Enter the Imagination Series Film Competition

June 26th, 2013

Bombay Sapphire and the Tribeca Film Festival have once again launched the Imagination Series film competition. The competition was first launched last year in an effort to give five filmmakers a chance to have their own short film produced, using a script written by Academy Award-winner (Precious) – Geoffrey Fletcher. Check out all the “Year 1” winners (here).

Adrien Brody Celebrates Imagination At The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

 

The concept (Written by Geoffrey Fletcher):

The following screenplay contains just the dialogue and very little description. You may imagine its characters, its location(s) and its events in any inoffensive way that you wish.

You may add a scene in the middle with your own dialogue of up to 3 minutes in length. The dialogue for the beginning and end are set. The total film should be around 5 minutes in length.

Your characters can be any combination of people, creatures or objects, real or imagined. Feel free to place these characters anywhere (Earth or otherwise), in any time period (past, present or future) or in any genre (comedy, thriller or otherwise) using any style or production technique (live action, animation, photography, drawing or otherwise) that you wish to use.

When you come to enter your treatment you will be asked to enter a written overview (maximum 1000 words) and the dialogue for the central scene.

Good luck!


Here’s the script –

Before you enter, be sure to see Geoffrey Fletcher’s Hints and Tips.

You must enter ASAP because the competition closes on August 4 2013. Geoffrey Fletcher and Adrien Brody (plus other panelists) will then select their four favorite creative concepts. A public vote will decide the fifth winner. Then all five winning concepts will go into production and get to be presented at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014!

Use Moby’s Music Catalog for Free on Your Indie Film via MobyGratis

June 21st, 2013

Moby – the prolific DJ/Musician just re-launched MobyGratis – his free music service for independent filmmakers. Moby’s extensive music catalog has over 150 music tracks available to license for free*. MobyGratis is described as “a resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.”

Check out the catalog and browse by instrument, tempo, genre, etc. All you need to do is create an account and submit an application for the tracks that you’d like. The approval process takes about 24 hours.

Check it out:

 

After you complete your film utilizing Moby’s music – you can share it with the mobygratis community by uploading it to YouTube or Vimeo.

*The music is free as long as it’s used in non-commercial films. If/when your film becomes commercial, the license changes and all royalties will go to the Humane Society. Be sure to read all the terms when you set up an account with mobygratis.

Amazon Storyteller, A Free Storyboard Tool

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.”

Donate to the AHA and Get Your Script Read by a Hollywood Pro

May 23rd, 2013

Screenwriter Joe Nienalt is launching a campaign to fight heart disease & stroke by raising money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, and has once again partnered with Daniel Vang, a manager at Benderspink – one of Hollywood’s top production and management companies. This partnership will incentivize aspiring screenwriters to donate to the campaign and get their screenplays read by Daniel Vang and possibly receive representation from Benderspink. Last year they raised close to $45,000. This year’s goal is $50K.

Here’s the official description of their campaign:
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In exchange for your donation, Daniel Vang will consider you for representation.

Here’s how it works…[list style=”list8″ color=”red”]

  • -If you donate $25, Daniel will read the first ten pages of your script or pilot.
  • -If you donate $50, Daniel will read the first 50 pages (if it’s great, he won’t want to put it down after 10 or 50 pages).
  • -If you donate $100, Daniel will read your entire script or pilot (good or bad).

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source: Joe Nienalt’s Personal Page for Heart Walk 2013-2014 [/framed_box]

I first heard about this from listening to the Scriptnotes Podcast by screenwriters John August (IMDB) and Craig Mazin (IMDB). You can hear the episode here (it’s mentioned towards the end of the podcast at around 44:45), download it: AAC, MP3, iTunes or read the transcript here.

… listen up people who say, ‘No one will read my script. No one is going to read my script!’  Well, shut it.  Here’s the story: Daniel Vang is a manager at Benderspink. They are a real, legitimate production management company… they’re real producers. They’re real managers. Daniel Vang is an actual human being who reads things and is involved in this business.”   — Craig Mazin on the Scriptnotes Podcast

Please note that your donation does not guarantee you’ll get notes or feedback on your screenplay. From what I read, you’ll likely get a rejection response – but you never know. You should go into this like you play the lottery, but you’ll be donating to a good cause. Karma points may be all you’ll get out of it, but this is a tough business and this is a small window of opportunity that in its worst case scenario will contribute to possibly saving lives.

Go to the official donation page for all the information: Joe Nienalt’s Personal Page for Heart Walk 2013-2014. The deadline to make donations is Friday, October 4th, 2013.

Top Filmmaking Pinterest Boards and Pins

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

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?

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

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:
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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.
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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).

New MPAA Report Shows Hispanics Trending As Higher Percentage Moviegoer

March 23rd, 2013

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2012 this week. The report illustrates that global box office revenue for all films worldwide reached $34.7 billion in 2012 (+6% over 2011). The U.S & Canada rev was up 6% to $10.8 billion with a 6% increase in admissions to 1.36 billion. One very noticeable piece in the report was that Hispanics – while only representing 17% of the population in the U.S & Canada – encompassed 26% of all movie ticket purchases.

Although Caucasians make up the majority of the population and moviegoers (140 million), they represent a smaller share of 2012 ticket sales (56%). Hispanics are more likely than any other ethnic group to go to movies, and purchased more tickets in 2012 compared to 2011. (source: MPAA)

Hispanics report the highest annual attendance per capita, attending on average 6.4 times per year, compared to closer to 4 times per year for African Americans, Caucasians, and Others. (source: MPAA)

In 2012, the ethnic composition of frequent moviegoers looks much the same as in 2011, with Hispanics oversampling as frequent moviegoers relative to their proportion of the population. (source: MPAA)

So what does all this information this mean to the independent filmmaker? For one – we can see that there’s a target audience that is not being directly served by the big studio films. This also seems to be a great opportunity for four-walling a film and bypass traditional distribution system. If you have an eager audience that wants to see films, why not make films for them.

Click HERE (PDF) for an infographic of the report.

Click HERE (PDF) for the full 2012 MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics report.

Tribeca Film Festival’s Vine Competition Announced

March 21st, 2013

The Tribeca Film Festival just announced a call for entries for Vine powered 6 second shorts (#6SecFilms). After its initial release in January, Vine has become a popular platform/app for creating very short videos (6 seconds is the limit) that are shared on Twitter (its parent company) and Facebook. The 6 second limit on the Vines have forced its users to be even more creative with their looping films – same as Twitter has revolutionized the creativity of the 140 characters written snippet.

Here’s the gist of the competition:

– Create a Vine (a.k.a. short film) that tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

– Tag your Vine with #6SECFILMS and the appropriate category hashtag of in one of the following areas:

#GENRE (Horror, Comedy, Sci-Fi, etc.)
#AUTEUR (artistic visionary story or script)
#ANIMATE (animated short)
#SERIES (serialized Vines – up to three)

– Then post it to Twitter (you must also follow @TribecaFilmFest).

– The deadline is 11:59 pm ET on 4/7/2013.

Read their Official Rules (here).

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Here’s the rest from TFF’s official announcement:

All Vines submitted to Twitter using the relevant hashtags before the deadline of 4/7/2013 will be reviewed by the Tribeca Film Festival programming team. A shortlist of select Vines that meet the creative requirements will be chosen by the programmers and displayed on Tribecafilm.com the week of 4/17/2013.

Our panel of distinguished judges will deliberate over the shortlist and select a winner in each category. The winners will be announced 4/26/13.

SHORTLIST, WINNERS AND PRIZES

Shortlisted Vines will be recognized and showcased on TribecaFilm.com.
Winners in each category will receive $600 (a hundred bucks for each second).

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