Indie Film Idea

Discussion in 'Mac Scene' started by GeneR, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. GeneR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    I am intrigued by the increasing number of stories I am hearing about individuals networking over the internet, and creating online companies, projects, etc. without ever meeting. I suppose you can consider this my own investigation into that arena.

    I have an idea for a very low budget Mini-DV film that I have been thinking about shooting in the next few months.

    I was wondering if there were any of the following here who would like to volunteer their time and services (for back end percent of the film) once it's done. There would be no upfront monetary compensation and people involved would have to be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but if it goes well, then profit participation would be part of the deal.

    I am looking for:

    People whom are willing to volunteer time possibly doing:

    1.) Animation (Maya, etc.)
    2.) AfterEffects composite work
    3.) Photoshop retouching of frames.
    4.) Rendering large files.

    5.) If you're an actor, yes, I would be intested in a headshot and resume if you're in the LA area.
    6.) If you're not an actor, and live in the Los Angeles area, yes, I may be interested in working together anyway.
    7.) People who may have access to sound stages, lighting equipment, or even cameras.
    8.) Final Cut Pro editing.
    9.) Writers - People interested in taking stabs at the film concept itself.
    10.) Film production crew -- people familiar with lighting a set.
    11.) People interested in financing the project.

    Consider this a non-union film production, wherein:
    * SAGIndie guidelines are not going to be applied (unless insurance is indeed used),
    * Where most of the shooting will be on the fly (unless a budget materializes)
    * Where shooting schedules will be dependent on coordinating schedules,
    * Insurance and pay is not provided and each member will have to sign waiver contracts which release the director-producer and production from any responsibility for any potential damages to personnel or property occurred during produciton.

    Think of this project as a fun project because that is what it will be. It involves a lot of sweat and toil but it may be something that all who participate may find fun and exciting.

    Depending on the number of people who respond, I will provide a synopsis of the storyline in a private forum once intellectual copyrights have been registered.

    Well, this should be interesting... Or very underwhelming! :D
  2. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I'd be interested in seeing more of what you have in mind before considering adding some support.

  3. 000111one111000 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2001
    DeKalb, IL
    I'm near Chicago. What's the film going to be about?

    I'd be interested in helping anyway I can.

  4. boskie macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2001
    North Side Of Itchy Town
    Sound's like a cool idea.

    I work at a post-production house and this would be great to relieve the boredom of the reality TV shows that are being cut here at the mo!!

    We use AVID and I also have access to FCP.
  5. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    That's only fair... thanks!

    That's pretty fair, D. This is what I plan to do:

    1.) I'm going to see the responses to the film idea thread.

    2.) depending on what the response is, I would disclose more about the project. However, I can say this much:

    I am considering to shoot one of a couple of concepts I have been developing. One of them, would definitely be a low budget 90 minute - 120 minute film that has a spiritual theme to it. This would require less special effects (hardly any at all, in fact) and would really benefit from brainstorming.

    The other one is an effects-ladened piece. This has to do with virtual reality and espionage. People interested in Maya and AfterEffects would definitely be welcome.

    I'll disclose more info later, but I do not expect anyone to commit or collaborate unless/until we get enough interest in the project.

    3.) Should this be a "go", I think the best thing to do is to go into script sessions, breaking down the concept and providing the synopsis while developing the overall vision of the project. Storyboards would be in order, and I would be happy to oblige providing them in a closed forum.

    4.) After that, it's a matter of asking who's in and who's out. If the project does not appeal, than fine. Should the film reach completion, anyone who contributed to the pre-production part would still be entitled to a percentage of the finished project.

    5.) Scheduling the Project.
    This will be a matter of constructing a budget and scheduling issues.

    6.) Enough said about this for now. More later. Just remember, this is all about volunteer work, so, unless you have the time to spare, this project may not be your cup of tea.

    7.) Depending how coordinated people are willing to be, this may even be concurrent with the Pre-Production and Production phase.

    8.) Marketing and Distribution.
    This will depend on a predefined/discussed plan of action. Film Festivals may be the best way to go on this, maximizing exposure. Sundance's deadline is in October. But other channels may be considered.

    MARKETING ANGLE: Should this project work, it may generate interest should to be marketed as one of the first online collaborations for film production. (Is it really? I don't know to tell you the truth. But to my knowledge there hasn't been much hype in doing such a thing so it may very well be true.)

    Couple that angle with a very low-low budget, I would think it might be innovative enough to produce enough free publicity on those merts alone.

    Should someone wish to buy the film (that would be good!), the project would be sold for the most upfront money possible and the money distributed to each contributing member of the production (the percentages would be determined after final production costs of time and effort were factored from all people). During the production itself, each contributiing member (myself included) would be assigned a point(1% of ownership) of the production. This should (hopefully) leave a surplus of unawarded points.

    The remainder of the points of ownership through a concensus of participants and would be determined later after the final product is completed.

    Nobody involved should expect to make any money from the actual distribution of the film. (That seems to rarely happen in Hollywood). Rather, they should expect to make money from selling the finished film outright to a film distributor.

    There is always a risk whenever doing a film that the darn thing just won't sell. That means all of the time and energy may be "for naught" if money is one's end objective.

    Should it not sell (which is always part of the risk of film prodution), at the very least, each of the contributing parties would have pride of ownership and participation in this experiment and credit for film work for their resumes (or for their personal satisfaction).

    Chain of command will be determined by the experience and abilities provided by participating members.

    I would still be the director and producer of the production with final say on any decisions (unless a more capable producer is to be had) but would be willing to hear each person's point of view and come up with the most mutually beneficial results.

    This is still something worth exploring. Part of this experiment is derived from the fact that people are making really good quality films now with Mini-DV which are a fraction of the cost of union films. This is understandable.

    However, also is true that people are finding that even a few dollars here or there add up, so if members wish to contribute even a few dollars to the budget then they are welcome to do so. Every little bit helps.

    I believe I heard the story that the director, Aronovsky, who directed PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (two of my favorites, by the way), raised money for the second film by having his people actually ask for money/panhandle on the sidewalks of New York.

    Is it true?

    Possibly. I believe the amount they raised was in the neighborhood of a few hundred thousand for the final budget. So, it can be done. But the point I wanted to make is: every little bit helps.

    What would help is understanding each person's 1.) skill set and 2.) resources.

    1.) MY SKILL SETS:
    For me, I've an MFA if Film from Art Center College of Design and did a stint at UCLA for screenwriting. While in Film School, I've produced other people's material (commercials, music videos, etc.) but did not work on my own directing reel. I am currently doing a short film to remedy that and will make it available to anyone interested at a later date (hopefully within the next month or two.)

    My greatest strengths (so I have been told):
    a.) Concepts (I've had more than a few offers to buy my material in the past. Call me a purest, I'd rather stay independent for the time being.)
    b.) Directing/Coordinating (I think I'm pretty motivational, organized, and easy to get along with).
    c.) Writing and Editing stories (I'm pretty good at this, I believe. It may have to due with an over-active right brain-left brain thing happening ;D ).
    d.) Editing (This is one of my personal favorites. FCP really makes it more and more fun).
    e.) Producing (I think I'm pretty good with this. I've been told I'm usually more worried about the budget and the financier's money than the financiers themselves. Call me anal about such matters -- I take that as a source of pride).

    2.) RESOURCES:
    a.) PAL Mini-DV camera (Sony-TRV900e) that shoots 25fps progressive scan.

    b.) Two Macs. One an G3 366Mhz iBook Clam (no combo drive), and one (1) G3 300Mhz BW Tower. 256MB Ram, 110 GB HD. FCP 1.25, OSX 10.1.4, and Photoshop, a very old After Effects 4, and some other programs... No Maya or high-end 3D software solutions.

    That's about it for now. If other people wish to sugest another course of action/revision of these ideas, please feel free to do so. I think the important point is to remember that this is an experiment for the time being unless it takes on a life of its own. One can only hope and wait and see, right?

    Thanks! :D
  6. teabgs macrumors 68030


    Jan 18, 2002
    behind you
    Well, I might be interested, though after the summer I wont have much time (Senior thesis animated film from August03 to May04). I'll be doing some preproduction over the summer, but might have free time(depending on what I end up doing this summer).

    I'd want to see a script or at least a treatment though. I'll be editing a short (about 15-20 minutes) this summer as well, so I also would have to possibly schedule this in with that as well.
  7. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    Update: 04-21-03

    Okay, so I've gotten a few people emailing me saying they're interested in helping. And a few people responding here. So far, the prevailing question is primarily: what is the concept?

    This is my POV:
    I'm working on several projects right now. My idea is to create something that will deal with either some special effects or none at all. Bottom line: to tell a good story.

    But to reveal the storyline upfront is not wise due to the public nature of this forum. After copyrights are in order, then the concept can be shared. This is a copyright issue and once it's taken care of I think it's worth sharing.

    This is really a CYA issue. Story concepts are gold and it is my belief after listening to plenty of industry veterans that people rip of each other all the time. Even if the potential participants are trustworthy (I am inclined to believe so) it seems a given in the film industry that people will read the concept, put it down as bad or discredit it (so they can go away and steal the idea and claim that they "parallel developed" their own idea. Its their way of getting around the copyright claim)

    Once the copyright's in order, I'll let people know whether it requires post-production help or not, what I am looking to shoot in the ways of budget. I don't expect people who participate to volunteer their own time and resources (and especially not their money) unless they feel good about this project. The project idea was conceived as a way to create a film with almost no budget using a community of volunteers and Mac enthusiasts who may provide great creative collaboration.

    If financing happens, then it happens. The most important issue here is a good story. A good story won't need a big budget if shot on DV.

    At the same time, as I said it the beginning: this is all about fun.

    It would help if people who are interested/still interested to give me an idea of what they do/can do. Right now I know what I can do, but knowing who the potential co-workers are would be helpful and even necessary to figure a proposal. Anyway, I'll keep people posted.

    Any thoughts or comments can still be directed via email or PM. Thanks! :)
  8. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Man, production companies. They come and go. How can anyone be in such a volatile business?
  9. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    I kinda had a similar idea but instead of a movie it was an album or two. The band was gonna be called Lisa From The Zoo and I though different people could sign u and write songs and others could edit them and the best versions and songswould get chosen and recorded by whoever wanted to then produced and everyone that contributed got listed in the sleeve nots and on the web site. there would have to be a certain number of core members that are on most the stuff and pick the best stuff....I never got round to makeing the web site thuogh...
  10. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    RE: the maid.

    RE: City of Glass's questions:

    I am not exactly certain I understand the last paragraph, City of Glass. But I will take a stab at it. I think you're asking whether or not one is looking to do a project out of ambition or out of service to others. If this is correct, please let me know.

    For a moment, I'm going to assume that this is the meaning of the last paragraph. This is my take on the craft:

    1.) Directing is an art. But a Director also has to be a business man and wear both caps: as the artist who creates for the joy of creating something that entertains, and as a businessman who understands that every undertaking needs to yield a certain level of profitability.

    2.) Entertainment, by definition is to amuse, or to divert attention in a pleasing manner. However, IMHO it is often taken too seriously. At the end of the day, it's just entertainment.

    Perhaps because it risks becoming propaganda or instruction when used deliberately to control others(?)

    I've said this before to another user and I guess I'll say it again: it's not like you're teaching a third world country how to speak English or created a vaccine which will wipe out polio.

    It's just entertainment.

    Where the confusion about this fact lies is that the creative process of making a film is exhilerating, and the hype around productions and their need to sell the product often obscures the truth.

    3.) To provide catharsis and inspiration to the general public, is to be blessed with that opportunity. It is perhaps the best outcome for which one can hope. It is an honor to serve others, to hopefully make the lives of the viewers a bit brighter for the experience. If this can be achieved in the story, then we as storytellers can not really ask for a better gift.

    If you're familiar with a film called, Sullivan's Travels, you may see what I am saying. In a lot of ways I have found that my own life has paralleled a bit of this movie. The end conclusion is that the joy and honor of helping others who are in pain, is the greatest gift.

    4.) In the end, the film industry like any other industry: it is just an industry. What's more important is the friends and family that you have.

    For all of the hype that is created about movies, they are simply forms of entertainment. And movie stars are just people whom have been packaged as sellable commodies/personalities whom also have good publicists.

    At the end of the day: we're all simply people who are doing our respective crafts. And living ans storytelling is about honoring and respecting other people and oneself. Anyone who tells you differently or tries to put someone up on a pedestal is trying to sell you something.

    So, the question I think is: are we writing and directing and producing for the maid?


    Are we also doing the same thing as business men for the greatest number of people?


    Are we doing this for the lonely person in the back of the room sitting by themselves who comes to the theatres to breath a bit of life into their rather burdened life?


    And hopefully, it is the maid and the lonely person who get the most out of it. :D
  11. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    So, you're point is...

    Not to make light of what you said, City of Glass, but rather to understand your point of view, I will try to interpret your meaning:

    In truth, man seeks his own truth that is unique to who he is: his soul, his identity. Self-expression therefore is tantamount to seizing that truth without compromise or without consideration of causes or merits or social obligations or even beliefs about what social obligation means.

    In summary: to thyne own self be true.

    I hope this is not a simplistic rendering of what you explained. If I am wrong, I appreciate the feedback. However, I wonder if we're talking about creating film collaborations here (which, I hope you agree is both an art and a business) or about the merits of artistic integrity. I thought the point of this idea was to explore the former, while encouraging the later.

    Taking both in stride, thus, I would think the real question is: with whom would you like to work? Does it compromise who you are? Again, if there is a mistake in interpreting your point of view, I would appreciate the clarification.

    Thanks. Most interesting feedback. ;)
  12. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    got any ideas for the sound track?

    edit: I'm quite intrested in helping as I've got nothing on at the moment. I've got no skills in that area but i'm willing to help anyway i can or learn whatever. I'm a computer science graduate so my skills lie in that direction but i also write lyrics and things like that...i could always add my day dreams to the project or review a script or something....
  13. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    Well, yes and no...

    How's that for an answer? :D

    But seriously, I'm still pretty open to ideas from other people. One MR user has approached me about doing the music and they sound really competent. I think it will still be a matter of debate until the final script is locked down.

    Right now, I have been working on two scripts. One is a supernatural thriller and the other is more of a science fiction story which may be mor techno. For some odd reason, I tend to favor drama and action adventure.

    I guess that may not answer your question, dstorey. However, that's all I can offer at the moment. Maybe even that will help.

    P.S. Why do you ask? :D

    Side note:
    I'm beginning to think that perhaps, as this project takes on more life and more people express interest, at the very least this project may be the start of some very good networking of talented individuals whom can forge great relationships with one another and where (oh yeah!) everyone's smart enough to be Mac users! :D
  14. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    I just asked because I'm very intrested in music, but have never though much about music in movies but it's an intresting area. I thought knocking on heavens door took on a whole new poweful level when i saw the trailer for black hawk down and that was playing while the action was in slow motion...sadly the rest of the movie wasn't as good. I would say i was intrested in making music for the movie but i'm not that talented and my bands not in good collectivr shape at the moment as we need a new drummer and the guitarist lives in another country and I can't write music.

    I have some ideas for a story/movie myself but it may not fit in with this project, was more gonna just be a short story i never got round to writing.

    Sadly I'm not a mac user....yet. Money dictates that.

    I've always thought a documentry style movie would be good as an indie flick...can kinda do them lower budget and seems very lifelike so you can create more suspense/fright or belivabilty and ultimatly leave an impression on the viewer. I think city of god is an intresting concept but have yet to see it sadly..its on my list of must see's though.

    I guess for the movie you wont have commercial music due to copyright reasons.
  15. ratspg macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    film score

    I am a Film composer, and write music for film as a living. I would definitley enjoy creating some mixes for this project, PM me with more info, thanx ;):rolleyes:
  16. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    i know brad fRiedel...ex liverpool, present blackburn goalie
  17. GeneR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    The land of delusions, CA.
    TO: ratspg
    Thanks for posting. I appreciate the info. I'll be PM people whom are interested from time to time. But for right now, what I've told dstorey is just about all I can devulge at this point. Shooting in DV is probably going to be the format to keep the budget light.

    TO: dstorey
    I appreciate your input and enthusiasm as well. From your posts I would think that if your band isn't really in shape, hopefully at some point it will be. Personally, I believe that old saying, "when one door closes, another one opens." Maybe that's corny. I've been known to be that "eternal optimist" to my friends and believe that there is a creative process that needs to be respected. So, maybe your interest in witing may mean something too? Dunno.

    I really appreciate documentaries. In my own opinion (for what it's worth) I agree: I think that documentaries are a really great format for indie flicks. I believe they are a very under-utilized format which has become more popular over the years.

    Maybe your strength lies in your ideas and your ability to critically and creatively think about a situation? Once again, I don't know. But wish you the best.

    Take care.

  18. springscansing macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2002
    New York
    You didn't mention music.

    If you need music along experimental/electro-acoustic lines, I'd be happy to do everything for small sum of money. The amount would of course depend on how much work there was for me to do.
  19. springscansing macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2002
    New York
    I'm not sure exactly who or what that was attacking, but damn, it was brutal.

    But yeah.. don't do that.. lol.
  20. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    From what I understand from this thread it will all be unpaid and done for the art/fun of it until/if the film gets a deal then you will be paid based on your contribution. Maybe if your intrsted you could think some ideas up, do a quick take and ppost the somewhere though i guess thats difficut without knowing what the films about...just an idea


    The strength in documentaries has to be in making them convincing to the viewer that they are real or could be...and i guess thats the difficult part.

    I'm a quite good ideas man if i have someone to bounce them off...once someone plants an idea i can run away with it its just getting the initial seed thats often difficult. I guess my critical skills are good as I used to get top marks at uni for all the critical analysing we had to do for assignments.
  21. springscansing macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2002
    New York
    I realize that, but he's going to have a rough time finding anyone to do an original composition for a movie they know nothing about for free. :)
  22. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    maybe he'll get that original guy from the velvet know the one that left cause he was discusted they were selling art for how many records did the velvets sell then? maybe a hundred or so...dam how he would squirm at the likes of Britney etc....oh that guys dead i remember so maybe not....I think some people may do it for the art though, but i agree a rough concept of story line or concept would have to be drawn up even just to see if the style will suit the music people produce.

    Personnaly for this flick, i'd like to see real music, in whatever style, not just some knob twiddling wuith samples or whatever that could be done just on some software would be great to have some art in the music and originallity as well as the movie it's self. Your experimental electro/acoustic sounds a good idea. I;d like to see some guitar work in there and some soundscapes but obvs its not up to me as i'm not the director or even really involved at the moment.
  23. springscansing macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2002
    New York
    I'm not sure why you feel the way music is created impacts if it is "real" music or not...

    I can bang a can against your forehead and it could be music to me.

    And electro-acoustic has nothing to do with guitars.. at least not usually.
  24. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2002
    i just meant real as in real instruments...not just a computer virtually creating things...but maybe i'm traditional like that...real instruments have, warmth, feeling, character, imperfections etc...virtual are well that virtual, perfect, sterile etc...but thats not the topic of this thread. I'm not closed minded in that i wont listen to any of that stuff, just i prefere the former.
  25. ratspg macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    about that music

    I am a Classically trained pianist, and have dwelled into many playing styles. I do film composition, and the last thing I'd want to do is put a techno/electronic track on this. The sound needs to be real! :) and money shouldn't need to be involved, sure it's nice in the end if it makes something, but this is a fun project.

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