Archive for the ‘Pre-Production’ Category

Passion First Funding Portal Announced

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

A new equity-crowdfunding film financing company, Passion First Funding Portal was announced this week at the Sundance Film Festival. It is one of the first new financing portals established from the relaxed rules by the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (a.k.a. JOBS Act) that permit general solicitation of accredited investors; think of it as a Kickstarter/IndieGoGo-type site where “qualified” contributors get a financial return on the success of a film.  Its founder, Rich Guay is a veteran producer behind several feature length films and documentaries (Ghostdog: The Way of the Samurai, Kinsey, Dogfight, etc.).

Passion First Funding Portal is a new and exciting way for experienced filmmakers and accredited investors to meet and explore the opportunities for working together. This is all being made possible by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a piece of federal regulation that is intended to open up traditional capital markets to emerging businesses.”passionfirstfunding.com

Passion First is currently awaiting approval of by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and will be launched in the upcoming months. If you’d like to get more information and receive updates, go to their website: passionfirstfunding.com

Pitch Your Story to The Weinstein Company in Master Storyteller Contest

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

The Weinstein Company has partnered with Film.com and NextMovie to offer budding filmmakers a chance to pitch the company’s Development Executives your story via their Master Storytelling Contest.

The Weinstein Company continues to back huge successful films – most recently, “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Here’s your chance to add your title among this group.

Get all the details here via one of the partners:

[framed_box]
Eligible submissions must be written treatments between 200 and 1,000 words in length, describing the premise and plot of your proposed film. The pitches have to be completely original ideas that have never been publicly published or submitted to any prior contests.

To enter, visit The Weinstein Company’s Facebook page or NextMovie’s Facebook page. After “liking” The Weinstein Company’s page, you’ll be able to access an entry form. The contest closes at 11:59 A.M. (EST) on October 3rd, so start writing! Good luck to all, and we hope to be reviewing your film and reporting on its Oscar campaign in the near future.

Source: NextMovie
[/framed_box]

Click on the image below to go to the Weinstein Co. Facebook page.

Equity Crowdfunding, a New Financing Opportunity for Independent Filmmakers

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Last year, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (a.k.a. “Jobs Act”) (full doc PDF). The Act “requires the SEC to write rules and issue studies on capital formation, disclosure and registration requirements.” Starting this Fall, the most import aspect of the Act relevant for indie filmmakers is the provision on Crowdfunding.

Current SEC rules restrict start-up companies (e.g. indie film productions) from seeking investors on a broad scale via advertising to the masses. That kind of offer would be considered a “security.”

The common dream of aspiring filmmakers often began with a script and some actors, and then an effort to raise money to make the movie by asking everybody to invest in their project. Ads were placed, bulletins posted, and Internet messages were spread asking for people to invest. The aspiring filmmakers then would be told how illegal that is, shocked to learn that they were offering “securities” which had to be registered with the SEC. They learned that any offering to the public of any kind of ownership in future possible profits is a security. That’s “equity.” – filmmaker, Michael Barnard

I remember several years ago Ethan Hawke and Civilian Pictures partnered up on a film project titled, Billy Dead – where an initial public offering was planed to raise $7.9 million by offering 900,000 shares of “Billy Dead Inc.” stock at $8.75 a share. Not sure why it didn’t come to fruition, but we can speculate that the complexities of SEC rules and regulations made it impossible to get this project green-lit by any attorney or accountant on the production team. Or maybe the SEC just didn’t approve it in the end.  You can read more about this endeavor here: SFgate and Money.CNN.

Now, Title II of the Jobs Act will allow filmmakers who seek funding to advertise investment opportunities on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and crowdfunding sites. Investors must be qualified or “accredited” to participate. The Hollywood Reporter explains that aspect…

Potential investors must be “accredited,” defined as an individual (or married couple) with a net worth of $1 million excluding their primary residence or an income exceeding $200,000 in the two most recent years ($300,000 for a couple). Under those rules, about 9 million Americans qualify.

Even “unaccredited” investors ultimately can participate via Title III, which should go into effect in 2014. Individuals with a net worth or annual income of $100,000 can invest 10 percent of their income, and those with a net worth or income less than that may invest up to 5 percent or $2,000, whichever is greater. (A filmmaker will be able to raise only up to $1 million a year per film from these investors.)” – from The Hollywood Reporter – ‘Forget Kickstarter: How Obama’s New Law Could Change Hollywood Crowd-Funding’

There are some equity crowdfunding startups that will take advantage of this new opportunity. Here are a few to check out:

EarlyShares


CrowdFunder


Slated


FilmFunder

I believe that the pros out number the cons on this whole “crowdfunding equity” scheme. Let’s take a look:

CONS: [list style=”list11″ color=”black”]

  • Still going to be complicated accounting.
  • No proven model for indies.
  • Big studio productions can still dominate/overshadow the independent film offerings.

[/list]
PROS:
[list style=”list7″ color=”red”]

  • Having a stake in your success will make fans more involved/engaged in the promotion of your film via social media and word-of-mouth.
  • Profit incentive is better than that typical Kickstarter rewards – specially for indie films without any “name” stars.
  • Makes indie filmmakers rely more on the pitch video to sell their vision.
  • Opens up indie financing opportunities in a big way – you can do a lot with a $1 million dollar budget.
  • No proven models for indies – so you can be a pioneer of this!

[/list]

Time will tell if this will work and propel a whole new batch of independent filmmakers whose vision can come to realization through the help/investment of financiers who believe in the art (and commerce) of film.

Amazon Storyteller, A Free Storyboard Tool

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Amazon Studios just launched a new application that lets you convert your screenplay into a movie storyboard. Amazon Storyteller is free to use for anyone on Amazon Studios. Try it out – just upload your script or play with one that’s already in the Studio.

You choose the backgrounds, characters, and props to visually tell a story. A successful storyboard can tell the full story of a script, or capture its essence in short form, like a trailer. Either approach can be a great way to build an audience for your story and see how people respond to it.” – from Amazon Studios FAQ.

By clicking on the scene from the script (see example below), the storyboard tool scans the text for descriptions and characters. It automatically selects backgrounds and character drawings from its own library database.

Example from Amazon Studios – The Alchemist Agenda by Marty Weiss

Make sure to read Amazon Studios’ FAQs regarding rights and their Terms of Service before you participate and submit anything.

Once a storyboard is published on Amazon Studios, Amazon Studios takes a 45 day option on the project to evaluate it and decide if it should be added to our development slate. If after 45 days, Amazon Studios does not option the project, the rights to the original script are retained by the original writer.” – from Variety article.

FYI… the “option” Amazon Studios offers states that they “will have the exclusive right to buy your script for $200,000 if it is a script for a feature film or $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series.”

Top Filmmaking Pinterest Boards and Pins

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

At this point in time, everyone’s probably heard of Pinterest — the pinboard/scrapbook photo-sharing website that allows users to create theme-based “boards” by “pinning” image or video collections found on the web. There are a lot of Pinterest profiles and boards dedicated to film/cinema/movies, but I’ll only focus on the ones that are specific to filmmaking. Here are the best ones I found…

Cinescopophilia (cinescopophilia.com)


Ted Hope (film producer)


dbykov (art director, designer)


Abelcine


Shootblue (digital cinematography equipment based in London)


Tierible (Thierry Saint-Paul – Filmmaker, Cinematographer)


The Black and Blue (Evan Luzi – Camera Assistant and author)


Red Rock Micro (sells cinema accessories)


Roger Duck (video producer, web developer, and marketer)


Peter Feuersenger (digital producer)


Ben Mallaby (Director and Cinematographer)


MORE USEFUL BOARDS:

Interactive Maps of State-By-State Film Production Incentives

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

There are a few great resources online with state-by-state breakdowns of film production incentives. Before you start filming, check out your state’s incentives and compare it to another. It may be worth your while to shoot in another state or multiple locations if it fits your budget’s needs and limitations. Check out these interactive maps:

Ease Entertainment has a simple interactive map of all the 50 states’ film production incentives. You can also see a more detailed break out here.

Another map is available at Media Services. And another at Cast and Crew – which includes an “updated” date. And finally, the MPAA endorsed AFCI.org has a big map as well.

Other sources with production incentives can be found at the National Conference of State Legislatures site – NCSL.org.  Also, an MPAA commissioned study was released last year by accounting firm Ernst & Young (PDF – from deadline.com) – detailing the state tax incentive programs that encourage film production and illustrate the benefits to both the state and local economies.

What If Seed&Spark Is Successful?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

There’s been a lot already written about Seed&Spark. My first thoughts on S&S are that it’s a very interesting take on the whole crowdfunding landscape with an angle on a ‘fair trade’ filmmaking movement. The “wedding registry” wish-list is also a unique set up that gives an alternative to a cash donation. That makes a lot of sense since filmmakers will have an endless list of expenses that will use that cash. Any donation of meals, locations, loaning equipment, etc. will go a long way for a tight indie budget. Some contributors may find it easier to provide a needed service or product – rather than straight up money – times are tough. Additionally, Seed&Spark will offer a distribution outlet (80/20 split) – with 100% of the rights maintained by the filmmaker. Plus, they have a bonus (a.k.a. “Spark”) that incentivizes and rewards their consumers/moviegoers/fans to join and watch as many films as possible. Great ideas all around – right? Absolutely!

Then I had some additional thoughts on this… comes in as more of a question: what if this type of service succeeds, really succeeds and becomes the go-to standard for all indie filmmakers? Let’s think about this for a moment… it would be great, wouldn’t it? I have been looking at a lot of different filmmaking services and websites since I started working on my first feature, Nothing Without You. Through that process – I started Filmlinker. I usually gravitated to whichever service was applicable to that stage of production we were in – i.e. screenwriting, financing, pre-pro, production, festivals, distribution, etc. Back to my question – what if this type of service succeeds and becomes the go-to standard for all indie filmmakers? I think it would cover ALL the stages – from start to finish of what independent filmmakers are looking for – making a film, getting it to an audience and sustaining a creative career. Remember when YouTube first launched (before Google bought it)? YouTube now supports several video creators.

Crowdfunfing sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have facilitated the financing possibilities. The current filmmaking technologies have brought production costs way down. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has allowed filmmakers to communicate directly with and grow their fan base. There’s a plethora of self-distribution choices (VHX, Vimeo On-Demand, IndieFlix, Distribber, etc.) and many more that seem to launch everyday. All good – but Seed&Spark is combining all these services into one.

Let’s root and support this type of initiative. The future can be now.

Free Producer’s Master Class with Ted Hope and Christine Vachon

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Chris Jones – who runs workshops at the Guerrilla Film Makers Master Class just made available the 4-hour Producers Master Class seminar, titled, American Independents Day in London with veteran indie producers, Ted Hope [IMDB] and Christine Vachon [IMDB]. They’ve both produced 68 films each – so they obviously have a lot to teach us.

You can get all four hours/parts HERE (for free) – all you have to do is register an account on their site.

Here’s the first hour:

Here’s some of the eye-opening insights that they discussed:

What is the film business? The film business is about people keeping their jobs. That’s the most important thing by anyone who is employed in the film business. Not getting your movie made. Not getting an audience for your film…”  — Ted Hope – On how to strategize the production of your film – knowing their primary agenda is an advantage on how to approach it with your project.

Filmmakers are still seeing the web [production or distribution] as the second best [option] or a failure – the same way that they looked at TV a few years ago… now it’s astonishing how many A-list directors are directing their first television pilots… Scorecese with Boardwalk Empire, Jonathan Demme, David Fincher… it’s no longer a ghetto if you’re in director jail.” – Christine Vachon  – In reference to producing and distributing to the web.. Vachon uses Vuguru as an example of a web production company that she’s currently working with on some projects.

Here’s the outline of the first part/hour:
[framed_box]
0.20 Introduction of Ted Hope & Christine Vachon
1.30 Killer Films and how Christine started producing films.
4.30 How to find an audience for you’re film.
6.30 How to produce lots of films regularly & why its important to make the right choices.
9.20 The making of a horror film and how to make a B movie.
13.50 Why ignorance is bliss and how direct contact with industry professionals pays!
16.00 Lessons learnt and why its important to go out to film festivals.
19.05 The film Super and how to negotiate your terms.
20.40 How fear is the key ingredient to making films & why its good to keep an open mind to do things in a different way or platform.
23.35 Online film platforms and the benefits from distributing online.
27.25 The importance defining a brand & how to make a living out of making films.
31.30 Ways of getting an audience for your low budget film & the importantance of communicating through different platfroms.
34.50 Why you can expand your brand into different genres & how it is easy to get trapped.
36.30 How to find the right producer for you & why its about finding the right fit for that project.
39.45 Why it’s important to play the long game in working with collaborators.
43.00 How collaboration teams are the way of the future & why you should have a wide range of collaborators.
46.20 Legal issues and how to get your project permitted.
49.00 How online video on demand services have changed the model of distribution.
51.25 How does online platforms effect the way we tell stories.
53.00 Why making content for platforms like Hulu can benefit your career.
[/framed_box]

Get access to all the four parts/hours at americanindependentsday.com.

Photo above from Andy Wright of Evermore Films (who attended the seminar and wrote about his experience here).

12 TED Talks on The Power of Film

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

This is a new playlist (TED’s collections of talks around a topic) that focuses on a theme that we all appreciate: The Power of Film.

“These carefully curated talks emphasize the evocative medium of film — be it to convey emotion, to protest, to educate or simply to entertain.” Few things are as magical as sitting back in a theater with a hushed crowd to enjoy a film, but what you see on the screen isn’t everything. Hear from visionaries — from Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood — on how to make movies.” – Curated by TED – from “The power of film (12 talks)

There are over 3 hours of “talks” here – averaging about 16 minutes each. Definitely worth your time. Check it out…

Here are the 12 Talks (Curated by TED):

1. Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story (19:16)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.

2. Rob Legato: The art of creating awe (16:27)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Rob Legato creates movie effects so good they (sometimes) trump the real thing. In this warm and funny talk, he shares his vision for enhancing reality on-screen in movies like Apollo 13, Titanic and Hugo.

3. JJ Abrams: The mystery box (18:02)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.

4. Adam Sadowsky engineers a viral music video (14:28)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
The band “OK Go” dreamed up the idea of a massive Rube Goldberg machine for their next music video — and Adam Sadowsky’s team was charged with building it. He tells the story of the effort and engineering behind their labyrinthine creation that quickly became a YouTube sensation.

5. Beeban Kidron: The shared wonder of film (13:12)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Movies have the power to create a shared narrative experience and to shape memories and worldviews. British film director Beeban Kidron invokes iconic film scenes — from Miracle in Milan to Boyz n the Hood — as she shows how her group FILMCLUB shares great films with kids.

6. James Cameron: Before Avatar … a curious boy (17:08)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
James Cameron’s big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

7. Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves (21:14)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Where does creative inspiration spring from? At TEDIndia, Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth,” “Mr. India”) pinpoints his source of creativity: sheer, utter panic. He shares a powerful way to unleash your inner storyteller.

8. Ed Ulbrich: How Benjamin Button got his face (18:07)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Ed Ulbrich, the digital-effects guru from Digital Domain, explains the Oscar-winning technology that allowed his team to digitally create the older versions of Brad Pitt’s face for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

9. Adam Savage: My obsession with objects and the stories they tell (15:38)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Adam Savage talks about his fascination with the dodo bird, and how it led him on a strange and surprising double quest. It’s an entertaining adventure through the mind of a creative obsessive.

10. Deborah Scranton on her “War TApes” (17:36)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.

11. David Hoffman on losing everything (04:00)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Nine days before TED2008, filmmaker David Hoffman lost almost everything he owned in a fire that destroyed his home, office and 30 years of passionate collecting. He looks back at a life that’s been wiped clean in an instant — and looks forward.

12. Franco Sacchi tours Nigeria’s booming Nollywood (17:34)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Zambia-born filmmaker Franco Sacchi tours us through Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry (the world’s 3rd largest). Guerrilla filmmaking and brilliance under pressure from crews that can shoot a full-length feature in a week.

20 of the Best Filmmaking Related Infographics

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Infographics are not only informative but also fun! They cover every topic from science to pop-culture (movies are prominent in this category – especially Star Wars– here’s one about how to defend the Death Star).

In maintaining the niche of Filmlinker, here are the best “filmmaking” Infographics (click on each thumbnail for the full picture):

“I want to make…”

Here are 4 great “I want to make…” infographics created by Canal+

Technical…

The next set of infographics are more in the “technical” side of filmmaking.

Scene Anatomy (Inglorious Basterds – Infographic by Jordan Anderson

First, we have a breakdown of a Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. It dissects Scene 1 from 2:06-21:20.  It breaks down the shots, characters, dialogue, etc. – every detail you can think of in a fun, graphical concept.

Next, we have “Inside the DIY Filmmakers Toolkit” by Wistia.  The tools of the trade for every low-budget indie filmmaker.  From the handheld camera to the wheel chair dolly.  All in an interesting artful representation.

DIY Filmmakers Toolkit by Wistia

And… a graphical depiction of the lessor known crew positions on a movie set – by Oxymoron Entertainment.

Lessor Known Jobs in a movie by Oxymoron Entertainment

Even more technical…

Source: Awn.com

The next one is titled, “Machines in Movies.” It’s not the Terminator. It illustrates the computing power that is behind big-budget films (designed by Brocade).

What exactly is IMAX?  This one explains it all!

Source: VizWorld

source: sortable.com

Have you thought about making a 3-D movie? This next one titled, “3-D Bubble” explains its history (where its been and where its going), the business and how 3-d works.

Film Careers…

The next series looks at working in the film industry.

Source: FilmSource

Let’s start with a humorous look at “what’s your place in the film industry?”

source: GetInMedia

Here’s a more serious look at a career in film – from the folks at GetInMedia.com. It lists basically every professional job – and asks, “Where do you fit in?”

source: Yodi Group

And another… “Film Careers: Where to Begin.”

Film Industry…

Source: tdylf.com

This set covers business side of things – movie money, distribution, ratings, etc. – you get the picture (no pun intended).

First, IMDB – “By the Numbers” – (Facts and Figures About the Films that Populate the Internet Movie Database).

source: Dr4ward

Another “money” one – “Reel Dollars – The Flow Of Money Though the Film Industry.”

Next – “The Advent of Online Film Distribution.”

source: Yekra

And for the funny one from Collegehumor.com on “How Movie Ratings Actually Work.” Here’s an excerpt on what PG-13 actually means:

You can still show PG-13 movies on cable without editing them, making this a completely meaningless designation. Probably more violence than sex.”

  Historical…

The final 3 infographics will illustrate a historical look at the first filmmakers, how editing evolved and an interactive look at the history of film.

The The Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis were  known as the first filmmakers.  This graphic celebrates their 150th anniversary and their contribution to Cinema.

Next is “Quick Facts: Editing – by The Art of Guillotine.”  This one goes through the “first cut” in the silent film days to the modern day.  It describes the different eras and the different editing styles that make up the art that is editing film.

And finally, I’ll end this post with “The History of Film: 2,000 Films, 20 Genres, 100 Years.” This is an interactive look at 100 years of film. Just click on the image and then scroll over the graphic for all the info.

 

That’s 20 infographics! Do you have one that I missed?