Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!
Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.
(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)
Below is the first of two excerpts from Filmmaking, the Hard Way by Josh Folan. A cynical case study of the feature film production of All God’s Creatures, Filmmaking, the Hard Way puts low budget filmmaking under the microscope by analyzing the process of making a film from top to bottom.
All God’s Creatures, with no “stars”, created by “unknown” filmmakers, and produced with less than $25k to work with is picked up for distribution in late 2011. By May 2012 it can be purchased through the biggest retailer in the known universe (Walmart) and numerous other retail outlets.
:: Make a movie. Preferably a good one with a unique and interesting story, compelling characters, and a few commercial sales tools (sex, nudity, gore, comedy, super heroes – that sort of thing). Seems an obvious step, yet it is quite often overlooked. Particularly the “good” part.I hear inexperienced producer say things akin to “it’s a so-so horror script, but I just want to get a feature made” with alarming frequency, and it’s no surprise at all how much unwatchable schlock ends up getting made as a result of that lackluster intention. If you don’t have something unique about your film to passionately pitch to distributors when you finally get a few to listen to you, why the hell would they invest their time and money trying to create an audience for it?
:: Formulate a pitch. An airtight one that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve read anywhere else, and DEFINITELY not any of that “Terminator meets Christmas Vacation” shit. If you get an acquisitions executive on the phone and you sputter out one of those for your little movie – that does not have a Schwarzenegger, Chevy Chase, or even an Uncle Eddie – it will be the last time you speak with that particular individual. My pitch with AGC was that “it boiled down to a dark, twisted love story between these two really fucked up people – a serial killer and a prostitute. And while a story like this would typically zero in on those elements, the killing and the sex, ours aims to make those things ancillary because of the focus on the love story.” Yes, you will get very sick of hearing yourself repeat your airtight pitch…over and over and over and over. And over.And…over. That is, if you do the amount of legwork that will be required to actually convince a distribution professional that investing in your little film is worthwhile.
:: Make a pretty PDF.A press kit. These days this means an EPK (Electronic Press Kit), of which your pretty PDF will be a part of. The EPK will contain the numerous clever/mysterious/hilarious teasers and trailers that you have created to market your film with, your jaw-dropping original key art, any press interview video clips you had the foresight to arrange while filming the movie, any press clippings/screenshots that pertain to the film, the countless production stills, as well as the press kit PDF itself. Try to streamline all your marketing tools with the same look and feel – brand awareness and recognition is marketing 101. [...]
by Stephen Eyer
For the past five years, my wife and producing partner, Daneen Akers, and I have been working full-time on a social documentary film called Seventh-Gay Adventists (http://www.sgamovie.com) about three gay and lesbian members of a conservative church and their challenge to reconcile their faith and sexuality. We spent the last year on the road traveling with the film in the U.S., Canada, and Australia at film festivals, churches, and community centers. Our last major festival screening will be on Dec. 5th as part of Frameline’s Encore series (http://www.frameline.org/now-showing/events/frameline-encore-seventh-gay-adventists) in San Francisco. Although we’ve been asked at filmmaker gatherings before if we’re selling marijuana on the side to make rent, we’ve actually been making enough to both pay for our expenses and fund the film primarily through cultivating an engaged and motivated grassroots community that believe in this film.
The following are 10 things we learned about how to sustain yourself as a filmmaker while making films that can have a positive impact on the world. [...]
Potential film investors need to be educated about what is working and what is not, where it works, and what could be done. No one likes to look foolish, but most film investors come to the industry having made their wealth in other fields (or having not actually generated it themselves) and thus often start with a paucity of the necessary and a surplus of the inapplicable.
Investments should be made based on educated choice, not an impulsive or biased guess — and certainly not on the advice of conflicted advisors.
The problem here is [...]
By Jay Webb
Facts of the Storytelling Street:
- Creating a new, unchartered path will never come without risk or potholes.
- Brilliant (even just good) storytellers innately take risks.
- Potholes usually create an even better story about your drive once you make it home.
- Learning more about getting your story out there (distribution) in order to ensure continual story telling through life will not add any potholes (or risk) to your path. It can only make your street wider and stories more easily heard.
After discussing Indieconomies of scale and the benefits of adopting a cooperative group approach, we thought it might be a good time to switch the charge and talk a bit more about the challenges (potholes) that we have come across to date. If a pothole doesn’t swallow you, it makes your vehicle stronger.
From our slightly biased IndieStreet POV, there should be no reason for any story teller to be scared of exploring self-distribution, and more specifically, some type of cooperative distribution. The following potholes have busted a tire or two during our journey, but in no way have they strayed us from our mission. Starting a business is not for the faint of heart…A simple rule of thumb: If you want to succeed as much as you want to breath, then it won’t be hard at all. [...]
Where are the champions? And I am not talking about the victors, but the amplifiers. It is so hard for good work to get noticed. Even if you get into a major festival it is easy to get ignored. And what about all the good work that doesn’t even make the festival cut? Do you really have to buy your way into a New York opening, so that the NY Times covers you, so you get a review, so that you may get bookings everywhere?
Don’t working directors have time to watch new movies? [...]
Yes! Interesting post by VHX today on how dynamic pricing via coupons can truly stimulate sales.
“When they’re substantial (we’re talking 50% or more) and last a short time (a few days or less), coupons have a proven record of increasing sales – and not only by a little. On average, offering steep, short-term, “flash sale”-style discounts on VHX resulted […]
Although I have never really been a fan of Thanksgiving as it is currently celebrated, I REALLY like the idea of it — and want to expand it (and better prepare for it). In my vision of it, it is something we all would do together. And I mean all of us, everywhere.
Thanksgiving here in the United States falls […]
By Colin Brown
“More than 90% of directing a picture is the right casting,” suggests Martin Scorsese in the revelatory documentary CASTING BY. Producers might well reach a similar assessment for financing a picture as well since actors remain by far the most enticing lures to potential investors. But settling on just who might be “right” for […]
You should have this beautiful concert in your life:
Neil Young – Carnegie Hall – December 5, 1970:
And then this one too (The sound is better, but it’s shorter, and there’s less witty dialogue with the audience)
Neil Young – BBC – 1971
By Colin Brown
Politicians go medieval on them, romantic couples break up over them and artistic types tend to run as far and fast as they can from them. And yet budgets, if drawn up sensibly in a spirit of mutual trust rather than defensive hostility, can actually go a long way towards avoiding such heartaches and fistfights. Cinema is […]
By Colin Brown
We don’t really know how many feature films will end up being made this year – 50,000 seems to be the best global guess – but what we do know is that their genetic make-up will differ in every instance. “Each film has its own DNA,” observed WME agent Mark Ankner, speaking at a recent […]
Filmmakers love gravity. Filmmakers love heights. Filmmakers love fear. The list goes on. Is it any wonder we’ve fallen in love with the fall? Take the leap. See how it is done. Determine how you will do it differently.