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Friday, August 23, 2013

Comparing Crowdfunding Platform Success Rates When It Comes to Film Projects

Good article here breaking down several different crowd funding platforms, specifically for film projects.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Great short film:

I'm posting clips of short films and am happy to do so for so many reasons. Like the short story, the short film is just a great art form. But most importantly, as I talk about in my book, for those young and up and coming directors who want to make a feature, making short films is the correct and only path.

Yes, making shorts is where and how you will learn and prefect your craft. And making a really great short will give you the best opportunity to actually make a feature. Because if it is really great, many people will see it and many will want to see you  make a feature!

The film centers on a passing encounter by two people who share a charged moment. It's absolutely lovely. Extremely creative, and for me, does capture that feeling we can have when we meet that someone special. 

Nuit Blanche

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wonder Boys

I've always wanted to see this film, but for some reason just never got around to it. Finally caught it the other night and it's great. Very well written and directed, and of course the amazing cast are just that - amazing. One of Michael Douglas' best roles. He's really good.
It's directed by Curtis Hanson who is really good. Another great character driven story. So for those of you who are writing and will be directing character driven stories, watch this. Every character is well developed and unique. With flaws and goals and all kinds of obstacles.

Here's a clip of a very well written scene:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Express yourself!

The link below is a great interview/rant by our father of the American independent film movement, John Cassavetes.

Watch it. Feel it. Listen. You want to create something? Create something personal, without fear, and with some truth. And btw, evidently, this interview was never aired, because he says at the end television sucks?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Yes, subtext. When in the classroom, and I speak of subtext in a script, most students don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

Show, not tell is a favorite mantra of mine, so in that spirit, here's a clip from THE BIG SLEEP with Bogie and Bacall. When they discus horse riding, and you still don't know what subtext means, perhaps you should focus your energies on a less subtle art form, say mime?

Here's the link:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Good short film


So much I like about this film. It's really short, just about 3 1/2 minutes, beautifully shot, well acted, romantic, and for me, it has a lovely fluidity to it. It feels very natural and alive. Really capturing the essence of chemistry and desire.

For those of you who want to make good short films, this can serve as an example. You don't need a lot of money and time and crane shots and all the rest. Two characters, simple locations - hand held, shot on the fly.

roshambo (link to view film)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Some films I've seen recently


Very good indie film. Really quiet at first, then builds beautifully. At times, painful. Such a great cast - Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and a few other really good actors. Written and directed by Yaron Zilberman.

Great character driven film. For all those aspiring and young filmmakers out there who want to make a character driven film, watch this. Every character wants something, has flaws, needs to overcome obstacles - all very real. Excellent film.


Italian film directed by Luca Guadagnino. Tilda Swinton is amazing in this film. 

Deals with the lack of passion in one's life, then the sudden emergence of passion, and how that changes everything. A beautifully shot, subtle drama. Much like A Late Quartet - it is all character driven, not plot driven at all. Starts slow, and builds and builds. Really dealing with desire, and what we are pursuing in life, or what we should pursue.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Film Proposals (bio's)

After the title page and synopsis comes Bio's.

Here is where you write a simple, one paragraph bio on all the important people who are attached to your film thus far. Of course, you as the writer/ director will have your bio along with others like a producer you’ve attached, a casting director, any actors, a composer, a director of photography.

Don’t have anyone attached other than you at this point? Then stop and begin to gather a team.

If you're in the early stages of fundraising, more than likely you won't have many positions filled. But to make your proposal look more professional and appealing, now is a good time to step back and think about bringing people on board. At least a DP, a Producer, and possibly a Composer and Editor.

Next post I'll continue with creating the film proposal and we'll get into the business plan.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More on creating a film proposal

The synopsis.

So, next up in our film proposal is the synopsis.

Which is a very short, clearly written overview of your story.  In previous posts, I've discussed the creative process and creating and adhering to good habits,  so you should have no problem with this because back at the beginning stages of the writing process, you wrote your idea out in the paragraph form. Right? Ie; writing an overview should not be new to you.

The story synopsis can be either one or two paragraphs in length. It should convey to the reader exactly what type of story it is.

Everything in the synopsis that should be clear. For example, when I read your one page synopsis I should immediately understand that your story is a comedy, that it’s character driven, and that it’s a coming of age story. Or I read it and understand it’s an action drama, a heist gone bad story.

You get the point, whatever your story is; the reader should get it with this synopsis. Lastly, think of this synopsis as bait. When your potential investor reads it, you want them to be excited and intrigued. You lose them on the first page of the proposal and you’re dead. So be precise, and like you did back when you were developing and writing your script, have many people read it over. Get their feedback and make sure it works before you sit down for that all important lunch.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Creating a film proposal

Continuing from where we left off, yes, when you're in the fund raising stage for your feature, you'll need to create a film proposal.

Keep in mind this is a film proposal, and I want you to focus on the word proposal. It means to suggest, or put forward for consideration. You know, you’re single and at the bar and talking it up with that someone special and you’d like to go someplace that’s a little more quiet. You propose this, don’t you? In order to be successful, you ask in such a manner that is charming, and hard for that person to say no.

Think of your Film Proposal in a similar light. Specifically speaking, your proposal should not include everything, going into every minute detail. It’s a proposal, remember? It’s a suggestion, a very attractive, streamlined suggestion to an individual to give you money. What I’m saying is, you don’t want everything, including the kitchen sink in here because it will bog down your presentation. Keep it simple.

The first thing is of course the title page.

Remember, long after your lunch meeting, this is the material your potential investor will be thumbing through, so make sure the look of it is appealing and professional. Also, since we now live in a digital age, this film proposal should live in a digital form as well, like a PDF, which you can email or transfer with Dropbox or other such free services.

So the title page is all important, as it’s the first thing people will see. Don’t have it cluttered with too much information. It should be simple and clearly state what the hell it is. Let’s say the title of your film is “Give Me Money,” the title page can state in some attractive font: “Give Me Money: a feature film proposal.”

In addition, perhaps you can have a great picture here, or an attractive graphic, something which will work well with the text.

Next post we'll get into the synopsis.