Archive for the ‘Financing’ Category

Funding Your Film Through the Fan Based Social Marketplace

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

In a previous post, “Let the Public Finance Your Film,” I looked at several examples of filmmakers utilizing the social landscape of the internet for funding their film. Their approach was to reach out and create a fan base that would lend financial support for their project. Kevin Kelly [bio] recently commented on the financial power of a fan base in his article titled, “1,000 True Fans.” Kelly states that “anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” The expansion of that idea has created other websites that provide a platform for project funding and promotion.

The latest example is IndieGoGo. This is the hottest endeavor to utilize the social market place in helping filmmakers find funding for their projects. It was just launched in January ’08 and Filmmaker Magazine reported that the site announced its first film to reach its funding goal (The Lilliput by filmmaker Minna Zielonka-Packer raised $10,000 through the site). IndieGoGo allows filmmakers to incorporate what they call a “DIWO – Do It With Others” approach. Here’s how they describe it:

IndieGoGo enables this “filmocracy” by providing filmmakers an open platform to pitch their projects to the world, and giving the fans a vehicle to experience and influence the once inaccessible world of filmmaking. Filmmakers get new resources to build and engage a loyal fan base to assist in making their projects happen. Filmmakers can raise money and awareness, find cast and crew, and gain credibility through the help of their number one resource: their fans.” [excerpt from IndieGoGo-About Us]

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New MPAA Report Gives Filmmakers Good Stats for Business Plans

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has just released its 2007 U.S. Theatrical Market Statistics Report. It looks like the U.S. domestic box office receipts for 2007 hit a record $9.63 billion, up 5.4% above 2006. Internationally, the worldwide box office rose to an all-time high – $26.7 billion.

So why would an indie filmmaker care about this report? Well, beyond having a positive financial result from the medium that you work in – you can use those stats for your business plan. When pitching your project to potential financiers, it is always good to present a positive outlook in the industry that seeks investment. It’s arguably more difficult to convince someone to invest in your low budget film if the overall marketplace is on a decline.

Here’s the summary from the MPAA report (you can also view and download the PDF file here:

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Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Institute Merges with Renew Media

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Robert De Niro and his producing partner, Jane Rosenthal have merged their nonprofit organization – Tribeca Film Institute (affiliated with the Tribeca Film Festival) with Renew Media. Renew Media (formerly known as National Video Resources) was founded by The Rockefeller Foundation in 1990 as a funding source for media artists. The Tribeca Film Institute was created after September 11th 2001 as an effort to stimulate the economic revitalization of New York City through arts based initiatives and to “educate, entertain, and inspire filmmakers and film lovers alike.”

The merger will take the name Tribeca Film Institute and will continue to expand its home in lower Manhattan as a cultural institution providing artists with funding, exhibition and work space.

We have been pursuing complementary avenues with respect to filmmakers and media artists for many years now,” said Jane Rosenthal. “By putting these two institutions together under one roof our impact is going to be greater than anything we could have achieved separately and we look forward to building an unprecedented arts organization.”

“This new organization enables us to carry out our mission and support artists and filmmakers throughout all stages of their careers,” said Robert De Niro. [excerpt from official announcement]

Together, the two organizations will combine their resources, staffs and programs that according to indieWIRE, will “rival established entities as the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, and the Independent Feature Project (IFP).”

The Doorpost Film Project

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The Doorpost Film Project is a new filmmaking contest which will also serve as an ongoing project that aims to “change the world.” It’s another positive social filmmaking endeavor in the light of Pangea Day which I blogged about before. Along with the project’s optimistic goals, they’re giving filmmakers some serious cash!

Here’s the gist of the contest:

Submitted films (accepted from February 1 to May 1, 2008) need to be 5 minutes or less in length – themed in one of seven universal concepts: ENERGY, LOVE, PAIN, GREED, REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS, and FREEDOM.

Entries are to be uploaded to thedoorpost.com where it will be streamed and judged by “industry experts” and online viewers.

15 finalists will win $10,000 each to make another short film (8-15 minutes in length). From there, three winners will be selected – 3rd prize = $20,000, 2nd prize = $30,000 and 1st prize = $100,000. Not bad.

Here’s what they say about their organization:

This is more than a contest, this is an ongoing project. We ask you, this century’s revolutionaries, to join us in creating a new way to understand the core of our humanity and a new way to change the world.” [from thedoorpost.com ‘about us’]

The Hollywood Reporter Breaks Down State-by-State Incentive Programs

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

The Hollywood Reporter has a great feature titled “Made In America.” It highlights all 50 states’ production and tax incentive programs and information on all its film commissions. They have an interactive map of the U.S. that facilitates your search. It also includes Puerto Rico and “D.C.” (District of Columbia). If you’re getting ready to shoot your film in America, check out what incentives your state has to offer. Click on their map to browse complete details on production and tax incentives and film commission info by state.

You can also check out Filmlinker’s Links Directory – Industry Organizations for more info on Film Commissions, Groups & Associations, Organizations and Guilds from the U.S. and around the world.

Pangea Day Wants Filmmakers to Unite the World

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Pangea Day is not a celebration of Plate Tectonics but a filmmaker’s “wish” to change the world through the power of film. The “Wish” is part of the TED prize (Technology, Entertainment, Design) obtained by the documentary filmmaker of Control Room, Jehane Noujaim [IMDB info]. Previous TED prize winners also include former U.S. president Bill Clinton and musician Bono.

Pangea Day organizers are asking filmmakers to submit their short films (5 minutes or less) for the event that will be broadcast throughout the world on May 10, 2008.

“We’re looking for films that will make us laugh, cry, and gasp. They can be fiction, non-fiction, real-life, animation, or your own unique mixture. But they should hold our attention for every second. And above all, they should tell a story that someone else on the other side of the world will be able to relate to.” [from PangeaDay.org]

All submissions will be reviewed by Jehane Noujaim and a panel of jurors. 30 films will be selected to be screened on Pangea Day. Plus, selected filmmakers will also be invited to submit a treatment for a feature film or documentary – eligible to win a grant ($20,000) and awards program established through a partnership with Participant Productions (An Inconvenient Truth, Syriana, Good Night, And Good Luck).

To submit your film, go to PangeaDay.org and go to the ‘Submit a Film’ page for all the instructions.

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Indie Director Tom DiCillo’s ‘Delirious’ Blog

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Writer/Director, Tom DiCillo’s [IMDB info] new blog chronicles his journey through the creation and distribution of his latest film, Delirious. The film is a contemporary fable about a small time celebrity paparazzo, Les Gallantine (Steve Buscemi) who befriends a young homeless man, Toby Grace (Michael Pitt). Toby meets and falls in love with pop star K’Harma Leeds (Alison Lohman), causing jealousy and friction with Les. (check your local listings – it’s really worth seeing it in the big screen).

This is DiCillo’s first foray into the blogosphere but I feel if he continues with it beyond Delirious, it could be one of the essential reads for all aspirating filmmakers. In fact, I commented on his blog about that sentiment and Mr. DiCillo responded to my comment – “I will try to keep the blog going. It is helpful to me to put my thoughts and frustrations into something creative…”

I cannot summarize the passion and creativity of DiCillo’s blog posts (you need to check it out for yourselves), but I will highlight some of his shared insight into the filmmaking process of Delirious – and break it down into production categories:

Pre-Production

Screenplay – DiCillo’s idea for the script was motivated by the public’s addiction to celebrity and fame. He got the idea for the main character of the film after an encounter with a paparazzo in New York during the filming of The Real Blonde. The guy went into to the shot, trying to take a pic of Daryl Hannah – DiCillo almost strangled him. Years later, DiCillo ran into to this guy at a party; They hung out in NY and LA for 2 months and then he wrote the script.

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Let the Public Finance Your Film

Monday, August 20th, 2007

All independent filmmakers will struggle with finding financing for their projects. We all have that same jealous dream when we hear what the big studio productions spend and what we would be able to produce with just a fraction of their multi-million dollar budgets. Last week, I had those thoughts when I saw the amount of equipment, trucks, crew, etc. that encompassed east midtown Manhattan during the production of Adam Sandler’s latest film. According to the MPAA, in 2006 “the average cost to make and market a major MPAA member company film was $100.3 million.”

What if the funding process was democratized, allowing the public to vote on what they want to see by supporting it financially? Now, more than ever, indie producers are taking their projects to the public for financing. Here are a few endeavors worth noting:

+ Fund-A-Frame was the name and method that produced the “first ever frame-by-frame funded film,” titled, The Study Of Bunkers & Mounds In A Temperate Climate (Relatively Speaking). Director Sebastian Michael literally sold single frames of his film. Investors received a high-resolution (HD) jpeg file with their name and the time code printed on it. For an additional cost, the frames can be printed on quality photographic paper, encased in a wooden frame and signed. The film premiered at The 60th edition of the Locarno International Film Festival earlier this month.

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DVD Commentary for Filmmakers (Series) – The Machinist

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

My producing partner and I have been watching a lot of indie psychological thrillers lately because it relates to our current project. First, we want to make sure that their story is not too similar to ours. Secondly, we want to see if we can get some useful production information from their film’s DVD Commentary. You know – the essential information that every indie producer wants to know: how they got financing, their budget, how they attracted the actors to the roles without any money (especially if they have a star) that kind of thing. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from this info. This is going to be a regular series on this blog. I realize that this isn’t exactly a new release, but I’m going to start with The Machinist. [IMDB info]

The Machinist (a.k.a. El Maquinista) (2004)

Directed by Brad Anderson [IMDB info] – Written by Scott Kosar [IMDB info] – Produced by Julio Fernández [IMDB info]

The story is about Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) [IMDB info] – an industrial machinist who hasn’t slept in a year. As a result of his extreme insomnia, he’s paranoid, hallucinates, and freaks out. Good movie.

Here are the DVD commentary highlights that I feel are useful and interesting to filmmakers:

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The Links Directory Is Up (Over 3,000 Filmmaking Links)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

In the process of producing my first feature film, “Nothing Without You,”  I have compiled thousands of useful links to filmmaking resources. Here are the links in Filmlinker’s Links Directory – broken down into the following categories & sub-categories:

+ SCREENWRITING – The start of it all. Every screenwriting website that I could find is here. It includes educational information, software, professional screenwriter’s blogs, online magazines, articles, etc.

Writing & Reference – This is a natural sub- category to Screenwriting. It includes many reference sites, info on writing structure, all around multiple sources of information on various fields that will help writers fill in the blanks of their work.

+ PRE-PRODUCTION – The plan starts here. This is such a multifaceted category; I’ve included several elements which contain all the film directories, manuals, and general resource sites that I think can be useful to all filmmakers. Plus, budgeting resources, film analysis sites (that can help with your business plan), pre-pro software sites, etc.

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