Film Finance Primer

The basics of film finance are actually quite simple. It's hard to get the money, but I have outlined the basics in my Film Finance Primer.

If You Think Filmmaking is Hard, Try Distribution

Everyone knows how demanding and difficult it is to make a film, but it's a cake walk compared to what distribution is all about. When I started Raindance in 1992, the process was much simpler: get some money and make the damn thing, enter a few film festivals, fob it off onto a sales agent who'd send you some money from home video and tv sales, and you could do it again.

Not now. The distribution world has changed dramatically. And what about all these new terms like 'hybrid' distribution and trans media?

So you get swept into the swirl, don the all-black wardrobe, start wearing sunglasses day and night, and before you know it you are committing The 7 Deadly Sins of Self Distribution

Are You Making These 4 Deadly Film Mistakes

We are announcing the nominations for this year's British Independent Film Awards on Monday November 1st. As usual there will be tears and jeers for the films not selected.

Have been through this 13 times now (since 1998) one gets to meet a lot of filmmakers. I have to ask:
Are You Making These 4 Deadly Film Mistakes
http://bit.ly/9JQcSv

Becoming A Festival Darling

Rarely do the huge hits of film festivals work commercially, but that doesn't stop filmmakers from trying to become festival darlings.

It's relatively easy to become a festival darling: Just become an indie auteur complete with dark glasses and a black wardrobe.

If your time is precious and you want to sneak preview a few film industry insider tricks, read our article: How To Fake Being An Indie Autuer.

10 Things Screenwriters Should Know About Filmmaking

The film festival has finished and we are cleaning up the office. We played 77 features of which 69 were British premieres - a record for Raindance.

Watching all of the films and meeting and talking to the filmmakers made me realise how often screenwriters don't bother to learn about the important role of the producer and the filmmaking porcess.

I put together the 10 Things Screenwriters Should Know About Filmmaking

Enjoy

7 Challenges Facing Independent Filmmakers

Interesting in the middle of the Raindance Film Festival to meet so many filmmakers from around the world.

It reminded me of coming back from the Cannes Film Festival this spring where I ran into two veteran British film producers who between them had produced nigh onto 60 features, been nominated for or won several Oscars and who by any standard are considered to be highly successful.

They both were very negative about the future of the film industry and the prospects of making films like they had been over the past thirty years. ‘Independent Cinema’ is dead they argued.

I beg to differ.

So I just wrote the 7 Challenges Facing Independent Filmmakers

The Indie-est Film Festival This Side Of The Atlantic

Wow!

The Guardian really made my day today with a terrific little write-up.
And the Times too has a good review.

And what about this? Urban Junkies - Agenda - Raindance Film Festival Opening Party - definite value for money.

Looks like all the hard work from the past year has been worth while!
Barely had we announced this year’s line-up a few weeks ago, that the Raindance office was bombarded with phone calls. Agencies, political lobbies, censors and pressure groups (from the hard left and far right) were demanding we remove certain of our titles.

Veiled threats of ban or even legal action stand against a record number of our selections. There’s definitely something in the air this year. Many are fearful: afraid of where the UK film industry is directed and afraid of funding cuts. Globally, those in power are also afraid of people sharing their thoughts, opinions, ways of living, loves and fears. Prejudices and politics seem to be taking aim against the arts, and we’ve felt the tremors more than ever this year.


So we've put our foot down. We're committed to sticking to what we feel the festival is about and we’re thrilled to bring you the best independent films of the year. Whether you (dis)agree with them, are enthralled, titillated, maybe even disgusted, we’re certain there’s plenty to feast upon and open your eyes to, and even more for you to fall in love with.


Join us for what we feel is the most daring, original and imaginative Raindance festival line-up to date, hosting a wealth of films that are captivating, thought-provoking and scandalously provocative. We hope you can share with us this magical and powerful world of cinema and embrace its ability to mould and change our environment for the better.


After all, we’re all eighteen, shouldn't we be able to make up our own minds?

Here are my Top Ten Picks

Raindance Festival cinema vinyls going up


We are so lucky to be able to use the Apollo Cinema Piccadilly for the festival - the staff are great, and the building itself first rate.

Today we installed the vinyl posters to the exterior of the cinema, designed by Dominic Thackray using our wonderful campaign image donated to us by the incredibly tallented Gee Vaucher.

I arrived at the cinema at noon - and the 2 installers from Onward Display came with their ladders.

And about an hour later, presto - finished.





How To Sell A Screenplay



Something else I am doing in London of the 21st of September

Killing Time? At least do it properly

Surfing the net when you’re supposed to be working?

We won’t tell, as long as you follow @raindance_fest on Twitter.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest indie film news, how-to film tips, Twitter-only contests and a whole bunch of other goodies in 140-character morsels.

Not on Twitter yet? Preview our Welcome page at Twitter.

Social media is becoming a big part of any filmmaking package.

In Praise of Low Budget Filmmaking

I returned from Norway a last Sunday where I had my eyes opened to teh scenic splendour of that country, to the possibilities of filmmaking in Scandanavia, and of making movies on a minuscule budget as well.

While there I met so many talented and successful filmmakers, all clamouring to work with filmmakers from other countries.

I was interviewed by one of their glamorous journalists the day after I got back to London.

Read my interview titled:
In Praise OF Low Budget Filmmaking

Ways to get filmmaking software free - and legal!

If you are like me there are times when the latest software treats from the likes of Adobe are mouth-watering - yet unaffordable.

Well regret no more, for Christian Bell, one of our fabulous interns has put together a comphrehensive list of over £6000 ($10,000) of legal filmmaking/editing/screenwriting software.

Read and download his Zero Budget Software Suite and want no more for software.

Inception: A Movie about making Movies

Its been a week since I saw Christopher Nolan's Inception and it wasn't until last night that I decided that I had solved the ambiguous ending's meaning. I was 95% confident the character Cobb (DiCaprio) was still asleep. Then, I woke up this morning opened up Word and searched Google for some related articles and this particular piece (below) blew what I thought I knew away.


posted by Charlie Burroughs

The Secret Raindance Fatwa

All the festival programmers are at home this weekend watching DVD after DVD of some of the most interesting filmwork made around the world. We had a record breaking 3000 submissions this year. Shorts features and documentaries from over 50 countries. Played after each other, the running time would exceed 600,000 minutes.

With the programmers busy and quietly mulling over their difficult choices, I have been freed up to do some thinking on how Raindance Film Festival is going to position itself this year.

We have already received our new campaign image, courtesy of Gee Vaucher [Banksy's muse]. Our New Festival Image

The new cinema advert has arrived and we are prepping it for our internet premier next week. London attendees to the Boozin N Schmoozin event at Envy will get to see it first.
Boozin' n' Schmoozin' Monday 12 July 6:30pm


Next weekend we are teaming up with some of our old acquaintances Emo Philips and The XX and are presenting a series of film workshops at the Lattitude Festival.


Next week is historic for Raindance: we are kicking off events in New York and Toronto

In New York, we have the first in a series of Wednesday evening filmmaking classes - starting with a Legal Paperwork class
Legal And Business Structure For Your Film Project: Getting Started The Right Way

Toronto continues a very successful series of panels with filmmakers, also on Wednesday - the Anatomy of a Reel series features the first 10 pages of the script of Excited, followed by the reel from the film, concluded with a Q and A and networking.
Anatomy Of A Reel - Excited

So Im thinking how far can one go with self promotion.
Have I used any of the 5 Myths of Self Promotion?

Can I tempt you to read
The Secret History Of The Raindance Fatwa [published tomorrow at noon]


Enjoy

Elliot Grove

www.raindance.org/NYC

Independent's Day Filmmaker's Toolkit 2010

I'm quite proud of this one: Christian Bell, one of our fabulous interns, put this one together:

Our annual July 4th Raindance Independent Filmmaker's Toolkit now online

Independence Day

On the 4th of July - I'm reflecting on the fact that New Yorker filmmakers are finally starting to wake up to Raindance NYC - and gertting hold of RD's terrific Anne Takehashi in the Apple

Raindance New York

TV Writer's Resource Guide

I know it's kinda tacky for a film festival to talk about TV - but that's where a great deal of work is for screenwriters and filmmakers, right?

So I asked Jane-Marie - one of our fabulous new interns, to whip up a useful resource guide, which she promptly did.

Enjoy Raindance's TV Writer's Resource Guide

I'm inspired

"Pi" to "The Wrestler" He's responsible for some of the decades most startling movies - agree?

Then I read Darren Aronofsky's Scripts.

OMG

Humbling!

And Im off to Brussels for Raindance's Writing Low Budget class Monday/Tuesday

18th Film Festival Heats Up!

We're 18 this year - Barely Legal!

If you want to see an article about the talented team that made this years 18th Film Festival trailer

We expect delivery next week! We are so excited!

5 Reasons Why Filmmakers Don't Fear The Double Dip Recession

Are you sick and tired about all the negative news about the economy?

Worried about the "Double-Dip"?

Don't worry! Recessions are actually great news for screenwriters and filmmakers!

Read: 5 Reasons Why Filmmakers Don't Fear The Double Dip Recession

Are you into submission?

Submitting to film festivals can be pretty scary - as you walk to the post office and drop off clones of your precious baby - one after the other - sending them out to the wide wide world.

I know how you feel - because I have done it myself countless times. Then awaited the response.

The entire Raindance team is watching movie after movie this fine summer weekend.

You can still submit your film to Raindance.

The No Excuses Submission Deadline is June 18th.

Hope to see your short, feature or documentary at Raindance

Learn 5 Things From Hollywood Rebels

Source: Daniel Kresmery, Raindance Budapest

I was sitting on a plane back to Budapest for something like 12 hours the other day and read through a book called Rebels on the Backlot by Sharon Waxman, about how 6 indie directors – Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Fincher – managed to break in and put their stamp on Hollywood filmmaking in the 90’s with films like Traffic, Pulp Fiction, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, Boogie Nights, and Fight Club.

So in keeping with Raindance style, here’s 5 Things I Learned While Reading the Above Mentioned Book on a Very Long Transatlantic Flight.

Habits of sucessful filmmakers

I have been watching festival submissions and cleaning out my old files this bank holiday Monday and there are 2 things I thought I would like to share with you:

The first is an article titled The 4 Habits of Successful Filmmakers.

The second is a unique problem solver. The ultimate way to shift the buck: I am definately going to hang this one on the office wall tomorrow.

Ho hum. Back to watching submissions for this year's Raindance Film Festival.

My hero: Henry Moore










Went to see the Henry Moore exhibition at the Tate Gallery - OMG.

I used to work for him as one of 40+ technicians amany moons ago.

I've written a piece I call Lessons Filmmakers Can Learn From Sculptor Henry Moore

I'm back from Cannes Film Festival

It was a very good Cannes this year - and excellent for the Raindance Film Festival - thanks mainly to the really hard work by the Raindance team: Rory O'Donnell, Julian Chappelle, Amelie Thille, producer Joe Pearshouse, Chris Presswell and director of programming Suzanne Ballantyne. Quite a team! Or, as one party host said - 'That's a lot of canapes!'

I'm still meeting tons of Cannes newbies who are making the same mistakes year after year.

Here's a list of lessons independent filmmakers can learn from Cannes Film Festival

Canon The Story Beyond the Still Contest


It's the first ever user-generated HD Video Contest where photographers become filmmakers, and we all see beyond the still.

Vote for films for the next chapter and watch previous all Canon shot shorts.


Cannes Survival Toolkit 2010

In celebration of the Cannes Film Festival, Raindance has assembled some terrifically useful information.

You might want to have a look at, either to make your trip to Cannes easier, or, to make your thoughts of Cannes more interesting, especially for independent filmmakers.

Brussels Short Film Festival

I have just left the after party of the Brussels Short Film Festival - and quite a party it was with free Chimay and hor's d'oevres!

Should you ever want to come to the Brussels Short Film Festival (and I highly reccommend it) there are 2 hidden secrets about Brussels that you should remember before you alight in this fascinating and dynamic city:

There are 2 thing that are virtually impossible to find: Cash Points, and toilets. Hilariously - at every party or soiree event I would be told on arrival what the toilet facilities. I was even drawn maps and shown arrows point o a variety of convenience points in private property and further. Once that detail was out of the way, parties are pretty much the same as elsewhere.

Why Brussels Short Film Festival?

There are 4 reasons filmmakers should attend film festivals

The World's Top 100 Festivals For Shorts


Enjoy

Elliot Grove
Raindance Film Festival

A pitch guide: Live Ammo attendee

By Paul Bryan

Paul attended a Raindance Live Ammo event in February of 2010. Here are his thoughts and tips for newcomers.

I really enjoyed the Live Ammo session. It was my first time at such an event and I came away thinking, 'there's nothing scary here'.

I made some notes that were basically 10 short bullets of learning that I took from the night to guide me when I do a pitch.

This was my take on it...

1) Be Brief

If it takes 2 minutes to say - you are most probably waffling. The best pitches were about a minute long.

2) Stick to Concept

Many pitchers are so in love with their ideas they feel compelled to spell out unnecessary detail such as character names, ages, traits and interests. Pitches should be at the concept level only.

3) Make use of Pigeon-Holes

The panel wanted a fast orientation on the project so that they can pigeon-hole it into one of several business propositions they can understand - so don't start by revealing the story. Tell them ... it's a low budget comedy for the indie market targeting the kind of audience who liked film XXXX. Don't start with ...Jonny is a 28 year old loner who meets an emotionally damaged go-go dancer...

4) Keep it Original

Most ideas are highly derivative of existing work at the plot and character level and so require exceptional execution to find interest from the panel - which is almost impossible to convey in a pitch unless you have an existing reputation in the business. Focus on original situations/settings and the moral pulse of the underlining story.

More tips from Paul

9 Routes to Breaking in as a Film Director

By Elliot Grove

There are nine routes to consider when launching your career as a director. Before you decide which route to take, research the careers of directors you admire and see if you can see which route they followed.remember,that there is no such thing as a route - only a route that is good for you: one that allows you to maximise you abilities and talent.

The Pixar Script Suite


Their crews are huge and their budgets are even bigger, jumping up to almost $200 million a few times and are all animated, a few things most indie filmmakers never deal with. Well the main reason their films are so successful isn’t the size of the crew, or the big name director or the ridiculous budget, it’s the story.


Pixar is able to, time and again, craft compelling stories, which strike us in a very emotional and pure way and take us on a journey most other films don’t even come close to offering. The stories repeatedly appeal to both young and old and never seem to disappoint.

Whether you are working in the same league as Pixar or on an independent level there are many things you can learn by studying Pixar’s craft.

Read a Pixar script!

Is Michael Bay The New Hitchcock?

We have a new filmmaking student in from the States as an unpaid intern - Mike Ellis. He has written a short, sweet article: Is Michael Bay the New Hitchcock?

Hope you enjoy is as much as I did.

How Filmmakers Annoy Journalists

I was having a morning coffee in Soho, London today with one of the country's leading film critic. He was waiting for a preview screening across the road at Mr Youngs (now called Soho Screening Room).

We were discussing how filmmakers approach journalists, or not, when this journo launched into a tirade.

I made notes as fast as I could and then typed it up:

10 Ways Filmmakers Annoy Journalists.

Enjoy

Music and Filmmakers

We all know music plays a vital role in the movies and how we perceive the protagonist rise or fall. In a scene in Office Space three computer programmers take their anger out on a fax machine in an open country field with a baseball bat. The slow motion drop kicks, homerun swings, and punches that gut the inanimate object are punctuated by a song by the 'Geto Boys'. It's the contrast between these nerdy white collared 30-somethings and a hard-core rap song that make this scene forever burned in moviegoers minds.
Raindance has some truly great takes on movies and music. Here are three that describe what goes into those magical scenes that make you laugh, cry, and fear for the characters on screen.
  1. James Burbidge: 5 Things I learned about Film from Song Lyrics: Its a look at what a filmmaker must think when hearing meaningful songs on the radio and how those little memorable lyrics could fit in his next movie.
  2. Sarah Romeo: Music Rights: The costs and licenses needed to put a great song at the right moment of your movie. Includes some low-budget options.
  3. Charlie Burroughs: Top 10 Songs Performed by Music Characters: The best scenes where characters become artists and belt out the lyrics of famous songs.
"There is no paper jam why does it say paper jam":

Manage Your Online Reputation

Source: Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder

Filmmaking as a career is difficult enough without having to constantly be looking over your shoulder to see what others are saying about you on the internet.

There is no escape from the internet and what people say about you. A filmmaker's online reputation is fast becoming almost as important as the films themselves. Another factor frequently overlooked by filmmakers is that the internet and social media has become a powerful marketing tool. 

The nightmare scenario is that a negative comment about you or your film will spread through search engines and social media sites like wildfire. Managing your online reputation correctly will enable you to take control of your reputation yourself. You can never erase negative feedback or comments. It's about creating, maintaining and managing the reputation you want people to have of you.

Step 1 Read the advice

Elliot Grove Signs onto 'Boogie Nights 2: Down With The Indie'

Raindance Film Festival founder Elliot Grove has found his second calling as an actor. After signing a lucrative contract with Boogie Entertainment, he has agreed to play the role of Rick Bulauch in the much-anticipated sequel, 'Boogie Nights 2: Down With The Indie," due in theatres early next year. Raindance founder Grove, is ecstatic about the opportunity: "It's a dream come true," he said. "Boogie Nights is a cinematic gem, and I am thrilled to work on the sequel with such a powerhouse team."

Full details and photo

18 Tricks of Description

1. Write action, not description

Don’t think of writing description, think of writing action – movement. Describing an inanimate object is boring to write and boring to read. And especially boring to the reader with the chequebook!

Remember, your job is to inspire the entire cast and crew. One of the key people on the crew who has to visualize your script is the Production Designer. It is the Production Designer’s job to create the actual sets you have described. Sometimes the log line of the scene will do it:

INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE – DAY

Aside: Most screenplays are static and the scenes do not flow. Writing movement into a scene makes your script more interesting to read, immediately distinguishing it from ninety-fine percent of all the other screenplays in circulation.

From this simple line, the Production Designer will know to create a room with desks, telephones, and computers. The Props master will add further details, like the clutter and knick-knacks. Here is where you, as a writer with the biblical quote, can use your creativity to inspire.

It is not your job to describe the clutter, the furniture, and knick-knacks, unless required by the plot.

If the slug line says INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE – DAY the reader will imagine desks and office furniture. You do not need to mention them.

If the slug line doesn’t convey all of the information necessary, then you need to add some simple description.

INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE - DAY.
A puddle of water is growing in the middle of the floor.

Now we have some important information we need about start to get a more detailed picture of the set, but it is still openambiguous enough to allow for the collaboration of the Production Designer and Props Master.

Once you have all the necessary description of the scene, you move on to action. You are still writing description, but you are creating pictures with movement in them – your characters and objects moving in their world. By creating movement you will also enable the reader to visualise the scene. GettingAchieving visualization in your reader to visualise will enable himthem to seewatch your movie playing in his head.

You aren’t describing things, you are describing things happening. When we use our words to paint pictures, we are painting moving pictures – and that is interesting to a reader. Which means that you have a better chance of selling your script.


Hint: Action is the element between patches of dialogue.


2. Attention to details

There are times when INT: RAINDANCE – DAY is too general and tic. The reader needs additional information. The trick is not to bore the reader by completely describing the setting. This could lead you to an overwritten scene – one of the fatal flaws of scene writing (see overwriting below). Instead, find the one (or two) details that give us clues, and let the reader’s imagination fill in the rest.

INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE – DAY
Files and half empty coffee cups litter the room.


Or

INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE – DAY
A lonely paperclip partners a vase of flowers on the boardroom table.


These are two very different offices. How is the first office different from the second? Imagine yourself as a Production Designer. What sort of table lamp would you use in the first place? How would that differ from a lamp in the second office? The carpet is different, the curtains are different, the pictures thumb- tacked to the wall in the first are very different from the lithos and expensively framed posters in the second.


Hint: Carefully select a detail which implies other details. Try to distil the entire situation. Then you can also sum up an entire room in one short sentence whilech giving clues to also explains character as well. Notice how there are two very different Elliot’s n the following two scenes.


3. Paint movement

If you describe people and objects as moving pictures, you can hide the descriptive passages within the action and, within the movement.

Instead of a boring, static still life, you give the reader the excitement of action. You can hide the description within the action.

INT: RAINDANCE OFFICE – DAY
ELLIOT slumps amongst the cluttered files and trash.


The reader is focusing on Elliot, and doesn’t even notice that you wroite the description of the office. No static words in this scene – just movement.


Hint: Good descriptive writing does three things at once: – it shows things happening, describes the location, and illuminates character.


4. High school English

Readers in the industry are accustomed to an easy read. The language used is of the same level as in a high school English essay. Avoid complicated words and convoluted descriptive passages.

5. Maximize your vocabulary

The key to economical and dynamic writing is word choice.

During your first draft, you may write a dozen words to explain a situation. Later, you may hone it down to one or two words that explain exactly what you mean. You have hit two birds with one stone: – you create quick, easy-to-read sentences coupled with greater impact than your puffed-out original.

6. Avoid wimpy verbs

Elliot walks into the room.

Walks is not specific. Walks is too general. How many words can you think of for the word walk? Does Elliot limp in, stride in, jump in, sneak in, jog in, slide in?

If Elliot saunters in, strides in, struts in, strolls in, marches in, paces in, or bounces in, not only does this give us a specific type of walk, but adds to the action and character while removing clich├ęd words from your script.

7. Classified ad

Screenwriting is a very pared down and sparse art form. The challenge for a writer is to create the greatest possible impact with the fewest possible words. A novelist can spend pages and chapters describing the minutest of details. A screenwriter has just ninety to one hundred and twenty pages to get a complete story across.


Hint: Economy is the creative challenge.


Economy is not only the most important part of a screenwriter’s job, it is the most difficult to learn.

How do you learn lean, compact and dynamic writing?

One of my tasks at Raindance is to write copy for the various ads we use to promote the film festival. As you know, newspapers charge by the word. A good trick when you start to write a scene is to imagine that you are writing a classified ad for a newspaper, and that you only have a limited budget – say $10. This particular newspaper charges 0.75 per word. Try to see if you can describe the scene and leave yourself enough change to buy yourself a coffee! While writing or rewriting, I will take apart every single sentence and try to find a bolder, fresher, quicker way of saying the same thing. In a first draft, I might have six or seven words that end up being replaced by one. I try to recognize every time I have used unnecessary words or am beating around the bush. You will learn how to get directly to the point.

Try to write the scene description like you are writing a classified ad.


Hint: Scene writing is like writing a haiku where you have a very limited number of words. Try to use words that imply other words.


8. Find the emotion

Don’t describe how something looks, but how it feels. The Production Designer will decide how the set looks, the Casting Director decides on how each character will look.

The writer describes the attitude of the scene, the feel, and the emotion.

One of my favourite writers, William C. Martell, writes dynamic description filled that seeps with emotional resonance. Consider the opening of
Hard Return:

EXT: URBAN JUNGLE, 2019 AD – EVENING
The wreckage of civilization. Crumbled buildings, burned out cars, streets pockmarked by war. Downed power lines arc and spark on the street.

This place makes Hell look like Beverly Hills…

Except the battered twisted metal sign reads BEVERLY HILLS.

Night is falling. Fingers of shadow reaching out to grab anyone foolish enough to be in this part of town.


The only time the future is mentioned is in the slug line. Every other word in this scene describes how the future, this scene, feels: frightening, ugly, and dangerous.

Did theyour skin on the back of your head crawl when you read this? Did you get a visual image of the scene? If you were the Production Designer, how many different possibilities would you have in order to recreate this scene?

Suppose you were an actor who had to walk down the street? How would you do it?

Part 2 of 18 Tricks of Description

10 Tips to Creating A Personal Genre

The film industry markets movies by genre. do you want to see a horror? A comedy? A thriller? Or do you want a mixed genre like action adventure or romantic comedy?

To make it as a screenwriter, one needs to become genre specific: to specialise in horror or thriller is better than being a master of drama.

Drama is considered too general a description. Better yet, successful screenwriters specialise in a mix of genres. For example, Edgar Wright (Shawn of the Dead) is a master of comedy and horror. Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually, Bean) as a master of comedy combined with the love genre.

What these writers have done is created awareness of their specific skills, which enables producers to say "Who can we get to write this rom-com-zom?" Of course Edgar Wright's name will pop up because he is now known to be a master of that particular genre-blend.

As writers use genre, so too all filmmakers need to use the tool of genre to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Where writers have the 10 key dramatic genres to help them get noticed, filmmakers have no such help - were the use of personal genre becomes paramount.
Personal Genre

Our life is the era of personal genre.

Everyone is competing to get work, and before you are hired, employers want to know what 'story' you are. What you are and how you use it will determine what jobs you get, who you develop relationships with, both personal and professional.

As screenwriters use genres to distinguish themselves, your personal genre is what will set you apart from everyone else.

Many of the filmmakers I work with get jammed on this point and worry that they need to develop a personal genre. It is very easy to overthink this key point.

The fact is, you are your own unique personal genre, And because your genre is you, it is as unique as possible. You don't need to worry about genre blends or style - because you already are one.

The trick is to look at your core DNA and decide as a filmmaker - be it writer, director, producer, actor, cinematographer, editor, designer - and decide what is truly you. You then need to strip this message back to basics and learn to communicate your genre clearly.

Co-incidentally, the steps you take to communicate your personal genre to the outside world are very similar to the steps taken by marketeers and advertising companies seeking to communicate so-called brand values.
The 10 Steps To Creating Personal Genre

1. Resonance


Resonance is that deep inner satisfaction you get when you know you have made the right decision. Get it crystal clear that what you are doing resonates with who you are. Once you are clear, and have 'resonance' you will work with a passion that with send a huge 'filmmaker genre' signal out ahead of everywhere you go.

To read the rest of 10 Tips to Creating A Personal Genre

Characters to die for

Source: Raindance Indie Tip, Josh Golding

There's a reason Christopher Walken would take a tiny 3 minute cameo in Pulp Fiction as, Captain Koons, a man who stuck a family heirloom (a gold watch) up his rectum for two years saving it for his fallen soldier's son one day. It's because Quentin Tarantino created what Josh Golding calls a "character to die for". Even though the role was small the scene and dialogue is so enticing that even a big name like Walken couldn't pass it up. The final result was a minor role in the large scheme of the entire movie performing one of the most memorable monologues in the movie.

Here is the monologue Golding is referring to: read it or watch it below.
Also make sure to check out the entire Raindance indie tip,

Characters To Die For.


Film bites -
  • Did you know in the original script Speed Racer was Tarantino's first choice for cartoons to be watched by the little boy. Some sort of Speed Racer fetish because later Tarantino's character is wearing a Speed Racer T-shirt.
  • I was in Wal-Mart looking for a copy of Cloverfield to buy last Sunday and I saw a alternative cover of Pulp Fiction with Christopher Walken among other characters on it.

Is Tim Burton Really Any Good?

I'm a Tim Burton fan. Not every movie, mind you. But most sort of nailed it for me. Alice in Wonderland was sort of 50-50.

I do believe that as a filmmaker, and as an artistic entrepreneur, that he has had truly one amazing career.

Don't you?

I've put all of his screenplay PDF's together in one convenient place. Why don't you go over and grab them before some lawyer sends me a take-down letter?

And judge for yourself.

The Tim Burton Suite

The Teal & Orange takeover

Source: Into The Abyss

In this film blog piece Indie filmmaker Todd Miro has spotted possibly the weirdest new trends in Hollywood films. Its the absence of many of our favorite colors and the dominance of TEAL and ORANGE. I'll grab one of his examples in the picture below of the new movie Hot Tub Time Machine. Read his entire rant here.

A must for Film Tweeters

Source: Raindance & Raindance_Fest

A must for Film tweeting fanatics -

FollowFriday is a crowd sourced recommendation engine for Twitter followers. The theory is that you would rather follow someone who has a recommendation, than following random people. Hash tags #FollowFriday were added to make the phrase more searchable on Twitter.com.

Rather than fill your Twitter account full of Fweets with loadsa names, we thought we would describe the people we recommend - hopefully making
the #FollowFriday, or #FF tradition a little saner and easier to follow.

See the list of Twitter accounts from film fanatics, parties, screenwriters, shorts and more.

How Hollywood is killing us

Source: Raindance, indie tip

Ever wonder why some people get sick after a 3D feature? Are Hollywood's newest mega-blockbuster killing you slowly? See how the body breaks down these feature length films in the article, Hollywood is Trying to Kill Us.

8 Mistakes Filmmakers Make That Kills Their Career

We see so many people coming through the door here at Raindance. Especially this time of year when submissions to the Raindance Film Festival flood in. Trouble is, many filmmakers seem to treat their career with a total lack of respect and understanding.

Avoid the 8 Mistakes Filmmakers Make That Kills Their Careers.

Films on the Green

New York City parks this June & July will host the third annual "Films on the Green" festival which features environmentally friendly films. Located in city parks around New York, NY the festival is a collaboration between the New York City department of Parks and Recreation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. A total of seven critically acclaimed French films will be screened every Friday at sunset through June and July.

Last year's premiere film titled, "Home" is shot from the air over 54 countries for two years. Its goal is to give viewers a different kind of perspective of the harm humans can induce on the world. Here is the trailer of the festival.


The Zero Budget Movie

Source: Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder

Learn how to make a movie as a producer on a lo-to-no budget.

This quick piece highlights just some of the areas money can be pinched and still produce a quality film. Raindance Film Festival website is full of tips just like this one.

10 attributes of a Great Producer

Source: John Truby, Raindance Contributing writer

Here are 10 things you must know to be a great producer:

1. When listening to a pitch, focus on the probable structural problems embedded in the story idea. Every idea comes with them. You want to figure out now if they are solvable or not.

2. No matter how good an idea sounds at first, it will inevitably have elements that are predictable and generic. Ask yourself: What are some of the possibilities of this idea? Where can we take this that is more ambitious and hasn’t been done before?

3. Most story ideas, especially “high concept” ones, produce only two or three great scenes. You have to know how to help the writer extend the idea to a feature length script. That requires focusing on the opposition and the central moral problem embedded in the story idea.

4. Most of the time, the second draft is worse than the first. That’s because writers and producers don’t know that rewriting and development are a unique set of skills that must be learned, just like character, plot and dialogue. And the most important of this set of skills is knowing the proper order for development.

5. Good script development is all about fixing the structure and not the surface of the script. Dialogue is the surface. Deal with that only at the very end. Often it will fix itself as you work with the writer on getting the structure right. There are many elements involved in fixing story structure. But the most important is to make sure the main character drives the plot.

5 More attributes of a great producer

Shutter Island w/ Producer Brad Fischer

Master of filmmaking director Martin Scorsese's movie Shutter Island premieres in theaters everywhere Feb. 19. I found this interview with the producer of the movie Brad Fischer. He talks about working with Scorsese on a horror piece (not his usual genre) how he wound up getting the rights to Shutter Island, and a bit about the Boston area where the movie was shot at.

For the interview: Fear Net, by Joseph McCabe

Interview w/ Scorsese at Berlin also ft. DiCaprio and Sir Ben Kingsley:



Keep up with the Raindance Team now in Berlin at Raindance_Fest

Pitching your Script

Source: James Burbidge, Raindance Intern

Loglines are tricky things – distilling 120 pages of script into one sentence and imbuing it with the power to summarise, titillate and intrigue is a surprisingly difficult task. As a writer it can be hard to develop a good logline because you are invested equally in each part of your work – identifying the crucial story elements and leaving everything else out feels like you aren’t doing your script justice. But remember, a good logline is crucial to selling your script; in a covering letter, in a pitch, in the 30second window you have with an executive when you accidentally meet on the Great Wall of China. That being the case it is vital that you develop a good logline for your magnum opus, something with sizzle and pop, but also, crucially, something that tells the audience what the script is about.

Firstly – what is a logline?

Coen Brothers Scripts

Take a few minutes to see if you know from which Coen Brother movie script these quotes and scene descriptions came from. Afterward keep the link bookmarked to the Raindance website's Coen Brothers Suite, highlighting all of Ethan and Joel's scripts.

The answers are linked in the description or quote.

1.
Character #1
...Ah, you'll lick this picture business,
believe me. You've got a head on you
shoulders. What is it they say? Where
there's a head, there's a hope?

Character #2
Where there's life there's hope.

2.
Excited, he counts out a bundle of bills and tosses it onto the back seat.

He starts to take the rag away from his chin but the layer pressed against his face sticks, its loose weave bound to his skin by clotted blood.

He pulls very gently and winces as blood starts to flow again.

He carefully tears the rag in half so that only a bit of it remains adhering to his jaw
.

3.

CHARACTER #1
It's all a goddamn fake. Like Lenin
said, look for the person who will benefit.
And you will, uh, you know, you'll,
uh, you know what I'm trying to say--

CHARACTER #2
I am the Walrus.

CHARACTER #3
That Fucking bitch!

CHARACTER #1
Yeah.

CHARACTER #2
I am the Walrus.

CHARACTER #3
Shut the fuck up, Donny! V.I. Lenin!
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!


4.
EXT. FACING ROOF

We are looking through the telescopic sight of a high-powered rifle. The rifle sweeps up from BLANK'S body across the brightly lit room, and centers BLANK, still staring at the window, in the cross hairs.


10 Commandments For Low Budget Independent Filmmakers

Making a movie needn't be difficult. It is hard work however, especially if your budget has been crunched to next to nothing.

Can you still make movies with hardly any cash?

Of course you can, bit it's a whole lot easier if you observe some basic simple rules, which I call, with a bit of arrogance, the 10 Commandments of Low Budget Independent Film

Easy Riding

Do you know how director Dennis Hopper picked the music for the crazily successful independent film Easy Rider in 1969? He chose some his favorite rock songs from the radio while editing the movie in 1968.

Learn more about the classic movie and its soundtrack.

10 Things Filmmakers Use Every Day

If you are serious about filmmaking, then there are a few basic pieces of hardware and software that you need every single day.

The beauty of filmmaking today is that these elements can be put together relatively inexpensively, and with a small capital investment of money, and a great deal of time and passion, you could be on the road to a filmmaking career in no time flat.

Intrigued?

Check out the 10 Things A Filmmaker Needs Every Day

Music and Movies

by Sarah Romeo

Nothing sets the mood quite like music. Your film’s soundtrack can make or break the tone of your story, but acquiring the actual songs can be a daunting task. Read on for the ‘need to know’ in buying your movie’s tunes!

What Licences Do I Need?

If you have some tracks in mind for your film, the first step is to contact the music’s publisher—most singers and songwriters have little control over their own music, but their publishers will own almost all the rights. The best way to find out a publisher’s information is to look up the song you want on a site like Amazon, find the record label name, and find the appropriate contact information on the record label’s website.

Once in talks with the publisher, you’ll find out the different licenses you need to acquire. These licenses have different names depending on who you’re dealing with and where you’re making the deal.

Purchasing music rights in the UK or the US, you’ll usually need two licenses:

1) Publishing License - This one is from the publishers, or whoever holds the copyright to a pre-recorded composition. It gives you the right to synchronize a piece of music with your visual image. Some companies also refer to this is as a Synchronization License.

2) Recording License - by the person or persons who OWNS THE RECORDING. In many cases, actually frequently, this is a record label or recording major such as Sony, Warners, Universal, EMI, etc. To approach the Composer would be quite wrong unless the recording was an indy that the Composer had made themselves. However, for most commercially available music, it is a record label or recording company major that you are dealing with.

Some companies also refer to this as a Master Use License.

MUCH MORE TO LEARN FROM ROMEO