Fade In on a writer typing the final words on her screen play with long-awaited triumph. It’s perfect. Fade Out.
Fade In on a producer furiously flipping pages of a book, devouring each word in the final pages of a wonderful book. The light bulb grows brighter above his head. Fade Out.
Fade In on a director in a room of actors reading a fresh off the copier screenplay everyone crying from laughing so hard. This is sure to be a hit. Fade Out.
Great ideas and powerful stories don’t materialize all the time, and when you have the perfect one at the perfect moment you want to make it. That next step is the hardest part… convincing someone to take the chance on you to give you money to make the movie. There is no formula to get this done, no magic wand you waive over the script to bring it to life.
However, there is hard work and several tools you can arm yourself with to start down the path to get your story told.
Specifically 10 things to consider in pre production as you prepare yourself to get to the next level.
- Goal. What’s the goal of your story. Is it just to get it made? Have it be the darling spectacle in the film festival circuit? Get it distributed nationally and make a boat of money? Break even on the VOD scene to give yourself cred for you next project?
- Budget. The almighty dollar. What will your film cost? You probably have some arbitrary number in mind, but what will it REALLY cost. You should have an accurate budget that shows you’ve thought of everything.
- Schedule. This goes hand in hand with the budget. Can you produce your 120 page epic in 8 days, powering through 15 pages per day? Or do you really need to film your three-person one-room drama over 45 days?
- Cast / Packaging. Sure you’d love to have Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in your movie, but they are too busy marketing Passengers (otherwise they totally would have done your movie). Who do you have access to? Who do you think may be attracted to the script? Is there anyone you can actually attach to the film to make your “package” more enticing.
- Director. The so-called visual voice of the film. A director with a proven track record of making money is better than a directorial debut. But can you afford that director? Are you the director making your first film? If so…
- Key Crew. You need to surround yourself with people who can help tell the story, and should be able to advise in their field of expertise. You want the best people on your team. A bankable casting director who can convince some names to be a part of your film can be worth the money (see point 4). A DP who may cost a bit more, but can shoot fast and with minimal equipment is priceless.
- Locations. The uncredited stars of your film, and can be just as, if not more expensive. The perfect location can make your movie. Do your homework and know what is available and for how much.
- Script. Your script is perfect. Until your director points out a major flaw to be fixed. Now it’s perfect. Until your lead actor meets with you and asks why they hell they would jump off that cliff. You need a solid script, but development is still going to happen.
- Look Book. The visual partner to your script. Not everyone can read a script and see the page jump to life in their mind. A dark and stormy night looks much better in a picture than it does in words. A meadow exploding in color is more colorful in a photo than as black and white text.
- Business Plan. Now put the previous 9 elements together into a cohesive plan. Compare your film to other films, and show why it’s profitable. Explain how the ten investors you are looking for are going to make their money back and some, and why they should establish a relationship with you now.
For more information on Pre Production Consultation email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 310.774.0555.