Shut Up And Do It

*** “THE $2,000 HOT TIP” ***

I’m getting a little tired of everyone, talking like an adult and acting like a child, when it comes to the Film Business.

Please, Please. Please. Stop (A) sending me shorts, (B) asking me to look at a trailer, (C) pitching me an idea, (D) sending me a poster, (E) asking for an agent, (F) asking about financing, etc. and…I beg you, stop asking me to play Farmvle or Lucky Slots and never mind what my birthday date is and, yes, I’m making good ole Andy Rooney sound happy.

There is really only one way (that is if the Movie Cloud doesn’t exist) for anyone to break into the film business and make a living as either a Producer, Writer or Director… and that is to make a feature film; not a short; not a trailer; not a poster; not a pitch…a “feature film”… In industry lingo a “90-Minute narrative”.

Anyone, yes anyone, who has $2,000 can make a feature film. And, if you don’t have $2,000 then stop f*ckin’ with F-Book, get away from Farmville and get a bloody job….Starbucks is hiring. Hollywood can wait.

Let’s take $2,000 and make a feature.

STEP 1: SCRIPT: 90-pages, typed properly, 1-location (restaurant, bordello, courtroom, bookstore, re-union, etc) written in “real time” (aka: What happened in the last 90-minutes) like “ROPE” or “2LDK” or “BURIED” even “DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE DREED”.

To write the script go to Staples or Office Depot and buy 500 pieces of paper. Hear that 500 pieces of 8.5 x 11 paper. Cost $5. Put it in your budget. 5 Bucks!

You now have $1,995 left.

Now, get the proper software program, probably Final Draft8.0. Cost $185. They now have a $30 App. Don’t use that tacky open source crap that is loaded with cookies and ads. You now have $1,790 in your budget left after you spend $20 registering (only$10 if you’re a WGA member) it with the WGA.

STEP 2: CAST: You need 3-6 actors for 90-minutes. Duh?! Cast On Wednesday, rehearse on Thursday, rehearse on Friday, rehearse at the location on Saturday, rehearse, at-location again on Sunday morning.

You have just had 3.5 Days of rehearsal with your actors. Ask any actor in SAG how much rehearsal time they get on the set. You will probably hear, “maybe 4-6 minutes”. Well guess what you have just had, 3.5 amazing days of rehearsal. Cost Lunch & Snacks for 3.5 days $300.

IMPORTANT POINT: Don’t ask me what to pay the actors? Stupid, stupid, stupid question. What do they get paid when doing a useless short. Answer $0. Now, you’re offering all these millions of actors that are looking for an Opening Title Credit in a feature film an opportunity to launch their career… No Joke “They should pay you”. They’re happy with (A) Food & (B) Credit. And if they ask for money tell them “Go do a short”.

You now, have about $1,490 left over.

STEP 3: CAMERA: Rent a camera on Friday. Keep it over the weekend and return it on Monday for a 1-Day Rental. Cost is $250-$350.

You now have about $1,140-$1,240 left in your budget.

STEP 3A: CAMERA (Which one): This really gets me mad, for there is such an obsession by all first-timers, who never become a first-timer trying to discover the “new camera”. It’s a frickin’ camera! Get a 4K, or 3K or 5K Red, get a DSLR, get a HDVDSLR, get a “Black Magic”. They all work. Just rent one for a day and hit the “on button” for 90-minutes.

Bottomline: you are not shooting in the Film format (16mm or 35mm) you are shooting in the “Electronic format” and whether you rent a Canon, Sony, JVC or Panasonic (these are manufacturers names), or a GoPro or a Flip or a Black Magic, or whether you are renting by the format be it 5K, 4K, 3K, 2K, 1080i, 720P, DSLR… I don’t care.

Just rent a frickin’ camera for 1-day (aka: student discount, pick it up on Friday, return it in Monday, pay for 1-day) for the weekend…but please make sure the Lenses are superb and the microphones, from the mike man, work.

STEP 4: LOCATION: Rent the location (Garage, House, Bar, Bookstore, etc) for the weekend. Cost, at most, $200.

You now have $940-$1,040 left in your budget.

STEP 5: REHEARSE: rehearse on Saturday at the location. Cost $200 for snacks & food.

You now have $740-$840 left in your budget.

STEP 6: SHOOT: Sunday, after 3.5 days of rehearsal, you hire a Soundman for $200/day, a hair/makeup person for $150/day and a $250 shooter (someone to operate the frickin’ camera) for the day.

You now have $140-$240 left. And if you wrote the script with Final Draft’s App ($30) instead of its software ($185) you saved $155 and now have $295-$395 left.

STEP 7: DIRECT: Sunday, now tell the cameraman to load the camera (8-16GB Flash Cards likely), point at the actors, keep a wide angle lens, make sure sound is great; say “Quiet on The Set”, wait 2-minutes; say “Action”, wait 90-minutes and say “Cut”.

STEP 8: VOILLA! You have a movie. And you have $140-$240 left over for Social Media marketing that the next “Blair Witch” or “Paranormal” or “pi” or “Clerks” is here.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It ain’t gonna be that simple or that cheap. You can nit-pick and go how about insurance, props, wardrobe, hard drive, music, food, SAG, etc. Bitch and moan and try to figure out how to do it perfect. And I guarantee you that if you spend your life trying to be a perfectionist you’ll never (A) be happy and (B) get anything done. Now have fun, be smart…it’s only $2,000. You are under the radar. Who can complain. You made a feature. You launched your career.

The world is for doers and you have just made your first “Micro-Budget” feature film for under $2,000. You are, what is called, “Under the Radar”, which means, because you did it so cheap you cannot be criticized…and you are now way above anyone who is sending me a short, a trailer, a poster or a pitch.

Congratulations, you are a doer….The world is for doers.

God Bless & Happy Filmmaking
Dov S-S Simens/Co-Founder/Movie Cloud

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About Dov Simens

Reprinted With Permission
©, copyright, 2012, Dov Simens
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