Through personal experience and the shared insight of other filmmakers I have realized there are 7 common filmmaking mistakes that can be avoided. It pays off to take friendly advice on making movies that could keep you from getting stuck in the mud and pissed off. The film industry is one of the most exciting businesses to be in. What makes it one of the most difficult to thrive in is 7 common mistakes that will kill a project and sour you on the business.
One. The Ill-Conceived Screenplay
Uncontrolled passion, drive, and desire to make a movie will lead to committing to produce a screenplay that will not work. There is no way to fix an ill-conceived screenplay on set or in post if you make it that far. Final Draft software is fantastic, but keep in mind that old school computer term “GIGO” that maybe Tim Beachum coined. Screenwriting software only helps format the script with shortcuts. What is on the page has to be within your working budget.
If you have an “X amount” budget to make your movie it is crucial to have a screenplay that is based on that “X amount.” Avoid moving forward on producing a script your budget cannot support. It is great to think big, but in real life you have to stick to a budget. When you break down the screenplay, cut characters, scenes and locations you do not need or cannot budget for.
Two. Burning The Production Budget
Once the film funding comes through avoid feeling generous out of the gate and pissing away money on euphoria. It is a strong temptation to burn through money during physical shooting when actors and crew are on set. Every wasted single dollar spent will look like a $ 100 as you get closer to finishing the movie.
Treat your budget like it is the last bottle of water you have walking in the Sonoran Desert. Sip that water. Never think you are going to come across another water source until you arrive where you need to be, a finished movie. Treat every buck you spend like it is the last one in your pocket. Make it count.
Three. Not Treating Actors and Crew with Respect
When you are paying people it is a natural tendency to feel their commitment to a project is a given. But if you do not treat actors and crew with respect some time down the road when you need that extra effort you will not get it. People talk about being professional and never letting their personal feelings get in the way of their job performance.
That is a utopian idea that sounds good, but is not a reality. If you treat actors and crew poorly you will not get their best, especially when you need it most. Disaster was avoided on one shoot because actor Jesse James Youngblood stayed on set half a day longer then he was being paid for. He could have said to push the scene, but he stuck it out and the movie was better for it in the end.
Director of Photography Royce Dudley on another shoot that had one hell of a day of equipment problems stuck it out beyond the call of duty. Respect is what made it happen. Give respect – get respect. Or release problem actors and crew from the project. It is called an old wives tale, but one bad apple spoils the bunch is true of human nature.
Four. Trying To Be Perfect
It is important to have confidence in yourself and movie, but reckless ego will ruin the project. It is impossible to be perfect and make all the right calls. When sound advice is given, take it. Trust the people you have hired to help make your movie. Acting like you know how to do every single job that it takes to make a movie is insanity. Unless you have a 100 million dollar budget, people will jump ship if you try to be perfect.
Five. Taking The Leap Of Faith Editing Can Fix Any Production Problem
Editors and sound engineers can do a whole hell of a lot to make your final movie look better. What they can’t do is fix every problem that was shot on set. “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.” I have been on movie sets where people say; “we can fix it in post.” The hairs on the back of my neck and arms stand up like when I saw those two scary girls in The Shining, “come play with us – forever and ever and ever” freaked me out big time.
I have that same reaction when filmmakers trust too much in post. Get the best performances, picture quality, and sound on set without thinking post. Post can become a short-cut safety net for filmmakers. Get what you need to get during shooting. Green or blue screen stuff is still better if you got good stuff on camera. Hollywood aka big budget studios depend on special effects to hide flaws. Without that kind of money, your work has to be done right on the spot.
Take the risk of assuming that what you captured on set is what you have to work with in post.
Six. Not Taking Advantage Of SEO For Filmmakers
I thought SEO marketing was to sell BS products. Like the people that stop you in front a liquor store that have knock-off perfume, watches, and gold jewelry that has no gold in it. My mind has changed seeing now how many major companies are using Facebook to promote. Every commercial major companies run is pointing to a social network for you to join. That is 100% SEO in pure action.
Filmmakers that do the standard formula of creating a Flash website that is too busy are not going to connect with viewers. Let people know about you and your movie using social networks, article directories, and a blog. I know that is nothing new to many filmmakers. But to other filmmakers that still think because they made a movie people will find them online this could help.
Seven. No Distribution Plan
Look at every single way possible you think your movie can be sold. This gives you an idea if you want to sell all rights upfront for a certain amount, sign a deal, or sell your movie through self-distribution. Taking a buy-out from a distribution company is smart move. It is similar to flipping a house. You know your profit margin on the movie. Signing a deal for future profits gets more involved. You have to take them at their word how much your movie has profited for them.
It was hilarious to me on one movie where the distribution company sent a royalty statement that showed they sold tons of units, but the royal “we” lost money on shipping and Circuit City going BK did not pay etc. etc. etc. Like with any signed or handshake deal, it is only as good as the people involved. This company is no good. Other deals I have had have been excellent.
One classy distribution company during the course of our deal got a higher price from retailers on their overall products and sent me the difference on each unit of mine that sold via UPS. Shocked the hell out of me to open that and see a check. Most distributors give a discount to major retailers. I was surprised they took the time and effort to let me know as an indie producer that their four major outlets discount was no longer 5% but 2%.
Self-distribution takes work. There is the freedom to sell your product online without a distribution company. It is going to boil down to SEO marketing to let viewers know your movie is live. If you are making a no-budget movie chances are having a distributor release it are slim to none. Once you know that as a filmmaker you can come up with a great distribution plan. The Internet will be your lifeline on sales. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing SMASH CUT:
If you want proven tips on screenwriting, directing, acting, producing, and movie marketing – take action!
Dunno Y…Na Jaane Kyun-One of the first Bollywood flicks to address alternative lifestyles – homosexual relationships, in particular – has already won an award at the Trikone International Film Festival in Sydney This film, apart from this recent recognition, has other accolades to its credit. It has previously won an award at the Mumbai International Queer Festival, and the two lead actors, Kapil Sharma and Yuvraaj Parashar, received awards from the government of Maharashtra for their outstanding performance. The movie has done extremely well in the more liberal audience markets worldwide, including London and New York, but we wonder if the film, which also has a liplock shared between the male protagonists, will be as successful in its more conservative home ground!
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Question by xXSarahXx: What is the lifestyle of Australian Filmmakers?
Are there many jobs available? Is it hard to get your films made or screenplays read? Also, where did you get your education if any?
Any information will be great especially if you are an Australian filmmaker.
Probably more of an indie filmmaker.
Answer by Beautiful*Girl
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
My dad was invited to be a guest speaker on my graduation at the IAFT (International Academy of Film and Television, Cebu) last July 28, 2012. He shared his filmmaking experiences with his classmates during their days and inspired us to become better filmmakers. With their first movie, they garnered 5 major awards in the FAMAS in 1975, Philippines’ equivalent to OSCARS in Hollywood.
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