Filmmaking in an Independent World: Part III

By Shea Lord | Tags: ,
October 30th, 2011

Filmmaking in an Independent World: Part III

By Shea Lord | Tags: ,
October 30th, 2011

The panelists were all very passionate about their work, most of them being directors or producers. They left us SCADdies with a few more words of encouragement. First, judge your budget film by film, based on the kind of audience you think you have. Even if you Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul can manage scrounging 20 million dollars for the budget, do you really think you can make that back? Should you lower your budget for the sake of profit? It takes a very practical and honest approach to know for sure. Especially if you’re in the hardly-surviving business of making short films. Alone, they don’t make much if any profit. Most distributors suggest grouping them with other shorts and creating themed bundles.

Shorts don’t typically score big, but don’t be put off from making the film you envision. While filmmaking is certainly “not all rainbows and unicorns,” as Shawn Ku said, you just need to be practical when going after your dreams. Sometimes this can be depressing, and certainly stressful—but producer Sally Jo Effenson commented on how the actual production process is simultaneously “re-invigorating”. Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of great films that fall into obscurity. Try to make a movie that audiences will want to see, or build an audience for your story. This doesn’t mean chasing the so-called hot genres. 1. Because you’ll never “catch” them, and 2. They don’t really exist. The market will always be hostile to bad films and welcoming to good ones. The panelists unanimously agreed that brilliance still finds its way to the top, probably now more than ever before in Hollywood.

Second, tell the stories that you alone can tell. Make movies that you would want to see. It’s much easier to invest yourself in something that you believe in and the passion will show in the final cut. Plus, if it’s truly your own unique story, that’s well written into a screenplay, then it’s hard to fall short of brilliance—assuming you’re not a total amateur. In this case, don’t be afraid of collaboration, welcome all advice and make your decisions thoughtfully. Finally, don’t latch on to a project too tight. Always be prepared to move on, have other projects in the waiting. Start promoting those as early as possible, too. It is important to know your next two or three steps at all times. As soon as your current project hits the silver screen (or digital monitor) people will want to know your next step and opportunities will arise. If you’re prepared, you will experience what some call “luck.”

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