Are You Part of The Filmmaking Class?

Canon EOS 7D, front view.

The Cannon EOS 7D is changing the ways filmmakers make movies. Image via Wikipedia

Last week I had a debate with my buddy about filmmaking class. And no, I’m not talking about the classroom. But I am talking about social filmmaking status.

Basically the debate went like this: how do you decide what movies are “real” movies and what movies are “fake.”

(I know. Stupid debate, right? But if you read this, I’ll dispel a myth and forever end Hollywood movie snobbery. Promise.)

In other words, let’s say you’re a filmmaker and you decide to grab your Cannon EOS 7D and shoot a feature – how do you determine if you made a real movie or not?

ARE YOU READY TO LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAKE MOVIE AND A REAL MOVIE? Then here is the official Jason Brubaker criteria to determine if you created a “real” movie:

Does your movie make money?

If the answer is yes, you my filmmaking friend have a real movie.

“But there are no stars in your stupid movie that you made for 20K on a borrowed camera.”

“Yeah. But it makes more money than that Tom Cruise box office bomb.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I don’t give a crap about the idiot Hollywood snobs who would much rather ignore you and your HD camera. And so what if you never worked with Spielberg or for that matter any “name” talent. And who really cares if some band of ivy league film school graduates spent their 30k making an 8 minute, 35mm short, when you decided to make a feature?

Seriously.

The only thing that matters is if your movie makes money.

Again, seriously.

You’re a filmmaker. If you want to be in business, you must create a product. Your product is a feature film. And if you happen to shoot your feature for no money, with limited locations, with scenes that are under-lit, starring no name actors – but you actually FINISH your feature film and you find your audience and they agree to buy your movie, guess what?

  1. First of all, you are what us business minded folks call “efficient.”
  2. Secondly, by keeping your overhead low, it will take less sales to recoup your initial investment.
  3. And most importantly, you have just created a REAL movie. You are a real, professional filmmaker.

So “F” any Hollywood snob that tells you otherwise. I mean, be nice – but seriously, tell em’ to take a hike. They are probably just worried about job security – and they should be.

Here is why:

Take a look at the ever eroding options for traditional distribution. There are more feature films than ever with better and better images for less of a budget. And very soon, the entire world will be flooded with high production valued content – the likes of which Hollywood has never encountered. (For a historical reference, read about how inexpensive product and cheap labor killed Bethalam Steel and compare this to what’s happening in Hollywood.)

So as a filmmaker, you now have a few choices:

  1. Wait around for someone to discover your project and give you a gazillion dollars – so that you can have a “real” movie that will play the festivals and probably end up on iTunes and Amazon.
  2. Move to Los Angeles, fetch coffee on various “real” productions so that you can one day make a movie that will probably play the festivals and guess what? End up on Amazon and iTunes?
  3. Or starting today, you can create a movie structured around your current cash and equipment and location limitations that will (this is the kicker) play the festivals and probably end up on iTunes and Amazon.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Theatrical distribution is not a viable outlet for independent filmmakers. And video stores are changing and becoming a less viable sales outlet for indie filmmakers. So where does this leave Hollywood filmmakers and you? You got it. The internet.

And yes, I’m once again referring to:

digital self distribution.

(Tell your filmmaking friends – it’s time to face reality.)

You see, for any business to survive, you need a product (or a service) and a group of people willing to recognize that the value of your product outweighs the value of their cash.

Your movie is your product. And thanks to innovations in both production and digital self distribution, there is really no difference between the dollars spent for “real” Hollywood movies or your movie.

And if you’re making a living doing what you love, who really cares if some idiot thinks your work is sub par? I mean, this debate never bothered Roger Corman, so why should it bother you?

Now the important question is – what does this mean? For that answer, I offer a FREE filmmaking book:

www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com

– – –

Jason Brubaker is a Los Angeles based independent producer and an expert in digital self distribution. He makes movies and he writes about making movies. More of his articles can be found at www.filmmakingstuff.com

My Filmmaking Story – Part 1

Jason Brubaker looks back.

Jason Brubaker looks back.

When I got out of college I could think of no other vocation that appealed to me more than filmmaking.

So, like most graduates, I sent out resumes extolling my wonderful academic achievements, packaged in specially purchased, elegantly designed resume envelopes.

In the days that followed, I awaited the influx of telephone calls from would-be employers, eager to snatch up such a talented candidate.

Suffice it to say a couple weeks with no responses were my introduction to the catch twenty-two of having no working experience. I remember walking into the few interviews I managed to schedule, equipped with my black briefcase and firm handshake, knowing the interviewer would overlook any technical shortcomings and hire me on the spot.

Invariably, these imaginings faded with the screech of my student film being fast-forwarded through the VCR; my interviewer holding the controller, explaining he wanted merely to “look at the framing.”

Regardless of how I perceived myself in a town revolving around motorcycles, my dwindling bank account was a stabbing indication that ambition combined with stubbornness could be a curse. So instead of California and New York, I started my career in York. York, Pennsylvania, that is… except I wasn’t pitching package deals to major studios or for that matter, any studio. Instead I was pitching household appliances, like washers and dryers and microwave ovens.

In the weeks that followed, I gained twenty-six pounds and added another chin to what was once a pretty chiseled jaw line. I joined the “Midnight” bowling league and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the inability to button my trousers had no effect on my bowling release. Thus, my scores increased and I became a familiar face among a culture of beer drinking, hard-edged factory workers. And, in retrospect, I was drowning my dreams with beer and cheeseburgers.

After bowling, I would go back to my parent’s house, plop down on my bed with a cupcake and a glass of milk and I would just watch Top Gun for hours, pretending that instead of Tom Cruise, it was me. I wanted to barrel down the highway to the danger zone on a cool motorcycle. I wanted to date hot chicks. I wanted to be someone. I wanted to move to Hollywood and make movies.

In the morning, I would wake up with cupcakes mashed in my hair, stare at my fat face in the bathroom mirror, and leave for my appliance sales job. When sales were slow at the store, I would order cheeseburgers, and start eating. One day, when I really felt bad about my sad existence, I decided to do something. I went into my cubicle and started writing a screenplay. Since I never wrote a screenplay, I had no idea what I was doing. But I was so frustrated, and fat, and hating my life, that it didn’t take long until I had a first draft…

  1. My Filmmaking Story – Part 1
  2. My Filmmaking Story – Part 2
  3. My Filmmaking Story – Part 3
  4. My Filmmaking Story – Part 4