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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:32 AM   #1
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What steps should I take for success!

Movies are very hard to make. Especially if you want to make a good one. Even if it's a low budget one. There are many, many steps one takes to get a movie from an idea to the big screen. Some are slightly different for each movie but for the most part, there is a very distinct, traceable path. This is my journey and it will be a heck of a ride. I am learning every day but will never know enough.

Can anyone tell me about how they did it?
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Old March 29th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #2
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There are basically 2 paths to making a movie. One is what I call the "studio route," whereby you get your movie made through a major motion picture studio. The other way is the "Indie route," whereby you seek financing outside of the studio system on your own (this could be anyone from your local stock broker, to your little daughter's piggy bank.)

Whatever path you take, you are going to have to be willing to die for your movie. This may sound a bit fanatical and extreme, but unless you either A. Have Steven Spieldberg for an Uncle., or B. You want to be the type of person who tries to make a movie part time (therefore taking a period of production that is 4x longer then a full time movie maker) then you will have to devote your entire existence to your project. Once you are willing to die for your project, people will pick up on that, and they will start believing in you, and once they do that, the money will come. To go from being just a guy who says he wants to make a movie, to being a guy who ACTUALLY has a movie, you have to be fanatical and obsessed (this rule does not apply to those persons who already have major industry connections or tons of money from the start.)

Outside of this advice, I really can't get more detailed because you have not stated what aspect of movie making you are into. Are you a writer, a producer, a director? If you are not a producer, then the Indie route is almost completely off the table for you.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #3
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Point take Glenn, allow me to be a little more specific. Right now I am writting the screenplay and the business plan/movie proposal. I have a lot of ground work to cover but I have given myself a year before evey rolling tape. This is due to two factors.
1. The trees outside will soon have leaves on them, taking away much of the effect I am going for.
2. There is a lot of things that need to be straightened out in order to do it the right way. I.E. finish the write, re-write, get it copywrited, scout locations, find cast & crew members, investors and a whole myraid of other things.
So basically I am writer, producer and director. Willing to do everything it takes.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 10:24 AM   #4
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The leaves will fall off again next year, and again the year after that. :) Be patient rather than rush.

Personally, I think the key to creating a success is to practice .... a lot. Whether you do this in film school or on your own is your choice, but unless you have a lot of practice with the full filmmaking process (or hire people that do), it is nearly impossible to be "successful" at making a movie.

This means, the project you are working on will either BE practice, or should wait until you HAVE practice.

If this is the first screenplay you've written, chances are, it won't be nearly as good as your fifth. The first time you go out and shoot, your results will not be as good as the footage you come back with from your 10th shoot.

You say your willing to do everything it takes.....
....it takes practice.

Don't spend all your time during this period before shooting doing nothing but planning. Knock out at least two short screenplays, shoot 'em and complete 'em as practice. The challenges you encounter during those productions will be things you are totally prepared to handle when you get around to your "real" project.
Besides that, you will have learned a little bit about how to face and get around challenges in general. :)

Have fun.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 11:06 AM   #5
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http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40320

Nick, thanks for the advice. I am a little further along than you think. I need more specifics! Please take a look at the above post so I don't have to write it again. This may give you a better understanding of what my experience level is and is not. Also I am currently writing my 2nd Screenplay but have my next four in que! I like your idea about a few short ones, since I have not done much in the last few years and I am already doing a few things on the side to learn FCP.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #6
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No one can tell you specifically what to do, because everyone’s circumstances are unique, including yours. And how much money are you talking about here? Do you need five thousand, or five million? What is your budget? And is it a realistic budget for your piece?
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Old March 29th, 2005, 11:43 AM   #7
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I used to hope people would tell me everything I'd need to know, but indeed, every situation is unique. It's just how you find money, crew, ideas, etc., and how you turn all that into a movie. YOUR movie, of course.

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Old March 29th, 2005, 11:53 AM   #8
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Cleveland,

"Many paths to the mountain top..."

I think you'veprobably got the chops to pull off getting something on paper and then on tape.

I think the most important thing you can do at this point in the project, is determine what your goal is. Sounds simple enough... but is it absolutely clear?

IS the goal to "make a movie". Then a short will do. Is the goal to make a 'feature length' movie. Then, realistically not much money and resources are required to get ninety minutes on tape. Is your goal to 'get my screenplay produced'. Ahhh... differrent aspect completely. Perhaps all of your time, energy and resources should be dedicated to writing, re-writing and networking to get the script into 'the right' hands. Is your goal to "make money" off of your script...

That's probably the toughest nut to crack. The most important thing is to have a 'killer script'. Something that is either

a) so unique, so daring, so damn well written that people will beat down your door to be a part of it, money will flow in from everywhere, doors will magically open...

0r

b) Something that is so predictable, something that fulfills the basic template of the genre you have chosen, that it is practically guaranteed to make a minimum return. Something that will sell the overseas rights before you roll tape. (Guns and Tits on the cover) The American Film Market seminar mentioned how you couldn't make a 'moneymaking' genre film for less than 300 thousand. At the recent SxSW film festival, the panel gave advice about how it was a waste-land between 1.5 and 5 million. (More than 1.5 and less than 5 was a waste of money)

Sorry, but that's what I hear wherever I go in the indy world. But don't take my word for it. Sit down with marketers and distributors. Talk to them about your idea and see if they are excited by it. Go to film festivals and seminars where you can meet people who are 'dying for their films' and asses if that's what you want to do. There are a dozen books on 'how to make a film for under XYZ dollars..." that illustrate practical money saving approaches to expensive problems. Read them all.

Sure, there are exceptions to all the 'norms'. I loved "What the Bleep" and the behind the scenes footage illustrates how they were turned down repeatedly, everyone told them it was a 'great idea' but hard to sell, no one would come etc. They pressed forward for two reasons. 1) They had absolute faith in their product and, most importantly, 2) The money man who funded it did too.


In fact, "What the Bleep" might just be the best advice I can give you on how to face the daunting task of seeing your creative vison through to completion. It takes absolute faith, 'dying for your film', steely-eyed resolve, overwhelming obsession.

That and a killer script.

Best of luck.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 02:31 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Cleveland Brown : http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40320

Nick, thanks for the advice. I am a little further along than you think. I need more specifics! Please take a look at the above post so I don't have to write it again. This may give you a better understanding of what my experience level is and is not. Also I am currently writing my 2nd Screenplay but have my next four in que! I like your idea about a few short ones, since I have not done much in the last few years and I am already doing a few things on the side to learn FCP. -->>>

Hi Cleveland.
Sorry if my initial post seemed a bit trite.
You are indeed further along that I assumed, though the end advice still stands. :)

Practice on a couple shorts during your run up to this bigger production. REALLY finish them to the same degree you aspire for this larger production. If they turn out good, then they can be excellent recruiting tools when it comes time to get a low/no budget crew next fall/winter. If they don't work out, you will be glad that you got the experience out of the way and are better prepared as you move into production for this more aggressive project.

Have fun. :)
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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:08 PM   #10
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You guys are great! This is good stuff.

Richard,

The goal is to make a movie that makes money for investors and maybe a little for me. Mostly enough recognition to get investors for some of the higher budget movies I have in mind. You gave me one of the most intereting posts I have read lately and I thank you for it.

Nick,

I plan on doing a few scenes with some friends. Mainly as testing for the camera, lighting and sound. Then some editing as well. I am doing some things for schools and charity events. No pay but to get back into the grind of production and help me learn more about the newest tools available to me. I'll probably take a sales job for at least a few months just so I can get some practice at that. I have never had that kind of job. Army first then airlines. Never sold a thing in my life other than my skills. That's what you do at an airline interview. Sell you flying skills to a board who review all your paperwork.
I liken that to selling your skills as a movie maker to investors. Which means that if I have a few shorties put together to give examples, it will take me much futher along. The thing is, I don't plan on making the shorts look too flashy. I just want to make them look like they were done by a pro who can make them a good movie. You did not sound trite to me. Thanks.

Glenn

That is just it. I am not sure how much it will cost at this point. That's why I was looking for examples of what order other people do things in. i.e. Write script, rewrite, work out a proposed budget, find actors, talk to investors, get backing, make movie, edit said movie, transfer said movie to film and submit to film festivals and distributors. Perhaps seek alternative methods for advertisemtn and distro! I am giving everything to this project but there is still only one me and not enough to handle everything alone.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #11
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Check out this thread I started on raising money:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=41680

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Old March 29th, 2005, 04:21 PM   #12
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Thanks Heath I thought that was you. I have been on that one since this morning. It is a good one and anyone else who is interested in financing should read it.
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