Writer Director John Chu talks filmmaking

As a filmmaker, getting your movies produced sometimes seems impossible. And if you haven’t yet made your first feature, it is often very easy to get caught up in all the reasons why it can’t be done.

My screenwriter friend Jurgen Wolff forwarded this great filmmaking video with John M Chu. In it, he shares some of the innovative approaches he took to filmmaking, including starting small on YouTube, making the process interactive, finding ways to leverage input, and how modern moviemaking has changed the game.

While I don’t yet know John personally, I think his approach to filmmaking is smart and worth listening to.

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Screenwriting How To Protect Your Material

Since starting Filmmaking Stuff, many screenwriters have written me, asking if I could provide advice on how they can protect their screenplay from theft. I usually tell screenwriters that most producers will not go through the process of raising a gazillion dollars without compensating the screenwriter fairly.

However, as my screenwriter friend Jurgen Wolff points out, “While most people are honest, in every business there are people who steal. Once in a while you read about such cases in the media but others are kept quiet as a condition of the settlement.”

Jurgen would know. At least twice in his career someone stole, and took credit for  his material.  As a result, he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because he didn’t know how to handle the situation, and he listened to bad advice.

So when I saw Jurgen’s product focused on helping writers “stop the rip offs,” I thought it would be helpful to you. In full disclosure, this is an affiliate product and I will get a commission for any purchases. But with that said, I know Jurgen personally and can’t think of too many people who are more willing to share their expertise. So if you are interested in finding out more about Jurgen Wolff’s “Stop The Rip-Offs” system, you can do so by following this link.

Stop screenwriting rip offs

Film Production Crew Takes Action

As a filmmaker, making a feature takes time. You need a great team, which includes a great production crew. And you also need money. And you also need a little luck!

When I moved to Los Angeles, I had planned on making at least one movie per year. And despite the US economy and some other challenges, I am very happy about the features I have helped to produce. But as a producer, no matter how many movies you make, you always wonder when the next feature will take shape. And that can make anyone a little movie-stir-crazy!

Then one day, the pieces start to come together…

The first plan for my next movie is an idea. So over the weekend, I met with some key members of my film production crew, including my writer friend. Collectively, we have started working a rough idea into a fine-tuned movie, complete with a marketable hook and an established, niche target audience. If you’re just tuning into filmmaking stuff, you’ll quickly learn that starting with a defined target market in one core strategy I employ to gear us towards an eventual return on investment. (More on this in the distribution and finance articles found at Filmmaking Stuff.)

Anyway, we are getting close to finding our hook. Once we have it, we will then work on characters. Once we have the characters – and their individual objectives, we will then expand the hook into a 3 acts. We will then populate this plot with our characters. And scene by scene, we will work out ways to add something interesting into the action.

I know the system I describe may seem a bit regimented for most writer/filmmaker types. And while I agree that nobody knows nothing, by building our indie films from the marketing hook first, and the the story later (and not the other way around)  we at least have the confidence that a niche market for our movie exists. (Remember, a movie marketed to everybody is nobody! So it’s niche’s that make you riches.)

I’ve received emails from a few of you asking if I would share more stuff from the trenches. So in the days, weeks and months to come, I will continually provide insight on how we are gonna take this concept from script to screen.

If this type of front line filmmaking stuff would be valuable to you, and if you’re not already on our mailing list, you can join our filmmaking community by going here: www.FreeFilmmakingBook.com