Thursday 26 July 2012

Your Role in Fulfilling the Potential of INDEPENDENT FILM Production


You don't have to report to anyone. They don't have to win the girl at the end. This is your chance to say something different. The history of the world has been recorded, shared and experienced through different methods of storytelling and this is your chance to do it in your own way.

Grab us. Pull us in. Don't let us go.

What is the story that you really want to tell? What have you been waiting all your life to tell the world? Your job is not to think about what the market wants or what will sell to Hollywood. Your job is to write something so damn engaging that we can't put it down, so that everyone who reads it screams "Yes! This HAS TO BE MADE!"

That doesn't mean it has to be shocking. It doesn't mean you to have to more violent than the last guy. It just means you need to tell a great story. Build some characters who we care about, who are doing something in a way that is different to what we've seen before. Write about what you know and what you dream about and do it in your own unique way. That is how we get interested.


Don't be afraid of it. Don't turn down a project because you don't know how to market it. If you start with that insecurity, then you're never going to raise the money.

Find a project you're passionate about. Something that stirs your insides and makes you ecstatic, or scared, or angry. If it really, truly works for you on a GUT level, then THAT is the project you need to produce. Because if it makes you feel that way, it will make audiences feel that way too. Your job is to support the vision.

Maybe Hollywood doesn't care about violin players from Norway or two drunken soldiers who live in poverty, but it's your job to MAKE them care. It's not your job to make some clone of what worked last year. Don't be that guy.

There is great writing out there that's waiting to be produced. You've got to hunt it down like a ruthless animal. But when you find it, SUPPORT IT! NURTURE IT! BELIEVE IN IT! There are too many producers out there peddling average shit that no-one's interested in, because they think it's what sells. And yes, most of what we see in cinemas is average nonsense, but not from the independent scene. Bad independent movies end up on the scrapheap. Nobody wants to watch your shit movie. Take a risk and aim for greatness, for something that will matter to people.


Independent film is not about style. It's about, guess what: independence. It's time to get rid of the independent film 'look'. You know the one I'm talking about -- handheld, colour zapped out a little bit, quirky soundtrack. If that's your true vision, fine, but don't be beholden to it.

Independent film is an opportunity for you to share your vision with the world. It's your chance to tell a unique story. To put your personality and sensibilities into what we see.

Don't play it safe. 

But at the same time; don't use a crane shot just because you have access to a crane. 

Your decisions should be in service to the story. I know you know this, but I'm just trying to remind you; this is your story to tell. The more you make it your own and about the story, the more it will resonate. Don't try to make it look and feel like 'Juno' and 'Away We Go' because you won't do it as well as them. Focus on your own style and personality. Making independent films is the best way you're ever going to get to have your own artistic VOICE. Don't waste it. 


The indie isn't the stepping stone. This isn't about making it into the bigger leagues. This is the league you want to be playing in; because it's where the characters are unique and actually MEAN something. In the superhero movies it's all black and white, good and bad. The independent scene is where you get to really find your character and find yourself. 

The film you're in isn't going to look and feel like a Hollywood movie, it's going to look and feel like it's very own thing. And you play a big part in creating that. Make decisions about your character and fight for them. Make them memorable. It doesn't mean you have to be shocking or a scene stealer, it just means you need to commit to doing something truthful. 


Give the movies a chance. An indie film might not start the way you expect, and it may not end that way either. But you've got to take a risk when you visit the cinema. You've got to try out the smaller movies. Sure, sometimes they're shockingly bad, but when they nail it they really nail it. With the big-budget movie, the best you can expect is to be entertained. With an indie, there are less roadblocks to the personal; less thorns on the rose; you might just find something that resonates with who you are. 


We are so bored of your projects. Your zombie film is not as unique as you think it is. 

Find new ways to use these platforms. Actually connect with people. Engage in conversation. Even if that means 100 tweets that are genuine conversation rather than desperately pleading for donations. 

Nobody cares about your movie, and that's probably because it's not very interesting. Rethink your projects and rethink your methods. A truly great project makes people feel alive inside, they can't wait to get involved. Crowd-funding isn't easy, and copying last year's success story isn't going to work for you. Crowdfunding is a lot like the movies themselves; you can never know what will work, what will connect with people. 

Be original. Be unique. And don't be obnoxious and demanding. You are communicating with other human beings. That 'Only $5' deal you're offering? Well, people work really hard for that five dollars.  What are the chances that your use of their $5 will really do them justice? Think about that before you take everyone's money. 

Care to share?

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