Archive for the ‘Pre-Production’ Category

The Black List Is Now Open

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Black List just released their 2012 list (PDF) of the top unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. The “list” was started in 2005 by Franklin Leonard when he surveyed 100 film industry executives about their favorite scripts from that year that had not been produced. Many of these scripts have since been made into feature films (The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, etc.). This became a regular occurrence since then.

But this year, they are making a service available to all (for a small fee – of course), to upload your scripts to their database and be evaluated by professional script readers. That evaluation will be added to their recommendation algorithm, which (according to them) will be sent to over 1,000 film industry professionals.

Our evaluation includes an overall rating of 1 to 10., describes Leonard. A rating of 1 of 10 along five different metrics, including dialogue, structure, setting, premise. And then three short answers to questions about the script’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, and commercial viability.”

Here’s how it works: you upload a script for $25 a month hosting fee – which makes it available to their entire membership. There’s an optional $50 fee if you’d like to have one of their reader evaluate your script.

Veteran screenwriters, John August and Craig Mazin talked to Franklin Leonard about the Black List on their Scriptnotes Podcast (transcript) during this year’s Austin Film Festival.

The data that is generated by those evaluations we can use to create sort of a Black List of non-professional scripts, sort of a real time, that is sort able by genre, subgenre, words that feature in the log line. And then we also built a recommendations algorithm similar to what exists on Netflix and Amazon so that based on all of our 1,150 members’ individual taste, in the event that a script is particularly suited to one of those members’ taste…” – from Scriptnotes podcast

You can sign up and start the process [highlight]here[/highlight].

Moviebytes Lists ALL the Screenwriting Contests

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I wrote a while back about “Online Video Contests” about an aptly named site of the same name that has over a hundred contests. Moviebytes is very similar to that but its niche is to index ALL the available screenwriting competitions. Their Screenwriting Contests Directory breaks out all the different categories and genres. If you are an aspiring screenwriter, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Please apply a ‘buyer beware’ approach when entering any online competition that requires an entry fee. Moviebytes provides these databases “as is” and without warranty of any kind – so be sure to read their Terms of Service before entering any contest.

JuntoBox Films Can Green-light Your Film

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

JuntoBox Films is a collaborative film studio and social media platform that allows filmmakers to pitch their ideas and have film fans rate & vote on projects that can ultimately be funded, produced and distributed. To get started, create a project and profile in the JuntoBox platform. This is where you’ll present ideas to the JuntoBox Films Collective (see their “How-to Junto”).

Filmmakers will then rise up through the Five Levels of development by building their film’s profile through fan participation and completion of various tasks. When a project has risen to the top of the JuntoBox ladder, it is eligible for development. JuntoBox Film’s co-chair – actor, producer and director, Forest Whitaker recently announced that they will be funding and green-lighting five films in 2012!

JuntoBox’s 5 Levels


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Beyond a business, JuntoBox is aspiring to be part of a new business culture that aligns talented people in need of support with accomplished mentors who want to give something back and encourage the stars of the next generation.” — JuntoBox founder Philippe Caland

The success of this type of initiative is crucial to the development of truly independent films. Check it out, sign up and and show your support by pitching your film idea and/or rating other’s projects.

Mobcaster is Crowdfunding Indie TV

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Mobcaster is another crowd-funding site, but specializes exclusively on indie produced television content. It has it’s own online TV channel (Mobcaster TV) – which will broadcast the funded shows’ series and will share ad revenue (50/50 net split) with the show’s creators.

Mobcaster sells advertising around the series broadcast on Mobcaster TV and all Showrunners of such shows are entitled to half of our net advertising revenue. Because Mobcaster TV is dedicated to audience supported (and funded!) TV, Showrunners will have the opportunity for greater revenue participation than nearly anywhere else online!” – from 

Mobcaster’s biggest success to-date is a show called The Weatherman (watch the pilot episode here). It not only surpassed its $72,500 goal, but it will get a distribution deal with TiVo’s digital streaming service.

I watched The Weatherman pilot episode and it was really funny, well written and produced (by Dark Heart Productions). They are setting the bar pretty high for all the other proposed shows that will try to get funded through Mobcaster.

If you have an idea for a TV show – go ahead and pitch it (free of cost) to the Mobcaster audience. Follow their steps: Pitch -> Fund -> Produce -> Broadcast.

On My Block NYC Film Challenge

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

On My Block is a film challenge that brings communities closer together by inviting filmmakers to create short narrative or documentary (1-5 minutes) films on their NYC block . The only rule (besides being located in one of the 5 New York City boroughs) is that you can only use your neighbors within a one block radius for all the cast and crew of your film. Read all the rules and eligibility requirements here.

Also, check out their “Filmmaking Steps” for some production tips – like how to recruit your crew, Pre & Post steps and more.

Watch Ryan O’Hara Theisen, one of the co-founders of On My Block Films, explain the mission behind OMB Films and some of the benefits of being an On My Block filmmaker:

Once your film is submitted and approved, it’ll screen online on the OMB Vimeo Channel. After Oct. 31st, it goes offline and the top scoring (most amount of Vimeo Likes) 30 films move on to Judges round. They’ll pick the final 15 which will be screened at a yet to be disclosed location in New York City.

Submissions are open until October 31, 2012. Submit your film now.

Tom Cruise (Dot Com) Offers Guidance to Aspiring Filmmakers

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I was pleasantly surprised that has a series of filmmaking posts and guides that cover a wide spectrum of information and resource links for anyone interested in a career in movies. [note title=”Pictured:” align=”right” width=”250″] Tom Cruise with director, Steven Spielberg on the set of Minority Report. Photo from [/note]Admittedly, I am a fan of Mr. Cruise’s films, but I’m not one that peruses actors/celebrities’ websites. I’ll credit for making me aware of these articles and guides when it recently published a post that referenced one of these articles from I greatly appreciate and sympathize the effort that the team at put into their accumulation of numerous links in their guides (similar to what I do here at Filmlinker).

The team wants to help you make your Hollywood dreams come true! Whether you are an aspiring actor, director and filmmaker, film editor, producer, screenwriter, stuntman or visual effects artist, we have complied guides for several of the most in-demand professions in the movie and television industry.” –

Check out the list of guides that they’ve compiled:
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  • Aspiring Directors and Filmmakers Guide – Find out about numerous filmmaking techniques (including mobile!), film festivals, contests and competitions that could give your project exposure, award much-needed funds or offer training programs to advance your career in films.
  • Aspiring Visual Effects Artists Guide – Tips, Training, and Resources for a job in the field of post –production. As technology advances at lightning speed, the need for visual artists is on the rise.
  • Aspiring Actors Guide – Resources, Training, and Tools to take you to the top. Including a guide to Mobile Apps for training in an acting career.
  • Aspiring Stuntman Guide – Tips, Resources, and Information to help you launch your career as a stunt performer.
  • Aspiring Visual Effects Artists Guide – Tips, Training, and Resources for a job in the field of post –production. As technology advances at lightning speed, the need for visual artists is on the rise.


This Year’s Roy W. Dean Summer Grant Deadline is Approaching

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The deadline for applications for The Roy W. Dean Summer Grant is June 30, 2012.  It is set up for documentaries, shorts and low budget features. The grant award is $1,000 cash and over $30K in donations for music, website creation, editing & post-production services – plus a lot more resources that are essential for you to make your film.  “We want films that are unique and make a contribution to society,” explains Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions – which manages the grants.  “We have been giving grants for 20 years and are proud of the films sponsored by us who have been shown on Discovery, Court TV, TLC and PBS.”  Full information on applying for grants and prior winners can be found here:

Carole Dean is also the author of The Art of Film Funding.  Her book is full of financing information along with guidance on music rights, legal requirements, fair use and other pitfalls that often cost filmmakers.  When you enter the grant you get a free 15 minute consultation with Carole Dean to improve your paperwork or discuss funding ideas.

Dean’s From the Heart Productions (a 501c3 non-profit) recently partnered with Indiegogo to support films that are fiscally sponsored by the organization.  Fiscal sponsorship is an ideal approach for financing documentary films.  This is a way for artists to apply for funding through a company that has a 501 (c ) (3) nonprofit status, which can make donations tax deductable.  Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo campaigns do not have to reach their full goals to receive the contributions.  So far, From the Heart Prod. has successfully helped filmmakers raise over $150,000 through Indiegogo.


Blackmagic Cinema Camera Wows at the NAB

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

It’s NAB week, where 90,000+ media and entertainment professionals gather in Las Vegas – so it’s the ideal place to showcase the latest cameras for filmmakers. One standout is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – priced at $2,995. With its 2.5K image sensor and wide dynamic rage, it claims to offer the sought after “feature film look from a true digital film camera.”

The back has a 5″ touchscreen that lets you see the shot and playback your sequence. You can also enter the shot info and metadata – which gets stored in the files & can be accessed by non-linear editing software (compatible with Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve). Their camera housing can also take Canon and Zeiss mount lenses.

Here’s the official press release.

Other reviews of this camera: Gizmag, DP Review.

Amazon Studios Wants Your Movie or Screenplay

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Amazon (yes – that Amazon) is getting into the movie biz. Amazon Studios was just launched as a place where budding filmmakers and screenwriters can submit their work for cash and prizes. A combined $2.7 million in monthly and annual awards will be doled out in this program’s inaugural year.

Amazon Studios will also partner up with a major Hollywood studio. Here’s the gist:

Amazon Studios has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, which means we’ll be presenting our top projects to Hollywood’s biggest studio for consideration as theatrical feature films. And winners of the Amazon Studios Annual Awards won’t just get money—they’ll also get a meeting with Warner Bros. development executives. [from Amazon Studios home page]

Deadline for submission is January 31, 2011. Click here to get started. You should first read their FAQ’s – especially your rights. (fyi…you’ll be entering into an 18 month, exclusive development agreement with Amazon Studios – but you’ll get paid!)

Film Racing Coming to a City Near You

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Film Racing is a great creative concept that’s like “Mission Impossible” meets “The Amazing Race” in a marathon filmmaking competition.  Filmmakers form teams in each participating city and have 24 hours to complete an original short film (no longer than 4 minutes) based on an assigned theme and surprise element. Each team receives an e-mail on Friday night with a theme (like “revenge”) and a surprise element (like a prop – “toothbrush” or action – “slap”). The plot of your film will need to incorporate the assigned theme and element. The completed films are then due back at the film drop-off location by 10PM on Saturday night.

Since 2007, Film Racing has given out over $120,000 in cash and prizes to the winning filmmakers to aid them in their future projects. The winning films from each city compete for thousands of great prizes and one team will walk away with the “Best Film of 2009” title. [from official site]

Anyone can enter this “race” and each team is responsible for providing their own equipment and crew. See if your city is in the race by clicking here.