As a filmmaker, independent film financing a major mystery. When I was starting out, I met with quite a few producers who refused to share their money secrets with me… I don’t know why they were so secretive. But it really annoyed me.
For those of you who are adding your own thoughts to the Modern Moviemaking Manifesto, what I’m proposing is easier said than done. It is easy for me to talk about the success of our first feature. It is much more difficult to admit that our second feature bombed miserably.
If you’re a first time feature filmmaker, you do not need a gazillion dollars to join the feature club. But you will need to learn how to replace money with ginormous creatively. And once your screenplay is complete, then the next step in the filmmaking process is your initial breakdown and schedule.
As a filmmaker, establishing a mentor is invaluable. Without my mentor, I would have never gone to NYC, would have never made a movie and would have never fell on my financial face—and recovered. Consequently, I would have never made the move to California, produced features or written these words.
All the neat-o tricks you use to increase the production value of your independent movie will be for nothing if you distract your audience and take them out of the movie. This article is geared towards the filmmaker who wants to increase the production value of their movie without crossing the line…
Shoot your first feature in high definition, not DV and not Film. Why? DV looks like crap and film is way too expensive and in my opinion, too risky for a first feature with a limited budget.
Regardless of what tactics you utilize to raise the production value, just remember that telling a story should be your primary focus. Each fancy camera move, the colors you choose, the format, locations and your choice in actors should all be motivated by the story, and not your deep rooted need to use a neat-o tool just because you have it.