Sunday, September 20, 2009

What Are the Components of a Successful Indie Film?

Every hit indie film has similar components that contribute toward its success. Let's think about them.
  1. Strong writing. From the plot to the dialogue to the characterizations to the structure, a good indie film is made of solid, well-thought out writing. Brokeback Mountain was a beautifully written story about two cowboys who fall in love. Do you think it would have been as successful if it hadn't been well written?
  2. Solid directing. A film can have a strong script but be ruined by a lack of vision from a director. Tom McCarthy's choices in both The Station Agent and The Visitor led to two wonderful films with well-executed quiet moments. In lesser hands, the same scripts could have easily fallen flat. 
  3. Excellent acting. Even the best script and an amazing director cannot save a film if the acting is poor. Even with no-name actors, a film has a fighting chance if the acting is strong. Napoleon Dynamite was full of no-name actors who could act!
  4. Capable producer. I know capable sounds like a weak adjective but being capable is a very important attribute for a producer. He or she can't just be an excellent money person or just be a strong leader. A producer needs to be able to capably handle a million different things. It's impossible to be amazing at everything, so in the end, the producer needs to be capable of executing a film from beginning to end -- with strengths in many areas and know how to compensate for their weaknesses in others. 
  5. Good sound. A great film can be ruined with bad sound. Don't skimp on your production sound. 
  6. Enjoyable music. I can still hear Juno's catchy tunes in my head. 
All it takes is one weak link and a film can go from being genius to mediocre. Focus on having quality talent in every aspect of your filmmaking and your chances will be high for success!

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