More than the Least You Can Do
What Light scriptie extraordinaire Robyn Scaringi wrote a great blog post about the do’s and don’ts for no/lo budget indie film producers called The Least You Can Do. Having been on both sides of this situation, Robyn’s tough love for aspiring film producers hit more than a few notes for me. I hope I’ve been guilty of only a couple of the bonehead moves she mentions. Apologies to Robyn for jumping on her bandwagon but I wanted to add a few things.
For budding producers/filmmakers:
- DON’T post raw footage or rough cuts online in any public location. If you want to get feedback from selected peers, set a password on the online footage.
- DON”T post a low res version online. Why the hell would you shoot something in HD and then show a crappy low res version?
- DON’T apologize for the quality of a project – finish the film and make it the best it can be before you show it – edit it well, adjust the sound, color correct it. If you need help with any of these, ask around – there’s probably someone already involved who can help or refer someone.
- Part of a producer’s job is to raise enough money to ensure a safe, productive shoot. Use kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com, get your friend’s band to play at a fundraiser, have a movie night, bake cookies, recycle aluminum cans, but please don’t play the poor starving artist card and expect everything for free. If your idea is good, you should be able to articulate why it is good, and finding support will be much easier. A good pitch might help you attract a producer who is skilled at raising money if you are not.
- Create realistic shooting schedules. There are 24 hours in a day, people need to eat, sleep, get into costume and makeup, lights need to be set, unexpected problems come up. Give yourself and your cast and crew some breathing room. They will probably need a day off if you are shooting more than 5 days in a row. I have messed this up myself a few times.