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Monday, November 25, 2013

Great location examples

Last post we discussed how important locations are to your film. How they can "sell" your story. How they can make us feel. How they can even develop character.

Yes, locations should be thought of as a "third character." Here are some examples of great locations:




Friday, November 22, 2013


Ok, so the tip of the week is treat your locations as a third character!

What do I mean by this exactly? Well, as creating a strong, well liked character is a tool for the filmmaker to connect with the audience, so is a location. Just look at this picture above. It puts us in an emotional state right away. It creates a mood. It is dramatic. It is beautiful. Mysterious.

When we write, our goal is to put the reader there. To create a place to be. So when we get to the pre-production stage and we're scouting locations, finding the exact place for our scenes to take place is a must.

More on locations in the next post.

Friday, November 15, 2013


So, we have three stages of film production; pre-production, production, and post production.

We've spent most of our time here discussing pre-production, as this stage is really so, so important. We get it right here, we have the chance of getting it right in production. What do I mean by this? Well, pre-production is our foundation. Like building the foundation to a house - it supports everything. So if we build a strong foundation, we will be on good ground come production time.

The main elements of pre-production we've discussed thus far are:

• developing and writing the script
• creating a film proposal
fund raising

The next main points of pre-production are: securing your locations, casting your actors, assembling the crew, breaking down the script , creating a shooting schedule and coming up with a budget.

Let’s start with what I call The Big 3: LOCATIONS, ACTORS, CREW. I refer to them as the big three because that’s exactly what they are. Once you’ve cast your film, assembled your crew and have all locations locked down, you’ve basically finished the majority of your pre-pro work.

So, in the next post we'll discuss; how important they are what kind kind of plan you need to secure them.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Raising funds

Ok, where should you start when thinking about raising funds for your film? 

First, make a list of every single person you know or have come into contact with. And I mean everyone: Uncles, aunts, cousins, friends of cousins, co-workers, nephews, those who you know at the church, the country club, the tennis court, the bar, school, or the ones who walk their dog the same time you do. Everyone, from past to present. Have a Grandfather? Put him down on the list.

Let's take a step back and look at what you already have: you've got your film proposal, which we went over in previous posts, and of of course the script. And now you have a list of possible investors. So what do you do with these 3 things:


film proposal

possible investors

It will vary in terms of your relationship which each person. For example, if you'll be going to a family member for funds, perhaps all you will need to do is speak with them and go over your film proposal. For all others that you don't know quite as intimate, they more than likely will want to read the script. 

Here with the script you have two options; you give them a copy, or you hold a reading. A reading is my preferred method. Why? Because scripts are not written to be read, they're written to be filmed, and most people don't know how to read scripts.

Want to know more, I discuss it all in the book:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

short film which helped director do a feature

Swingin in the Painter's Room

Click on above link to watch a short film by Greg Mottola.

This is a great example of what I was speaking of in the last post - make a short, a good short, and it will help you get a feature going. If you don't know who Greg is, which I'm sure most of you do, check him out.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

on the path to making a feature

Ok, back in July and August I spent some time on film proposals - how to create them and what exactly they should include. So now, let's talk about money. Yeah, I know, it's a drag, and yes, my least favorite process of indie filmmaking.

But the good news is that today, film equipment is getting cheaper by the minute, and using SD cards and the like is SO much cheaper than film! So you should be wanting to make a film for very little money. Yes, VERY little money.

We'll spend some time on this in the next few weeks, that is, what and how to deal with making your first feature film, and really, is that the best option for you? Meaning, is it perhaps a wiser idea to make a great short first?

I know that making a feature is the holy grail, and every young filmmaker is very eager to do so, but my first piece of advise is - write/direct a great short film first! Why? Because it's the smartest thing to do. That simple. Because of the internet, there are so many avenues of distribution - so many vehicles to get your short film out to the world.

So yes, if your smart and hard working enough to actually make a great short, the world will see it and this will help you down the line when you're ready to make your feature. Gotta crawl before you walk. Make a short, make it great, then you'll gain confidence and a following, which will all help with your feature.

Next post we'll get into that dirty subject of money - how and where to start finding it.