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February 7 at 2:30pm

Filmmaking with a Crew of One: Paolo Benetazzo’s Study

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.

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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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December 20 at 8:15am

Smash The Box! 10 Things I Wrote In 2013 I Think You Should Read

Working Away To Build A Better MousetrapNote: If you’d like to share this post, please use this shortened link: http://bit.ly/1cFNHfs

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: [...]


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July 4 at 11:24am

They Found A Way To Kill Indie… But….

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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May 16 at 8:30am

16 Recommendations For Filmmakers To Discover Best Practices For A Sustainable Creative Life

Note: If you’d like to share this post, here’s a shortened link: http://bit.ly/1fZTkeY

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.

  1. 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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May 3 at 8:30am

17 Things About The Film Biz That Should Significantly Influence Your Behavior

Note: If you’d like to share this article, this is the short link: http://bit.ly/GTUPfx

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.

It's Not That We Are Alone, It's That We Are Still Green

WARNING: taking any of these points out of context, could create unnecessary fear or depression. If you want to [...]


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December 9 at 10:30am

Indie Owes It’s Heart To San Francisco

@LaFamiliaFilm tipped me to this truly inspirational documentary on the CinephileArchive blog. Where would be without Zoetrope?

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October 4 at 8:15am

Everything I Know About Producing, Pt.2

Yesterday, we ran part one.  All of this is courtesy of Andrew Einspruch and Screen Hub. And of course Screen Australia who brought me to Sydney for a two day lecture last month. Today: part two.  (P.S.  There are 98 more parts to this lecture but it requires a few more trips to Sydney before I can spit it out!)

by Andrew Einspruch

“For Hope, who is a producer is pretty simple. It is the person there from the beginning of the project to its end.” Daunting but true, and Andrew Einspruch tracked his definition for being there down to his feeling for percentages. 

As Ted Hope made abundantly clear on the second day of Hope for Film, effective feature film producers have to know a lot of stuff, and have to keep at it to learn more. Here’s a brief list of things he rattled off:

- Dramaturgy and script development
- Breadth of available actors and crew
- How to maintain the line during production
- How to elevate a project during its creation
- A solid business and financial background in the media space so you can determine the value of what you are creating, and then do that evaluation.
- Who the foreign sales companies are and their reputations (Hope’s own list has 72 on it).
- The meanings of the various film festivals, and what it means to launch at one vs. another.
- How to manage the 90+ territories that are out there (generally sold as about 60).
- The different digital platforms that are out there, and how they can help you sell your film.
- Having big opinions on marketing and distribution, and the wisdom to know you are not always right.
- What brings people together to create an audience.

It is an overwhelming list of knowledge and understanding. “The nice thing is that there is probably no one out there that can answer all those questions,” said Hope. “But it doesn’t stop you from striving to hit it and to try to have the best practices available to you.”  [...]


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