Moving Into Films: Part 6


Time for some fun!

Owning my own digital filmmaking equipment (though not excluding worthwhile equipment rental options) was indeed a liberating thought. It made business sense that if you buy your equipment to do your first movie, you already own it to do the second, third, and so on. This is a positive on the balance sheet. It gets better. With present technology I had the capability of producing a feature film from principal photography to post production -including titles and special effects- without spending a day in Hollywood. Since the equipment was "relatively" inexpensive to purchase (when compared to traditional filmmaking equipment and filmmaking practices) I could equip a film studio and continue producing other films.

So how much money was I looking at? In real figures, I was looking at somewhere between two hundred and fifty to three hundred thousand dollars. Now lets add the cost of crew, talent, additional production expenses and services, etceteras, etceteras, etceteras -oh yes, lets not forget the video-to-film transfer fee. (Drum roll) And the total is... Humm. Way better! I concluded that I could make Bad Blood for a budget of eight hundred thousand dollars and probably bring it down to six hundred thousand dollars if I can negotiate some fees and bring down additional costs through "creative" bargaining.

Eight hundred thousand dollars is a lot less than five million dollars but it was still seven hundred and ninety nine thousand dollars more than what I had (let me do the math for you, I had one dollar to my name). This meant that I needed to do what producers always do: hunt for money. In addition, I also had to find a way to do Bad Blood for a ridiculously low budget without compromising too much on my vision of the film -and make it look on screen like I spend ten million dollars or more! For a while I questioned my sanity, but I have been called crazy before. Besides, this was going to be fun! Time to make some calls.

Creating a small enterprise requires going over the same hoops as creating a large enterprise. Creating a film studio is like creating any small business. You have to do a lot of paperwork and, once you set up shop, you have to spend time running it. You also have to have some people skills, a gift for organization, the discipline to work long hard hours and the endurance to withstand rejection and adversity, and the talent to make really good coffee. In addition, one needs to have an analytical mind to plan business strategy and excellent financial instincts. I'm sure there is more to it. But my point is that I lack the inclination to do most of the above. Time to make more calls.

I needed to be free to do what I do best: creative work. That meant that I had to find people to run the studio and do all the mundane business tasks. But these people had to be very special people. They needed to be able to work with me, and, I needed to trust them implicitly. What's more, I wanted someone that wanted to share the same dream and could make the commitment to see it through. I needed people who wanted a shot at something great.

Lucky for me I already knew two people who had all these qualities and much more. They were very familiar with John the painter and John the writer and knew about my intention to make a movie. They both had regular jobs with no connections to film-making and I felt they might want to spice things up a bit. One worked at a bank as a financial analyst and the other worked in the travel industry as an agent, consolidator and administrator. But, would they be interested in joining me in creating a film studio -especially since none of us had to money to do so? This was fun! -Where's that phone?

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