Filmmaking - What To Do Until The Money Arrives
If you are not busy making your movie, you should get busy making your movie.
“How can I start,” you whine, “when I don’t have any financing?” I know it seems you can’t roll film or tape until you have some money, but your lack of funding isn’t permanent, is it? You will have money at some future time, won’t you? You must have faith that things will get better, or they won’t.
So that’s a good place to start. Generate a little faith, and step out on it. Actively visualize how your film will look, and sound, and how it will be financially successful.
Visualization is key here. It literally costs nothing, but makes the real movie possible. I recommend the book, “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain. http://snurl.com/gr88
Ignore any negative people in your life, and drive yourself on faith that your movie will get done. Visualizing your movie may seem like a waste of time, but is one of the best uses of your time. Visualizing your movie is working on it.
A present lack of money should never keep you from working on your independent feature. Besides visualization, there are many things you can do until the money arrives.
Work on your script. Read it, then read it again, and rewrite it. Punch up the dialogue, fix the scenes, weed out weak characters, get to the point of each scene.
Your script is never perfect, it needs work. Working on it a terrific use of your time before financing arrives. Have parties, where you and your friends read it aloud, just like doing a radio play. Take note of audience response, and revise accordingly. After each revision, read it again, and again.
When funding comes through, you will know your script inside and out and upside down. You’ll know the scene numbers, without looking at the script.
Once your script is polished, start planning. Now you need to be as artistic as possible. Read your script again, with your Director hat on. Imagine what the players look and sound like. Make notes in the margins of your script, and figure out how you’re going to do it. For now, don’t even think about the money.
Once you’re sure how the movie will go together, start breaking the script down. Make lists of all the cast and crew and props and costumes and locations that you will need. Assemble your ideal team, on paper. Figure out how many special effects shots there are.
Then make up your preliminary schedule. Think through the shots and get a real understanding of how long setups and shots will take. Just because a shot only takes two sentences in the script, doesn’t mean it will only take twenty minutes to shoot.
Obviously, after you’ve broken down the script, and know what you’ll need to buy, then you make up your budget, last of all. Really think about each line item and do some research to determine realistic costs for crew and equipment. Call labs and rental houses and get rate sheets.
The good news is a practical budget and schedule and artwork will help you get financing. When you show Investor Prospects you’ve really put some thought into how the money will be spent, they’re much more likely to see it your way, and give you the money.
You might read “Secrets Of Raising Money For Your Movie,” by Sam Longoria, to learn how to gather and approach investor prospects.
You should be using your TBF (time before financing) to network. When you call those labs and rental houses, get to know the people who work there.
Ask for names, and write them down. They’ll be good resources when the time comes, to get things at a discount. Not only can they help you on rates, but they’ll know crew wanting to break into features, who will also work at lower rates.
Join a filmmaking group. A good one is IndieTalk, http://indietalk.com It’s online, and you can reach it from anywhere. Networking with other positive filmmakers gets you moral support, and you can learn from the mistakes of others. Be selective, don’t hang with people unless they have a “can do” attitude. If you let them, individuals and whole groups can waste your time! If all they want to do is argue or debate, move along.
Pitch in! Help out on other filmmakers’ shoots, to get a better idea of how a set runs, and how long setups and shots take. This helps scheduling your own film.
By lending a hand to other filmmakers, you also make deposits at the favor bank. You will need to visit the favor bank repeatedly as you make your film, so it’s best to have an account there. If you help on their projects, it will be hard for your new filmmaker friends to deny you assistance, when you call.
Put your face before the industry. Filmmaking associations have events where industry professionals speak. Go to these. Be bold, and push through the minions and introduce yourself. Go to film festivals and be sure to attend the mixers and panels. Go to film markets, and sit in the lobby and talk to everyone.
When your financing comes through, and you have a green light to start pre-production on your film, you will already have done most of the work, just about everything but casting. Your schedule and budget will be done, you will have leads on crew and equipment, and your script will be in top form.
This article was posted on August 22, 2005