Scrapping a project for a new one...your thoughts...

So here's the deal. My troupe recently got together with a writer/producer to create a feature film. He wrote a script and provided us with some equipment. We are to produce, direct, and star in the film.

A few days into production, we realized that the script is much to complicated for us to produce ourselves with no budget. We are overwhelmed and the acting is suffering. With no money, we are having an impossible time getting good actors who will give it their all, extras who will show up, cop uniforms and cars, 1/4 of the film takes place in a crowded bar and there are about 20 characters. The locations include jail, the crowded bar, and many other hard to get locations.

We have come to the conclusion that if we make this film now, the way we are doing it, it will suck. We have decided to tell our producer that we cannot do it, but are willing to start a new project with less locations and characters.

Is this wrong? We think that we are doing what's right. We realize that producing any film will be difficult, but most of the problems we are having are unnecessary. We need a Resevoir Dogs, a 12 Angry Men, a Mean Creek. Something Simple but great.

This producer has created a dissapointing film before and we want to nip this in the bud before more money and time is spent on a crappy film that needs a real budget. Plus we are starting school on top of everything.

Your thoughts?


Part of the producers' job is to secure funding if a project needs it...and more funding if it already has some and needs it. It's a simple business need more money to be able to make this go. Present an itemized list of what you need to make it happen. He can put dollar amounts next to each item (after doing some light research) and determine whether or not the project continues...based on that list and the dollar amounts associated with it.

Present it honestly and matter of factly "This is what it will take for the production to continue, it's to large to do as a no-budget picture". Then if production stops on this piece, you can make the offer to do a smaller piece that will fit in the no/micro-budget arena.


Yeah, you got the right idea Logan. Confront him about it the way Knightly says, just make sure he knows that you're concern is the level of quality- no one wants to take a dump... sometimes we have to, but very few people enjoy it. If he's adamant on completing it, be adamant about needing more money. If he's willing to cut and slash, I'd suggest going in there with a not only an itemized list, but sketch a new outline with less locations. Filmy is always talking about shaking stuff up and raising the stakes- like, instead of jail, they could be taken hostage by a maniacal bush man, and taken to his forest lair to be cannibalized. Instead of a crowded bar, maybe it could be a crowded basement at a party which the main characters don't know is actually a nazi party (get it? Nazi party! - "Oh my god- is this a nazi party?" "Uh... it's THE nazi party"). Also, if there are any similar characters, try amalgamating them.
Like, I don't know the story, so maybe stuff can't change that easily, but at least present the idea of changing the script as an opportunity to reduce costs, increase quality, and up the stakes.

Good luck dude.
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I remember meeting a couple of producers recently. I got the distinct feeling that they were kind of in the same boat as we are as new filmmakers, no real connections yet and still trying to figure out the game as we are.

Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to put the project on hold until you know you can do a good job on it? When it comes down to it, you are only going to get one shot at this...

-- spinner :cool:


IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
The producer won't be able to get any money unless the project is backed, for example, by a studio. Yeah, it's the producers job to manage the money, but he can't ask for more if there is no source. If it's backed privately, he can always hit them up for more. Where is the funding coming from?
Well, the meeting actually went perfectly! The writer is going to write a new script based on our simpler concept. We came up with a perfect concept that actually has more of a driving force than the original script! This is exciting! I'll keep you guys posted as I'm sure our new film will rock.