48 Film Project Hosts Contest for Filmmakers

If you’re into making short films, you might want to check out 48 Film Project.

48 Film Project is an online, international short film contest. Filmmakers from more than 130 cities worldwide are given 48 hours to write, film, edit, produce and upload a short 4-7 minute movie.

Because 48 Film Project is a new sponsor for Filmmaking Stuff, they are offering you a discount code below. If you’re interested in participating, getting started is simple.

  1. Gather a team and register. (Use promo code: FILM20 for $20 off)
  2. When ready, click: “Start My Competition”
  3. You’ll then have 48 Hours to complete the project.

The contest offers all sorts of prizes. The top 15 winners will screen their winning films at The Directors Guild of America. And the grand prize includes a $48,000 grant to shoot a feature film.

Last year’s project concluded with an event at the Directors Guild of America where filmmaker Tom Ruddock from the UK was welcomed as the Grand Prize Winner.

Check out this video for more details:

If you are interested in participating, register and use promo code: FILM20

Sell Your Movie For Maximum Profit

If you’re already a seasoned feature filmmaker, take a moment and think back: Do you remember when the idea of making movies seemed like a far away dream?

Do you remember when you first got the idea for your movie? Do you remember Your first day of production? Do you remember your first screening and how well everyone loved your work?

That happened to me with my first feature. Like you, I thought our movie would get into Sundance, play well, build buzz and if we were really lucky, we had hoped the movie would garner us a 3 picture deal. But that didn’t happen.

Sure, we got some offers, but they were not “deals.” (A deal actually pays money!)

So instead of exchanging our movie for an empty promise, we decided to try selling our movie on the internet. Little did I know, this one decision has changed the course of my movie making life. That was five years ago…

And since that time, the internet as evolved. If you’re a filmmaker with a movie, you need to get it selling in all the popular internet marketplaces, including Amazon and iTunes.

You don’t need a middle-man to make this profitable. I am going to show you my internet marketing secrets…

You can check out my “How To Sell Your Movie” system by visiting the website here.

Filmmaking Books Worth A Read

When I was working to make my first feature, I read a bunch of filmmaking books. I wanted to find out how to finish my screenplay and how to raise money for my movie. The problem was, much of the information was bogus.

A lot of those “experts” had never even made a movie! One guy even said I should ask my dentist or doctor for money.  Frustrating.

Fortunately, I found few a great filmmaking books. Here are my top 3! I didn’t put these filmmaking books in order, but in full disclosure I did use affiliate links that will redirect you to Amazon. If you don’t like Amazon, get these books somewhere else, but do read them!

  1. How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime – In this book, Roger Corman explains how he was able to build an amazing motion picture business. Now before you decide that Roger doesn’t make the type of movies you want to make – think again. New technology allows filmmakers to make movies rapidly. So it’s very possible you’ll make your first feature film sooner than you think. But the real money in movies will be your ability to sustain the product pipeline. (In other words, you need to make many movies, not just one.) Roger provides a great model for this type of thinking.
  2. Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices: How to Write, Direct, Shoot, Edit, and Produce a Digital Video Feature for Less Than $3,000 – In this book, Rick Schmidt wrote one of the classics. Despite changes in technology, one thing remains – If you are going to make a feature film, you need to take action! Rick also has workshops where you can collaborate with other filmmakers and come out with a feature film.
  3. Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player – I got this one for a gift. After reading how Robert Rodriquez sold his body to science, made a feature and became famous. If he could make feature films, so can you!

Aside from those books, I’d like to recommend one more. Filmmaking Stuff: How To Make Your Movie In 21 Steps – Ok, this is the book I wrote. But unlike the other stuff I mentioned, you can get this filmmaking book for free.

Filmmaking Tools You Can Use Today

If you’re a member of the Filmmaking Stuff newsletter as well as our Facebook group you probably know that we try very hard to answer every moviemaking question you send. Now, granted sometimes we get busy.

So, I wanted to provide you with a list of useful, no-fluff filmmaking tools. (Disclosure: Where possible, I included affiliate links. If you don’t want to buy anything I’m selling that’s totally cool.)

With that said, if I were once again putting together my first feature, this is a loose road map of the filmmaking tools I would utilize to make it happen.

How to Make Your Movie Now!

Before you get started, set up a profile with my friends at Movie Set – I consider this site to be the glue that binds. Well beyond your typical social networking site, this service will help you create community around your movie the whole way from script to screen to your movie marketplace.

Your Script – The First Draft:

This seems obvious. But without a screenplay, it is very difficult to make a movie. Yes, I know some of you are interested in making an “experimental” movie. If that’s you, then ignore the following screenwriting tools. But if you would like to write a screenplay, here are some filmmaking tools that I recommend:

  1. Final Draft – This is industry standard screenwriting software. You can also get Movie Magic Screenwriter. But I never used it. And if money is tight, you can get FREE screenwriting software here: Celtix
  2. The Independent Producer’s Guide To Writing Movie Scripts That Sell, by Jason Brubaker – Yes, this is THE screenwriting Action Pack that I created. In it, you get a decade of experience, a workbook and MP3 Audio, so you can listen to it anywhere. Call it screenwriting from a producer’s perspective.

BreakDown Your Script

Ok. After you finish your screenplay, you will want to break it down. What is a script breakdown? Basically, you take everything in your script (wardrobe, stunts, locations, characters, props Et AL. . . ) And you put these elements into a schedule. Since this is your “initial breakdown,” you will use this information to determine the ball park budget of your movie. Here are the filmmaking tools I recommend:

  1. Peter Marshall’s Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Course. Peter has been in this game a long, long time. He will show you the fundamentals of script breakdown. These lessons will help you see your movie from a totally different, producer perspective.
  2. There is industry software to help you break down, schedule and budget your movie. One is called Movie Magic Scheduling and Movie Magic Budgeting. If money is tight, you can also grab a copy of Gorilla. These software tools are great because you can put them on your laptop and use them in remote places, even if you don’t have an internet connection!

Get Movie Money

Once your screenplay is broken down, scheduled and budgeted – the next step in the process is getting the money. To do this, you will need to create a movie business plan. After you have your business plan, you’ll want to contact a lawyer to draw up some paperwork and help you establish a corporate entity. And after that, you’ll go out and get your movie money. Here are some great filmmaking tools:

  1. Your Film Business Plan. For this, I recommend a website called Film Proposals. They have created a great business plan kit, which will provide you with a step-by-step approach to all the business stuff you would rather not bother with. Get Your Movie Business Plan Here.
  2. When it comes to entertainment attorneys, one of most accomplished is Gordon Firemark. He runs a website and has very informative podcasts, full of valuable legal tips – And if you need some work beyond that, including legal releases for your movie, Gordon can help. You can check out his site by clicking here. Get on his mailing list. . .
  3. Getting a business plan and putting your legal ducks in a row is only part of the process, the next aspect is getting money for your movie. I recommend “How To Make Rich Friends and Finance Your Movie” by Jason Brubaker. OK. Once again, this another one of my Action Packs. As usual, this is no-fluff. Different from all the other BS out there, you will discover how to seek out and make friends with rich people, even if you don’t know rich people. (Yet) – Access The Independent’s Guide To Financing Your Movie by clicking here.
  4. I can’t forget my friends at Indie GoGo. This site will allow you to set up a profile, promote your movie project, set a financial goal and find folks to sponsor various aspects of your movie. And if you actually raise 100% of your goal, the company will throw in a bonus percentage. To GoGo, Click Here.

Going Into Production

Once you raise the money, get your cast, crew and equipment, locations and craft service, the next step is going into production. In this stage, you’ll find out if all of your planning holds up. This is going to be both adventurous and grueling. But an awesome time you’re sure NEVER to forget.  Here are several filmmaking resources that I recommend:

  1. Rick Schmidt’s Extreme DV. He has a great workshop in the Bay Area where you actually complete a feature film. He is also the writer of one of the most empowering filmmaking books I’ve ever read. To check out the book, click here. To learn more about Rick Schmidt’s filmmaking workshop, follow this link.
  2. Rebel Without A Crew. This is another personal favorite. Perhaps it’s a little dated, but if you can ignore the ancient filmmaking technology mentioned in the book, you will finish your read with a new found appreciation for how difficult the filmmaking process used to be. No more excuses! Get the book here and Make Your Movie Now!
  3. If you’re looking for a longer workshop, I recommend the New York Film Academy as well as the Maine Media Workshops.

Post Production

After you produce your movie, you’ll want to edit it. This is the phase they call post production. And it really is the final rewrite of your movie. In the past, your post production expenses were crazy expensive. But like most things in filmmaking, technology makes your post experience awesomely affordable. Here are some tools:

  1. A decade ago, all the talk and buzz in the world revolved around Avid. Now you’re like Avid who? Seriously. If you have a Mac, get yourself a copy of Final Cut Pro. It’s all but industry standard. It’s powerful and affordable. Enough said.
  2. If you don’t have a Mac, find a friend who does. Re-read the previous step. And if you don’t know how to edit, find a friend who does.

Market and Sell Your Movie

I’m not going to tell you how to find a sales agent or how to make a 3 picture deal. Partially because that stuff is rare. And partly because those deals are old school anyway. I mean, who wants to hire a 3rd party when you can build a following and cash your own checks. I love this arena. I call it Digital Self Distribution. Here is how you market and sell your movie:The Indie Producers Guide To Digital Self Distribution

  1. Create a trailer that actually aims to sell the movie without giving the entire story away. They call this a teaser trailer. Make sure it includes a back link to your website. Once you have the trailer, put the sucka on YouTube and all the other video streaming sites you can think of.
  2. Get a domain name and website hosting. To do this, set up an account with a filmmaker friendly company. I prefer BlueHost. And yes, they pay me to say that. When you set up the site, I prefer to use the name movie in the URL.
  3. Once you have your website hosting, hire a web designer to create a website for you. (Actually, you should have built a website prior to production. But I know your mind was probably focused on actually making the movie. So it’s OK.) If you burnt all your money actually making the movie, then check out this website called http://www.fiverr.com – On this site, you’ll probably find a dozen people who will create an awesome website for a whopping $5 dollars. Seriously. I’ve used it and actually got some great work!
  4. Once you have your trailer and your website, you need to make sure you set up a Facebook page as well as other ways to grab visitor information. This is because most visitors will not buy your movie in their first visit. Having a YouTube page, a Facebook page and a newsletter will allow you to build a relationship with your visitors. If they don’t buy today, maybe they will buy tomorrow.
  5. Get your movie selling online. There are so many outlets for this. But one of the best that I’ve found is the very independent filmmaker friendly site called Distribber. You can learn more about distribber by clicking here. Please tell em’ I sent you.
  6. 5.5. And I almost forgot. Jason Brubaker (that’s me) has another product. It’s called The Independent Producer’s Guide to Digital Self Distribution. You can find out more information by clicking here.

Well that pretty much sums up the movie making process. Hopefully these filmmaking resources will be beneficial to your filmmaking process.

Make Shorts First – Filmmaking

YouTube, LLC

YouTube is great for Filmmakers Image via Wikipedia

Before you make a feature, you should create a whole bunch of short movies. This advice is nothing new for the up-and-coming filmmaker. But what is new are the many options for distribution.

Past Filmmakers. . .

Most short films lived and died at film festivals. But these days, shooting on the Canon EOS 7D, combined with quick Internet uploads have changed filmmaking forever!

Sites like YouTube.com and Metacafe.com allow filmmakers to find a global audience at the push of a button. In no previous time in history has it been so easy and inexpensive for filmmakers to get noticed. So before you embark on your feature, make shorts.

If you’ve never made a short film, don’t worry. The process is actually pretty simple and fun.

For your first few movies, don’t spent time worrying about lighting or special effects. Just learn how to utilize your limited resources and make something cool out of nothing.

When you plan your movie, focus on a story you can tell in three minutes or less. In my opinion, comedy works best.

When I was managing a film program, I noticed a lot of first-time filmmakers created dramatic stories that focused on suicide or some guy staring into a mirror and talking or some chick shaving her head while reminiscing about apples and spiders. I even know one guy who made his friend simulate humping a statue in a park while wearing a gimp mask. (Don’t ask.)

But seriously. . . Make Your Movie Now!

If you think you have something like that and you just HAVE to get it out…By all means, do so. But if you can be funny and get Internet viewers to share your movie with other people who will then share your movie with other people, you will have achieved a great thing.

All you need to get started is a camera, some friends and the ability to edit the footage on your computer.

Then just write out a list of funny story ideas. Once you have a list, pick one that interests you the most. When you have it, call up some friends. Enlist them as actors and get to work.

If you’re in a small town, you’ll find most friends will love having something to do outside of the norm. If you find most of your friends are preoccupied with marriage, a family and pregnancy, that’s cool too. Just start making movies—starring you.

After a couple of these types of films, you may find yourself getting bored. This is actually a good sign, because it shows you’re growing. When this happens, begin to create write more complex stories and then write a well crafted screenplay.

If you’ve been doing shorts with your friends, you now know who works well and who doesn’t. Invite the best of your actor friends to your next movie. Theoretically, if you make one or two three-minute movies like this every weekend for six months, you will have the equivalent experience of making a feature.

Here are your action steps:

  1. Get a cheap camera, a computer with video editing software and an Internet connection.
  2. Make funny videos with friends.
  3. Upload your videos to the Internet.
  4. Gauge audience response. Read the viewer feedback.
  5. Take feedback and improve your work. Repeat the process.

The short movie marathon exercise described above will provide you with a fundamental understanding of how to shoot scenes for minimal cost and still make them interesting.

This experience will help you save time and money when you create your feature, while providing you with endurance, experience and the confidence to make movies with greater efficiency.

When you upload your work for the world to watch, audience feedback will reveal areas needing improvement. Even though you’re working with non-professional equipment and talent, if you can learn to make great movies with a small camera, you can make them with a big camera.

Then later, when the feature filmmaker in you is ready, the feature will reveal itself.

If you are looking for short film ideas, this resource may help you: 101 Short Film Ideas