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Old 01-28-2008, 10:13 AM   #21
NYNEX
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

Goldstar, I haven't read your logline, and I won't. I will say that some point you have to have faith in your work AND know what it is good and what isn't good writing.

Because if not, there will always be people who say that your logline or your whatever SUCKS.

When I subscribed to www.imdbpro.com, I didn't ask people how to do things. I kept contacting people until I got replies, and have taken it from there every since.
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:25 PM   #22
Robot17
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

Okay, sorry admins, but I'll post it here and it can be moved to the appropriate thread. Sorry if I'm derailing the thread.

"My logline is: What happens when a pig becomes the first state champion for the derby race but finds out that he is genetically cloned from a human being. Now he must find his human form! "

To Wit -

What is the genre'? Is it an animated film? Kids story? Why must he find his human form (his imperative?). What kind of derby race? A pig that started out as a piece of human DNA? Okay, but why is that important?

This logline doesn't make me react so that I go "I can see this as a movie!"

Here's one :

LOGLINE:
Title is a supernatural thriller about a mysterious orphan boy that appears in a small town and can manipulate adults into doing his bidding. A series of grisly murders errupts that coincide with his arrival, and the local sherrif begins to suspect the creepy newcomer.
END LOGLINE

Others can disagree, but I can picture a film of this story with some likely scenarios, principle cast members and some exciting action. Add the mystery element and a remote, lonely township that is overwhelmed and I might be interested in seeing that script.

Does the kid get others to kill people? Is he there seeking revenge? If others are doing the killing, how can the sherrif pin the murders on the kid? Or maybe the kid is innocent and the real evil is the paranoia engendered by the unfamiliar.

If I'm a development person I may also go "No thanks, we're not looking for that genre' right now" and you move on.

I'll post this in the logline thread and lets see what happens.

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Old 01-28-2008, 12:47 PM   #23
Archive
 
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

I work with independent producers to secure private equity, and for the last four years in particular have been building a studio through the collective efforts of myself and my colleagues, so I can direct my own work with autonomy.

And in answer to the question of what the "secret" is, it lies in understanding that money is designed to be traded for anything, and that the only rules about what you can and can't trade are the legalities around commerce. Beyond that, it's a question of what you have that's of value to someone else, and whether or not it's worth parting with.

That's the actual point behind inventing money, lo those many years ago. That's all business is. When it gets more complicated than that, it's because someone is lying, to themselves or others. A good business relationship is always direct and simple. Any other kind of business relationship is not worth having. I suspect Robert Deniro and Tom Hanks are as successful as they are because they understand this.

And if you believe simple and easy are synonyms, and that complicated and hard are likewise the same, then taking advantage of you is a simple matter of showing you how hard something is, and then convincing you that only I understand it's complications.

Climbing a mountain is simple. You walk up. But if you're convinced you need a map, I could always use the money. ; )
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:46 AM   #24
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
So.... what have you accomplished in tangible terms after four years of pursuing this course?


Just in the last four years, I've built up equity in two films that are now selling at market (for a lot more than normal, thanks to the strike), and this money will fuel production on my first feature, hopefully shooting in August, with money coming in May. It'll be about a 250k feature, but...

I've built a functioning production company, where I do not have to pay for production space or post-production fascilities. we have in-house editing, sound, and a proven feature-quality CGI team. We also have relationships with a-list production talent and casting relationships, as well as an output deal with an independent distributor, so I know I can at least roll the dice on 500 screens on my little 250k feature... That 250k will go far, when you're not renting your editing suite.

Beyond that, I've proven my effectiveness in business with the business people in the industry. I financed a 2.5 million dollar horror film, am now working on a comedy and an animated family film, and I've gotten to interact with the creative personnel on a one-on-one level. We've also rented out our fascilities, and I've met a lot of great people that way. The first film to shoot in our space was Inland Empire, actually.

In addition, we shot a script I wrote last year. That's one of the films I own equity in, actually. I've also shot a short film, and am now in post-production, for unreasonably high production value at an unreasonably low out-of-pocket expense.

Of course, I've also been writing up a storm, and because I work with my friends and we go it together, they're helping me get an animated project of my own on track, while I focus on prepping my feature for production.

I spend all day on the phone, working with investors to piece these budgets together, I'm constantly developing myself, and then I go home and write for hours. My friends are the people I make movies with, and I have no time for clubbing or what-have-you, but frankly, that's not what I want from Los Angeles, anyhow. I get off as many as fifty pitches in a day, sometimes, and I understand what I'm selling, how it relates to the people I'm selling it to, and how their money relates to me.

The end benefit is that when my film comes out, it's exactly the film I set out to make, plus whatever lessons I learned on the way. The financial risk will be mine, and the rewards will be mine to reap. The real benefit is that I understand the risks now, and I know what I'm getting myself into. I can take full financial and creative accountability for my work, and full credit when I've earned it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
How much money/private equity have you secured to finance your films?
My first feature will actually be financed out of the money I've earned, because I'd rather work for myself than for investors, but I've secured over two million, personally, for feature films.



Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
Have you made any money personally or corporately yet?

I'm still in the Panorama City studio apartment. The cash rewards aren't great, but I've used my position to secure equity in several other features. It's not residuals, mind you, it's a flat percentage of everything. With two films selling in a market where people can't make new ones, that means more than ever.



Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
How many movies have you made?
The short, the script we produced (XII), and my part in the other films we've done (Bob Funk, The Perfect Sleep)



Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
If not, are your movies slated for production soon? In pre-production?
Since I'd rather finance out of pocket, my directorial debut will go into pre-production when I bring my cash in house, which is looking to be after the Cannes market, in May.




Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
Have you attached talent to your projects?

My company has good casting relationships, and I understand how to get cast disproportionate to the budget. The rest will depend on the strength of my script, which I am revising now in preparation, and what I decide as a producer and director is best for the film. Because it's my money, casting is my risk to take. While I plan to approach visible cast for some of the roles, my only financial pressure to do so is my desire to make money.




Quote:
Originally Posted by boski View Post
Not trying to be a smartaleck, but you sound like you've figured out a productive approach to a tough business.

No worries, brother. If I thought you were just asking me to justify myself, I wouldn't have bothered. I don't have representation yet, but there are a few people reading - and besides, I'm shooting in August (barring the unforseen), so it's their party to miss. Like I said, there's no magic bullet and no entry-level job, but my success is in my own two hands. That may seem like a lot of responsibility, but the big point I'm making here is that it's a responsibility we all share, whether we like it or not. To just write scripts and send them out into the tide, competing for the attention of people who - let's face it - don't actually make movies... It tells me that a lot of people haven't thought through their responsibility to themselves.

You mentioned money. Good question. Please believe me when I tell you that there are easier ways to make money. I came here to make movies. I am convicted, actually, that doing that will make me rich - and I'm planning on spending that money on even more movies, first and foremost. Yes, a high standard of life is nice, but it's no substitute for living. If making money is what gets your juice flowing, I've worked with investors long enough to know that movies are where you go when you're rolling in it, and your portfolio needs risk to balance out all the real estate. Your pappy was right, kiddo. Buy land, and take it from there. There are much, much, much easier ways. But all ways of making money are equally simple. Trade A for B.

My friend also writes, and meanwhile has become the theatrical booking guy for Focus. Universal really takes care of it's people, and it seems to me like he must have a pretty good idea of how much he will make and what his benefits look like for the rest of his life. He's making money, steady and reliably, and he's on track, so to speak. What he's not doing is making movies, and for him that's fine. He doesn't like risk as much as I do, and we both understand that risk and reward go hand in hand. For me, the trick is making my risks as LIKELY to pay off as possible. For him, the answer is avoiding risk in favor of something more stable.

That's my point on this board. What we do is inherently risky. Having an agent can reduce the risk, but risk has only a cursory relationship with the LIKELIHOOD of success. Risk means more things could go wrong. Whether or not they are likely to depends on how you manage things. sending out queries is risk-free, but it is not likely to get you work and still costs time, and at least a little money. Making movies is hard, and there's a lot that can go wrong, but if you do it well, you work with others on your terms. Like I said, it's no coincidence all the greatest filmmakers build their own studios.

So if you came out here to Los Angeles and you spend all this time doing creative things, drawing the line at querying and networking seems pretty arbitrary. Writers are problem solvers, right? Why even look to the herd for solutions? Invent, take some risk, learn to tilt it in your favor, and do what you came here to do. Otherwise, why should we complain about just taking what we're given?

Last edited by Archive : 01-29-2008 at 01:02 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:47 AM   #25
Archive
 
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

The studios, the unions, the distributors, the agents and everyone else are just tools. They're resources. Money is another resource. These things do not solve problems by themselves, and they do not make movies for you, but they can be used if you understand how they work. Some of these tools are only useful for very specific things, but that's going to depend on what you're doing, more than anything. A screwdriver is only useful if you are using screws. A screwdriver does not a carpenter make. That's for damn sure.



Obviously, this is a hot topic with the strike raging around us. I will say that the WGA is correct in seeking compensation for DVD's, and for pre-emptively looking to get into networked content, although anyone who says it is the future with any certainty is only trying to sound smart. We simply don't know yet. Technology may outpace itself, and the next medium may not have even been invented yet. Who knows. I will also say that residuals are a pain in the neck, and are based on antiquated accounting practices built over themselves more times than Mexico City. Band-aids on top of band-aids, year in and year out, are why the accounting in this business is such a mess. As a result, residuals mean relatively little to me. Certainly, it's not "where the money is." I have no problem joining a union, but I also don't mind just paying for my own health insurance. Lateral thinking means innovation, which is rare when every decision is made by committee. That, my friend, is the biggest problem with the studio system, right there.



Right now, we're on the streets. We're light on our feet. We have the benefit of not sludging through that bog. I can only see two reasons to go in there. If you want to avoid risk, get yourself an associate's degree in accounting. When the strike is over, the studios will be looking to replace their layoffs at entry-level salaries.



On the other hand, if you think getting an agent and looking for studio paychecks is how you have to do this, look at Lucasfilm or Zoetrope or the Weinsteins or absolutely anyone working in Europe or all the films at the festivals... My gosh, look anywhere but to the agencies and the studios. Come on! Get creative. Isn't that why you're here? Have some vision.



Thanks for the boost of juice first thing in the morning, Boski! This is exactly why I do what I do, and thinking about it gets my fluids pumping. On the one hand, the more people are pushing paper, the less folks there are to compete with me, you know? I understand that.



On the other hand, anyone who watches the financial side of films understands that the public demand for good movies is literally insatiable, and this industry has never stopped growing in a hundred years. There's enough for everyone, and the more people are out there doing their own thing, the more potentially useful colleagues I have. After all, I choose my own, and the best ones make movies.

Last edited by Archive : 01-29-2008 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Misspelled someone's name
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:48 AM   #26
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

I forgot to mention the most important things - that I learn something new about filmmaking every single day, and that I love my job and the people I work with. How can I not? I'm a filmmaker.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:05 PM   #27
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

I thought about it, and there is one more reason why someone might not be as proactive as they can be in their problem-solving: entitlement. There are certainly those who feel owed something, or who feel as long as they punch the clock, life should take care of them. Each moment is what you make of it. You can't buy them in advance. Life would be pretty boring if you could.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:05 PM   #28
NYNEX
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archive View Post
I thought about it, and there is one more reason why someone might not be as proactive as they can be in their problem-solving: entitlement. There are certainly those who feel owed something, or who feel as long as they punch the clock, life should take care of them. Each moment is what you make of it. You can't buy them in advance. Life would be pretty boring if you could.
Added to that, there's always a few people who call themselves writers because they want to sound like a rebel. They never had any serious intention of having a full time career as a writer.

Or else they would do whatever it takes to get their work out there, whatever that is.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:16 PM   #29
darrylyo
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

I must admit, Archive, that I was suspicious you were probably just another "idealistic" loudmouth with an HD cam. But your posts have convinced me that you may be one of the rare breed of hustlers out here with that certain extra degree of conviction and resourcefulness that can make things happen.

Of course, in the end, it will still come down to the quality of your product. But if you're truly bringing that, too, I think we may be hearing from you.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:29 PM   #30
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Default Re: Giving up hope? No Unsolicted materials...

Darrylyo, thanks for the compliment. As far as the quality goes, the one thing I know is an absolute, is that I'm constantly improving my craft, and so are those I keep around me. That said, I'm extremely confident in what I have right now.

As far as the "hustle" goes, I just do what I love with people that see what's going on, and want to bring something more to the table. I bring whatever beans I have, and we make minestrone. I keep things very simple and straightforward. It doesn't make it easier necessarily, but it does enable everyone to enjoy the process and focus on the task at hand. It was theater what made a man out of me, and it's served me very well.

And Inland Empire was shot on HD cam! By a small, youthful Norwegian man named Uli! I saw the whole thing!
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