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Old 09-09-2015, 08:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 135
Default Advice for Filming

Let me preface this with: Yes, the search button will provide answers for a lot of these type of questions, and Google will as well.

But I'm starting this thread to, hopefully, get the latest information on grants, rules and regulations, finding investors, etc. Also, the subject hasn't been discussed in some time.

I'll start with this: I plan on filming a found footage horror film at the beginning of the year. It's a clever script and will be shot on a very low budget. I already have written permission granting me full access to my shooting locations. I have most of the needed equipment to pull this off.

If all goes well with filming and post-production, I'd like to *potentially* push this into some film festivals next year. But, let's not count my chicks before they hatch!

Some questions (I'll probably post more, and I'm hoping others do as well)

1. If my goal is to shop this film through the festival circuit; what, where and when do I need to start registering stuff? I say stuff because there seems to be a lot to this question.

2. My actors - Do they have to be SAG registered? For instance, I have an actor to attach who is fresh out of college and currently acting on stage in rural Virginia. I want him on board. He's willing to do it for credit and unlimited coffee. Something tells me, if I put this in festivals, I will have needed to pay him more than merely coffee and compliments.

3. Money ... As I stated, this is a low budget film, more like a no budget, but I'm still in need of some funding. Where do I even begin? I'm shooting this in Virginia, not LA, so this could be a tricky question. I'm investigating potential perks that the state offers, but find myself simply bouncing from one webpage to another.

4. General Advice... I'd really like to hear any personal experiences that any DD'ers may have to share on this.

Appreciate any and all advice/comments/suggestions.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:04 AM   #2
Jon Jay
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 478
Default Re: Advice for Filming

I'm UK-based so any of my experience will be of little relevance... However Josh Caldwell ( and Tom Wilton ( have both made super-lo/no budget movies in the States. Their blogs have lots of info and both are very active/responsive on Twitter. Their sites/they may help with questions re: SAG, money etc.
My stuff
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:13 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: Advice for Filming

I wouldn't worry at all about festivals until you are in post production. You don't technically need to "register" anything for most contests if you mean like a copyright, but you'll want to do that regardless as you'll need it to make any sort of distribution deal.

Your actors don't have to be SAG. Frankly if they are, that causes you to have to fill out all sorts of paperwork and jump through all sorts of hoops to honor SAG terms (see their web site for ultra-low budget agreement and what that entails). Sounds like you want to be non-union for this project.

You should look into crowd funding your campaign if you don't have any other leads to money. The Virginia Film Office can advise you on incentives, but none of them involve just giving you upfront money; they are just rebates on your approved, qualifying expenses. They rebated me about 20% of my expenses on my no-budget feature shot in Northern VA a few years back.

Good luck.
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