Making a movie about people talking of the interstellar war.

Happy new year, everyone.

As stated in my recent threads, I am thinking (as always) of doing that film. One low-cost way of doing it is to have actors talking about the interstellar war, as opposed to showing the combat scenes. I have started a background fictional history of the war, with the introduction and the epilogue. The history is by the defeated Enemy General (EG), who writes it while in prison.

As I understand it, the rule of thumb is that, to adapt prose to film, one page of prose would equal one minute of film, but a history can be lengthened or shortened.

I am thinking that the film, to keep it as low as possible, should have one set of scenes where the EG talks to his counterpart, then another set of scenes where a reporter talks to survivors of the war, and so on. And, to splurge a bit, we can always have a dance scene.

The regulars here know film better than me, but many good movies have been done with inexpensive sets - examples are "Same Time, Next Year", and Hitchcock's "Rear Window".
 
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@Nate North, so what do you suggest? A science fiction movie, along with the superhero movie, would be the most expensive type of film to make.
In certain formats it would. I'm suggesting keeping an open mind. You once mentioned that you would like to own a franchise like TMNT. That empire was built on some pretty cheap animation. I personally grew up on Gi Joe, Voltron, and a lot of shows that didn't have stars, didn't have expensive animation, and they did well in their time. To a degree, that's still possible. I think a lot of people have multiple intersecting constraints that just make success impossible, like it has to be live action, and it has to be sci fi, and it has to be theatrical release. By the time you make 3 stipulations, everybody below 40 million fails. Now if you toss a couple out, like theatrical and live action, suddenly you can make sci fi for cents on the dollar, and if you can sell it, sometimes profits are more than theatrical release films. It's mostly about how rigid your standards of success are. If you would be happy creating a cool comic book that got into stores nationwide, that's probably achievable. If you wanted to do a live action show, but decided to be relaxed and funny instead of impressive, you could probably pull that off. If you watch "Red Dwarf", these guys barely even tried, and got an 8 season run.

There are likely many approaches that would work, I don't know all of them, I'm barely competent at 3-4 out of 100. An amazing stand up comedy routine sold to Netflix as a 1 hour special could be a very cost effective entry point if you want to try the mogul side of things. That's mainly about locating talent and writing up contracts. Establishing positive cash flow as early as possible is a good idea for any prodco. The smart thing to do would probably be to run a detailed market analysis, locate and analyze case studies in several approaches that you think you might enjoy, and find a match where you can do something with a reasonable expectation of return. If comic book publishing has good numbers, that's an example of one of the 100 paths I'm mentioning. Graphic Novels get made into 80 million dollar movies about 100 times as often as short films do.

If you wanted to focus on writing, I'd suggest starting with some simple things, take a few $12 udemy courses on plot and structure. Go back and read your favorite novel after the courses, and really dissect it. Why is Daneel Olivaw interesting? What purpose does it serve in the plot for Elijah Baily to visit character X while event Y is taking place elsewhere. That kind of thing. If you can understand the mechanics of storytelling it gradually becomes easier to evolve the concepts you have into larger fictions. Right now you're writing ideas, scenes, and that is creativity, but once you get used to completing plot and character arcs, you'll start doing it automatically.

Here's my biggest suggestion, and I think some people said this earlier, or something like it.

You are trying to make a decision about which path to follow based on information you don't yet have. You should start gaining experience with the different paths you are considering, then look back and judge their relative merits in hindsight. Your whole perception of that choice will be very different once you've spent some real time experiencing the day to day of each route.

You look at a brochure for a national forest, there are bright and colorful pictures of a hiking trail, a sunset over a mountain, and an eagle snatching a fish from a crystal blue lake, across the top it says "Explore Mysterious places, Befriend Wild Animals, and Experience Adventure". There isn't anything in the brochure about spending weeks medicating blisters on your feet, but you know all about it after your second day hiking 15 miles. You're sore all the time, your feet hurt constantly, and you have patches of sunburn where your hair parts. You can hear animals, but you never see one, because they avoid humans. This "Adventure" is just hauling yourself down a dirt path for hours.

You have been lied to by the brochure! It has misrepresented this painful and dull experience for the insidious purpose of extracting financial gain. What monster was responsible for this egregious tapestry of lies? Hiking is definitely not what you thought it was, and a career as a pro hiker on YouTube is not for you. Unfortunately, you already paid for the 1 month pass, and people are already watching the channel, so you decide to follow through with it. By day 5 you have a hat, sunscreen, a compass, uv blocking shades, 2 pairs of socks, and a light backpack with cold water. After a week, the soreness is gone, and you've fixed a lot of the small problems, 10 days in you find you are actually enjoying the fresh air and exercise, and your mind begins to wander across the scenic vistas as you hike. You stop for lunch in the same forest grove near the top of a mountain each day, and after you do this for 2 weeks, one of the local animals trusts you enough to emerge from the trees into the glade.

A small deer, wanting a piece of your sandwich. You start feeding the deer every day at lunch, and it even walks along with you on the trail for a mile or so now. It's a month now, and you renew your park pass without really thinking about it. It's a routine at this point, and you've mostly forgotten about the brochure. Week 5 you're really interested in exploring this cavern you found at the base of a huge tree, week 6 you discover poachers on the mountain, and radio it in to help the park rangers. They see you every day now, and you're on a friendly basis with them, so one day months later, when one of the rangers has to move away, they ask you if you'd like to get paid to hike everyday, by becoming a ranger.

Ten years later, you are a year from retirement, and it's time for someone at the park office to design a new brochure. You take a few of the thousands of photos you took over the years, a majestic lake, a photo of your friend the deer, a mountain range at dawn, and across the top you write "Explore Mysterious places, Befriend Wild Animals, and Experience Adventure"

Somewhere in the middle of that story, he became a ranger, but he really had to make it a significant part of his life before he was actually qualified to decide if he could do it professionally.

Jump in and start something basic, like the comic book, or just a blog, and start racking up some milage in the areas you're interested in. No amount of advice can replace direct experience.
 
How much would it cost to make the 1970's movie, "Same Time Next Year"? it's about two people talking, so, aside from the salaries of star actors, I am hoping the budget wouldn't be too big. But I now realize how costs can quickly scale in film.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
How much would it cost to make the 1970's movie, "Same Time Next Year"? it's about two people talking, so, aside from the salaries of star actors, I am hoping the budget wouldn't be too big. But I now realize how costs can quickly scale in film.
A question you ask often. And the answer is always the same:

It depends.

Aside from the salaries of star actors a movie like "Same Time Next Year"
the budget wouldn't be too big at all. A very small crew, one set and a
short shoot would keep unexpected expenses to almost nothing.

Off the top of my head I'd say $200,000 for a union shoot. $10,000 to
$80,000 for a non-union shoot.
 
Aside from the salaries of star actors a movie like "Same Time Next Year"
the budget wouldn't be too big at all. A very small crew, one set and a
short shoot would keep unexpected expenses to almost nothing.

Off the top of my head I'd say $200,000 for a union shoot. $10,000 to
$80,000 for a non-union shoot.

I may be entering the final leg of my journey in my career, so the time may be coming to start filming in some way, shape, or form.

That said, I have also realized that my passion is not filming but writing. But I would still like to translate my writings to film, so I may want to do a test shoot.

And, yes, Rik, I was thinking along the same lines as you, but, without any experience at all, I knew I didn't know what I was talking about.

I am seriously thinking of doing a short video, just to see ...... whatever.
 
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You could do a short for a couple of thousand.

Build a set in a small theater, hire a small crew of 8 and shoot for two days.
Hmmm ......

How about rehearsals first? No props, just two or more individuals talking. Remember I've never done this.

Also, Mara said to have the characters emotionally involved, and you have also been saying to focus on the characters in my story - I have always preferred character-focused stories. Good examples would be Captain Kirk and "Bones" McCoy talking about how space has affected them.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
Hmmm ......

How about rehearsals first? No props, just two or more individuals talking. Remember I've never done this.
Two people talking. Assuming 15 to 20 pages, you could do a rehearsal on the first half
of the first day. Then shoot for a few hours - wide shots. Then a full second day.

You've never done this but I have. I told you years ago you should just jump in and
do it. Get the experience. Even if the final short film isn't excellent, you will learn so
much.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
@directorik, yes, I've been asking the same questions for the past decade, and you know it better than most.
People talking about people talking about a war in a film.

Eric Wareheim Mind Blown GIF by Tim and Eric
 
Two people talking. Assuming 15 to 20 pages, you could do a rehearsal on the first half
of the first day. Then shoot for a few hours - wide shots. Then a full second day.

You've never done this but I have. I told you years ago you should just jump in and
do it. Get the experience. Even if the final short film isn't excellent, you will learn so
much.
Rik,

There are two schools of thought - the first, typically by those below the line, say, as you do, to start with short films and work up. The second, typically above the line, say to take the bigger strides and go on to write a script, then pitch for at least a low-budget movie, if not a tent pole. I have decided to adopt the second school, but that doesn't mean I can't get ideas from the first one.
My idea is to do a short film to see if I really want to be a filmmaker; another thought is to do a short film to get the thoughts in my head out - this idea, however, is not often done by writers, because writing is a solitary craft, by craftsmen who work at their desks all day; the last is to post the shorts on Youtube and hope its gets picked up or, perhaps, use the shorts to pitch at the film markets.

Like I said, the time seems to be coming, but I will only do it when I'm ready, not before.
 
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