View Full Version : Finishing Funds...

09-13-2004, 02:09 PM
I've written a short. Forty-Five pages. Principals are Frank Gorshin and a cameo by Zelda Rubenstein. I've raised $50,000 of a $75,000 budget. Can anyone point out a direction to start in to secure the additional funds. Earmarked for editing, advertising and festivals. Thanks.

09-13-2004, 03:20 PM
there is really no commercial market for a short except for television sales.

Your best bet, then, would be cable television stations.

Shoot your movie for 50k, then edit it and show them a rough cut for finishing funds.

Winter in New York
09-14-2004, 04:47 AM
Louie. First. Congrats. If you've raised $50k for a short film you are a LEGEND.

However. Forget using it to shoot a short.

Shoot an indie feature for the money, instead. Something with a half dozen actors, less than ten crew, only a couple of main locations, lots of wet weather coverage. Hardly any special effects.

Use a lot of steady cam and shoot the sh*t out of something. Take cast and crew away somewhere and shoot it over 2-3 weeks.

Then put the indie feature in the festival circuit.

Trust me on this one.

Winter in New York

PS: if you do this, remember the golden rule on indie features (any features!) is FEED EVERYBODY WELL. Or to put it another way: 'An army marches on its stomach'.

PPS: start with a GREAT script (naturally) - but, as there'll be a lot of talking...make sure that whatever you do, that you get GREAT actors. And Louie, that ain't anywhere near as hard as you may think.

09-14-2004, 10:56 AM
I agree with the two statements, maybe you can build a small feature out of this, depending on what kind of genre it is.
e-mail me @ lgmm19@yahoo.com I know someone who can help you.
Remember shorts or small feature can turn out great depending again on what kind of script you're dealing with.
As for additional funds,
I need to know what kind of genre, what's your location, stuff like that.

09-15-2004, 01:00 PM
I would try to make it a feature. I am no expert, but do festivals even accept 40+ minute shorts?

09-15-2004, 01:37 PM
To all those who took the time to reply. I was afraid (but expecting) the accurate responses from fellow members. In the back of my mind I felt a feature would do far better than a short for numerous reasons and therefore I will postpone shooting until I have expanded the short into a respectable feature. Your input is much appreciated.

09-15-2004, 02:29 PM
My friend shot a feature film for less than what you have now (on Panavision 24P High Def camera they use on JOAN OF ARCADIA).

There's no market for shorts, and if you're looking at festivals, I think most would rather they be about 10-15 minutes long.

What's your purpose for this short?

- Bill

Hairy Lime
09-15-2004, 03:33 PM
We're using the same camera Bill mentioned for our independent feature and our budget is less than a quarter of yours. We've got SAG actors through an experimental film exemption and an excellent crew of people working in TV and music video production. Everyone is being paid on a deferred basis. The key is having a concept that people can get excited about and then maintaining that enthusiasm through the shoot and post-production. Good luck.

writer for life
09-15-2004, 08:29 PM
75 grand for a short???

Dude, please nix this idea right now. Sorry to be harsh, but there is no market for shorts and spending that much money on one is asinine unless you have said money to burn. Write a brilliant feature that can be shot on a shoestring, put your all into it and pimp the hell out of it.

And feed your crew well, like Winter said.

09-16-2004, 04:37 PM
I used to work in distribution and many of my friends are distributors. I still do some distribution on the video side. The value in the marketplace (especially foregin) of a non-35mm film is virtually nil UNLESS you win a major film festival or you have movie stars. When distributors see video they assume you didn't spend jack on it so they don't give you jack, i.e. close to ZERO advance. (as already discussed the value of a short is NIL as well).

I would recommend either shooting no budget with a panasonic 24p DVX100 (its still consumer based mini-DV and not good enough for blow up but okay for a screening copy). Or if you have a little $$ cut your script and shoot days to 2 weeks and spend the money shooting 35mm with a borrowed/cheap camera using short ends. If you live in LA or NY you can find these all over the place.

I would not recommend going with a high def camera Sony 24p or Panasonic wide screen because the camera is still really expensive to rent and its harder to light (or so say DPs). Plus, you spend all that money... and you're still stuck with video. A high def camera ends up costing you a lot in the end... and is more liable to break down. Big productions like the Bernie Mac show who use this camera for TV only save a few thousand dollars a week versus film. (thats not a lot if you're spending $500k-1 million episode) and they have to have monitors on set all the time because video is very contrasty. A good DP knows that 35mm is very forgiving in most cases, while video is NOT.

However, if you have a friend who can get you a deal (like for FREE) then consider that. Otherwise, its a choice between mini-DV and 35mm.

As far as deciding whether to shoot a short with your hard earned money I'd say go for a feature. However, if you can shoot your short cheap and make it under 15 minutes (not 45) then that might make a good calling card. Anythign over 15 minutes will be rejected from most festivals. Otherwise, if you can do it, a feature is ALWAYS more impressive.

09-17-2004, 12:02 PM
I would agree in most part with sidneyfalco with the following.

1. Any low budget film faces a uphill battle finding distribution unless it is a genre film or has at least one name.That doesn't mean you can't in fact this rule is broken time and time again.

2. Budget between $5000 and $10,000 for a one day cameo from a name. If your script is good you will be suprised who you can get. Use SAG experimental or modified low budget agreement. Set some scenes up with your cameo so that they appear in as large a portion of the film as possible. If it's between shooting 35mm and video because of the cost of the cameo, pick the cameo.

3. Look to comprosie in shooting. 35mm ends are good. Also consider super 16. You could use 16mm ends if you had to. The DVX-100 should be your last choice although some films have been distributed that were shot with this cam. Look at the panasonics SDX-900. It is in a format between the HD varicam and the DVX-100. It shoots at 24 frames to give you the film look and nice blow-ups as well. Panasonic has a grant program with this camera. So you might be able to pick one up for free. Free being the key word on a no-budget production.

Good Luck

09-18-2004, 08:28 AM
Looks like a lot of us are deciding to make our own films. I'm in pre-preproduction on one, but my plans are to use the new canon xl2, which I understand is superior to most miniDV cams on the market. A house in Boston rents them very reasonably, and I hope to cut a further deal by only renting weekends. I've got the ultimate in low budget scripts: two parts, one set. The most important things are the acting and directing, as it is a very intense piece. My projected budget stands at $2500, and I am vigorously pursuing ways to bring it down even more.

Lyle Estevan
09-18-2004, 12:01 PM
Everyone's right. Shoot a damn feature. You'll have way more cred at the festivals. Try your hardest to get distribution but seriously, forget about it ever happening. Think of it as a calling card. It does work. I just scored a top notch agent with my second self-produced feature.

sidneyfalco: I shot my film on the %%WORD45%0 and the 35mm transfer looks fantastic. Much better than super16 to 35.

Lyle Estevan
09-18-2004, 12:04 PM
Not sure what happened. That should say, "I shot my film on the DVX 100".

writer for life
09-18-2004, 12:31 PM
Yeah, I've been trying to make a feature for 2 years... just am terrible at securing funds though. The script's with Sundance though, so praying every day I get in come December.

09-18-2004, 02:53 PM
One more opinon from the peanut gallery.

I think that when you are doing one of these no budget productions you should write it with a very small cast in mind. Nothing will kill your film faster then bad acting.Try to find the best actors possible whever you live and build the film around them.