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Guide to Making Movies 2013
Photo by: Blessing Yen
An indie Call to Arms
Do movies have a future? we think so. let’s help shape it.
Every year for the last decade the editors of MovieMaker james kaelan have published a “Complete Guide to Making Movies.” Spanning the gamut of moviemaking knowledge—from screenwriting to distribution and promotion—more than one student has remarked that they get as much from these Guides as they do from a semester of film school. (Hyperbole or not, it goes without saying that at $8.95, no school can match our price.) This year’s 10th anniversary Guide is particularly special, as it represents a number of MovieMaker firsts. It’s the 101st issue we’ve published. Ondi Timoner—the only two-time winner of the Sundance Grand Jury prize—is the first woman (and the first documentarian) ever to author the section introductions. Louisa Bertman’s original illustrations of John Cassavetes, Luis Buñuel, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, and Jean-Luc Godard comprise the first portrait series in the magazine’s history. And this is my first sortie as MovieMaker Magazine’s Managing Editor. As I wrote in a recent letter of introduction on MovieMaker.com, this is the most exciting possible time to be analyzing and contributing to the moviemaking conversation. With a seemingly endless spate of new technological advances—in cameras, software, distribution, and fundraising— arriving almost daily, the entry cost for moviemaking is lower than ever. But with that nearly ubiquitous access to inexpensive knowledge and equipment comes a responsibility. The future of moviemaking hinges on how we adopt and utilize the tools at our disposal. In his new book, Do the Movies Have a Future?, New Yorker critic David Denby ignores the (relative) health of independent cinema in order to diagnose, if not treat, the metastasizing cancer clinging on the commercial movie industry’s throat. Hollywood’s primary target demographic since Jaws and Star Wars, has been teenagers—or at least people who think like teenagers. Now more global than domestic (The Avengers grossed $888 internationally, and only $634 million in the States), this most coveted movie-going bloc, cultivated from birth to prefer spectacle over subMOVIEMAKER.COM
stance, may never, Denby fears, “develop a taste for narrative, for character, for suspense, for acting, for irony, for wit, for drama…[And it’s] possible that they will be so hooked on sensation that anything without extreme action and fantasy will just seem lifeless and dead to them…” Increasingly, with each passing blockbuster season, the impulse driving the movieconsuming culture at large resembles a collective addiction to noise rather than a genuine desire for entertainment—to say nothing of a longing for deep emotional engagement. But, Denby continues, “The audience goes [to these tent-pole events] because the movies are there, not because it necessarily loves them…The need for drama, character, complexity, and so on, has to be cultivated, fed, and expanded. Or it has to be created…by something new.” We, as moviemakers and fans of independent cinema, must be that “something new.” History seems to be on our side. Ever since Buñuel and Dalí slit the eyeball in “Un Chien Andalou,” independent cinema has functioned as a system shock, driving the ever-hesitant culture forward—often kicking and screaming. But I have to wonder if we’re still a primary engine of change. If The Avengers and its analogues have turned complex, emotional art into an allergen, independent cinema of the last decade has been little more than a tissue. We’ve sopped up a little mucous, but we haven’t treated the root cause. Equipment is cheap, and securing funding is as much a function of creativity, now, as it is of a moviemaker’s financial connections (see “Outside the Crowd”—pg. 22). Accordingly, almost anyone can make a movie. And if anyone can be a filmmaker, then making a movie for the sake of making a movie has lost much—or all—of its value. That’s why next issue MovieMaker will embark on another first: drawing up a manifesto of meaning for microbudget moviemakers. As we’ve seen so graphically illustrated in the news recently, the moving image can be powerfully, frighteningly important. If we’re to move beyond the hollow, noisy, tent-pole blockbuster and turn our attention to a cinema that aspires to get under our dermal layer and touch our soul, we need a united vision. So stay tuned. See you in Park City. MM
Issue No. 101, Volume 19 guide to making movies 2013
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Rethink editing One platform for complete video and audio production. An unmatched set of features, functions, and processes, all at your fingertips. A unique and progressive environment with hundreds of workflow innovations. If you’re using anything else for media production, it’s time to rethink how you edit. With powerful tools supporting a wide variety of formats for multi-screen distribution, Vegas Pro set the standard other NLEs follow. Now, Vegas Pro 12 delivers new professional enhancements that further make it the cutting-edge leader for everything from independent filmmaking to broadcast production. Vegas Pro 12 includes a new expanded edit mode to fine-tune the perfect cut; a comprehensive S-log workflow; project interchange with other post-production platforms; smart proxy editing, for full frame rate performance on a wider variety of hardware; new shape and effects masking tools; and a new professional L*a*b* color space plug-in, for quickly matching the color characteristics of your content. And we’re just getting started. Vegas Pro 12 is the only NLE you’ll need. Fast, efficient, and affordable. Vegas Pro 12 delivers the features you’re looking for. Isn’t it time to rethink the way you edit? Learn more about the entire set of new features and enhancements, or download the free trial at: www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegas12
Scan to see a full list of Vegas Pro features. Copyright ©2012. Sony Creative Software Inc. All rights reserved. “SONY” and “make.believe” are trademarks of Sony.
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
Chapter 3: Production Chapter 2: DEVELOPMENT & PRE-PRODUCTION
BY ONDI TIMONER
22 SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING 2.0
46 Chapter 1: Screenwriting
BY ONDI TIMONER
14 adapting indie fiction
If you think optioning nov- els is reserved for the big studios, think again. We’ve got a list of indie presses and journals that might just net you the inspiration for your next script. BY CARMIEL BANASKY & CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON
16 writing on a schedule
Without good time manage- ment, you may never get past “INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY.” Here are few tips on how to get—and stay—on schedule. BY CHRISTINA HAMLETT
18 THE SECOND DRAFT
Unless you’re Edward Albee, you’re going to need a second draft. Here are some helpful ways to regain the objectivity you need to edit your screenplay. BY DAVID LARGMAN MURRAY
The novelty of crowdfunding has worn off, which means you’re going to need a story to sell your campaign. BY VALENTINA I. VALENTINI
24 STRAIGHT SHOOTING
Most investors are savvy busi- ness people, so in order to attract investment for your film you need knowledge and integrity. BY DANA PACKARD
28 the happy hustler
To be a successful micro- budget moviemaker, you have to beg, borrow, barter, and steal. BY SAM MESTMAN
30 union vs. non-union
When weighing the pros and cons of choosing union or non-union cast and crew, you need to consider a lot more than baseline costs. BY STEPHANIE SELLARS
32 THE PRODUCER’S SACRED TRINITY
On a movie of any budget, three positions can be the difference between success and financial ruin: Unit Pro- duction Manager, Accountant, and Attorney. BY DAVID ALBERT PIERCE, ESQ.
BY ONDI TIMONER
38 QUIET ON THE SET!
Your movie can look like it was shot on a phone, but it can’t sound that way. Here are some pointers for mak- ing sure you record the sound you need for successful post. BY BILL BRAUN
40 mutiny, and how to avoid it
If you want your cast and crew to follow you into the great unknown of moviemak- ing, you can’t be a tyrant or a pushover. BY D.W. BROWN
44 let the p.a. direct?
You can’t defer to your P.A. for directing advice, but you shouldn’t ignore his insight either. Collaboration is king on the micro-budget set. BY JAMES KAELAN
46 WHO THE HELL AM I TALKING TO?
Directing requires mastery of no fewer than eight separate, jargon-rich techni- cal dialects. BY JUSTIN EUGENE EVANS
50 the devil’s in the data details
If you’re planning to shoot your next movie on film, we applaud you. If not, you’ll need to manage your digital data. That means you’ll need a Data Management Technician who knows what he’s doing. BY COOPER GRIGGS
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
68 the thrill isn’t gone
MovieMaker sat down with Cinema Libre Studios to talk about the advantages of choosing a traditional, brick-and-mortar distributor for your indie movie. BY MM EDITORS
72 Chapter 4: Post-Production
BY ONDI TIMONER
54 killing your darlings
Four director/editors talk about the perils and joys of editing their own features. BY KYLE PATRICK ALVAREZ, MATT HARRISON, KELLY PARKER, & SEAN BAKER
72 TO HELL WITH THE
MIDDLEMAN Comedian Louis C.K. changed the financial land- scape of stand-up comedy by self-distributing “Live at the Beacon Theatre.” Now indie filmmakers can use the same tools to sell their films online. BY MARK SELLS
96 the feature film project
Nicholas Mason talks about his new venture, the Fea- ture Film Project, which will put one independent film into 100 US theatres next spring. BY NICHOLAS MASON
58 to compose, or not to compose
When you’re thinking
about your soundtrack, you need to weigh the costs and benefits of licensing music and composing from scratch. BY MIRIAM CUTLER
60 post-production checklist
Post-production can be extremely costly, so here are five things to keep in mind that’ll save you time and money as you navigate the post-production minefield. BY RANDEE DAWN
Chapter 5: Promotion & DISTRIBUTION 63 Introduction BY ONDI TIMONER
64 What is a festival worth?
With more than 6,000 film festivals world-wide, choos- ing the right place to submit your movie requires a strategy. BY MARK BOSKO
MOVIEMAKER’S GUIDE TO DIY DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION With new digital distribu- tion platforms popping up like weeds across the internet, MovieMaker is launching a new feature fo- cused on DIY distribution. Besides listing some ex- tremely interesting compa- nies, we’re also giving our analyses of their services and making recommendations. BY MM EDITORS
Columns & Departments
4 MM Notebook
BY JAMES KAELAN
10 Contributors 80 guide to film education 84 Motion Picture Production Guide
94 marketpace & Call for Entries 95 advertiser index
cover design by james kaelan & blessing Yen MOVIEMAKER.COM
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
Ondi Timoner has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice. Her 2004 Sundancewinning doc, Dig!, about the collision of art and commerce through the star-crossed rivalry between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre; and her 2009 top prize-winner, We Live in Public— about an internet visionary, Josh Harris, who showed by example how willingly we will trade our privacy and eventually sanity in the virtual age—were both acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their permanent collection. She also directed the socio-political feature documentaries, Join Us (2007), about the cult epidemic in America, and The Nature of the Beast (1994), a hard-hitting look at the US prison system through the double murder case of Bonnie Jean Foreshaw. Timoner premiered her fifth feature documentary, Cool It, a film that blasts through the polarizing logjam of the climate change debate to bring a solid plan for solutions at the Toronto Int’l FF in 2010. It was released theatrically through Roadside Attractions. Ondi is currently directing and producing a feature-length documentary and web-channel called A Total Disruption, about the innovative entrepreneurs who are driving the greatest revolution our world has ever seen by using technology to transform our lives. She also produces and hosts “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Docs) a weekly live talk show about documentaries, in which Ondi interviews the leaders in doc filmmaking in discussions about their work. She looks forward to her directorial debut of a “pre-scripted actor” film when she brings her script, Mapplethorpe, to life in 2013. Timoner’s script tells the life story of the cultural lightning bolt, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, with the exclusive rights to Mapplethorpe’s life and work and support from the Mapplethorpe Estate.
Originally a professional modern dancer in NYC, Louisa Bertman’s career transmuted into illustration and animation. From Mikhail Gorbachev (front page top fold Wall Street Journal) to hotel maid service (Penthouse Magazine), to dorm room door doodles (TV’s “The Gilmore Girls”), her illustrations appear in diverse media worldwide. She painted The Car Talk Guys for NPR, Michelle Obama for BUST Magazine, Michael Jackson for Dallas Morning News, and Ringo Starr for Live Nation. She illustrated DJ’s for The Village Voice, and composers for GQ Magazine. She’s created animations for AT&T, Nynex and IBM. Her advertising work includes Walz Tetrick’s Kansas Teen Thinking Campaign, Wells Fargo’s African American Entrepreneur Calendar, and The LA Gay and Lesbian Positive Images Campaign. Several of her oversized Rock and Art portraits have been signed by such high rollers as Fergie, Ringo Starr, Cyndi Lauper, Chris Isaak, Ziggy Marley, Huey Lewis, Chicago, Keane, Anna Nalick, and Hilary Duff. Most recently, Bertman was humbled and honored that the Evers’ family commissioned her to paint civil rights activists Medgar Evers’ and Myrlie Evers’ portraits for their private estate. Check out a whole bunch of her work at www.louisabertman.com.
Featured Writers Valentina I. Valentini is a freelance journalist and producer based in Los Angeles—and has the coolest name in this year’s Guide. She contributes to ICG Magazine, British Cinematographer, IndieWire.com, New York Magazine/Vulture.com, Variety and more. Recently, her father sat across from MovieMaker founder Tim Rhys at some awards ceremony. Hollywood legend has it, they exchanged pleasantries.
Stephanie Sellars is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, and actress. She recently returned from Paris where she wrote, directed, and starred in the short film “La Vie en Gris,” under the auspices of La Femis film school, and under the influence of good cheese and wine. She is completing a film MFA at Columbia University School of the Arts. You can learn plenty about her past and future projects on www.stephaniesellars.com.
For more than 15 years, Mark Sells has written about film as The Reel Deal, and can be heard weekly on 100.3 FM The Sound in Los Angeles—when the DJs aren’t playing “LA Woman” by the Doors (again!)—providing the latest in movie news and reviews. Based out of Denver, CO, he co-owns a production company, HFMedia, and is currently developing a handful of screenplays for the large and small screens. In addition to MovieMaker, Sells’ work can be seen regularly in Script, Relevant, and 303 Magazines. Visit him at www.thereeldeal.co (and that’s not a typo; it’s actually “.co” instead of “.com”).
David Largman Murray is a playwright, screenwriter, and (former) celebrity gossip blogger living in Los Angeles. He has an MFA from USC, and a Subaru Forester from his former roommate. What more does he need? You can learn about his past obsession with Double Gulps from 7-11 and see him do the weirdest audition ever over at www.davidlargmanmurray.com. He is currently in development on his first pilot (that’s television). MM
mmmmmmmmmmMANHAT TAN SHORT
NEXT MARCH, ONE INDEPENDENT FILM WILL PREMIERE IN 100 THEATERS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.
AND IT COULD BE YOURS Next March, one independent film will debut at 100 theaters around the US — and it could be yours! Co-presented by MovieMaker Magazine, the MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival is launching a truly revolutionary project for helping i n d i e fi lm m aker s g ai n m aj or exposure for their work.
Offering unprecedented visibility, the Feature Film Project will premiere one film on one night on more than 100 screens across the country. Audiences will then get to vote on whether or not to bring the film back for a full, one-week run. If the majority says yes, the film comes back. It’s that simple.
TO SUBMIT YOUR FEATURE FILM
VISIT W W W. T H E F E AT U R E F I L M P R O J E C T. C O M
PG. 14 ADAPTING INDIE FICTION PG. 16 WRITING ON A SCHEDULE PG. 18 THE SECOND DRAFT
Form should not distract the spectator from the script’s content. The film’s moral should remain in sight without being concealed by ornamental details. Without this background there is no possible cinema.” — Luis Buñuel
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
screenWriting One cliché about screenwriting is that the hardest part about writing is sitting down every day to do it. But I find, actually, that the hardest thing to do by far is get up and re-enter the outside world when I’ve been on a roll for six hours. To make my reallife appointments, to reengage in everyday conversation, to press pause on the structural redesign and character development that obsesses me when I’m really working well: that’s the hard part. Editing a documentary is very similar—at least from my experience. I can recall way too many nights where I was racing to move scenes or lines of dialogue from one part of the timeline to another, making notes on what needed to be said when, trying to finish surfing the wave of creativity I was on before the sun came up. In fact, I find it almost impossible not to work through the night when I’m making a compelling, dramatic documentary because, unlike writing a pre-scripted, acted film, when you’re “writing” a doc you have video and audio streaming out of the screens in front of you, impelling you forward. With a doc, I would say 10 percent of the writing takes place during preproduction, 20 percent takes place in the field during production (the percentage is even higher for experienced director/editors, capable of conceiving
the edit and connective tissue as they shoot), and 70 percent happens during post-production. The 70 percent of the writing of a documentary that takes place in the editing room is a very different experience than the scriptwriting of an actor-driven film. Doc writing is alive and noisy and in your face. You compare lines of dialogue— maybe you have a similar thought spoken five different times by the same person, at different times, or by five different people—and you need to choose which line works best in your film. You line these up, and when inevitably the film is too long, or people say “um” too much, you prune. You cut and hone to
For pre-scripted, acted films (I keep making this distinction because I believe great documentaries can be just as narrative and dramatic as “narrative features”), I start by laying out the scenes in the order I imagine the story should be told, and then I start writing. Inevitably, more scenes get added while some get taken away, but if I keep the three act breaks in mind— along with what I hope to accomplish by the end of each one—I find that the structure presents itself. You just need to ride that horse without telling it too often where to go. My approach is pretty simple: Have people talk as realistically and
“Your script can always get better from draft to draft, as long as there is some time in between.” make sure the story hits emotionally, and that the arguments get made and the conflicts build logically—but not obviously. You then arrange the various elements of the narrative, connecting them with voiceover (if that’s what the piece is asking for), or by writing through your subjects’ words to bring to life your story without additional narration.
efficiently as possible. I believe that making documentaries and studying the way people express themselves has helped me immensely in writing authentic characters. And I always try to keep in mind that the script is never really done; it can almost always get better if I give myself time between revisions. Distance provides incredible perspective. MOVIEMAKER.COM
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
Carmiel Banasky and Christopher Robinson
adapting indie fiction A resource for finding the right story for your film
ou’ve been working on your first script for a year and a half. Maybe you got a lukewarm reception at your first staged reading last month, or maybe that .FDX file is still languishing half written on your desktop. Either way, you feel like the problems with your script are related to the urgency of the story itself. You’ve mined your imagination and personal experience for a compelling narrative, but you just can’t seem to get any traction. The thought has crossed your mind to adapt a book, but you discarded it, assuming the hassle and expense of optioning fiction was outside your price range. Well, guess what: It might be a lot more cost-effective than you think. The Big Six publishers (think Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster) are in dire straits. They can’t afford to take risks. Thus, many great books that they would have published five or 10 years ago are now ending up at small, independent presses. In many ways, this is a good thing—for authors, who now get much more attention (though smaller advances), for readers, who now have a wealth of innovative and quality literature (much of it free if they’re willing to do a little digging), and for screenwriters looking for material to adapt With a small press it doesn’t cost $50,000 to option a great book. One of the great advantages of dealing with small presses is that they are vastly more approachable and likely to work with producers of limited means. Dzanc Books is a perfect example of an independent press that is eager to attract filmmakers. They have an impressive list of titles (see below) ready to be optioned. A one to five-year option may cost you around $10,000, though Dzanc, like many independent presses, is open to negotiation on a case-by-case basis. For example, they may accept a smaller option for a larger share MOVIEMAKER.COM
of the exercise of that option. With any press, big or small, we recommend legal help when entering negotiations. You can contact Dzanc Books directly about film rights. Some small presses, though, outsource their rights/acquisition departments. You can find this information on the contact pages of their websites. Grove and Counterpoint (the umbrella press to Soft Skull, see below) have a rights guide easily accessible, with contact info, subagents, and recent sales. But which presses should you approach? Which publishers have consistently good titles? Where is the best debut fiction? Below we’ve tried to answer these questions, looking both at independent presses and at literary journals, which are publishing today the authors who will become tomorrow’s best sellers. We’re also particularly excited about the novella as a form ideal for adaptation. The closer your script length is to the page count of the book you’re adapting, the less you have to cut. The publishers listed below take risks, mining the corners of our literary landscape for new voices, challenging storytelling as we know it—which is, after all, exactly what independent filmmakers set out to do.
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
City Lights Publishers www.citylights.com/publishing/
Glimmer Train www.glimmertrain.com/
Named for the San Francisco bookstore that started it all, City Lights
Unlike most journals that publish award-winning fiction, two sisters
is a counter-culture mainstay with a timeless yet progressive bent, cur-
run the whole Glimmer Train show. They only publish unsolicited
rently trailblazing genres like LGBT literature. Still proud of having first
fiction, favoring pieces by emerging writers. Expect stories with lots of
published Ginsberg’s Howl, they now publish authors such as Rebecca
emotional engagement, traditional narrative arcs, and family themes.
Brown (The Haunted House; Annie Oakley’s Girl), Thomas Glave (The Tor-
Their summer issue featured Claire Vaye Watkins, recently chosen as
turer’s Wife; Whose Song), and James Purdy.
one of the five under 35 by the National Book Foundation.
Coffee House Press www.coffeehousepress.org/
Ben Lerner, Rikki Ducornet, Kenneth Koch, Sam Savage, and Patricia
John Freeman runs one of the most worldly and far reaching liter-
Smith are just a few great writers from this indie press. Newer award-winners
ary journals, with authors and stories from every continent. This
and acclaimed books include Leche by R. Zamora Linmark and Drowning
breadth of work is brought together under one theme per issue. Some
Tucson, Aaron Michael Morales’ debut (which Coffee House is calling
samples: Medicine, Horror, Aliens, Pakistan, The F-Word. There’s a
“a southwest version of HBO’s ‘The Wire’”). Coffee House press is often
lot here that might be adaptable, from Vanessa Manko’s “The Inter-
experimental and dark, and always full of imagistic, lush language.
rogation” to Philip Klay’s “Redeployment.”
This press is full of award-winners, but is still an underdog of the
McSweeney’s is many things: the Quarterly Concern, one of the most
publishing world. Some of the reasons we like them is they give a
innovative and lauded literary journals in the country; The Believer, a
free e-book with the purchase of any print book. Also, their books
monthly literary and culture magazine; the Internet Tendency, a literary
run the thematic gamut, encompassing epic tales and intimate family
humor site; and a publishing house. Through these outlets, Mc-
dramas. They celebrate debut authors like Aaron Burch (How to Predict
Sweeney’s has put out acclaimed fiction by Jonathan Lethem, Michael
the Weather) as well as renowned greats such as Jonathan Baumbach
Chabon, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, and, of course, Dave Eg-
(Dreams of Molly). Other titles to note: The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by
gers (McSweeney’s Founder). This is the place to turn to if you’re looking
Hesh Kestin (a recent sale now being readied for filming); and What
beyond traditional narratives for work that might inspire experimental
the World Will Look Like When the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg.
or fantastical cinema.
Narrative Magazine www.narrativemagazine.com/
Grove/Atlantic is on the larger side of the independent presses.
Narrative Magazine, edited by Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks, is free
Their reputation started with Burroughs, Kerouac, and Ginsberg, and
and digital (no print edition), but don’t take this as a sign of low quality.
extends into today with Jeanette Winterson, Jim Harrison, and Sherman
Stories published in Narrative regularly go on to win Pushcart Prizes,
Alexie. New books to look out for (that we personally think would make
Pen/O. Henry awards, and are frequently included in the Best American
fabulous adaptations) are Josh Weil’s The New Valley, Ryan Boudinot’s
Short Stories anthologies. They also publish novellas. Check out Nathan
Blueprints of the Afterlife, and Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name.
Poole’s “Stretch Out Your Hand” and Skip Horack’s “The Cryptozoologist.”
Soft Skull (an imprint of Counterpoint) www.softskull.com/
Where celebrities shoot birds, where a killing spree ain’t no thing,
In order to encourage a variety of aesthetics and literary circles, each
and where there is nothing to eat but oatmeal that tastes like sweaters
issue of Ploughshares is guest-edited by a prominent writer. In the past,
are the adventures, amongst others, you’ll find in Love in Infant Monkeys
editors have included Raymond Carver, Sherman Alexie, and Richard
by Lydia Millet (a Pulitzer Prize finalist book), Deliver Me From Nowhere
Ford, to name a few. Check out Thomas Lee, who won the first annual
by Tennessee Jones, and Cool For You by Eileen Myles. You might also
Ploughshares Emerging Fiction Writers Contest. Of particular interest is
take a look at Counterpoint, their mother press.
Ploughshares’ new P-Shares Singles, a monthly e-book series of novellas.
Graywolf Press (www.graywolfpress.org/) Guernica Editions (www.guernicaeditions.com/) Milkweed (www.milkweed.org/) McSweeney’s (see Literary Journals)
A Public Space (www.apublicspace.org) Agni (www.bu.edu/agni/) Tin House (www.tinhouse.com) Zoetrope: All Story (www.all-story.com/) MM MOVIEMAKER.COM
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
writing on a schedule A Wake-up Call for Writers who Want to be More Efficient
ave you ever wondered if the characters in your unfinished screenplay will finally get so tired of waiting for you to wrap up their story that they just write the rest of it themselves? Real life, alas, has a pesky way of encroaching on the time you need for your “reel” life. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “But there aren’t enough hours,” consider this article your wakeup call. You actually have all the hours you need to keep on schedule with your screenwriting; you simply need to allocate them more efficiently.
If the boss at your day job gives you a task, there’s probably a due date attached to it. In contrast, writing is a solitary craft that too often allows for a “get-to-itwhen-I-get-to-it” mindset. Unless there’s a specific deadline looming, it’s too easy to let a project languish by falling back on the excuse that your muse just isn’t cooperating. Well, it’s time to readjust that attitude, put on a “boss” hat, and become more accountable for product delivery. Let’s say you’re writing a 100-page script and you’re set on a four-week deadline. (I hate word/math problems as much as the next person, but it actually works for this example.) At a glance, you can see that in order to meet this goal you need to produce 25 pages a week (five pages per day if you take weekends off). It’s really not that much, but where most writers err is in editing as they go. Do not do this. Just write. Edit when you’re finished. If you edit as you compose, you’re going to spend way too much time agonizing over the perfect first line and never get to the second one. Another approach is to commit to writing one page a day for 100 days. Even if you have a wild spurt of creativity and write 10 pages in a single afternoon, it doesn’t let you off the hook for the next 10 days; it just means you’re that much farther ahead. We’ll still expect the mandatory one page from you tomorrow. Psychologists MOVIEMAKER.COM
Photo by: Frank Kelly
By the Numbers
Preparing the day’s sides. say it takes 21 days to incorporate a new habit into your behavior. If you steadfastly apply this to a daily writing schedule, you couldn’t not write on day 22.
The Cliffhangers Back when I was penning romantic suspense novels for HarperCollins, I worked with several women who were voracious readers. Rather than join a local critique group of writers, I found it more valuable to give test-drives of my material to people who actually represented my target demographic. Every Friday afternoon, I’d distribute copies of my latest chapters. Since it was my style to end each one with a cliffhanger, they’d usually accost me first thing Monday morning and demand
to know what happened next. I dared not show up empty-handed. Whether you recruit your own readers or work with writing partner(s), engaging others in your writing process is a powerful motivator to impose stick-to-itiveness. If you don’t have access to supporters to push and prod you along, the next best thing is to never end your writing day at a point where it’s too hard to restart. Finishing a scene, for instance, makes you feel less inclined to begin a new one than if you end in the middle of a line: “Oh, Jeffrey, I know it’s bad timing but there’s a—” There’s a what???? Yes, you know what “it” is and it’ll drive you crazy to have to wait a day to type it.
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Use that “crazy” to energize yourself. Treat your writing sessions like a timed test; when the buzzer goes off, take your hands off the keyboard. Expand your mental margins by registering at OneWord.com, a fun site that gives you 60 seconds to submit the first thing that pops into your head.
The CompeTiTive edge Contest deadlines wait for no one. Some of them, in fact, even offer earlybird discounts. In an uncertain economy, who wouldn’t want to save some money? Contests not only push you to meet/beat a deadline, but placement in the most prestigious ones’ top tier can also open doors to production. In addition to the plethora of contest listings at www.moviebytes.com, check out BlueCat Screenwriting, PAGE International, NaNoWriMo (for novels), NaScWriMo (for screenplays), Writer’s Digest (w/ categories for film and TV), and fellowship opportunities such as Nicholl, Walt Disney/ABC, American Zoetrope and Nickelodeon.
Finding The 25Th hour Could your writing schedule use an extra hour? Of course it could, but to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “The Isla de More Time cannot be found except by those who already know where it is.” If you want to keep to a code of high productivity, it starts with aggressive decluttering. For a single day, record exactly how much time you spend checking email, surfing the Internet, reading TMZ gossip, looking for lost notes, and playing computer games. Yikes! Who’d have imagined how it all adds up! • If you live with others, how often do they interrupt and derail your train of thought? Writing is your job. Insist on respect. • Learn keyboard shortcuts to save typing time. (http://www.microsoft.com/ enable/products/keyboard.aspx) • Consolidate or delegate your errand-running. • Identify your most productive writing zone and consistently stick to it. • Remove distractions from your workspace.
• Get up earlier; go to bed later. • Read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Kenneth Atchity’s A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write, and Pilar Alessandra’s The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time. • Invest in electronic programs such as NewNovelist.com, StoryCraft, Quick Story, Writer’s Café, Writer’s Blocks as well as voice recognition software. • Use rewards—a spa day, chocolate, new shoes—to stay motivated. (Didn’t you always do your homework faster when you knew you could go play afterwards?) Inspired? Great! Now get back to your characters. They’ve missed you. MM
Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author, professional ghostwriter and script consultant whose credits to date include 30 books, 149 stage plays, five optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews. Learn more at www.authorhamlett.com.
SCHOOL OF FILMMAKING Susan Ruskin, Interim Dean
animation cinematography directing film music composition (MFA) picture editing & sound design producing production design screenwriting
Alumni Danny McBride and David Gordon Green at the UNCSA School of Filmmaking Studio Village
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David Largman Murray
The Second draft When You Think You’re done,
Photo by: Blessing Yen
You’ve Only Just Begun
Persian tea and scene preparation.
he truth about writing is that most of your time is spent rewriting. That’s not the most inspiring thing to hear when you’ve just completed the most perfect first draft anyone’s written since Edward Albee wrote Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf in a weekend. The problem is, in 99.9 percent of cases, your first draft is unfilmable.
In figuring out the best way to tackle the “second draft,” you’ll find the process comprises a maddening number of mini-drafts, all working toward the goal of writing a screenplay that’s at the very least not embarrassing, and at the very most, a work of utter genius. When you’re done with your “utter genius” draft, then you can tell people you wrote it in a weekend. I’m not implying that’s what Edward Albee did, of course...
Take Time Away You should take some time away from your first draft to forget about MOVIEMAKER.COM
the project and gain perspective. Two weeks is probably fine, more than two months and you may lose some enthusiasm. Read a book. Take up a new hobby. Take that cross-country road trip you and your high school amigos have been planning for decades. Go to the Bahamas and become a paragliding instructor. See, rewriting can be fun, and more importantly, easy.
Assess The Situation After you’ve had some time away from your screenplay to rejuvenate your withering mind, body and soul, print it out. When you read it, try to have the experience of an audience member seeing your movie for the first time, or an executive reading it on her iPad while using an elliptical and watching last night’s “Honey Boo Boo.” In some severe cases, a major overhaul is required. The protocol here changes depending on how lousy your first draft really is.
Let’s say the entire concept of your film rings totally false. Maybe the central character you’re writing isn’t really the main character of the story you’re trying to tell. Maybe you’re telling the story in present day, and really, the story wants to take place a hundred years ago, or a hundred years from now. When considering those kinds of changes—big ones, crazy ones— don’t just dive right into Final Draft or Movie Magic and start hacking away. Even though moviemaking is fundamentally storytelling, sometimes you need to step outside the movie-box to see what story you’re really trying to tell without the whiz-bang-pop of cinematic conventions. In these cases, I would recommend that you explore telling the story in a different medium. Write it as a five to 25-page short story. Try writing it as a persuasive essay, a children’s story, or even, as David Seidler did with his Academy-Award-winning screenplay for The King’s Speech: rewrite it as a play. Rewriting your script as a play = Oscar gold.
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Re-outline Re-outlining gives you a bird’s eye view and helps you familiarize yourself with how your story operates structurally. It’s also a great way to ease back into the groove of writing your script because it’s busy work, so there’s nothing really stressful or writerly about it. Write each slugline and a brief description for each scene. In general, if it’s hard to write a one-sentence description of a scene, it’s a problem scene. Once you’ve got a brand new outline of your script, specify the changes you want to make in a different color font so you can get a sense of how much work you’re going to have to do when you look at the document as a whole. Execute these changes as best you can. After you’re done with this mini-draft, it’s a good time to get a deeper sense of what’s working and what’s not.
Get Feedback In the journey from first draft to finished film, you’re going to get tons of feedback from everyone, and some of it may piss you off. That’s okay. You’re going to want a lot of people to see this film, so you might as well start to get a sense of what people think of it. Be selective about who you send this draft out to, though. Don’t send it to an agent or a perspective producer or an actor friend who just got big. Send it to someone you took a screenwriting class with; send it to a friend who expressed interest in reading; send it to your sister’s boyfriend who works at a video store (just kidding, no one works at a video store). As you’re processing the feedback, it’s important to remember a few things:
Consider the source. Your brilliant rocket scientist friend may have some issues with the physics of that one scene where your main character is thrown across the room after stepping on a live wire. But consider, is this rocket scientist going to be in the audience for your film? And even if he is in the audience, doesn’t he just bitch about every physics mistake in every movie no matter what? Why’d you give your screenplay to this guy in the first place? Go write another proof, Einstein.
Read the feedback with blurry vision. Seriously. It’s really important to hear what kind of feedback people are giving you in general, but the “in general” part is key. Think about why you’re getting the notes you’re getting. Don’t just look at the note, look at the note behind the note; be a note whisperer. Because while your sister’s boyfriend who works at the mythical video store has an incredibly valuable perspective, he might not know what the hell he’s talking about when it comes to fixing your screenplay.
Don’t be a little bitch. If three or more people are all saying the same thing about a certain aspect of your script, make the change. If you want to be stubborn about it, get really drunk before you edit. Because usually, the notes that aggravate you the most are the ones that are speaking some truth about your script. When you’re done with this draft, it’s time for a reading, and that’s actually fun—and not fake fun, like when I talked about how fun rewriting is.
Host Readings If I’m doing a significant rewrite of a script, I like to host two readings. I know, so decadent! But readings are the ultimate perspective shifters. Just as when you print out your screenplay, and suddenly reading it on paper makes it feel like a different script, hearing your script in actors’ mouths transforms your perception of the work.
“Don’t just look at the note, look at the note behind the note; be a note whisperer.”
I like to have a low-stakes reading and a higher-stakes reading as benchmarks in the rewrite process. The low-stakes reading is between a few writerly friends: non-actors reading several roles, laughing as people try out their “old woman” voice or Swedish accent. Afterwards, host a casual discussion. Sometimes, when people are talking about your script, it’s easy to go into your head and let your ego react to every note that’s given. Don’t give yourself that opportunity, because it’s a waste of time and valuable perspective. As people talk, I recommend that you don’t look at them or say anything in response, just try to write down literally every word they say while vigorously nodding your head to validate them. If you write everything down, you don’t have to completely listen to and process everything all at once, so it’s less overwhelming. Did I mention you’ll be serving pizza and lukewarm soda afterwards? I told you, this is fun. After you’ve done another mini-draft based on the feedback from the last reading, you should have a second, fancier reading with actors. This is the reading you want to invite your crush to. Make sure they’re the last to leave. The idea here is to get a better sense of how your script looks and feels as a movie. After the applause, standing ovations, and cries of “Bravi!” have died down, ask your audience (and actors) to be so kind as to write some anonymous feedback. Giving someone a hard surface to write on lets them know you mean business. I’d avoid a big group discussion here because those can go on way too long and make the audience feel like they’re being held hostage. Some people may sneak out without writing their comments, promising to email their notes later tonight. This email will never arrive. Don’t read too much into this. If everyone sneaks out without writing comments, saying they’ll email you, that may be an indication of where the script stands. In this case, you may have to repeat the entire process over again. This brings me to another sad truth about writing. When you think you’re done, you’ve only just begun. But that next rewrite, that will be fun. MM MOVIEMAKER.COM
PG. 22 OUTSIDE THE CROWD PG. 24 STRAIGHT SHOOTING PG. 28 THE HAPPY HUSTLER PG. 30 CAST & CREW: UNION VS. NON-UNION PG. 32 PRODUCING’S SACRED TRINITY I do a tremendous amount of planning and try to anticipate everything that is possible to imagine prior to shooting the scene. But when the moment comes, it’s always different. — stanley kubrick MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Pre-Production To ensure your pre-production period is as successful as possible, remember always that luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Forget that, and you and your team aren’t going to be among the lucky ones. Don’t allow yourself to get into a position where you see an opportunity and don’t have the resources to seize it. Pre-production is more than simply having a lot of meetings; it’s about hiring the very best players for every role, both in front of the camera and behind. The more creative and logistical preparations you can make before production starts, the better. Unforeseen problems and opportunities will surface during production, and you need to be nimble in the moment. If you draw a detailed roadmap for your film, but also study the alternate routes, you’ll know where and how you can deviate from your plan if the occasion arises. But more importantly, you’ll know how to get back on track when you veer off the road. In pre-production for a documentary, more than anything you’re formulating your thoughts about why you’re setting out to tell this story. Ask yourself, “What questions do I want people to ask themselves after watching my film?” Remember, too, that whatever draws you to make the film, even if you have an idea of your point-of-view, it’s important to let the audience arrive at its own conclu-
sions. You might be surprised to find that your perspective changes once you start capturing the footage that you’ll use to tell your story. In the non-fiction world, a lot of pre-production is dedicated to researching your subject matter, but it’s also the time when you purchase or rent whatever gear you need. If you aren’t shooting on a Red or an Alexa, I recommend buying. Most likely, you’ll need to run and shoot at a moment’s notice.
living, breathing documentary leads to five more! Pre-production on scripted and unscripted films is also when you’ll be raising funds. You’ll be calling the rich (and poor) people you know, pitching and re-pitching your project. Perhaps you’ll even put together a sizzle reel to bring your vision alive so you can excite potential investors. The good news is: All of this work— every pitch; every rejection; every moment you decide what to pursue
“Remember that whatever it is that is drawing you to make this film... it is important to let the audience arrive at its own conclusion.” And 99 times out of 100, your shoot will go on much longer than you ever imagined. When you’re budgeting, you need to figure out travel—how many trips you anticipate the film requiring (double that number), and how many days you’ll be shooting (double or triple that number, too). Every interview on a
or disregard based on what you’ve researched—is a valuable part of the filmmaking journey and helps you hone your vision. You’ll get more efficient with each film, but each project entails some wasted energy. Don’t let this dissuade you. Every sincere effort you make in the service of your film helps you discover the story. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Valentina I. Valentini
Successful Crowd Funding 2.0
Ways to Stand Above the Crowd When Crowd-Funding
s far as fundraising for your film goes, we all know that a decade ago you couldn’t reach a woman in Calgary who had some retirement money laying around that she just felt like giving to a struggling artist. You used to have to go door-to-door and beg money from heart surgeons and dentists. Now that you can reach that widow in Calgary via Kickstarter or IndieGoGo means you can spread out the burden of fundraising across a much wider swath of donors. But at the same time, you can no longer rely on the novelty of crowdfunding to generate interest and money for your project. Now you need a story to sell the story you’re trying to sell. MOVIEMAKER.COM
With that in mind, MovieMaker talked to a few filmmakers who reached or surpassed their fundraising goals by using creative and inventive publicity strategies to promote their crowd-funding campaigns.
Stay away from: “Please Give Me Some Money” Jeremy Lalonde, the writer and director of Sex After Kids, which raised $61,000 via IndieGoGo last April (122 percent of its $50,000 goal), did so, in part, by avoiding blatant queries for money. “It wasn’t about getting people to just return to our campaign page,” Lalonde says. “It was more like, ‘Hey, check out this funny interview.’ And
of course at the end of the video there was always a link to our campaign.” Lalonde released a new video every other week over his six-week campaign. When he was researching successful crowdfunding projects for the month and a half before he launched his own, he found a recurring theme: Even the most successful campaigns had a lag in the middle of their fundraising efforts. “During that middle stretch,” he recalls, “I made sure to make my videos even more compelling. One of them was me and one of the actresses dressed up as chipmunks and running around a local park. We also had each member of my fairly
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large ensemble cast fill out a survey related to the film’s subject that we’d release at a rate of one per day, just as a funny little thing that our contributors and potential new donators might find interesting.” There are instances, though, when it’s warranted to be barefaced about asking for money. Mosquita y Mari, a Kickstarter project that ended up doing well at Sundance last year, needed a big finish to close a $35,000 gap. In the final 48 hours, the campaign reached, then beat, its goal by $2,500—and more than half the backers donated less than $100 each. “There was a lot at stake during those final hours,” says writerdirector Aurora Geurrero. “So our last minute pitches to get people to donate really weighed heavy on this point. When people heard that the film was about to lose it chance to get made and was about to lose the significant amount of money it had already raised, I think that prompted many people come to its rescue.”
International Actors and Niche Issues Burn, a critically-acclaimed documentary about Detroit—told through the eyes of its firefighters who are tasked with saving a city that many have written off as dead—had topical subject matter on its side. As producers Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez’s Kickstarter campaign built up its following, they began to generate a great deal of media attention, mainly because of the poignant story the film focused on. “That began to cross over into other groups like Denis Leary fans, firefighters in other countries and people who may not have known about it otherwise,” says Putnam. “We were also a bit unique in that the vast majority of our donors were interested in the fire service rather than documentaries or independent film, so they were firsttime Kickstarter users.” And this isn’t a point you should overlook: Artists might be fatigued by crowdfunding requests, but the rest of the world isn’t. A smaller, but just as successful Kickstarter campaign, was Cash Black and Brett Edwards’ jointly-written “American Cowboys.” Again, because
of the uniqueness of the subject— a short film about roping, the only team sport in rodeos—their project gained interest from a niche crowd. Cowboys are a dying breed, but the remaining practitioners and the communities that support them remain passionate. The fact that Black and Edwards are ropers themselves gave the campaign added authenticity. Their goal was $5,000, but they raised $8,400, with a sizeable chunk of their money coming from people in the trenches of western culture who wanted to see their lifestyle positively portrayed on screen. The Texeiras, an old-time farming family from Santa Maria, CA and distant friends of Edward’s father, gave them their biggest donation. The campaign’s average donation was $106, whereas the Kickstarter mean for film campaigns is $88. Sex After Kids’ donations came from 26 different countries, mostly from complete strangers. This was due in part to the fact that Lalonde had cast a couple of actors from a popular SyFy show, “Lost Girl.” Their international recognition and fan base helped spread the campaign’s reach even further. “Our average donation was $120,” says Lalonde. “With 70 percent or more coming from strangers. I had three people give us $5,000 each and I didn’t even know them. One wanted to shadow the process of filmmaking— a sort of cheaper film school, I guess— and one was a software developer with kids who just wanted to give back to the arts community.”
Raising Funds is a Job, Not a Hobby For Sanchez, Burn’s Kickstarter campaign was a full-time job for at least six weeks. She found that you have to constantly be stoking the fires (pun donated by Putnam) with your audience, feeding them new videos and news about the film to keep them coming back (something Lalonde also did with his IndieGoGo campaign). “For most potential donors it takes hearing about something at least three times before they pay attention,” says Sanchez. “We also had a theory, which seems to have proven true: It’s not about what we want, it’s about what
they want. Our audience wanted to see more of the film and rewards that made sense to them.” Putnam says their focus was always on what they were giving, not what they needed. “One thing we did that most other films don’t do was steer clear of offering advance sales of the DVD for the film,” explains Putnam. “That’s allowed us to launch a second Kickstarter campaign where we are offering pre-sales of the DVD so we can raise money to self-distribute the film.”
Compel People to Give Money Fundraising marketing techniques, whether deliberate or not, can and should be distinct. American Cowboys strategy was all about heart—reaching for the heart of the family, the heart of America, the heart of a dying culture. The same thing holds true with Burn, tugging at regular citizens’ heartstrings, making them aware of the horrible conditions in the Detroit fire department. “Our Kickstarter video was a combination of sizzle reels we had previously posted online, as well as some new footage,” says Putnam. “We wanted to create something exciting that gave people both a taste of the characters and the look of the film. Most crowdfunding videos seem to feature the filmmakers, which is something we steered clear of. Since our Kickstarter audience is people like the firefighters, we tried to keep the look and feel of the videos as close to a commercial trailer as possible.” Even though Edwards and Black aren’t real-life brothers, they had the idea that their Kickstarter video would incorporate that brotherly banter dynamic that is in the American Cowboys script. “If you give Cash a topic,” says Edwards, “he can run wild with it. My job with Kickstarter was to reign him in.” So, is a successful crowdfunding campaign in the luck of the draw? Is it about having novel subject matter? Or does success hinge on the presentation of that story? The answer is: All of the above. But what all these campaigns have in common is each forms a personal connection with its audience. Never forget that. Your film depends on it! MM MOVIEMAKER.COM
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straight shooting How to talk to investors about the business of making movies
ilm, due to its synthesis of so many distinct disciplines, is probably the most complex of all art forms. It is a major accomplishment to complete any movie— even a mediocre one—and a small miracle to make a film that fuses its myriad components into a coherent, singularly expressive whole. In part because of its complexity, film is also the art form most dependent upon money for its creation and delivery. The availability of inexpensive sound and video equipment and low-cost editing software in recent years has made it possible to do much more with much less, but moviemakers must still contend with the fact that a marketable film with high production values is usually an expensive endeavor. For most of us, this means that we need to find people who are willing to invest a significant amount of their cash into our dreams. The uncertainty of the impact of any work of art takes on special resonance when other people’s dollars and trust are at stake. Add the statistical reality that the vast majority of independent films, regardless of artistic merit, lose money, and we have ourselves a good old-fashioned quandary. How forthright should a filmmaker be to potential investors? Is it possible to raise money if you tell the whole story? Yes, it is, but we, the filmmakers need to have a handle on the whole story ourselves before we attempt to convey it. The murky world of business plans, revenue streams, profit margins and projections is often intimidating to artists, whose energies are necessarily focused on their creative work. Moviemakers who are not independently wealthy need to know about business—specifically the business of selling films—in order to communicate effectively with potential investors. The more we know, the more confidence we will inspire, and the more likely we will be able to develop lasting,
positive relationships with financiers. It’s worth taking a moment to discuss a few budget-related funding models. Micro-budget Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign-funded projects may or may not carry the expectation of profitability. This is a game-changing development in independent film financing. The new supporter/artist relationships born out of these arrangements are developing cultures of their own, with evolving rituals and expectations. Social networking can be utilized powerfully to develop a following, and there are more and more examples of filmmakers successfully employing these tools to establish themselves, and eventually make money from their efforts. Transparency, faithful updates, and direct engagement with supporters will undoubtedly remain central to successful crowd-funded projects. Independent films in the $100,000 to $2 million budget range are often financed exclusively by private equity investors, and involve perhaps the most sensitive producer/investor relations. Distribution is typically not guaranteed, and nationwide DVD sales and respectable deals in foreign markets are needed to recoup funds. Most movies with budgets over $2 million, and some with less, have cast elements whose names can secure foreign presales or gap financing (wherein a producer completes his financing package via a loan secured against the film’s unsold territories). Distribution, to one degree or another, is arranged in advance, which may ameliorate the risk. Major studios finance and distribute themselves, so they are a whole other kettle of fish. Film investment is best suited to successful business people who customarily allocate a portion of their portfolios to high-risk ventures. Financing a film via the non-profit sector is not without precedent, but it can get quite complicated because ownership necessarily divides when
distribution contracts are negotiated. From an entertainment law standpoint, the non-profit, philanthropic world isn’t a comfortable fit with for-profit companies. Wealthy patrons of the arts, therefore, tend to lend their support to non-profit arts organizations such as theatres, orchestras and museums. Film investors, by contrast, tend to be more in the business of making money than in the business of supporting the arts. As competitive as the non-profit world is, it is easier to raise money for a non-profit arts organization than it is to find financing for an independent film. This is because business people expect to see a plausible road to profitability before they will seriously consider investing their money. Most potential investors understand that film is highly speculative, so daunting statistics may not immediately scare them off. They are more likely to be deterred by a sense that the filmmaker has his or her head in the clouds and is not clear on the specifics of the trajectory of the film, and how it might make a profit. Cinderella stories in all fields of entrepreneurship emerge from the rubble of failed forays with a combination of skill, knowledge, vision, integrity, grit and luck. Venture capitalists are on the lookout for entrepreneurs exhibiting these attributes. They invest in the person, because they understand that behind every great product is a visionary with chops and moxie. Maybe you are one of those people. If you’re not, you need to become one! Success begins and ends with your skills. The beauty of today’s technology is that it allows moviemakers to develop their craft by making their own movies at low cost. Before attempting a full-scale feature film with high financial stakes, it is a great idea to make at least one smaller film—as many as it takes, really, to gain the hands-on experience you need, and to have something to show for yourself.
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As you go, remember that the screenplay is the center of moviemaking. Learn about storytelling. Learn about acting. Learn about cinematography. Learn about production and post-production sound. Learn about music. Learn about art direction, costumes and props, special effects and, most of all, editing. Learn in film school or in the school of hard knocks, or both. Be bold, and dive right in. Investors want to see core confidence and the courage to make decisions of consequence under pressure. Stay humble, but practice trusting your instincts and your vision. Surround yourself with others you trust, and make it happen. Remember, too, that the only way to learn is to make
due to uninformed, well-intentioned producers. At worst, it constitutes outright deception and contributes to the common conviction that film producers are not to be trusted. It is important for investors to understand that in a traditional theatrical distribution deal, the exhibitor takes about half of the Box Office Gross, and the rest goes to the distributor. Out of those Box Office Rentals, the distributor deducts its Prints and Advertising costs (likely in the tens of millions of dollars for a wide theatrical release), along with other expenses, before divvying up the remaining revenue as dictated by the distribution deal. So, private investors in an independent film that secures a major theatrical
to a bottom-feeding distributor—and there are a lot of them. It’s a good idea to talk about these realities with your investors before you make the film. The chicken will come home to roost, and it’s much better to cover all the bases in advance. You should study the intricacies of distribution contracts so you can catch red flags on your own, but it’s best to consult with an experienced producer representative or entertainment attorney before signing anything. Legal representation, and/or producer rep fees should be built into your budget. While investors will appreciate you not sugarcoating the long odds of film investment, they will want to hear about upside
“Learn in film school or in the school of hard knocks, or both. Be bold, and dive right in. Investors want to see core confidence and the courage to make decisions of consequence under pressure.” mistakes. When you fall on your face, try to take it in stride and view it as a little gift on the road to wisdom. Get back up, dust yourself off, and dive in again. Smart investors will appreciate your willingness to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. Creating a business plan tailored to your project is essential. Business plans should be realistic, with room for hope but with clear language on the possibility of failure. Many business plans for independent films center on examples of runaway hits, such as Once, The Blair Witch Project and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Impressive domestic and international box office figures are often presented as though they translate directly to investor profits. At best, this is
release will see only a small fraction of Box Office revenue. If they received a significant advance with the deal, the advance might be the last money they see. Foreign box office figures may have little correlation to investor profits because international deals are often structured as buyouts of given territories in various media. Investors usually receive only their percentage of the territory buyout, minus whatever deliverable expenses were required to seal the deal—even if the given foreign distributor yields
potential, too. Your enthusiasm and belief that you are the exception to the rule are important selling points. High-risk ventures need to offer potentially high rewards in order to justify the liability. On more than one occasion during presentations to potential investors I have been admonished, “After that, why would I want to invest in your film? Tell me something exciting!” So I’ve learned that while the nuts and bolts should be front and center, it’s OK to share one’s hopes and dreams, and yes, to talk about Cinderella stories—even while filling in the oftomitted
impressive box office numbers. Distributors drive the motion picture industry, and distributors make most of the money. Your business plan should reflect this reality, and should feature well thought-out backup options, including self-distribution strategies. Sometimes it’s better to hold on to what you have than to give it away MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Producers working with the Bosko Group find their feature-length films and documentaries successfully distributed on DVD to thousands of retail locations, as well as through the ever-growing digital and cable video-on-demand (VOD) market.
blanks. It’s good to remember, too, that many who invest in film are drawn to it because of its novelty and glamour, and they would like to be in on the fun. Finally, as you develop relationships with investors, recognize that business people and artists tend to look at money very differently. For starters, money is much more important to investors than it is to artists—a self-evident observation. This is a cultural difference that we need to take seriously if relations with investors are to remain congenial. Artists tend to use money as a means to an end. When we need more money, we tend to do what is required to obtain it, and then pour it into our work. When the work is complete, the expense feels thus justified. For most successful business people, the money itself is precious, and is only to be spent when the spending holds the clear promise of generating more money. Whatever our politics as likely members of the 99 percent, we can view this on a micro level as a kind of reverence of something cherished. It is therefore important for us to treat the money of our investors not as if it were our own— because we would likely not treat it as gently as they would, but as if it were something of real sentimental value to us that we hold dear to our hearts. Many investors care about their money that much. They really do. And since it’s theirs, we need to consider our stewardship of it as a sacred trust.
If we do everything in our power to protect their money, and stay in constant contact throughout the process, there is the possibility of remaining on good terms, regardless of the outcome. We might even get a second chance if things go south, because most investors know that everything of value is hard won, and that practice makes perfect. MM
Recommended Reading: Filmmakers and Finance: Business Plans for Independents, by Louise Levison www.moviemoney.com Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul, by The Film Collaborative, John Reiss and Sheri Candler www.sellingyourfilm.com Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films, by Tom Malloy shop.mwp.com
Dana Packard is a film and theatre director, editor and actor. With his partner, Jennifer Nichole Porter, he has produced the award-winning 16mm short, “The Ballad of Ida and Doob,” the critically-acclaimed Mr Barrington, and 40 West, featuring Wayne Newton, winner of 17 international awards, including Grand Jury Prize: Amsterdam Film Festival, and Best Director: NY Downtown Feature Film Festival.
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The happy husTler a LeSSon in Creative budgeting
f the rules don’t make sense, a hustler (and every independent moviemaker must be a hustler) knows to disregard the rulebook. The film industry stacks the odds against you, especially if you’re working outside of the system. So if you want to get your film made and then distributed with modest resources, you’re going to have to figure out a way to beat the house at its own game. With that in mind, here are some simple guidelines that will help you beg, borrow, and steal your way to success—or at least help you avoid failure before you’ve started. If you aren’t paying people, the food better be good. One heartening truth about entry-level moviemaking is your cast and crew care less about money, and more about getting treated well. If the food on your set sucks and you aren’t paying, get ready for a mutiny. However, if you can avoid
Photo by: Blessing Yen
MOVIEMAKER.COM CinematograPHer PeerS doWn From tHe rooF
the financially-driven impulse to order Dominos/McDonalds for every meal, you treat people with decency and respect, and you create an environment where they can practice their craft creatively, you’ll be amazed how quickly everyone forgets about their slave’s wage. Good food might cost a little more up front, but acting respectful is free—and both will pay major dividends in the long run. Minimize (or eliminate) money spent on permits and insurance, and use as few locations as possible. Keeping costs down starts with your script. If you know you don’t have any money, make a list of all the places you can shoot that you won’t have to pay to use, and tailor your script to them. If you really need a location that will cost money, take a small crew out to the location you need to steal, and do it incognito. If you’ve got a DSLR (any of Canon’s D-series cameras, for instance), pretend it’s a still photo shoot when the cops come. This might not work in LA, but you’d be surprised what you can get away with if you act like you know what you’re doing. And if you can’t steal a location, so long as you aren’t in LA or New York (but even sometimes there), approach the owners of an establish-
ment you want to incorporate into your film. From my experience, most people will actually be excited to help. And if you’re borrowing a restaurant or bar, you can always offer to hold your wrap party there. Small crews work harder and better. You don’t need very many people on set. Seriously, you don’t. When you get above seven or so, you’ll need someone just to manage your crew, and you can’t afford that. Accordingly, you’re way better off paying a small crew of essential people a little money than roping in a ton of people you don’t pay. A smaller crew means you’re more nimble, in large part because you can gather everyone in a small room and actually communicate with them. This intimacy leads to building a more engaged and ardent team, which will translate into fewer budget-crippling screw-ups. If you think you need 15 people on set, I challenge you to work with 10, and pay the important ones for their time (or barter!). Hire people with their own gear. If you’re cash-strapped, figuring out a way to reduce rental fees is just common sense. Instead of getting an insurance policy and wasting time with check-in/check out at a rental house, just take half the money you would have spent there and hire someone who has the gear you need. It’s easier to find these people than you think, and you’ll be getting a crewmember plus gear for half the money.
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Wrangle your DP’s equipment list. You’ve hired a DP named Dave. He’s fresh out of film school and excited to get his hands dirty on set. Ask him to make a list of all the gear he needs for the shoot. Without fail, Dave and his analogues will furnish an absolutely ridiculous list, replete with 6K lights and 200 feet of dolly track. When you have the list, though, make Dave get a quote for the package himself. When you see the quote, allow fear to take control of your body. But then, very politely, go through the list point by point, really challenging Dave on the necessity of each line item. Make him differentiate between “ideal” and “critical” equipment. Not only will you learn something from this equipment rundown, but if you do this together, you’ll find that the DP himself will cross things off the list, eliminating the non-essential items and coming up with creative solutions for the expensive-but-invaluable ones. If your DP really argues with you over a certain piece of equipment, let him win. But if he’s completely inflexible, don’t work with him. There are a bunch of Daves out there who can work wonders with very little. Be a better barterer. There’s nothing wrong with bartering to get things done. In fact, often times trade can be more effective than cash—especially when the cash you’re offering ain’t much. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your returns: a. Identify or learn a skill that few people have. For instance, I’m a professional colorist by trade. I can’t tell you how much good will and favors I’ve earned color-correcting other people’s work for free (not to mention the paid referrals my free work has generated). The reason? Not many people know how to color correct video, and fewer are any good at it. In all likelihood, though, you aren’t a colorist. But maybe you’re a graphic designer or a make-up artist. You could offer to do someone’s movie poster, or donate a weekend of hair and makeup in exchange for assistance on your set. But your skill needn’t be specifically movie-related. Maybe you’re a carpenter or a mechanic. Replace someone’s head gasket or build someone a table in kind for their work on your movie. The possibilities are literally endless. B. Own gear no one else has or wants to pay for. If you invest in film equipment instead of, say, a new car (an honest-to-god decision every filmmaker should consider carefully), you’re building real equity in the micro-budget film world. Whether
you’re taking out a loan for a Red Epic or an Arri Alexa, or saving up more reasonable sums for a 5D Mark III, a few extra EF prime lenses, or a stash of lighting gear, you can subsidize your own income by renting equipment out; or, better yet, you could become an indie hero by loaning your gear to friends and colleagues. If you don’t have the thousands of dollars to put toward big ticket items, but you have, say, a little extra space, put $100 into a good cloth greenscreen and lend out your living room, office, or spare bedroom as a greenscreen studio. c. Become a network for referring work to other people. Nothing will endear you more to people than putting money in their pockets. If you’re less of a craftsman and more of a networker, use your contacts to help people who you might need help from in the future. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you might be familiar with Lois Weisberg. She was the ultimate connector in Chicago, floating amongst myriad social groups, collecting friends and connecting them to people in other circles. If you’re the Lois Weisberg of your group, make introductions. Your beneficiaries will always remember where their fruitful new relationship started. If you aren’t Lois
came back months and even years later with paid work. My point here is, donating your time builds good Karma. Help out whenever you can, don’t keep score, and you’ll reap the benefits. e. Don’t let people take advantage of you. With all this talk about building good will through volunteering, you still always have to remember that some people will take advantage of your kindness. From my experience, though, you’ll know on a gut level when you’re dealing with a snake (if you can’t differentiate between genuine and disingenuous people, then you need to do more bartering). When you do encounter someone who you’re pretty sure is trying to screw you, figure out the best way to bow out graciously before getting in too deep. The best way to back out honorably, even if you’re negotiating with a dishonorable chap, is to say you’re too busy for the project (which is usually true), and pass the gig on to someone who really needs the experience/work. Sometimes a lousy job for you will be a great learning experience for someone else. But it’s your duty to warn the person you’ve referred about why you yourself turned the job down. If you aren’t honest, you could burn two bridges.
“If your DP really argues with you over a certain piece of equipment, let him win. But if he’s completely inflexible, don’t work with him. Weisberg yet, go out and volunteer on some sets. You’ll get the double benefit of doing someone a favor while simultaneously making new professional acquaintances. There’s a good chance you’ll learn something about making movies, too. d. Collect lots of favors that you never cash in. This might seem counter-intuitive on the surface, as barter is supposed to be an exchange of services. However, if everything you ever do for your comrades goes on a scoreboard, and you’re always holding the tally over their heads, people will just start resenting you. Some of the best gigs I’ve ever gotten came from helping people who couldn’t help me—at the time. But as their careers advanced, a lot of the people I gave my time to freely
If you take these lessons to heart, there’s a good chance you’ll make your dream project run cheaper and more efficiently. Work hard, help out, be creative, and perhaps most of all, make mistakes! If you learn from your screw-ups, you’ll just keep getting better at what you do. Happy hustling! MM
Sam Mestman is an editor and colorist in Los Angeles. While he specializes in indie film workflow and finishing, he has worked within the industry for places like Apple, ESPN, “Glee,” and the BBC. He is also the CEO and founder of We Make Movies (www.wemakemovies.org), a film collective in Los Angeles and Toronto that is dedicated to making the movie industry not suck. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Cast & Crew: Union Vs. Non-Union
Be Sure You Know What You’re Getting into
According to Jay Stern, New York-based moviemaker and founder of Iron Mule Comedy Film Series, “You can tell in an interview or audition if an actor or a crew member is going to be a problem. And from my experience there are people who are problems, not unions.” The collaborative nature of moviemaking demands complementary visions and communication skills, qualities that have nothing to do with whether someone is union or non-union. Actors generally are a mixed bag. You can get a terrible union actor or a brilliant non-union actor. When it comes to talent, many directors don’t care whether an actor is union or non-union. Yet Stern, who has worked with both union and non-union actors, finds it harder to find great quality non-union actors, especially older ones, now that SAG and AFTRA have merged. “But film is a unique medium,” Stern says. “…Many movies, for example Beasts of the Southern Wild, use non-professional actors to great effect. It might be more work for you as a director in some ways, but if you’re prepared for that then you can make it work.” Choosing between union or nonunion actors often comes down to fiscal priorities. If your goal is to cast name actors, you need to budget for that because unless maybe you’re related to them, they won’t work for free. If you could care less about names and just want to make your artsy film, don’t limit the casting to union actors. If a union actor auditions for a non-union film, you can still cast him. SAG actors are not supposed to work in non-union projects, yet many do anyway. The producer is not liable for the actor’s violation as long as it’s made clear that the production is non-union. Yet even with this freedom of choice, some indie moviemakers find dealing with SAG-AFTRA rules and regulations an expensive hassle. So, educate yourself. If you don’t do your homework, you could end up shooting a 16-hour day and later learn you have to pay your actors four hours overtime. Photo by: Ty Foster
aking movies is an exercise in the art of making difficult compromises. One of the biggest debates when making a film is whether to go union or non-union. This question is often dependent on budget. Bigger budget productions hire union cast and crew. Ultra low-budget films and student films usually favor non-union because they can’t afford to pay anyone. Seems simple. If you have the money, go union. But does union membership ensure quality? Sometimes. For technical crew positions like sound or camera assistants, you know that a union professional has the expertise to get the job done, while a student or someone working to gain experience is more likely to fall short. For example, on a film I directed, a non-union camera assistant accidentally deleted a whole day’s footage. Fortunately, it turned out the story didn’t need the lost scenes, but I could’ve done without the emotional stress. It pays to go union when technical skill is critical. Getting your sister to do makeup may save you money, but when that scar ends up looking like a waxy worm, you might regret it. However, when choosing your closest collaborators, union status should not be top on the list of deciding factors. With positions such as DP and Editor, many directors Sina j. henrie WAITS FOR ACTION agree that beyond talent and experience, the most important thing to consider is rapport. If you don’t get along with your editor, post-production will not only be a drag, your artistic vision may be compromised. If on-set conflicts get so bad you have to fire your DP, you lose time and money. Choosing an AD is another delicate matter that’s more dependent on style than professional status. Are you motivated by someone who behaves like an adversary, yelling and pressuring to excess? Or would you work better with someone who has a more supportive approach?
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“you can tell in an interview or audition if an actor is going to be a problem. but from my experience, the people are the problem—not the union.” But, if you think casting 100 percent non-union will avoid these problems, think again. Non-union doesn’t exclude productions from standard industry practice. Verbal agreements are legally binding, so if an actor sues a producer and takes him to court, the producer could end up paying according to a standard SAG or IATSE agreement. Feuer advises, “…with non-union, remember that you make the rules. You know you’re going overtime? Put it in the contract. You don’t want to pay rehearsals? Get it in writing. Be thorough. Make sure they understand what they’re getting into.” Legal issues aside, you can’t judge an actor’s talent or professionalism by her union card. Stern says, “You’d be hard pressed to be able to tell who is union and who is not when you watch [the] films.” What about writers? Again, it comes down to weighing skill against cost. If you’re a director or producer wanting to team up with a writer who is a member of the guild, you better be informed about WGA policies and pray there isn’t a writers’ strike during your contract. As with SAG, WGA requires writers to work only for union companies. Since the WGA strike of 2007-2008, WGA writers are now entitled to a piece of digital revenue, which may be something to consider on an independent production. Thinking about all these pros and cons can be overwhelming. Often a combination of union and non-union cast and crew works best, as long as you know what you’re getting into on both sides. Moviemaker Michelle Cohen had an enlightening experience with a union crewmember who showed up on set the first day, very jaded. “…(He) had barely read the script and was simply coming in to do a job...He was so amazed by the generosity of spirit and the happy atmosphere…that by the fourth day of shooting, he was baking cupcakes for the crew and quoting his favorite lines from the scenes…!” In the end, it boils down to hiring skilled people who have awareness and integrity. If you do that, union or nonunion, your moviemaking experience—and vision—will be far less compromised. MM
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David Albert Pierce, Esq.
The Producer’s Sacred Why a Trusted UPM, Accountant, and Attorney Can Be the Difference Between Success and Disaster
oviemaking is tough, especially for the producer. When you’re responsible for making sure the entire picture runs efficiently, sometimes you feel more like a punching bag than a team leader. That’s why a good producer recognizes the importance of aligning himself with key people to help defend against the blows. The truth is, three positions can make or break a producer’s ability to deliver a movie on time and on budget: the Unit Production Manager (UPM), Production Accountant, and Attorney. It’s essential that you select a UPM you trust and who has experience working within your budget range. Your first question should be, “Is the UPM in the Directors Guild of America?” If so, your next question should be, “Am I prepared to pay DGA rates and jump through DGA hurdles?” If not, you’ll need to select a non-union line producer. But if you’re prepared to sign on with a DGA UPM, you’ll need to understand the additional crew requirements (including a DGA director) and work rules, residuals, and union-required “reserves” that becoming a DGA signatory entails. You’ll also need to know how those requirements will affect your cash flow, and what effect that will have on your investors. Make sure your UPM is philosophically aligned with how you plan to shoot your film. A UPM who works mostly on major studio films is not going to get you the best prices on the things you need, because he has never been in a position where cost really matters. A UPM will determine your Day of Days and budget needs; a good one can perform scheduling and budget magic to your advantage. A bad one will rob you blind, and you’ll never even know what he did. The UPM makes sure that your orders and vision are being followed. That’s why it’s such a critical, trusted job. And unless MOVIEMAKER.COM
you already have an established relationship with a UPM, you should take a little bit of time to get to know multiple candidates and check their references before making your selection. While the UPM creates the budget and employs the crew, the production accountant is the individual who writes the checks and keeps a tally of your cash flow. Checks get cut fast and furious during production; a good, well-organized production accountant is essential for maintaining paper trails that ultimately you, your investors, taxing authorities, film commissions, and unions will want to see. Honesty, work ethic, math skills, organizational skills, and a familiarity with low-budget, independent filmmaking are essential to this position. To further enhance checks and balances, the producer, not the UPM, should select the
production accountant. If a production accountant and UPM don’t know each other, it’s more likely that they’ll view reporting to you as their ultimate duty. Finally, there’s the attorney (or attorneys). When the producer/attorney relationship works, it’s a beautiful thing. A skilled attorney can be that true consigliere and prove to be your most cherished asset during the filming process. Sometimes one attorney or law firm can wear many different attorney hats. At others, different attorneys fill different purposes during the different stages of production. During the entity formation and financing stages, you will need skilled legal finance counsel. Such work is separate and apart from production counsel. Apparently simple things like entity selection can be deceiving. For example, generally speaking,
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TriniTy: a Limited Liability Company (LLC) provides the optimal choice of entity for film production. However, an LLC is not always the right choice. If you film in New York, a C-corporation (as opposed to the often-utilized S-corp) is actually the entity necessary to best recover NY tax credits and to obtain those credits in a timely way to meet your cash flow needs. Out-of-the-box online corporate formation services won’t provide you with that information. Without that in-
formation at the very beginning, you won’t realize how screwed you are until it’s far too late to make corrections. You are not paying your legal finance counsel just to file a form and set up the production entity, you’re paying the legal finance counsel to ensure that the entity and the Articles of Organization are customized for your specific production. Even more importantly, legal finance counsel will lay out the strategies for your particular financing needs, ensure that
you properly comply with the lawful ways to accept money, and negotiate the best terms with financiers. Once you’re funded, you’ll need production counsel. You don’t pay production counsel just for fill-in-the-blank cast and crew contracts. You pay production counsel to ensure that those forms are tailored for your production (the way a physician ensures your prescriptions will not result in an allergic reaction when mixed with other medicines). In determining how much production counsel should cost, you will need to do a breakdown of your script in much the same way that you do a breakdown for any other line item.
“a good uPm can Perform scheduling and budgeT magic; a bad one can rob you blind, and you’ll never know whaT he did.”
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“insist on knowing what you’re getting for the price you’re paying. a good legal team is with you till the end.” How many actors? How many locations? What unique clearance issues exist in the script (are there a lot of name brands that are essential to the script)? Are there stunts? Is there nudity? How many unions are involved, and which ones? Are any of the actors children? What type of post-production activities touch upon legal issues? Is there a composer? Will there be a soundtrack? Will you want production counsel to assist in delivering the film to the distributor? All of these questions—and many more—translate into specific legal needs, and therefore, specific attorney time. Any UPM who fails to do a legal breakdown of the script, and instead just slaps down $10K on the legal line of the budget, or merely allocates a percentage of the overall budget for legal, is a UPM who you should quickly fire (or better yet, not hire in the first place). Prefixed, percentage-of-budget legal cost allocation is a red flag indicator for a UPM who’s failed to do a script breakdown, who’s probably never worked previously in a meaningful way with qualified production counsel, or worse, who thinks he can ameliorate your concerns by scribbling down the number he thinks you want to hear so his cookie-cutter budget works on paper. I assure you that if you don’t recognize that red flag, your actual costs will be extremely out of whack with the improvised “budget” you were provided. With such a UPM, you’re more or less guaranteed to encounter overruns during production, and massive extra expenditures during post-production—a time when the UPM has long since left the picture.
Now, if you only have a certain small dollar amount for production counsel, you’ll first need to consider what type of film you’re making. Certain scripts demand heavy lawyering. Just as each location adds a certain extra layer of costs to a film, so too does the addition of more legal issues arising from the unique needs of the particular script and the specific production. If you have kids in your script, but your budget is too small to pay for a studio teacher and for court ratification of their contracts, then you shouldn’t be producing this particular
movie. And if you’re willing to give a less-experienced attorney a chance, you might get a modicum of legal know-how, but you pay for the learning curve. Once your picture is complete and you’re fortunate enough to obtain distribution, employing distribution counsel to negotiate your deal with the distributor can be some of the best money you spend at a time when money is at its scarcest. Distribution contracts can be complex, and the simple ones can often be more deceiving than the complex ones. Your distribution counsel will guide you through that shark tank.
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While finance legal, production counsel, and distribution counsel have three very specific functions—often performed by different lawyers—some law firms (and even a few lawyers) are genuinely skilled in all three areas. Just as you need to take time selecting your UPM and accountant, you need to perform the same careful evaluation of potential attorneys. Ask questions. Check references. Inquire as to whether they have malpractice insurance and whether that insurance covers the particular facet for which you are employing them (many do not carry film finance coverage). And insist on knowing what services you’re getting for the price you’re paying. Quite often, the producer can pay less and receive better service if she selects a fullservice, quality firm and pays for all three branches of counsel at the outset. Remember, a good legal team is with
you from the earliest stages of development to distribution—and beyond. MM
David Albert Pierce, Esquire is Managing Member of Pierce Law Group LLP, a boutique entertainment law firm that has provided production legal services for marquee entertainment production companies (such as Morgan Creek, Lionsgate, Nu Image, Starz!/Encore, and Harpo Productions), as well as first-time filmmakers He has served as production counsel on the critically acclaimed Academy Award winning film The Artist, and has provided legal services on the blockbuster hit The Hunger games (and is currently working on The Hunger games 2). David regularly teaches at the UCLA-Extension program, as well as Loyola Marymount University. He is also Vice President and General Counsel at MovieMaker.
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A movie director is like a frontline commanding officer. He needs a thorough knowledge of every branch of the service, and if he doesn’t command each division, he cannot command the whole.” — Akira Kurosawa MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Production Directing requires you to make a million decisions every single day. I always laugh to myself when I realize after shooting for 14 hours that I’m unable to so much as decide what I want to eat. The sheer exhaustion of saying “yes” or “no,” or “a little this way,” or “let’s try it that way” for weeks on end is draining. If it’s a documentary shoot, my brain engages daily in a marathon of serious listening and mental gymnastics, extracting the lines of dialogue I need for my film, or following trains of thought I never thought I’d board in the first place. Either way, the kindest thing people around me can do after the battle of production is decide for me. You’re eating salad, Ondi! Production is a battle, by the way— no matter how prepared you are. Every day is a fight against time and the decay of quality. When you show up to set—whether that set is constructed or real—it never quite looks as it did in your mind’s eye. For me, that’s always the first element of surprise. But the army of undermined expectations that marches against you can feel endless. Learning to surf the waves of surprise (laughing whenever possible, smiling even if you need to reach down deep to find the humor) is critical. The director sets the vibe on the set, and if you’re feeling anxious, believe me, so is your crew. A healthy dose of anxiety is to be expected— is even important—but you have to shield your collaborators from
excessive apprehension. Make sure your collaborators remember that they’re living their dream. No job in film is an easy nine to five, so you can assume your crew has chosen to be there for a reason. But remind them of their importance by staying focused and positive. That’s how you can make the magic happen. In a scripted film, the script is truly just one tool in the toolbox. It’s the blueprint. No script should ever be considered the only source
word, the actors, the director, the cinematographer, the art director, and the other craftspeople who all bring their perspective to the show. Remain open to your team, but keep a handle on your internal compass. I often feel that directing is considering all ideas and knowing what to accept and what to gracefully reject. With a documentary, you must realize that production is an exploration of time and space, which changes with every interview or
“Every day is a battle against time, no matter how prepared you are... keep aN eYE on your internal compass.” of the spoken words that will end up on the screen. The actors are there to bring the script alive, and in many cases, to go off script entirely to find a deeper truth. That’s why I’d suggest you don’t view your actors from behind the monitor. Watch them and feel them, and then review what you saw first hand on the monitor afterwards to double-check your gut. The final film will be the result of a collaboration between the written
event you record. Remain fluid, and look for all the points of connection between the various players you are collecting along the way. If you can learn to edit, this is absolutely the best way to prepare yourself to direct. You will know exactly what you need to get out of an interview subject in order to form a complete and compelling film. You may not get a second chance at filming a subject, and you certainly never get to re-capture an actual event. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Recording live sound on The Postman Always Rings Twice
ou can shoot a narrative ﬁlm on a phone (the Korean moviemaker Park Chan-wook used 10 iPhones to shoot his theatrically-distributed short, “Night Fishing”), but you can’t record sound on one and expect to be taken seriously. Why audiences accept inferior visuals but reject low-quality audio may actually have Darwinian roots: Survival favors the hearing blind over the seeing deaf. But that’s an essay for another Guide. So, for now, take me at my word when I say you need good sound. Just like costuming, set design, and the rest of the artistic and technical disciplines associated with moviemaking, top-notch sound requires planning. And if you know some basic things to look for (or more accurately, listen for) in pre-production, and subsequently on your shoot, you can improve your production sound greatly.
Location Sound Challenges Each location presents its own special challenges audio-wise, and your producMOVIEMAKER.COM
tion sound team needs time to investigate as many as possible before you start shooting. Are you going to encounter issues with trafﬁc in the background? If you can’t use a lavaliere for each character (you may not have enough of them, or wardrobe doesn’t allow you to hide a mic), how will you record dialogue? Where is the on-set generator, and how will you hide the noise it makes? The simplest solution is: Go to the locations and listen. Anything you hear beyond your own breath has to be accounted for, because your microphones will pick it up. Remember, in a perfect world the only thing you ever actually record on set is an actor’s voice. Do everything you can to get as close to that serene, sonic state before you even start shooting.
Getting the Right Gear Optimally, you should have one lav for every character with a speaking role for each scene, and a shotgun mic for each camera. One common amateur move is plugging microphones directly into the
Photo: Courtesy of MGM Studios
Quiet on the Set!
Recording the Raw Sound You Need for Post
camera or DSLR. Don’t do this. Have you ever heard of a camera company touting how great their stuff sounds? Me neither. Cameras are designed to concentrate their technology on image quality. Keep the camera mic on, but only use that audio to streamline syncing your sound in the editing timeline. Plugging a microphone into a camera solely to save a small amount of money in the short term can easily backﬁre. Your sound will be vastly improved if you rent or purchase a separate sound recorder. Every rental house that lends out cameras rents stand-alone audio recorders—and they don’t cost much. All audio that your sound editor mixes into the ﬁnal show should be recorded into a unit like this.
Filling in the Gaps On set, your sound crew needs just one thing: Quiet. For 30 seconds before or after every scene, a sound crew needs to record what is commonly referred to as “room tone.” Don’t let the term fool you,
“Whatever you do, Don’t forget to record room tone!” though. Room tone applies to interior and exterior scenes. When recording room tone, make sure that everyone present for a given scene stays on set, perfectly quiet and still. The idea here is that you capture the native sound environment. In a small room with a big crew, even if everyone is dead quiet, their very presence affects the space’s acoustics. And the more conﬁned the space, the more a minor alteration (even something as seemingly negligible as adding or subtracting one crewmember) can affect tone. But now you might be asking, why do I need to record room tone? Simply put, your post sound editors will need it for ADR (“Additional Dialogue Recording,” which is the of dubbing quiet or missing
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
lines of dialogue), and for editing out imperfections you may not hear during the chaos of production. Was someone moving around off set? Room tone ﬁlls it. Did a cell phone (even on vibrate) go off? Room tone once again comes to the rescue. Did an actor sneeze between his scene partners’ lines? Room tone.
On-Set Checklist Before you start principle photography, you need to make sure your sound team is managing their data effectively and efficiently so that your Data Management Technician (DMT) can actually manage the audio ﬁles. First off, the sound team should be ﬁlling out a sound report. Like a script supervisor’s log, the sound recorder (or his assistant) should keep track of the ﬁle names for each take, whether the director liked the take or not, and whether or not there were any issues with the audio— such as a plane ﬂying overhead.
Another task to take care of before the cameras roll is establishing a readable nomenclature for labeling your sound ﬁles. If you use the default naming system on most recorders they’ll generate something pretty incomprehensible. No one will ever know what ﬁle “kl4jsxdf3a9is-001.wav” is. If you rename the ﬁles logically (for example “S1T1.wav” for Scene 1, Take 1), there will be a lot less confusion about what video clip a given audio ﬁle accompanies.
Identifying Problems Before They’re Problems
and because your actress—who keeps getting in and out of the pool—can’t wear a lav, you may need to capture just the audio. ADR can cost hundreds of dollars an hour, and since you’ll be in a studio using the studio’s mics, what you record in post may not sound anything like what you captured on set. What’s more, when you do ADR you have to pay your actors for their time—again. Recording wild sound on your shoot, though, can help you minimize your ADR needs, saving you serious money. MM
Finally, let me offer you a hint that could save you thousands of dollars. Encourage the mixer to tell you about problems as they happen. Record a wild track right then and there. What’s a wild track, you ask? It’s an audio-only take for recording dialogue or practical sound effects. Maybe you’re shooting a wide exterior shot at a pool. Because the frame doesn’t allow the sound recorder to get close to the action with the shotgun mic,
Bill Braun is a sound editor and mixer living in southern California. His favorite audio work to do is production sound cleanup, but like every sound editor he does FX, sound design, and music editing. His credits include about 100 webisodes, several films, as well as dozens of TV shows for ESPN, NBC, Discovery, Lifetime, Tru TV, MTV and others. He is also an avid–albeit only marginally successful–pool player.
Guide to Making Movies 2013
Mutiny! pg pg
And How to Avoid It Managing delicate temperaments on set
f you want to avoid mutiny on your set, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. That’s because the best way to avoid mutiny is to believe rebellion is impossible. You want to walk, ﬁrst into production meetings, and later onto set, the way Cesar Millan walks into a dog park. You want to project, at a subconscious level, an air of conﬁdence. “No matter what the crisis, I can handle it.” When I made my ﬁrst feature (On The Inside, starring Nick Stahl and Olivia Wilde), I expected my Pittsburgh crew to be a collegial group of moviemakers, eagerly hanging on every word of my directorial wisdom. Instead, virtually every time I approached my crewmembers I felt like a new stepfather in a swimsuit. Their gazes would harden, and whether I was making a suggestion about schedule, protocol, or technique, they’d counter with the same conversation stopper: “That’s not the way we do it.” You can’t fake authority. A lot of amateurs think they can, but they can’t. If you’re trying to look powerful, most people will see through your guise. Accordingly, any calculated, false demonstration of strength could hurt your cause. For the most part, posturing reads as rudeness—which is the weak man’s imitation of strength. And being rude can ignite a tinderbox of resentment. We instinctively know that people who deserve our conﬁdence go about their business and don’t draw attention to their authority. That’s why pufﬁng out your chest and raising your voice (before you’ve even MOVIEMAKER.COM
been challenged), doesn’t broadcast leadership; It invites distrust.
Experience Trumps Everything When you’ve already ridden a bull, you’ll naturally carry yourself like someone who’s ridden a bull. Especially if people are familiar with your body of work, they innately trust and respect that you’ve actually climbed on the back of the beast and survived. In all likelihood, when you set out to direct your ﬁrst feature, it won’t be your ﬁrst time calling “action.” But if it’s only your second time calling “action,” you might ﬁnd yourself in over your head. This is a Catch 22, of course. You can’t have experience without ﬁrst getting experience. But the tough truth is, a movie set can be a very unfriendly place to test your leadership skills. If you want respect from your cast and crew, there’s nothing like experience. So, ﬁgure out a way to get some—even if you have to shoot a few natural-light, stolenlocation, shorts on your iPhone.
Dealing with Know-It-Alls On just about every set, there are going to be people wandering around who think they should be in control. You will know them by the cigars they smoke (or their hand-rolled cigarettes, if you’re on
a micro-budget set). The more money involved, the more mind games and factionalism you’ll encounter. The DP I was assigned for On the Inside, while fast and talented, was the sort of fellow who thought it would send the wrong kind of message to the crew if he so much as acknowledged my presence on set. Once, when I questioned his improvised revisions to one of my set-ups, he got so angry that the AD had to step between us to stop a fistfight. I wasn’t totally innocent, but to avoid an outright war I had to make a loud, public apology for the disrespect I’d shown him. We eventually shook hands and grudgingly continued work, but sufﬁce it to say, we didn’t have the most fruitful working relationship. That being said, an episode of open hostility isn’t the greatest threat to your autonomy. You’ll suffer less damage from a single, dramatic ﬂare-up than from the death-by-a-thousand-cuts, lowgrade mutiny that infects a set when the crew doesn’t respect the director. I’ll take one fistfight any day over a thousand little arguments. A short, passionate battle can actually be inspiring, whereas banal, small-scale sabotage— general lethargy, foot-dragging, arguments over inconsequential details—can be exhausting and depressing.
“Leadership, in the end, is little more than getting a group of people to agree they’re part of a worthy mission.
greatest ﬁlms of the 20th Century. Conversely, I’ve heard rumors that the production of Cannonball Run was a blast to work on.
Avoiding CAt A Astrophe At
Remember, too, that a functional ﬁlm set doesn’t have to be a place of sparkling contentcontent ment. On Chinatown Chinatown, Roman Polanski famously smashed Jack Nicholson’s television while he was watching a Lak Lakers playoff game (instead of showing up on set), and that picture remains one of the
Now that we’ve looked at some possible on-set relationship pitfalls, what can you do to avoid mutiny? First of all, you need to emem brace the truth that, often, the person you have most to fear—drum roll, please—is you! Admit you’re prideful and praise-hungry, and given to defensiveness, shortsightedshortsighted ness, and insensitivity. Your temper will get you into trouble, but your ego will keep you there. You have to eradicate your fear of failure, because your insecurities will get super-heated under the magnifying glass of
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production. Go to therapy; get religion; keep a trusty jester nearby. Do whatever you have to do to control your baser instincts so you don’t trip over your own shortcomings. But also remember, it’s not always your fault. Sometimes trouble comes from outside your skull. With that in mind, determine which individuals are most likely to spread discontent, and develop cool-headed strategies for how to deal with them. Some pot-stirrers can be tricky to identify because very often the worst offenders on your team will start out among the most affable. It’s been said that the best way to knock a chip off someone’s shoulder is to pat him on the back. And I’ll say from my own experience, positive reinforcement is a stellar technique for making people feel important. Offer even small gestures of camaraderie and appreciation and you’ll see dramatic results. You may think you’re dealing with professionals who, if complimented, might feel patronized. That’s ridiculous. Everyone wants to be appreciated. And it shouldn’t be difﬁcult to appreciate your crew’s contributions. Even if it’s your tenth show, your
novice dolly grip might know more about pushing the camera operator smoothly down the track than you ever will.
Be Authentic As Polanski (and Wells and Bergman and Bresson) proved, you can be a megalomaniacal tyrant and also a successful director. But, as I said earlier, if you’re affecting megalomania your artiﬁce will blow up in your face. That’s why you need to remember, success isn’t linked to dominance, per se. Physical (or emotional) aggressiveness is only one way of projecting assuredness. The waves of crew skepticism will part for naiveté, too. And, while you can’t fake authority, obliviousness can sometimes work to your advantage. Your colleagues, outwardly supportive or not, should already know that undertaking the making of a movie is, at root, a patently insane endeavor. Use that idealism to build bonds. Remind people that making the ﬁlm on the budget you’re trying to make it on is tantamount to madness, and you need their help to make it happen. Leadership, in the end, is little more than getting a group of
people to agree they’re part of a worthy mission. Fidelity to a cause will keep the troops moving forward, regardless of personality conﬂicts. Sam Raimi wears a suit when he directs to convey how serious he considers the undertaking. Quentin Tarantino wears whatever costume is consistent with the scene he’s shooting. These approaches are worlds apart from each other (one is authoritative, one is populist), but they convey, in their unique languages, deep conviction in the moviemaking cause. Antoine de Saint-Expery said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up men to gather trees, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Give people something to be enthusiastic about, treat them with respect, and they’ll never consider mutiny. MM
D.W. Brown teaches acting at The Joanne Baron/ D.W. Brown Studio (www.baronbrown.com) in Santa Monica, California. His book, You Can Act! is available on www.mwp.com; and his new book 2,500 Years of Wisdom will be published in December 2012. He is the director of the feature, On The Inside. He also scuba dives and sculpts.
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Direct? Why collaborating is your greatest strength as a moviemaker
ne of my favorite stories from Ray Carney’s Cassavetes on Cassavetes concerns a television production from the late ’60s. It was early evening, and Steven Spielberg, then only 20 years old, stood on a soundstage watching John Cassavetes act. During a break, Cassavetes approached Spielberg and asked him what he thought of the scene. “When Spielberg told [Cassavetes] he himself wanted to be a director someday,” Carney explains, “Cassavetes proceeded to ask him how he would direct him in the scene he was playing, and then took that advice in the next take.” Cassavetes might have been an emotional, improvisational director, but he wasn’t careless. If Spielberg had given Cassavetes a bad direction, Cassavetes wouldn’t have taken it. But, Carney posits, “No one was beneath [Cassavetes’] dignity to talk to and, just possibly learn from—not even the 20-year-old kid standing off to the side of a shoot.” Too often, Cassavetes is incorrectly remembered for shooting without a script (an absolute myth), and too rarely celebrated for his unprecedented—and still unmatched— ability to balance cinematic rigor with artistic freedom. He found blocking the action of a scene restrictive, but routinely shot the same scene for days on end (while working on Faces, he once famously rolled 52 twocamera takes of an 11-minute scene, then cut it from the film.) To a studio, Cassavetes’ non-hierarchical, experimental directing process was untenable. So it’s no surprise that his two studio pictures—Too Late Blues and A Child Is MOVIEMAKER.COM
Nathalie Biermanns prepares for the third take.
Waiting—are the two least vital films in his oeuvre. Neither picture aches with the emotional realism we expect from a Cassavetes film. In the studios, “There are limitations,” Cassavetes once said. “There are limitations of ego, of facilities…They don’t like any young director coming in and doing something that they may have wanted to do for 20 years [but couldn’t].” Cassavetes required a completely collaborative environment in order to thrive, where he could amalgamate professionals and amateurs. “Creativity,” he once defined, “is being able to work with understanding and cooperation and enjoyment with your fellow workers, your director, your writers, your fellow actors—your technicians…” He believed that to make a film you needed to cultivate a team, with each member devoted to the same immutable ideal: When they’ve finished working on the film, they know they’ve “done the best work they can; and when they see the product come out…they know it’s a product that they can be proud of.” That’s why, as a director, I find the Spielberg/Cassavetes anecdote particularly instructive. When Cassavetes approached Spielberg, he couldn’t have forecast who this bespectacled, curly-haired kid would turn out to be. Of course, your PAs don’t usually turn out to be unfledged auteurs, but until they prove otherwise, consider them creative, hard-working, film-loving collaborators. That doesn’t mean you defer to them for your directorial duties, but if you can foster an open dialogue on set, you’ll learn a huge amount from your compatriots. Last January, I had an almost excessive opportunity to test Cassavetes’ hypothesis
about collaboration. I was directing my first narrative feature, Eel, and though I’d been on set during the production of a feature I’d co-written, I’d never helmed anything more than a short. Accordingly, I made a point of keeping a copy of Cassavetes on Cassavetes on set. In fact, it often sat on the coffee table in the location’s living room, and on more than one occasion, I spent lunch reading it. The production of Eel suffered the usual plagues—long hours; insufficient funding; windstorms—but we managed to shoot in 11 days an intellectually challenging film that we’re all incredibly proud of. And our success, I have no doubt, stems entirely from the way we collaborated. I could use any of a thousand stories to illustrate the efficacy of our open dialogue policy on set, but I want to highlight a minor collaboration that had a major impact on the film. The script for the 15th scene of Eel reads: “Sara Morin breaks a wineglass in the sink, collects the pieces, and deposits them in the sandwich she’s making for Haytham.” When Haytham discovers the glass, the stage directions command: “Haytham drags Sara across the living room by her hair.” Out of a scheduling necessity, we broke the scene into two pieces, and photographed them on consecutive days. The first section, where Sara attempts to feed the broken glass to Haytham, we shot as the light failed us on a late Tuesday afternoon. The second section, where Haytham drags Sara across the house, we shot the following day. Accordingly, we were faced that Wednesday morning with the task of recreating the emotional velocity we’d achieved the
Photo by: Blessing Yen
Let the PA
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“If you’re confident in your abilities, when you get stuck, don’t hesitate to ask your crew.” evening before. You may have heard this before, but in case you haven’t: Value emotional continuity higher than any of its siblings. You can break the 180 degree rule, botch the lighting, and switch the hand your actress holds her cigarette in, but if the emotional pitch changes from one shot to the next, you evict your audience from the scene. For that exact reason, when the first two takes of the dragging scene fell flat, I began to doubt if I could make the two disparate halves match. But as the dolly grip—who also served heroically as our assistant editor, DMT, and gaffer—maneuvered the rig to first position, he stopped, leaned over, and whispered in my ear. “What if the whole time Haytham’s dragging her,” he said, “Sara’s shoe is falling off?” Nathalie Biermanns, who played Sara in the film, sat on the concrete floor in her red dress, waiting to get dragged. “Sara,” I said (she was almost dangerously in character that day), “Cooper has an idea. When Haytham drags you, have your right shoe hang from your toe. But don’t let it fall off your foot. If it falls off, Haytham wins.” I called action, and as Haytham (played by Ammar Ramzi) dragged Sara, she dangled her high heel precariously from her bare foot. From the first moments of that third take, the danger felt immediately heightened (in a way the two previous hadn’t), as if Sara’s survival depended on keeping that shoe on. But then the shoe fell off. And when it did, she became hysterical. That take, with the dangling shoe, appears unbroken for nearly two minutes in the final cut of the film. As D.W. Brown discusses in his article “How to Avoid Mutiny” (pg. 40), running your set like an autocracy won’t promote order and efficiency; it’ll breed resentment and rebellion. But achieving creative harmony with your cast and crew demands more than courtesy. Here’s the way I look at it. I’ve directed a feature, but I’ve also worked as a PA on a commercial. In those vastly different rolls, you must act in accordance with the requirements of your position. If I’m PAing, I can’t walk up to the director and give him my thoughts uninvited. Conversely, as a director, I can’t blindly defer to my PA for advice directing a scene if I want to maintain my authority. But I would posit the following: If you’re confident in your abili-
ties, when you get stuck, don’t hesitate to ask your crew. They aren’t your employees; they’re your collaborators. MM
James Kaelan is the Managing Editor of MovieMaker Magazine. His first narrative feature, Eel, begins the festival circuit in 2013. He is also the co-director of the documentary We’re Getting On, a chronicle of the rather ill-fated bicycle book tour of his first novel (www.weregettingon.com).
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
Justin Eugene Evans
Who the Hell Am I Talking to?
visual effects, computers, sound, music, electricity and acting in order to communicate with each individual on a show. A director needs to be able to talk lighting with a cinematographer, and needs to understand the electrical implications of an aesthetic choice so his cinematographer can relay that information to the gaffer. She needs to understand the language of location audio to reduce the complexities of dialogue editing in post. And above all, she needs to communicate performance choices to actors if she intends to sculpt a performance effectively. As an independent ﬁlmmaker, you’ll probably also be raising your own money, which requires you to communicate with investors, bankers, and attorneys. If you’re starting to think that the list of dialects you have to learn seems long—if not endless—you’re right. However, as I mentioned earlier, memorizing terminology isn’t the solution. Surface-level communication will quickly expose your lack of true understanding. I’ve met directors who say, “I only shoot my movies in Scope,” not realizing Cinemascope was phased out in 1967. Is the director speaking about a widescreen format? Sure, but which one? (This is one of the reasons
Crewmembers before a grand, white wall.
Photo by: Jon Betz
immy and Jamal sat quietly on a cheap dorm room bed. Gerri, the ﬁlm’s director, had just called “cut,” and was shufﬂing around the cramped room. “We’re ready for another take,” Kimmy said. “Do you have any notes?” Gerri looked up from her script (she’d been staring blankly at the ﬁrst page of the scene) and said, “Yeah. Just act... better.” The actors looked at each other brieﬂy, exchanging expressions of thinlymasked dismay. “Uh...okay!” said Kimmy, as brightly as she could manage. Although I was a director and actor, on this project I was producing. And as producer, it was my job to handle logistics, not artistry. So I slipped out of the room and went to help craft services make smoothies. I’ve changed everyone’s names in this little anecdote because the facts are unfortunately, embarrassingly true. The director actually said out loud, “Just act...better.” And the worse part is, she actually thought she was communicating effectively with her actors. It goes without saying, she was wrong. But it’s unfair to put all the blame on her without putting her plight in context. Gerri was relatively new to ﬁlmmaking, and directing is incredibly complex. Truth be told, there is no such thing as adequate communication on set. Our industry incorporates no fewer than eight distinct, insular, jargon-dense “languages,” and to direct well, you have to master them all. Some departments share common concepts, but all use discrete terminology that a director needs to understand if she wants to have a constructive dialogue with everyone on her team. And fruitful communication isn’t just a matter of memorizing deﬁnitions. The only true way to master the languages of production is to master the concepts. You must know everything you can about cameras, production design, ﬁnance,
Mastering The Many Languages of Motion Pictures I’m a stickler for using numbers when talking about aspect ratios; you can avoid miscommunication with exact ﬁgures like 1.77, 1.85, and 2.39.) Whenever I hear someone talk about “method actors,” I cringe. There’s no such thing as “The Method.” “The Method” is nothing more than a term invented by journalists in the 1950’s, and its (unfortunate) persistence in the lexicon just leads to—you guessed it—miscommunication. When people say “The Method,” they might be referring to actors who’ve studied Lee Strasberg. But look at the Wikipedia page for “Method Acting” and you’ll ﬁnd references not only to Strasberg (who developed techniques he learned from Constantin Stanislavski), but to Uta Hagen, Sanford Meisner, and Stella Adler—four master acting instructors who formed four disparate theories on their craft. Again, there’s no such thing as “There Method.” The are only “methods.” At this point, you’re probably starting to feel daunted. “How will I ever learn enough?” you might be asking. Well, while there are no short cuts, there are straightforward solutions. Between Google’s search engine and Amazon’s impossibly vast bookstore, you can delve into each of these disciplines at your own pace. When I begin a new project, for instance, one of the ﬁrst tasks I undertake is making a book wish list. If you’re a new ﬁlmmaker, look for books that give overviews of the speciﬁc disciplines. For advanced ﬁlmmakers, dig even deeper into areas you already feel you’ve mastered (you haven’t mastered them, by the way). If you’re doing a movie about American Special Forces, then read the US Army Special Forces Handbook, published by the Department of the Army and available to Kindle owners for 99¢. If you’re shooting a ﬁlm based on a Jane Austen novel, it might be wise to also read Jane Austen’s Guide To Good Manners by Josephine Ross.
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Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
Know of What You Speak
What to Read
Avoid jargon whose etymology you don’t know. Cryptic, insider language says, “I’m part of the club and you aren’t.” For instance, I can’t help but roll my eyes every time I hear someone ask for a “C-47” instead of a clothespin. Calling an electrical cable a “stinger” doesn’t help a novice PA bring you an extension cord any faster. You may need to know these terms (because, sadly, there are ﬁlmmakers who’ll judge your directing abilities by whether or not you know what an Abby Singer is ((hint: it’s the secondto-last shot of the day)), but that clubby language doesn’t have anything to do, fundamentally, with being a good ﬁlmmaker. On the other hand, there are terms related to the nuts and bolts of moviemaking that you need to know. “Striking” is not only grounded etymologically in the science of light and electricity, it’s also the industry term for turning on a light. When an actor refers to her “sides,” the word might have an antiquated origin (it actually refers to the pages of the script held by a stagehand in the wings of the theater). But if you ask your actors, “Do you have your ‘pages?’” you’ll probably get a blank stare in return. If you’re wondering how to differentiate between arcane-but-useful terms (“Foley pit,” a sound effects recording booth named for sound pioneer Jack Foley; “off book,” the term for having your day’s sides memorized) and silly, useless ones (like “buff & puff,” for sending an actor to hair and makeup; or “helmer,” a synonym for director), there are a few rules to keep in mind. If a term doesn’t have a more precise synonym (for example, “striking”), use the jargon. Otherwise, you risk miscommunication. But if a term has a lot of synonyms, you don’t need some fancy term of art. Saying “helmer” when you mean “director” doesn’t aid communication; it just confuses neophytes.
I’m reluctant to give a reading list because it’s impossible to create one that’s appropriately comprehensive. To direct is to communicate with everyone, and therefore the body of knowledge you must understand has no limits. With that in mind, if you’ve read many of the books listed below, or disagree with my preferences, then congratulations; you’re already well on your way to understanding these concepts. But if you’re just starting out, here’s an introductory list:
COMPUTERS & SOFTWARE: Dictionary of Computer & Internet Terms by Douglas Downing Ph.D., Michael Covington Ph.D., Melody Maudlin Covington, and Catherine Anne Covington Beginners Guide To Adobe Photoshop b y Michelle Perkins After Effects Apprentice by Chris and Trish Meyer NONLINEAR EDITING: Nonlinear Editing: Storytelling Aesthetics & Craft by Bryce Button Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures by John Purcell
Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner,
Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steven D. Katz
Dennis Longwell, and Sydney Pollack Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen Acting in Film (Revised Expanded Edition) by Michael Caine A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Mellisa Bruder,
GENERAL FILMMAKING: The Filmmaker’s Handbook by Steven Ascher The DV Rebel’s Guide by Stu Maschwitz MUSIC:
Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, and
Basic Music Theory by Jonathan Harnum
Understanding Basic Music Theory by Catherine Schmidt-Jones
An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavski VISUAL EFFECTS: The VES Handbook of Visual Effects edited by Jeffrey A. Okun and Susan Zwerman Special Effects: The History & Technique by Richard Rickitt & Ray Harryhausen The Green Screen Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques by Jeff Foster SOUND DESIGN: Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Lewis Yewdall MPSE
WEAPONS, WARFARE & MILITARY TACTICS: Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor by Roger Ford Special Forces Guerrilla Warfare Manual by Scott Winberley STUNTS: The Secret Science Behind Movie Stunts & Special Effects by Steve Wolf Fight Choreography by John Kreng QUICK GUIDE TO FILM TERMINOLOGY: www.imdb.com
The Sound Effects Bible by Ric Viers
Justin Eugene Evans is an independent writer, director, cinematographer & producer. His award-winning spy thriller, A Lonely Place For Dying, can be downloaded on iTunes, Amazon, and OnDemand. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wall Street MBA by Reuben Advani The Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Stephen A. Ross, Randolph W. Westerﬁeld, and Bradford D. Jordan Green Weenies and Due Diligence by Ron Sturgeon
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The Devil’s in the Data Details Why a Good Data Management Tech is Critical to Your Digital Workflow
Photo by: Jon Betz
sor, and the director of photography/cinematographer to acquire the correct size, speed and number of hard drives needed to digitally store the entire project. The DMT will calculate the number of terabytes needed based on the number of shoot days, the number of camera(s) and their resolution(s), and how many channels of audio (as well as sampling rates) your sound department will be recording. When acquiring hard drives, make sure they get tested. Brand new hard drives can get damaged during shipping and could bring your offload to a standstill if they aren’t replaced during pre-production. I’ve had brand new—but untested— hard drives fail on set while copying large files, a problem that would’ve been largely avoidable if I’d had the opportunity to test the drives beforehand.
Deconstructed Canon kit
f you’re planning to shoulder a Super 16mm camera on your next project, I applaud your reverence for aesthetics. Beasts of the Southern Wild probably wouldn’t have looked so magical if Ben Richardson had shot it on a Red. But with the unbeatable affordability of digital cameras, there’s a good chance you’ll be committing your movie’s raw footage to .MOV files instead of Kodak Vision 320T negatives. So, assuming you can’t afford to shoot on film—or simply choose not to—you’re going to need to manage your digital data. Accordingly, having a good Data Management Technician (DMT) to offload and organize your sound and video files, sync sound, and start rough scene assembly is absolutely critical.
As with film, the various digital formats for capturing and storing images and sound come with their own perils. The DMT position is one of the most important in the digital moviemaking workflow. Above all else, the DMT should possess impeccable organizational skills, an incredible attention to detail, and a problem-solving mind. On top of that, a DMT should be cool-headed. If your data manager gets flustered when things get stressful, you could lose footage. It goes without saying, but you don’t want to lose footage.
Preparation Prior to the first day of principle photography, a good DMT will work with the producer and/or post-production supervi-
The DMT will take the camera storage media (CF cards, SD cards, P2 cards, hard drives—four of the most common on-camera data storage devices) from the camera operator and the recorded sound files from the sound mixer, and copy the files directly to another storage medium— such as an external hard drive. It is very important to make at least one backup copy of the media. If a hard drive should crash, get lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged, that media is lost forever. The last thing you want to tell the producer is that the hard work the cast and crew has done was all for naught. With that in mind, at the end of each day of production, the primary and backup drives should be kept in different places, preferably under lock and key. If you keep the drives together and someone malicious has access to one, he has access to them all. When I’m on a job, I will typically save files to a total of three drives: one primary or “Master” drive; one backup; and one
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drive for shuttling dailies to the post house. When all files are transferred at the end of the day, the shuttle should be taken immediately to the post house, the master should go with the DMT’s supervisor (usually a producer), and, depending on the job, one should go home with the DMT himself. Especially on small projects, I almost always store the backup wherever I’m sleeping.
Verification The DMT should be verifying, at the very least, that all media gets successfully copied to the various storage devices. There are many low-cost programs that you can use to do this step automatically, such as Shot Put Pro by Imagine Products, Inc. (www.imagineproducts.com). The DMT should also check to make sure the audio and video sync together, that takes are labeled correctly, and that the image
Workflow The DMT should coordinate with the post house and/or editor to define an organizational strategy. Typically, most projects get organized by Shoot Day, Camera, and finally, by Roll, with each media file assigned a unique file name that includes the date and time it was shot. Every time a new card or hard drive gets inserted into the camera, the files get erased, and the card or drive formatted. That’s why it’s incredibly important for the DMT and the camera operator(s) to keep track of the current roll, and relay that information to the sound mixer and script supervisor. Miscommunication on this front results in—you guessed it—lost footage.
Post-Production By the time a film is in post, the DMT has largely fulfilled his job responsibilities. However, each production is differ-
and/or color grading the coverage. This is especially true when you’re shooting at 2k, 4k, or larger (you’ll need a color-correct monitor if you’re doing color grading on set). The DMT needs to have a high-speed, multi-card reader to read compact flash cards, SD media cards, memory sticks, and whatever else gets thrown his or her way. When offloading media, speed is very important. The DMT’s computer should have at least one Firewire 800 port and, if possible, an eSATA and/or Thunderbolt port(s). My small footprint kit includes a 2009 15 MacBook Pro with Express 34 card slot for additional peripherals, a dualport eSATA Express 34 card, a Firewire 800 CF card reader, a multi-card reader, an array of cables to handle the wide variety of devices I might have to read from or write to, a power strip, and an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). That last one is vital when you’re on set and an uninformed PA
“you need to back up your data to multiple sources.
Otherwise you might not have a film to edit!”
and audio look and sound as intended. Overexposure is a common problem, as is audio clipping (when sounds are so loud they exceed the microphone’s preset recording levels), and the DMT should notify the appropriate person immediately so changes can be made— and scenes re-shot—if necessary. I was working on a low-budget feature where the sound mixer had to be replaced at the last minute by a (very smart) PA. This PA had read the online manual for the mixer that morning and was very timid with the levels, trying to make sure the audio never clipped. The problem, though, was that by ensuring the sound never clipped, he also ensured that the audio got recorded too low. We could hardly hear the actors. I let him know this as soon as I reviewed the sound files, and by that afternoon, everything was running smoothly again.
ent, and more tasks may get added to the DMT’s list. Additional roles could include transcoding files, color grading (which falls under the larger Digital Imaging Technician job description), sound synchronizing, putting together an assembly edit, or even a rough cut for the DP and director to review. Typically, the larger the production (and the larger the budget), the more limited the DMT’s role will be in post. But if you’re working on a small show, it may make sense for the producer to delegate some of these post-production organizational tasks to the guy who’s the most familiar with the data.
Equipment At the very least, the DMT must have a computer and a monitor. Laptops are fine, and will handle most of your requirements quite well. Where you will need extra computing power is in transcoding
decides to move your power from point A to B without warning, or the electricians turn off the generator. So, whether you’re planning to manage your video and audio data yourself, or whether you’re hiring someone to help, my hope is that this article will start you off on the right path. The bottom line is you want to make sure your data is backed up to multiple sources with integrity and security. If not, you might not have a film to edit! MM
Cooper is an Editor, DMT, Director and Producer. He is currently the Senior Editor and Co-Producer of “Just Seen It,” a review show where industry professionals review the newest films in theaters, and series on television. You can watch “Just Seen It” on the web at justseenit.com, or on PBS OC, Saturdays at 6PM.
PG. 54 KILLING YOUR DARLINGS PG. 58 TO COMPOSE, OR NOT TO COMPOSE PG. 60 POSTPRODUCTION CHECKLIST
Montage is, in effect, bringing out the soul under the spirit, the passion behind the intrigue, to make the heart prevail over the
intelligence by destroying the notion of space in favor of time.” — Jean-Luc Godard
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Post-Production The key to a successful post-production experience—no matter what kind of film you’re making—is to be open-minded. Learn to accommodate happy accidents and epiphanies that you never thought of during the previous phases of the film. You want to break down the number of scenes that need to be cut and give yourself and your team a certain number of days so that a schedule can be set, but you should reserve several weeks to refine and try different things in the editing room. The post-production of a documentary is something that should start during production, at least to some extent. What has worked best for me, whether I’m cutting my own film or not, is to have two assistant editors on board from the get-go to make sure the media is managed and duplicated onto multiple drives (most of us have faced devastating hard drive failure, so if you haven’t, try your best not to follow in our footsteps). Also, have the assistant editors string out scenes or thematic segments along the way. I’ve found it very effective to have one editor on for four to six months, minimum, and then have a second editor join for the final month or two. I started editing We Live in Public with just one editor, and we plowed through 5,000 hours of footage in eight months. But we never would’ve finished if Josh Altman hadn’t come
on board to edit alongside me for the last two. I say “alongside,” but we actually sent versions of cuts back and forth to each other over iChat, without physically meeting until the final push. He lived in Venice, and I lived in Pasadena, so if we had commuted and not taken advantage of the mighty internet, we never would’ve finished the film for Sundance. Thanks to the Sundance Institute and their incredible Director’s Lab,
remember the first time I watched the editor Michael Taylor take a line of audio and slide it under a different take—thus bringing together the best, most compelling combination of the two. It was revelatory! Just having filmed an actor saying the same line in five different takes allowed for this, which was never possible in the documentary world. We played with holding on an actor’s look to bring tension, putting space in between the dialogue or pulling
“I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I WATCHED AN EDITOR TAKE A LINE DIALOGUE AND SLIDE IT UNDER A DIFFERENT TAKE—THUS BRINGING TOGETHER THE MOST COMPELLING COMBINATION OF THE TWO. IT WAS REVELATORY!” which I attended with Mapplethorpe, I was able to learn a great deal about how editing a pre-scripted actor film is different than a documentary. I was sure that I needed master advisement in all aspects of scripted filmmaking, except for editing. I figured I was already a master editor, having edited my ambitious documentaries for decades. But, boy, was I humbled! I couldn’t believe the latitude and opportunity the editing room affords a scripted film. I
the air out of it. I remember being advised that perhaps I take the Chopin piece out of a devastating scene and record the noise of the city instead. Whereas “Nocturne” would guarantee the audience felt the drama, the decision to take it out and hear the screeching and whirring of New York City would allow the audience to feel that Mapplethorpe and Wagstaff’s insular world was no longer insulated, and that AIDS was invading. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Killing Your Darlings
Four moviemakers talk about editing their own films So, if you’re left to edit your own film, make sure you have someone else you can depend on there with you. You need another set of eyes, someone honest who can tell you, “I know you love that scene, and it’s great, but it has no place in your film.” Do I love editing my own films? Not at all. Is it sometimes a necessity when it comes to making low budget films? Absolutely. If you’re going to do it, though, just make sure you incorporate another person’s perspective into your process—or do a heavy round of test screenings. To think that you alone can handle all the decisions in the editing room without anyone else’s insight is arrogant. So, until my budgets grow, Fernando Collins will continue to edit my films. Hopefully I can trust him with my footage.
Brian geraghty in Easier with Practice (2008)
Kyle Patrick Alavarez Director/Editor: Easier with Practice I never intended to edit my own films. My “day job” is editing PSAs and corporate videos, so when it came time to direct my first feature, Easier with Practice, I realized I didn’t really know any editors—nor did I have the money to hire one. So I decided to edit it myself. Having no desire to be a multi-hyphenate, I edited it under a pseudonym: Fernando Collins. I was naive. Editing your own movie is no fun. You have to make those gut wrenching decisions yourself and act as a totally different crew person when you’re in the timeline. Just like you can’t think
as a writer when you’re on set, you can’t think as a director when you’re in the editing room. I vowed never to do it again. Now entering production on my second film, an adaptation of a David Sedaris short story, of course our budget got cut, and then got cut again, and now I have to bring Fernando Collins out of retirement. I’m doing things differently this time, though. I’m putting a lot of the responsibility on Adam Shazar, who was my assistant editor on the last film. I’m going to let him do the first assembly, so he can make some of those hard decisions before I start working on the edits. Relieving yourself of all that responsibility feels better than you can imagine. Filmmaking is about collaboration, after all, an idea that shouldn’t end in the editing room.
“filmmaking is about collaboration, and that idea shouldn’t end in the editing room.” MOVIEMAKER.COM
Matt Harrison Director/Editor: Rhythm Thief; My Little Hollywood When I started making movies, I didn’t know it was possible to edit a film, let alone have someone edit for you. I thought you had to shoot the shots in story order. But then, I was only 10 years old. Smash cut to quite a few years later. Martin Scorsese told me, “Long postproduction is a sign of genius.” Well, if that’s true, then I must be a supergenius. My recently-completed comedy My Little Hollywood, took 16 years to post. And I cut it myself. Now, I’m certainly no super-genius, but I’ve learned a few things about cutting films myself. Back in 1996 I shot the raw footage for My Little Hollywood with a handicam in Los Angeles. The star, Shawn Andrews (Dazed and Confused), and I began with nothing more than a story outline, and due to a series of inappropriate incidents (which
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“Long Postproduction is a sign of genius.”
Matt Harrison with the My Little Hollywood (2012) Gang
you’ll learn about when you see the film), the production imploded, and I was left with a shoebox of seemingly indecipherable Hi8mm tapes. First, I took the project to a terrific editor in New York. But then I got busy directing my first studio picture, Kicked in the Head, and didn’t have anymore time to help
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Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
kelly parker, director of south main (2008) her make sense of the footage. Second, I showed the footage to Johannes Weuthen, who cut my feature The Deep and Dreamless Sleep. Johannes watched the tapes and said plainly, “I can’t figure this out. You have to cut it.” But still I resisted. Third, I gave the dailies to my friend, the editor Casey Mandel. While Casey made heroic progress after literally hundreds of hours of work, the story still lacked vitality and emotional coherency. But one day, almost 16 years after we started shooting, the phone rang. On the other line was Tiprin Mandalay, the lead actress in My Little Hollywood. She was suddenly adamant that I finish the film. I said “Don’t you remember? The production was a disaster.” She replied, “Tell the truth; make it a comedy.” The rest is cinema history. So, what did I learn? First, some films you just have to cut yourself. It’s unavoidable. Second, hire a pushy actress; she’ll force you to finish your film. Finally, if all else fails, make it a comedy.
Kelly Parker Director/Editor: South Main Back in late 2004, I started work on South Main, my first feature documentary. The film follows three single African American mothers, struggling to raise their families after being evicted from an apartment complex in South Los Angeles. This was a truly independent project: I financed it myself, shot it myself, and edited it myself. Although documentary filmmaking is technically more “objective” than narrative filmmaking, in that you observe, rather
“there were aspects of my subject’s lives that i related to on such a deeply personal level that i couldn’t remain detached.” than invent, it’s easy to get so emotionally In my darker days, when I thought involved with your subjects that you can’t I was losing control of the project, I establish enough distance to edit the footconsidered introducing a number of age you’ve shot of them. subjective elements—including voiMy goal was, simply, to show what ceover. If not for my filmmaker friends these women’s lives were like, without who watched early cuts and gave me sensationalizing or sentimentalizing objective advice while I was still shootthem—as many social-issue films do. ing (I shot footage and edited simulOne of the primary ways I achieved this taneously), I wouldn’t have made the was by filming with a single camera, film I made. You need reliable feedback locked-off in wide, wellcomposed, static shots. I knew that I wanted the photography, and later the editing, to exude a patient, aesthetic rigor. But maintaining objectivity wasn’t always easy. There were aspects of my subject’s lives that I related to on such a deeply personal level that I sometimes felt I couldn’t remain detached. My own mother lives in poverty, in part because of decisions she’s made, and in part because of the collapse of the social institutions around her. And every time I looked at one of these women in South LA, I saw my own mother’s plight reflected in their situations. I wish my mother could make better choices, and accordingly, I wanted my documentary subjects to make better choices. All these women are victims of a society that has abandoned them, but that doesn’t mean they’re allowed to verbally abuse STARLET (2012), directed and edited by sean baker their children.
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throughout the process. After all is said and done, you can’t make a personal documentary if you don’t love your subjects, but you can’t make a good documentary if you let your emotions govern all your editing decisions.
Sean Baker Director/Editor: Starlet; Prince of Broadway; Take Out Editing my own films is extremely important to me. This may upset a few directors, but in my staunch opinion: Editing is 50 percent of directing. An editor’s cutting decisions make just as much creative impact on the film
as the director’s decisions on acting and composition. That’s why I believe that a director who isn’t editing his or her own film should acknowledge the editor as either a co-director, or at the very least, a directing consultant. You can make the argument that an editor brings a fresh perspective and objective point of view to the table. I won’t argue with that. But again, that fresh objective deserves directing credit in my eyes. On the other hand, it’s true that a director editing on his or her own may not be capable of establishing the objectivity necessary to “kill the darlings,” to quote Hemingway. I’m probably guilty of leaving a few “darlings” alive, but I try to pride myself on gauging my audiences’ reactions.
After four features—as well as a long running television series—I’ve found that the initial festival premiere screening is my best test audience. An audience comprised of friendly peers won’t be honest, but a festival audience will be. I trimmed Take Out by five minutes after its festival premiere. Prince of Broadway lost approximately two minutes following its first screening. And my most recent feature, Starlet, I trimmed by one minute 45 seconds after it opened at SXSW. The amount I’ve cut from each successive feature has decreased from film to film, which means I’m either getting more stubborn, or (I hope), I’m learning to anticipate my audiences’ reception before the film is even screened. MM
“this may upset a few directors, but in my staunch opinion:
editing is 50 percent of directing.” Kyle Patrick Alvarez is a 29-year-old Spirit Award winning writer/director. His first film, Easier with Practice, starring Brian Geraghty has played in theaters internationally and can currently be seen on Showtime. He is now in production on his second film, an adaptation of a David Sedaris short story.
Matt Harrison’s feature film Kicked in the Head was Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese, released theatrically by Universal, and premiered as an official selection at Cannes. His network and cable television directing credits include “Sex and the City” for HBO. Matt’s feature film Rhythm Thief won a Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Matt recently completed his new comedy My Little Hollywood and is now preparing his sixth feature f i l m . T h e p r o d u c t i o n d i v i s i o n o f Harrison’s company Film
Crash produced the feature film Big Heart City starring Seymour Cassel (Life Aquatic) and Shawn Andrews (Dazed and Confused). Mr. Harrison Executive Produced. Matt currently teaches film at UCLA Extension and has taught graduate film at CalArts. He has lectured at New York University Tisch, AFI, São Paulo School of Film, Brazil, Syracuse University and The New School For Social Research.
Kelly Parker lives and works in Los Angeles. Parker’s first feature, South Main, was completed during her studies at CalArts, where she received an MFA in 2008. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival—can you say “Guten tag?” In 2004 she was commissioned by the German Federal Cultural Foundation to create a work for the Shrinking Cities Exhibition. The resulting short
film, “Coda Motor City,” has traveled with the exhibition to museums and galleries all over the world. More recently, Parker received a CCPF grant for GoodExposure, a filmmaking workshop program for teenagers living in Northeast Los Angeles.
Sean Baker is a New York native and NYU film school graduate. He directed the neorealist films Take Out (2004) and the award-winning Prince of Broadway, also named one of the best films of 2010 by the LA Times. The films left him flat broke. Luckily the chance came to direct and executive produce the MTV series “Warren the Ape,” digging him out of his financial hole and leading to his current feature Starlet. The film follows the unlikely friendship between a young porn actress and an eighty-something year old women in the San Fernando Valley.
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Photo by: Bobby Halvorson
To Compose, or Not to Compose
Conductor conducts conductor.
Choosing the Right Music, and Understanding the Costs
nless you idolize the austerity of certain European auteurs—the Dardenne brothers; Michael Haneke; or Cristian Mungiu, to name three diegetic music-averse directors—you’re probably going to want some kind of score for your movie. And no matter how you plan to enhance your film with music (by employing something completely original, licensing music and/or songs, sound design, or some combination of the three), your decisions should be founded in a thorough exploration of your aesthetic options, as well as an understanding of actualized costs, rights procurement, and other copyright headaches.
to hit the ground running when you’re ready to begin scoring or licensing—saving both time and money.
Listening to Music During Development
The Composer’s Point of View
Exploring musical possibilities can begin as soon as you have a concept for your film. The development stage is a perfect time to start listening to music with an ear toward finding material that stimulates visuals in your mind. When you have your script, read a scene while listening to different songs and compositions to see how each makes you feel. The more you integrate music into your own creative process, the more you’ll be able
From this composer’s point of view, an original score can give nuance to every frame, thus enhancing the filmmaker’s intentions, and, consequently, deepening the audience’s experience. I’ve observed that most filmmakers realize this as soon as they begin to re-imagine the film within the context of a cohesive score that responds to their story’s arc. Using existing songs can imbue a scene with unintended connotations. That Taylor
Listening to Music in Early Post-Production Once you have rough-cut footage, experimenting with various types of music will help you understand the effect each has on your scenes. Different selections can change the meaning of the scene they accompany (and sometimes, drastically). That song you’ve long envisioned complementing your love scene may turn out to be a weaker choice than you originally thought. And remember, just because you have permission through a friend of a friend to use that Robyn song, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your cinematic moment.
Swift track can mean very different things to different audience members. Some people hate Taylor Swift, so those people will also innately hate the scene in which her song appears. Of course, you may choose a song by a less well-known artist whose work resonates with you (this will be more affordable), but the same rubric applies. Don’t confuse your emotional associations with that of your audience. Keep in mind, too, that from a technical standpoint, a singing voice can often interfere with dialogue, requiring music edits that may or may not work aesthetically—and may not even be legally permitted.
Working with Your Composer Emotion is the common language of artists, and as you collaborate with your composer, you’ll develop a vocabulary to discuss non-verbal concepts. What should the scene feel like? What should the audience experience? Does the score reinforce an action or theme that’s already obvious, or does it elicit a brand new meaning? Does music need to punctuate transitions? Should specific musical themes identify specific characters or situations? Is it more effective if the music is ironic, drawing attention to the differences between the score and the action? Should the music be grandiose and brazen, or
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Budgeting for Music
intimate and internal? A percussive bed can drive an otherwise slow scene, while a gentle violin passage can dramatize images by manipulating the audience’s sense of time. These are the kinds of questions you and your composer should discuss as you wend your way through the film.
If you do your homework by exploring musical possibilities early on in development you’ll be able to more realistically estimate your music budget. Do you envision a synth score, or one with a number of live musicians? How big of a sound do you want, and what style will it be? Orchestral? Intimate? Jazzy and improvisational? Hard and rocking? Would you like to work with someone well known, or are you willing to take a chance on someone new? How central a role will music play in your film? Do you need to license any existing tunes? If so, how many? You probably have some amount of money in mind, but only a composer or music supervisor can make sure your budget is realistic. So, do your research. Talk to composers, music supervisors, and other filmmakers, and find out the music budgets for both the films you admire, as well as the films similar in scope to yours. Again, don’t wait until you’re done editing to find your composer or supervisor. Begin discussions during pre-production. As long as you have the necessary funds allocated, and rough post-production schedule mapped out, you can take meetings before production even commences. Speaking from personal
If licensing some—or all—of the music for your film turns out to be the most effective path, give yourself plenty of time to research the material. In addition to knowing the recording artist, you’ll need to find out who wrote each song, who controls the copyright and publishing, and who owns the master recording before you can think about negotiating a good deal. And don’t ever assume striking music licensing deals will happen quickly or smoothly. Acquiring rights can take months, and I’ve seen filmmakers go crazy at the last minute because they didn’t get permission before their delivery deadlines. More than once I’ve gotten panicked, last-minute calls from filmmakers needing me to compose new music just days before a screening. Unless you have a wealth of experience negotiating with music executives, it’s best to work with a veteran, well-connected music supervisor. Licensing fees are often un-predictable, and can vary wildly depending on artist, record company, publisher, songwriter, and the stature of the bargaining agent. If a particular piece of music becomes problematic to license, a music supervisor can be very helpful in finding and securing a suitable alternative. If you’re working with a composer for some of the music, you can consult with her about your ideas for pre-existing music. If you don’t have the connections or money to license a particular song or piece, you may want to consider either replacing that piece of music with score, or having the composer create a “sound-alike.” Sound-alikes can often make the audience think they’re hearing a familiar song. But only a knowledgeable and skilled composer can “recreate” a recognizable tune that’s different enough to keep you from getting sued down the road. And in the short run, having your composer create legal “sound-alike” material while simultaneously writing your score can save even more time and money. Invariably, the most expensive part of any film is the problem you have to fix at the last minute.
Photo by: Jon Betz
Microphone awaits musician.
experience, if you’re a good enough salesman, composers might even be willing to work their schedule around yours. To recap, the most effective way to save time and money is to prepare both a business and a creative plan for your music needs. If you seek out professional advice, allot reasonable funds for composition and licensing, and keep your vision flexible, you’ll avoid most of the impediments that derail inexperienced moviemakers. Always remember, just because you can’t afford John Williams or Rihanna, doesn’t mean you can’t get great music. MM
Emmy-nominated composer Miriam Cutler recently completed the score for Ethel (HBO), Rory Kennedy’s documentary about her parents, Ethel and Bobby Kennedy. Other career highlights include: Oscar-nominated Poster Girl (HBO); “One Lucky Elephant” (OWN) which she co-produced and scored; Emmy-winner Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (HBO); Emmy nominated “Thin” (HBO); and many more. Visit her at www.miriamcutler.com to learn more about her work, as well as how to get a hold of her.
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The Film You Save Five rules for smooth, budget-friendly post-production
oung directors spend years thinking about their movies, the ones that they hope will put them on the map and make them household names. Unfortunately, considerably less thought—if any—is given to the grueling hours they’ll spend in pricey editing suites, with equally pricey equipment, putting the damn things together. All told, moviemakers spend between 10 and 20 percent of their budgets in
post-production—and that’s if they’ve managed to do everything else right. For many, those costs spiral upward because of poor pre-planning, leading to time and money wasted in the postproduction process. This can, of course, easily mean the demise of a low-budget film in this business where only the wily survive (and get distributed). So here are five tips ever y independent moviemaker should know before jumping into the fray. The film you save may be your own.
“You do something from the heart, people want to be A part of it.”
Wiping the slate clean.
Photo by: Blessing Yen
1. Cut a Deal As in the production process, a post house may make deals with a moviemaker who is willing to experiment— either with a new facility or a staffer who wants to move up the ladder. For The Squid and the Whale, director Noah Baumbach used Goldcrest in New York, which had just installed a mixing studio. “We saved a lot more money by giving them a shot to prove themselves with their new facility than we would have if we’d gone to an established place,” says Baumbach. “This was a way for us to have a first-class sound mix, but save money doing it.” Keep in mind that “everything’s negotiable,” says micro-budget director Richard Brandes (Penny Dreadful). “Independent filmmakers sometimes think costs are etched in stone. You can negotiate much more than you’d think you could.” If you’re lucky, you may even find a post house that loves your project enough to give you a discount just to work with you. Writer-director George Gallo (Local Color) says, “Fotokem bent over backwards. They’re doing stuff nearly for cost. You do something from the heart, people want to be a part of it.”
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May Be Your Own 2. Consider Outsourcing
Although it’s financially and logistically impractical to export your entire film to post, technological advances mean some companies outside the U.S. are able to severely cut costs on specialized elements of the post process. Scott Coulter’s Worldwide FX is based in Bulgaria, and has nearly a dozen projects (largely in visual effects, motion effects, motion graphics, and titles) in the works. Edited projects send hard drives or edit decision lists to his company, where Coulter estimates he can save half of stateside costs in those areas. Editor Robert Ferretti (All the Invisible Children; Halloween: Resurrection) who has worked with Worldwide, says their turnaround time is lightning-quick especailly now that you can view progress online. “My experience in LA is that CGI places give you a ton of attitude,” says Ferretti. “They don’t like making changes. In Bulgaria, they’ll change it 10 times a day and not complain. It’s been so cheap and fast, and their quality is as good as Industrial Light and Magic.”
3. You Needn’t Use Every Technical Innovation, But…
“Audiences care about a story. You should be trying to technically deliver that story,” says Visionbox president Chris Miller. “A lot of the stuff we think about and obsess on, audiences don’t even know exists.” Again, research the equipment. Says Baumbach, “In post, there are all these new things offered up to you. You need to find out if they’re something that even applies to you, because in a lot of case, they don’t.” “Right now, there are so many different machines out there that people think, ‘Oh, I’ve got to have that souped-up system,” adds Miles Ferguson, partner at The Film Spot.
“They don’t realize they could do the same thing with a smaller, cheaper technology.” Generally, post supervisors agree that if a low-budget film is a “traditional” indie, then there’s no need, for example, to pay extra for higher resolution. “If a project has a lot of titles or supersaturated colors or animation, then go for 4K,” say Ferguson. “If it’s just two guys in their apartment, stick with 2K. It all depends on how image works with the story. If you have a glossy movie like a romantic comedy, it’s got to look supersaturated— and then you need 4K.”
“you have to rely on your initial instincts to tell the story.” 4. Don’t Plan To “Fix It In Post”
If anything will give a post supervisor hives, it’s: “We’ll just fix it in post.” “That old adage ends up costing a ton of money,” says Ferguson. “It makes sense to get it done right on set, especially on a limited budget.” The truth is, says Levinson, “There are limits to what you can technologically do in post-production.” Doing it right in front of the camera the first time may seem expensive, but may actually turn out to be the least expensive way to go. One way to ensure it gets done right the first time out—particularly with special effects—is to take the post-production supervisor onto the set.
“A lot of time people shoot it the wrong way, then don’t look at it for months or weeks. Then it gets to the visual effects and the visual effects people are like, ‘I can’t do anything for this,’ and you have to shoot it again.” Still, Evan Edelist, executive VP and general manager for iO Film, says a good cinematographer will know when a post fix will help. “In some instances, they know that they can—in the post process—follow-up and do certain things that they may be able to save time and money on.”
5. Find Your Own Way
Baumbach suggests that working on the weekends is an excellent idea. “If you have the energy,” he says, “start cutting while you’re shooting.” Miller advises that you seek help to avoid burnout. “It doesn’t take much money,” he reminds, “to convince a filmmaker friend to lend an objective eye and help in key places during your post process that can save you heartache and blood.” Perhaps the most important rule—and the hardest rule to follow—is knowing when to say “The End.” Says Gallo, “When you’re making lateral moves and not going forward, that’s when you have to stop. You can get so involved in this process that you can’t see it getting better, just getting different. You have to rely on your initial instincts to tell the story. It’s the story, and whatever you can do to support that, that’s where you spend your money. A lot of time can get wasted ticking stuff up. Avoid that at all costs.” MM
New York-based journalist/critic Randee Dawn is a full-time entertainment writer for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times, Moving Pictures Magazine, NBCNews.com, and other publications.
PG. 64 WHAT’S A FESTIVAL WORTH? PG. 68 THE THRILL ISN’T GONE PG. 72 DIY VS. BUYOUT DISTRIBUTION PG. 76 A GUIDE TO ONLINE DIY DISTRIBUTION PG. 96 FEATURE FILM PROJECT
Faces grossed more than $400,000 in its first 18 weeks at the Little Carnegie, and I’ve gotten exactly $2,400 of it.” — John Cassavetes
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distribution All of us artists ostensibly make art to communicate. So getting your film to its audience should be your top priority. This means you need to use whatever strength you have left after production and postproduction to do so. I always call the final stage of the moviemaking process “getting my kid to college.” You can’t go through labor, give birth, and then walk away. You have to raise the child and make sure she’s taken care of—in theaters, and in all the after-market distribution channels (namely broadcast, cable, and video-on-demand (VOD)). Your distribution opportunities are much broader today than they ever have been before. Why? New distribution platforms on the internet are much more transparent than the old models, which is giving the often filthy film distribution industry a much-needed bath. One contaminant that’s getting washed down a lot of drains these days is the middleman. With DIY digital platforms (like Yekra, VHX, and Distrify), you can sell directly to your audience, form relationships with them, and then take them with you to your next project. Of course, the need for middleman still exists to some extent. For instance, I don’t recommend hitting a major festival like Sundance or Toronto for your premiere without a publicist to arrange your press, and a lawyer to vet your deals. Even on
the VOD side of things, you can’t get everywhere on your own. For example, you can’t just go to iTunes directly. You need an aggregator like Distribber to open the gates for you (see pg. 76). If this sounds daunting or confusing, I don’t blame you. The distribution playing field is changing very quickly (which is why MovieMaker has dedicated two features in the Guide to laying out the new options available to indie filmmakers). You need to talk to your fellow filmmakers, and do a bunch of research yourself. And when you do start to
I’m even betting, now, that you shouldn’t wait to make a distribution plan until your film is done. With that in mind, I’ve just launched a channel of original online series that will precede my next feature doc, A Total Disruption, running for an entire year before the release of the full film. Why? Because I want the audience to be a part of the filmmaking, and I want the film to be a part of the audience’s world as the project comes together. If fans can preview the stories on some of the great innovators and entrepreneurs I’m profil-
“Invite the audience to engage with its subjects, and nurture the cycle of growth and creation.” plan for your film’s release—in theaters or online—I recommend making the shortest-term distribution deal available so you can stay as nimble as possible. You didn’t manage to make your film by following the straight and narrow path, so now that you have the limitless, wild terrain of the internet at your disposal, don’t commit monogamously to the first offer you get.
ing, together we can generate organic excitement. My thought is that the web channel “A Total Disruption” will help brand the film, invite the audience to engage with its subjects, and nurture the cycle of growth and creation that I hope the film will encapsulate. This was never possible until now, so it’s time to experiment. How lucky we are to be alive at this time. Let’s go for it! MOVIEMAKER.COM
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What’s a Festival Worth?
lying the film festival circuit has become as much a part of the independent moviemaking process as crowd-funding, cinematography and editing. Unfortunately, the method of selecting, entering and participating in festivals is, more often than not, impromptu and non-strategic, leading to wasted money, missed opportunities, and disappointment. But this doesn’t have to be the case, as a bit of goal-setting and planning can help make the festival experience a positive one for independent moviemakers and their films. The primary goal of any festival strategy should be to match the particular benefits derived from participation in one—or many—festivals with the specific needs of a film and its creators. And to do that, the moviemaker and his team should take the time to weigh the perceived benefits against the costs (monetary and otherwise) involved.
Creating Awareness and Developing Fans Scoring a festival screening slot will automatically raise the awareness of a film. The movie will be listed online and in hard copy fest programs and posters, as well as screening schedules—which are often printed in secondary media outlets’ ads and editorial. Additionally, depending on the fest, anywhere from dozens to thousands of viewers will get exposed to the film when it plays. But what is the true value of this publicity? “While every festival promotes itself as having the ability to deliver high levels of publicity and awareness, we looked hard to specifically choose those
Identifying the benefits of fest participation to improve your ROI
that we believed would be receptive to a comedy/horror movie with a transvestite killer nun (Tim Sullivan) and Ron Jeremy playing Jesus,” says Tampa filmmaker Shelby McIntyre on his team’s fest selection process. “You can probably imagine that our choice of possible festivals meeting that criteria was not huge,” he jokingly adds. But the festivals at which McIntyre’s movie—Bloody Bloody Bible Camp—premiered provided the desired benefit: Raising awareness within the film’s target demographic. “Following our midnight screening at Texas Frightmare, our Facebook page blew up with postings from horror fans
“one strategic successful screening can develop your film’s base.” across the country, and that awareness bled onto thousands of other horror movie junkies who weren’t at the show. That one successful, very strategic screening helped develop a fan-base for the movie, and also assisted getting Bloody Bloody Bible Camp a larger videoon-demand (VOD) footprint.” Filmmaker Michael Gordon’s efforts follow McIntyre’s direction. “In the beginning, we were hoping, like all filmmakers, to secure a large-scale theatrical distribution deal,” says Gordon of his film Fear Lives Here.
“But as we learned more and more about how hard it is to get that from a festival screening, we decided to only target those events that would build a fan base and allow us to create awareness that would benefit us when it was time to shop the movie to buyers.”
Securing and Improving Distribution McIntyre’s efforts and Gordon’s approach nailed two of the most vital publicity “deliverables” that can come from festival participation: general awareness; and development of a perceived target audience for distribution. Bible Camp landed a broad-based iN DEMAND deal after positive word-ofmouth from the fest circuit drove rentals during the film’s initial smaller-scale VOD release. To McIntyre, that meant 60 million more cable households now had access to his movie. Though none but the largest and most well-known festivals can legitimately advertise the possibility of a traditional, studio-based distribution deal as an end result for selected entrants, the advent of VOD means more indie flicks than ever are now commercially available, and festival participation at many levels can assist in that effort. Frank Lin, director of the dance-fight action film, Battle B-Boy, had the same expectations when entering the festival fray. “We wanted to build awareness, generate buzz, and drive business for the film as we were in the initial stages of planning for a VOD release,” said Lin. “As the film became available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and Playstation 3, our festival participation allowed for enhanced marketing on these release platforms, which meant more sales.”
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Lin’s film, which features an extremely diverse cast, was also entered in a number of foreign festivals, with the aim of developing demand with a specific segment of its intended target audience: A little market call “the rest of the world.” “Of the eight festivals we entered, three were focused on the Asian culture, as both the subject matter and cast of Battle B-Boy are reflective of those populations. Working with the Chinese American Film Festival, Beijing International Film Festival, and Shanghai International Film Festival allowed us to promote our film to this very specific demographic, as well as to the festival programmers who have wide and deep contacts with foreign film industry insiders—a group of individuals that are nearly impossible to penetrate from the U.S.”
Making Contacts and Networking One of the greatest benefits you can get from a film festival is the networking opportunities afforded to attendees— something moviemakers should consider when choosing where to submit. “One of my goals in selecting and entering festivals is the opportunity to connect with other filmmakers, fans and those in the professional film community who may have an affiliation with the event,” says Tom Biscardi, storied Bigfoot researcher and prolific producer/director of five Bigfoot-themed documentaries in just six years. His latest, Hoax of the Century, which dispels the iconic PattersonGimplin Bigfoot footage as fake, landed a screening spot in the Poconos Mountains Film Festival 2012, and in 2011, his two
documentaries Anatomy of a Bigfoot Hoax and Bigfoot Lives 2 won a dual “Best Documentary” prize at the same fest. “Festivals that allow for networking with a diverse group of industry peers is one of the benefits I consider before entering,” says Biscardi. “Though the Poconos Mountains Film Festival isn’t the largest event of its kind, it has allowed me to meet and spend time with Hollywood insiders such as David Saperstein and Micky Hyman, and Re’shaun Frear from BET’s top-rated Black Poker Stars.” Biscardi notes that not only has he developed a friendship with these—and other—folks he has met from attending the festivals (which take place in a region rife with reported Bigfoot activity), but he’s also been able to glean valuable knowledge and
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
“compiling good reviews from critics can help sell your film.” insight about producing while using those relationships to meet even more people. His newest film, an untitled found-footage project, came to fruition due to just this sort of in-festival networking. “We are now fully immersed in production with two separate film crews shooting simultaneously in two separate sites in the country. That is only happening due to the contacts I made in the Poconos, which is 3,000 miles from my Northern California home.” In addition to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood luminaries, fellow filmmakers and potential cast, crew and investors, film festival participants can also find themselves making friends with influential critics and journalists—people whose words can propel a film toward success at many levels.
Reaping Reviews “Nothing looks better than when an objective third party says your film is great instead of you just you saying your movie is great,” says McIntyre about garnering reviews via the festival circuit. And he’s right. An objective account of the merits of your movie is one of the best ways to build a case for your project when it comes time to sell. Compiling positive reviews from recognized professional critics and reviewers can attract acquisition agents
and buyers, and help with sales and promotion for deals. VOD platforms such as iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu all recognize the value of positive reviews from festival screenings. Accordingly, broadcasting good reviews can help usher films onto the bigger platforms. And for movies that are already available digitally, a good response from critics can garner a film better placement on the various VOD websites. A quick example: following McIntyre’s successful festival run, Bloody Bloody Bible Camp was moved to iTunes “New and Noteworthy” page, which, compared to the film’s previous general listing, delivered highly increased awareness amongst iTunes users. More awareness means more opportunities for sales, and that’s a benefit every filmmaker desires. With thousands of film festivals of all sizes and foci taking place around the globe each year, it can be a daunting task for the independent producer to find those that make the most sense for his needs. And though a formal festival strategy, while recommended, is not often in place before the process of submissions begins, moviemakers should at least be selective in their fest participation, working only with those events that offer the best match for their project and personal goals. If you keep those lessons in mind, you’ll
reduce the costs associated with entry fees, deliverables, travel and accommodations, and you’re a lot more likely to produce tangible, positive results. Happy submitting!
7 Benefits of Festival Participation 1. General Awareness of Your Film 2. Generating Demand with Target Audience 3. Finding Offers for Distribution 4. Securing Reviews for Marketing Use 5. Halo Effect from Association with Prestigious Festival 6. Networking and Connections with Industry Players 7. Travel and Fun while Attending (but keep an eye on costs) MM
Mark Steven Bosko, of Bosko Group, has been helping filmmakers worldwide find DVD and VOD distribution and promotion for their films since 1997. Bosko Group films can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu, Hulu and in Redbox, Family Video, and thousands of independent video rental and retail stores nationwide. He is the author of The Complete Independent Movie Marketing Handbook and DVD OnDemand and the creator of the web-based series “Top Ten Tips to Distribution.”
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The Thrill Isn’t Gone
Here’s why There’s Still a Place for Traditional Distributors MOVIEMAKER.COM
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
ith a plethora of digital distribution platforms sprouting up like ragweed in a hay field, it can be easy to forget that some of those good, old-fashioned, brickand-mortar distributors can do more than just steal a percentage of your film’s profits. With that in mind, MovieMaker sat down recently with Richard Castro of Cinema Libre Studio—a distributor of socially-conscious narrative and documentary features—to find out just what independent moviemakers can gain from a “traditional” distribution deal.
MovieMaker Magazine (MM): You get unsolicited films every day at Cinema Libre Studio. What are some things independent moviemakers can do in their queries to maximize their chances of avoiding the trash bin? Richard Castro, Cinema Libre Studios (RC): Well, first of all, no film that is submitted to us ever goes in the trash bin. We review everything. That doesn’t mean that every film will get a distribution offer from us, but our philosophy is that if a filmmaker has taken the time and effort not only to make a film, but to submit it to us, then we should watch it. But, what can filmmakers do to maximize their chances? Make it easy for us to immediately understand what the film is about and who to contact once we’ve watched it. That information should be on the packaging. If a film is sent to us in a white sleeve with the title illegibly scribbled on the disc and no email address or phone number (FYI, we prefer the email address), then its enigmatic nature is already working against it. If there is nothing about the packaging to attract us, then the film may not get watched with any sense of urgency. I don’t mean spend money to make a perfectly-packaged DVD case, or send discs with gilt-edges and 3D holograms or something like that. White sleeves are perfectly acceptable. If you have artwork, affix it to the disc or sleeve. That image helps us remember the film. But even more importantly, tape, glue, solder, or otherwise permanently affix the following information to the sleeve
or case in which you send the disc: title; genre (doc or narrative); MPAA rating if there is one; director; total run time; cast (mainly if there are recognizable names); video standard (PAL or NTSC); website if one exists; country of origin; language (e.g., is it in French with English subtitles?); film festivals at which it’s been officially accepted and/or won a prize; and synopsis. Please, please include the synopsis. All of this can simply be typed on a piece of paper and taped to the sleeve or plastic case containing the DVD. If you send an online screener instead, just list this information in the email. Don’t make it fancy and don’t make it wordy; just make sure it’s coherent, and that it won’t get separated from the case in which it was sent. Trust me, the acquisitions team will love you for it.
MM: What are some things a moviemaker can do (besides recording and editing great sound) in pre-production, production, and post-production to increase her chances of success with a traditional distributor? RC: Here are three: 1) Think marketing before you even start shooting. The more appeal your film will have to a wide audience, the better a distributor will be able to sell it into multiple mediums—and for higher prices. I’m not suggesting that your indie art film has to be a “popcorn” movie, but a couple of tasty kernels here and there can’t hurt (casting some recognizable names if at all possible is just one way of doing this). No matter how much we like your film, if we believe it will be too difficult to sell it, we may decide against acquiring it. 2) Shoot the entire film in true HD if you can. Whether we’re talking movie theatre projection or the most popular streaming and VOD platforms, it’s all ones and zeros now. Shoot your movie in the
highest definition possible and it’ll be a lot easier for your distributor to prepare it for sale to exhibitors, television, and digital partners. Does this mean we won’t acquire a film if it isn’t in HD? Of course not. But hi-def tends to put a twinkle in the eyes of our sales team. 3) Rights clearances. This pertains mostly to the indie world, but please, clear those music and footage rights if you can before you send us the film. Look, I understand that you adamantly believe that Maroon 5 song you dropped into the end credits is the one crucial element that pulls your whole film together, but I need you to understand that I’m not going to pay half a million dollars or more to license it. Instead, I’m going to recommend that you swap it out with your own piano rendition of 1907’s “Sweet Pickles” by Theron C. Bennett for free and call it day. Now, we specialize in documentaries, so we receive quite a few films with footage that relies upon the fair use doctrine. This is not uncommon with docs, but I urge filmmakers not to fill an entire film with unlicensed footage and assume they can simply claim fair use to avoid a lawsuit. Do your homework and talk to lawyers who specialize in this area if you can. If you still have serious doubts, it may be smarter not to include the clip. If a distributor—especially an independent company—fears they may be sued for releasing a film, then they may decide it’s just not worth the trouble. If we acquire your film, we will want to release it as widely and successfully as we can. The more you can do to have it cleared and ready for launch, the sooner and better we can launch it.
MM: In the DIY filmmaking age, a lot of moviemakers are starting to consider forgoing traditional distribution altogether. With that in mind, what does a brickand-mortar distributor like Cinema Libre offer that a DIY VOD platform can’t?
“If a moviemaker has taken the time to not only make a film, but submit it to us, then we should watch it.” MOVIEMAKER.COM
started MovieMaker Magazine 18 years ago because I was tired of all the misinformation (and lack of information) about how ndependent movies get made. I had a burning desire to get the facts and share them. Since then I’ve seen rs his bvidual consulting capacity in order to share this knowledge with you.
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you’re a screenwriter our program is designed to help you take your screenplay to the next level— to give you a realistic plan f action tailored to your needs. And if you’re thinking about producing yourself, we’ll give you an edge that can make all th As well as being the most competitive business in the world, moviemakifference to your success. So reach out to us today. With MoviemakerMentors you’ll get more than great coverage. You get a ing is also the most collaborative form. By deget nition that ameans elping hand from a thorough, honest, experienced friend in theart business. You’ll yourself mentor.if Laura Boersma David Lyman you want to succeed at this game you’re going to need plenty of help. But Producing Marketing & Career where do you get that help, especially if you don’t live in Hollywood? Counseling
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I started MovieMaker Magazine 19 years ago because I wanted to help demystify the moviemaking process. What I now understand is that success requires one ingredient above all others: INSIDER KNOWLEDGE. No matter where you are in the moviemaking process, no matter what aspect of the business you’re talking about, from SCREENWRITING to PRODUCING to ACTING to DIRECTING to EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION to DISTRIBUTION, you need someone you can call, someone objective, someone who will respect whatever question or challenge you have. You need someone in your corner who you can trust to guide you and give you straight answers. You need a specialist, and you need someone who cares. MoviemakerMentors will provide all of that and more. If you’re a screenwriter our program is designed to help you take your screenplay to the next level—by not only providing thorough coverage but by giving you a realistic plan of action tailored to your needs. If you’re thinking about producing yourself, or are producing a lm now, our professionals will give you an edge that can make all the diﬀerence. So reach out to us today. With MoviemakerMentors you’ll get a helping hand from an honest, experienced friend in the business. You’ll get yourself a mentor.
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Fred Schroeder Cinematography
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RC: VOD, plus everything else. Granted, not all indie distributors are full service like Cinema Libre, but one thing that definitely makes us unique as a brickand-mortar outfit is that we handle all forms of distribution within one company. Whether it’s theatrical, DVD, digital, television, international, and/or educational, we do it. In addition to that, we have in-house marketing, PR, graphic design, web-design, and post-production departments. In other words, we can cohesively foster every single detail of a film’s release process, which allows us to maximize its overall exposure and sales potential while also saving significant costs that would otherwise get passed on to the filmmaker. MM: In the current economic climate, when production and distribution budgets are tight, can an independent film still hit a home run? If so, what is a home run these days? What can a DIY moviemaker expect to see financially if all the cards line up?
RC: Sure it can. What is a home run? I’d say in the most simplistic terms, it’s getting your film seen by as wide an audience as possible, recouping the production budget and the distributor’s marketing and distribution expenses, and making enough profit for the filmmaker to finance a new project and for the distributor to survive comfortably— even if the rest of the titles on its slate that year only hit singles and doubles. Can I give you a specific dollar amount? I suppose so, but at the risk of sounding like a politician, I’m not going to because
a) it truly depends on multiple factors and b) the concept of a home run is certainly subjective, based upon—shall we say—the level of reality on which all parties are operating.
MM: Successful distribution, more or less, is inseparable from good publicity. Besides making your movie as good as it can be, can a moviemakers’ persona help get press excited about a film? If a director stands out from the crowd, in other words, does that help you sell his or her film? And if so, do you have any pointers—or case studies—of marketable filmmakers whose personas helped sales? RC: Marketing and publicity are absolutely crucial factors, and I would also point out that after all is said and done (and believe me, a lot is done to distribute a film), what it boils down to is the film itself. Either people like it or they don’t. The ol’ “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” truism applies here. Yes, of course a filmmaker’s persona can help. There are directors like Kevin Smith or Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock who could all arguably still be considered indie filmmakers. But keep in mind that what these guys did first was make good films that audiences really enjoyed watching. They all happened to cast themselves, and because people loved their movies, their personas took on a life of their own outside of said films. Distributors would love to get the next Kevin Smith film (yes, Kevin, I really wanted Red State) because they don’t
“publicity is helpful, but it really boils down to how good the film is.” have to explain to buyers, audiences, or the press who Kevin Smith is—that and he also makes good movies. So yes, persona can definitely help sales. No doubt. Now, would I advise filmmakers to start casting themselves in all of their future movies? No. Not everybody can pull it off. And the reality is—especially with regard to indie films, and even more so with indie docs—the moviemaker is probably not going to come in with a persona that stands out from the crowd. And that’s okay. If the movie is good, then we as the distributor will help it stand out so that one day, that moviemaker’s persona can stand on its own. MM
Cinema Libre Studio is a leader in distributing social-issue documentaries and narrative features by passionate filmmakers. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Cinema Libre team has released over 100 films, including the Sundance Audience Award-winning Fuel, The End of Poverty?, and Oliver Stone’s South of the Border. For more information and updates, visit: www.cinemalibrestudio.com.
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To Hell with the
Middleman How New DIY Distribution Platforms Are Letting Moviemakers Go It Alone
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ast December, Emmy winning comedian Louis C.K. did something really surprising. Instead of pursuing the traditional route of film and television distribution for his latest comedy special, “Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater,” he decided to release it on his own. No television deal. No corporate backers or marketing muscle. No distributors. No iTunes. Just Louis C.K. dot net. Fueled by positive tweets, blogs, and word of mouth excitement, the 62-minute comedy special, which sold for $5 per download, grossed a reported $1 million in just 12 days. Since then, it has inspired other comedians, like Aziz Ansari (“Dangerously Delicious”) and Jim Gaffigan (“Mr. Universe”), to follow suit with direct-to-consumer, low-cost specials. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are now more popular than ever. And media companies
around the world are re-evaluating a new model of distribution centered on the power of community. Simply put, Louis C.K.’s digital experiment served as unequivocal vindication of the DIY model—a model that up until recently relied heavily on murky metrics for advertising revenue, layers and layers of middlemen, and netted very small returns for filmmakers and artists. With the recent direct-to-consumer distribution success stories, it’s no surprise that a crop of exciting new startups has begun to emerge—among them: Yekra; Distrify; VHX; Craze Digital; Distribber; and many more, all focused on reducing the need for middlemen. Lower Costs Equal More Money One of the most important factors in the new DIY model is lowering the up-front costs while passing the savings onto the consumer and the profits to the filmmaker. In the case of Louis C.K., had the
comedian gone the traditional route, the DVD or DRM download would have cost around $20 and the comedian would have made a significantly lower return. Says President of Yekra, Lee Waterworth: “You would have had to pay a distributor’s fee plus expenses, a sales agent for finding that distributor, and a producer to find that sales agent. Everybody is taking percentages off the adjusted gross all the way up and down the chain. And in the end, you don’t stand to make a lot of money, if any.” But if you eliminate the middle men, you stand to make a lot more. With startups like Distrify, filmmakers can add their first film and all related content for free and only pay a transactional fee on a revenue share basis, i.e. 30 cents on the dollar. In the case of Yekra, filmmakers pay a monthly subscription rate to use the platform, but only incur 50 cents or less per transaction, regardless of the price of the film. Craze Digital, charges absolutely no cost to use their service, and splits revenue down the middle, 50/50.
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Audience Building Is Key “You cannot make money from a film if nobody wants to watch it,” says Sam Kleinman, Founder of Craze Digital. That simple mantra is the most critical factor for online distribution. For, unlike traditional television or theatrical releases that have limited channels, chains, and built in audiences, the internet is a huge frontier, making simultaneous viewing difficult. Fortunately, the evolution of crowdfunding and social media has made a dramatic impact on audience building, allowing filmmakers to identify and target their fans directly via interactive sites like Facebook and Twitter, or movie-centric sites like Filmcrave, Flixster, and Letterboxd. Even Peter Jackson got in on the act this year, tweeting directly from the set of The Hobbit. Says Peter Gerard, CEO/Founder of Distrify, “It’s really about working the network and trying to understand who the loudest people are in the niche and using them to energize the rest to start a viral process.” To facilitate this propogation, these new digital distributors have built-in toolsets and dashboards that allow moviemakers to integrate films with audiences online, generate activity reports, customize web pages, and embed players for easy sharing. Continues Gerard, “If you don’t know who bought the film, you can’t get in touch with them to ask whether they liked it and if they would be interested in your next film—you don’t have a relationship with your audience.” Think Globally “The traditional distribution system is built off restrictions,” says Jamie Wilkinson, head of VHX. “It only cares about geographic regions and the movement from physical theaters to physical home video while the internet is fundamentally built on openness, transparency, and availability.” All too often, traditional distribution slows down when obtaining territorial and ancillary rights to theatrical, DVDs, network television, cable, etc. It’s costly. And even more so, is limited in terms of international distribution.
However, new DIY companies like Craze Digital have broken those barriers and are currently available in over 150 countries. Says Kleinman, “In an instant, your film could be in Poland, Columbia, China, and South Africa—all at the same time. And you get to choose where and when to show your film—all in different languages and currencies.” Earlier this year, VHX tapped its global network to distribute Aziz Ansari’s video, “Dangerously Delicious,” and saw stunning results. Says Wilkinson: “Over 50 percent of the sales were outside of America. We had subtitles in English and French and invited fans to help translate, leading to 19 crowd-sourced translations and ultimately, a much larger following.” Technology & platform mobility “When you use a market like iTunes, you’re locked into an ecosystem where you can’t watch the film on Android or a Kindle Fire,” says Gerard. Platform versatility therefore becomes crucial. And the new DIY companies are also breaking those barriers by adapting their digital players to function on a variety of platforms beyond the traditional large and small screens. These include a variety of mobile devices and digital players like Roku and Apple TV. For instance, Craze Digital has become the first distributor to have their app on Windows 8. They’ve created a digital box (OTT) that offers 500 streaming channels, and recently signed a deal to offer their movies to 150,000 hotel rooms in the United States. Adds Kleinman, “The whole idea is to make movies available in as many different places and formats as possible. That’s a utopic situation, where your film is available at any time and place.” diversity is okay Now, if the obvious goal is get as many people to see your film as possible, there’s really no reason why a moviemaker can’t choose multiple platforms, combine traditional and non-traditional approaches, and use a hybrid tool or aggregator like Indieflix, New Video Group, or Distribber to facilitate availability with many of the
popular marketplaces: iTunes, Amazon VOD, Hulu, Netflix, and Filmmaker Direct, a new label for major cable, satellite, and telco VOD systems. “We allow filmmakers to keep 100 percent of their rights, 100 percent of the revenue, and have complete control of their work, says Distribber CEO Adam Chapnick. “All for just one low, flat fee. And they can cancel at any time.” Like the other DIY factors, diversification is all about making your film available as widely as possible, even if it means making it available on competing platforms. When you retain all of the rights, there is no exclusivity. Yekra’s revolutionary content distribution platform allows filmmakers to monetize their content by going directly to their target market without going through advertising supported channels, direct buy-outs, and video marketplaces with low margins. Instead, Yekra enables your film to be available wherever and whenever you want at a price you determine, while you keep all of the rights and all of the revenue. “Our content proliferation engine allows anybody who uses Yekra to take their content to the communities that actually care about it and facilitate as many free impressions as one is prepared to go out and look for,” says Waterworth. “There’s simply no end to the number of online communities you can contact and push your product through—all of which are incentivized to promote it for you and their constituents.” Of course, when choosing a digital platform or platforms for your film, you must always do your homework. Understand the costs, the revenue sharing terms, the tools
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and capabilities, the acceptable formats, and the limitations. Because many of the new platforms are in beta or start-up mode, they may have selective criteria for accepting films; they may handle encryption, streaming, and piracy protection in different ways; they may have different means for monetizing and processing payroll; and they may have different degrees of customer and marketing support. To be successful, a filmmaker must evaluate all of the options and be willing to put in some good ol’ fashion sweat equity. Says Chapnick, “A filmmaker has to take the reins and be responsible for building his own audience. Sure, there are all of these new, wonderful platforms and businesses out there, but everything comes down to conversion. At some point, you’re going to ask
people to do something, whether it’s visit my site, like my page, watch my film, etc. And you’re going to have a conversion rate, which means you have to have more people than less if you want to survive.” “Money can be a lot of things,” wrote Louis C.K. “It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest.” Thanks to his direct-to-consumer experiment and the emergence of a new era of digital platforms and services, the dreams of making money from digital distribution, protecting creative integrity, and empowering filmmakers to build and sustain careers may now have become a reality. MM
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MovieMaker’s Guide to DIY Digital Distribution Nine Exciting Companies on the Crowded VOD Highway
o many DIY digital distribution platforms have cropped up over the last few years that publishing a comprehensive overview would require a booklength article. Nonetheless, we at MovieMaker have taken on the burden of culling that infinite list down to nine companies that span the gamut—from mobile paywall software companies to content aggregators to major VOD portals. In addition to outlining what each platform offers, we’ve also listed what we see as the upsides and downsides to each platform. We’ve also gone so far as to give our recommendations on each platform. We know that there’s a lot of room for debate, here, and we expect a lively conversation. And since digital distribution—in one form or another—is here to stay, we plan to update this list in every future “Complete Guide to Making Movies.” This is our first swing at the fastball, in other words. But over the next year, we want to hear your in-the-batters-box reports. Whether you hit a home run with your self-released film, or strike out swinging, we want to hear from you in 2013. What’d we get right? What’d we miss? The more moviemakers who share their experiences with us, the better we can serve our community.
_ __________ yekra________________ Yekra provides a customizable, paywalled, infinitelyembeddable video player for your film. What the hell does that mean, you ask? Well, it means the Yekra player can be embedded on any site—including Facebook—so that your audience can rent or gift your film from anywhere it’s hosted (whether that’s on Yekra’s portal, your website, or a third-party affiliate site). The player allows you to set your own price, geo-block your territories (i.e. choose the countries where people can watch your film), and integrate your social media feeds. Yekra also gives you a dedicated film page, which can act as a website if you don’t already have one set up. But perhaps the most exciting technology that Yekra offers is its “AffiliateConnect” program: a negotiation platform for moviemakers to find partnering hosts. Know some people who run a heavily trafficked blog? They can host your film via a uniquely-coded, personal player. AffiliateConnect also allows producers to easily track, share, and pay out revenue to these affiliates. Upsides: Player mobility; Filmmakers keep 80 percent of rental fee; Built-in host revenue sharing Downsides: Up-front cost (potentially). Figures in their marketing materials suggesting that Yekra gives 80 percent of rental revenue to filmmakers, but they haven’t announced the set-up fees. MM’s suggestion: You have to be willing to hunker down and self-market with this platform. But if that sounds right up your alley, it’s a good time to test out Yekra. We’ve heard that selected moviemakers are getting a free test-drive of the player, but since it’s one of the most powerful, customizable platforms on the market, we assume the technology won’t be free forever.
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_______________ VHX_________________ VHX’s slogan is, “Sell from your own website,” and in keeping with that, they provide an embeddable player that allows fans to buy directly from moviemakers’ websites. Perhaps more importantly, though, VHX prides itself on its “white glove service,” which appears to be a marketing and design team that can help skin, brand, and promote your film. VHX has garnered a lot of attention over the last year by powering three major comedy special VOD releases: Louis C.K.’s “Live at the Beacon Theatre;” Jim Gaffigan’s “Mr. Universe;” and Aziz Ansari’s “Dangerously Delicious.” C.K.’s “Beacon” grossed $1 Million in the first 12 days it was available.
Upsides: Player mobility; Track record Downsides: No built-in revenue sharing; Cost (potentially). Like Yekra, VHX strategically doesn’t list its pricing structure. Considering that they’ve delivered some major successes, though, they probably don’t work for free.
active accounts, we question if it’s the first place DIY independent filmmakers should go to distribute their films. For instance, without star power and a major Hollywood studio marketing budget, it’s nearly impossible to get a film “featured” on iTunes. And without being featured you get none of the iTunes perks (their captive audience, their ubiquitous platform), and all of the iTunes downsides—like paying to encode your film for their player, and giving away the lions share of your rental and download revenue to the multiple middlemen you need to appease to even get a slot on their site.
Upsides: Reach; Reliability; Serious track record Downsides: Inaccessibility; Middlemen; High hard costs and lower revenue share
MM’s suggestion: iTunes is a huge sales market if you can get “featured” on their landing page. But short of premium placement, we’d suggest going with one of the newer VOD options. Just about every DIY platform on the market will take your film in any format, charge little or no upfront fees, and will offer better revenue shares. iTunes doesn’t need your business like the little guys do.
MM’s suggestion: The site is somewhat vague about product details and recommends you contact them directly. But if you have the clout to get gobs of people to your site, VHX is the odds-on favorite.
______________ itunes_ ______________ Now that Apple reigns from the throne reserved for Largest Publicly Traded Corporation in the Entire Known Universe, iTunes is a household name everywhere from Manhattan to Vladivostok. iTunes is also the most dominant purveyor of pay-per-download content (they more or less invented the model). Independent moviemakers can submit their films through a content aggregator, or directly through a major distributor if they somehow manage to land a deal with one. But even though iTunes obviously boasts a massive, built-in audience, with over 400 million
go to facebook.com/ moviemakermag and tell us your DIY digital distribution story
_____________ netflix_______________ Netflix is king of the digital VOD market, but is also probably the least DIY-friendly of the lot. Netflix licenses films the way broadcasters do—by paying upfront for the right to show your film for a limited, pre-determined amount of time. You don’t get any revenue per stream. The offers range drastically, from a couple thousand dollars to mid-range, five-figure deals, based on the pedigree of your film and the number of people who have requested it in their queues. It’s necessary to have done fairly well with a festival or theatrical run in order to have negotiation leverage when soliciting an offer. Also, Netflix uses aggregators and distributors as a filter, so you can’t actually strike a deal directly. The general consensus by those championing new forms of distribution is that Netflix is a poor deal for independent filmmakers, even if you can get into the database. They don’t pay much, and because they stream to an unlimited number of people for a contracted amount of time, anyone in your audience with a Netflix subscription isn’t going to buy your content elsewhere if they can stream it for free on Netflix.com.
Upsides: Exposure; Advance, lump-sum payment Downsides: Middlemen and fees; No per-view revenue MM’s suggestion: Save a buyout deal like this for later in your distribution cycle. Netflix requires you to go through all the work of creating buzz and a receptive audience on your own, anyway, before they’ll consider making you an offer. So you might as well profit from those efforts first.
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_______________ hulu________________ Another major player on the digital distribution front, Hulu is a two-tiered streaming service. Much of its content is available for free, but viewers can pay a monthly fee to get access to premium content on HuluPlus. Like iTunes, Hulu has an enormous viewership. They stream more than 1.5 billion video ads each month, and now have over 2 million paying subscribers. Their content is focused primarily on broadcast and television programming, but they also have great films (most notably, the entire Criterion Collection!). Hulu has a lot going for it on the consumer-facing end, but as a platform, they don’t offer a lot to smaller moviemakers. Like iTunes and Netflix, Hulu only really acquires content from large distributors and aggregators, which means filmmakers need a helping hand to get on the site. Unlike iTunes, Hulu does offer ad revenue share deals (filmmakers get a percentage of revenue from ads delivered during a streaming of their film, and that’s nothing to sneer at). But with the mandatory distributor and aggregator middlemen gobbling up big portions of those fees, not too many moviemakers are getting rich from Hulu.
Upsides: Exposure; Exposure; Exposure; Ad revenue-sharing Downsides: Middlemen; Higher hard costs and lower revenue share MM’s suggestion: Consider Hulu when you’re figuring out your overall windowing strategy, but don’t rely on it for the core of your digital distribution. There might be a sizable price tag attached, and without a thoughtful plan, your film will lose its exclusivity and marketability on additional platforms.
iTunes, for instance. Also, it’s worth noting that Distribber sells mainly US rights (and to a much lesser extent, Canadian), but they don’t bring your content to the rest of the world.
Upsides: Access to major platforms; Pass-through revenue share Downsides: Upfront Costs; No international distribution MM’s suggestion: Distribber performs a necessary service— connecting independent moviemakers to the behemoth digital distribution outlets they might not otherwise have access to. So, if and when you need to get on a major platform, Distribber is a good bet. Just remember to keep up your own marketing efforts. Aggregators are the highways to mega-platform revenue, but they don’t provide the car.
____________ Indiefilmz_ ____________ IndieFilmZ focuses primarily on the promotion of short, independent films. They believe (quite rightly) that most independent moviemakers are producing short-form content instead of feature-length work, but that due to the lack of general short film viewership—and therefore profitability—the quality of shorts has decreased in recent years. With that in mind, IndieFilmZ provides a venue to showcase “quality” short-form content, and a platform for generating revenue. In order to feature your content on IndieFilmZ, you have to sign up for membership, which costs between $10 and $20 a year. They set their videos at a rental price of $1.49 per movie, $1.00 of which goes directly to the filmmaker. Videos can only be purchased and viewed by other paying IndieFilmZ members.
Upside: Unique (or nearly unique) monetization potential for shortform content
Downside: Small audience base; Membership cost presents barrier to sale of films
____________ distribber_ ____________ Distribber is an aggregator—one of those oft-mentioned middlemen that act as a liaison between moviemakers and the big distribution outlets like iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu. Distribber charges an up-front fee for delivery and placement, per platform, that ranges from $5,000 for cable VOD, to $95 forAmazon. But they undoubtedly give filmmakers entrée to big retailers they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. And the frontend fees Distribber charges to connect moviemakers to distribution platforms are the only fees they charge. Unlike some aggregators, they don’t penalize producers further by taking any share of actual VOD revenue. Distribber screens submissions for pedigree and accolades, but less stringently, it appears, than the actual distribution platforms themselves. In other words, using Distribber doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to sell your film on
MM’s suggestion: If you’re a creator of short-form content, there’s no harm in maintaining a presence on IndieFilmZ. Most other DIY distribution platforms don’t accept shorts at all. The membership cost is almost inconsequentially low and maybe worth the price. You’ll gain some exposure and connect with other content creators, at the very least. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even sell some streams!
_____________ distrify_ _____________ Distrify helps moviemakers sell their films socially across a gamut of devices. Like Yekra and VHX, their primary offering is a traveling player that allows viewers to purchase films from
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anywhere they’re hosted. Filmmakers have the ability to embed, share, and socially sell their films, while earning 70 percent of revenue collected from each stream. They also have an affiliaterevenue scheme that’s open to all Distrify members, although there’s no dedicated platform or toolset. One of the most appealing things about Distrify is that the front page of their website clearly states no upfront costs (for a limited time).
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Upsides: Player mobility; No set-up costs Downsides: No portal or film page; No affiliate platform MM’s recommendation: Distrify’s robust and flexible traveling player has a lower set-up cost, but also a lower revenue share than Yekra. We love the concept of moviemakers being able to bring their films directly to an audience. Distrify may not have all the bells and whistles, but they’re the main contender in the zerocost marketplace.
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_______ CreateSpace/Amazon________ Amazon offers moviemakers the ability to build a “webstore,” —a turnkey, e-commerce platform that enables users to design and operate a profitable online presence for their films. Amazon’s self-publishing and self-distribution arm, CreateSpace, goes a step further, allowing filmmakers to distribute DVDs and VOD through the Amazon Marketplace. Amazon Prime Members can stream content for free, and Amazon non-Prime non-members can purchase both download-to-rent and download-to-own content. One distinct perk is that their VOD titles are eligible for listing on the corresponding IMDb film pages, and because Amazon’s commerce ubiquity (a lot of people already have accounts with Amazon), their “One Click” purchase system is a big bonus; customers don’t have to enter information every time they want to rent a movie. Additionally, video downloads are completely free to set up. The deal’s pretty good, too. Amazon keeps 50 percent of the revenue, and the other 50 percent goes to the filmmaker. But prices are set solely at Amazon’s discretion.
Upsides: IMDB integration; No set-up costs; Domestic reach and stability Downsides: Lower revenue share; Inflexible pricing; No cross-platform portability; No international options
MM’s suggestion: Amazon is another option you might want to keep on the shelf until you’ve distributed on your other platforms first. A couple of years ago, they were the only no-cost option for independent filmmakers. But with the abundance of VOD choices, our vote is to start on platforms that leave you in control so you can make changes on the fly as your distribution strategy inevitably evolves. Amazon will be there, if and when you need them. MM
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guide to film education ABCINEMA // abcinema.nl // ABCinema’s DVD moviemaking course includes useful information for cinema artists of all experience levels. If you’re just starting out, or if your moviemaking career just needs a shot in the arm, ABCinema’s combination of video instruction, illustrative film clips and companion text helps you learn about the art and business of film at your own pace. ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY // SAN FRANCISCO, CA // 800/544-2787; 415/274-2200 // ACADEMYART. EDU // Students master the fundamentals of various aspects of moviemaking—including cinematography, editing, visual effects, producing, production design and screenwriting—with instructors active in their respective fields at AAU. The school offers a host of professionalgrade facilities and equipment, including a green screen studio and multiple sound stages. BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR DIGITAL IMAGING ARTS // WALTHAM, MA & WASHINGTON, D.C. // 800/808-2342 // CDIABU.COM // CDIA offers degrees in 3-D Animation, Graphic and Web Design, Audio Production and Digital Filmmaking, in addition to a variety of one- and two-day workshops on the latest moviemaking technologies. Students get hands-on training using top-of-the-line equipment and the latest moviemaking software. CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF THE ARTS // SAN FRANCISCO, CA // 800/447-1278 // CCA.EDU/FILM // Students in CCA’s BFA program receive a foundation in narrative moviemaking, assisted by a faculty of award-winning moviemakers and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities (including a variety of film and digital equipment, video and audio finishing suites and a postproduction lab). The school encourages its students to explore a variety of visual arts, including animation and experimental film. The school’s CCA Film Program Speaker Series brings bigname moviemakers like Gus Van Sant to
the school to lecture, teach and inspire aspiring moviemakers. CAROLINA FILM INSTITUTE // GREENVILLE, SC // 800/940-3546; 864/246-2334 // CAROLINAFILMINSTITUTE.COM // From the first week of CFI’s 10-month program, students receive extensive training on both film and digital equipment, including Super8, 16mm and digital HD cameras, as well as additional production equipment and a Final Cut Pro editing lab. COLORADO FILM SCHOOL // DENVER, CO // 303/340-7321 // COLORADOFILMSCHOOL.NET // CFS students are encouraged to mix an independent spirit with traditional Hollywood production techniques, earning their BFAs through a rigorous program with Regis University at CFS. Boasting a strong curriculum and a top-notch faculty of working professionals, CFS was recently identified by ICG Magazine as one of the top film schools in the nation. COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO // CHICAGO, IL // 312/369-6700 // COLUM.EDU/FILM // Though well-established as a place where students can learn both the technical and creative sides of moviemaking (Oscar-winning cinematographers Janusz Kaminski and Mauro Fiore are both alumni), CCC isn’t standing still in the face of industry changes. The school recently launched a Creative Producing MFA Program, where students gain practical moviemaking experience from their very first semester, just one year after opening a 35,000 square-foot Media Production Center. COLUMBIA COLLEGE HOLLYWOOD // TARZANA, CA // 800/785-0585 // COLUMBIACOLLEGE.EDU // At CCH, moviemakers can hone their craft in the entertainment capital of the world as they study writing with Oscarwinner Seth Winston (Session Man), directing with John Swanbeck (The Big Kahuna) and further areas of film and television production with other accomplished industry pros. CCH’s BFA and
AFA programs offer hands-on training with the newest cinematic technologies, including the RED ONE camera. Each year CCH hosts an industry film festival, where students have their work seen by top producers, agents and studio executives. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY // NEW YORK, NY // 212/854-2815 // ARTS.COLUMBIA.EDU/FILM // Columbia offers MFA programs in Creative Producing and Screenwriting/ Directing, as well as an undergraduate program in film studies. Among the school’s award-winning alumni are Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) and Nicole Holofcener (Please Give).
THE EDIT CENTER // NEW YORK, NY // 212/691-2370 // THEEDITCENTER.COM // Students who take the six-week “Art of Film Editing” course at The Edit Center don’t just learn the ins and outs of editing. Since the footage used in class is from an actual independent feature, students end up with footage to put on their reels in addition to actual film credits. This Apple-certified training center also offers two-, threeand five-day courses on Final Cut Pro. Alumni have worked on No End in Sight, Winter’s Bone and Inside Job. DOUGLAS EDUCATION CENTER // MONESSEN, PA // 800/413-6013; 724/684-3684 // DEC.EDU // Douglas’ 16-month Factory Digital Filmmaking Program gives students the practical experience needed to make a movie, while classes on digital storytelling and communication provide the basics for writing and promoting a compelling story. Douglas also offers a 16-month associate’s degree in special makeup effects, the practical applications of which extend beyond moviemaking to areas like theater design. Faculty members include legendary SFX artist Tom Savini, whose credits include Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th.
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DOV SIMENS’ 2-DAY FILM SCHOOL // 800/366-3456 // DOVSIMENSFILMSCHOOL.COM // At Dov Simens’ 2-Day Film School, students learn practical information on how to write, finance, create, market and distribute a film. Simens has been teaching his two-day class in locations around the world for two decades and also offers instruction in the form of a DVD box set, featuring nearly 20 hours of instruction and corresponding workbooks. FILM CONNECTION FILM INSTITUTE // LOS ANGELES, CA // 800/800-9581; 310/456-9623 // FILMCONNECTION.COM/PROGRAM-2 // Film Connection Film Institute was founded on the principle that the movie business is a collaborative one. The school provides its students with a six-month, one-on-one apprenticeship with a professional moviemaker who gives weekly assignments and provides regular mentorship, all with the goal of turning the student’s movie idea into a completed film. The school also provides each student with an internship at a film production company or agency. After graduation, the 12-month Stay Connected Program helps students continue to build a network of contacts within the film industry. FILM SCHOOLS 4U // 818/748-8398 // FILMSCHOOLS4U.COM // When you buy Film Schools 4U’s five-disc Starter Course in Filmmaking, you’re not paying for hours of filler and irrelevant commentary. The focus of Film Schools 4U is practicality, and to that end Film School 4U’s lessons include useful information on such topics as effectively pitching an idea to a producer and creating super-charged action scenes. FIVE TOWNS COLLEGE // LONG ISLAND, NY // 631/656-2110 // FTC.EDU // Five Towns offers courses on different types of moviemaking, including narrative, documentary, commercial and new media-based. Students use the school’s state-of-theart equipment in such classes as Acting for the Camera and Production Design to gain a solid base of knowledge on a variety of subjects, leaving them well prepared to successfully establish themselves in the industry following graduation.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY // tallahassee, fl // 850/644-7728 // film.fsu.edu // Recognized by the Directors Guild of America for its distinguished contribution to American culture, the Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts provides professional training to a limited number of the very brightest students in the world. Small class sizes enrollments allow the faculty of professional moviemakers to maintain the high caliber of education necessary for graduates to succeed in an extremely competitive industry. Beginning in 2012, the school will offer a BFA in Animation and Digital Arts in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility in West Palm Beach. FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY // WINTER PARK, FL // 800/226-7625 (CAMPUS); 888/993-7338 (ONLINE) // FULLSAIL.EDU // In any of Full Sail’s four film-focused degree programs (Film, Digital Cinematography, Creative Writing or Creative Writing for Entertainment), students can take advantage of the school’s cutting-edge facilities and equipment, including a backlot, multiple sound stages and digital and film camera equipment, to make films that they can later use as calling cards to the industry. The school also offers online versions of many of its programs, giving students more flexibility in the logistics of how they earn their degrees. GOTHAM WRITERS’ WORKSHOP // NEW YORK, NY // 212/974-8377 // WRITINGCLASSES.COM // For students interested in screenwriting, TV writing or simply improving their creative writing skills, GWW offers 10week workshops online and at several New York City locations. Also offered are writing mentorships, script doctoring services and one-day intensives in dialogue writing and character development. Visit the Workshop’s Website to take a virtual tour of the online “classroom” and the many subjects covered. IDYLLWILD ARTS ACADEMY // IDYLLWILD, CA // 951/659-2171 // idYLLWILDARTS.ORG // For nearly 60 years, Idyllwild has been one of the only arts-based boarding schools for high school students in the U.S., offering world-class training in writing,
dance, film and video, interdisciplinary arts, music, theater and visual arts. Specializing in pre-professional training, the school offers a college preparatory program for grades nine through 12 and post-graduates. For moviemakers who don’t yet want to make the full-time commitment, there is a two-week summer session. international academy of film and television // cebu, philippines // 888/598-2221 // iaft.ph // Located on the beautiful island of Mactan in the Philippines, IAFT’s intensive diploma and certificate programs in filmmaking, sound design and acting range in length from 18 weeks to one year and are taught by industry professionals who provide students with a strong foundation in all aspects of moviemaking. For those who can’t make the commitment to studying on the island, IAFT also hosts short-term workshops in Los Angeles. INTERNATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK // MULTIPLE LOCATIONS IN NEW YORK AND UTAH // 718/796-4104 // NYFILMSCHOOL.COM // IFI’s five-week summer workshops provide a comprehensive crash course in screenwriting, producing, directing, editing and more. Among IFI’s summer workshops are those for high school students, who can take advantage of the school’s professional-grade equipment, as well as the one-on-one attention provided by IFI faculty. All equipment fees are included in the tuition price, so students don’t have to worry about hidden costs down the line. The school has recently announced its plans to introduce evening courses in the near future. INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOL SYDNEY // SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA // +02 9663 3789 // IFsS.EDU.AU // Students in the two-year advanced diploma course at IFSS utilize the school’s extensive library of equipment—including RED ONE cameras and various types of post-production software—to make up to eight short films, the production costs of which are fully covered by the school. IFSS emphasizes the importance of learning the in-depth mechanics of the entertainment industry, such as managing a budget and negotiating
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with members of a creative team, in addition to the creative and technical aspects of moviemaking. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY // LOS ANGELES, CA // 800/568-4636; 310/338-2700 // LMU.EDU // The LMU School of Film and Television offers BA and MFA programs in Production, where the focus is on enabling students to express themselves in any distribution medium—be it theatrical or on a computer screen. Upon entrance into the program, students are quickly immersed in the artistic, practical and technical details of moviemaking, creating both feature films and documentaries. MAINE MEDIA WORKSHOPS + COLLEGE // ROCKPORT, ME // 877/577-7700; 207/236-8581 // MAINEMEDIA. EDU // MMW has a variety of programs for aspiring moviemakers, from oneweek workshops to a three-year MFA program. Students are provided with top-of-the-line equipment from such school sponsors as Canon, Sony and Panavision. The school hosts screenings of student films for faculty and the local community, in addition to encouraging students to submit to the nearby Camden International Film Festival. MANHATTAN EDIT WORKSHOP // NEW YORK, NY // 212/414-9570 // MEWSHOP.COM // Founded by writer-director-editor Josh Apter, Mewshop is an ideal education option for those looking for a crash course in editing. With classes in Avid, Apple and Adobe applications, the school’s intensive six-week program provides students with the training they need to kickstart a career in post-production. In addition to studying editing software, students are taught film theory and narrative techniques by in-demand editors such as Harry Keramidas (Back to the Future) as part of the school’s Artists in Residence program. MEDIATECH INSTITUTE // VARIOUS TEXAS LOCATIONS; OCEANSIDE, CA // 866/498-1122 // MEDIATECH.EDU // MediaTech’s Dallas, TX and Oceanside, CA campuses offer a 44-week long Digital Film and Video Arts Program, in which students gain hands-on experience in all areas of development, pro-
duction and post-production. For those interested in audio, there’s the Recording Arts program, which is offered at MT’s other two campuses (Houston and Austin, TX) as well. MT boasts top-notch facilities and equipment, including Canon and Panasonic cameras and a green screen cyc wall. NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY // NEW YORK, NY // 212/674-4300 // NYFA.EDU // Moviemakers looking for a degree program can earn a AFA, BFA or MFA from NYFA’s moviemaking or acting programs, while those looking for something more short-term can take advantage of the school’s week- or month-long workshops. NYFA offers flexibility in program length as well as location; in addition to its New York City campus, NYFA also has locations on the Universal Studios lot in California and in Abu Dhabi, with additional workshops held in a variety of worldwide locations. Within one year, students can work on as many as 72 films. When students aren’t busy on location, they can listen to guest speakers like Oscar-winners Kevin Spacey, Ron Howard or Sir Ben Kingsley. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY // NEW YORK, NY // 212/9981700 // TISCH.NYU.EDU // As one of the world’s most selective film schools, NYU has educated some of today’s best-known moviemakers, including Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Charlie Kaufman and Joel Coen. With its top-notch facilities and award-winning faculty, the school creates an extraordinary training ground for individual artists and has recently opened a campus in Singapore. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS ASIA // SINGAPORE // +65 6500 1700 // NYU. EDU/TISCH/ASIAFILM // Although it offers the same course of study as the New York campus, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia provides students (who come from more than 20 countries) an exclusive, multicultural environment. With a three-year MFA program that stresses hands-on learning using stateof-the-art equipment and labs, Tisch Asia offers everything students need to create moviemaking magic. Additionally, legendary moviemaker Oliver
Stone serves as Tisch Asia’s artistic director and regularly delivers lectures and workshops on campus. NO BUDGET FILM SCHOOL // LOS ANGELES, CA // NOBUDGETFILMSCHOOL.COM // If the ability to make a film seems out of reach, one weekend class at the No Budget Film School can provide you with the knowledge—and confidence—to get out there and make a movie. The cost of each class is between $175 and $300, and each one focuses on a single aspect of moviemaking, whether it’s writing, drawing up a budget or creating a distribution plan. Past guest instructors have included Joe Carnahan, David Gordon Green and other big-name directors who got their starts with micro-budget features. NORTHWEST FILM CENTER’S SCHOOL OF FILM // PORTLAND, OR // 503/221-1156 // NWFILM.ORG/EDUCATION // Northwest Film Center’s School of Film provides a hands-on learning environment for anyone with a passion for film. Most classes and workshops— which range from 14-week programs to single-day workshops—are offered during the evenings and on weekends. The school’s flexibility of both class offerings and schedule make it an ideal place for students with busy schedules. PALM BEACH AND MIAMI FILM SCHOOLS // PALM BEACH, FL & MIAMI, FL // 561/242-9190 (PALM BEACH); 954/989-2737 (MIAMI) // PALMBEACHFILMSCHOOL.COM; MIAMIFILMSCHOOL.NET // Students at the Palm Beach and Miami Film Schools can take advantage of the schools’ high-end technology—not to mention an abundance of tropical locations—to create their own short films. Students can choose the eightweek program or the 16-week evening program, both of which boast small class sizes of usually no more than 12 students to ensure personal instruction from the faculty. RINGLING COLLEGE // SARASOTA, FL // 800/2557695; 941/351-5100 // RINGLING.EDU // Though Ringling excels at hands-on training, Bradley Battersby, head of the digital filmmaking department, notes that, “The essence of our program can be
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summed up in three words: Story, story story.” Ringling offers four-year BFA programs in digital filmmaking and computer animation, the latter of which has been ranked by 3D World magazine as the best of its kind in the country. SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN // SAVANNAH, GA // 800/869-7223; 912/525-5000 // SCAD. EDU // SCAD’s School of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts features 11 programs that cover various aspects of moviemaking, including Animation and Dramatic Writing. BFA programs at SCAD take four years to complete, and many of the programs offer MFA and MA options as well. Facilities and equipment at SCAD include digital and film cameras, a motion capture studio and two Avid post-production labs (students can even choose to become Avid-certified). school of visual arts // new york, ny // 888/220-5782; 212/592-2000 // sva.EDU // Students in SVA’s undergraduate Film and Video program—which gives the option to specialize in Directing, Screenwriting, Editing or Cinematography—study with industry-renowned faculty and have access to digital facilities that rival many professional studios. SVA also offers undergraduate degrees in Animation and Computer Arts and master’s degrees in Social Documentary Film and Live Action Short Film. SVA’s continuing education classes cover various cinema disciplines, from pre-production to post, and the school’s Pre-College Program (which includes classes on production, screenwriting and animation) helps high school students get a leg up on their arts education. SEATTLE FILM INSTITUTE // SEATTLE, WA // 800/882-4734 // SEATTLEFILMINSTITUTE.COM // SFI, the largest full-time film program in the Pacific Northwest, offers courses in all aspects of moviemaking, from film scoring to 3-D animation. Small class sizes ensure that students get plenty of personal instruction from SFI’s distinguished faculty, and the school even holds screenings of graduate films and will place any interested graduate in an industry internship. There’s great news for high school students, too: SFI offers
a two-week summer program, which gives aspiring auteurs the opportunity to learn cinematic history and techniques before producing their own short films. TRIBECA FLASHPOINT MEDIA ARTS ACADEMY // CHICAGO, IL // 312/332-0707 // TFA.EDU // As part of Tribeca’s two-year program in Film + Broadcast and Animation + VFX, students work with (and for) outside clients in order to gain professional experience as well as something to put on their reels. A curriculum that includes lessons on reel creation and networking techniques ensures that students are able to continue their professional development after graduation. Students in Tribeca’s Accelerated Professional Program, designed for college graduates, learn the same lessons as in the school’s two-year programs in a shorter period of time, enabling them to earn an associate’s degree in 15 months. The school also offers programs in Recording Arts and Game and Interactive Media. UCLA SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM & TELEVISION // LOS ANGELES, CA // 310/825-8787 // TFT.UCLA.EDU // In addition to the BA, MA and MFA programs offered by this prestigious film school, UCLA offers online summer sessions in screenwriting, film and television producing and cinematography. UCLA’s 10-week Professional Programs in screenwriting and producing, which are based on the school’s MFA curricula and consist of evening classes, are a perfect choice for aspiring moviemakers who are unable to devote several years to a full-time degree program. USC SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS // LOS ANGELES, CA // 213/740-8358 // CINEMA.USC.EDU // USC, the country’s oldest film school, has a long history of providing outstanding film education, which is reflected in the more than 250 Oscar nominations and 75 wins its alumni have received. Each year for the past 35 years, at least one USC grad has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for their exceptional contributions to the industry. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS // WINSTON-SALEM, NC // 336/770-1330 // UNCSA.
EDU/FLMMAKING // UNCSA offers classes in all aspects of production, plus theatrical screenings, workshops, lectures and in-studio and on-location principal photography sessions. Faculty members include director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show) and cinematographer Thomas E. Ackerman (Beetlejuice). Successful alumni Jody Hill, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride prove that this program works. UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN // AUSTIN, TX // 512/471-4071 // RTF.UTEXAS.EDU // The RadioTelevision-Film department at UT Austin offers a bachelor’s degree that covers film and television production, screenwriting and media studies, as well as master’s programs in each of those three categories. Notable alumni include Robert Rodriguez and Wes Anderson.
VANCOUVER FILM SCHOOL // VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA // 800/661-4101; 604/685-5808 // VFS.COM // VFS offers 13 arts programs that include training in different aspects of moviemaking, from acting to 3-D animation. VFS boasts a distinguished faculty, including makeup designer Stan Edmonds (I, Robot), as well as successful alumni like director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and screenwriter Seth Lochhead (Hanna). To promote student work, VFS submits select films to film festivals at no cost to the student. VFS also features its students’ films on the VFS YouTube channel, which has attracted more than 32 million viewers.
WATKINS COLLEGE OF ART, DESIGN & FILM // NASHVILLE, TN // 615/383-4848 // WATKINS.EDU // Watkins students gain a general core of moviemaking knowledge by taking classes that emphasize various aspects of the production process, including story structure and film business. Once students have a solid foundation in the general, they move on to the specific by choosing one of five concentrations: Producing, Directing, Screenwriting, Editing or Cinematography. The school offers a four-year BFA program as well as a two-year certificate program. MM
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motion picture production guide BOOKS & WEBSITES Cinema Books 4753 Roosevelt Way N.E. • Seattle, WA 98105 • 206/547-7667 • www.cinemabooks.net • A bookstore specializing in technical books on screenwriting, cinematography, animation, sound, editing and producing, as well as screenplays, film criticism, and moviemaker biographies. Focal Press 8th Floor, 711 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10017 • 212/216-7800 • www.focalpress.com • A leading publisher of film production books. JoBlo Media, Inc. 3360 Savard • Montreal, Quebec H4K2N3 • Canada • www.joblo.com • A full-blown movie Website featuring daily updates including news, reviews, trailers, multimedia, box office figures, release dates, and a community board. independent film producing: the outsider’s guide to producing a first low-budget feature film www.paulbattista.biz • Paul Battista’s book provides a realistic, step-by-step guide to producing an independent, low-budget feature film. Topics include: Selecting a script, copyright, hiring talent, raising money, and writing a business plan. productionhub, inc. www.productionhub.co • 1806 Hammerlin Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 • Canada • www. joblo.com • A global online resource and industry directory for film, TV and and digital media production. Michael Wiese Productions www.mwp.com • 12400 Ventura Blvd. #1111, Studio City, CA 91604 Offers information and inspiration on all aspects of moviemaking through its series of film-related books, mentoring programs, seminars, and an online film school. CAMERAS, LIGHTS & EQUIPMENT Band Pro Film & Digital, Inc. 3403 W. Pacific Ave. • Burbank, CA 91505 • 818/841-9655 • www.bandpro. com • One of the most comprehensive resources for HD equipment and technical information, Band Pro offers a full array of production and post-production equipment. Camera motion research 3200 Gresham Lake Rd., Suite 113 • Raleigh, NC 27615 • 919/876-6020 • www. camotionllc.com • Following three years of research and development into gyro dynamic stabilization for hand held camera stabilizers, Camera Motion Research, LLC released the Blackbird, which provides the best handheld video (and DSLR) camera stabilizer performance available for cameras weighing up to eight pounds. Camera Turret Company 7 Nel Bonney Rd. • Plympton, MA 02367 • 781/294-4110 • www.cameraturret.com • Manufactures jib arms, remote pan/tilt heads and lens controls for the film and video industry. Canon One Canon Plaza • Lake Success, NY 11042 • 516/328-5000 • www.usa.canon.com • One of the world’s largest suppliers of motion picture cameras and equipment. cinema-vision 210 11th Ave., Suite 403 • New York, NY 10001 • 212/620-8191 • www.motionpicturerentals.com • Rent cameras, filters and accessories or get your own equipment expertly serviced here. CINEMEK www.cinemek.com • Cinemek’s signature product, the G35 35mm lens adapter, lets moviemakers working on digital get that much MOVIEMAKER.COM
sought-after film look. Not content with just providing moviemakers with the affordable (and extremely durable) G35, Cinemek also created the popular app Storyboard Composer, which lets moviemakers easily create storybooks on their iPhone or iPad. Dana Dolly 22231 E. Via De Palmas, Queen Creek, AZ 85142 • www.danadolly.com • With Dana Dolly’s lightweight, easily-assembled dolly system, a moviemaker of any experience level can use professional camera moment to up their production value. Dana Dolly can be used with a variety of different track options (most 1¼" pipe will work just fine). The recently-released Dana Dolly Junior provides the same benefits as its predecessor in an even smaller (and more affordable) package. Eastman Kodak Company www.kodak.com/go/motion • World leader in motion picture film stock, digital effects, mastering and packaging services. Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. 2211 Pucketts Ferry Road, Greenwood, SC 29649 U.S.A.• www.fujifilm.com • Provides a wide spectrum of camera negative films that offer shooting versatility and innovation for a variety of environments. Glidecam Industries, Inc. 23 Joseph St. • Kingston, MA 02364 • 781/585-7900 • www.glidecam.com • Offers an affordable and versatile line of camera stabilizers and related accessories. Radiant images 4125 W. Jefferson Blvd. • Los Angeles, CA 90016 • 323/737-1314 • www.hdcamerarentals.com • Radiant images offers professional film and video equipment rentals, unparalleled technical expertise and strong customer support as well as cost-effective postproduction solutions for RED ONE and camera rentals for all digital formats. JVC America 1700 Valley Rd. • Wayne, NJ 07470 • 973/317-5000 • www.jvc.com • Develops and manufactures audio and visual products for consumers and professionals. New Mexico Lighting & Grip Company 5650 University Blvd. SE, Bldg. 2 • Albuquerque, NM 87106 • 505/227-2500 • www.nmlgc.com • In addition to its extensive inventory of lighting and grip equipment, NMLGC’s well-stocked Expendables Store offers gels, globes, electrical, tape, tools, camera supplies, hardware, lumber, paint/paint supplies, textiles, office/ kitchen supplies and apparel. The company supplies equipment across the Southwest quickly and effectively. Panasonic One Panasonic Way • Secaucus, NJ 07094 • 800/211-7262 • www.panasonic.com/broadcast • A leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products, Panasonic’s 24p cameras offer exceptional, film-like images for independent moviemaking. Panavision, Inc. 6101 Variel Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367 • 800/FOR-PANA; 818/316-1000 • www. panavision.com • Foremost designer, manufacturer and supplier of cameras, lenses and accessories for motion picture, television and commercial productions. pro video & film equipment 11425 Mathis Avenue, Dallas, TX. 75234 888/869-9998 • www.provideofilm.com • One of the country’s largest used equipment dealers, specializing in filmmaking and video equipment. Production resource group, llc. 9111 Sunland Blvd. • Sun Valley, CA 91352 • 818/252-2600 • www.prg.com •
One of the world’s leading suppliers of entertainment technology, lighting, audio, video, scenery, rigging and automation systems. Pro8mm 2805 W. Magnolia Blvd. • Burbank, CA 91505 • 818/848-5522 • www.pro8mm.com • Cameras, film, same-day processing and HD scanning are just some of the products and services offered by Pro8mm. The company also specializes in hybrid 8mm and 16mm format film products and services, and is the inventor of Super8 negative film and widescreen Super8. redrum digital cinema production 303/520-7475 • www. redrumdigital.com • One of the first companies in Colorado to rent the RED ONE camera. rule Boston Camera Rental Company 1284 Soldiers Field Rd. • Brighton, MA 02135 • 617/277-2200 • www.rule. com • The cameras may look different today than when the company was established in 1982, but the mission is the same: Quality gear and service at a great value. Sony Electronics One Sony Drive • Park Ridge, NJ 07656 • 866/SONY-BPC • www.sony.com/professional • Develops and manufactures audio and video solutions for electronic cinematography, digital cinema, nonlinear editing, and videography applications. VariZoom PO Box 201990 • Austin, TX 78720 • 888/826-3399; 512/219-7722 • www.varizoom.com • Manufactures camera controls for zoom, focus, iris, pan and tilt motion; jibs and dollies; camera stabilizers; camera supports; and many other accessories for film and video. DISTRIBUTORS Anchor Bay Entertainment www.anchorbayentertainment. com • Anchor Bay Entertainment is one of the leading distributors of independent feature films and home entertainment product and the home entertainment division of Starz Media, LLC. It includes the Anchor Bay Entertainment, Anchor Bay Films, and Manga Entertainment brands. bigstar.tv 2100 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 700 • Coral Gables, FL 33134 • 888/67-FILMS • www.bigstar.tv • BigStar TV distributes thousands of independent and foreign films via its digital platform. Focused primarily on indies and HD, BigStar TV has built a digital distribution technology that delivers access to hard-to-find films from all over the world. Buena Vista Pictures 500 S. Buena Vista St. • Burbank, CA 91521 • 818/560-1000 • www.disney.go.com/disneypictures The Cinema Guild 115 W. 30th St., Suite 800 • New York, NY 10001 • 800/723-5522 • www.cinemaguild.com cinema libre studio 8328 De Soto Ave. • Canoga Park, CA 91304 • 818/349-8822 • www. cinemalibrestudio.com • Cinema Libre Studio is an international entertainment company dedicated to creating quality films with global appeal. Columbia Pictures 10202 W. Washington Blvd. • Culver City, CA 90232 • 310/244-4000 • www.sonypictures.com Dark Sky Films 16101 S. 108th Ave. • Orland Park, IL 60467 • 800/323-0442 • www.darkskyfilms.com Walt Disney International 500 S. Buena Vista St. • Burbank, CA 91521 • 818/560-1000 • www.disneyinternational.com Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment www.disneydvd.disney.go.com Dreamworks 818/733-7000 • www.dreamworksstudios. com Film Movement 109 W. 27th St., Suite 9B • New York, NY 10001 • 866/YES-FILM; 212/941-7744 • www.filmmovement.com Focus Features 100 Universal City Plaza • Building 9128, Second Floor • Universal City, CA 91608 • 818/777-7373 • 65 Bleecker St., Third Floor • New York, NY 10012 • 212/539-4000 • www.focusfeatures.com
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Frameline Distribution 145 Ninth St., Suite 300 • San Francisco, CA 94103 • 415/703-8650 • www.frameline.org/distribution Samuel Goldwyn Company • 9570 W. Pico Blvd., 4th Floor • Los Angeles, CA 90035 • 310/860-3100 • www.samuelgoldwynfilms.com HBO Films 1100 Sixth Ave. • New York, NY 10036 • 212/512-1000 • www.hbo.com Jim Henson Company 1416 N. La Brea Ave. • Hollywood, CA 90028 • 323/802-1500 • 37-18 Northern Blvd, Suite 400 • Long Island City, NY 11101 • 212/7942400 • www.henson.com IFC 11 Penn Plaza, 18th Floor • New York, NY 10001 • 212/324-8500 • www.ifcfilms.com image entertainment 20525 Nordhoff St., Suite 200 • Chatsworth, CA 91311 • 818/407-9100 • www.imageentertainment.com • Inquire at Image about licensing, financing or distributing your feature film worldwide, using its relationships with major retailers and companies like Sony. Indiepix Films 31 E. 32nd Street, 12th Floor • New York, NY 10016 • 212/684-2333 • www.indiepixfilms.com • Distributes high-quality, carefullycurated independent films from the festival circuit. Kino International 333 W. 39th St., Suite 503 • New York, NY 10018 • 212/629-6880 • www.kino.com Lakeshore Entertainment Group 9268 W. Third St. • Beverly Hills, CA 90210 • 310/867-8000 • www.lakeshoreentertainment.com Lionsgate 2700 Colorado Ave. • Santa Monica, CA 90404 • 310/255-3700 • www.lionsgate.com Magnolia Pictures 49 W. 27th St., Seventh Floor • New York, NY 10001 • 212/924-6701 • www.magpictures.com MGM studios 10250 Constellation Blvd. • Los Angeles, CA 90067 • 310/449-3000 • www.mgm.com MPI Media Group 16101 S. 108th Ave. • Orland Park, IL 60467 • 800/323-0442; 708/460-0555 • www.mpimedia.com New Line Cinema 116 N. Robertson Blvd., Suite 200 • Los Angeles, CA 90048 • 310/854-5811 • www.newline.com Oscilloscope Pictures 511 Canal St., 5E • New York, NY 10013 • 212/219-4029 • www.oscilloscope.net Paramount Pictures 5555 Melrose Ave. • Hollywood, CA 90038 • 323/956-5000 • www.paramount.com Sony Pictures Classics 550 Madison Ave., Eighth Floor • New York, NY 10022 • 212/833-8850 • www.sonyclassics.com Sony Pictures Entertainment 10202 W. Washington Blvd. • Culver City, CA 90232 • 310/244-4000 • www. sonypictures.com Strand Releasing 6140 W. Washington Blvd. • Culver City, CA 90232 • 310/836-7500 • www.strandreleasing.com summit Entertainment 1630 Stewart St., Suite 120 • Santa Monica, CA 90404 • 310/309-8400 • www.summit-ent.com Troma Entertainment 36-40 11th Street • Long Island City, NY 11106 • 718/391-0110 • www.troma.com 20th Century Fox 10201 W. Pico Blvd. • Los Angeles, CA 90035 • 310/369-1000 • www.fox.com Universal Pictures 100 Universal City Plaza • Universal City, CA 91608 • 818/777-1000 • www.universalstudios.com Warner Bros. 4000 Warner Blvd. • Burbank, CA 91522 • 818/954-6000 • www.warnerbros.com Women Make Movies 462 Broadway, Suite 500WS • New York, NY 10013 • 212/925-0606 • www.wmm.com Zeitgeist Films 247 Centre St., Second Floor • New York, NY 10013 • 212/274-1989 • www.zeitgeistfilms.com
FILM FESTIVALS action on film international Film Festival 323/878-5522 • www.aoffest.com • The AOF Festival is one of the most progressive festivals in the world. Voted one of MovieMaker’s Top 25 Festivals Worth the Fees, it boasts celebrities, industry insiders, huge parties, symposiums, and much more. This international affair features divisions for Animation, Documentary, Drama, Comedy, Experimental, Action and the Written Word. Past attendees and award-winners include Talia Shire, John Savage, Bill Duke, Michael Madsen, Kim Coates, Deborah Kara Unger and many others. Over $100,000 in prizes and awards given in 2010. AFI Fest 2021 N. Western Ave. • Los Angeles, CA 90027 • 866/AFI-FEST • www.afifest.com • Features domestic and international films from emerging and master moviemakers. Angelus Student Film Festival 7201 Sunset Blvd. • Hollywood, CA 90046 • 800/874-0999 • www.angelus. org • Honors young moviemakers as they create works that respect the dignity of the human person. Angelus-winning films reflect values such as redemption, spirituality, dignity, tolerance, equality, diversity, hope, and triumph of the human spirit. Ann Arbor Film Festival PO Box 8232 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107 • 734/995-5356 • www.aafilmfest.org • Founded in 1963, the AAFF is steeped in a rich tradition of groundbreaking cinema, having showcased the early work of luminaries such as Kenneth Anger, Agnes Varda, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant and George Lucas. AAFF provides more than $20,000 in moviemaker awards and serves as an Academy Award®-qualifying festival. Austin Film Festival 1801 Salina St. • Austin, TX 78702 • 800/310-3378 • www.austinfilmfestival. com • The Austin Film Festival takes place over eight days every October and screens feature, short, and student short films (both narrative and documentary), including regional and world premieres of critically-acclaimed movies. AFF draws a large industry crowd of screenwriters, agents, managers, distributors and moviemakers. AFF also hosts a screenwriting and filmmaking conference the first four days of the festival. Bare Bones International Film & MUSIC Festival 735 N. Terrace Blvd Muskogee, OK • 74401 918/616-1264 • www.barebonesfilmfestivals.org • This fest invites you to bring your barebones, “No Frills-No Waste” narrative shorts, features, documentaries, screenplays and music videos to the historic Roxy Theatre. You will enjoy red carpet premieres, audience Q&As, educational seminars and entertainment. BENDFILM Festival www.bendfilm.org • 2748 NW Crossing Dr, Suite 130, Bend OR, 97701 • 541/-388-FEST (3378) • Set against the backdrop of the stunning Cascade Mountains in Oregon, BendFilm creates a memorable fest each October with more than $30,000 in cash awards including a $10,000 Best of Show Award. Big Apple Film Festival 646/708-5910 • www.bigapplefilmfestival.com • BAFF takes place annually at the world-famous Tribeca Cinemas in the heart of the greatest city in the world. The BAFF, named one of MovieMaker’s top “25 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee,” is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the highest quality films from the NYC independent film community, as well as additional specially selected films from around the world. Additionally, the festival is proud to honor a variety of NYC-based moviemakers, writers, actors and artists who have played an influential role in the growth of indie moviemaking in the Big Apple. Big Bear Lake INTERNATIONAL Film Festival and Screenwriting Competition 909/866-3433 • www.bigbearlakefilmfestival.com • Offers independent features, shorts, student films, high school films, animation, documentaries, family films, screenwriting competition, panels, seminars and a pitchfest. The
fest presents honorary awards to professionals in the film industry and has lots of networking opportunities for moviemakers. Big Island Film Festival 68-1851 Lina Poepoe St. • Waikoloa, HI 96738 • 808/883-0394 • www. bigislandfilmfestival.com • Big Island Film Festival celebrates the storytelling aspects of narrative filmmakers and narrative movies. It takes place on the beautiful Kohala Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii. All events take place at The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii and The Shops at Mauna Lani. With two outdoor movie venues and one indoor venue, receptions, celebrities, Hawaiian music and culture, awards and workshops make this festival special. No red carpet, but a film festival wrapped in the Spirit of Aloha make this festival a favorite among filmmakers as well as patrons. Black maria film + video festival c/o Media Arts Dept. • Fries Hall, New Jersey City University • 2039 Kennedy Blvd. • Jersey City, NJ 07305 • 201/200-2043 • www. blackmariafilmfestival.org • Seeks diverse, expressive and passionate short films and videos by independent moviemakers. The fest is named after Thomas Edison’s motion picture studio, and is known for its support of spirited, cutting-edge and otherwise singular film and video. boulder international Film Festival www.biff1.com • 1906 13th Street, Suite 301 Boulder, CO 80302 • BIFF is held annually on President’s Day weekend in Boulder, Colorado and has developed a reputation as one of the most influential film festivals in the U.S., with an extraordinary number of new and unknown feature films, documentaries and shorts that have gone on from early screenings at BIFF to significant box office success and multiple Oscar nominations. buffalo niagara Film Festival 3840 E. Robinson Rd., Ste 166 • Amherst, NY 14120 • 716/827-3534 • www.thebnff.com • The BNFF presents a thoughtfully selected program of independent films at various landmark venues around Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, with its sparkling Niagara Falls situated right in its backyard. The BNFF has been built around the needs of moviemakers and aims to be an annual destination for film-lovers and industry to come together and celebrate a shared passion for film. Calgary International Film Festival #207, 214 - 11th Avenue SE Calgary, AB T2G 0X8 • 403/283-1490 • www. calgaryfilm.com • An international celebration of cultural diversity and independent thought, CIFF takes place every September in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Screening the best-of-the-best films from moviemakers hailing from more than 100 countries around the world, CIFF offers prizes for Best Canadian Feature, Best International Feature, Best Doc, People’s Choice as well as several shorts awards. CIFF is also home to the Mavericks competition for emerging filmmakers, which has a prize of $25,000. camden international film festival PO Box 836 Camden, ME, 04843 207/593-6593 • www.camdenfilmfest. org • Founded in 2004, CIFF is a grassroots, community-based organization that supports and generates interest in independent documentary films through its festival and screening series. Cannes International Film Festival 3, rue Amelie • 75007 Paris, France • www.festival-cannes.fr • 33 (0) 1 53 59 61 00 Needs no introduction... CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival 2489 Bayview Avenue Toronto, ON M2L 1A8 • worldwideshortfilmfest.com • Shorter is better at WSFF, where screenings, panels and parties exist for one purpose: To celebrate short film. As the largest short film market in North America, WSFF also encourages the short film industry through its Marketplace Library, where buyers and representatives can watch shorts submitted to WSFF. Cine Gear Expo PO Box 492296 • Los Angeles, CA 90049 • 310/472-0809 • www.cinegearexpo.com • A premier film, video and digital media expo, networking event and seminar series for the production and post-production communities. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Coney Island Film Festival www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com • Wildly unique, the Coney Island Film Festival presented by Coney Island USA and indiefilmpage.com offers moviemakers and audiences an experience unlike any other. Moviemakers and film fans descend upon Coney Island each year to enjoy a jam-packed weekend of indie films and parties and take in a unique atmosphere at this beachside event. Named one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” by MovieMaker. createasphere 3727 W. Magnolia Blvd. #729 • Burbank, CA 91505 • 818/842-6611 • www.hdexpo. net • Promotes the growth of HD technology as the wave of the future by building a community of experts through shared knowledge and education. Cucalorus Film Festival 815 Princess St. • Wilmington, NC 28401 • 910/343-5995 • www.cucalorus. org • Cucalorus is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and noncompetitive spirit, a breath of fresh air on the hectic festival circuit. Praise has come from many places for the renegade style and grassroots approach to festival-making. MovieMaker dubbed the festival “the best kept secret on the indie fest circuit” and Time commented that “the ruggedly independent event celebrates the pure love of filmmaking.” Run entirely by artists, Cucalorus is the moviemaker’s festival. DC Shorts Film Festival 1317 F St. N.W., #920 • Washington, DC 20004 • 202/393-4266 • www.dcshorts.com • The DC Shorts Film Festival turns the spotlight on truly independent short films, created by new and established filmmakers in an era when the art of filmmaking is opening to all. The fest selects films of every genre and niche for competition screenings, with a special focus on films created by metropolitan Washington, DC-based directors and writers. Cash prizes and more! Judges’ feedback given to ALL entrants. digital video expo 28 East 28th St., 12th Floor New York, NY 10016 212/378-0400 • www.dvexpo.com • The DV Expo offers workshops and sessions on all sorts of new technologies, including the RED ONE camera and Apple products. Also valuable are the networking opportunities provided by access to thousands of industry professionals. docutah Dixie State College of Utah • 225 South 700 East • St. George, UT 84770 • 435/879-4273 • www.docutah.com.com • Have you ever seen a film that made you laugh? Cry? Taught you something about yourself? Or about the world around you? Documentary films play an important part in the way we communicate with one another. DOCUTAH is a documentary-only film festival in southern Utah. By blending the breathtaking attractions of the area with a love of documentaries, the fest hopes that many professional and student moviemakers will embrace what DOCUTAH has to offer. Brace yourselves because DOCUTAH has arrived—now and for the future. Duke City DocFest 423 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM• www.dukecitydocfest.org•Duke City DocFest is an annual festival that showcases the best international docs of the year. Films are shown in the KiMo Theater, an Art Deco meets Native American culture, in Albuquerque’s city center located on historic Route 66. Eerie Horror Film Festival PO Box 98 • Edinboro, PA 16412 • 814/873-2483 • www.eeriehorrorfilmfestival. com • An internationally-recognized, competition-based event that takes place each year in the city of Erie, PA. Focusing on the horror, science fiction and suspense genres, the four-day festival features screenings, celebrity guests, vendors and workshops. Awards and prizes are presented to the best films and screenplays each season, with special awards for young moviemakers. Call for entries opens on Halloween day each year and remains active until August. Environmental Film Festival 1228½ 31st Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20007 202/342-2564 • www.dcenviMOVIEMAKER.COM
ronmentalfilmfest.org • The Environmental Film Festival, held annually in Washington, D.C., has made it its mission to encourage public awareness and understanding of pressing environmental issues through the medium of film. Screenings of most films, which cover topics ranging from nuclear energy to community gardens, are paired with discussions between moviemakers, environmental experts and other special guests, and are often free to the public. Fantastic Fest 1120 South Lamar Blvd. • Austin, TX 78704 • 512/912-0529 • www.fantasticfest.com • Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., and has hosted a large number of world premieres over the years, including There Will Be Blood, Apocalypto, Hostel and City of Ember. Fantastic Fest was named by Variety president Charlie Koones as “one of the 10 festivals we love,” alongside industry heavy-hitters Cannes, Telluride and Toronto as well as one of MovieMaker’s “25 coolest film festivals.” FirstGlance Film festivals PO Box 571105 • Tarzana, CA 91356 • 818/464-3544 • www.firstglancefilms. com • FirstGlance Film Fests are truly two of the premier indie film festivals in North America, presenting two annual events, one in Philadelphia and one in Hollywood, two short online contests yearly, and an annual short and feature screenplay competition showcasing the best in indie filmmaking from professional and student filmmakers from across the globe. FirstGlance presents award winning films to audiences and offers filmmakers online distribution opportunities along with over $50,000 in prizes annually. Flatland Film Festival 511 Ave. K • Lubbock, TX 79401 • 806/762-8606 • www.flatlandfilmfestival.com • West Texas has more sky and now more films, thanks to the Flatland Film Festival. FFF’s shorts competition offers more than $3,500 in cash prizes for live-action, documentary, animated and experimental works. Flatland also screens invitational features by up-and-coming directors, brings in industry guests for a topical panel discussion and rounds out the packed-house evenings with fun parties. Florida Film Festival 1300 S. Orlando Ave. • Maitland, FL 32751 • 407/629-1088 • www.floridafilmfestival. com • Cutting-edge American independent and international film; indulgent experiences in food; a blissful mix of industry panels, parties and special events; a star-packed attendee list—this is the Florida Film Festival. Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Florida Film Festival welcomes more than 25,000 guests each year and plays host to more than 100 visiting directors, producers, and award-winning talent. Its forum panelists and Grand Juries are comprised of hand-picked, film representatives from industry-leading organizations including IFC Films, indieWire.com and HBO Documentaries. The Festival is accredited as a qualifying festival for the Oscars™ in the Live Action and Animated Short film categories. Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival 1314 E. Las Olas Blvd. • Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 • 954/760-9898 • www.fliff.com • The world’s longest (and friendliest) film festival, FLIFF, kicks off in October. More than 200 films will be screened plus panels, parties, cruises and a bevy of special events and guests. The 48 Hour Film Project PO Box 40008 Washington, DC 20016 • www.48hourfilm.com • Every second counts at The 48 Hour Film Project, sponsored by Panasonic, where moviemakers have just two days to write, plan, shoot and edit a movie. Hawaii Ocean Film Festival PO Box 1228 • Hanalei, HI 96714 • 808/652-3392 • www.hawaiioceanfilmfestival. org • The Hawaii Ocean Film Festival features films about marine resources, ocean recreation and our cultural connections to the sea. “One of the 20 Coolest Film Festivals in 2010,” in MovieMaker. Exceptional opportunities for new
filmmakers who have passion, pacing and a point of view. The fest is looking for upbeat films that inspire the audience to get involved and take action. Haydenfilms Online Film Festival 5607 West Sixth Street Los Angeles, CA 90036 • 610/736-9223 • www. haydenfilms.com • The first online festival to accept all short films, regardless of genre, and the first to offer a $10,000 grand prize. The Haydenfilms Website provides industry news, a crew database, production boards and store for software and equipment. High Desert Shorts International Film Festival 4420 W Hardy Ln • Pahrump, NV 89048 • 702/372-1201 • www.highdesertshortsiff.com • The mission of HDSIFF is to provide a showcase for both veteran moviemakers and budding talent at home and abroad in a celebration of unique vision and creativity. The fest showcases films of incredibly talented filmmakers from around the world and is continuing with its initial goal of becoming an Academy Award- qualifying festival through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The festival is held every year during Memorial Day weekend, in Pahrump, NV, an hour west of Las Vegas. hill country film festival 424/238-5672 • www. hillcountryff.com • The HCFF is a three-day independent film fest in the heart of the picturesque Hill Country in Fredericksburg, Texas. Created to celebrate and showcase filmmakers from Texas and around the world, the festival began in 2010. HCFF screens more than 40 independent films, both short and feature-length, as well as hosts filmmaker Q&As/interviews, discussion panels, a filmmaker’s lounge and festival parties. The Stagecoach Theater hosts all screenings. hollyshorts 818/760-9897 • www.hollyshorts.com • Ranked by MovieMaker as “one of the top film festivals worth the entry fee,” HollyShorts’ seventh year concluded August 18, 2011 by awarding the Best Overall Short Film Prize to Mrs. Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room by Mike Le Han and Best Director Award to Christian Swegal’s Stasis. Both received a $10K post-production and finishing services package from Company 3. indie grits film festival The Nickelodeon Theatre 1607 Main Street Columbia, SC 29201• 803/254-8234 • www.indiegrits.com • Held each year in Columbia, SC, Indie Grits brings together the best low-budget filmmakers in the Southeast for five days of great films, live music and other events. Indie Grits highlights films that sit on the fringes a bit, taking advantage of the freedoms that come with independent filmmaking. As the name suggests, Indie Grits films are gritty, be it in an aesthetic or cultural way. The festival was founded in 2007 and is run by Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theatre—a nonprofit arthouse theater. Indie Memphis 1910 Madison, Box 632 • Memphis, TN 38104 • 901/214-5171 • www.indiememphis.com • One of MovieMaker’s “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” the Indie Memphis Film Festival transforms the city best known as “Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” into a connecting point for filmmakers and film-lovers. The Indie Short Film Competition PO Box 1185 • Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302 • 954/728-2596 • www.indieshortfilms.net • Entering this innovative short film and video competition gives you a shot at being discovered by the right people and opening the right doors. Entrants stand a chance to win more than $20,000 in cash and prizes; winners are determined by an international panel of top industry judges, with 10 categories to enter. Winning short film and videos will receive international exposure. Sponsored by Sony Creative Software, Partners In Rhyme, Glidecam Industries, MovieMaker, Blackmagic Design, United One Productions and more! international family Film Festival 4531 W. Empire Ave., #200 • Burbank, CA 91505 • 818/230-2572 • www.iffilmfest.org • International Family Film
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Festival (IFFF) includes competitions for feature, short and student films and feature and short screenplays. All entries must be in English or English subtitled. Panel discussions on distribution, screenwriters on family films and guerrilla filmmaking. The general public is invited, along with the moviemakers and screenwriters, with a Q&A session after every screening. International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival 1700 N. Seventh Ave., Suite 250 • Phoenix, AZ 85007 • 602/955-6444 • www.horrorscifi.com • Be part of the coolest genre fest in the country. Directors of acquisitions from distributors attend to view films for consideration. This event receives press coverage from the top genre press, both online and in print. Submit your film and screenplay now to become part of the madness. Kansas City FilmFest / KC Jubilee 4741 Central, #306 • Kansas City, MO 64112 • 816/286-4777 • www.kcjubilee.org • Kansas City FilmFest presented by the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee is a juried celebration of independent filmmaking from around the world. Known for its fountains, jazz, BBQ and friendly folks, Kansas City, Missouri provides unmatched hospitality. Screenings, seminars, panels, workshops, and receptions allow the filmmaker to mix and network. Audiences discover real storytelling and characters, plus meet the filmmakers who create the magic of the movies. Special programs include CinemaJAZZ, Crosscut: Women Making Movies, and Reel Spirit (elementary school filmmaker program). L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition 3940 Laurel Canyon Blvd. #910 Studio City, CA 91604• 424/259-2597 • www.lacomedyshorts.com • Think you’re funny? The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition is the largest comedy film festival in the U.S. Sponsors have included Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die, Cartoon Network and The Onion. Films compete for meetings with industry heavyweights, cash, prizes and a chance to screen on Comedy Central’s Atom TV. Accepting submissions of Comedy Short Films (30 minutes and under) and Comedy Feature, Short and Half-Hour Pilot Scripts. Come hobnob with the comedy elite! One of MovieMaker’s 2009 “Top 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” landlocked Film Festival PO Box 2748 • Iowa City, IA 52244 • 319/855-1501 • www.landlockedfilmfestival. org • Established in 2007, the Landlocked Film Fest has experienced dramatic growth in its short history. The festival brings thousands of people into the heart of downtown Iowa City to watch independent films and learn about the crafts of moviemaking and scriptwriting. The beautiful and historic Englert Theatre serves as the fest’s flagship venue. Los Angeles Film Festival 9911 W. Pico Blvd. • Los Angeles, CA 90035 • 310/432-1240 • www.lafilmfest.com • Showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed moviemakers, film industry pros and emerging talent. Magnolia Independent Film Festival PO Box 80298 • Starkville, MS 39759 • 662/418-5633 • www.magfilmfest.com • Founded by Ron Tibbett in 1996 to celebrate his vision of independent film in Mississippi, “The Mag” has been called the most moviemaker-friendly festival by many past contributors. The festival takes place in mid-February, in Starkville, MS, and welcomes all genres and all lengths in competition for awards. Receptions, workshops and luncheons are held in the Starkville and West Point, MS area. Housing, meals, events and local transportation are provided for moviemakers. Mill Valley Film Festival 1001 Lootens Place, Suite 220 San Rafael, CA 94901 • 415/383-5256 • www.mvff. com • This noncompetitive event showcases international features, documentaries, shorts
and children’s films. Milwaukee Film Festival 229 E. Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 200, Milwaukee, WI 53202 414/755-1965• www.mkefilm. org • This two-week festival isn’t missing much; it holds panels, discussions, competition and screenings. Adding on, the Milwaukee festival has educational screenings and entire kids section to promote media literacy in children. Screening over 200 films, the competition selects eight of the best fiction and documentary features with one taking home a large grand jury prize of $2500. Moondance International Film Festival 970 Ninth St. • Boulder, CO 80302 • 303/545-0202 • www.moondancefilmfestival.com • Offers all artists a unique opportunity to come together with other writers, directors, producers and audiences to create new opportunities, develop tools for success and forge new alliances. myrtle beach international Film Festival PO Box 6879 • Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 • 843/497-0220 • www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com • The Myrtle Beach International Film Festival is a truly independent film festival. The MBIFF has quickly become one of the most significant independent film festivals for the Independent artist. Politics and favorites do not play here, only great film! The fest offers one of the most diverse judging panels in the film festival circuit, from liberal to conservative, blue collar to white collar. Your film will never be subjected to bias, only to the quality of the content. The MBIFF is a production of Dalton Pictures providing indie film makers with solutions to production and distribution. New Hampshire Film Festival 155 Fleet St. • Portsmouth, NH 03801 • 603/647-6439 • www.nhfilmfestival.com • Since the N.H. Film Festival’s debut in 2001 as the N.H. Film Expo, it has grown in leaps and bounds. These days, heavy-hitters such as Avid and Regal Cinemas provide sponsorship, while industry leaders from Emerging Pictures, Film Threat and Philly Fests participate on panels and in workshops. Alumni film credits include national distribution, Oscar nominations and screenings at major festivals worldwide. New Orleans Film Festival 900 Camp St. New Orleans, LA 70130 • 504/309-6633 • info@.neworleansfilmsociety.org The New Orleans Film Festival marked its 23rd anniversary in 2012. This festival, one of the nation’s liveliest and best curated, has grown into a major showcase of local, regional, national and international films. NOFS hosts special events throughout the year, and reaches more than 20,000 people through its programming. A Night of Horror International Film Festival PO Box 143 • Beecroft, NSW 2119 • Australia • www.anightofhorror.com • Sydney, Australia’s premier genre film event actively promotes the work of independent horror moviemakers. oklahoma horror Film Festival & convention www.oklahomahorrorfilmfest.com • As the name indicates, the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival brings the thrills of the horror genre to residents and visitors to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Omaha Film Festival 2626 Harney St • Omaha, NE 68131 • 402/203-8173 • www.omahafilmfestival.org • Established in 2005, the Omaha Film Festival (OFF) showcases more than 60 films during its annual event selected from an average of more than 400 annual entries that come in from around the world, offering a wide variety of independent cinema choices. The OFF has made great strides toward becoming one of the most accomplished teaching festivals in the Central United States, offering opportunities for filmmakers, students and those who value the artistry of film to learn more about the craft of filmmaking through panels, lectures and workshops taught by seasoned professionals at OFF’s annual Filmmakers Conference. Oxford Film Festival PO Box 727 • Oxford, MS 38655 • 877/560-3456 • www.oxfordfilmfest.com • The Oxford Film Festival exists to entertain and educate its
participants, to provide residents and visitors an opportunity to experience independent film and to showcase the wonderful culture and heritage of Oxford, Mississippi to the world. Through a four-day festival each February, OFF brings together filmmakers, film students and film stars with film buffs, film fans and film supporters in the unique environment that is Oxford. It was recently named a “Top 20 Event” for winter by the Southeast Tourism Society. PAGE International Screenwriting Awards 7510 Sunset Blvd., #610 • Hollywood, CA 90046-3408 • www. pageawards.com • The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards: Hollywood’s premier screenwriting contest! Established by an alliance of Hollywood producers, agents and development executives, The PAGE Awards have rapidly become one of the most important sources for new screenwriting talent within the Hollywood community and worldwide. Each year our awardwinning screenplays are solicited by dozens of producers, agents and development executives, and as a result, many of our winning writers land script assignments, secure representation and sign option agreements on their work. This year our judges will present over $50,000 in cash and prizes, including a $25,00 Grand Prize. Palm Springs international ShortFest 1700 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 3 • Palm Springs, CA 92262 • 760/322-2930 • www.psfilmfest.org • Now in its 15th year, the Palm Springs International ShortFest has become known worldwide for the extraordinary community of filmmakers it attracts, and for the quality and scope of its programming. Showcasing over 320 short films each year from more than 40 countries, with a library of more than 2,700 films available to film buyers, industry and press in its concurrent Short Film Market, it is the largest festival of its kind in America. Poppy Jasper Int’l Short film fest PO Box 1028 Morgan Hill, CA 95038-• 408/471-7533 www.poppyjasperfilmfest.org • Taking place just south of San Jose, Poppy Jasper aims to showcase emerging independent short films to viewers. Their hope is to give filmmakers a venue not only to exhibit their shorts, but to participate in workshops, network and share artistic expression with other indie filmmakers. Phoenix Film Festival 7000 E Mayo Blvd, Suite 1059 Phoenix, AZ 85054 • 602/955-6444 • www.phoenixfilmfestival.com Portland Oregon Women’s film festival 1526 NE Alberta St. #110 Portland, OR 97211 • www.powfest.com. With a mission to put the spotlight on female directors, POWFest shocases the innovative and quality filmmaking of experienced up-and-coming women. The festival has previously hosted directors Allison Anders, Irene Taylor Brodsky, and Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow. Provincetown International Film Festival PO Box 605 • Provincetown, MA 02657 • 508/487-FILM • www.ptownfilmfest.org • Dedicated to showcasing independent American and international films; to nurturing aspiring independent moviemakers and honoring industry luminaries; and to preserving and sustaining cinema as an art form through educational forums. Red Rock Film Festival PO Box 910271 • St. George, UT 84791 • 435.705.5555 • www.redrockfilmfestival.com • Held beneath the majestic red mountains of Zion Canyon, the annual international Red Rock Film Festival began as a Southern Utah film event in 2004. This festival retreat celebrates the art of film every November with a film market, moviemaker hiking excursions, premieres, screenings, workshops and panel discussions with approachable professional people. The action sports docs and democratic competition enhance the festival’s staple of intriguing documentaries and foreign film. The festival is just a 90-minute drive north of Las Vegas, and offers a breathtaking location to see film in the warm part of the state of Utah. MOVIEMAKER.COM
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Rome International Film Festival Rome, GA 30161 • www.riff.tv • One of MovieMaker Magazine’s “20 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” RIFF is one of the best film festivals in the Southeast. Each year RIFF features more than 100 films from more than 30 countries, including shorts and features in the categories of documentary, narrative, experimental and animation. Jury awards are presented for Best Narrative Feature, Documentary, Narrative Short, Experimental Film and Animated Short. Audience awards are presented for Best Feature and Best Short. Ruby Mountain Film Festival Elko, NV • www.rubymountainfilmfestivallorg The Ruby Mountain Film Festival is a 100 percent volunteer based, non-profit organization committed to nurturing film as an art while supporting worldwide talent. The fourday celebration allows independent and student filmmakers exhibit a vast range of storytelling through visual arts in the small Nevada town. San Diego Film Festival 619/582-2368 • www.sdff.org • Co-founded by an award-winning moviemaker, SDFF features four days of 100 films, industry panels, inviting audiences and the best parties. San Francisco Frozen Film Festival 588 Sutter St., #103 • San Francisco, CA 94102 • www.frozenfilmfestival.com • Shows yearly in July and brings independent moviemakers and musicians to the San Francisco Bay Area from around the globe! The festival itself is a collection of razor’s-edge independent films and bands. Savannah Film Festival 912/525-5051 • www.scad.edu/ filmfest • Hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, the annual festival presents panel discussions and presentations by visiting artists, offering movie buffs the unique opportunity to experience the art of film. Screamfest Horror Film Festival 8840 Wilshire Blvd. • Beverly Hills, CA 90211 • 310/358-3273 www.screamfestla.com • Showcases talented genre moviemakers and writers from around the world to the entertainment industry in order to help further their careers. Sedona International Film Festival & Workshop PO Box 162 • Sedona, AZ 86339 • 928/282-1177 • www.sedonafilmfestival.com • Features more than 125 films, including features, documentaries, shorts and animation. Moviemakers and audiences from around the world have heralded Sedona’s festival as one of their favorites. The Frank Warner Workshop brings Academy Awardwinning industry professionals to Sedona to teach, inspire and share their knowledge with the next generation of moviemakers. Students get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work shoulder-toshoulder with the industry’s finest. In addition, panel discussions on film distribution are slated. Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival 2310 First Ave. • North Birmingham, AL 35203 • 205/324-0888 • www.sidewalkfest.com • A celebration of new independent cinema in downtown Birmingham. Since its debut in 1999, movie-makers from across the country and around the world have come to Birmingham to screen their work at Sidewalk and have been thrilled to discover fresh, enthusiastic crowds eager to devour new independent cinema. “This is how film festivals should be.”— Peter Gilbert, Hoop Dreams. Named one of Time Magazine’s “Film Festivals for the Rest of Us,” and one of Chris Gore’s “Best Vacation Film Festivals” in his Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide. SILVERDOCS 921-J Ellsworth Dr. • Silver Spring, MD 20910 • www.silverdocs.com • SILVERDOCS showcases 100-plus films representing more than 60 countries from around the globe. SILVERDOCS celebrates independent thinking and fosters the power of documentary moviemaking to enhance our understanding of the world. The fest was created through a unique alliance between AFI (American Film Institute) and the Discovery Channel, and takes place at the AFI Silver Theatre—one of the premier exhibition spaces in the country. MOVIEMAKER.COM
slamdance film festival www.slamdance.com • Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra, “By Filmmakers For Filmmakers.” No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for—a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. snake alley festival of film 205 Marietta • Burlington, Iowa 52601 • 319/750-4124 • snakealleyfestivaloffilm. com • The Snake Alley Festival of Film is dedicated to showcasing the best short films from around the world. Films will screen at the beautifully restored Capitol Theater in the heart of downtown Burlington, Iowa. The theater boasts state of the art equipment and can comfortably seat more than 400 people. The festival derives its name from Snake Alley, a street constructed in 1884 and designed to connect an upscale residential neighborhood to the business district of downtown Burlington. Named by Ripley’s Believe It or Not as “The Crookedest Street in the World,” it remains the city’s #1 tourist attraction and draws visitors from around the world. Starz Denver Film Festival 900 Auraria Parkway • Denver, CO 80204 • 303/595-3456 • www.denverfilm.org/festival • Now over 30 years old, SDFF presents approximately 175 films over 11 days and hosts more than 150 visiting moviemakers. Known for its exceptional hospitality and diverse programming, SDFF has become an increasingly important stop for any moviemaker. “Few American festivals have put it all together in terms of size, scope and intimacy as well as the Starz Denver Film Festival.”—MovieMaker Magazine. “The best kept secret on the U.S. film festival circuit may well be the Starz Denver Film Festival.”—IndieWire. Stony Brook Film Festival 2032 Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook University • Stony Brook, NY 11794 • 631 632-7235 • www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com • The 16th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival was held from July 21 to 30, 2011, bringing 15,000 filmgoers to Stony Brook University to see new, independent films over ten days. Having a film at Stony Brook is a career highlight for many filmmakers because of the 1,000-seat packed theatre, large screen, quality of the screening, comfortable accommodations and receptions. Thanks to sponsors there is no entry fee to submit films to be considered for the Festival. Formats accepted for projection at the Festival are 35mm and beta formats. DVDs are accepted for entry purposes only and should be sent to Stony Brook with the official entry form available online at www.stonybrookfilmfestival. com. Stony Brook invites features, documentaries, shorts and animation. Sundance Film Festival PO Box 684429 • Park City, UT 84068 • 801/328-3456 • 8530 Wilshire Blvd., Third Floor • Beverly Hills, CA 90211 • 310/360-1981 • www. sundance.org/festival • Held annually in Park City as well as Salt Lake City, UT, the festival is the premier showcase for new work from American and international independent moviemakers. sunscreen film festival Bank of America Tower, 200 Central Ave., Suite 290 • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727/259-8417 • www.sunscreenfilmfestival.com • Named one of MovieMaker’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals,” Sunscreen encourages independent film in Florida through educational programs (such as last year’s acting workshop taught by Watchmen’s Patrick Wilson) and public screenings, thereby increasing awareness and support of local moviemaking as a valuable cultural and economic asset. syracuse international Film Festival Hotel Syracuse • 500 S. Warren St. • Syracuse, NY 13202 • 315/443-8826 • www.syrfilm.com • A competitive, internationally recognized festival that brings the international film community to Syracuse and provides unique, powerful experiences to the people and institutions of Central New York.
Cash prizes totaling $13,000 in 11 different categories are awarded each year. In addition, editing systems and film grants are awarded in special categories. Toronto International Film Festival 2 Carlton St., Suite 1600 • Toronto, ON M5B 1J3 • Canada • 416/967-7371 • www.tiff.net toronto urban Film Festival 266 King Street West, Suite 300 • Toronto, ON M5V 1H8 • 416/646-7867 • www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com • Recently named one of MovieMaker’s ‘Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals,’ TUFF is unique in North America. This public film festival reaches 1.3 million daily commuters with an eclectic mix of silent film, animation and experimental one-minute shorts. Films run every 10 minutes on 300 platform screens throughout the city’s subway system. Top films of the festival are selected by a celebrity judge and can be viewed year-round on the TUFF Website. The festival runs every September, concurrent with TIFF. trail dance Film Festival PO Box 716 • Duncan, OK 73534 • 580/467-8519 • www.traildancefilmfestival.com • Trail Dance, the award-winning event started by the Trail Dance Film Festival Association, is an open-genre contest for independent filmmakers. Trail Dance provides an opportunity for filmmakers to present in a competitive and supportive environment. Filmmakers from all types of production are encouraged to enter. This event is held at the Jack A. Maurer Convention Center (Simmons Center) and the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. Trail Dance festivities also include vendors, live entertainment, panels featuring film professionals, and much more. Tribeca Film Festival 375 Greenwich St. • New York, NY 10013 • 212/941-2400 • www.tribecafilm.com/festival Tromadance Film Festival www.tromadance.com • “The first and only festival of the people, by the people and for the people!” TromaDance features a range of films made independently, usually without big stars, big money and far removed from the Hollywood studio system. TULSA INTERNATIONAL Film Festival 5401 S. Sheridan, Suite 401 • Tulsa, OK 74145 • 918/794-6762 • www.tulsafilmfestival.org • The Tulsa International Film Festival will present a diverse slate of more than 100 films in addition to offering exciting workshops, filmmaker brunches and networking events. Prizes include distribution, cash awards, a production package, screenplay offer and student awards. In addition to narrative and documentary films of all lengths, the Tulsa IFF will present themed film divisions—Indigenous Cinema, Emerging Student Filmmaker, Women Behind the Camera and The Nightmare Division—at multiple venues in the heart of Tulsa’s booming downtown district. united Film Festivals www.theunitedfilmfest.com • The United Film Festivals bring art and creativity together to create a united film community. The festival’s focus is to bring together talented filmmakers from diverse backgrounds, thus creating a “United” showcase of creative energy and talent. This is a film festival for everyone, a place where art and community converge. united nations association Film Festival PO Box 19369 • Stanford, CA 94309 650/724-5544 • www.unaff. org • UNAFF celebrates the power of cinema in dealing with such social issues as human rights, environmental themes, women’s issues, protection of refugees, homelessness and racism. Whistler Film Festival Suite 1004, 106 4368 Main St. • Whistler, BC V0N 1B4 • Canada • 604/935-8035 • www.whistlerfilmfestival.com Williamsburg International Film Festival PO Box 20412 • New York, NY 10021 • 212/744-2845 • www.willifest.com • The Williamsburg International Film Festival (WILLiFEST) spotlights independent moviemakers from around the world. The fest encourages moviemakers to submit their work
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and join them in New York City for a professional, fun-filled festival of screenings, Q&As, panels, networking opportunities and after-parties. WILLiFEST takes place throughout north Brooklyn, New York City. Wine Country Film Festival 12000 Henno Rd. • PO Box 303 • Glen Ellen, CA 95442 • 707/935-FILM • www.winecountryfilmfest.com Woods Hole Film Festival PO Box 624 • Woods Hole, MA 02543 • www.woodsholefilmfestival.org • One of the premier independent film festivals in New England, dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging moviemakers, with a special section for moviemakers from New England. Held each summer on Cape Cod, WHFF is seeking film and screenplay entries. WorldFest-Houston PO Box 56566 • Houston, TX 77256-6566 • 866/965-9955 • 713/965-9955 • www.worldfest.org • Remi Award Competition for Features, Shorts, Students, Experimental, Music Video, New Media, Screenplays, TV Production, TV Commercials and Docs. 200+ Sub-categories. Kodak Raw Stock and Cash Prizes. WorldFest has six Master Classes, World Premieres, Receptions, a Festival Club, the Remi Awards Gala Dinner, a Texas BBQ and sailboat Regatta on Galveston Bay with a VIP tour of NASA and Space Center Houston! We gave Spielberg, Lucas, Randal Kleiser, Oliver Stone, Robert Rodriguez, Atom Egoyan, John Lee Hancock, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Ang Lee, The Coen Brothers their 1st Awards. FILM OFFICES & LOCATIONS Alabama film office 401 Adams Ave., Suite 170 • Montgomery, AL 36104 • 334/242-4195 • www.alabamafilm.org Alaska Film Program 550 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 1770 • Anchorage, Alaska 99501 • 907/269-8190 • www.film.alaska.gov Albuquerque Film Office PO Box 1293 • Albuquerque, NM 87103 • 505/768-3283 • www.filmabq.com • Albuquerque is the Film Capital of the Southwest, with 310 days of sunshine, a mild, four season climate, a variety of location looks, experienced crew members, and a Film-Friendly Attitude. Recent credits include Breaking Bad, In Plain Sight, The Avengers, Fright Night, Let Me In, MacGruber, The Book of Eli, Terminator Salvation, Crazy Heart, Swing Vote, Wild Hogs, Beerfest, Gamer, and many more. Albuquerque has a large indie film scene and we welcome film production of all sizes. Film ABQ: where size doesn’t matter. Albuquerque studios • 5650 University Blvd. SE • Albuquerque, NM 87106 • 505/227-2000 • www.abqstudios.com • One of North America’s largest independent film studios, Albuquerque Studios offers sound stages, production office space, lighting and grip services for productions big and small. Arizona Film Office • 1700 W. Washington, Suite 220 • Phoenix, AZ 85007 • 602/771-1116; 800/523-6695 • www.azcommerce.com/film • Provides local and visiting moviemakers with a host of free production services, including location scouting and support; permit processing and assistance; and research support and direction. Add to that their favorable tax incentives—and gorgeous scenery— and Arizona is fast on its way to becoming a premier production hotspot. Arkansas Film Office 900 W Capitol, Suite 400 • Little Rock, AR 72201 • 800/ARKANSAS • www.1800arkansas.com Austin Convention & Visitor’s Bureau 301 Congress Ave., Suite 200 • Austin, TX 78701 • 512/583-7229 • www. austintexas.org/filmmakers • Now playing in Austin: A blockbuster location for an indie budget. Since 2000, MovieMaker has named Austin one of the “Top 10 Cities” for moviemakers. With new moviemaking incentives, there’s now even more reason to film here. Find out if your film qualifies for production grants, sales tax exemptions or refunds of state occupancy and fuel taxes. Austin
even offers a film discount card for your cast and crew to use at hotels, restaurants and more. Cut the budget, not the story. Film Austin. Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts 7 E. Redwood St., Suite 500 • Baltimore, MD 21202 • 410/752-8632 • www.promotionandarts.com • Baltimore has been the setting of many feature films and television shows. California Film Commission 7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900 • Hollywood, CA 90028 • 800/858-4749; 323/860.2960 • www.film.ca.gov Colorado office of Film, Television & Media 1625 Broadway, Suite 2700 • Denver, CO 80202 • 800/726-8887 • www.coloradofilm.org Connecticut Commission on culture and tourism One Constitution Plaza • Second Floor • Hartford, CT 06103 • 860/256-2800 • www.ctfilm.com Delaware Film Office 99 Kings Highway • Dover, DE 19901 • 800/441-8846 • www.dedo.delaware.gov/ filmoffice Film Wisconsin 648 N. Plankinton Ave., Suite 425 • Milwaukee, WI 53202 • 414/287-4251 • www.filmwisconsin.net • A 25 percent production credit is just the beginning! Wisconsin also offers: Great hotel rates, many government locations free of charge, qualified hardworking crews and a number of new production facilities ready to meet your film’s needs. Plus, Wisconsin has just about every vista your production could need: Rural farmlands, bustling cityscapes, north woods, more than 400 miles of coastline, prairies, the fantastic rock formations of their river valleys— and that’s just the landscapes. Their architecture includes treasures from Wright to Calatrava, cottages to campuses and home styles from bungalows to Bauhaus. Florida Governor’s Office of Film & Entertainment The Capitol, Suite 2001 • Tallahassee, FL 32399 • 850/4104765 • www.filminflorida.com • Florida’s Film, TV & Digital Media Incentive program offers up to 22 percent cash back on qualified expenditures spent in-state, plus a six percent sales tax exemption. Florida has a full-service office in Los Angeles, plus 54 local film commissions across Florida available to assist your production. Georgia Film Office 75 Fifth St., N.W., Suite 1200 • Atlanta, GA 30308 • 404/962-4052 • www.georgia. org/business/filmvideomusic • “Tax incentives that work.” Georgia provides location scouting for “greenlighted” projects; a staff member will develop an itinerary and accompany you and your representative on a location scout of Georgia sites for your project. The office also contributes to the promotion and development of Georgia’s recorded music industry. Greater des moines Film Office 515/286-4960 • www. seedesmoines.com/film • Since its establishment in 2005, the Greater Des Moines Film Commission has been helping local moviemakers lock down Iowa’s 25 percent tax credit incentive and line up all other aspects of their films as well. The commission has helped Des Moines land productions like 2009’s Peacock, starring Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy and Susan Sarandon. Greater Philadelphia Film Office 1515 Arch St., 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19102 • 215/686-2668 • www.film.org • Shooting in Philadelphia or anywhere in southeastern PA? GPFO will help you secure tax credits, free locations and other free services. Working with GPFO is like having the best possible producer on staff—for free—24/7. Hawaii Film Office No. 1 Capitol District Building • 250 S. Hotel St., Fifth Floor • Honolulu, HI 96813 • 808/586-2570 • www.hawaiifilmoffice.com Idaho Film Office 700 W. State St., Box 83720 • Boise, ID 83720-0093 • 800/942-8338; 208/334-2470 • www.filmidaho.org • A 20 percent cash rebate on in-state expenditures capped at $500,000 isn’t the only reason to want to film in Idaho. A variety of locations and an experienced film office that knows what you need to get that shot only adds to the incentives. Illinois Film Office 100 W. Randolph, Suite 3-400 •
Chicago, IL 60601 • 312/814-3600 • www.filmillinois. state.il.us Indiana Film Commission One North Capitol Ave., Suite 700 • Indianapolis, IN 46204 • 317/234-2087 • www.filmindiana.com Iowa Film Office 600 E Locust, Des Moines, IA 50319 • www.iowalifechanging.com/film 515/242-6194 • www.iowaartscouncil.org/ Kansas Film Commission 1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100 • Topeka, KS 66612 • 785/296-2178 • www. filmkansas.com • the Kansas Film Commission is a program in the Business Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce assigned to assist film and video production in the state. kauai Film Commission 808/241-4948 • www.filmkauai. com • With easy access from Los Angeles, the island of Kauai is fast becoming a moviemaking hotspot, hosting such productions as Jurassic Park III and Tropic Thunder. The Kauai Film Commission ensures the safety and welfare of the local community and environment of Kauai while helping moviemakers attain their vision. Kentucky Film office 500 Mero St. • Frankfort, KY 40601 • 800/345-6591; 502/564-3456 • www.kyfilmoffice.com Louisiana Office of Film & Television Development PO Box 94185 • Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9185 • 225/342-5403 • www.louisianaentertainment.gov/ Maine Film Office 59 State House Station • Augusta, ME 04333 • 207/624-9828 • www.filminmaine.com • Helps media projects all across New England’s largest and most varied state. The film office helps find locations, arrange shoots and assist producers in finding and hiring great people statewide. Maine has thousands of miles of stunning coastline, beautiful lakes and mountains, inland forests and historic towns and cities. Maryland Film Office 401 E. Pratt St., 14th Floor • Baltimore, MD 21202 • 800/333-6632 410/767-6340 • www.marylandfilm.org Massachusetts film office 10 Guest St., Suite 280 • Boston, MA 02135 • 617/973-8400 • www.mafilm.org Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission 50 Peabody Place, Suite 250 • Memphis, TN 38103 • 901/527-8300 • www.memphisfilmcomm.org metro orlando Film and entertainment Commission 301 E. Pine St., Ste. 900 • Orlando, FL 32801 • 407/422-7159 • www.filmorlando.com • From year-round filming capabilities, unique soundstages and venues, a highly skilled local crew base and supportive local communities (including tax incentives), Orlando offers a host of amenities for moviemakers. Michigan Film Office PO Box 30739 • 300 North Washington Square, 3rd Floor, Lansing, MI 48913 • 800/477-3456 • www.michiganfilmoffice.org Minnesota Film & Tv Board 401 N. 3rd St., Suite 440 • Minneapolis, MN 55401 • 612/767-0095 • www.mnfilmtv.org Mississippi Film Office PO Box 849 • Jackson, MS 39205 • 601/359-3297 • www.filmmississippi.org Missouri Film Commission 301 W. High St., Suite 720 • Jefferson City, MO 65102 • 573/522-1288 • www.mofilm.org Montana Film Office 301 S. Park Ave. • Helena, MT 59620 • 800/553-4563; 406/841-2876 • www. montanafilm.com • “Get Real. Shoot Montana.” Montana’s scenic beauty is some of the finest on the planet. But the real beauty of shooting there just might be their honest commitment to helping you bring your vision to fruition. They offer great hassle-free incentives, no sales tax, top-notch crews and a down-to-earth authenticity you won’t find anywhere else. Bring your next project to Big Sky Country. Monterey County Film Commission 801 Lighthouse Ave, Suite 104, Monterey, CA 93940 • 831/646-0910 • www.filmmonterey.org • The Monterey County Film Commission is ready to assist productions and has already been the choice location of more than 200 movies. Free help when looking for crew, services, permits and such California locaMOVIEMAKER.COM
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tions as Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Salinas and Steinbeck Country. Nebraska Film Office P.O. Box 98907 • Lincoln, NE 68509 • 800/228-4307; 402/471-3746 • www.filmnebraska.org Nevada Film Office 6655 West Sahara, Suite C106, Las Vegas, NV 89146 • 877/638-3456 • 702/486-2711 • www.nevadafilm.com New Hampshire Film & Television Office 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301 • 603/271-2220 • www.nh.gov/film • Diverse, easy-access locations. No sales, income or use taxes. Produce your project hassle-free (no general filming permits!). Enjoy New Hampshire’s vibrant, creative atmosphere. Find out how NH’s economy and quality of life give moviemakers the New Hampshire advantage. It’s as independent as you want to be! New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission 153 Halsey St., Fifth Floor • PO Box 47023 • Newark, NJ 07101 • 973/648-6279 • www.njfilm.org New Mexico Film Office 1100 Saint Francis Dr, First Floor, Suite 1213, Santa Fe, NM 87505 • 800/545-9871; 505/476-5600 • www.nmfilm.com New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development 633 Third Ave., 33rd Floor • New York, NY 10017 • 212/803-2330 • www.nylovesfilm.com New York Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting 1697 Broadway, Suite 602 • New York, NY 10019 • 212/489-6710 • www.nyc.gov/film North Carolina Film Office 4324 Mail Service Center • Raleigh, NC 27699 • 919/733-9900; 866/468-2273 • www.ncfilm.com Ohio Film Office 77 S. High St. • P.O. Box 1001 • Columbus, OH 43216 • 614/644-5156 • www.ohiofilmoffice.com • The Ohio Film Office provides moviemakers with assistance every step of the way, from pre-production all the way through to post. They are there to teach moviemakers the where, when, why and hows of permits, incentives and locations in the Buckeye State. Oklahoma Film & Music Office 120 N. Robinson, Suite 600 • Oklahoma City, OK 73102 • 800/766-3456 • www.oklahomafilm.org Oregon Film & Video Office 1001 S.E. Water Ave., Suite 430 • Portland, OR 97204 • 503/229-5832 • www. oregonfilm.org Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 900 • West Palm Beach, FL 33401 • 800/745-FILM; 561/233-1000 • www.pbfilm.com • Invites you to experience a 360° view of paradise! Available: Free production space, 365 days filled with sunshine and diverse locations. Take advantage of Palm Beach County’s free permitting process. Relax... Palm Beach County has you covered! Pennsylvania Film Office Commonwealth Keystone Building • 400 North St., Fourth Floor • Harrisburg, PA 17120 • 717/783-3456 • www.filminpa.com Rhode Island Film & TV Office One Capitol Hill, Third Floor • Providence, RI 02908 • 401/222-3456 • www.film. ri.gov San Antonio Film Commission 203 S. Saint Mary’s St., Second Floor • San Antonio, TX 78205 • 210/207-6730 • www.filmsanantonio.com • The San Antonio Film Commission is your central resource for filming in San Antonio and surrounding areas. For more than 20 years, they’ve provided producers with the information and assistance they need to get projects done on time and on budget. Discover a city that has a history as rich and diverse as the locations within it. san diego Film commission 2508 Historic Decatur Rd., Suite 200 San Diego, CA, 92106 • 619/234-3456 • www.sdfilm.com • The San Diego Film Commission welcomes moviemakers to the most unique, film-friendly region in Southern California. They permit for City of San Diego, unincorporated areas of San Diego County and San Diego Port District. Shoot in San Diego and MOVIEMAKER.COM
benefit from free permits and free public properties including beaches, parks, sidewalks and streets. In addition, their hotel discount program, experienced crew base, talent and local support services save you money. Don’t wait for a rebate. Perfect weather, a world of untapped locations and unseen production value await you in San Diego. Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office Live Oak Corporate Center, 2601 Cattlemen Rd., Ste. 102 • Sarasota, FL 34232 • 941/309-1209 • www.filmsarasota.com • Sarasota County is a filmready community that attracts a wide variety of film, television, music and commercial projects with its production-friendly permit process and a welcoming business community. The Sarasota County film industry is recognized throughout the country for its professionalism, creativity and imagination. High wage jobs and businesses have been expanded in the film and entertainment job sector. Sedona Film Office 45 Sunset Dr. • Sedona, AZ 86336 • 928/204-1123 • www.sedonafilmoffice.com • The Sedona Film Office offers everything you need to film in Arizona’s western frontiers, red rocks, lush greenery and desert panoramas, including location services, permitting assistance, accommodations and much more. South Carolina Film Commission 1205 Pendleton St., Room 529 • Columbia, SC 29201 • 803/737-0490 • www.filmsc.com South Dakota Film Office 711 E. Wells Ave. • Pierre, SD 57501 • 605/773-3301 • www.filmsd.com Tennessee Film, entertainment & Music Commission 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave. • Tennessee Tower, Ninth Floor • Nashville, TN 37243 • 877/818-3456 • www.tn.gov/film Texas Film Commission P.O. Box 13246 Austin, TX 78711 • 512/463-9200 www.texasfilmcommission.com thailand Film Office www.thailandfilmoffice.org • It has taken thousands of years for Thailand’s forestcovered mountains, wildlife-roaming plains, rich agricultural laden fields and beautiful beaches to form. These locations have been utilized by moviemakers from around the world. The Thailand Film Office, an official film commission member of the Association of Film Commissions International (AFCI), is here to help moviemakers navigate through to a seamless shoot. Tucson Film Office 100 South Church Ave. • Tucson, AZ 85701 • 520/770-2151 • www.filmtucson.com • Offers all the bells and whistles available to moviemakers filming in Arizona—including tax-exempt status and up to 30 percent back in rebates. Fee-free permits and coordination with local government and civil services make the city’s film office the place to go for any and all production assistance while in town. Utah Film Commission Council Hall/Capitol Hill • 300 N. State St. • Salt Lake City, UT 84114 • 800/4538824 • www.film.utah.gov Vermont Film Commission One National Life Drive, 6th floor, Montpelier, VT 05620 • 802/828-3618 • www. vermontfilm.com Virginia Film Office 901 E. Byrd St., 19th Floor, West Tower • Richmond, VA 23219-4048 • 800/854-6233 • www.film.virginia.org • Virginia is home to a spectacular, unique 17th- and 18th-century backlot. This unique, 16-acre location is close to Richmond and doubles for several early American cities including Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Nine distinct cobblestone streets contain 95 storefronts, government buildings, shops, residences, alleyways and a town square. Washington, D.C. Office of Motion Picture & TV Development 200 I Street, Washington DC 20003 • 202/727-6608 • http://film.dc.gov Washington FilmWorks 1411 Fourth Avenue, Suite 420, Seattle, WA 98101 • 206/264-0667 • www.washingtonfilmworks.org • A nonprofit organization dedicated
to promoting economic vitality in Washington State by encouraging growth in film and video production through funding assistance of up to 20 percent of total in-state qualified expenditures (including Washington-based labor and talent) to selected commercial, television and feature film productions. West Virginia Film Office 90 MacCorkle Ave. S.W. • South Charleston, WV 25303 • 866/6WV-FILM • www.wvfilm.com • Offers transferable tax credits of up to 31 percent on direct production and post-production in-state spend. During November, the WVFO grants moviemakers complementary access to the Gauley River, where they can control the tenacity of the flow with their River On Demand program. Moviemakers can also apply for sales and service tax exemption and secure fee-free locations. wichita Film commission 515 South Main, Suite 115 • Wichita, KS 67202 • 800/288-9424 • 316/265-2800 • www.gowichita.com • The Wichita Film Commission, a division of Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a certified member in the Association of Film Commissions International (AFCI). The office provides assistance with location scouting, pre-production and production needs. The Wichita Film Commission has built many effective business relationships to assist in moving your film forward. This provides buy-in and support when quick decisions are necessary. Wyoming Film Office 1520 Etchepare Circle • Cheyenne, WY 82007 • 800/458-6657; 307/777-3400 • www.filmwyoming.com GUILDS & ORGANIZATIONS Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences www.oscars.org Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers www. amptp.org American Cinema Editors • www.ace-filmeditors.org American Cinema Foundation www.cinemafoundation.com American Federation of Musicians • www.afm.org American Humane Association, Film & TV Unit www.americanhumane.org American Society of Cinematographers www.theasc.com American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) • www.ascap.com Association of Film Commissioners International www.afci.org Association of Independent Commercial Producers www. aicp.com Association of Location Scouts & Managers www.alsam.net Casting Society of America • www.castingsociety.com Directors Guild of America (DGA) www.dga.org • Founded in 1936 by 13 of Hollywood’s leading moviemakers, including the legendary John Ford and King Vidor, the Directors Guild of America is the nation’s preeminent organization representing directors and members of the directorial team. Entertainment Resources & Marketing ASSOCIATION www.erma.org Filmmakers Alliance www.filmmakersalliance.org Independent Film & Television Alliance www.ifta-online.org International Documentary Association 213/534-3600 • www.documentary.org Motion Picture Association of America 818/995-6600 • www.mpaa.org Motion Picture Editors Guild 800/705-8700 • www.editorsguild.com National Association of Theatre Owners www.natoonline.org Producers Guild of America • www.producersguild.org
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Reel Women • www.reelwomen.org SAGIndie www.sagindie.org • Through film festivals, trade shows, panels and direct one-onone communication, SAGIndie works with producers to eliminate barriers blocking the use of professional performers in low-budget independent film. San Francisco Film Society 39 Mesa Street, Suite 110 • San Francisco, CA 94129 • 415/561-5000 • www.sffs.org • A world-class nonprofit institution, the Film Society offers a full suite of programs for filmmakers, including project development and fiscal sponsorship, classes on topics from screenwriting to marketing and publicity and grants and prizes that will amount to over $800,000 in 2011. Screen Actors Guild www.sag.org • Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s premier labor union representing actors. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers www.smpte.org Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures 818/76-4334 • www.stuntmen.com Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures www.stuntwomen.com Women in Film and Television International www.wifti.org Women Make Movies www.wmm.com Writers Guild of America www.wga.org • www.wgaeast.org • The Writers Guild of America is the sole collective bargaining representative for writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, interactive and new media industries. MUSIC & COMPOSERS Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 615/401-2000 • www.bmi. com • BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. John Vincent McCauley, composer & creative director, sonic weave llc 925/206-4124 • www.johnvmccauley.com • www.sonicweave.com • Capable of delivering a range of music from composing subtle solo instrumentals to larger orchestral arrangments for modern action or dramatic scores, John Vincent McCauley brings the instinctive ability to convey emotion through music and a creative imagination that results in a score that can be rich, dynamic in expression and deliver a varied array of music and sounds. The Rights Workshop 39 Mesa St., Suite 101 • San Francisco, CA 94129 • 415/561-3333 • www.rightsworkshop.com • A music supervision, licensing and clearance company that helps you with digital rights, original productions, publishing administration and more. The silver sky orchestra 252 Via Villena • Encinitas, CA 92024 • www.thesilverskyorchestra.com • The Silver Sky Orchestra presents neo-classical music for private listening enjoyment, film/TV soundtracks, themes and underscores, corporate videos or advertising. ty fy studios, inc. 407/843-5662 •www.tyfystudios.com • Offers original music, custom-scored for each project. POST-PRODUCTION SERVICES Avid www.avid.com • A world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively and creatively. Crystal Clear Disc & Tape 10486 Brockwood Rd. • Dallas, TX 75238 • 800/880-0073 • www.crystalclearcds.com • Offers DVD replication, full-color
art design, digital mastering and production of promotion merchandise like shirts, posters and stickers. digital juice 600 Technology Park, Suite 104 • Lake Mary, FL 32746 • 800/525-2203 • www.digitaljuice. com • Offers royalty-free, professional animations, stock footage, music, layered graphics, clip art, templates and more. DIVE Independence Square West • The Curtis Center, Suite 1050, 601 Walnut St. • Philadelphia, PA 19106 • 888/464-9664; 267/514-7700 • divevisual.com • DIVE is among the East Coast’s premier post-production facilities for independent filmmakers. They offer digital intermediate, VFX, title design and editorial services for narrative features, documentaries and shorts, all under one roof. Full HD and 2K finishing services available, including a state-of-the-art DI theater and screening room. diskfactory 14 Chrysler Dr. • Irvine, CA 92618 • 949/455-1701 • www.diskfaktory.com.com • Delivered one of the first 24/7 online order processing software applications to create a dynamic CD and DVD reproduction process. The various departments include artist promotions, graphic design/multimedia, mastering, marketing, A&R, fulfillment and distribution. Gamma Ray Digital, Inc. 119 Braintree St. • Boston, MA 02134 • 617/379-0381 • www.gammaraydigital.com • Offers professional Sonic Scenarist Blu-ray and DVD authoring services for the independent and feature film market, as well as digital film restoration on their MTI CORRECT system. You can count on Gamma Ray Digital’s experienced team for studio-quality motion menu design and top-notch encoding and authoring. LVT Laser Subtitling, Inc. 49 W. 27th St., Suite 801 • New York NY 10001 • 212/343-1910 • www.lvtusa. com • With subtitles, films reach across cultural frontiers to new audiences, breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers. Contact LVT for a complimentary estimate for subtitling in any language, any format. orbit digital 12233 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 134 • Los Angeles, CA 90064 • 424/298-2250s • www.orbitdigitalmedia.com Reel-Scout 1900 Abbott Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28203• 704/649-4229 • www.reel-scout.com • A Web-based project and client management system supported by a sophisticated, fully-searchable locations photo library. Reel-Scout was not built simply to manage digital images; it was built to help film commissions manage all their assets (project, location, contact) simultaneously. Reel-Scout users can search for film locations throughout the country with a single click thanks to the national locations search engine. Silverado Systems, Inc. 771 Oak Ave. Pkwy., Suite 1 • Folsom, CA 95630 • 916/760-0032 • www.silverado. cc • Designs and implements HD and 4K editing systems for post-production facilities. Silverado had two of the earliest released RED ONE cameras and has developed systems specifically designed for editing projects with .R3D files. The Saul Zaentz MEDIA Center 2600 10th St. • Berkeley, CA 94710 • 510/486-2286 • www.zaentzmediacenter. com • A complete post-production facility servicing the needs of studios and indie moviemakers for more than 20 years. Films posted at the Saul Zaentz Film Center have earned 26 Oscars, including three for Best Picture and three for Best Sound. Twisted Media, Inc. 1341 W. Granville, Suite 1 • Chicago, IL 60660 • 773/856-6586 • www.twistedmedia.com • “I can’t believe it’s royalty-free!” Visit the Twistedtracks.com production music library. Music this good usually comes with a high price tag and complicated licensing, but not there. You get great music, affordable pricing and no hassle. They specialize in modern genres from ambient, downtempo, electronic, rock and soundtrack to world music. They’ve got the styles you need and the variety from which to choose. All tracks and volumes are offered in uncompressed AIF and
WAV or MP3 format for immediate download or delivery, with intelligent search capabilities to find the right one fast. Universal Studios Post Production Media Services 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 • 800/892-1979 • www.filmmakersdestination.com • With filmmaker-friendly rates, Universal Studios Post Production Media Services offers sound editorial and design, mixing, Foley, ADR, audio preservation and restoration, Remote Review/ Playback, EFILM® DI Suite, Picture Editorial and Avid rentals and sound transfer for features, television, online and independent projects. The award-winning talent and state-of-the-art facilities let filmmakers achieve their unique creative vision. Universal Virtual Stage 1 (UVS1) 100 Universal City Plaza, Bldg. 4250-3, Universal City, CA 91608 • 818/7773000 • www.filmmakersdestination.com • Universal Virtual Stage 1 (UVS1) is a virtual production environment with pre-visualization, motion capture, camera tracking, post-production and more for commercials, television, features and independent projects. This secure facility at Universal Studios with a green screen, editing bays, 60 terabyte server and office space is scalable to each production’s needs. PRODUCTION SERVICES Apple • 408/996-1010 • www.apple.com • One of the world’s most innovative technology companies, offering cutting-edge computer, software and electronic products. Baseline Research www.baselineresearch.com • A leading provider of film and television information, Baseline’s flagship product is The Studio System, a subscription-based database of contact information for professionals in the film and television industries. The company works with every major studio, network, representation firm and media outlet in North America. the brakefield company 3727 W. Magnolia Blvd., #718 • Burbank, CA 91505 • www. thebrakefieldcompany. com • The Brakefield Company is an independent production and marketing boutique uniquely structured with two separate creative teams, one for production, the other for marketing. The Brakefield Company has the ability to deliver both high quality productions and comprehensive marketing campaigns. buyout footage 3910 Prospect Ave., Suite F • Yorba Linda, CA 92886 • 909/934-4443 • www. buyoutfootage.com • “Streamline Download Service” available from Buyout Footage—a leading supplier of public domain films and royalty-free stock footage for filmmakers, broadcasters and production companies worldwide. They offer rock-bottom prices for archival public domain films, newsreels, cartoons and short subjects along with contemporary footage of presidential speeches, congressional hearings and U.S. military and space programs. Formats include HD, NTSC and PAL. Their new “Streamline Download Service” allows for downloading of specific timecode sequences from complete titles which can be easily previewed online. Dolby 100 Potrero Ave. • San Francisco, CA 94103 • 415/558-0200 • www.dolby.com • For nearly four decades, Dolby has been at the forefront of defining high-quality audio and surround sound in cinema and beyond. Entertainment Partners • 818/955-6000 • www.entertainmentpartners.com • AEntertainment Partners (EP), an employee-owned company, has been the leader in payroll and production services for more than thirty years. Our accounting software and Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling programs are the industry standards. EP’s Petty Cash Card streamlines the petty cash process through debit card purchasing and online tracking/handling. The EP Incentive Solutions team are experts in navigating the complexities of localized finanMOVIEMAKER.COM
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cial production incentives. In addition, casting/ payroll for background actors is handled through the legendary Central Casting division, a Hollywood icon since 1925. Family Theater productions 7201 Sunset Blvd. • West Hollywood, CA 90046 • 800/874-0999 (inside US) • www.familytheater.org • Family Theater is a Catholic media production house that has produced more than 800 dramatic radio programs and 70 television specials and has had more than 10,000 broadcasts on independent, network-affiliated and public television stations. Many have won prestigious awards and have featured hundreds of top stars of screen, stage, TV and radio. FILMMAKER IN A BOX: The Complete Film Production Experience 1811 Victory Blvd Glendale, CA 91201 • 800/870-8830 • www.filmmakerinabox.com • Learn everything you didn’t know you needed to know about the indie process from preproduction through post. This unprecedented case study breaks down every component of the feature 2 Million Stupid Women into a series of comprehensive, self-contained interview modules and actual production documents with complete transparency. Boxed 10-DVD set $399. footage firm 10780 Parkridge Boulevard Suite 70 Reston, VA 20191 • 866/777-9354 • www.footagefirm. com • Provides HD and SD royalty-free stock footage from around the world. With more than 30,000 satisfied customers, Footage Firm is a leader in providing HD and SD royalty-free stock footage from around the world. No licensing or research fees and unlimited usage for an unlimited amount of time are just a few of the company’s benefits. Global ImageWorks, LLC. 65 Beacon St. • Haworth, NJ 07641 • 201/384-7715 • www.globalimageworks. com • Global ImageWorks is a boutique stock footage library that specializes in representing the work of moviemakers, journalists and private collections offering unique deep content footage as well as outstanding stock shots. Historic and contemporary footage. All formats including Hi-Def, RED camera and film. Searchable online database with more than 10,000 videos. Additional services include research and clearances. hbo archives 1100 Avenue of the Americas • New York, NY 10036 • 877/426-1121 • www.hboarchives. com • Since 1973, HBO has been honored with more than 150 major awards. HBO Archives brings the magic of these award-winning programs to you. Their incomparable collection and the production outtakes are available for licensing in your projects. HD Cinema 12233 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 120 • Los Angeles, CA 90064 • 310/434-9500 • www.hd-cinema.com • A favorite resource for indie moviemakers and documentary television program producers, HD Cinema integrates post services and camera rental with a knowledge base of the most up-to-date technical support. indieclear 1150 Highland Ave. • Glendale, CA 91202 • 323/828-8280 • www.indieclear.com • IndieClear offers a useful script clearance report for independent films—pointing out continuity errors, factual inaccuracies and potential legal difficulties in a script. juicedlink.com 4060 Nelson Dr. • Palo Alto, CA 94306 • 650/575-3249 • www.juicedlink.com • Dedicated to providing professionals in audio and video production with unique and trusted solutions of uncompromising quality. Movie Forms Pro 2050 Stanley Hills Place • Los Angeles, CA 90046 • 323/656-3202 • www.movieforms.com • Movie Forms Pro - Interactive is a complete package of interactive film, video, digital video, HD, commercial and motion picture production forms as Adobe PDF files. PayReel 24928 Genesee Trail Road Suite 100 Golden CO 80401 • 303/526 4900 • www.payreel.com • MOVIEMAKER.COM
Founded in 1995, PayReel is a payroll service that serves the television, film and video industries exclusively. Pierce Law Group, LLP 9100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 225 • East Tower • Beverly Hills, CA 90212 • 310/2749191 • www.piercelawgroupllp.com • Pierce Law Group is a full-service entertainment law firm representing independent moviemakers and television producers in the areas of production counsel services, intellectual property matters, labor issues, general business and corporate law matters, as well as producers’ representation services. rainfall films 4370 Tujunga Avenue Suite 140 Studio Ctiy, CA 91604 • 424/228-5010 • www.rainfallfilms. com • Rainfall Films is a Los Angeles-based, award-winning production company, currently developing feature films, music videos, commercials and new media. The company’s services cover every aspect of moviemaking, including shooting, editorial, visual effects, motion graphics, music and sound design. Rainfall has worked for a wide variety of clients including Sony, G4tv, Interscope, Philips, Nike and Disney. Past work includes The Legend of Zelda IGN.com trailer, music videos for Missy Higgins and Lisbeth Scott and visual effects for EA Games, Black Eyed Peas and Natasha Bedingfield. ROEDER & MOON INSURANCE PO Box 180489 • Dallas, TX 75218-0489 • 800/580-3545; 214/324-3700 • www.roedermoon.com • Family-owned insurance agency specializing in the entertainment industry. Founded 1929. Roeder & Moon can provide coverage by the project or on an annual basis. General liability, equipment, automobile, workers compensation, errors and omissions and specialty coverages. Roeder & Moon arranges insurance for production companies, studios, equipment rental companies, post-production facilities, distributors, composers and more. Rosco Laboratories, Inc. 52 Harbor View • Stamford, CT 06902 • 800/767-2669 • www.rosco.com • One of the world’s largest manufacturers of products for the entertainment industry. The company is headquartered in Stamford, CT with additional facilities in Hollywood, Toronto, London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Mexico. Rosco’s product range includes color filters, gobos, scenic paint products, fog systems and floor products. The Rosco Cinegel range includes more than 75 tools for controlling light. Since its introduction in 1970, Cinegel has continually developed and grown to meet the working needs of the professional. In 1974, Cinegel won an Academy Award for technical achievement. Sony Creative Software 1617 Sherman Ave. • Madison, WI 53704 • 800/577.6642• www.sonycreativesoftware.com • Produces an awardwinning line of products for digital video, music, DVD and audio production, including Cinescore, Sound Forge, ACID and Vegas software. The company offers an application for every level of expertise, including a full line of consumer software. Sony Professional Media www.sony.com/promedia 866/766-9272 • For more than 55 years, Sony has been the leader in recording media manufacturing. Sony Professional Media products, codeveloped with Sony recorders, ensure that your content is free from glitches. stateside entertainment partners 3560 Lenox Road, NE Suite 2800 Atlanta, GA 30326-4276• 877/782-8373 • www.statesideentertainment.com • Offers investing and tax credit development services to investors and entertainment production companies. studio 1 productions 1700 Destino Ct. • Port Orange, FL 32128 • 386/788-6075 • www.studio1productions.com • Studio 1 Productions sells almost everything you need to make your own film; music and sound effects, royalty-free animation, audio and video equipment, instructional and training DVDs and stock footage are all included in their list of products.
super16inc.com PO Box 313 • Newark Valley, NY 13811 • 877/376-6582; 607/642-3352 • www.super16inc. com • Offers a variety of motion picture equipment service, maintenance and repair services. Tax Credits, LLC 242 Old New Brunswick Rd. Suite 145 Piscataway, NJ 08854• 866/652-3170 • www. taxcreditsllc.com • The professionals at Tax Credits, LLC have spent the last 10 years placing various tax credits throughout the U.S. They have handled more than 1,000 transactions placing in excess of $300 million in various state tax credits to date. Their mission is to simplify the tax credit process for you by navigating through the ever-changing legislation, identifying the appropriate tax credit opportunities and managing the paperwork on your behalf. Their relationships with Film Commissioners, DOR and EDA departments and have helped make legislation in the various states more effective for production companies. tfi sloan filmmaker fund www.tribecafilminstitute.org/ filmmakers/sloan/fund • The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund seeks exceptional narrative work that is scientifically relevant, accurate and exciting. In 2011, the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund provides grants of $10,000 to $40,000 in support of narrative feature film projects that explore scientific, mathematical or technological themes in their storylines, or that feature a leading character who is a scientist, engineer, innovator or mathematician. tiffen company 90 Oser Ave. • Hauppauge, NY 117883886 • 631/273-2500 • www.tiffen.com • A leading manufacturer and supplier of photographic filters and lens accessories for the consumer/professional imaging industries as well as the motion picture and broadcast television industries for almost 70 years. Trew Audio 220 Great Circle Rd., Suite 116 • Nashville, TN 37228 • 800/241-8994 (U.S.) • 866/778-0656 (Toronto) • 877/333-9122 (Vancouver) • www.trewaudio.com • Trew Audio is devoted to the art of location sound recording for film and television. From its Nashville, Toronto and Vancouver offices, Trew Audio sells, rents and services pro audio equipment for motion picture sound production in the U.S., Canada and 40 other countries worldwide. The company understands last-minute changes, early call times, eight-page days, short turnarounds, wireless hits, jam-syncing, cross-resolving, pull-up, pull-down and the dreaded “Waiting on Sound!” That’s why Trew Audio is the preferred choice of sound professionals worldwide for the right equipment in this highly specialized field. unitstills.net PO Box 91252 • Santa Barbara CA 93190 • 805/252-3696 • www.unitstills.net • Michael Moriatis is an accomplished photographer whose current focus is on on-set production stills, with more than 30 features and television credits. Universal studios production services 100 Universal City Plaza, Bldg. 4250-3 • Universal City, CA 91608 • 818/777-3000 • www.filmmakersdestination.com • With filmmaker-friendly rates, Universal Studios Production Services offers 30 sound stages and over 30 backlot locations. The redesigned New York Street backlot location features over four acres of new facades including modern New York, Wall Street, Broadway, London Square and more. Universal also provides industry-leading Property, Costume, Transportation, Set Lighting, Grip, Sign Shop, Stock Units, Greens and Staff & Moulding services. SCREENWRITING RESOURCES Coverage, Ink. 3717 S. LaBrea Ave. #106-522, Los Angeles, CA 90016 323/702-2989 • www.coverageink. com • Coverage Ink is a full-service, top-rated screenplay development service—named “Cream of the Crop” by a Creative Screenwriting 2010 user poll. From synopses to rewrites, phone consultations to copyediting, Coverage Ink
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
does it all. The company’s team of 15 experienced, razor-sharp analysts will help make your project rock. Coverage Ink also runs the annual Writers on the Storm (www.writerstorm.com) screenplay contest, offering more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Creative Screenwriting Expo 6404 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 415 • Los Angeles, CA 90028 • 323/957-1405 www.screenwritingexpo.com • The Screenwriting Expo plays host to hundreds of classes on the craft and business of screenwriting, including sessions taught by actual working writers and producers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Featured speakers have included Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) as well as the legendary William Goldman. InkTip PO Box 12418 • La Crescenta, CA 91224 • www.inktip.com • The mission of InkTip.com is threefold: Help the producer easily find a good script, save time for the agent and manager in locating the right people for their clients’ scripts and greatly increase exposure for the screenwriter. michael elliot media 11271 Ventura Blvd. Suite 441 Studio City, CA 91604 • www.michaelelliotmedia.com • Screenwriter Michael Elliot (Like Mike, Brown Sugar, Just Wright) offers online seminars, tips and tutorials for writers looking to break into the industry. Page international Screenwriting comp 7510 Sunset Blvd., #610, Hollywood, CA 90046 • www.pageawards. com • This screenwriting competition gives away over $50,000 in cash and prizes to talented writers from all over the world. Besides the prizes, applicants are given the chance to have top producers, agents and development executives read winning screenplays that sometimes result in representation, other assignments, and possible release. script pipeline 1304 N. Highland Ave. #272 Hollywood, CA 90028 • www.scriptpipeline.co • Script Pipeline is a community-based research tool designed for writers and film industry professionals. Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition 7775 Sunset Blvd. • PO Box #200 • Hollywood, CA 90046 • 323/654-5809 • www.scriptapalooza.com • Scriptapalooza promotes its top winners for a full year and finalists, semifinalists and quarterfinalists get requested constantly. Grand prize is $10,000. Write Brothers 348 E. Olive Ave, Suite H • Burbank, CA 91502 • 800/84-STORY • www.write-bros.com • Movie Magic Screenwriter, Dramatica Pro, StoryView and Word Menu are all products made by Write Brothers software. Since 1982, Write Brothers Inc. (formerly called Screenplay Systems) has been a world leader in film and television screenwriting and production software. It is the only company with software for all phases of writing: Creativity, brainstorming, outlining and formatting. Its top-selling Dramatica, Word Menu, and Storyview writing programs are used by leading novelists, fiction writers, screenwriters and playwrights. Writers on the storm screenplay competition 6404 Wilshire Blvd., #105 • Los Angeles, CA 90048 • 323/207-4118 • www.writerstorm.com • Presented by Coverage, Ink and Writers Boot Camp, the Writers on the Storm Screenplay Competition seeks to introduce the most talented young screenwriters to the industry—and offers more than $27,500 in prizes. The Writers Store 3510 West Magnolia Blvd. • Burbank CA, 91505 • 800/272-8927; 310/441-5151 • www.writersstore.com • The Writers Store is the world’s foremost resource for software, seminars, workshops, books and reference materials dedicated to writers and moviemakers. The company specializes in story development, script formatting, production and multimedia software as well as books, classes and tapes covering all aspects of writing, selling scripts and pre-production. This West Los Angeles-based company
has an award-winning Website, a free biweekly e-zine featuring articles by film industry experts, an international reputation for its user-friendly services and programs and a long list of devoted clientele ranging from novice and weekend writers to such top screenwriters as Martin Brest, Wes Craven, William Broyles, Nora Ephron, Daniel Petrie, Nicholas Pileggi, Steve Zaillian and many more. SOFTWARE Anderssen Technologies Philadelphia, PA • www.ssontech.com Anderssen is dedicated to bringing users fast, reliable and, most importantly, affordable software. The company’s aim is to bring their advanced featurefilm technology to productions varying from student to indie films. They feature SynthEyes™, a camera tracking and stabilization program for PC or Mac. B & G Designs 2050 Stanley Hills Place • Los Angeles, CA 90046 • 323/656-7818 • www.movieforms.com • Movie Forms Pro and Movie Forms Pro - Interactive are complete packages of film, video, HD, digital video and commercial production forms on easy to use CD-ROMS. blackmagic design 2875 Bayview Drive, Fremont, CA 94538 • 408/954-0500 • www.blackmagic-design. com • Renowned for its revolutionary software and hardware, which has made the dream of an affordable, high-quality editing workstation a reality. boilerplate budgeting software 1818 Gilbreth Rd., Suite 200 • Burlingame, CA 94010 • 650/6925793 • www.boilerplate.net • BoilerPlate templates are intuitively designed and simple to use. No spreadsheet programming is necessary unless you want to customize it for your particular needs. Just fill in the budgeting information and costs in the designated cells and BoilerPlate will generate your production budgets and reports automatically. Best of all, BoilerPlate is a program within a program; you can use BoilerPlate Budgeting templates on any computer running Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org for Windows and Mac OSX. Boinx Software Ltd. Lilienthalstrasse 1 • 82178 Puchheim • Germany • 855/264 6979 (English) • www.boinx.com • Boinx develops Mac applications for animation, presentation and broadcast. Final Draft, Inc. 26707 W. Agoura Rd., Suite 205 • Calabasas, CA 91302 • 800/231-4055 • www. finaldraft.com • Final Draft is the number one choice among the entertainment industry’s professional writers. Specifically designed for writing screenplays, television shows and stage plays, Final Draft combines powerful word processing with professional script formatting in one self-contained, easy-to-use package. There’s no need to waste your time formatting; Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards as you write. Final Draft AV is the only dedicated script processor for audio-visual scriptwriters. It is used for writing commercials, documentaries, industrial videos, DV shorts, music videos, presentations and more. Use your creative energy to focus on content; let Final Draft’s products take care of the style. Nothing helps you get your script on paper easier or faster. Future Media Concepts 299 Broadway, Ste. 1510, New York, NY 10017 • 212/233-3500 • www.fmctraining.com • FMC is a digital training center which helps people learn to use leading software manufacturer programs for production, web design and development, DVD authoring and other needs. FrameForge 3D Studio 4901 Morena Blvd., Ste. 108, San Diego, CA 92117 • 877/322-7733 • www.frameforge3d. com • Save time and money on your next shoot with FrameForge Pre-Viz Studio 3. This 3-D sto-
ryboard software re-creates depth of field along with the ability to optically mimic any film or video camera, including 16mm, 35mm, HD video, widescreen or whatever. What you see through the program’s camera will be virtually identical to what you’ll see on the set. FrameForge users are never caught off guard on set with a storyboard that’s impossible to shoot. Communicate the full scope of your vision to cast, crew and investors with animatics in QuickTime, Flash, navigable HTML pages or NLE editors. Manhattan Edit workshop 80 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1501, New York, NY 10011 212/414-9570 • www.mewshop. com • The Manhattan Edit Workshop provides a six-week editing program for those interested in career in editing. Avid, Apple, and Adobe are just three of many programs the company can teach. The program is taught by certified trainers as well as working editors, web designers, cinematographers, and directors with a 1:6 teacher to student ratio, guaranteeing the attention students need. masterwriter 740 State St., Suite 203 • Santa Barbara, CA 93101 • 805/892-2656 • www.masterwriter.com • Why struggle to find the right word or phrase when you can have all the possibilities in an instant? MasterWriter 2.0 software features an amazing array of searchable reference dictionaries and provides the creative writer with everything he or she needs in one, easyto-use program. Media Services 30 W. 22nd St., #5W • New York, NY 10010 • 866/429-9316 • www.media-services.com • One of the entertainment industry’s leading payroll and software companies since 1978, serving feature, television, commercial, corporate and Internet productions worldwide as well as music video and residual clients. PowerProduction Software 800/457-0383 • www.powerproduction.com • PowerProduction Software is the leading provider of storyboarding and digital pre-visualization software for film, video, corporate and educational professionals. Founded in 1993, their products StoryBoard Quick and StoryBoard Artist enable directors, writers and producers to communicate visually without having to know how to draw. Screenwriting Pro www.writersstore.com • Screenwriting Pro is a Web-based professional screenplay formatting software for feature films, television and stage plays. It has all the elements of boxed scriptwriting software, including industry-standard formatting, story development tools and a library of templates, with the added benefit of working online from any Internet-connected computer. ScriptE Systems 917/991-7465; 310/744-4987 • www.scriptesystems.com • ScriptE Software is the first completely digital workflow for script supervisors. No more pencils and rulers—no more writing on top of PDFs. Import entire editable scripts and revisions directly from Final Draft. Capture stills and timecode on the fly. Import storyboards and digital photographs. Create and e-mail all forms and daily reports. Generate files that can be imported into AVID and Final Cut. ScriptE Software is being used internationally by top professionals at every level of the industry. ScriptE is a green, sustainable product that eliminates paper waste and saves production time. Sony Creative Software 8215 Greenway Blvd Suite 400 Middleton, WI 53562 608/203-2300 • www. sonycreativesoftware.com The award-winning line contains industry-leading technology for filmmakers, including Vegas™ Pro for postproduction needs. MM MOVIEMAKER.COM
Guide to Making Movies 2013 pg
call for entries The Stony Brook Film Festival (Thursday, July 19th through Saturday, July 28th, 2012) is a competitive, highly regarded festival that screens outstanding independent dramatic features, documentaries, animated films and shorts in all categories. Thanks to the presenting sponsors, there are no entry fees. Deadline for entries is May 1st. www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com. Over $25,000 in cash and prizes! The Writers on the Storm Screenplay Competition is searching for the best feature and TV pilot scripts from the most talented writers. Enter now! www.writerstorm.com
Sub-tropical Byron Bay is an exotically beautiful backdrop for this rapidly growing festival. With world-class beaches just a short stroll from BBFF Headquarters, filmmakers are provided the opportunity to present their work at a truly distinctive film festival attended by International filmmakers, direc-
tors, producers, and prominent members of Australia’s film industry. Entries close soon. www.bbff.com.au The 13th Annual FirstGlance Film Fest Hollywood, one of Los Angeles’ Premiere Indie Film Fests and One of Moviemaker’s Fests Worth the Entry Fee, is calling for entries from indie filmmakers from across the globe. Categories include Feature, Short, Documentary, Animation, Web Series, Music Video, Student and International films. Prizes include a Theatrical Red Carpet and one week run in a 400 seat Theatre with P&A valued over $35K and over $10K in prizes. Digital Distribution offered to all filmmakers. Entry Fees start at $30 (some categories during early deadline). Final Deadline: November 30th. www.firstglancefilms.com/hollywood/hollywoodcfe CALL FOR ENTRIES & FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENT listings are $99 for the first 50 words and $.25 per additional word. SUBMIT TO: MovieMaker Magazine, Attn: Call for Entries, 8328 De Soto Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91304. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Guide to MakinG Movies 2013 pg
ad index 40 west movie 40westmovie.com 48 AcAdemy of Art University academyart.edu C2 AlbUqUerqUe film office cabq.gov/economicdevelopment/film 31 big islAnd film festivAl bigislandfilmfestival.com 79 bosko groUp boskogroup.com 26 brAUn post braunpost.com 67 cinemA libre stUdio cinemalibrestudio.com 41 colUmbiA college hollywood columbiacollege.edu 35 coverAge, ink nk coverageink.com 94 cUt by cUt joyoffilmediting.com 75 dAnA dolly danadolly.com 94 directors gUild of AmericA dga.org 9 the edit center theeditcenter.com 47 the fActory digitAl filmmAking progrAm At doUglAs dec.edu 7 the feAtUre film project thefeaturefilmproject.com 11 filmmAker in A box filmmakerinabox.com 43 five towns college ftc.edu 79 glidecAm indUstries glidecam.com 2, 94 internAtionAl AcAdemy of film & television iaft.ph C3 joAnne bAron/dw brown stUdio baronbrown.com 67 kAnsAs film commission filmkansas.com 95 a lonely place for dying alonelyplacefordying.com 67 moviemAkermentors moviemakermentors.com 70 myrtle beAch intâ€™l film festivAll myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com 67 pAyreel payreel.com 95 pierce lAw groUp piercelawgroupllp.com 49 rAndy chAnce mUsic randychance.com 75 sAgindie sagindie.org 3 sAn Antonio film commission filmsanantonio.com 39 stephAnie sellArs stephaniesellars.com 26 the secrets to distribUtion distribution.la 27 sony creAtive softwAre sonycreativesoftware.com 5 trew AUdio trewaudio.com 71 UniversAl stUdios filmmakersdestination.com 45 the University of the Arts uarts.edu 35 trigold entertAinment trigoldentertainment.com 94 University of north cArolinA school of the Arts uncsa.edu 17 vAncoUver film school vfs.edu 33 vArizoom varizoom.com C4 vivid cAndi vividcandi.com 1 we mAke movies wemakemovies.org 73 write brothers, inc. write-bros.com 47 writers on the storm writerstorm.com 94
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Founding Director of MANHATTAN SHORT
Manhattan Short Launches Feature Project nicholas mason, founding director of manhattan short
an a successful feature film debut be crowd-sourced? The Feature Film Project, an offshoot of MANHATTAN SHORT, aims to find out just that. This spring, we’re launching what we hope is a totally innovative program, one that lets the movie-going public vote on whether or not a feature film should be given a week-long run in theatres across the country. The idea for the Feature Film Project grew out of a conversation, aptly enough, with a film director. I was interviewing Neil LaBute for the 2011 MANHATTAN SHORT festival. LaBute wrote and directed “Sexting,” a finalist in that year’s competition. One of the questions I always ask finalists is, “What advice do you have for first-time filmmakers?” Without missing a beat, LaBute responded: “I’d tell them to stop talking about your film in Starbucks, and start shooting it in Starbucks. With the technology available today, there’s no better time than now to be a filmmaker. We can’t even imagine the films kids today are going to come up with tomorrow.” MANHATTAN SHORT has brought new directors—and their short films—to the world’s attention for more than a decade. But after I chatted with LaBute last year, I realized we could be instrumental in helping discover new feature films and direcMOVIEMAKER.COM
One Film to Screen Nationwide, Audiences to Decide its Future
tors, too. MANHATTAN SHORT started on the island bearing its name, but branched out beyond New York City in 2004, adding screenings in seven states. In 2012, we did over 1,000 screenings in over 300 cities, on each of the six (habitable) continents—all in the course of one week. At MANHATTAN SHORT, our audience members select the best film from among the 10 semi-finalist shorts they watch. The film they choose wins the top prize. There’s no jury. At our festival, the audience award is everything. And that’s what we’re hoping to bring to feature filmmakers with the Feature Film Project. Applying the same spirit of public involvement we’ve championed for more than a decade with MANHATTAN SHORT, we think we can really change the way small, independent films gain exposure. On Thursday, March 21st, one selected feature film will screen in more than 100 cinemas across the USA. The audience at each venue will be asked one simple question: Should this film come back in six weeks for a week-long, theatrical release? If the majority of the audiences votes “yes,” the film comes back. In 2012, 155 cinemas across the United States took part in the 15th annual Manahattan Short festival. That was a huge increase from the 90 cinemas that
participated in 2011. In 2013, we’re anticipating as many as 250 cinemas participating across the US. And we’ll be channeling the Feature Film Project through those same venues; that’s why we’re certain that the Feature Film Project is an unparalleled opportunity for upand-coming filmmakers to reach an unprecedented audience. In this day and age, where even if you get distribution from IFC you’re lucky to get screenings in New York and Los Angeles, to get the opportunity to show at 100 theatres is an enormous boon. The films I remember most fondly, the films that have stayed with me since childhood, are the films I saw in the cinema. That’s the main reason the Feature Film Project is dedicated to putting new feature films before the public—on the big screen. Manhattan Short has the distribution network, and MovieMaker Magazine has the soapbox to shout from. All we need now is your film. The deadline for submitting to The Feature Film Project is December 31st, 2012. For rules, entry forms, participating cinemas, and a bunch of other stuff, visit: www.TheFeatureFilmProject.com. MM
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Published on Mar 28, 2013
For 10 years, MovieMaker has published its flagship annual issue, the "Complete Guide to Making Movies." A semester of film school in a sing...