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Should you even...

Should you even consider making a movie if you don't have things under control?

For instance, I want to make a movie (this is hypothetical, as I've made quite a few). I am new to the business of filmmaking and have not really made more than backyard skits or shooting my sister's wedding. But I feel compelled to create this story that really needs to be told. It's an undeniable fact that the world needs to see (visually) this story idea that I have, or even that a friend has somewhat written up.

So, I create a few things (virtual banners, postcard thingies, some cool (to me) graphics) and I go about posting them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I promote to all of my family and friends. I even create, to the best of my ability, a (what I believe is) great trailer for the movie I want to make.

But alas, I don't have the experience. I don't have the "complete drive" to make or finish this movie. And more importantly, I don't have the money to finance it correctly.

Believing in myself, I begin to ask people for money; mostly family and friends. That nets me about $100. Then I find out (because of reading somewhere; probably IndieTalk) that I can raise money with something call "crowdfunding". So, I create a campaign on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo or GoFundMe or some other site that will help me raise money in a set amount of time... Money I will never need to repay to anyone, ever. And I'm betting that I'll raise a bunch of money to make this movie. But, because I know nothing about crowdfunding promotion, I have raced into this campaign on IndieGoGo (because I can get only some of the money if I don't make my goal money, which Kickstarter doesn't allow) only to discover that no one is aware of my movie, or even worse, has no DESIRE to see my movie made.

So my crowdfunding sits there and makes nada. I try to tell all of my friends and relatives about it, but alas, no one takes me seriously. And in the end, I bring in a measly $300 of my intended $10,000 goal.

But I am still compelled to make this movie, no matter what. I have no money, but who needs it in this economy, especially when people are willing to work for free, only requiring nothing more than food, credits, and an "eventual" copy of the DVD, whenever that might be. And knowing this makes me push onward to realize my "dream".

But this is no dream... This scenario is a nightmare. You haven't a clue about what you're doing and neither does your crew. Your cast is comprised of "who you can get" for free, and you're spending gobs of time on making the "perfect" movie you've always wanted to make. But everything is not fine and now your equipment is broken, or the scenes are not coming out the way you want them to, or that special effect you wanted to do will cost you more money/time/energy than you have. Everything gets desperate, and you haven't even left page 4 of a 109 page script. And then you wonder...

Why did I do this?

Almost every filmmaker faces these circumstances at some point, unless they were born with a silver reel ingrained in their backside. The pain is real. The trials and tribulations are real. And then, when you sit down and really consider how over-saturated this market really has become, it just becomes overwhelming. There are officially over 100,000 TV shows and web series made or being made at any given point. Indie movies have begun to skyrocket, and each tale just fulfills some desire in the person that created them. And people who have dreams are always searching for that one "big break" to make it officially into the business. It's darn near criminal how people don't realize this when they start out. And since a large majority finally come to the realization that this isn't for them, they fall from their perch, usually taking huge losses in the equipment/time/energy that they have now had to sell off at pennies on the dollar.

So, what is this post really about? It's about getting anyone who is new to the craft to comes to a few realizations:

• If you don't have the money to make your movie right, you really need to consider taking the time to get the appropriate amount of money (through a BUDGET) in order to make it right... Which leads to this point:
• Is your story really THAT strong, or engaging, or original, or peculiar that it needs to be told in movie format? Why not ask some people (like here on IndieTalk) as to whether or not your concept is good enough to become a movie/TV Show/web series. And do NOT fall for a biased opinion! Your mom will always tell you it's great. Your best friend will tell you the same. Anyone who has a vested interest in your movie will feel compelled to blow smoke up your ass, so ask someone who doesn't care two ways if your movie is made or not! And LISTEN to THOSE people when you ask them. Determine if it's truly worth making.
• Try not to lead people on by making them think that your movie is going to be the next Hollywood blockbuster when you're filming it on $150, a cooler of soda and water, and a bunch of promises. You're just fooling yourself in the process and hurting those relationships that could be something special in the future.

The indie scene has been over-saturated for some time now (since the technology has been available, really) and it's time to make sure that the people who really want to do these things (be filmmakers) are really doing them right. If you're absolutely compelled to show us why this character sitting in a chair explaining life to us in slow motion is going to be the "next big thing", make sure that you're doing it absolutely right (LEARN ABOUT FILMMAKING THE CORRECT WAY), get money for your movie (LEARN ABOUT FUNDRAISING AND INVESTORS), and try not to burn your bridges along the way.

But, most importantly, TAKE YOUR TIME! Stop rushing into these things. If your story is THAT compelling, you'll have plenty of time to tell it, I promise you.

PS. I encourage old and new filmmakers to comment/criticize/expound on this concept below.
Should you even consider making a movie if you don't have things under control?

Seems like that's not the question you're really asking. "Under control" is relative, and I don't think it's something you'll ever totally achieve - you just (hopefully) gradually improve your chances of things not spinning totally out of control. Even at the studio level you hear about disastrous productions though.

But what you're describing is something different. You're describing undertaking a massive project with little or no experience and somehow expecting that it will not only work out, but actually be good and successful.

"Should I build a skyscraper if I've never built anything before?"

"Should I win gold in track and field at the next Olympics if I've never run before?"

Those are obviously ridiculous questions, but they aren't that far off from hoping to make a successful feature film with no experience or resources. Now that doesn't mean you just give up, but it means you can't just expect to skip past the hard work of becoming an architect, training as an athlete, or learning to make films and jump to the end goal.

So sure, you absolutely should consider making a movie if you don't have things under control - that's how you learn. You just have to recognize that if it's your first movie it's not likely to be much more impressive or successful than the architects first sketches or the runners first track meet.
Good reply.

By "under control", I mean things that are typically in your control, like making the right decisions (judgment), knowing if you have the money to even attempt it, taking the time to realize that something of this size or magnitude might be something you can maintain control of, etc. Although, I will admit, the question developed over the course of writing the whole post. :)

I don't discourage people from attempting their dreams, by the way. Quite the contrary. What I am attempting to ascertain is whether or not people new to the field are seriously considering what it takes to make a movie, which many times is not the case. You simply cannot wake up one morning and decide to make a quality movie that day. And that's what I'm hoping to get people new to making movies to understand... Everything takes time/energy/patience/knowledge/absolute control.
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Alcove Audio

Business Member
No, most DO NOT realize what it takes to make even a simple short film of even modest quality. A very large percentage think a script, a few locations, a couple of actors and a camera are all it takes.

Simple Darwinism weeds out the those who learn that there is a lot more involved in filmmaking from those who don't or won't realize that filmmaking takes incredible amounts of discipline, hard work, preproduction, management skills, people skills......
For most at my level, its about learning\mastering the process not the product. I find joy in making my clunkers not in actually watching them.
why script a film that requires a budget that you dont have? im currently building up hype and promotion for my film after my first failed attempt at kickstarter, i even have an interview thats on the web on a film rating review company, i currently have made over 2,000 followers in 2 months im pushing to about 5,000 and 2 more interviews then doing another campaign this time on Indiegogo which seems to support lower budget films alot better than Kickstarter.

Also iv made lots of mistakes we filmed a whole scene which in the end i decided wasnt good enough, and now im editing a 3rd scene the films not even 15% complete but yet iv managed to make a hype about it, i know its not going to be the greatest ever, but its my first ever (no other shorts) film and im quite proud at the level im at for someone whos never done a film before or filmed much of anything.

"We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams, Willy Wonka"
Few males go straight from noticing "girls" to being a dad.
There's usually a few steps in between, including the pining away after girl A, then girl B, then girl C, etc.
Then you work you way up to actually having a (somewhat) intelligent conversation.
Then there's the all important reciprocal physical contact comfort event, which hopefully leads to more, and in... er... uh... intensity.
Then you discover she's effing nuts. Or she discovers you're a loser.
And you repeat this process a few more times until you find the RIGHT loser girl to compliment your loser self.
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetra.

Exactly WHAT is it you think you have under control?

I feel compelled to create this story that really needs to be told.

I have raced into this... only to discover that no one is aware of my movie, or even worse, has no DESIRE to see my movie made.

Money isn't what's holding you back.
Any idiot can just spend money.
Even if you had the money to make your dream film it may very well go nowhere and do nothing and that would still be quite an unremarkable achievement.
Example A: http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?p=316344#post316344
Example B: http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?p=263463#post263463
Example C: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsBznn8D13zOdGlCeDRmWTFCYXJRWjJ3SUphZDNzMGc#gid=0

Lotta people (who supposedly know WTH they're doing) spend a lotta money and still have little of anything meaningful to show for it.

The money isn't the problem.
The problem is no one givesash!t about the product.
Either A) it has no value to them, B) not enough people know about this fabulous film product, or C) not enough of the unique niché market knows about this fabulous film product that must be told.

Now, I do have one example of hope for you: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765488/business?ref_=tt_dt_bus



It's cr@p, but it's done, and it's being distributed, and people are watching it.

So, there is hope.

Good luck and best wishes, to you and all the other wannabe writer/director/producers. :yes:

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