Jentri on Facebook

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What you need to know if you're not David Blaine.

It just occurred to me that, even though everyone will have their own natural progression as to how things work, an outline of first, second and thirds may be helpful. So here are goals to set for yourself when starting out.  Some of these are interchangeable, so this is merely a foundation to start from.

1) If you are the writer, make your script as deliciously wonderful as possible. As tight as you believe it can get, with the exception of knowing you're going to have more color paper changes down the road. Count on it. If you're the writer/director, you're job feels limitless, however, you will primarily need to focus on how to tell the story the best, what actors could play these roles, tone, screen composition, and overall vision.

2) Find a producer/s. More than likely, unless you're just a bad ass who can do everything (I know there are a few out there!) get some help producing your baby. Shop or pitch your story to people who are in the market of looking for material, wonderfully knowledgeable, and driven. Don't send your work out frivolously, but don't be so scared to share it that no one knows about it! If you don't know anyone, then talk to other film peers you trust and admire. Maybe they'll inspire you too! :) More than likely, if someone believes in you, they'll give you some referrals. FYI: Referrals are beautiful & they work! A good producer will most likely have experience with business plans, post operation strategies, etc. If you're good at that, perhaps you should find someone that's better at other things. I find that a good producing relationship works best when you compliment each other, utilize each others strengths. Bottom line when securing producers: Talk, talk, talk. Be passionate, and precise.  If they love your story, you're on your way... if they don't know about it, it doesn't matter.

3) Travel, y'all. It's not a requirement, but I'll tell you that A LOT of business goes down in HW land. So if you have the means, resources, friends to stay with, etc. go visit LA. Hell, create your own reason to go if you don't have to - attend a class - make an apt. with whatever agent/manager/actor will see you. Remember, people must know you're alive and in business!

4) Hire a line producer. Don't have money? That's typical for those of us who aren't rich or who haven't had the money to save for the last million years to start pre-pro.  But why would anyone want to work for you for free you may ask? The answer is simple: Because they're passionate about their work and love you and yours. Savvy line producers will get your rear in gear.

5) Hire an AD & Location Manager: You will need an AD to do script breakdowns, etc, which are essential for the line producer to have when creating a budget. You will also need a location manager if you don't have them mapped out with permission & secured already. Locations can play a big factor in your budget, so you'll need someone on board asap.  I didn't have an AD, but my line producer doubled as one - bonus. That's the beauty of having people on board your team that are AWESOME.  I found a location manager just getting started in the biz, but very aggressive and talented. A perfect combo. However you do it, these two roles are imperative in getting your party started.

Once you've got these roles established you should be well on your way to making things happen - for real! Take a moment - Breathe. Cry. Smile. You're business plan, budget, locations, strategies, marketing, and investor relations are all being planned, developed, inspected, marinated, and contemplated at the same time. It's a good idea to have an online calendar so that everyone involved can keep track of one another's production agenda and stick together. I highly recommend weekly or regular meetings to be as productive as possible. A few months in to the preliminary stages, it's great to have a producer that can map out guidelines for all production stages. Don't forget to secure legal representation (your LLC needs to be set up as soon as you're clear who all the partners are and how things will operate). As overwhelming as it may sound, and contrary to what you may think, it's much more comforting to have some sort of organized system than to find out later you're really not David Blaine. 

Happy pre-pro days! 

No comments:

Post a Comment