Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Film Making

My brother Brandon does these great posts on storytelling on his blog. I wish I wrote stuff like that.

Instead, I get a lot of people who tell me they have a great idea for a movie, and they ask me if I want to make it. I wanted to write a blog post about this, but haven't had the time. This week I got a message on facebook from someone I met asking me this. She had sent me a message before asking if I wanted to "make a movie", and I had kind of ignored it. and she seemed a little bummed that I hadn't answered her request earlier.

Anyway, here is how I responded.

Sorry I didn't respond sooner.

I didn't think you were serious about making a film. Here is the deal: Films are hard to make and expensive. Every week I get a lot of people that want to make a movie tell me about their idea. Some are good, some are not, but they are all expensive and all are hard to make.(EDIT: removed some personal whiny info) Here are some thoughts. They are kind of flippant, but so am I.

Here are some things to get you started:

-Get ready to be criticized. No one will ever love your idea as much as you do. (this is true of every movie). You will spend the next two years trying to get people to love your idea. That part is the financing part.

-The idea is only worth the paper it is printed on. If it is a fully developed screenplay, it has more paper and is worth more. but an idea by itself is not worth anything. (even a really really good idea).

-Financing is the hardest part. Cheap movies cost about 5 million dollars to make (a number I made up). People want to spend money on there own ideas so you will either need a) a lot of money b) a rich relative or c) a plan in how to turn someone else's money and your idea into a lot of money for them.

-Festivals can create buzz, but they seldom create profit. 90% (a number which I just made up) of movies at Sundance don't end up making much money. which is only important if you are using someone else's money and they plan on getting it back.

-I lied when I said financing the movie is the hardest part. Making it is the hardest part. I can't tell you how to do this part. I am still figuring it out, but I have some ideas.

-Lastly, here is my first bit of feedback on your idea: It doesn't seem like a very good one. Now don't get offended. I routinely get ripped for bad ideas and some of my best ideas have been torn to shreds. But this idea, as you presented it, doesn't seem very good. But I don't know, maybe with the right script, or the right director AND the right script it could be very funny. (EDITED TO REMOVE THE ACTUAL IDEA)

Now all of that can be overcome, but you have an uphill battle on your hands. I am sorry if this advice isn't very helpful. This is a hard business.

Good luck with your script!


I probably come off as a jerk, but I promise, I am much less of a jerk than most of the people that you come in contact with when trying to get a movie made.


Brian Watkins said...

thanks Simon Cowell! my ideas aren't very good either

Dixie Dixon said...

Man, I always wish you blogged more often because you are so fun to read. This post was hilarious.

Cindy said...

Brandon's blog is a lot nicer than your blog.

an illdressed foolishwise said...

oh boy! do i feel like a dummy! i am totally one of "those" people who has talk to you about my "grrrreat movie idea" dang! :)

aporitic said...

Ehh, you're probably less of a jerk than most of the people that you come in contact with when NOT trying to get a movie made, too.