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Independant Movie on Kickstarter


Abdullah AbuMahfouz

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And besides everyone on the web already beat you to the punch on Dark Reprieve so the point is moot. Regardless, Dark Reprieve achieved its goals for me....it got into distribution and got me onto another project. So in that sense it was a huge success for me.

 

 

 

Heh heh! :) Can't argue with that really. Francis Ford Coppola started out working for Roger Corman.

 

Freya

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You can borrow a DV camera, sign deferred pay agreements with your cast and crew OR train them on set in exchange for experience, Trade catering for credits, edit and post produce on a computer and even distribute through Youtube if you want (I would imagine there are OTHER online distribution options as well but I haven't explored them yet as GETTING distribution is not all that hard once you've completed the film. The DEAL is where you need to watch yourself.)

 

Isn't DV dead now? I can't imagine there is a lot of demand for standard def stuff at this point.

 

Freya

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Abdullah, you're going to find a lot of "old timers" on this forum who will try to share their vast "wisdom" about, well, just about everything. Usually this wisdom comes in the form of a deep rooted cynicism--probably as a result of years of rationalized failure and/or unhappiness. I say, do what you gotta do to make your movie. I'm on your side man! What you did was not against forum rules, therefore, you are perfectly within your right. Good luck to you!

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Abdullah, you're going to find a lot of "old timers" on this forum who will try to share their vast "wisdom" about, well, just about everything. Usually this wisdom comes in the form of a deep rooted cynicism

 

Please spare us. This sentiment has already been expressed about 400 times on the forum before. Up and coming filmmakers ignore the advice of older more senior industry people at their own peril.

 

R,

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Abdullah, you're going to find a lot of "old timers" on this forum who will try to share their vast "wisdom" about, well, just about everything. Usually this wisdom comes in the form of a deep rooted cynicism--probably as a result of years of rationalized failure and/or unhappiness. I say, do what you gotta do to make your movie. I'm on your side man! What you did was not against forum rules, therefore, you are perfectly within your right. Good luck to you!

 

I think there is quite a variety of people on this forum and I also think that is a good thing.

 

You will note that there are plenty of people who have no problem with Abdullah posting here. In fact this thread has got as long as it is because a number of people thought Abdullah was perfectly right about posting here.

 

Freya

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Thanks for the support Freya. Obviously there are many incredible contributors to this forum (you among them!), and I didn't mean to diminish that. I apologize if that's how it came off. I was referring to those who have an inexplicable problem with a young filmmaker trying to make a movie, and it seems to be a small handful, far far from the majority. Thanks for helping me clarify that.

 

This is a place where filmmakers of all levels and walks of life should be able to come together in support of one another.

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And traditional producing isn't? As I said before: begging in nicer shoes. If it was a business banks would lend against it, which they generally won't.

 

Most independent features will go into producing knowing that the likelihood of achieving distribution is near zero, and the likelihood of making any money is even lower, so the idea that investing in them is anything more than a gift is on rather shaky ground. Yes, I know that people don't present it that way, but that's what it practically speaking is.

 

And a crap shoot? It's all a crap shoot!

Not really, Investors, banks and hedge funds don't do this for free. They hedge their bets by funding several films and playing the percentages. about half will fail and their return will be long term, some will break even, a few will make money in the short term and a smaller percentage will blow up and make enough money to make it all worthwhile. I'm a LITTLE surprised about your statements on distribution. What kind of movies are you making that you can't get ANYONE interested in them? I don't know, Phil, you must be doin' something wrong. Could just be England. Distribution might be far more difficult to get over there than it is in the states. Have you tried going to the Berlin Film Market? Hung out at Cannes? Gone to Film London -Production Finance Market? :

 

http://filmlondon.org.uk/PFM

 

You LIVE in London, don't you?

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Well I'm having fun here at the film festival. Full red carpet premiere tomorrow. I so wish you could be here Phil, that way we could discuss our various film financing techniques in person. Luckily I also get to announce the US distribution deal.

 

R,

Congratulations Richie, that's fantastic,man. When is it slated for release in the US? (You can wait to tell me after you make the formal announcement of course.) Really good news! B)

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Please spare us. This sentiment has already been expressed about 400 times on the forum before.

 

Make it 401 then ;) . Maybe there's some truth to this sentiment if it keeps coming up as you suggest.

 

Up and coming filmmakers ignore the advice of older more senior industry people at their own peril.

 

Normally I might agree with you Richard. In this case though, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that an industry professional is discouraging a young filmmaker from respectfully seeking innovative ways to fund his film. No one forced this post upon you. There was no reason to hijack the original post and turn it into a "back in my day" reminiscence about how insulting you find it that the young filmmaker would dare to ask you to look at his kickstarter page. Kickstarter is as much about raising awareness about a project as it is about raising money.

 

If you want to get into a philosophical debate about the appropriateness of crowd funding websites, start a new topic instead of watering down this one.

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When you start having to make it in the real world, as a film industry person you'll have a better appreciation of what I am talking about.

 

FYI, I have never seen a stampede of people from this website rush to give their money to anyone looking to fund a film. I would find it hard to believe if a single member had donated anything to funding someone else's project.

 

R,

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Not really, Investors, banks and hedge funds don't do this for free. They hedge their bets by funding several films and playing the percentages. about half will fail and their return will be long term

 

I think that's where the misunderstanding is here. Half will fail and their return will be long term? If one percent, or if a tenth of one percent, of films that are funded in the UK ever make money, over any timescale at all, you may paint me a vivid shade of astonished. Nobody will fund commercial film because it is so very certain to fail, and the arts-oriented or issue movies that do happen aren't really designed to make money anyway.

 

For all these reasons, distribution is far more difficult to get here, where "far more difficult" means "effectively impossible." This is a point on which there is a complete disconnect between the US experience and the UK one. UK features simply are not distributed. It never happens. Over 95%, probably over 98% if you did the sums, of stuff shown, sold or rented here is from the US. I am not exaggerating; this is the actual situation. Yes, it really is that bad, yes it really is that different to over there. Ultimately this is the big problem we have here: getting startup funding for a business is one thing, but when it is so cripplingly likely to fail, there's no real wonder nobody's interested. I'm not interested. That's why I don't try to do it.

 

I'd never even heard of this "production finance market" thing, nor do I really understand what its purpose is. What's telling, though, is that you'll notice that it's by invitation only, which I'm sure is necessary to keep out the timewasters but of course is also a wonderful example of that very British class thing that Freya and I have touched upon. But really, that's actually irrelevant: I'm neither a producer nor a financier, and I would have absolutely no idea how to behave in a situation like that. I don't own the requisite £500 shoes.

 

Does look like hell, though, doesn't it? Speed dating for film producers. Eurgh. They must have to have dedicated bullshit clearance teams just so you can walk around without becoming mired in the thick layers of sycophancy.

 

P

 

Edit - PS - if you look at the application document for the PFM, it's really only intended for very established producers who are, to cut a long story short, already rich, in the sense we discussed earlier. Any idea that it's a first-timer thing is way off the mark.

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Well Phil Canadian films make up 1% of the screen time in Canada, yes 1%. US films make up the other 99%. Canada thought about a screen quota back in the 80s, Hollywood threw a major fit! And Reagan practically threatened to nuke Canada if we did that. Seems Hollywood was aghast that they might see their dominance of the Canadian market reduced to 98% vs 99%.

 

One theatre chain in Canada controls 85% of the market, and they wouldn't touch a Canadian film with a 500 foot pole!

 

So we are largely stuck behind the 8 ball here in Canada when it comes to film distribution. All three of my films have received 10X better reception outside of Canada than they have in Canada. Canadian distributors and TV nets largely turn up their noses at Canadian product. Meanwhile in the USA, the buyers there and the public themselves, are always very receptive to many (not all) Canadian films. So while Hollywood may dominate our theatrical market, the Catch 22 for me is that US distributors have also been very good to me.

 

They are rolling out the red carpet, literally, here in America for me. I would never get this kind of treatment in Canada in a thousand years! So the 1% is tough to swallow. But America has given a lot back to me as well.

 

R,

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I think that's where the misunderstanding is here. Half will fail and their return will be long term? If one percent, or if a tenth of one percent, of films that are funded in the UK ever make money, over any timescale at all, you may paint me a vivid shade of astonished. Nobody will fund commercial film because it is so very certain to fail, and the arts-oriented or issue movies that do happen aren't really designed to make money anyway.

 

For all these reasons, distribution is far more difficult to get here, where "far more difficult" means "effectively impossible." This is a point on which there is a complete disconnect between the US experience and the UK one. UK features simply are not distributed. It never happens. Over 95%, probably over 98% if you did the sums, of stuff shown, sold or rented here is from the US. I am not exaggerating; this is the actual situation. Yes, it really is that bad, yes it really is that different to over there. Ultimately this is the big problem we have here: getting startup funding for a business is one thing, but when it is so cripplingly likely to fail, there's no real wonder nobody's interested. I'm not interested. That's why I don't try to do it.

 

I'd never even heard of this "production finance market" thing, nor do I really understand what its purpose is. What's telling, though, is that you'll notice that it's by invitation only, which I'm sure is necessary to keep out the timewasters but of course is also a wonderful example of that very British class thing that Freya and I have touched upon. But really, that's actually irrelevant: I'm neither a producer nor a financier, and I would have absolutely no idea how to behave in a situation like that. I don't own the requisite £500 shoes.

 

Does look like hell, though, doesn't it? Speed dating for film producers. Eurgh. They must have to have dedicated bullshit clearance teams just so you can walk around without becoming mired in the thick layers of sycophancy.

 

P

 

Edit - PS - if you look at the application document for the PFM, it's really only intended for very established producers who are, to cut a long story short, already rich, in the sense we discussed earlier. Any idea that it's a first-timer thing is way off the mark.

Oh sh!t, can't IMAGINE with that Gung Ho attitude why in the world YOU would fail. BTW Film London is the UK film market. It's small but networking is the most effective way to get your film moved forward. BUT of course THAT'S NOT what YOU want to hear . Look, I'll tell you exactly what you want to hear, IT'S HOPELESS, GIVE UP, QUIT SCREW IT CAUSE it's NEVER gonna happen. Feel better now? No point in dealing with ya Phil, people get what they want and you already decided you want to fail, so be it

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Well we have a cottage industry here, of which I am apart, of making movies that are either non location specific or outright American looking. In The Dogfather all the flags are American flags. In Against The Wild, it's never explained if it's Canada or the USA. It's just the wilderness and the actors sound pretty American. Makes sense since the lead boy is from the USA, and several others are dual Canadian and US citizens. Quite common here.

 

My movies do have the required government of Canada logo at the end, but it comes so late in the credits everyone will have switched it off by then.

 

There is a saying in Canadian producing...."you can't sell Canada." Meaning anything that is really distinctly Canadian will not sell in the USA or in the foreign markets. American and British culture have both proven to be incredibly "exportable" in film. Canada is neither British nor American, people don't know how to describe it, therefore it will not sell well outside of Canada. And it barely sells in Canada either.

 

Of course shows like Flashpoint go through great lengths to look as American as possible. From a strictly business point of view it makes perfect sense.

 

Interestingly, the lead girl in my latest film (who is Canadian,) has gone on to star in one of the most distinct American film franchises out there. As the lead title character.

 

R,

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James, you seem to miss my point - I'm not particularly worried by any of that, beyond the fact that it means it's harder for me to make a living. I've never harboured any ambitions to be a producer, really. It is, as I've said, not my scene.

 

As to the likelihood of success, well, that's just the statistics. I'm not kidding, that's just what it is. Gung-ho attitude be damned.

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Ah, that makes sense. You're not a producer so though you have expressed your opinions on producing, as you yourself just stated :" I've never harboured any ambitions to be a producer, really. It is, as I've said, not my scene." so it's not surprising that you don't really understand what it takes to be a producer. You can intellectualize what it must be like or look at statistics and make a judgement based on that but you can't REALLY understand why some succeed and some fail. There's a BIG difference between being in the room and looking in through the window. You said in an earlier post you had tried to produce but were unsuccessful. Getting employed on any level in the movie business is difficult. The fact that you are a working professional is admirable. I'm just curious, what is it you do on a film set?

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Well Phil Canadian films make up 1% of the screen time in Canada, yes 1%. US films make up the other 99%. Canada thought about a screen quota back in the 80s, Hollywood threw a major fit! And Reagan practically threatened to nuke Canada if we did that. Seems Hollywood was aghast that they might see their dominance of the Canadian market reduced to 98% vs 99%.

 

One theatre chain in Canada controls 85% of the market, and they wouldn't touch a Canadian film with a 500 foot pole!

 

So we are largely stuck behind the 8 ball here in Canada when it comes to film distribution. All three of my films have received 10X better reception outside of Canada than they have in Canada. Canadian distributors and TV nets largely turn up their noses at Canadian product. Meanwhile in the USA, the buyers there and the public themselves, are always very receptive to many (not all) Canadian films. So while Hollywood may dominate our theatrical market, the Catch 22 for me is that US distributors have also been very good to me.

 

They are rolling out the red carpet, literally, here in America for me. I would never get this kind of treatment in Canada in a thousand years! So the 1% is tough to swallow. But America has given a lot back to me as well.

 

R,

As long as we have the largest nuclear stockpile on Earth and the delivery systems to put them 6 inches from WHATEVER we target, Canada and the rest of the world will be dancing to our tune!!! All BOW to our cinematic nuclear dominance!! AAHAAAHHAHHAHHHHEEHHEEE!!! B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly
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Oh, all right then.

 

 

 

I'm just curious, what is it you do on a film set?

 

By the standards of "film set" you're probably referring to, next to nothing. There's really no point in my trying to compete with you on experience of working on big movies, I'll lose every time. I suspect the average American film crewmember probably works more in their first six months out of film school than the average Brit does in the first six years. There's just no comparison on level of experience or expertise.

 

There seems to be a feeling that I'm deliberately trying to wind people up here. I'm not. Just as one would not open up a store selling, say, snowshoes in Hawaii, one does not produce feature films in London. That's not intended to be a complaint, please don't read it in a plaintive tone of voice. That's just a statement of fact. You'd have to be completely insane.

 

One thing that does surprise me is that there were more producers registered for PFM in the last few years than there have actually been UK features produced in the last few years. You have to wonder what the hell these people actually do with their time.

 

P

 

PS - There are something like 70 UK entities listed on the 2012 PFM roster. Assuming two thirds of them are producers, that's 45-ish people working as full time professional film producers in the UK in 2012. That's genuinely astounding. What do these people do all day? We haven't produced 45 properly budgeted, well produced, widely released feature films in the UK this century.

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My experience is mostly on smaller movies, industrial, instructional, live action filmed theater, music videos and commercials. I've also done a LOT of theater in all aspects and made a living as a playwright. For the last few years, I've been concentrating on building a film career. Look, I'm not trying to embarrass you or screw with you. I just want to know a bit of what your experience is in film and video production is. IF it's minor, who cares, it doesn't matter. Everyone has to start somewhere and as you said, it's tough to get work in the UK on a film set compared to here. (although "here" being El Paso, maybe NOT!!) I really don't care if you're a production assistant, it's no big deal. I would just like to know what your professional, OR EVEN your amateur film or video production experience is, if for no other reason than as reference. It's NOT going to be held against you in any way, as I said, I'm just curious. Oh, BTW, I never went to film school and learned what I know on set,, I don't really believe in film school. Also, this is not a completion. There are a lot more experienced people here at least in their own specialty that I wouldn't even dream of second guessing.

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I went to school for film (also audio production as well), worked several IATSE gigs, started my own production company, was in a film festival, and have current corporate commercial productions going as well as wrote and produced a crowdfunding campaign recently.

 

Someone should start taking advice from me.

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I didn't go to film school. Presumably it shows! Did the crowdfund work out?

 

It would be easier to list filmmaking things I haven't done while desperately attempting to make a living. About the only sort of camerawork I haven't done is studio pedestal stuff - I even did a bit of steadicam on low budget music videos and student films in the mid-2000s, often as the only person being paid, which isn't good for the soul. Other than that, er, I have never been credited as a focus puller and I've never applied makeup to anyone on the basis that these are things you can't even nearly make up as you go along. I have even, on occasion, wielded a microphone!

 

I've also done a bit of software engineering for a recorder project that went nowhere (we thought the market was full in about 2006, we'd have been at the forefront of it - d'oh), worked for a while for a company making film scanners and grading equipment. I did some tech consultancy for a company that made equipment used by police forces

, which was suitably entertaining.

 

I've shot and edited documentaries, news, shorts and music promos. Right now I do a lot of technical writing.

 

And I started off in theatre, too. Both my folks were heavily involved and I ended up operating a followspot. Which is sort of like a camera. Only backwards.

 

P

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I didn't go to film school. Presumably it shows! Did the crowdfund work out?

 

It would be easier to list filmmaking things I haven't done while desperately attempting to make a living. About the only sort of camerawork I haven't done is studio pedestal stuff - I even did a bit of steadicam on low budget music videos and student films in the mid-2000s, often as the only person being paid, which isn't good for the soul. Other than that, er, I have never been credited as a focus puller and I've never applied makeup to anyone on the basis that these are things you can't even nearly make up as you go along. I have even, on occasion, wielded a microphone!

 

I've also done a bit of software engineering for a recorder project that went nowhere (we thought the market was full in about 2006, we'd have been at the forefront of it - d'oh), worked for a while for a company making film scanners and grading equipment. I did some tech consultancy for a company that made equipment used by police forces

, which was suitably entertaining.

 

I've shot and edited documentaries, news, shorts and music promos. Right now I do a lot of technical writing.

 

And I started off in theatre, too. Both my folks were heavily involved and I ended up operating a followspot. Which is sort of like a camera. Only backwards.

 

P

"I ended up operating a followspot. Which is sort of like a camera. Only backwards." WOO HOO!, I OWN one of those!! I can't imagine what I'll ever use it for on a film set but it's WAY too cool to get rd of!! I've done just about every job on set as well with the exception of makeup, hair and continuity. It can be tough to make a living specializing in only one job unless you're at a studio. With all due modesty, I really am best when I'm writing and directing, though I do have a talent for producing and acting actually.

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