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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old July 29th, 2004, 06:45 PM   #1
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Hardest thing about making movies?

What are the hardest things about making movies?

For me, it's been:
1. finding good people
2. time
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Old July 29th, 2004, 07:04 PM   #2
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Old July 29th, 2004, 07:06 PM   #3
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I've only done shorts but for me it's

Writing - I find that really hard and really frustrating.

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Old July 29th, 2004, 07:25 PM   #4
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Writing - I find that really hard and really frustrating.
Bouncing ideas off people you like to work with is a great antidote to writer's block. I found writing difficult as well, until I was able to attract a good crew/collaborators, then the ideas just started flowing.

Now it's more about executing the ideas well.
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Old July 29th, 2004, 07:49 PM   #5
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Yeah I'm learning ways to try and get over it. For me, the problem is self censorship and over analysing things and crossing them off before I've allowed them to gestate for a while. I guess, stopping that free association part of my brain.

I find drinking alcohol helps to stop that ;)

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Old August 1st, 2004, 11:24 AM   #6
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For me, the hardest part about making movies is finding money. It took me 6 years to stumble upon a small amount of cash for my production, and even thatís still kind of up in the air. Scriptwriting is easy for me, thatís not to say that it isnít hard, cause it damn sure is, and it takes MONK-LIKE discipline. But I have been doing it full time for 6 years now. Finding people is not hard for me either, because I live just minutes away from NYC, a major movie making community (more movies have been shot in NYC then LA, actually.) Time is definitely a shootís greatest enemy, and far too many novice directors donít realize this. People new to movie making are usually blind to the many ways that their shooting schedules slip right from underneath their noses, and then they have to end up rushing their shoot just to get it done. Treat movie shoots like a highly coordinated Navy Seal Attack. Your movie is only as good as how you manage your time (that, and other things.)
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Old August 1st, 2004, 11:37 AM   #7
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For me I think it is:

1) writing / story

2) people / acting

3) locations / sets
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Old August 1st, 2004, 01:41 PM   #8
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If the writing is such a problem, surely one can find wannabe script writers who would jump at the chance of their first story being filmed, even unpaid; what? They will participate in the costs!
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 08:58 AM   #9
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Perhaps Dan, but I haven't seen that many script writers around
here for example. Must be a conspiracy to keep writers and
movie makers seperated. Perhaps that's where Hollywood spends
there money eh, keep us from doing some cool stuff <g>
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 09:24 AM   #10
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Kind of a tricky question... because it pre-supposes that you HAVE a script. No script... no movie.

Assuming you have a story you feel is worth shooting, in my experience, the hardest thing to do is get the money/time. I write money/time because they are really the same asset to a filmmaker. Given enough money, you can manage the time the way you need to. If you have NO money, then time is all you have to manage the shoot.

With the money/time factor solved. All other factors follow. Casting/locations/costuming/post etc.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 10:18 AM   #11
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Hardest thing about making movies:
Making a profit.

:)
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 12:07 PM   #12
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Guys:

I think you're all already past the true hardest part about making movies: you're taking the chance to do it in the first place and being truly committed to it.

For me (and of course what's good for me might not work for everyone), once I truly dedicate myself to each facet of no-budget filmmaking, it somehow gets done. Meaning, if I really, really want to make a feature flick, I sit down and force myself to write. If I need actors, I force myself to step out of the box and ask people to do it -- for free. I also try to set realistic goals; no 10 car pile ups with space aliens.

Many metaphors fit the idea of making movies. One that I can come up with that fits best for the process of starting up making the movie -- which seems to be where a lot of your guy's comments germinate from -- is running a race. Ever run a 5K race? You start the run feeling good, and then about 200 meters in, your legs burn; halfway through the race your form breaks up and your legs sandbag; you feel like quitting . . . . But then. Miracuously. The finish line appears. Everything hurts, you almost fall down, but you manage to pump your burned legs faster and faster 'til you finish the race. Such is starting a movie. You're first 200m is where your inspiration will take you, it's the the remaining 4800m of sweating that gets your movie started.

I think that to make a movie, one must constantly operate on the brink of falling down but have the eyes always on finish line. The pain will end faster than realized. And when you look back on the race later, everything seems so easy you'll wonder why you didn't commit to running harder earlier, 'cause you would've gotten done faster.

"Easier said than done," people will say. Or is it? Take the hardest thing that you feel is holding you back from making your movie and become TRULY commited to attacking the problem. I think you'll find that the tough part wasn't the problem, but taking the committment to solving it. Don't go out at night for a week and write as much as you can, pick up the phone and dial the local university to get names of actors, call the local landfill for a location.

I realize some things are really really hard to do (I haven't tried to get financing yet, so I can't imagine how tough it is). Shoot, it seems like it's taken me 2 extra months just to get started on my current production and I'm still missing a major location! But one thing that helps me is what Lt. Spears said in Band of Brothers, something along the lines of: "To be a true soldier, you have to realize you're already dead." I used to think it was kinda morbid, but it's true. To be a filmmaker and to get over the hardest stuff, you have to commit and realize that "you're already dead," meaning you have no where else to go. You might as well solve the problem. You might as well finish the race.

Remember, my knowledge is limited, and I speak from only a couple of productions that I've made myself.

Regards,

Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 12:16 PM   #13
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Kyle,

Nice reflection on "Bushido" - already dead.

I personally think the best metaphor for filmmaking is building a house.

Start with a plan=script.

You might draw it up if you're so inclined. It might be so bad that only YOU understand what the potential is. If you are a talented and skilled architect... then the brilliance in the plan will be fairly clear... to someone who understand blueprints. If it's a small enough structure, you might could do it all yourself in your spare time.

If it has any scale and scope to it, you are going to need help. With plan in hand, you have to have money, locations, crew, an expert contractor who knows and hires good subcontractors...

See where I'm going? While the race running metaphor is certainly true when it comes to what's required in terms of dedication and commitment... ultimately, most films are colaborative efforts. Small films as well as big films. And when you understand the effort and compromises that go into scheduling, budgeting, managing and finishing a home... well, film's not so bad!
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:25 PM   #14
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>>Kind of a tricky question... because it pre-supposes that you HAVE a script. No script... no movie.
<<

Don't tell that to M. Antonioni (the famous Italian Film maker). He made it up as went along. He used an outline and little else when starting. Lots of independents do that.
'Curb Your Enthusiasm' only uses an outline and the talent adlibs most of the dialog.
Sometimes it's better not to use a script.

Cassavettes used a script, but rewrote it a 100 times before finishing.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:29 PM   #15
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One word:

DISTRIBUTION.

Anyone can make a movie. Talented, resourceful filmmakers can sometimes make good movies, maybe even great movies. But only a blessed handful ever get theatrical distribution. It may be easier to get straight-to-video distribution, but not by much.
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