Helping Future Film Folks

by mattdentler
March 29, 2009 9:49 AM
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For a couple of days this month, I'm guest-lecturing a couple of seminars at the New York Film Academy, for its Producing students. The subject of the seminars will be trends in New Media Film Distribution, Blogging, Social Networks, Festivals, and more. I have plenty to talk about, and I'm excited to see what the students wanna talk about, but I also felt it would be good to open up a forum here and ask: what information do you think I must discuss with the Film Producing students? Whether it's about the craft or festival strategy, or whatever, let me know. Seriously. And, I'll happily report back on how that topic/question went over.

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  • Marc | March 30, 2009 3:25 AMReply

    First of all, that is incredible advice from Kimberley Browning.

    Matt, one thing that I think you might consider--and I say this wishing I could be in the class--is that a filmmaker's specific goals have, and should have, a big effect on what tactics are going to be right for him or her; and/or, depending on goals, the same tactic can be deployed different ways.

    In short, for a plugged-in twentysomething digital filmmaker making ULB films, blogging and social networks might be a great place and tactic to spend a lot of time and effort. For others, maybe working on Super 16 trying to break in to directing for hire, or to use a short to raise .5 or 1M for a feature--more attention to seeking agents, a manager, financiers, or capable producers might be in order. And there may be ways in which blogging and SN sites can help that, though old fashioned networking, a business plan, and cold calls might still be better.

    It seems like there are so many different types of filmmakers, with so many goals out there--not everyone wants to make a short and then move on to a feature and hope that it turns out to be a modest hit, gets some buzz, gets in to some big fests, and ensures a career as a working director and on to the next film (Frozen River, Half Nelson, etc.) ... Others are writing and directing expressly for the internet or iPods, not necessarily reaching for the same golden ring of the previous category. How these individuals utilize and deploy blogs, social networking, and festivals will vary greatly, and it might be worthwhile, if you hadn't already, to keep that in mind.

  • joe | March 29, 2009 11:52 AMReply

    How about the business side of producing? Always seems that filmmakers are blindsided by all the intermediaries: agents, producing agents, sales agents, etc. Esp. with digital distrib, it would be interesting to understand how these roles may have changed / not changed in the new era of reducing the middle-man (sometimes).

  • Kimberley Browning | March 29, 2009 10:14 AMReply

    Read and acquire scripts written by SOMEONE ELSE. It is very difficult to get your first feature made as a writer director. Have a script or two in your arsenal that you are emotionally prepared to sell, or allow another director to make to get things rolling. Or be willing as a filmmaker to consider directing a script by someone else. Most filmmakers whose short films do great as festival are sorely unprepared to make a feature film opportunity happen from producers they get meetings with because their own feature script is unmarketable or too expensive (or just not well written) and they communicate that they only want to make their own films!

    Also, music rights for new media is still a nebulous field! Don't assume you can use famous music just because you are only going to show it on the internet/downloads, etc.

    Kimberley Browning