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“Making something out of nothing” is what filmmaker Mira Nair called the Filmmaking workshop that she was doing in the spring of 1999 in Cape Town South Africa. The bulk of the students were from the black and “colored” townships way outside the city and traveled more than an hour each day for their two-week initiation to cinema. It was the dawn of the post apartheid years and they were pregnant with compelling and amazing stories that they wanted to bring into the world either through narratives or documentaries. For decades, generations before them had their voices stifled, and they were fighting to finally become the narrators of their own history and had chosen filmmaking as their weapon. And I was there to film that process. “Show, don’t tell, make films that are accessible to you, be inspired by what’s immediate, cut your cloth”. [...]
There is little I hate more in life than online advertising. Dental visits, food poisoning, taxes; I hate ads more. That’s at least what I would have told you a few years ago, and I would have been right. I’d tell you that they were the worst thing to happen to filmed entertainment since online streaming began. You think anyone is going to risk sitting through five commercial breaks on Hulu to watch your random indie movie? Our overstimulated brains have a hard enough time keeping focused and interested as it is.
So what’s a cinephile to do? [...]
By Paolo Benetazzo
Push The Boundaries of Your Creativity: How I Made the Film Study
Filmmaking is my day-long obsession, joy and torment
When you can’t see the line between fiction and reality, filmmaking becomes your lifestyle.
I was a psychology student when I came up with the concept behind my feature film directorial debut Study. During my final year at university I was involved in a number of film projects, including short films and documentaries. I didn’t have full artistic control. I had to compromise my vision for the sake of the team and that was the only way to get it done.
When you don’t want to share your vision with others I think you’re ready to make your full-length film, no matter what your budget is. I would rather make a low budget film instead of collecting short films or waiting for the great opportunity that might never come. It’s going to be risky, painful and insane but that’s how real indie films are made.
I’m a self‐taught filmmaker, I’ve never attended a film school. Watching films along with real life experience represents the film school par excellence in my opinion. Films are the greatest teachers of all; they are an endless source of learning.
The Open Screenplay
Fascinated by the study of psychology and its impact on modern life, I decided to explore my studies in a feature film. Once I graduated in Psychology, I moved to Ireland where I started writing the script in English. [...]
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It’s not enough any more to think outside the box. I think we need to smash the box to bits.
We need a total systems reboot of the indie film infrastructure. And I don’t think we can continue to wait and hope someone else is going to build it for us either.
I have been trying to help however I can help best. Perhaps these posts can be your guide: [...]
Was it for Independence Day specifically that Hollywood wanted to find a way to kill indie? Or is it just a symptom of a greater dis-ease?
Hollywood once was a city of dreams, but they have been making a different bed for some time now — and everyone knows it is draped in spreadsheets. Yet, as evidenced by some recent statements, they too can still dream, and sometimes even of slaying the beast and recognizing what they really want.
Conspiracies are such a pleasure, because [...]
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Two weeks ago at The San Francisco Film Society we launched A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur), a specific line of programming designed to provide filmmakers with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and best practices needed to have a sustainable creative life. We launched with A2E OnRamp, a workshop to allow filmmakers to budget, schedule, and predict possible revenues for their film throughout the direct distribution process.
Before we rolled up our sleeves to start the practical, I warmed up the crowd with a series of short lectures focusing on what all filmmakers should know about the film biz, the current culture, and recommended best practices for themselves. Last week I shared with you what we discussed about culture in general. Prior to that, I shared with you what I felt we had to recognize and accept, at least for now, about the film business.
Today, I offer you my recommendations on best practices in times like these if you want to have a hope of a sustainable creative life as a filmmaker. Don’t worry if it looks like there is more than you can currently achieve. It is a process and you are not alone. It gets better. We can build it better together.
- Focus on developing Entrepreneurial Skills as well as the creative. The corporate distributors don’t need your work to the extent that they will ever value it as much as you will. If you want your work to last, engage, and be profitable, it is up to you to be prepared to use it to ignite all opportunities. Armed with a good story and good storytelling skills, you should be able to profit if you know how to take responsibility for your creation. [...]
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On May 2nd, 2013, I launched the A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur) program at the San Francisco Film Society with OnRamp (The Direct Distribution Lab). This is a pilot lab of a pilot program designed to give filmmakers the necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve a sustainable creative life amidst this changing paradigm. We will be working out some bugs but I hope to launch the second iteration as soon as possible (but to do so requires some support, both financial and otherwise, so if you know anyone or any organization that might be interested in advancing film culture and enterprise, please do send them my way!).
As part of the lab, we have a first day of big ideas and case studies that hopefully will give the participants the foundation for a design for living and thriving on their art. As part of that I have prepared three brief lectures focused on what every filmmaker needs to recognize about the business, the culture, and their practice if they want to have a sustainable creative life. Split between the three categories, I came up with fifty things you should know. I will provide them to you over the next week or two, but I wish you all could have been there. It’s always different when you are in the room.
Today, I will unleash what I think it is necessary to recognize about our industry if you are a filmmaker looking to survive from the work you generate.
WARNING: taking any of these points out of context, could create unnecessary fear or depression. If you want to [...]