As you may have guessed by now, I am involved in independent filmmaking. Not in the “I’ve got screen credit” sense, but in the “I’m a self educated film school student” sense. Sound peculiar? It is. Since 2004 I have been meeting with indi producers, directors, and writers, studying the art and science of filmmaking. Along this journey I have discovered a few things.
Indi producers, even the ones who graduated film school, don’t know the industry as well as they think they do. There is a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of business behind making a movie. This is where most of these producers are weakest. It becomes clear when you ask questions about the guilds and all you get is a blank stare; Do you have a marketing plan? Do you maintain your budget? Do you have below the line stakeholders? Are your crew and talent on deferral? Is your production “cleared” for distribution, and can you document it? These are all important considerations in the process.
Another thing I learned is that knowing all of the business is very important, but… there’s always a but, knowing what you can sidestep under the right conditions is even more important. Many of the books in print on filmmaking cover the technical hurdles and how to work around them. Some of the books cover a small part of the legal obligations a filmmaker has to protect his or her work; not from infringers, but from being one. Making a movie requires documenting EVERYTHING; and knowing what documentation you can sidestep.
With all of this in mind, I am a Producer. I document, catalog, budget, plot, plan, create forms (up until after midnight creating some production forms spurred this post) and do the minutiae that goes on behind the scenes. I spent a considerable amount of time working on several screenplays ether as a co-writer or clean-up, and time in concept sessions, and I spent more that a few hours co-directing and as an AD on several commercial productions. Now I need to start flexing my Writer and Director muscles on my own.
There is a small project I thought of a couple of years ago. It is a mockumentary short that should be fun. I have done the basics, concept sheet, and production design elements, now I need to do the script. With that in hand I can start the shoot. I don’t have a completion date yet (I have been stuck on the script for a while) but I will be done before the summer is up.
Looking at the near term, I need to start networking with other local filmmakers to collaborate with; writers, directors, producers, department heads and talent. Come one, come all.
If you are interested in participating or collaborating on indi projects send me an email.