How Much Is Your Film Worth?

by Elliot Grove

What is my film worth? This is the most common question I hear year after year at the Raindance Film Festival. I meet many filmmakers at various stages of the fimmaking process, all of whom have varying approaches to the tricky question of valuing their films.

Here are some typical scenarios:

The Auteur
"I'm making he movie of my dreams, using some innovative camera work and editing style, and I don't care if the film sells at all. I know my film is beautiful, because I am beautiful"

The Entrepreneur
"I'm really good at making money in other businesses, so I am going to analyse the marketplace, find out what people are looking for, make it and clean up at the box office."

The Crass Marketeer
"I've just seen a report that 100,000,000 milllion people around the world play soccer. Thus, if I make a film about a kid trying to make it in as a soccer player, it has an in-build audience. And even if only .001% of the soccer playing community sees my film, I will make a handsome profit."

The Festival Groupie
"To get my film sold, it has to get noticed. The easiest way to get a film noticed is to take it on the festival circuit. The films on the festival circuit that get noticed right now are films dealing with __________ (name the topic - but usually sexual violence). Thus my film about _________ will get noticed, I will sell it for loadsa."

The Passionate Artiste...
See the rest of the article HERE

10 Ways Filmmakers Stay Unmarketable

5. Become an Alcoholic and Use a Lot of Drugs

One of the best ways to stay unmarketable is to do a lot of drugs and drink all day. Obvious, I know. On the other hand a great way to stay marketable is to network at a pub. Look for social groups that interest you and join them on a night out. Remember Wedding Crashers rule number 27: Don’t over drink the machinery must work in order to close. This works for women in the movie, but is also practical when talking to a future employer. Although, there was a situation when I was out with a friend with alumni from the newspaper. He ended up getting completely knackered (British word, right?) and still seemed to get every alumnus’s card.

Here is a good take on how much to drink while networking by Tami Reiss: HERE

6. Don’t Go On Dates

Staying unmarketable is like being single in a foreign country. You’re not as desirable to the opposite sex/market and you talk funny/don’t know the company lingo. This may be a less appealing strategy unless you’re more of a maniacal individual. Why not date around until you find a woman with a Dad who is looking for a real go-getter (i.e. he doesn’t want his daughter dating a guy with no job). Besides you may also find true love. We all want that right, a job and true love. I smell a romantic-comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

7. Don’t learn new computer skills

Depending on your market and preferred job another way to stay unmarketable is to have no additional skills. For instance not being able to use Adobe Photoshop or Excel Spreadsheet is a way to get a leg up in staying unmarketable. Most of these programs can be learned through how-to books or online videos. You don’t have to become a Final Cut Pro expert, but having some basics down may create an advantage over the competition.

Rest of the Article HERE

Twitter: Taking The World By Storm

by Melissa Brown

A friend told me to check her last “tweet.” I stared at her, confused, unsure what exactly her last “tweet” was. Embarrassed I asked her what tweet meant and she quickly rushed me off to the nearest computer to show me how to use twitter myself. It is not until now, two months later, that I am starting to understand the power of the “tweet.”

At first, I thought it was just a bunch of updates on my every day life. Easy enough I thought. I could “follow” John Mayer if I wanted to! Done and done. It wasn’t until I started getting “following” e-mails from random people who were watching my updates that I began to realize the wrath of the “tweeting” process. Twitter went from a non-existent word to an everyday slip of the tongue seemingly over night. People are “twittering” all around the globe and in many different languages. Simply to keep others updated daily or even hourly.

Yet, I am having a hard time understanding the fascination in regards to twittering. Companies are using it to market their products and events. Celebrities are using it to maintain in the spotlight. When it comes down to it, it is just another way to connect thousands and thousands of people who would normally would never exchange hellos. (I’m following John Mayer’s every update now aren’t I?)

I have to ask, what is next? Twitter seems to be the new Facebook and before that Facebook became the new MySpace. What more can we possibly do to communicate on every single level possible: you can now “tweet” from your phone, write on a friends Facebook wall with a blackberry and even log onto MySpace anywhere and everywhere. It’s more than communicating; it’s a 24-7 constant update.

With the new technologies made to help us communicate with each other, where has the personal face-to-face communication gone?

See the rest of the article HERE

Saved By The Box

May 21st 2009 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

Independent film is thriving on television thanks to video on demand

CANNES was quiet this week. Although the stars and the paparazzi went through the usual red-carpet routine, there was less extravagance and a smaller contingent of film-buyers than usual. Yet for makers of independent films, that was not the end of the world. In their business the action increasingly takes place not on the French Riviera but in American living rooms. Tricky, intelligent films are finding a home in the least glamorous corner of the television business.

Read the rest of the article

Web A-Z for Filmmakers

by Elliot Grove

Making a film is hard enough. In this day and age, you are also going to need a website. Starting a website can be tough work—getting the world to see it can be even more tedious. Whether you’re starting a website to promote your production company or an individual film, creating a website and an internet network can be the best way to spread the word. Don’t get lost on the information highway! These tips will show you how to begin:

1) Choose a name for your URL.

It should be simple, relevant and easy to remember. If you’re promoting a film, usually the title and the word ‘movie’ make a good URL name. Whatever it is, don’t try to play tricks with the name like dropping letters or adding dashes. The name you choose should be available in organic form, so make sure to check its availability before marrying the idea of a URL name.

2) Use Keywords

Google and eBay both have keyword tools to let you know what the top words and phrases are at the moment. Monitor these tools for a few weeks and see if you can incorporate a word or phrase into the title of your movie.

3) Get a Logo.

You’ll want this for all the following steps. You can either make one yourself simply in an application like Photoshop or InDesign, or get a crafty friend to help you. If you want more help, websites like CrowdSpring and 99Designs let you launch contests for designers to create your logo. For a small fee, you’ll have plenty of great looking options to choose from.

See the rest HERE

Japanese Film Themes: Love

by Grace Leong
Love is a strong recurring theme in Japanese Films, especially love that is lost. While a plot involving losing a loved one to an incurable disease or a fateful accident may sound too much of a cliché, Japanese filmmakers have continued to show how successes can be created through intricate story-telling. The following are some titles to look out for.

Shunji Iwai, perhaps better remembered by some Western audiences as the director of All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001), created the classic film ‘Love Letter’ in 1995. The story begins with Hiroko Watanabe mourning the death of her fiancé Itsuki who died in a mountain climbing accident. While trying to come to terms with her loss, she decides to write a letter to him and mails it to an old address in his hometown. Surprisingly, a reply is received from Itsuki, a woman whose links with Hiroko’s dead fiancé go beyond sharing the same name. Years after its initial release, Love Letter continued to create waves in Asia and is credited for creating a whole fan base for Japanese films in Thailand when it was released there in 2001. Having been part of the original crew for Love Letter is also to be part of a powerful lineage.

Love Letter Assistant Director Isao Yukisada used to be marketed as such but he too has gone on to create his own classic love story. Crying Out Love In The Centre Of The World or 'Sekai no chushin de, ai o sakebu' (2004) sold 7 million tickets in Japan within 10 weeks of its formal release and features Kou Shibasaki (Battle Royale) as one of the leads.

View the rest of the article HERE.

10 Tips For Better Camera Direction

4. Think in Parallel
Think Edit - when planning your camera set-ups, try and think about how your set-ups will interact together. Eg: A tracking shot could also be reset to provide a reverse for your dialogue coverage.

Also if you are moving the camera to create energy, add a little movement into potentially ‘locked off’ ie static camera set-ups to ease the transition in the edit. These are the sort of things you do try in Pre-Vis, if in doubt try it out.

5. Coverage
Shoot more of the scene from all set-ups, as long as there is action in the frame keep the camera rolling. This gives you more options and can often save the scene in the edit suite.

6. Close-Ups
When we take the audience in close we are asking them to be very intimate with the character. On the big screen this can be ‘too’ much so that the audience mentally step back and therefore miss the message you wish to convey. Handle with Care.

See the rest of the tips HERE

Actors Talk About Acting

From Harry Anderson to Orsen Welles - a thorough list of actors thoughts on acting. Here are a few insightful tidbits from famous actors about their life on the big screen.

"I have twenty personalities on top of the ten I already have. So now I have thirty people in my head!"
-- River Phoenix

"My first language was shy. It's only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness."
-- Al Pacino

"Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why."
-- Paul Newman

For the rest of the quotes click HERE

10 Things Producer's Should Know About Story But Ususally Don't

I can't believe how many filmmakers dont take the time to learn about story.
I'm calming down now but trying to make some helpful constructive suggestions in the form of an article of use to screenwriter's here in London, and abroad: 10 Things Producers Should Know About Story

10 Supporting Roles You Love-to-Love

From Steve Buscemi to Fogell from Superbad here is a list of the unsung heroes that embrace the big screen. Often times their roles bring more charisma and attitude than any "A-list" celebrity. Here is a partial view of what I call the "Third Men Out."

1.    Steve Buscemi

It’s hard to narrow down the best of Steve Buscemi’s oddball characters. Possibly it’s as Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs, a character you love-to-love, even though you’re repulsed by his outlook on life. He isn’t the main character in Reservoir Dogs, but director Quentin Tarantino gives him a long piece of dialogue to begin the movie. Sitting around the lunch table with the other men in the gang, Mr. Pink explains why he doesn’t tip waitresses: 

Mr. Pink: “I don't tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I'll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job.” See the rest of Mr. Pink’s quotes here:

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant/diner in America you would automatically not admire this character. Instead this bit of dialogue makes us want to search for another character to relate with- the main character. Which is exactly the point of the “Third man out.” Buscemi is great at this role. Even if it’s a small role such as Donny in Big Lebowski, a man described by his Vietnam War vet friend as “out of his element” or as criminal Carl Showalter in Fargo, described as a “funny-looking guy” by two Minnesota hookers. The “Third man out” can also be a comedic relief, such as Buscemi’s role in countless Adam Sandler movies.  

Festival Submission Closing Date

It's been the same for 17 years now:

In the week BEFORE our final deadline, dozens of telephone calls - from filmmakers asking questions concerning eligibility, from filmmakers worried that their films will reach us in time (Yes it has to be POSTMARKED June 19th) and from filmmakers worried about whether or not their film submissions have arrived.

On this last point, our answer isn't such an easy one as there is a huge pile in the corner, and I'd guess we are running a good week - ten day behind in the logging process.

Happen to want to submit to Briain's largest independent film festival?
Here are the Submission Details

UK Indie Film Case Study

We are really pleased to have started a new video blog by the exceptionally coherent and frank, Johan Neethling.

Everything you have wanted to now about crowd sourcing, UK film tax finance advantages and much more about financing your film. You can enjoy it over on

Screenwriter's Love Trouble

My good friend in LA, scriptwriter extrordinaire, William C. Martell just wrote this really great article.

Read it here

Low Budget Film Marketing

Need help or some basic tips on getting the word out on your low-budget film? You don't have to spend a fortune especially with marketing tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Briefly outlined in this short article are some strategies for marketing your low-budget film

Alternatives To Using Script Dialogue

Words aren't always necessary when making your feature film. Filmmakers of popular action, romance, comedy, and dramas sometimes prefer silence over dialogue. Linked is a list of 5 ways movies replace dialogue.
Scenes from movies mentioned include: 
Here is a small portion of the article on Raindance's site.

2. Shot-reverse-shot editing   

If you ever watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie you’ll know he puts more importance on framing shots than dialogue. In fact he once said, 
“Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.”
Examples of this can be seen in all of his work. Specifically, one’s that I remember vividly are the shower scene in Psycho (white walls, jump cuts between the knife and blonde woman), the explosion in The Birds (camera cuts back and forth between the woman’s eyes and an oil spill leading to an imminent explosion.) Another thought about Hitchcock, he loves torturing blonde women. So if you have nothing to say just put a blonde woman in distress.

Here is a video of the scene described in The Birds

Getting Ready For Your Film Festival Screening

Everyone in the office is watching films for 6-8 hours a day. Shorts, features and documentaries.

It works like this:

We are just 2 weeks away from the final deadline. Every day the mailman brings one or two big sacks full of mail. I acyually enjoy dumping the bags on the floor and separating the festival entries from the bills.

The entries are then piled behind Suzanne's desk. She opens and starts the cataloguing process by stuffing the press kit and DVD into a plastic file folder, with a code, and category (ie: short feature documentary)

Amelie then inputs the films details onto our database.

Suzanne and the rest of the team watch movies every single day.

When I watch a movie I like to flick through the press kit while the movie is loading in my laptop. It's truly amazing how few filmmakers understand how to put together a press kit.

One of the important elements of a press kit is a press release.

Last year, at a similar moment of frustration with sub-par press kits, I asked Brett Welcher to write an article on hoe to write a press release. He was interning at Raindance at that time, and majoring in PR

You can read his article: How To Write A Press Release

Summer Movie Previews

Johnny Depp as one of America's most notorious criminals in the '30s. A man stuck on the moon in search of an alternative energy source. Plastic army dolls with a story to tell. The rise of dinosaurs in the Ice Age and another one of those wizard movies. 

All of the above descriptions are given detailed reviews and video previews in this Summer's movie guide by Raindance contributor Stephanie Scaife. 

The Summer Previews:
  • Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
  • Moon (Duncan Jones)
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Stephen Sommers)
  • Ice Age 3: The Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Carlos Sandanha)
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (David Yates)

Make A Movie Poster- Free!

As always at Raindance we want to give money saving tips for the Low-budget filmmaker. Thanks to you can now create a free promotional movie poster. Here is a list of what you'll need: 
  1. A movie title
  2. A picture for the poster backdrop
  3. Two taglines or catch phrases (ex. Back in Black or This time its personal)
  4. Release date and credits
Here is an example of what I made for the coming Raindance event- Boozin' n' Schmoozin'

For more Raindance Indie tips enjoy:

Live!Ammunition Winners Announced

A packed house heard 25 excellent pitches.

The super panel conferred and bestowed to following accolades:
Runner up: Dan Wicksman from Oxford for Upgrade Your Man (the last pitch in 30 seconds!)
Runner Up: Toby Allen for a Porcelain Doll
All the fivers in the hat went to: Rouzie Hassanous for Gramaphone


Live! Ammunition!

Tonight with Raindance your chance to give the perfect pitch to a Live Panel of British film executives. 
  • 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, June 2
  • £10 (free for Raindance members and WFTV)
  • 2 minute pitches for contestants
For more information visit: Raindance official site