This particular uncensored confession of an independent movie producer is being shared with readers that are looking to be in the entertainment business, have been in the entertainment business, or are fascinated by the entertainment business that will thrives outside of the glitz of superstar. I am only one of many independent film producers that work hard to make films to feed their creative passion and pay their bills. Creating indie movies is always frustrating and extremely thrilling at the same time.
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One the most frustrating jobs of any movie manufacturer is finding film financing to produce an independent film that does not have identified actors attached to the project. You happen to be asking movie investors to back a project written by an unknown screenwriter which has no bankable celebrities attached, and that is being visually guided by a first time director or one with limited credits. That is a tough sell. The planet is fascinated with celebrity and movie investors are no different.
You could have a dynamite script, talented unidentified actors, film director with eyesight, and your desire as an independent film producer on your side, but without some sort of hook chances of finding film cash will not happen. I have found myself in that position as a producer of self-employed entertainment. What did I do?
Truthfully, as a producer I knew without stars attached to a project I had to include visual elements that would translate in order to worldwide audiences. I kicked in the violence, sex, and nudity elements because they fit with the two projects I was producing. Both screenplays were composed to realistically depict strong subject matters, human flaws, and graphic content based on characters that resided lurid lives.
Whatever type of project you have there is going to come a place, unless you are independently wealthy, where you are going to be confronted as an self-employed movie producer that you are going to have to compromise on what will be shown in order to get film investor backing. In one case I had an interested movie investor tell me flat out that she wished the project to have an European film nudity flavor. She read the script and knew it well. The particular on-camera nudity and sex scenes should be tasteful, but hot in her opinion to appeal to an international audience of buyers and not just US viewers. I assured her that I would and she invested along with her boyfriend.
The lesson discovered is to always find different hooks for your movie that makes it attractive to the film investors you are pitching regarding funding. It could be a film investor is usually passionate about something that can easily be folded to the screenplay to appeal to them. Talented screenwriters, independent movie producers, and film directors are masters with being able to work in a plug or even scene for specific investors. In my opinion it is just like product placement done in major studio movies, but in the indie level it is a more personal pitch to individual movie traders.
Once an independent movie producer secures film financing for a project there is a rush that is indescribable. Each manufacturer has a different reaction. That excitement and high quickly disappears mainly because now it is time to go to work. You are already exhausted from the grinding money hunt and then all stages associated with production begin. Next thing you know problems start to develop on set that can range from technical issues to throw and crew difficulties. Now you are thinking, “I am screwed! ” Since the independent movie producer it is your ass on the line for the money invested to complete the film.
Actors and crew can quit anytime during an independent film shoot. There is nothing immediately that can be done as a gutsy film producer if they are not committed to honoring their actor’s agreement or crew agreement. This is simply not a studio production where you have the luxury of hiring an amusement attorney to sue. The reality is there isn’t the time or money to go through that will. Going to film investors that have bankrolled an indie movie to tell them production has shut down and you need more money to hire an entertainment attorney will end your career early.
A completely independent movie producer is basically alone to correct problems and take care of business to complete a project. That is not the ego from the movie producer’s mind coming out, it is a simple reality. When everything turns out good you are a superstar to cast, crew, and movie investors. When it goes to shit, you are a dung beetle in the eyes of everybody. The life of an independent movie producer is not for the timid.
Now you end up with a completed movie that you want a film distribution deal for. The hot indie entertainment buzzword is digital film distribution. That is definitely where it really is going and where independent movie producers will make money for their projects. As of right now digital movie submission still is not up to speed to include indie produced entertainment in real cash income. Studios are still trying to figure out how it is going to work.
Like with any new technology you will have companies pop up that target independent movie producers. It makes sense. Without the talent and risk taking moxie of independent movie producers absolutely nothing is for any distributor to sell outside of mainstream entertainment. Imagine how boring amusement would be with only mainstream seeing choices.
This is where frustration turns towards the extremely thrilling part of being an impartial movie producer at the best time possible. DVD is not dead, but will be slowly fading out. I look at declining DVD sales as an optimistic for indie producers. The truth is you will find movie distributors that cater to 3rd party cinema that will try to screw producers over financially by using DVD manufacturing and marketing fees as the tool every chance they get. Not all are like that. Many are honest plus fair with their accounting practices.
But there are always crooks, liars, thieves, and piles in every business you will cope with. That is a given in life as a whole. Giving it away for free or being shortchanged on royalty payments owed is not really an option for me. I read Michael Moore is suing Harvey plus Bob Weinstein, alleging that the two brothers used “classic Hollywood data processing tricks” to screw him out money he was owed. There are no idea on the real truth, but it shows if a millionaire filmmaker will be worried about not getting paid, any kind of independent movie producer better watch their ass too just in case.
The thrilling part of being an independent movie producer at the right time, which is right now, is digital movie submission is opening up indie entertainment to a worldwide audience. This leads to more viewers and more money being earned simply by filmmakers. Profit is not a filthy word in my producer’s book. I am not independently wealthy or can pay for not to make money from entertainment I generate. I see digital movie distribution as the best platform to distribute self-employed content and make money for investors, as well as the creators. These were the ramblings of independent movie producer Sid Kali.