Short hard: The Imagination Park (IP.C) story

socalled

It’s always a bit chancy when you invest in a sector you don’t know anything about.

I mean, if I chose today to buy into a feminine hygiene products deal, I’d probably want to talk to a lot of women about it before I signed a cheque. If a deal involved an agreement to supply missiles to the Uzbekistan military, I’d want to talk to someone with some knowledge about politics on that side of the world. If I was considering investing in Ginger Beef Corp (GB.V), I’d probably first want to have first hand knowledge of an under-supply of ginger beef products in Canada’s Chinese food markets.

But tell people you’re raising money to make short films, and all sorts of fools will get Hollywood stars in their eyes and shove you fiddys without thinking too much about it.

Imagination Park (IP.C) is a terrible business concept, and it’s one that has been terribly handled over the last few years, building a clear pattern of over-inflated news, broken promises, and conflicted deals that make no sense to anyone other than to the directors, execs, and insiders who will personally benefit from them.

At Equity.Guru, we quietly watched IP.C stock go ape shit over the last couple of weeks, jumping from a perennial $0.05 to ten times that, leading them to announce Monday that they’ll be raising $6 million to “aid in the Company’s ongoing efforts to create and deliver transformational experiences through the production and distribution of intellectual property for film and virtual reality and for general corporate purposes.”

In other words, “Just give us money, dudes, we’ll figure out what it’s for later.”

The problem is, that sudden 10x spike definitely resembles the pump period of a process you may know colloquially as a ‘pump and dump.’

And anyone investing in that $6 million private placement is going to be stuck holding the stock for four months while, we believe, short sellers and early holders will tear the share price to ribbons.

In fact, the insider selling appears to have already begun, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

We don’t tell people to buy or sell at Equity.Guru, but when we see a cruise ship running full tilt towards a rocky outcrop, we feel it’s our duty to wave a red flag or two, and this ship has a hole in its bow, it’s on fire, there’s a brick on the gas pedal, and the Captain is shittered on negronis on the Lido Deck.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Imagination Park used to be Geonovus Resources, a mining company with no mine. It then changed to Geonovus cannabis, a weed company with no weed. After that, it became Geonovus Media, which, of course, had no media to speak of.

Geonovus did some terrible deals to keep large shareholders personally happy, and produced a balance sheet that featured more red than Donald Trump’s electoral college map.

A name change to Imagination Park followed (convenient enough since the domain was owned by the then CEO). Fast forward to today, where the outfit has a market cap of $21.96 million – and does almost no revenue, though it says the words ‘virtual reality’ often enough that people forget that.

The insanity began long ago, but the market mania for this company started on February 28, when IP suddenly traded 3 million shares in a day. Since then, the company has traded about 40 million shares of volume, and shows no sign of slowing.

Amazing, right? I mean, it’s a publicly traded movie company with virtual reality! What could go wrong?

Well, a few things, and they should be abundantly fucking obvious to anyone who spends more than a passing moment on any one of IP’s news releases from the past year.

CHINA SYNDROME

Let’s take the release from March 6, 2017, when it was announced IP had entered into a multiyear content license agreement with Ohmore Media Inc.

Imagination Park Entertainment Inc. (CSE: IP) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with China’s largest media content provider Ohmore Media Inc. whereas Ohmore Media will finance up to 12 short films including 360 degree Virtual Reality content, for premiere release on the largest new media platform in China.

According to the release, Ohmore Media is a partner of the Ergeng Network, “the largest media platform in China.”

“With over 50 billion page views per month and more than 200 distribution channels, it is one of the largest content sites globally,” said the company.

In the deal, Imagination Park is to provide virtual reality content and short films to Ohmore Media, which will share advertising revenue 50/50 with Imagination Park as part of its deal with Ergeng.

Here’s where the dumb grows large.

Ohmore Media is not a thing. Go ahead and Google it. The only thing you’ll find that doesn’t involve IP’s news release is a single LinkedIn profile of a guy in Richmond BC who says he’s a social media coordinator and a couple of job postings.

Ergeng Network exists, but it’s not what IP said it was. It’s certainly not ‘China’s largest media platform’ (as it says in the headline of the IP news release), nor the largest ‘new media platform’, nor the largest new ‘media platform’ (as is said in the release proper) – however you try to fuck with the wording of that statement, it’s false. It’s a straight lie.

In fact, the company itself says it “is committed to building China’s largest platform type video content company.”

Of course, I’m also committed to making Charlize Theron call me ‘big stud’ through her ball-gag in the bedroom of our private yacht.

Doesn’t make it likely to happen.

ergengchina

This is Ergeng TV. Perhaps IP figured they could make outrageous claims about how huge Ergeng was because you’ll never try to translate the Ergeng page and see how big a lie it was.

Well, we bothered.

ergengus

IP says Ergeng does “50 billion page views per month.” That’s most certainly a lie, given that YouTube does 30 billion per month currently.

Added to which, it says, right there on Ergeng’s (translated) front page, that the site has done 77.4 billion page views – ever.

That’s a nice number, for sure, but it’s about 12 trillion page views less than IP is boasting in their news release.

We also did a quick search of the Alexa ratings for ‘China’s largest media platform’, and found the site draws less than 10,000 unique visitors daily, under 300,000 per month (we do around 50,000 here on Equity.Guru, as a comparable), and the site ranks #316,945 in the world.

Here is the actual list of the top Chinese video platforms, as of December 2016. Notice anything missing? Me too.

chinavideo

IP’s news release says they, and Ohmore, will be sharing revenue from their films that will be shown on the Ergeng site. That’s great… except, when we went for a video tour of the site, we saw no evidence of revenues being offered.

We do, however, see 6000 users uploading their videos (Youtube has 1.3 billion). And we see 20 companies listed as ‘brand customers’, which means they’re putting up their own videos as branded content, which is nice for them.

You may recall IP said they’d be making virtual reality content for Ergeng yep youguessedittheydon’tdovirtualrealitycontentatallbecausenobodydoesgoddammitwhydotheykeeplying..

Let’s go back to the news release and keep picking at that scab:

Director of Imagination Park, Yas Taalat, stated: “As original content providers, this agreement launches Imagination Park as a highly regarded global VR & short film company. Securing Ohmore as our partner in China, we can attract hundreds of millions of viewers for our unique content as well as have the opportunity to convert these projects into full feature films or TV series with a powerful partner.”

Can someone go find me Ohmore Media’s website please? This ‘powerful partner’ should have some sort of web mention somewhere, shouldn’t it? I’ll wait.

There’s this..

Bodypainting Model
OHMORE – Vancouver, BC
$200 a day – Temporary
Body painting Model needed for Sunday March 5th, for 5.5 hours. This model needs to have a disfigured body, either a cancer survivor or survivor of a past accident. 11:30am-5pm, pay is $200.

FEEL THE POWER OF OHMORE!

Ohmore is, basically, Alice Zhou, a Vancouver-based event producer and publicist. She’s probably  fine mover-shaker. But is she a ‘global force in video’?

FEEEEL THE POWERRRRRRRR OF ALICCCCCCCCCCCE ZHOOOOOOOU!

It would appear, to the cynic anyway, that this huge deal IP is boasting of is merely them talking to a kid in Richmond BC who understands Chinese social media, and who will upload videos for them on the Chinese equivalent of Viceland.

If you’d like to do a similarly groundbreaking, earth shattering deal, the likes of which saw Imagination Park stock jump by a multiple of ten, simply go to Ergeng’s ‘join us’ page here and submit your stuff.

It’s really not that hard.

Look, it’s fine if IP wants to make some shorts and get them on a website in China. That’s something you’d do if you’re a short film director. The problem here is not that they’re making a China push, the problem is they’re saying it’s a ‘POWERFUL MULTI-YEAR BILLION PAGE VIEW DEAL THAT STAMPS THEM AS THE BIGGEST IN THE WOOOORLD!’

And that’s bullshit.

THE UFC DEAL THAT ISN’T ALLOWED TO ACTUALLY MENTION THE UFC EXCEPT IN PASSING:

On March 12, 2017, IP announced it had inked an exclusive agreement with Michael Bisping of the UFC to make a behind the scenes virtual reality program about him. Wows, guys! Fight VR!

In case you weren’t aware, Mike Bisping is a mixed martial arts fighter of some renown. Haven’t you always wanted to be a fly on the wall through the magic of VR and watch a day in the life of a UFC belt winner as they prep for a high profile bout?

Me neither. But hey, there’s definitely an audience for this kind of thing. The proof of that is that the UFC has a department that produces these films by the dozen every year, and those productions not only get access to all the fighters, but they can use UFC branding, distribution, and media.

Imagination Park cannot.

So let’s say they’re going to film this and go out to all those Oculus Rift folk. Great. But claiming this is going to be the next Oculus Rift hit is a bit ridiculous, mostly because, well, there are no Oculus Rift entertainment hits.

Here’s a sample of what the Oculus Store looks like on the VR entertainment section:

oculusvr

That’s a whole lot of free over there.

But what really rankles about the UFC news release is that, if you look deeper into it, it’s not a UFC news release at all.

To be clear, the UFC is the outfit that owns Bisping and his image, and title belt, and has the sort of money that would make this deal valuable IF THEY WERE INVOLVED IN ANY WAY.

But they’re not. IP are very careful to mention the UFC often, but only in relation to Bisping’s title belt being a ‘UFC belt’ and him being a ‘UFC champion’. Nowhere does it indicate the UFC approve of this, will help with this, or even ‘won’t shut it all down through lawyers.’

Imagination Park Entertainment Inc. (CSE: IP) is thrilled to announce an exclusive agreement, signed on March 12, 2017, with Michael Bisping, UFC Middleweight Champion of the World, to produce a VR Series entitled “A Day in the Life of the Champ.”

Note: The deal isn’t with the UFC, it’s with Bisping. And why is Bisping doing a deal with IP?

Gabriel Napora, CEO of Imagination Park, added: “Today is one of the best days I’ve ever had.  Getting to work with my friend Michael, the UFC Middleweight Champion, is an honor for me.

Drinking buddies.

Understand: This deal, though it namedrops the UFC a bunch, will not in any way, shape or form involve the UFC, except in the way that large companies sometimes send their lawyers out to clobber an entity that it thinks is ‘trading off’ on their reputation.

THE INSIDER DEALS

The same Bisping news release mentions, at the bottom, that the company has settled debt to officers, directors, and consultants of the company with $0.05 shares – for a company with stock sitting at $0.50. Good time to be an insider, eh?

Of course, it’s always good to be an IP insider. Like when Geonovus bought the music catalogue of investor Nick Brusatore’s garage band, for $400k.

Or when the company signed an LOI to acquire a chunk of the producer points on future film projects by one of its directors.

In fact, a look at Canadian Insider reveals that insiders at Imagination Park have begun selling stock, right at the same time that the company rewarded their success by ‘repaying debts’ with stock that is worth ten times the face value of the debt.

ipinsider

That’s Colin Wiebe and John Masters selling $85,000 worth of stock just before news of the private placement came out.

And that’s Tim Marlowe, Colin Wiebe, Yass Taalat, and Gabriel Napora receiving $0.05 stock in return for their debts, when the stock is worth $0.50 on the public market.

Confusing? Follow along: Tim Marlowe received $90,000 worth of $0.05 shares on the 15th of this month. At a market price of $0.50, that stock is actually worth $900,000.

Gabe Napora’s $125,795.45 debt settlement was worth, on the same day, $1,257,954.50 on the public market.

So the insiders are getting rich on this recent run, but here’s where it gets confusing; If you look at the last financial statements filed by Imagination Park, they show revenues of about $60,000, assets of about $190,000 and liabilities of $381,117. They lost $445,791 for three months ended November 30, 2016.

And the guys who oversaw that just got gifted around $4 million worth of stock, before we even get into warrants and options they’ve got kicking about.

So, even though they’ve just given away $4 million in stock, in order to pay for this UFC project, IP needed the stock to run so they could launch a fat raise.

And look at what just happened.

ipchart

THE TECHNOLOGICAL WIZARDRY

Another puzzler is why, with so many short VR films in production, and such video wizardry at their hands, the Imagination Park website doesn’t show any virtual reality or augmented reality content at all.

Let’s forget the lack of content for a moment, after all these guys are award winners, right?

In fact, just eight days ago, the company was happy to announce that its short film, “Spoken Word” had been nominated for the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema NICE 2017.

Well, I found the website for the festival. It’s runs a week before a little festival known as Cannes. Oh yeah; you pay to have your film shown once it has been “selected.”

Well, on January 24, 2017, IP announced that it had produced three VR titles that are ready to be packaged and submitted to popular VR on-line content sites.

  • Destructotron: Feature film actor Peter Shinkoda (Nobu in Daredevil, Fallen Skies) stars in this exciting VR adventure where a giant robot attacks the Earth, leaving Shinkoda to solve the situation.
  • Invasion: When an alien ship mysteriously devours everything in its path, one woman (played by model Andrea Katic) fights against being swallowed up. Produced by Gabriel Napora, Yas Taalat, Rocky Mudaliar and directed by Chris Le, the director of Juarez 2045, the experience features cutting-edge visual effects.
  • Skate Apocalypse: Some of the world’s top skateboarders, including Zack Noftall, are featured in this VR experience, where extreme, acrobatic, skateboarders journey through a city while being attacked by killer drones.

Mr. Napora and Mr. Taalat were producers on all three projects. The titles are sequenced for submission to VR stores for spring and summer 2017. But where are the trailers? Where’s the marketing, or the publicity stills, or any evidence they’ve happened?

I found Peter Shinkoda, he’s D-list, but whatever, that’s fine, but I am stunned that when I tried to look up the model they said was cast in “Invasion”, I found they had misspelled her name in the release, so it was difficult to find out who she is. Once I had the correct spelling, it was still difficult to find out who she is, besides the fact that she doesn’t have any acting experience.

Zach Noftall can skate better than me and probably better than many, but “one of the world’s top” skateboarders? I don’t think so as, when I googled him, I found two references to a locally produced video embedded in an online periodical called King Shit Magazine. THE KIDS WILL LOVE IT!

These guys are going to submit this stuff and hope that somebody else actually wants to watch it. This is vanity publishing in its purest form, folks.

Napora is all on board for this however;

“Imagination Park’s primary focus is to become a world leader in producing virtual reality content. I believe with these three projects, Imagination Park will establish itself as a top producer. Our ability to film and deliver high-quality VR experiences gives us a strong advantage. When these VR experiences are released, I believe they will be among the best available, and [Imagination Park] will set a new benchmark standard.”

It’s good to dream, Gabriel.

Yas Taalat, company Director, added, “People will be shocked at the level of realism and the Hollywood quality that we’re about to deliver. This is just the beginning, and I’m excited to be working with such an innovative team!”

Really?

There are most definitely a swathe of companies out there developing VR material, but they’re doing so from positions of repute higher than the guy who produced the Kevin Sorbo classic Black Box, or the Luiz Guzman epic Rise of the Damned, or the sci-fi classic Giganthropithicus.

Sure, IP exec Tim Marlowe produced the Oscar winning short The Lady in Number 6 in 2013, but he followed that with the Verne Troyer thriller (ahem) Gnome Alone, and the Steven Seagal sleeper Mercenary: Absolution.

(Incidentally, IP had to yank a news release claiming they were working with Lions Gate on one of those Steven Seagal flicks, when Lions Gate said WE DON’T KNOW YOU)

On the other side of things sits NextVR, co-founded by David Cole in 2009. Before that company completed its most recent $80 million Series B round, it was valued at $800 million. NextVR is locking up professional sports, including horse racing. It is also working with Live Nation who is said to control 70-80% of all music concert ticket sales.

Oh yeah, Cole holds seven patents and has co-authored almost 30 more pending patents in the VR world. So, legit.

Then there’s Jaunt. The Palo Alto-based company, founded in 2013, began by producing 360-degree short form entertainment like Black Mass and Kaiju Fury. The company is currently working with Sky, ABC News and Conde Nast to create original 360-degree programming. Jaunt has raised over $100 million to date.

Littlstar is a little smaller. This one popped out of the woodwork in 2014 and has raised just $6.37 million in two rounds which included investors like Walt Disney. Littlstar is an official partner of Sony’s PlayStation VR platform, which will give the company access to Sony’s global install base of 46 million PS4’s. They recently worked with ABC and Lexus on an original Quantico VR content experience featuring actors from the TV show of the same name.

Melody is another contender to watch. They’ve raised $4.5 million and since the company was founded in 2015, it was able to secure over 300 artists and film a range of concerts in 360 degrees.

That company, which has filmed the likes of the London Symphony Orchestra and Fall Out Boy, intends to use its custom camera technology to open sold out concerts and music festivals to fans the world over in 360-degree audio.

There’s more, but I think I’ve made my point.

Imagination Park is neither first, nor unique in a VR content market which already has some formidable players, massive deals, and awe-inspiring investors.

How much does IP have in the war chest again? Well, that’d be nothing, at least until they round up some gullibles with stars in their eyes to fork out for their new $6m financing.

They’re going to create the new benchmark in production quality in VR? Come on.

But hey, let’s say VR is all smoke and mirrors and completely beside the pointbecause IP is all hot about its latest full-length dramatic project entitled, Juarez 2045, starring Danny Trejo.

The details of this deal would seem kick ass to a film and TV newbie:

For its part, Imagination Park thereby now holds a 5% net profits carried interest in Juarez 2045, and retains the right to earn up to a 7.5% interest by sourcing and closing a domestic distribution deal for the film as well. For those who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the film business, before, during, or post production and upon completion of a feature film, the producers of a project may and usually do sell distribution rights for the project across individual countries or regions right around the world. At present, the Juarez 2045 project has received several distribution proposals and both Imagination Park and Abrupt films are now working to close global distribution rights for the film and finalize a release date, subject to the discretion of the project’s ultimate distribution partner(s).

Where to begin on this one… for IP to suggest Juarez 2045 is “its” feature film is insanity. It has almost nothing to do with it.

Sure, director Napora is involved with the film – he’ll get paid. And IP has a 5% ‘net profits’ interest in the film.

Let’s talk about net profits.Take it away, Wikipedia.

Hollywood accounting (also known as Hollywood bookkeeping) refers to the opaque or creative accounting methods used by the film, video, and television industry to budget and record profits for film projects. Expenditures can be inflated to reduce or eliminate the reported profit of the project, thereby reducing the amount which the corporation must pay in royalties or other profit-sharing agreements, as these are based on the net profit.

Examples?

A WB receipt was leaked online, showing that the hugely successful movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ended up with a $167 million loss on paper. This is especially unusual, given that, without inflation adjustment, the Harry Potter film series is the second highest-grossing film series of all time both domestic and international, behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 remains Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing movie ever.

So that IP 5% net profits deal on Juarez 2045 amounts to fuck all.

And the rest? The potential to earn 7% on doing distribution deals for the film? That’s a standard finders fee that any film seller can avail themselves of.

In other words, IP gets nothing out of Juarez 2045, other than for one of its executives to earn some money, and the ability to pump out another frothy bullshit news release.

Napora, however, was frothing with excitement when he announced this amazing deal, that he personally will do great one; 

“From the moment Rocky brought me onto this project to produce it with him, I knew it was special. The film really is an incredible technical achievement given its budget. I’m more than proud that the response to the film in the marketplace by major studios and foreign buyers has already been overwhelming. This is a film that I’m going to be proud to say I produced for years to come. Equally important, my relationship with Rocky, Chris and Abrupt will last a lifetime. They are great filmmakers and people.”

Congrats on your amazing deal, IP.

But hey, I loved Machete, so this should be an easy sell, right? Maybe it’ll make money after all.. I mean, there’s so much public demand for another Danny Trejo movie..

Well, the Kickstarter campaign IP launched to produce the film was pulled by the creator due to lack of funds.

IP only managed to collect $17,000 of a goal of $150,000.

Okay, well, there’s an upcoming project the company has listed on IMDB called “Giganthropithicus,” a Sasquatch horror film with the menacing monster tearing apart unsuspecting defilers of the environment.

There aren’t any credits on this thing besides producers, production companies and the writer. Hey, this one is written by Timothy Marlowe, IP’s Hollywood wonderkind and exec. How consistent.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment – IP is asking you to finance their company so their execs can go out and make films that they will be listed as writers, producers and directors of, and in doing so, they’ll allow IP to have a piece of their net producer profits. And, as we’ve noted, there are no net profits in film.

Dude. What a scam.

What really boggles my mind is the company figures it can go to camera on the Giganthropithicus project by the middle of June. It’s nearly April now and there is NO other information about the project besides an estimated $18 million-dollar budget.

Yeah, you heard me right, $18 million. The company’s market cap is around $29 million.

We don’t know where this new 18m will come from, but IP teamed with Infinity Pictures (US) to produce the film, which makes things clearer. If you’ve never heard of Infinity, that’s because Infinity has made a small, and I mean small, career out of producing low-budget short films for less than $20,000.

Look, as we said in the opening shots, it can be tricky to buy into an industry that you don’t know well. Getting a ‘piece of the net’ sounds great to the layman, but the film and TV veteran knows how shitty that deal is. Saying you’re producing short films sounds tremendous to the fanboy, but industry folks know that short films DON’T MAKE MONEY. They never do. There’s no distributor out there that will pay to run them, even the Oscar winners.

So, to help us get to the bottom of this, I brought in our tech writer, Gaalen Engen, who has worked in film and TV, in front of and behind the camera, for decades in Vancouver. He knows what’s up, and here’s his take:

I interviewed Colin Wiebe when he became involved with GeoNovus, which at that point I think was GeoNovus Media – it’s hard to keep track of the names.

When I talked with Colin, it was still very early in the game and even though I thought they were shooting for the moon and were possibly a little crazy, I gave GeoNovus the benefit of the doubt.

Then I met the rest of the executive team. No words can adequately describe the sheer nonsense I was subjected to during that meeting, from some upstart emerging big star Hollywood producer who had a smaller IMDB resume than I did, to the insane idea of them producing an ‘award-winning short on vertical farming’ (What’s up, Nick Brusatore!).

When Lions Gate spanked management for continuing to name drop it in news releases, IP’s claim that it could grab Hollywood’s elite faded to a silly Steven Seagal straight-to-video P.O.S., that it made no money from.

New CEO Gabriel Napora was supposed to breathe new life into the company and give it a legitimacy that it so sorely lacked before. According to the news release that announced Gabriel’s appointment;

“Mr. Napora has extensive experience in the film and entertainment industry, having worked with Hollywood’s major film studios including Paramount, Lions Gate, and Warner Brothers.  As founder of Triton Films Inc., a hybrid production company, Mr. Napora was involved in the creation of a number of successful film projects, including Tetravaal which later became ‘Chappie’ – the number one film in the world for two weeks running.  The careers of major talent such as Neill Blomkamp (director of ‘District 9’), and Trent Opaloch (cinematographer of ‘Captain America Winter Soldier’) as well as many others, began at Triton Films.”

Okay, here’s the reality.

Napora’s IMDB page lists 21 production credits. Of which, 12 of those credits are for short films, you know, like the ones you make in film school. Then you have seven forgettable straight-to-DVD full-length projects, one of which is still in pre-production. One mini-series that no one will ever see, and a documentary that is still being filmed.

The company Napora founded in 1999, Triton Films, was ostensibly a commercial production house for many years. I know this, because I personally supplied them with lighting and grip equipment.

That comment in the release about Napora being involved with Tetravaal is very vague, and there’s a reason; Tetravaal was a two-minute short.

That’s right, two minutes. And did you see Chappie? I wouldn’t admit involvement in that, if it were me.

Let me tell you a little bit about Blomkamp’s talent. District Nine was a holy hot mess and Peter Jackson literally had to step in, take over, re-film and re-cut the project so it would be at least watchable. So all that’s wonderful about District Nine can’t really be attributed to Blomkamp. Again, did you see Chappie? Who the hell casts Die Antward?

Imagination Park continued to use its imagination and kept popping out outrageously vague and optimistic press releases, like the one where they announced they had enlisted the DJ talents of Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike. CEO and Director, Colin Wiebe was effusive, calling them “one of the biggest musical acts in the world right now.”

He should know, right? After all he’s a musician. Well, a little research reveals these two may be popular in Belgium but they sure aren’t elsewhere else. Is Wiebe that out of touch, or just prone to uncontrollable torrents of oral bullshit?

Last week’s press release, announcing the appointment of Mitch Davis to IP’s Advisory Board is like a thumb in the eye to anyone in the business.

Imagination Park Entertainment Inc. (CSE: IP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mitch Davis to its Board of Advisors.  Mr. Davis has an impeccable musical pedigree, second to none, and has focused his career on producing films, documentaries, live musical events, and creating intellectual property.  

His father, Clive Davis, is a living music legend who has signed, influenced and driven the careers of some of the most significant artists of our time such as Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson.  Mitch Davis is one of the producers alongside movie industry heavyweight Ridley Scott, on the documentary CLIVE DAVIS: THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES (2017), which will open at the Tribeca Film Festival this year at the Radio City Music Hall.

See what they did there?

They talk this guy up like he’s got no parallel in the business, then when it comes time to talk about what he’s done, they flip to what his father did.

Why? Because Mitch Davis is a small time concert/event promoter out of LA who has apparently not heard of the internet.

If he’s going to “blow open the doors to the music industry for Imagination Park” and will assist the company in “securing large film projects as well as financiers”, there must be some place online that I will find reference to Mitch Davis besides the press release itself, surely.

Nope.

Gabriel Napora, CEO of Imagination Park, stated: “Mitch has impeccable taste in all areas of entertainment.  He will blow open the doors to the music industry for Imagination Park and assist us in securing large film projects as well as financiers. He is an exceptional talent and our executive team is very excited to work with him.”

Listen, I don’t have anything against a company trying to make a go of it producing entertainment, and I think there’s probably a good business potentially in using the public markets to finance legitimate film and TV productions, if you know what you’re doing.

But its also a hard world and I don’t think Imagination Park, in any of its incarnations, has been forthright with the investment community about its real position in the sector, it’s asset base, it’s revenue potential, and the likelihood of actually delivering on its many, many, many promises.

It has embellished track records, portfolio assets, deal announcements, and seemingly changes tack every twenty minutes. This whole VR thing is just another band wagon that IP is attempting to hitch itself to.

Seriously, would you wear an Oculus head-set to watch a UFC fighter hit a punching bag? Do you even have an Oculus head-set?

Back to me.

Funny thing: I also worked in film and TV a while back, and what Gaalen is saying is true. Sure, in Hollywood folks make big promises they can’t deliver on all the time, and that’s basically par for the course in that business. But the reason companies on the public markets haven’t got into that business in a major way to date is because YOU CAN’T FUCKING LIE IN PUBLIC COMPANY PRESS RELEASES.

You can’t claim you’re partnered with Lions Gate when you’re not. You can’t say your short film is going to be a big revenue winner when shorts don’t make revenue. You can’t say you’re on China’s biggest media platform when you’re absolutely, 100% not. You can’t pay your executives to make movies for which they’ll receive a fee, which they’ll then sell back to you for stock…

If you want to invest in Imagination Park because you think a VR film about a UFC fighter, in which I guarantee the company won’t be permitted to show a UFC logo, is going to make millions of dollars, then by all means roll the dice.

If you think sending short films to a Chinese video platform that gets just six times more traffic than this site does will lead to big revenues, have at it.

If you think a company that paid $400k to buy the rights to an investor’s music catalogue is the sort of disciplined management that will look after your dough, by all means.

But, before you do, go to Sedar and have a good look at what the company files. Or you could check out the company’s films and decide for yourself, if you can find them.

The only virtual reality I see here is IP’s future success. Don’t get fooled.

— Chris Parry

With file by Gaalen Engen and Bo Ramone.

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