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Thursday, May 30, 2013

more on short films

Sticking with the importance of making short films and watching them, below is a link to a great site which hosts so many good short films. I think they add a new film every week.

You want to make a great short film? Gotta watch as many shorts as you can. Here's a good place to start?

Short Films of the Week

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Working your Idea

As we discussed last week, an idea for an indie feature has to be special - it needs to have very few locations and characters. Why? Because time is money, which you'll have little of, and every new location is time, which is money. And the more characters you have, the more time it takes, plus more salaries.

So, when you have an idea, how do you work it? A very solid approach to developing your idea is by writing it out in one sentence, AKA, the ONE LINER. Keep in mind, the idea is really the foundation to everything, so it is here, in developing it, that you want to spend a lot of time. By writing it out in one sentence, this forces you to distill it down.

If you can't get your idea down to one sentence, this fact is telling you that you have a problem. It's a red flag which is saying your idea is too complicated. That's why this process of taking your idea and developing it in such a way that you can articulate it in one sentence is so important. Because if you can't, you still have a long way to go.

If you can't, more than likely the idea is too bloated. Too complicated. Simple on the outside, complicated on the inside. That's the approach you want to stick with. Any idea which is so complicated you can't explain in one or two sentences will be very difficult to write. So start by writing your idea as a paragraph or two, then several sentences, and finally, one sentence.

If you can do this, articulate your idea in one sentence, you will really be able to see your story, and totally understand it, and others will too. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Short Films

Yes. Watch more short films. Read more shorts stories. First time feature filmmaker? Before you make your 1st feature film, have you made enough shorts? What's enough?

Enough is when your last short film was amazing. Everyone loved it, and people started saying to you - "you should think about making a feature."

Practice makes perfect. Keep making shorts until you start to make really good ones, THEN, you can move on to developing and making a feature. We'll discuss this in the next blog, but my big tip of the day is SHORT FILMS. Watch them. Make them.

The internet is it's own form of distribution. So many people can see your short films. And if you do make a few good ones, or one really great one, it will not only give you the confidence to make a feature, and giving you the chops to do so, but it will help you raise money and attach actors and crew.

Yes, what's a great way to find good actors for your feature ? Showing them your amazing short film. So make them, and scour the web for places to watch shorts - they're many great shorts bubbling on the boogie wire all the time - watch them.

Be the New Gorilla!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Be the New Gorilla!

Yes. No better time. The price of film equipment is at an all time low - from DSLR's to portable sound recorders. Not to mention how much easier and cheaper it is to edit now - Final Cut is so affordable. So here's the deal - for all you filmmakers out there - BE ACTIVE.

Don't get in the mind set of wanting to make a feature that costs a lot of money - and you end up spending years raising funds, and everything spins out of control because it got too big. Keep it simple. Lean. Tight.

In the book, I talk about THE IDEA is the house you build your foundation on. Everything starts with a good idea, and an idea that's right for a low-budget feature. Not all ideas can be filmed for 25K or 50K, or for 100K for that matter.

It must have the least amount of characters and locations as possible. Specifically, you don't want more than two or three main characters, and ideally, one major location is best. Take for example, Roman Polanski's first feature - KNIFE IN THE WATER. One major location - the boat, and only three characters.

Next entry I'll take a step back and talk about short films. Making your own short film, making and making them until one is really good. Then I'll get back on the indie feature train. In the mean time, watch as many debut films of directors as you can - Indie ones, that is, and you'll see what I mean about less is more. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

tip on reading Kindle books

You don't need a Kindle to read books purchased from the Kindle Store. Kindle for Mac works find - read right on your computer. Or you can use Kindle Cloud Reader. 

We all should learn something everyday, don't you think? Yes, I know you do. I can sense it, as the classical music drifts in from my living room, and the breeze outside my window shake the palm trees. Yes. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tip for 1st time indie feature filmmakers

Location! Yes, location is so very important in any film, but with no budget, low budget films, it's takes on a whole new level of importance. Why? Because you can only afford to have one or two major locations. You won't be able to afford more.

Want to know more? Check out my "How To Make a Feature Film For Under 25K."

I shot SLEEPWALK on 35mm and we had one major location, and got it in the can for under 50K! And that was 35mm! It's much cheaper now with digital DSLR's.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book now available on

Yes indeed, it's Monday morning and The New Gorilla has woken. We're alive. My "How To Make a Feature Film For Under 25K" book that I'm been working on and off for the last year and a half is finally up. Please take a look, pass it along, etc. 

In terms of making your first feature film, I strongly believe if you don't have actors who can "open a movie," then make it for as little money as possible. Be the New Gorilla! 

So in the book I do my best to show one exactly how to do this, from start to finish. It's direct, it's real, and I think it's got some humor as well! So take a peak and let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Beginning

Yes, we have to start somewhere. Today is the day I become The New Gorilla.

What is the New Gorilla? And who?

I am, and anyone else who wants to make a feature film for very little money. We will collectively become the New Gorilla's. It's cheaper than ever to make low budget indie films, and I've written a book about it - a guide just exactly how you do it.

"How To Make A Feature Film For Under 25K"

Will soon be published on Amazon, and more thoughts, ramblings to come.

James Savoca