directing Proof of Concept

I have a question about the success that can be obtained from making a Proof-of-Concept short film / trailer.

My research finds that filmmakers do this in the hopes of a studio financing them to direct their own feature-length film.

Do filmmakers ever make PoC for the purpose of selling the rights so someone else makes it? If so, is this a lucrative path for someone who only wants to make a short PoC film but doesn’t want to direct something big?
 

sfoster

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I have a question about the success that can be obtained from making a Proof-of-Concept short film / trailer.

My research finds that filmmakers do this in the hopes of a studio financing them to direct their own feature-length film.

Do filmmakers ever make PoC for the purpose of selling the rights so someone else makes it? If so, is this a lucrative path for someone who only wants to make a short PoC film but doesn’t want to direct something big?

Never heard of that and I don't think it would work except in very very extreme cases..
Like the guy that made how the grinch stole christmas..... that cartoon 27 minutes aka a short film.
i bet he could have sold the rights to that.

But how many short films end up super famous? thats literally the only one i can even think of in the last 50 years.
statistically It doesn't happen.

Typically if you want to create a proof of concept and sell the rights, then you write a book.
Selling a ton of copies of your book is the proof of concept.
 
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indietalk

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A short film would not prove that a feature version would work, so it is not a proof of concept. I really don't like when that term is applied this way. To me, a proof of concept film would be a limited run of the current film that is seeking full distro. It does well in 3 major cities, so you have proven the concept. Sorry, semantics.
 

sfoster

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A short film would not prove that a feature version would work, so it is not a proof of concept. I really don't like when that term is applied this way. To me, a proof of concept film would be a limited run of the current film that is seeking full distro. It does well in 3 major cities, so you have proven the concept. Sorry, semantics.
I don't think the full finished film qualifes as a concept.

Typically, in business, when people say proof of concept they are not referring to a final product ready for sale.
The pipeline order begins with Proof of Concept, then moves to Protoype, Minimal Viable Product, and then Finally an end product.
 
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indietalk

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I see it a bit differently. Proving the concept can be four-walling, etc. A short is not the same as a feature. It's like proving the truck can sell based on a moped.
 

indietalk

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It it sells money will be dumped into anyway so it's not finished in that regard.
 

sfoster

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I see it a bit differently. Proving the concept can be four-walling, etc. A short is not the same as a feature. It's like proving the truck can sell based on a moped.
Well I said a book was a proof of concept, that people can enjoy the concept of your story.

Short film is more like... proof of director's competence.
 

indietalk

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I see this is about the rights anyway. I mean, that's what writing a screenplay is for. To sell to make a film. If you wanted to "demo" the screenplay with a trailer I see no harm. However if you do not a have a real budget I would not even attempt it. It should be super slick and of the quality of a film. You don't want to say "Hey here's a great script and to prove it to you here's a poo poo student film trailer because we only had so much money."
 

indietalk

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What you want is a Hollywood quality trailer that looks like the film exists so you can say "No, it does not exist... but it can!"
 
Thank you for the responses.

I’m wanting to provide a high quality visual inspiration to see if someone wants to buy the rights to make a feature film.

The only examples I find online entail that same person directing the bigger film, which I have no interest in.
 

indietalk

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I see nothing wrong with it. I saw it on Shark Tank once. They went in to sell a "not made yet" film and showed a trailer. It's been done. Do it if you want.
 

sfoster

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Thank you for the responses.

I’m wanting to provide a high quality visual inspiration to see if someone wants to buy the rights to make a feature film.

The only examples I find online entail that same person directing the bigger film, which I have no interest in.

As I understand it, the guy that made underworld showed up with a bunch of drawings and pitched the entire film visually like that.
All pre-vis through storyboard art.

He had never made a film but he had such a compelling vision with the storyboards that they let him make the movie.
I think i read that once, im not gonna google to verify
 
Speaking specifically to the sub topic of "fake trailers" used as a POC showcase for would be productions, I run into a lot of people that have this idea. There are a lot of issues with trying to do things that way, and I end up explaining it over and over. People see a lot of trailers, and those trailers are made a certain way. Making one a completely different way will provide much different results, inferior results, and then it will be judged against people that have done it the right way.

A real trailer is made AFTER you get all the money, and make the entire film. At that point, trailer editing specialists and an R&D consulting firm are brought in, and given the finished film. They take 100 million dollars worth of polished footage, and boil it down to a 90 second hook piece. That's what people are used to seeing.

Fake trailers usually present a very low grade version of what could be the final product, typically trying to ape real trailers using recognizable stings and hits in the soundtrack. It's a tough situation for indie filmmakers, because in general, people just see what you show them, rather than potential. I think it's one of the biggest problems we face, because before you find investment, potential is all you've got.

Both the book, and the storyboard ideas are good. Many shows are sold using a "show bible", which is kind of a combination of the two, with some other aspects. Below is a link where you can find several of the Star Trek show bibles, which are what producers took to the networks to get the shows made. It's a rare opportunity to look at the real thing, and see exactly what they brought in to get an 80 million dollar greenlight.

 
I always looked at the idea of making a short to prove the concept for a feature as 'proof of concept'. The two films I know that were financed this way were Planet of the Apes(sort of) and Evil Dead. The story goes that United artist was reluctant to finance Planet of the Apes in 1968 because they were afraid audiences would laugh at actors running around in ape make-ups and the movie would flop, so they gave the producer, Arthur Jacobs, $5,000 to make a short proof of concept film to determine if the idea was plausible.... It was!! .... For Evil Dead, Sam Raimi and the boys made a short 8mm film that they showed investors. I think it might have been called Into the Woods,. From what I read, they had success and that is how they raised the $300,000.00 to make Evil Dead! I made a proof of concept short 16mm film decades ago with the goal of using it to raise money for a feature length version of the story. Ironically, the short film served its purpose in a way we had not considered, it proved that our idea sucked! Hahaha..
 
I think that proof of concept is a great idea, but only to prove the concept to yourself. As a sales technique, it's problematic. One does affect the other though, and if you get a meeting, and you've proven your concept to yourself, you can look them dead in the eye and say "This will absolutely work, we've tested it" and that confidence can really affect your chances. It's a much stronger response than "we think it will work but never bothered to try it".
 
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