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Is it possible to write this script idea to fit this budget?

I wrote a rough draft of a script, and I was told by some people that I showed it to, and talked about it with, that it was a really good premise for a movie, and I should consider producing and directing it as well.

If I had to use my own money, I was wondering if I could shoot it for maybe $20,000, and I do some of the post production and set duties myself to save on cost, such editing, color grading, which I had a lot more practice with lately, etc.

However, the movie is a Santa Clause type movie that would take place in that universe. So we are talking about a North pole Santa Clause type setting, and I am not sure I could cover that in that type of budget. I mean movies like Paranormal Activity were shot for a similar low budget, but not sure about a santa claus movie.

I mean I suppose I could opt for a more realistic Santa Clause universe setting and have it take place in some real cabins, and shakes and industrial buildings, and then just cut to the inside, where I would shoot in a real toy factory maybe, and not show so much of the toys close up, since most toy factories, probably do not produce a lot of everything. But it's not just toys though, since Santa would give gifts to adults as well I guess, and I could shoot in other factories, and warehouses.

It could look like a much more realistic industrial factory and warehouse setting, rather than the one people are use to watching in Christmas movies. And I live in Canada, so there is already plenty of snow around for exterior shots. And I would just have to get a really good costume designer for Santa and the elves. The elves would probably be the hardest part, besides getting reindeer. I don't know if I would need to actually show the reindeer and the sled, but audiences are probably expecting to see it at some point?

What do you think?
 
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Get a producer to assist on making that come true within your budget. Wish I had $20k play around with. If you have $20k should be trying to do it for $10k. Just talk directly to the people you need to talk to and explain how them helping you would be beneficial to themselves.
 
No.

You need to be able to write and finish a script first.
Time and time again you are aiming for a feature without making sure you can handle the basics.
I always try to be supportive here, but you never really listen to advice that tells you how to master the craft before choking on a piece that is too big to swallow.
How can you write to a budget when you hardly have any experience with shooting or planning?
You just haven't got the clue yet.

It might be possible: I can't tell without a proper script and a breakdown.
But you would just burn through your money before you wrap, because you will ask the internet for advice while not giving enough info.
 
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No.

You need to be able to write and finish a script first.
Time and time again you are aiming for a feature without making sure you can handle the basics.
I always try to be supportive here, but you never really listen to advice that tells you how to master the craft before choking on a piece that is too big to swallow.
How can you write to a budget when you hardly have any experience with shooting or planning?
You just haven't got the clue yet.

It might be possible: I can't tell without a proper script and a breakdown.
But you would just burn through your money before you wrap, because you will ask the internet for advice while not giving enough info.

This.

How long have you been at this, Ryan? 6 years now with nothing actually produced? And you keep coming back with inane questions about new scripts. What happened to the other scripts?

Can you write and produce a 3-minute short on zero budget? Who knows? You haven't really done that yet, have you? Well, there was that one film you made years ago, but it's gone from your YouTube channel for some time, save for a couple of exerpts that are buried in your dozens of useless "test" videos.

I was told by some people that I showed it to... that it was a really good premise for a movie, and I should consider producing and directing it as well.

And there's the bigger problem: you keep taking advice from these anonymous "some people" that you talk to from time to time, and then you bring their advice here for a second opinion. Who are these people? What are their credentials, and are they really qualified to make such a statement? It's one thing if Aunt Edna tells you that you did a great job, but she's always going to say that. Same with your best friend; of COURSE he thinks it's awesome, but does he really know how to judge the viability of the script, or even the filmmaker, to the tune of $20k?

I remember several years ago when we were urging you just to go out and make something. Anything. And you were full of excuses as to why you couldn't (nobody in my town wants to be in it, can't find cast/crew, always something that lays the blame on anyone other than you).

So what happened to the movie you made? Yeah, it was bad. But y'know what? First films usually suck, and that's okay. They are learning processes.

Seriously, Ryan. Set your ambitious features aside. Make a short. Make 10 shorts. Base them on your features. Heck, that's a good place to develop backstory on your main characters. Just make something within your current means and use that to test your theories.
 
Okay thanks for the advice. I have been helping other people with their projects this whole time. I would like to make more shorts, but I don't have the money or resources where I live to do it.

If I used the money I have to make shorts, than I wouldn't have any, for a feature in the future. I would be flat dry of any money for a feature, and wouldn't be able to make one.

So I would like to have the luxury and money to make 10 shorts first, but do not not. I mean I have been shooting my own footage for practice, but it's not really a short, if I just cut shots of land together. Even that one short I posted on here before, I was told it wasn't a real short, but a bunch of random shots strung together with no story.

So I don't really have the money to budget actual scripts for 10 shorts, although I would like to. I know it's not ideal to save up for a feature, but in my situation, I feel that I am forced to do so. I know people say to make shorts with no money, but if I am to make a script with an actual story, I have a hard time finding people who want to work for free where I live.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
If you want to write & produce a feature - and I'm all for that - keep it very simple.
Five or six characters, locations that you KNOW you have access to, no special effects or action sequences. And keep on the short end - 90 page script, 85-90 minutes when done.
 
.............

If I used the money I have to make shorts, than I wouldn't have any, for a feature in the future. I would be flat dry of any money for a feature, and wouldn't be able to make one.

.............

Catch 22.
You wouldn't be able to make a feature with the money now either.

I'm not telling you to spend all that money on shorts.
The shorts I have made cost me between €25 and €400,- each: food, gas, props and licensing the music is where the money is spend on.
I could have saved that money, but that money helped building my portfolio, network and credibility.
Last weekend I participated in 48 Hour Film Project Rotterdam and directed a short. The team I had wouldn't have existted in this form without making shorts.
From 20 people (including myself) I worked with 5 people on shorts before. 3 People from my business network were happy to participate thanks to my portfolio. 1 Person I hired as an extra before, while we know each other from my 'student job', so I asked him again to volunteer as extra. 1 Person I already know for years, but we never worked together.
I'm not sure what we spend this weekend, but one thing is sure: if I wouldn't want to spend anything I wouldn't have been able to create what our team just did in the past few days.

As long as you find the excuses to not shoot, you won't make anything.
You say you can't find anyone to work for free. I've said this many times before: you are probably looking in the wrong places or you aren't 'selling' the idea properly. (The casting calls I saw were pretty bad.)
Or you need to offer at least gasmoney.
Or make something simple but fun with friends, so you have a portfolio to attract other people.
 
Okay thanks. I have been offering gasmoney before though, so maybe I need to offer more. I will try looking in different places. I have been using sites like kijiji and craigslist, but I am going to try theater communities again maybe and see if anything changed or see what happened.

I still would like to save most of my money for something better though. I burned through quite a bit on the first short, so I have been cautious in saving up for something bigger and better since then. But I will try different places and see what happens. Do you think it's a good idea, to add the other people's movies that I worked on, in my portfolio as well, or just my own?
 
...........I burned through quite a bit on the first short........

You were warned about this.
Money is not your problem here.

You can spend it all on 1 minute and it would probably be a disaster because you never practised without money. You have no clue how to spend it.

Ask friends for free.
Go connect to actors.
You need a little nice video to get strangers to help you.
 
Your biggest concern should be having a good script in hand. If you have that, it is a lot easier to attract talent to work for free. We all want to be part of something that has solid potential to give us some footage and grabs to promote ourselves for new projects, get some experience, and get some exposure.

If folks smell 'waste of time', then you will not get the needed support to pull off even a five-minute short.

Be very clear, that having even 2 or 3 good short films will greatly help you to attract support - and maybe money - for bigger projects, and eventually a feature. YOU MUST BUILD A BODY OF WORK to move in that direction. And there are all kinds of people out there that also want to build a body of work to promote their acting, sound, lighting, writing, cinematography, and on down the line. An exciting project with a clear goal will attract that talent.

Clear goal? EXPOSURE! Be it through fests or some kind of agrresive self-promotion to get the project out there. And I don't mean YT as a stand-alone vehicle for promotion.


You need to see these films not as wasting or using up funds for a bigger project, but as projects to attract those funds. A calling card. You're just floating around in a sea of wannabees without it.

If you really want to waste your money, then work hard for a decade or so, dump all that cash into a project with little experience to do so, and watch the S hit the fan.

Been there.

Suggestion: get a script that doesn't need a lot of complicated - if any - locations. Somewhere you can pull off some Guerrilla filmmaking (your house, a friend's basement or garage, the woods). Two or three actors tops, one camera, a boom, some lights. Bare-bones stuff. Trade food and refeshments for a day's work. Ya gotta be very organized - shots list, costume changes, all ready to go the second you show up. Pick good people so you lower your risk ok of no-shows.

Be positive every step of the way, let the others have input. It is a COLLABORTIVE effort!! The goal will be to produce a short film. If things go south, at least get some grabs and footage the folks can use in their reels and other promotion. Make it owrth their while.


Most important, don't just blow it off if it doesn't seem to be working as you hoped. Do you very best to solve issues with creatuve perspectives and unseen opportunities.

Don't have MAKING MONEY as your primary goal right now. Your ONLY goal needs to be a body of work. Period. The rest will follow.

a
 
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Go watch Pink Floyd live at Pompeii (the director's cut).
Roger Waters addresses your problem, as some 'critics' said they could make what Pink Floyd makes if only they could afford the gear. He welcomes them to use their gear and find out that making music is not only about money/gear, but also about practising and honing your skills.

This is also true for filmmaking..

So make something simple but cool/funny with friends and you'll see it will become easier to find people to work with.

What is the closest 48hrs filmproject?
Check it out, see whether they organize events to meet fellow filmmakers.
In Rotterdam there were speeddate sessions, drinks, presentations, so there were 4 evenings that allowed filmmakers and actors to meet and get to know each other.
This way I found 5 members for my team (and I met dozens of other people I can work with in the future).
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
48 Hour Film Fest
Halifax, CA 9/23
http://www.48hourfilm.com/halifax
Toronto, CA 9/23
http://www.48hourfilm.com/toronto

Go make a film. It will be worth the travel money and you'll learn to work with a deadline, and problem solve. You'll have 2 days to figure it all out, no time for forum posts, just time to use your own noggin. I think you'd learn a lot.
 
Okay thanks.

I don't really like those 48 hour film contexts, because I have helped others out with theirs' before, and 48 hours wasn't enough time to get it all done, so we ended up with compromised films, with elements of them unfinished. But you saw it will be worth the travel money. Why am I traveling? Why can't I just do it here, and email the movie in to save money? I live quite far away from Toronto or Halifax.

I should get better scripts. Do you think there are a lot of writers out there wouldn't mind giving me short film scripts to direct of theirs? I am working on a movie right now, but not really proud of it. It is a youtube tutorial I directed and edited for someone, but the host of the tutorial left the project and wasn't interested in finishing it. I can complete that one as much as I can and call it unfinished, but is it a good idea to put unfinished works in my portfolio for now?

I helped one group of people make a trailer for a feature they would like to make. They made the trailer before even shooting the feature, but the trailer is not being marketed in L.A. and the filmmakers are now making the movie with funding I believe.

So I could make a trailer of a script, if that is a good idea, it's just I would have to rend several locations just to shoot little snippets of scenes here and there, and wonder if it's worth the movie, just for a trailer. I mean it seems to have been worth it for them, but I was told before that a lot of people do not take trailers made of movies, before the movie is made, seriously. What do you think?
 
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indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
lol the point is it's a challenge. If you don't get it done hopefully you've still learned something. You need to learn how to problem solve. Do you have a job? Do you ask your colleagues what you should do before every move? Or is there a special forum for your field you are on too? Most of the questions you ask, you should be asking yourself and trying (that's how you get the answer). You've been asking for 5+ years, and people spend a lot of time answering you with sincerity and in 3 days you are asking about a "new" project. That's not fair to them, you are wasting their time. It's like a 5 year trolling. On most other sites they would have given up 5 years ago. But we have cool members here.

I am a multi-produced screenwriter (63+ shorts, 4+ features) with several short scripts avail, free to serious filmmakers. I also have 140 pages of my screenwriting book up for reading (800 page book in two volumes).


My film history ...

https://alexmwhitmer.wordpress.com/

My book ...

https://alexmwhitmer.wordpress.com/zz-excerpt/


Just click on HOW TO SPEAK SCRIPT

This member has free short film scripts for serious filmmakers.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yes no maybe.

Did you read what I posted?

Sheesh dude.
 
Yeah I did. I was just going by the experiences of people I know as well. Well I think the biggest problem I have is the scripts. Cause in my experience, I will post an add for a short film. Then I will get maybe 5-10 responses from cast who are interested. There is not a lot of crew that respond though unfortunately.

Then after the cast sees the script, after responding to the add, they then do not email me back and seem to have lost interest. So I think I just need to find some better scripts first, and this seems to be the main problem.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Don't be afraid to fail. You learn by doing. All of your questions are waiting to be answered by yourself.
 
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