Saturday, August 21, 2010

Movie Making for Misfits

We're making a movie!  I'm joining forces with my screenwriting sister to make our first feature film. I just need to make sure that we get everything for super cheap, pay & feed our crew and keep on budget. Jen will be the creative side of our team and I'll be the business-brain. Easy peasy right?

Here's my To-Do List for the Summer of 2010:  Hot pink text means that I've already accomplished the task.
  • Read: From Reel to Deal by Dov Simmens, The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriquez.  Read 'em all. They're awesome.  Now I need to re-read them, this time taking notes.
  • Read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris so I can apply his principals to my day-job. Work about 3-4 hours/day, which gives me time to focus on movie-making. Love this new freedom & inspiration.
  • Attend Dov Simmens' 2 Day Film School in NYC.  It was awesome. Anyone interested in movie making should take this course, and listen to what he says. Sit in the front 3 rows if you want to ask questions, but be careful - he will blast you for stupid questions.  I didn't ask any, but I really didn't feel like I needed to. 
  • Buy Dov's DVD series.  On sale for $295 instead of $595 - score! Plus, I figure this is way better than film school tuition and certainly faster. 
  • Watch the DVD series, taking notes as I go.  Use his workbooks.   One DVD a day?
  • Set up business (Elgin Road Production Company) and blog.  Cost $75 for the name and $40 to register the business. I know blogger so it was easy to set up the blog. Don't like the colours, but will shell out cash for designer when I'm loaded.  It'll happen. One day.
  • Make business cards that say "Producer" and start telling strangers that I am a producer when they ask what I do.  So far so good.  The business cards cost $50 and only took a few days to arrive.  The first few times I told people I was a producer I felt like a real fraud.  Then I started to believe it - which is the point anyway.  A few people pitched their ideas to me.  It was pretty cool to be pitched to, especially considering the fact that I'm really just learning the ropes here.
  • Look into attending TIFF as an "industry" person.  Costs $610 + taxes, takes place in a few weeks...not sure if I can swing this.  Just want to be a fly on the wall so that the next time I come with a movie in hand I'll feel more confident.  Still looking into aeroplan miles, and have a free place to stay so may swing it after all.
  • Watch El Mariachi (Robert Rodriquez first film, made for $7000 without a crew.  Can't wait to see it after reading his book all about the process).
  • Watch Hitchcock's Rope & Lifeboat. Done.  Both good inspiration for one room, 90 minute script, low budget.
  • Need to find more films set in one room, with 90 minutes - stage plays basically, turned into movies.
  • Go through blogs from's 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers & start following the ones I am most interested in. Read every day, for less than 30 minutes so I don't get overwhelmed by too much information.   Focus on a "need to know" basis.
  • Need to set schedule for the year.  Specifically: script completion (sister's job), auditions for actors, finding crew, etc.  Start with the treatment so we can copyright it before we launch into the social media action plan (which will involve using blogging, twitter etc - to show the process, adventures & misadventures in making movies - but we need to copyright the treatment & eventually script before we tell the world what we're doing)
  • Location - think we've found it, but need to ask for permission. Or just do it and apologize later? 
  • Product placement - think of businesses to ask (ie, drinks for cast & crew, food, etc - maybe even a hotel to house cast for the week?). 
I know there are a thousand more things to do but I'm pleased with my progress this summer.  We only really started thinking about the idea of making our own production company 2 months ago, and now that I've read a few great filmmaking books I am feeling much more confident in our abilities.  As my sister keeps saying, "Dumbasses make movies all the time!" so clearly, we'll be successful.  Fair enough.  We also refuse to listen to anyone who says how hard it is.  Frack that - it's easy!  Everything is easy if you look at it right.

If you've stumbled across this blog, please let me know what you think & share your two cents & advice.  Comments are loved! 

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