Key Art as the Face of Your Film
The key art is the most important part of your independent film's marketing campaign. It is absolutely critical that you this right or your project is going nowhere.
The Producer and the Law
An introduction to a producer's understanding of the legal aspects of their job and the importance of observing a few guidelines.
Production Value Defined
A detailed definition of the term "production value".
Put Money on the Screen
A discussion of common pitfalls for producers when making decisions about where to allocate funding, as well as where that money should be spent instead.
Why Production Value Matters
A description of the importance of production value and why it matters to the independent producer.
The Two Types of Film Investors
A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the sophisticated and unsophisticated film investor.
Myths of Film Investing
Four commonly held myths about film investing, dispelled.
Motives of Film Investors
The psychology of the independent film investor and examples of individual motivations.
Total Shooting Days
Making a determination about how many days you will need to shoot your feature.
Negotiating with Above-the-Line
How to negotiate with director, screenwriter and actors from the perspective of the producer.
Independent Film Media Kit
The contents of the media kit for your independent film and guidelines for how to create them.
Social Networking the Indie Film
How to use social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to build an audience for your independent film.
A guide to building a website to promote your independent film.
An introduction to marketing the independent film: overall strategy, budgeting, objectives and goals.
The essential documents that form the bulk of your paper armor against a lawsuit. Deal memos, Work-for-hire agreements, Location Releases and Music Rights.
Reducing your Attack Surface
How to protect yourself against legal liability and ensure that your film is insurable for E&O.
The Cost of Production Value
Examples of actual costs of bringing production value to a shoot and an examination of the mindset of the producer in regard to ambition and motivation.
Production Value Defined
A detailed definition of the term, Production Value, with examples and a clip.
Finding an Investor
A detailed discussion of who will participate in your film and how to find them.
The Elevator Pitch
How to get your verbal pitched honed to perfection and succinct enough to get your foot in the door.
The Pitch Sheet
The one page pitch sheet that you will send to interested parties.
The Pitching Process
The process of pitching and how that leads to closing the deal.
Negotiating with Crew and Vendors
The mentality of crew and vendors and how to negotiate with each.
Production Budget with Cashflow
A look at an interactive top sheet budget and a discussion of how different elements impact each other and the production as a whole.
The producer as financial architect, drawing parameters and a framework around the entire production.
Business Plan Examples
A critical review of three actual business plans.
LLC and Operating Agreement
How to create a structure to share ownership of the project with investors, establish voting rights and the authority of the producer and protect the investors from personal liability.
The Business Plan
Building your strategic plan into a form that makes sense to you and will guide you through the production. Taking the plan for your movie and putting it into concrete form.
The Producer's Unit
A definition of roles in the Producer's Unit, as well as a description of duties.
The Option Agreement
Registration and copyright, the option agreement and control of the intellectual property.
A series of questions that a producer must ask themselves before embarking on the long and arduous journey of a film production.
A description of the various scenarios where an idea is developed into a script, and how that script comes into the hands of the producer.
Qualities of the Producer
A detailed description of the five requisite qualities of the producer: Strategic Vision, Creative Balance, Ability to deliver attachments, Track Record and Existing Relationships.
Role of the Producer
What is the role of the producer and how do they contribute to the creative aspects of the production?
Getting Star Power
How to find and work with name talent.
Internet Marketing and Social Networking
How the moviemaker can utilize the internet to get their movie out there and create a fan base for their work.
Media Kits and Marketing Materials
Why the moviemaker should care about marketing, the presentation of the movie to the world as an extension of the creative process as well as the contents of the media kit.
An introduction to production and a description of a basic shooting procedure.
The push-pull process of creating a schedule for your production and the importance of smart scheduling.
Role of the Producer
The oft-misunderstood role of the Producer as the project architect. Also, the importance of the script, bringing attachments and the producer's strategic vision.
Evaluating a project to determine the producing challenges before going to production.
Find the Bottom Line
Create the framework around which your project will be build based on the bottom line number for your budget. Market research and current market conditions will determine what you can and cannot do.
Introduction to Distribution
The importance of distribution, the cyclical nature of development and distribution and why the producer should develop a strategic plan and be ready to pitch the next project.
Breaking out the script for logistical planning into department focused reports; Cast Report, Locations Report, Production Design Report and Scene Report.
Setting your shoot date sets the machine in motion that leads to production. This article covers the start of this process and the workflow of pre-production.
A series of evaluations by the Producer to determine if the script is ready to move into the Production stage of development.
Five Phases of Filmmaking
A road map to the entire movie making process.
Produce Your Own Film
Another enterprising way to break into the film industry is to produce your own film. It is not a simple task like getting a job as a PA and working your way up. It is quite a burden to take on such a project. The blessing is that once your film is done,
Finding the Right Producer
Once you've written your query letter (see previous column), where do you send it? There are two ways to approach an answer to this question, and I recommend both. First, do some research to find producers who have shown an interest in material similar t
Premise and Treatment
Creating the premise/logline and treatment is an important step to building a business plan. Potential partners will want to get the idea of your story without reading an entire script.
Intellectual Property Basics
The spectre hanging over every independent producer's head is the threat of legal liability. Unfortunately, the first time that this spectre materializes, few are prepared and the legal sting can be lethal.
Filmmaking and the Internet
Technology is opening up new tools and markets, with the rewards of the new economy being heaped upon the most daring innovators.
Finding a Producer
Obviously, a beginning writer/director is in need of a producer to help find financing, either through independent investors or smaller production companies. But where do you find such a person, and then convince them to help?
The all important deal memo and how it relates to working on a non-union film shoot. Employment contracts, enforcement and possible traps to avoid.
Legal and contractual considerations between property owner and film maker when arranging the use of private property.
what an experienced film crew expects of a new director; includes shot instructions, rehearsals, blocking, calling action, lunch breaks, etc.
Working with Cast and Crew
hiring department heads, firming up the budget, casting talent, contracts, hiring of production employees and rehearsals.
this outline deals with production insurance, hiring the production designer, scouting locations, hiring the production coordinator and permitting.
Budget and Scheduling
The basic steps in pre-production are outlined, including hiring a unit publicist, drafting the budget and bringing associate producers onboard.
Obtaining rights to the script, attaching "stars", letters of intent, hiring the UPM and 1st AD, script breakdown, production board and shooting schedule.