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Friday, June 8, 2007

Bruce Campbell's Tips on Directing


In 2005 shortly after I had wrapped shooting on Monster Cops: The Midnight Special, Bruce Campbell came to Dallas as he was on his Man With The Screaming Brain tour. You bet your ass me and my wife went. We got his autograph at Barnes and Noble (he was promoting Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way) and then saw him present his movie at the Magnolia in Dallas. It was a blast. The featured pic is of my wife as we had just caught Bruce after the screening.

Earlier in the day, at his book signing at Barnes and Noble, as he was signing my Boomstick Edition of Army of Darkness, Bruce asked me what I did. Like the silly little fanboy I am I geekily said "I'm an independent filmmaker." He replied, "Well Patrick, get to work." And then he smiled as he handed me back my freshly autographed DVD. This would've been less comical if he hadn't immediately followed that up with "And don't touch the ink, cuz it doesn't dry very fast."

I've met Dennis Hopper, got autographs from all of The Kids In The Hall, except for Bruce McCulloch he wasn't there for some unknown reason, Bruce Campbell was the first one to make me feel a little star struck. The Evil Dead movies were a huge influence on me because it was the kind of movie I wanted to try to make and also because understanding how Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Tapert started out, made me really relate to them as filmmakers. Bruce always felt like one of the guys that made it big and made it the way the rest of us could make it. And here I got to meet him.

I find myself perusing Bruce's Official Site and I find one of his blog posts interesting and quite useful for all us indies. I repost it for you here. It's entitled:

JOIN THE CLUB, BE A DIRECTOR

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Actors must be aware of your intentions - even how you are photographing them (to some extent) so that they can serve you and the film better. The same goes with all of the department heads - they must know what you want, or else they cannot give it to you.

2. Don't get all wrapped up in Storyboards, cool shots, lenses, etc. any more than your story demands.

Don't forget things like blocking, characters, and MOST IMPORTANTLY - a working script that doesn't suck!

3. Getting 40 set-ups in a day isn't always the goal. It isn't a contest - 40 shots of what? And how rushed do you have to be to get that? How about 20, really good, planned out shots? making the film shouldn't be a zoo, unless your producers are idiots.

4. Don't neglect the proper shooting process. First thing in the morning (and at the beginning of each new scene to be shot), clear the set, work with the actors to establish/sign off on blocking, then show the scene to all concerned departments, then get the actors out of there and line up with stand-ins and light - then bring the actors back in and shoot. It sounds horribly basic, but so many people forget/never know the correct procedure.

5. Work your little, doughy ass off!


See the original blog post HERE

See his official site HERE

I eagerly await his current movie MY NAME IS BRUCE



DIY Movie Fund Raising: The Internet

Edit 6/10/07

The internet has brought upon the DIY Indie Movie Maker much opportunity. Opportunity to market, distribute, and here lately, opportunities to raise funds. I now share with you some of my research in ways to fund your indie movie. Fair warning, you gotta be prepared. You've gotta have that finished script, you've gotta have a prepared cast and crew list, you've gotta know your budget, how, when, and where you are making this movie, and how you plan on getting it seen and make your money back.

note: I haven't tried any of these sites yet, so proceed with caution. If anyone has tried any of the below listed or have any further info feel free to comment and let me know. Always good to avoid scams. As the great Peter Vincent said on more than one occasion, "Forewarned is forearmed."


FilmTies
http://www.filmties.com
Social networking combined with indie funding. They raise money through advertising revenue for indie filmmakers.

Fundable Films
http://fundablefilms.com/
A place where filmmakers can gain monetary support and valuable feedback.

Indie Fliks
http://www.indiefliks.com
Offers accredited investors movie investing opportunities, and the connections that count in the rapidly growing independent movie market.

Movie Money
http://www.movie-money.us/
Bringing filmmakers and investors together. Especially with this one, you're eventually going to be dealing directly with investors, so you better be ready and you better know your shit.

IndieGoGo
http://www.indiegogo.com/
Where people don't just choose the movies to watch, they choose the movies to make.


Examples of movies trying to fund their movies online.

A Million Dollars and a Movie
http://www.amilliondollarsandamovie.com/
Buy a square or click on ads and help this guy raise money to make his movie.

The Indywood Project
http://www.indywoodproject.com/index.php
Another site selling off squares. Llyod Kaufman, Ken Russel, and JR Bookwalter are apparently already attached to the project and looks like they've already sold quite a few squares.

A Swarm Of Angels
http://aswarmofangels.com/
A groundbreaking project to create a movie for 1 million and give it away to over 1 million people using the internet and a global community of members.

Fund My Movie
http://www.workprint.com/fundmymovie/
Hey, ya never know.

Please Fund My Film
http://www.pleasefundmyfilm.com/
You know the drill.

Drink Me Pictures
http://www.drinkmepictures.com/
A great way to spend 10 bucks.

Cinema Shares
http://www.cinemashares.com/index_fullscreen.html
Buy stock in the movie FUNGI.

Make A Movie Happen
http://www.makeamoviehappen.com/
They've raised over $300,000.00

The 1 Second Film
http://www.the1secondfilm.com/
A film anyone can produce for $1.00


I'm posting this as well as the previous post about advertisers funding indies, for my fellow indies but also as a note to myself, because I am about to embark on my own fundraising efforts for a production I am currently finishing up the script for. More details to come.



Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ad Cash For Indies

Recent article from the L.A. TIMES.

Advertiser cash flows to indie film projects
Companies seek a bond with audiences beyond product placement.
By Lorenza Muñoz, Times Staff Writer
June 1, 2007


Advertisers have long linked up with Hollywood by placing their products within films or trotting out stars as their official sponsors. But some companies are now going a step further, investing directly in movie productions in the hopes of striking even deeper connections with film audiences.

In what could be the latest trend in the financing of independent films, Unilever brand Dove has agreed to invest $3 million — about one-fifth of the budget — into "The Women," the first theatrical movie by Diane English, the creative force behind the hit television series "Murphy Brown." Gatorade, the sports drink maker, quietly put up $3 million for the production of "Gracie," a story about a girls soccer team that is coming out this weekend.

"With low-budget movies you have to have different ways to create marketing efficiencies and leverage your ability to fund them," said Andrew Shue, producer of "Gracie." He said the seed money from Gatorade enabled him to raise an additional $7 million from a hedge fund. "This is absolutely something in the future for these kinds of movies that are smaller budget and under the studio threshold."

Independent studio Lions Gate has been discussing potential producing partnerships with several corporations.

The investments are crucial for independent producers struggling to cobble together funding for their movies. National brands can give smaller movies a broader marketing appeal and can often give them the aura of a bigger studio movie.

Some Hollywood executives, however, are skeptical that corporate financing will grow into a broader movement. They point to the experience of PepsiCo Inc.'s Mountain Dew, which invested nearly $4 million in the snowboarding documentary "First Descent." The film grossed only $988,368 in worldwide ticket sales, although Mountain Dew was less interested in making a box-office profit than reaching a specific demographic: snowboarders.

"I don't see any signs that it's a significant trend," said Steve Gilula, chief operating officer of Fox Searchlight. "But it is interesting to see another source of funds flowing into filmmaking."

Some talent agencies, however, see an opportunity. ICM has hired a former marketing executive to look for potential deals to marry brands with the agency's clients.

"When it's a perfect fit, it isn't a stretch, it is organic," said Lori Sale, head of global branded entertainment for ICM, who put Dove and English together for "The Women." "It's very much matchmaking: What does the brand do for the movie? What does the movie do for the brand?"

Typically, the major studios partner with corporations to market big-budget movies, as DreamWorks Animation did with McDonald's for "Shrek" and as Sony Pictures did with NASCAR for "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

But in today's increasingly fragmented market, with digital video recorders enabling viewers to skip TV commercials, advertisers are desperate to find new ways to reach people.

"Three million dollars is not a big deal for these people," said Claudia Caplan, chief marketing officer of Mendelsohn Zien Advertising in Los Angeles. "Everybody is trying to find new ways to reach consumers."

The companies view investment in niche movies as a way to promote a lifestyle, rather than a brand. Dove, for instance, plans to launch a marketing campaign for "The Women" that plays off of its "Campaign for Real Beauty," which garnered attention in 2004 with innovative ads featuring real women of all shapes and sizes in their underwear.

"The movie will give us an opportunity to reach women in a real way," said Kathrine O'Brien, Dove's marketing director. "It addresses the challenges that women face in society today."

English plans to create a director's blog for the Dove website, http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com . In addition, she will make a short film for the site that will chronicle the making of "The Women" featuring the movie's stars and crew.

With "Gracie," Gatorade saw a way to increase its reach with young girls, the target audience. "Consumers get turned off when film or TV shows become too commercial," said Dustin Cohn, director of strategic innovations for Gatorade and Propel, a fitness water. "We didn't want to say 'put X amount of drink shots or X amount of branding in the movie….' We did not get involved in the film to make a film. It is about leveraging an asset to help communicate our support for women in sports."

The sports drink manufacturer has produced 9 million 15-packs with a picture of the movie's lead, Carly Schroeder. The packs also have information to receive an instructional soccer video featuring soccer stars Mia Hamm and Landon Donovan.

Neither Dove nor Gatorade demanded product placement in the films in return for their investments. However, the soccer players in the movie will be drinking Gatorade, Shue said. "She wasn't going to be slugging down milk," he said. And three Gatorade executives will receive a producing credit.

English has not ruled out the possibility of inserting a Dove product into the film if it fits seamlessly into a scene. A remake of the 1939 classic comedy, "The Women" is set in contemporary New York and stars Annette Bening, Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith and Candice Bergen.

"I was being very, very careful about this," said English, who also wrote the screenplay. "I didn't want to be put in a position where the product was running the show. Their campaign is about reaching out globally to women and girls about self esteem and empowerment and that is what we are saying in our movie."

Although the company will not get a producing credit, Dove is entitled to a certain percentage of the profit once the $15-million investment in the movie is recovered.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Horror Junk!

I've never had so much fun getting a bad review. These guys crack me up!



I absolutely agree with much of what they're saying about the non-existant horror element. Not to worry guys, I'm working on it. Check these guys out at horrorjunk.net

Monday, June 4, 2007

You bet your ass!





Coming July 24th, 2007



It's about damn time!



PRE-ORDER IT HERE!

My mood has improved drastically.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

I won't lie

it's a struggle. It's a struggle to be truely independent. To be truely DIY. When it comes to marketing the movie (Monster Cops: The Midnight Special) I assume full responsibility of EVERYTHING. I have to do all of the marketing. The emails, the press releases, the individual press releases tailor made for specific genres, crowds, and publications. Getting the word out about the different screenings, communicating with all the fests, cons, and venues about each screening. Keeping the website updated. And Myspace is a whole other thing by itself. Communicating with people through Myspace, keeping up with bulletins, and advertising on Myspace. I create the fliers, the posters. I mail them out, along with all the Press Kits, and DVD Screener Copies. And all this in between working that day job. I'm trying to do the job of an entire marketing department.

At the same time I'm planning out the next production. What am I doing next? What do I need to do to help supplement the advertising and marketing? Will I be working on a Monster Cops Webisode next or am I going straight into planning on raising funds for the next Monster Cops movie. Part of the marketing agenda is to create video blogs to help let people know just what all this Monster Cops business is about. And here I am scrounging for time to work on that.

There are times I find myself stretched thin. Honestly in these past few weeks especially I'm tearing my hair out. It does get to me. I do look forward to having a budget and being able to pay people to actually show up and do a job. I'm tired of relying on other people and being let down. All of us indies go through it. But I'm starting to feel like I've been through it more times then necessary. I'm ready for professionals. Or at least people that want to be there. People who are as enthused about doing this as I am. And the thing is the people you work with sometimes are enthusiastic, they want it like you do. But when you aren't paying, the bills, the jobs, school, and everything else you aren't providing take precedents. And you can't be mad at them for it, it's just how it is. I should know, I have a day job.

But I'm willing to bust my ass for my vision. And I can't expect other people to bust their ass for my vision. At least not without a paycheck.

Until I can get to that money and that crew, I have to do things on other people's time, and do as much of this MYSELF as possible. Honestly I'm getting cranky not having produced anything in a while, and trailers and origami tutorials don't count. Gotta work on stuff to practice, to hone my chosen craft, and to help with the marketing. So right now in this very post, I promise, by hook or by crook, I will have produced something worth while before this month is over.

But hey, I can't be too down. The movie is available on AMAZON.COM and we are officially listed on IMDB.com.



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