Where or Who would you send your indie movie to?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Blu, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I have sent my film to about ten film festivals so far and have been thinking who else should I send my film to?

    I have been thinking about sending it to the filmmakers who have inspired me even though I know they would probably throw it away.

    I have considered the smaller studios like Lion's Gate.

    I know that it really isn't sellable in the form it is in. There are very few, rare movies that have been sold on MiniDV. However I think that the concept is good enough that it could be remade with a small budget and shot on film. I just don't have the 10K to 20K shoot it on 16mm.

    So the question remains, if you had a film and just for fun thought about sending it out, who would you send it to?
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Joseph DeMartino
    Rather than send the film, why not send an inquiry letter to the various studios (and especially their "indy" sub-brands like Fox Searchlight) and see if they'll look at unsolicited material and if there is a standard release form you can sign to protect them against possible lawsuits. (Which is pretty much the standard procedure for non-agented material - and why any film maker you send it to will have it returned unopened by his/her people.)

    If this is a film you wrote, contact the Writers Guild of America (West) and get a list of agents who are taking on new clients. The Directors Guild of America may have a similar service. Read indy film magazines and check websites (there must be organizations for this kind of thing) and find out from others how to get a foot in the door.

    One thing you have to realize - everybody in Hollywood has been sued way too many times for the most minor resemblances between their finished films and titles, concepts, short stories, etc. that someone is convinced they ripped off. So they avoid unsolicited submissions like the plague. They want to see things from agents, because that raises the probability that everyone involved is going to be a pro or at least know how to act like one. Or they want a signed release saying you can't sue them if they have something similar to your project already in the works. (Of course if they remake you DV film shot for shot and word for word, you can still sue.)

    So the gatekeeping system is designed less to bring in new talent than it is to keep out the nuts. Because, let's face it, there is more talent trying to break into the biz than there are jobs in it, what with film schools and apprenticeship programs.

    If you don't live in Los Angeles, the odds against you go up by a factor of maybe 1,000, because your chance of somehow short-circuiting the usual system with personal contacts is pretty much nil.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    First of all Blu...I don't want to discourage anyone's hard work and hopes. So please don't take anything I say that way. But...I will tell you that ANYTHING unsolicited will pretty much never even get past the trash in the mail room. The festival thing is your best bet at getting any attention with your film at this stage of the game. And it is a game.

    If you win awards at festivals, you might get some calls or an email or two. But unless the story and acting are simply amazing...most things on DV are unfortunately overlooked by any studio (in my opinion). That is getting better...some festivals will specialize in DV films and are bringing more attention to them. But "filmmakers" tend to be taken more serisouly if they shoot on "film". Go figure. Especially by the festival people. Most are film snobs. Not in a bad way...they just love the nature and nostalgia of it.

    Also remember these two things. Filmmaking and the entertainment industry is a business of relationships. I have always gotten a gig because someone recommended me, or introduced me to someone...or met someone at a party, etc... And it makes sense if you think about it. There is so much money on the line to shoot any "real" project (not to mention the reputations too), that no one is going to take a chance on an "unproven" entity unless they trust them implicently. That trust is built usually through having a personal relationship or connection to them and knowing you won't screw anything up. The best place for you to begin to meet these people and build these relationships is to do 2 things. Get into the festival crowd hardcore. And 2...move to Los Angeles where most all movies start and end.

    Secondly...Hollywood and the entertainment industry is all about making money. They could care less about how that is done really...as long as they can make money. It is a business afterall. So...The best way to invest in a project and/or someone and insure you are going to make money, is to only work with people who have a proven track record. Hence...the hard nature of breaking into the business. This is also why it is so rare for Hollywood to have an original idea any more and there are so many remakes. With a remake (or also similar "themed" films released at the same time like Deep Impact and Armageddon)...the studios are simply trying to cash in on each others momentum and or "proven" track record.

    So...unless someone trusts you and and thinks that by spending a lot of money on your specific project (or to reshoot your specific film) can make them millions...it probably won't happen with this specific miniDV film you have. Just trying to be realistic.

    So what does that mean...

    First of all. Register your script with the WGA if you haven't already. The idea can still be stolen if you are not careful...but at least you are on record with it. Non-Members can register scripts for a higher fee than members.

    Persistence is key. Build relationships. Keep at the festival thing. Do you have a film degree? If so...from where? If not...try to get into USC or AFI, or UCLA...somewhere in L.A. That will help get your foot in the door on some level while you are studying. Get people to trust you. Always make a good product. If you have to wait longer to raise money to shoot on film rather than DV or HD...do it (in my opinion). Always have a good work ethic. Always be NICE to the people you work for and the people who work for you. Lots of favors will be easier to get down the road if people like you. Build your name and reputation as a filmmaker over time...more than trying to put all you eggs in one basket with the hopes of seeling one or two projects you have done. Be realistic and know that it will take time. Most people give up after 2-3 years of trying to break in because it seemingly goes nowhere. Know that it will take 5-8 years before you REALLY start getting noticed (if you can honestly say you have done the above things well).
     

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