pre-pro Problem - My own Development Hell - UK LGBT Drama Film

Background
Hello - I am trying not to lose motivation so i need advice. I am totally on my own with this, my friends help when they aren't at uni or work.

I have grew up filming shorts, quiz shows, chat shows and recreating films with my friends since I was a teenager. I am now 28 and after visiting Raindance in London (which is a 4 hour drive south away) I feel like I can produce a film for their film festival and any others I can submit too.

I have written a character driven LGBT Northern England feature drama film based on true events. I written it in 2018 with revisions throughout 2019 and with my friends we attempted a shooting schedule with colour coded cards just to get an idea how long it would take to shoot. It is about 70 pages long.

1) Budget
Crowdfunding page is setup but I am not very good at it - but it is there as I was told its better to have one and not worry about it

2) Casting
There is about 12 speaking character which is usually what I am use to when it comes to my friends who are performing but i have been advised by them and several books not to cast anybody that is just a friend as its a character led story and that I should seek people wanting to do this as a career, even the amateurs. It feels exciting to branch out but it is really time consuming and becoming tedious.

Right i have a backstage account and this project has created an enormous amount of interest with 170 applications over 10 months from all over the UK.
I invited 12 people myself that look like the characters. Out of this amount of applications, I've sent 7 video auditions and received 5 back of which I like 2. When i do send them a request to perform some lines, they either back out or completely ignore it, very unprofessional, why did they apply?

So i decided with the help of my cousin to venture to local colleges, universities and the theatre group here. The college was supportive and they charge £20 an hour for their audition room. The theatre wont let me put anything up in their drama building as they don't want to "lose their members" for their own productions, which i think is stupid, am i wrong? They are quizzing me on what the story is about.

3) Crew
I have had several technical emails from Facebook for crew to be involved. My friends think we can do all the crew aspects ourselves and spend the money on equipment. I don't necessarily want technical help. I need creative help that isn't

Summary
So yeah you've probably guest I am in a stalemate with myself on what to do. It is a summer story so I have months to sort it. I just really want to take the time with actors, screen tests etc to get the parts correct. That is creative and fun to me. But i need help.

Any wise words would be appreciated

Sean
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
A few thoughts -

As a start, I suggest you take another crack at the screenplay and see if you can cut it down to 6 or 8 characters. Can one character fulfill the function(s) currently being done by 2 or 3? That will probably require tweaking the plot a bit, but it would simplify casting.

Do actors really need to look the way you see the characters? Unless there's a trait that's central to the plot, I wouldn't worry too much about that

And locations will always want to know something about the story to be sure that it isn't something that will embarrass them - plus people are just curious.
 
1. Did you make a Pitch movie on your crowdfunding page?

2. They are quizzing me on what the story is about. Sure.....the want to know what you are gonna make. The want to know how good your change of successes will be. Will it be worth there time if the are gonna put energy and time in it? The want to be able to judge this. For instance: do you have a experience sound guy? How many day's will this cost? How much locations will you use? This will be useful information for a actor to know.....and also for you to know.

3. How you gonna do sound and light? What creative help do you need?

Indeed you need to have a script and make sure that it works. Than you can calculate how much time shooting it will take. I have the feeling that you have the entire movie in your head and know how you want it to be. This will hold you back..... I know this from experience. Be more flexible with your characters. Be flexible with locations.... explore like Richard Linkletter with your actors how the dialogue could be.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Hello and welcome to indietalk! Are you redy for some honest, realistic
feedback and discussion for fellow filmmakers who have been where you
are?

Then hold on to your seat, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
Right i have a backstage account and this project has created an enormous amount of interest with 170 applications over 10 months from all over the UK.
I invited 12 people myself that look like the characters. Out of this amount of applications, I've sent 7 video auditions and received 5 back of which I like 2. When i do send them a request to perform some lines, they either back out or completely ignore it, very unprofessional, why did they apply?
No, it's not unprofessional to back out. Just as it's not unprofessional for
you to pick and choose only the people you like for roles. Actors apply for
a part, get more information and then decide it isn't something they are
interested in.

Of the 170 applications how many did you contact to say you weren't
interested in them?

The theatre wont let me put anything up in their drama building as they don't want to "lose their members" for their own productions, which i think is stupid, am i wrong? They are quizzing me on what the story is about.
Yes, you are wrong. It's their place, it's their rules. And it seems quite right for
them to quiz you about the story. It is a reasonable request. There are still many
other places to put up your notice.

Have you set a specific start date and shooting dates?

That is always an issue with me; I get a notice of a project, I send in my info and
get a response that they want me to work on their project. But the don't know
exactly when they will shoot. I cannot commit to that kind of project so I usually
back out.

So yeah you've probably guest I am in a stalemate with myself on what to do. It is a summer story so I have months to sort it. I just really want to take the time with actors, screen tests etc to get the parts correct. That is creative and fun to me. But i need help.

Any wise words would be appreciated
My advice is to hold off on auditions and crewing up until you have set dates.
Exactly when and where rehearsals will be. Exactly when and where you will
shoot and for exactly how long. Expect that you'll get submissions and some
of those people (both actors and crew) will not follow up. Roll with it.

Summer isn't that far off. What is it? Five months? Six months before you want
to shoot? But before you can expect people to commit to YOU you need to to
commit to them.
 
Your first feature (and I'd say this is just long enough to call it a feature) is more of an education than anything else. Yeah, a rare director gets huge accolades with their first feature but the odds of that happening are slim (sorry, I'm being a realist, not a pessimist). Just get it done. Do the best you can and learn as much from the things you did wrong as from the things you'll do right. Have fun, make sure the small cast/crew also has fun, and use it as a stepping-stone to bigger and better things. I look forward to seeing what you make of it, and I'm glad you're doing something intended to highlight LGBT+ issues. Best of luck, I'm sending positive vibes your way!
 
But before you can expect people to commit to YOU you need to to
commit to them.
I'm really flexible with the shooting dates though. I always have done this, Maybe its not right but If i really like an actor, I'm willing to discuss when they are free and do it. As apose to losing people who are perfect just because I made a big announcement on posters and social media that it is the 10th of July, if you get me?

How do i go about getting another producer to help me and Who wants to do it for love of doing it?
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I'm really flexible with the shooting dates though. I always have done this, Maybe its not right but If i really like an actor, I'm willing to discuss when they are free and do it. As apose to losing people who are perfect just because I made a big announcement on posters and social media that it is the 10th of July, if you get me?
I don't get you. In my experience no start date gets you fewer serious
people both in front of and behind the camera. But since you've always
done it that way, I guess it works for you.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
FOMO

Fear of Missing Out

Doesn't want to say "Shooting July 21-31" because the actor that is "the one" may be booked and not reply to the ad.

Pro tip: Get over your #fomo. What's happening is you are looking less pro and THAT makes you miss out. ;)
 
The actor that appears perfect on his audition tape (sent September) has just said this week that he is still interested. Is the next stage to meet him in person? I take it meeting him at my flat is unprofessional. Do i hire somewhere and I am presuming he is also auditioning in front of us?

Love the advice guys, say it how it is, I'm learning
 
Last edited:

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Audition in public space (library, dance studio, yoga studio, small museum, etc.)
Not only 1 actor, multiple people to read sides and even interact for all roles
Scheduled on the half hour unless doing a cattle call (open audition)
A friend to do the check-ins and manage the time
Videotaped
Fruit and water available
Table for you to sit at
Etc...............
 
Top