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November 28 at 9:42am

What Makes A Good Partnership?

The NYTimes Sunday Magazine has a must-read article on my former Good Machine partner James Schamus. The author, Carlo Rotello, does a thorough job on the difficult task of capturing most of the complexity that makes James someone that is fun to collaborate with: he is not easily defined, has many interests (sometimes conflicting), and enjoys deeply both the process and the product.  People so often look for people they get along with to collaborate with; I think that is is mistake.  Harmony may work in other types of relationships, but in a creative one, it is a formula for mediocrity.   If you truly care about the end result of your work, you should look for someone you enjoy arguing with to partner with.

Rotello sums up our Good Machine partnership by defining David Linde as the business mind, Schamus the intellectual, and me “Hope, an advocate of radically decentralized media democracy, was the revolutionary;”.  I like how that sounds, but what really worked at Good Machine, and in other creative relationships, is when people can argue clearly and without ego for what they feel will make a story work best.  Trust is the next most required ingredient in a successful partnership, quickly followed by a willingness to accept that you may not be right (that non-ego thing again). [...]


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November 24 at 8:27am

Job Ops In Indieland (pt. 7): Start The Indie Film Promotional Army

The “build it and they will come” opportunities long ago fell off the individual films, but they are there when it comes to the infrastructure. The whole system of how we bring work to the community needs to be built to take advantage of the world as it is now, not how it was before. The fact that no one is doing it yet is a splendid opportunity to set yourself up to work in the field you love the most.

Some Job Opportunities in Indie Film with Ted Hope (part 7) from Hope for Film on Vimeo.

Watch the six prior parts of Some Job Opportunities In Indie Film here:
Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, & Part Six.
Thanks again to Chris Stetson for shooting, editing, posting this.

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November 22 at 8:00am

Film Finance Overwhelm (pt.2)

Stacey Parks returns with a guest post — and a sequel.

Because Film Finance Overwhelm (Part 1) was such a popular post, I decided to do a Part 2. And because many of the comments and emails I got came in the form of questions, I decided to make the format of this post in Q+A form. I think seeing the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions will clear things up for many of you.

As a refresher, the 4 Film Financing components I talked about in Part 1 – the ones that are working in today’s market to independently finance films outside of the studio system are as follows:

1. Tax Incentives
2. Partnering With Production Companies
3. Pre-Sales
4. Crowd Funding

So let’s move on to Q+A…shall we?

Q: What are the benefits from both sides of partnering with a Production Company or more experienced Producer?

A: The obvious benefit to the new or less-experience Producer is pretty obvious – you get to leverage someone else’s track record to get your film made. But what about the benefit to the other Producer (the bigger one)? [...]


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November 20 at 10:09am

Useful Tools: Dropbox

One of my most used apps is Dropbox, and for a limited time they are running a promotion.  It’s free to use so there’s no reason not to try it out.

Take a tour.  Dropbox is software that syncs your files online and across your computers.  Put your files into your Dropbox folder on one computer, and they’ll automatically appear on any of your other computers that also have Dropbox installed (Windows, Mac, and Linux too!). You can even download Dropbox apps for your smartphone or mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry). Everything in your Dropbox is available from theDropbox website, too.

Go to this link, and download it.  For everyone that does, they will increase by storage capacity by 250MB up to 8GB, so you’ll help me out too.

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November 19 at 2:29pm

Give Back! Testimony On The Joys Of Mentoring

It’s that time of the year that we’ve reserved for remembering what we are thankful for, and for giving back to those less fortunate.  It is an incredible privilege to use your labor to produce art, whether we get to do it as a means to earn our living, or as an additional extension of who we are and what we care about.

Today’g Guest post from filmmaker and mentor Rodney Evans captures our thanksgiving quite well.

Passionate. Brave. Generous. Determined. Rebellious.

These are some of the words that come to mind when I think about the teen Documentary Lab students at Reel Works. Working with them for the past year has been a profound, life-changing experience for me. It has been such a privilege to watch these seventeen students develop the skills and fortitude that it takes to be a successful filmmaker in today’s world. [...]


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November 18 at 4:00pm

We Must Defend The Rights Of Artists Everywhere: Jafar Panahi’s Defense

Last week Iranian Filmamaker Jafar Panahi had his trial in Teheran.  He has not been allowed to make a film in five years.  This post is Jafar Panahi’s defense, his closing remarks,  presented to the court of Iran.

Your Honor, I would like to present t my defense in two parts.

Part 1:  What they say

In the past few days I have been watching my favorite films again, though I did not have access to some of them, which are among the greatest films of the history of cinema. My house was raided on the night of March 1st, 2010 while my colleague Mr. Rasoulof and I were in the process of shooting what we intended to be a socially conscious art house film. The people, who identified themselves as agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, arrested us along with other crew members without presenting any warrants. They confiscated my collection of films as well and never returned them to me.  Subsequently, the only reference made to those films was by the prosecutor in charge of my case, who asked me: “What are these obscene films you’re collecting?”

I have learned how to make films inspired by those outstanding films that the prosecutor deemed obscene. Believe me I have just as much difficulty understanding how they could be called obscene as I do comprehending how the activity for which I was arrested could be seen as a crime? My case is a perfect example of being punished before committing a crime. You are putting me on trial for making a film that at the time of our arrest was only thirty per cent shot.  You must have heard that the famous creed “There is no god, except Allah”, turns into blasphemy if you only say the first part and omit the second part.  In the same vain, how can you establish that a crime has been committed by looking at 30% of rushes for a film that have not been edited yet? [...]


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November 18 at 8:33am

Job Ops In IndieLand (pt.6): Move Beyond A Single Product

Most industries and practices get stuck in a rut of doing things the way they’ve always been done.  The film world is a stellar example of this phenomenon.  Most practices are designed around the way the world used to be, not how it is now.  The film world and it’s economy used to be based around scarcity, but now we live in a world of abundance.  Adapting to this change will bring new opportunities.  The first step is acknowledging that change.

Some Job Opportunities in Indie Film with Ted Hope (part 6) from Hope for Film on Vimeo.

If you missed the prior posts on Job Opportunities in Indie Film, watch them here:
Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Seven.

Special thanks to Chris Stetson for shooting, editing, and posting this.

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Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!