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May 30 at 8:30am

10 Ways To Turn That Script Into A Movie ASAP

By Ted Hope

We often wait and wait, strategizing and hoping, but for what?  Most scripts never get made. Even if they “finish” a script, many people stop less half way before they get it done.

I would argue that most scripts don’t become films because the people behind them aren’t willing to face reality and do what is necessary to get them made. The dream of the knight sweeping down and rescuing them for their beauty/wisdom/talent/genius is a toxic poison.  Wishing for privilege, wishing for good fortune, these dreams get in the way of recognizing the hard work that can often get things done.  

Okay, money, connections, talent — they all have a great deal to do with success, but it is also a state of mind that is needed to make things real. Much of that mindset is preparation.  Some of it is process.  And some is that heady cocktail where action and philosophy mix.  You want to get your movie made? Change how you are thinking, and then change your actions.

WARNING: The myth of hard work earning just rewards is equally false and debilitating, but if you want to change your outcomes, preparation is probably the key influencer.

Here’s my list for today of ten short cuts to production.

  1. The best way to raise a budget is to cut it in half. Know how low you can go, and stop hesitating.  It will be easier next time when you have this one to show.
  2. Build a body of work.  Make it clear you are a generative person.  If you consistently create, everyone will believe you will get it done.  Even better of course is to make work consistently of quality.  You create atmosphere where the industry will actually fear your next work will be even better and you will compel them to join up with you.
  3. A movie comes together in one way and one way only; it may be more bumpy ride than perfect storm, but you have to recognize it when it is in front of you.  If you have 50% of the budget and you know how to make it for that, make it for that.  If you have an actor who helps get it funded and they want to do it and you don’t think it is a compromise, then what are you waiting for. I have had several movies die because I thought I could do better than I could.
  4. Put yourself in the investors’ shoes.  Think of what they would want to hear or see.  Don’t let them look foolish to their friends or the world.  Treat investors as your partners.  Give them what they need to close the deal — and to look smart in doing so.  If you think they may want something, you better have that ready to give.
  5. Make the film seem as inevitable as possible.  Do EVERYTHING possible to help them visualize your movie happening (which is very different from visualizing your movie). Create realistic business plans.  Create image books.  Create extensive cast lists.  Select locations.  Run budget alternatives. Build a website. Aggregate your audience.  Demonstrate a proof of principal. Do anything that helps people visualize the film.  And of course the easiest time to raise money is when you are in production (but this is very very dangerous).
  6. Build a coalition of support around your project before introducing it to heavy hitters.  You want a “yes” from as many people as you can regardless of whether they can get the movie made or not.  Set the table for the meal you want to serve.  The truth will bubble up.
  7. People want most what they can’t have.  Manufacture desire for your project before you go out with it.  Once the package is complete, spend a good month speaking about it before sending it out, just telling people you are almost done with it. Denial feeds desire.  A road block makes you want to journey to the other side.
  8. Build an environment of authentic urgency around your project.  People act when they need to act.  Why do they have to make a decision on yours now?
  9. Be more than a filmmaker.  Start with being a member of a community.  What do you provide people?  Why will they want to help you?  Your good acts will inspire others and lead them to action.
  10. Make it easy for people to know who you are.  Movies are stressful situation but they aren’t surgery.  Your team needs to know you won’t crack under pressure.  They need to know you can be depended on for a good long time.  They need to know that it will be enjoyable or at least rewarding to be around you for such an extended period.  Help them understand that.

Any other suggestions you’d like to add to the list?


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