Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
In its first few months of operation, IndieGoGo has helped two films raise $10,000 each; in neither case was the $10,000 the film’s complete budget, but rather a “first round” of funding. Financial contributors may be rewarded with invites to wrap parties, DVD copies of the film, film credits, or signed memorabilia. Creating a project profile for a film is free, but once the financial goal is reached, IndieGoGo takes a nine percent cut. Filmmakers can post any material they like – some, like a budget or script, may be password-protected in a private area for certain potential contributors. Non-profit enterprises can use IndieGoGo to solicit tax-deductible donations, too.
Used so far mostly by musicians, ArtistShare is allowing at least one filmmaker, Paul Devlin, to raise money on the site for his “science-adventure” doc ‘Blast.’ Donors can pre-purchase the DVD ($49.99) or, for $150,000 go out to dinner with the filmmaker and star of the movie, get a personal lecture from the star, and be listed as an Executive Producer. ArtistShare charges a set-up fee for all accounts, plus a monthly fee, in order to be able to raise funds through the site. Unclear how open they are to helping other film/video projects raise money. Rick Moranis has used ArtistShare, as have jazz guitarist Jim Hall, Phish co-founder Trey Anastasio, and Maria Schneider, who won a Grammy this year for “Best Instrumental Composition.”
Monday, December 29, 2008
Filmmaking takes money and it can take many years, mixed with blood, sweat and tears to find it. When that investor comes along and says he or she wants to invest in your film, they have decided to single you out as the creative entity to support. You've worked hard. You deserve this opportunity. And you will take great care of this financing and make the best film possible. At the same time, the investor worked hard for his or her money and it's a big decision for him or her to take a substantial sum of money and put it in a high risk endeavor. And this decision is often unsung.
Film investors are a rare breed willing to shirk all financial and legal advice and take the leap of putting some of their money in film. Ask any lawyer or accountant if they think films are a solid investment vehicle. I can guarantee they will all say no and if they say yes, they are lying and probably have a film they want you to invest in.
So why would a wealthy person with so many other, probably safer, investment vehicles decide to invest in your risky endeavor of a film? Besides being angels, they have an inner desire to be part of a film. Just as filmmakers have a desire to work in the industry, film investors have a desire to part of the process. Maybe it's to support a friend or family member or maybe they want to dabble in a new investing arena and see how it goes. Or maybe they love movies and want to be part of that world. Sure, the hope is there that the film will be successful and they will reap great monetary rewards, but because film investing is so risky, it usually takes a more personal reason for the investor to commit to backing a film project. No matter the reason, they are taking a great risk with their money in order to help make a filmmaker's dream become a reality. And that is truly angelic.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I know from experience that even the most well-intentioned film crew can cause damage to locations or vehicles that can result in thousands of dollars of repairs. I shot in one location for a fee of $1k for 10 days. It was an incredible deal. We were extremely careful during the shoot. We put down the proper floor coverings, moved furniture carefully when necessary, etc. But, in the end, the production had an insurance claim filed against it for $10k in repairs. Needless to say this location's owner was very particular (a bit OCD even), but we had to pay it. Our deductible was $3k. So in the end, the location cost us $4k, which was still a great deal for a beautiful home in Marina Del Rey. And I shudder to think of the expense of paying for any medical bills due to injuries resulting from your set. All it takes is someone tripping over a piece of equipment on your set for a major medical insurance claim to be filed against your production. I worked on a major film production that had a freak accident in which a transpo driver was bouncing a golf ball on the sidewalk. The ball hit a crack and flew off to hit a woman in the face. A medical claim was filed and the production had to cover all her dental expenses.
Production insurance does come with a hefty price tag. It can fluctuate due to what kind and how much coverage you need. Typical production insurance policies can include General Liability, Third Party Property Damage, Equipment, Props, Sets, and Wardrobe, Vehicle, Cast, Negative Film or Videotape, and Workers Compensation insurance and more. For a $1 million film, it can hover around $20k for a year for a relatively complete policy. For a micro-budget film, you are lucky to get a plan that comes in around $5k -- and that is usually a short-term production plan for two to three months at the most, just enough time to get you through a short pre-production and production. From there, you can try to purchase another short term policy to cover any post-production needs. I have even purchased low-cost equipment insurance (a few hundred dollars) in order to rent equipment, like tape decks for transfers, during post production, etc.
I usually purchase production insurance once the film production is ready to start hiring cast and crew and needs to lock in equipment, typically at the start of pre-production. Camera houses and grip and electric vendors won't even allow their equipment off their property without being added to the production's insurance policy with the General Liability set at a certain level. When considering your policy, call the vendors and ask what insurance they require and how much their equipment is worth. This will give you an idea of how much General Liability and equipment insurance you will need. And be sure to check in with the insurance provider on what their policy covers. Most will not cover your personally owned vehicles or locations. And yes, I have story about how a producer (not me) used her own home for the location. The hot lights set off her sprinkler system in her building. She faced $30k in repairs and no insurance coverage since the policy wouldn't cover personally owned locations.
Hopefully, your production will sail through with no insurance claims. But if you get one, at least you will have help covering the bill.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Each day the weather should be monitored by a film production. There are companies that offer up-to-the-minute weather reports for a fee, such as CompuWeather. On a micro-budget film, you may only be able to afford to use a free weather tracking service on the Web. These free services are okay but if you are working on a film with a large budget, you are best working with a service that can provide more detailed weather reports. No matter how you get your weather, you need to be aware of it and plan for how to deal with it so you don't lose too much shooting time.
Most productions can keep on filming during poor weather conditions. If it's sprinkling, just pull out the rain gear for both crew and equipment and keep on filming. Put a canopy over your actors so their hair and clothes do not get wet. One consideration with filming in the rain is that your production sound will probably be unusable (the rain will be heard beating down on the tarp protecting the actors). But having to re-record those scenes in post production is usually much less costly than not filming. Please note: Never film in lightening. People and copious amounts of metal equipment make great lightening rods. And for obvious reasons, filming in high winds is not practical. A breeze is fine if you weigh down your equipment but unless you want to worry about injuries to your cast or crew, running after your fly-away props, blown over equipment, and wind noise then you are best waiting out the wind storm or moving to another set.
If it's hot, make sure there are cool areas for the cast and crew to have a break from the heat. An air conditioned area is ideal plus tents, i.e. E-Z Ups, for shade. And provide lots of water. If you have a larger budget, you may even want to rent or buy a few misters so everyone can periodically get cooled off by the mist. If it's cold, rent or buy some space heaters and set them up so people can stand in front of them to warm up periodically. You can even provide hand and toe warmers. It's also wise to have a heated room available and extra hats and gloves on hand.
If it looks like the weather may ruin the shot that is planned, a cover set should be considered and simultaneously planned for so that at a moment's notice, the entire production can be switched to the cover set. Having a cover set can sound like a lot of extra work. Why not just cancel the shoot for that day? It can be extremely costly to cancel a day of filming. Each day film productions are burning through their budget with equipment and location rentals, insurance, and crew and cast salaries. In addition, the schedule is like dominoes -- you make one small move and if you aren't careful, the entire thing can fall apart.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
THE BLACK LISTwas compiled from the suggestions of over 250 film executives, each of whom
contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are
somehow uniquely associated with, 2008 and will not be released in theaters during this
This year, scripts had to receive at least four mentions to be included on THE BLACK LIST.
All reasonable effort has been made to confirm the information contained herein. THE BLACK
LISTapologizes for all misspellings, misattributions, incorrect representation
identification, and questionable “2008”affiliations.
It has been said many times, but it’s worth repeating:
THE BLACK LISTis nota “best of”list. It is, at best, a “most liked”list.