific questions concerning your financials from 2011.  I would have to know what those are?

He did not know whether we’d open up on the Grey.  omg please no.

I found later that the specific questions concerning our financials from 2011 was that in 2010 we listed our liabilities with interest rates…. in a report in 2011 we did not add the interest payments to the principle.   This was the concern?? I will happily address as, yes, this was a serious, but honest bookkeeping error on my own part.  One I would happily retract and re-file.  I then found that, yes, indeed we would go to the grey sheets.

It’s my OPINION, they were being coy at the very least in their claims to ignorance about the grey sheets as I suspect they know full well the process and where it will take our company and its shareholders.  Do I have a strong opinion here– Yes I do.  I feel the SEC is looking to rid the public markets of non-reporting companies.  I believe they are considering all to be guilty until proven innocent assuming the mice will be separated from the men here, with many mice scattering for the door or resting complacently in a nest known as the grey sheets.  They have been both vague and overzealous in their ‘concerns’ and potentially wiped out shareholders of millions of dollars of potential equity in a current information company making strides like never before.

That said, I understand and respect their end result.  These markets NEED an enema, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s Joker. But I am confident, removing myself and my ego from the situation, we are NOT one of the companies that deem this type of casual dismissal.  It’s sad that, if I’m correct, they’ve taken to Machiavellian measures to both rid the markets of non-reporting companies and also to justify their own existence.  Harsh words, maybe.  But if after this, they’ll give me anything, I hope its the free and clear right to my opinion.

Alas, we are not mice, but men, all of us and those with us, and I am working pro-actively to remedy this situation to the best of our abilities.  If anything, frankly, this is the last straw for me in terms of operating on the pink sheets as a non-reporting company, but it will remain a stepping stone against my wishes to get us where we need to be in what I hope to be a brief remedial period.  That said, though I’ll never say ‘Thank you!” to the SEC for this, I consider many things to be a blessing in disguise.  If you are good, the world will be good to you, it’s always been my firm belief.  I take lemons and I make lemonade.  And we’ll continue to be making sweet, thirst quenching lemonade despite the current speed bump here.  We will re-evaluate SWOT analysis and goals in terms of both company and its stock. We are pro-active, not re-active as a friend expressed today.

Along that line, we have actively engaged in discussions with a market maker who has expressed verbal willingness to sponsor us with a 15c211 pending a DD package I am preparing for review.  This process may or may not materialize.  It can take 60 days, it may even take 6 months.  The goal being to be sponsored back on to the pink sheets at which point we’ll begin preparing an S-1 to file for BB status.  It’s at this stage that we will continue to work toward building our assets and industry position toward an uplist to AMEX or a similar exchange.  Like it or not, all involved, we will have to restructure the stock at some point as a result.  I was asked recently if we would promise not to restructure the stock for a period of 5 years.  I wanted to slap someone.  We are a growing company.  I am confident our long-term holders will be rewarded beyond their (realistic) expectations and I hope those that are serious in helping take us to the next level continue to reach out, support and assist with constructive advice and useful introductions.

That said,  this is for real.  Grab your life vests, put on your seat belts, or bolt for the door— and I think there’s a lesson to be learned here, though I’m not giving advice, recommendations or otherwise, but please, please, in these markets, do not invest, trade or gamble any more than you can afford to lose, no matter how strong the company as I believe Monday is pudding proof that anything can happen–and to anyone.

And I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’d love to, in an alternate universe, have an outside qualified committee to review anything and everything we have done– our mistakes, our achievements and what not, as I can’t see anyone, the cheerleaders nor the skeptics, deeming THIS company, THIS issuer, a 10-day suspension resulting in the greys.  50 shades indeed…..They are the S and we the M for now, but I’ll continue to fight for us through to the pinks.  I am only writing this because I feel it is possible based on our conversation today with the market maker and, from there, we go fully reporting.  I will not puff my chest, I will not waste time and resources fighting Goliath.

I will use what’s available to me  to get us through this proper while continuing to develop what will become a competing mini-major, acquisition contender…with announcements forthcoming on additional projects we are taking to AFM, our progress on George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade, our effects driven sci-fi thriller, White Space and, yes even more I haven’t even touched on just yet!

Thanks to those that have reached out to support.  And to those that revel in our temporary setback, you can go F

Saint James Films Acquires Worldwide Rights to Bloodthirsty, Bikini-Babe-Eating 'Jurassic Shark'

Read Today’s Press Release

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This is our second film acquisition this year and we’ve recently entered negotiations for at least two more films in 2012 for the Saint James Film Slate and Library!  Moving forward like the Tortoise against the Hare and I’m thankful for a good handful of long-term shareholders that have taken the time to understand our vision moving forward.  It won’t be but next thing we know it and realized revenues will further expand our company’s reach and position.  It’s movies like Jurassic Shark, as part of a business model in Saint James, that will expedite our opportunities and strategic benchmarks for Mike The Pike Productions.  I cannot tell you how excited (and honored) I am to be working with Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin on our next game-changing endeavor, ‘The Skin Trade’.   We’re currently finishing up the script for review with GRRM himself, then working with Vince to package toward what I feel will lead to success in so many ways.

As well, I’m thrilled to be approaching AFM where we’ll begin to realize opportunities for this project, our Saint James library and effects driven sci-fi thriller, White Space.   Thanks again for the opportunity to work toward making Mike The Pike Productions a mini-major contender, as I will continue to do each day with passion and a focused strategy.

Lizzie Borden Hacks her way into The Film Catalogue for this year's AFM

 

It’s listed as in ‘pre-production’ but we are currently in post-production on the project FYI….look to wrap it up in the next few weeks!   Again– More movies…More revenue

 

 

Microbudget surge yields big profits (VARIETY)- Charles Newberry

Though Argentina has an enviable system for state film-financing, now copied around Latin America, money remains tight, and the doling out of credits and subsidies can take years. Most of the country’s annual 100-feature output begins out-of-pocket, financed by sideline businesses in commercial and TV production or the proceeds of prior releases until a finished film can start fetching coin from festival screening fees and exhibition.

Even then, a profit is not guaranteed, despite the fact that Argentina is the busiest production market in Latin America. Production is brisk largely because of a “no matter what” attitude gleaned from years of economic crises.

“We are used to working in a crisis, and this is a source of creativity,” says Natalia Smirnoff, director of “Puzzle.”

In response, new production and exhibition models have emerged to make a profit, sometimes paying off quite handsomely.

For example, while international horror franchises (such as “Saw”) have earned a loyal following, Argentine attempts at the genre have been relegated to DVD for decades. To tap the full B.O. potential of horror pics, Pampa Films, a leading genre producer, boarded “Cold Sweat” with horror experts Paura Flics — a venture that is paying off.

The film, which earned $500,000 domestically on its release early this year, recovered its $250,000 production budget and P&A costs, paving the way for profits in subsequent sales to foreign markets, DVD and TV, says Hernan Moyano, a producer at Paura.

The model is underpinned by low-cost production, a well-practiced art in Argentina.

“You have to be very ingenious and squeeze as much as possible out of your tools,” says Moyano, who has made horror movies for as low as $6,000. The approach allowed Paura to shoot “Sweat,” a gory kidnapping tale, in 19 days (less than the low-end 25-day average).

And the strategy is crossing over to other genres.

“You have to make a film so it has as little debt as possible when it is finished,” says Ignacio Rey, who produced the low-budget fest fave “La Tigra, Chaco” at Sudestada Cine. That film started recovering its $250,000 outlay from screening fees at festivals, which brought exposure for international distribution deals ranging from $4,000 to $25,000.

Back home in Argentina, however, Rey opted for an eight-month alternative run at indie theaters, with four to five screenings per week, a strategy that grossed $5,000 on 10,000 ticket sales. A traditional commercial release would have snared the same audience in a week before the film got dropped, Rey estimates, but even if he’d earned $20,000 from the same number of admissions, it would have left him with a $30,000 debt after the $50,000 outlay in prints and marketing.

The profit potential is reviving an interest in low-budget filmmaking, with crews multi-tasking and cramming to slim budgets by 40%, says Hernan Musaluppi of Rizoma Films, a producer of Rodrigo Moreno’s “A Mysterious World.”

“There has been a revival of working hard on low-budget films with fewer people because you make more money,” he says. “It isn’t necessarily true that if you spend money you will make a better film.”

More Movies…More Revenue

Thrilled about today’s release (last post) regarding our acquisition of Blood Rites (http://www.bloodritesmovie.com) via wholly owned subsidiary, Saint James Films, LLC — Aside from the fact that the film is a well made, inspired piece of grindhouse/genre goodness, it signifies a major evolution for Saint James Films as a whole.  Why, you may ask?  How is this film different from the others on SJF’s slate for 2012.  We’ve got Captain Battle: Legacy War, Agent Beetle, Lizzie Borden’s Revenge and more on their way to add to our assets/titles, so why is ‘Blood Rites’ so special?

Well, here it is– Blood Rites was not produced in house by Saint James Films–  it also wasn’t financed by Saint James Films, LLC– that saves two things– money and manpower– neither of which we had to exert to assure a quality finished product with exponential revenue potential.  But we do get to MAKE money with it, partnered with the film’s producers, who now have International Distribution on their project with a producer-friendly arrangement in which both parties win accordingly.   So now, thanks to the work of SJF execs, we have a streamlined ability to pick up quality, saleable product, without any of the burden of budget or project management, all the while effecting similar ROI scenarios.  So imagine this on a larger scale as we continue to grow.  Saint James is producing 5-10 of its own films this year, possibly 10 or more next– all the while, acquiring quality projects from accomplished producers and up-and-coming filmmakers for a win-win, creating a multiplier effect on our output.   The potential here is substantial as it positions the already successful business model for precipitous growth in terms of both revenues and title assets in its film library.  SJF is a numbers game.  We don’t make “Marvel: The Avenger’s” returns in terms of numbers.  But we do, in fact have similar ROI.  More Movies. More Revenue.

Very different from our Mike The Pike Productions slate, such as George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade or White Space, both of which hold tremendous potential for brand prestige, position and impressive returns.   At the same time, they are very much the same, simply that they operate in different realms– as always, the overall model is that SJF provides consistent near-term revenues, while MTP prepares itself to bask as the next  Summit or Lions Gate Entertainment… Summit, of course was acquired by LGF recently for $400,000,000.   Not bad– and all justified by one little franchise called Twilight, based on a well received book….Lion’s Gate of course found its first footing with 2000’s ‘American Psycho’.  Sounds like a familiar scenario, doesn’t it?  A well received author under option by a budding film company turns out, arguably, two of the most successful mini-majors in the history of film.

Shareholders-  to really get a feel for how powerful the low budget/microbudget model can be in supporting our more ambitious efforts– PLEASE I ask you do just a little bit of ‘homework’ — here’s a few reading assignments:


  http://www.firstshowing.net/2010/paramount-launches-micro-budget-division-insurge-pictures/

  http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/mip/blog/5-things-know-about-trends-independent-film

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-budget_film

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118036708

Mike The Pike Productions, Inc. Subsidiary, Saint James Films, Acquires International Rights to Grindhouse Gem, ‘Blood Rites’

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FORT WAYNE, IN- August 24, 2012- Mike The Pike Productions (OTC: MIKP) an entertainment company with a focus in feature films, graphic novels and media holdings, including Saint James Films (SJF).  Today, Saint James Films proudly announces that it has acquired Unfiltered Entertainment’s (UE) feature film, ‘Blood Rites’, where Grindhouse meets the macabre.  (http://www.bloodritesmovie.com). 

“This is the first of several acquisitions we plan for the company in win-win agreements with third party producers,” states SJF Chairman, Mark B. Newbauer, who also serves as CEO for Mike The Pike Productions.  “With much thanks to an introduction by Stacey Parks (http://www.filmspecific.com), I feel we’ve struck gold for the business model here, all the while offering a competitive financial advantage for genre producers like SJF and Unfiltered all the while.  

Blood Rites is a bloody mystery in which a drug deal in an abandoned warehouse goes bad; very bad. Leaving the building is not an option. All the exits have been blocked. And somewhere in the darkness is something with a taste for blood and a love of pain. The dealers are being stalked by something worse. For a great demon demands to be born from the fiery depths of hell and its faithful servant has planned a bizarre blood rite that will leave no vein untapped.  

Director, Dorothy Booraem (Wake The Witch), proudly describes the film as “bizarre and grotesque; a wicked blend of crime fiction, mystery, the fantastic, horror and eroticism,” inspired by the works of Horror masters, Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. 

“This deal is a game-changer for us thanks to help from SJF COO/President, Ted Chalmers, a sales distribution veteran who also serves as CEO for TomCat Films, LLC (http://www.tomcatfilmsllc.com),” states Newbauer. “Ted structured a deal in which SJF is now able to acquire and license rights to movies/content toward increased revenues and additional film library assets, all the while offering talented filmmakers a competitive producer-friendly distribution agreement to ensure exhibition opportunities worldwide. This exponentially increases revenue potential for Saint James Films and its parent company for continued added-value and long-term growth for MIKP and its shareholders.“ 

The film’s writer, producer and D.P. Chad Haufschild, adds, “When we formed Unfiltered Entertainment back in 08, part of our mission was to make movies that we would want to see. We’re all genre fans. Horror, action, crime, mystery, fantasy… That’s the stuff we pay to watch so that’s the stuff we were going to make.  Saint James Films seems the perfect fit for Blood Rites and UE. Their business philosophy is so similar to our own, and I see greater opportunities with them in the near future. They understand genre content better than anyone I’ve spoken with to date. They’re looking ahead and so is UE.”

 

 

Saint James Films will have several properties available for buyers worldwide at this year’s AFM in Santa Monica (http://www.americanfilmmarket.com), including Blood Rites, Lizzie Borden’s Revenge, Captian Battle: Legacy War and more!  AFM expects to host over 1500 buyers from 70+ countries with billions of dollars in buying power.  

Mike The Pike Productions will also be working with a handful of premiere properties on its production slate at AFM including effects-driven sci-fi thriller, ‘White Space’ (currently in post-production) and werewolf mystery-thriller “George R.R. Martin’s The Skin Trade”, based on the award winning novella by the author behind HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’. 

 

Saint James Films' Distributor teams with foreign territory pro, Bender Media Services, for additional revenue potential

Way to go, SJF & TomCat!   Thanks to our partner in SJF, Ted Chalmers– CEO & President of www.tomcatfilmsllc.com– great work!

TomCat Films LLC (www.tomcatfilmsllc.com) President and CEO, Ted Chalmers, is pleased to announce that it has secured Bender Media Services (BMS) to serve as the company’s exclusive distributor for all Latin American territories.

Bender Media Services Corp. offers stellar product and unparalleled experience in sales of film and television product in the Region of Latin America. The company represents Major Independent Companies such as TomCat with product from around the Globe, with a prevalent focus in Latin America.

BMS founder and CEO, Susan Bender, began her career in the television distribution business in 1973 Los Angeles at Metromedia Producers Corp., a subsidiary of Metromedia Inc. owned by John Kluge. Susan was involved in all facets of the distribution business, beginning in accounting, promoted to Executive Director of Worldwide Contract Administration, and further promoted to…READ MORE  

Bender Media Services Corp. offers stellar product and unparalled experience in sales of television product in the Region of Latin America.

 
We represent Major Independent Companies with television product from around the Globe, primarily focusing it’s efforts in Latin America.  Our Library consists of Entertainment, Beauty & Adventure, Extreme Sports, Reality, Lifestyle, Animation, Documentaries, Children’s Programming, Travel, Programming for Men, Movies and MiniSeries.
 MORE SAINT JAMES NEWS ON THE WAY!   While you’re at it, check out Parent company, Mike The Pike Productions’ www.theskintrademovie.com – based on the award winning book by George R.R. Martin, the groundbreaking author behind HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Saint James Films making great strides with new acquisition!

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Really looking forward to sharing this in the coming days, but just to let everyone among our 4,333 followers (and growing) know that our subsidiary, Saint James Films has just inked a game changing deal for the company.  I’m working on a press release to ensure I get the value of the deal across properly, but I’m confident it will give SJF the ability to really maximize its deal flow toward a win-win with our distributor, TomCat Films, LLC and the upflow into development/production for MTP .