I’m sure it’s been with baited breath that you all have been waiting for an update from Redhouse about our upcoming project. Well, I’ve been busy, dagnabit! Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and all of those True Blood episodes to catch up on. It’s been a busy, busy time.
Suffice it to say a lot has happened. We’re smack dab in the middle of yet another rewrite of our script (last version lacked “conflict”, whatever that is…), and oh, we may change the title, which is cool.
We’ve scored another producer named Greg who is awesome and have been talking to a couple of other producer/filmmaker type people about the upcoming hill climb of fundraising we have ahead of us. Oh, and I’m this close (makes tiny pinchy gesture with fingers) to securing relationships with all of our key crew. Life is good.
One more development: I’m going to be writing about the process of making a next-to-no-budget-first-time-feature-film over at Film Slate Magazine, which I’m pumped about. These guys have built a fantastic resource for indie film dudes like me, and the cherry on top is that they’re based in Ohio. If you’re interested in independent filmmaking at all, you should check them out. And watch for my feature (the series will span this year) to show up somewhere toward the end of this month.
Look for lots more updates here and on Film Slate!
I’ve actually gotten this question a lot as of late. Any time I tell someone about the project, it inevitably comes up. Right after they ask if it’s a short film.
When you get all granular about it, filmmaking is an incredibly complex process, involving many steps that sometimes overlap each other, and many, many different people. However, you can easily boil it down to a few simple steps that, as proven by films like Primer, can be taken by a relatively small group of people:
Develop Your Script – Fact is, you can’t even start pre-production without a script.
Form The Production Team – Depending on how big or small a role your producers play, this step may be later in the process. For us, it was the first thing we did.
Finalize The Budget – Yep. You gotta decide how much this is going to cost. You can’t play this number by ear.
Create A Prospectus – This is your plan of attack and is vital to the project. Anyone who feels differently will be cursed to teensy tiny budgets and films that are seen only by a select few people; probably their friends and family.
Start A Buzz – Easy enough. Get people talking about your project.
Locate Funding – There are a number of sources to fund your film. For us, it’s a combination of grants, donors, investors, and trade.
Recruit Crew – Basically, hire or get volunteers to do the various jobs on your set.
Scout Locations – Where are you going to shoot this thing? Yeah, that’s pretty important.
Cast Your Cast – Actors are a finicky bunch. Get them locked in early.
Get Stuff – Equipment, props, costumes…there’s lots of stuff you’ll need, so you better start getting it.
Storyboard Your Film – If you’re shooting on film (and you should), or even if you aren’t (really, you should), you should plan out every shot and every shooting day to the last detail. Storyboarding is the way to go.
Shoot It – This is the fun part.
Edit It – Cut it all down, line it all up, and make something pretty out of all your footage.
Score It – Gotta have some music. All the good movies have it.
Get A Distributor – Sure you can self-distribute; but you’ll be lucky if you can break even this way. Any number of routes could score you distro: someone who knows someone who knows someone, film festivals, or just knocking on doors in Hollywood (I’m not kidding).
So there you have it. 15 Steps to making a movie. Now get out there and make your own! Or, help out on ours.
Nope. Not going to hash out all of the pros/cons of film or HD here. A quick Google search will yield plenty o’ discussion about that topic. What I am going to do is clarify our position as a production company as to why we’ve elected to work with film for now.
In my humble opinion, both film and video have their purposes. We’ve all even seen narrative features shot on video that look fantastic. I also believe that we will reach a point in the digital world where the two are at least
visually indistinguishable. Right now, though, at this point in history, film provides an aesthetic that video, sorry…not even RED, simply cannot duplicate.
However, it’s not just the visuals that matter at this stage in the game:
1. Film provides the legitimacy and sex appeal that video simply doesn’t. Yes, the jig is up. One of our reasons for choosing to work with film for now is to reinforce the idea that even though we’re new to narrative feature film production, we take our work very seriously. Seriously enough to invest the extra time, money, and effort to shoot our projects on film.
2. Film provides an intrinsic discipline to principal photography. Sure, you could tell yourself “We’ll be disciplined. I’ll force it to happen.” But you’d be lying. If you shoot video, what will really happen is you’ll shoot a 20:1 ratio (that’s shooting 20 minutes of footage for every 1 minute of finished product, for you non-filmmaking folks), do way too many takes, and “just keep it rolling” more times than you should. Everything will get sloppy and you’ll add days to principal photog or hours to every day because you just HAD to get 50 options for one scene and more coverage than you need. With film, every single second that camera is running represents very real money. You gotta make every take count.
3. Whether we achieve it or not, theatrical distribution is always our end game. Everyone at Redhouse, myself included, is a movie lover. And not just sitting in our living rooms watching a Netflix DVD movie lovers. We love the tactile experience that is going to a theater. We want our movies to play in those theaters. This is what we will be going for on every project that we do, and let’s face it: if you shoot on video, even HD, then blow up to 35mm, you are facing several challenges…not the least of which is the incredible cost of blowing up to 35mm. Since our goal is a 35mm print, shooting on film is honestly a more economical way to go.
And that, my Friends, is why Redhouse is currently a film shop. Not saying that won’t change someday, but for now, celluloid is our friend.