Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bullet Hits for the Manifesto

  • Don't waste your time making a short film unless you're learning something. That is, short films are for the internet and film festivals and that's it. DVD distributors don't release them. [ Yes, there's going to be some whanker who says, "What about...?" It just proves the rule] If short films were a viable business model for DVD they would be flooding the market. They're not. If you want to get paid for your work - make a feature film or a series.

  • The still photographer and his photographs are your BEST selling tool for your film. Keep the stills man around at all times. If your budget can't handle it - buy a digital camera and shoot stills yourself - but they better be good. Also - if I see another behind-the-scenes picture of the director and the crew I'm going to hurt somebody. Keeps those pics in your personal photo album. Exception - complicated makeup FX shots.

  • A script that has a great concept, but is poorly written IS BETTER THAN a brilliantly written script about nothing. You can fix a poorly written script that has a great concept. Concept is the glue that holds it together.

  • All you low budget filmmakers out there? If you are planning on making a horror movie do it soon. The market is going to glut itself in the next year or so (at least as far as the shot on video flicks are concerned). This is the same thing that happened to the Urban market 3 years ago. You can do it inexpensively - but it better have perspective and style - or else you won't be able to sell it.

  • For all you business majors out there? Screenwriting = Research & Development. Pre-production = tooling up. Production & Post = manufacturing. Marketing and Distribution = chaos. Change any part of this system and it affects the other parts positively or negatively depending on how you change it.

7 comments:

deepstructure said...

all great points...except #1. i have to disagree. not with the fact that they're not money makers, but that's pretty obvious. no one is going to make a living from making a short film. however, you certainly might start a career.

and i believe in the very near future there will be a viable model for short-films. short-form content is taking a larger share of the market and i believe that will only grow.

so definitely make short films, not only to learn, but if you make them well there just might be a market soon for them. and if nothing else, you'll be ahead of the curve - because just because you can make a long form piece doesn't mean you can make a short form one.

Bill Cunningham said...

Notice I say - "short films are for the internet and film festivals.."

My main point in this is there are a lot of people spending a lot of money making shorts when they should be making a feature. We all know the stories of someone at USC/UCLA/ETC spending $300K for their short...

and then nothing to show for it. At least with a feature it's got a chance to be sold and regain its budget.

I can agree with you that their is a growing market for cell phone content. The market there is in volume - a collection of shorts. It is still not mature enough.

deepstructure said...

wow - 300k for a short??? holy shite! i didn't know you were talking anywhere near that kind of money. sheesh.

Bill Cunningham said...

I'm all for people getting the dv cam out and shooting something and playing around - pushing the limits of the format.

But when you reach those numbers for a short - panavision, pro crew, SAG and all that...it doesn't make much sense to do a short. It makes sense to do a feature - show what you can do - and have a chance to get your money back.

Jutratest said...

So if horror is about to glut itself, in your opinion what is next?

Bill Cunningham said...

That, my friend is for me to know...

Jutratest said...

Haha. You're a bastard.