Crowd Funding for Independent Film (Series)

Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 04:15 am

Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,
Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,

I am writing a huge series of articles on crowd funding for independent productions. The emphasis is on international projects outside the USA. Taken together they form a comprehensive plan you can follow to launch your own crowd funding campaign.

Crowd funding works even when it doesn?t. Huh??Lots of films have failed to meet their crowd funding target but got made anyway. I?ll cover that.

Even more indie films were not made because they couldn?t get enough fans to back them-andmaybe that was a good thing. If you can?t get enough fans to commit to buying a ticket, download, screener or DVD of your movie, maybe it doesn?t have an audience. If you can?t convince people to give you money for a god-damned postcard or other?tsotchke quit.

We?re doing an MBA for Film Producers here.

The last bit of advice ? it will take more work than you thought, probably as much as you will put into making your film.

Topics include

  • Does your project needs crowd funding?
  • 10 things to do before you launch a independent film crowd funding campaign
  • 5 great things that from missing your crowd funding target

If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments and I?ll respond.

Good Review for Beijing Punk by The Impaler Speaks

Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford ? Poster

Last updated on March 27th, 2017 at 02:18 pm

Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford ? Poster
Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford ? Poster

Truly insightful analysis of the movie matched with deep knowledge of history & currency of punk. This guy gets it.

“Beijing Punk” is fast-paced and fun, with a fantastic selection of music from the cream of the Chinese punk scene being heard the majority of the time, and an engaging visual style that maintains a steady focus on the subjects at hand at all times.

The Impaler Speaks is a local music blog supporting indie music, indie film and indie life. Local is wherever you are. In their words

The Impaler Speaks: supporting local music worldwide, from Austin TX to the United Kingdom and everywhere else. The Impaler has been a member of the Mass Movement creative team since it was a cut-n-paste fanzine many years ago. This is a way to add some depth to the coverage I am able to provide in MM, and so much more. Support indie music. Support indie film. Support indie life.

Thanks to Beijing Punk’s US DVD distributors MVD Visual for supporting Beijing Punk and getting press attention.

The review is at The Impaler Speaks – Beijing Punk Review

Disclosure: I’m a producer on Beijing Punk

If I did pull quotes out of context for marketing purposes (something I’d never do) I’d go with

dissecting the lifestyle… under the Chinese government in a hilarious fashion

French Hours

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, as seen from the Allee Leon Bourgeois

Last updated on March 27th, 2017 at 04:13 pm

One of the films I’ve worked on did French Hours for one day of the shoot. Chances are unless you’re a film production geek you don’t know about it. Worse still you’ve come here to find out just what French Hours are all about. Hopefully you read this before you vote on the request to work French Hours.

French Hours while most certainly not French, are when a film crew is asked to give up their meal break in return for grabbing something to eat from the craft services table or catering area on the run-in between doing other things. There is no lunch break and lunch is handed around while the crew works continuously.

This is most often requested when the production wants to get a lot of shots in a difficult situation in a very fast time. I have no problems with that. Phone Booth was famously made in 10 days by Joel Schumacher thanks to the crew agreeing to work French Hours.

Traditionally, the 1st AD asks the crew if they are willing to work French Hours and the crew votes on it. The vote must be unanimous for French Hours to be be imposed. Technically union members should vote no then call their union rep and the union will go to war with the production company. You don’t historically get retirement benefits and health coverage in the entertainment business by giving up long-fought-for work entitlements like lunch.

However what happens when you are working on a independent non-union shoot?

The Production Company must pay you more for agreeing to give up your lunch break. And not just a one-off meal allowance. In Australia, you should earn penalty rates from the 5th hour after call without a lunch break. Five hours since call or the end of an earlier break is longest stretch of time without a meal break. The Delayed Meal Break penalty rate is 1x normal pay.

On a 10 hour day with French Hours you should be paid 10 hours normal time (x1 = 10 hours), 5 hours Delayed Meal Break (+ x1 = 5 hours) plus 2 hours overtime (+ x1.5 = 3 hours) so a 10 hour day means you get paid for 18 hours. In Australia, superannuation is payable only on the normal 10 hours.

Make sure you get paid to give up your lunch break.

Why would a I as a Producer want to incur this added cost? My location or other element may only be available for that day or week. It is a financial calculation and sometimes it’s worth paying 80% more labour to get the shot.

How to find unrated movies on any IMDB list

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 03:54 am

I was trying to find which movies I hadn?t rated yet on my IMDB?list of movies I?ve?seen?- at least the movies I remember seeing there are lots of Westerns and SF movies whose titles I have no idea about.

Anyway the trick is to add the following characters to the end of the list?s URL


That will leave all movies that you?ve rated out of the list. If you want to see my Seen It list and exclude the movies you?ve rated go to?

I think you have to be logged into imdb for it to work.

7 Mistakes Filmmakers Make in Online Promotion – Video Extras

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Last updated on March 24th, 2017 at 02:27 am

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

All filmmakers want to get their shows seen, right?

Uploading additional, extra and behind the scenes footage of your movie is a good opportunity to promote your project, aggregate an audience and create a moment of connection with fans and followers.

However many filmmakers make these beginner mistakes

Newbie Mistake #1: Upload to proprietary, obscure, restricted or unreliable video hosting services

New audience may checkout your video once. Don?t make them register, signup, click-thru or share your video before they see your clip. Don?t use a service that crashes regularly.

Don?t self -host your video unless you are in the video hosting business. If you are a filmmaker, make films don?t work on becoming a hosting expert. What if you already are a hosting expert breaking into films? Go make more movies.

Do use YouTube, Vimeo, Kaltura, iTunes and/or other reliable, popular service to share your content in each market.

If any of your URL?s get popular and the server dies, you?ll never get all those eyeballs again. Make sure your video player works like all the other players out there.

People like to pause, restart, skip (forward?and back), view later, and see how long the video is. Obscure services miss some features and often make it harder for people to share the videos they like.

Newbie Mistake?#2: Fail to include ?Share? or ?Like? tools

YouTube and the popular video hosting services already have these tools built in ? never disable them.

If you embed your video somewhere else allow fans to share or otherwise promote it to their group of friends.

Do you want to limit your audience to only those you personally invite? Unless you?re already famous, this is the age of abundance. Stand out from the crowd.

Allow embedding of your extra content on other sites. Let the damn thing go viral.

Newbie Mistake?#3: Upload with no description

How many YouTube/Vimeo videos have no description? Too many! If you?re uploading extra material to build an audience take a moment to write something about the clip and more importantly, about your movie.

Put your title and log-line in. Include actors and key crew names.

Describe the footage as a pitch to your audience to watch it. Search engines also index the description.

Make it compelling. You are in the creative business. It doesn?t have to be brilliant, but it needs some work. Why should I watch your clip of bloopers?

Newbie Mistake?#4: Try too hard to be funny, sarcastic or clever in the description

This is the opposite of #3, but essentially the same. If I can?t tell why I should watch your video, it?s a #fail. ?Ted takes one for the film? is not a meaningful?description?to anyone but the 8-10 people there at the time. And they already?saw it live. Try this

Angie Someday?(who plays ?Friday?) slaps?Ted?Hasbeen?(?Famous?) in this out-take from our new 8-minute web series ?Famous on Friday?. Ted was so shocked, he tripped over a lighting rig. Luckily the rig and Ted avoided serious injury.

?Famous on Friday? is a 6-part dramedy web series due in January 2013. Follow Jeff Famous, bipolar publicist, as he struggles to stop Erica Friday, his first love and rock ?n? roll client, from retiring to a convent to repent her sinful life.

Wouldn?t you like to see 30 seconds of that?

Newbie Mistake?#5: Disable comments

I know, right??This shouldn?t even be in the list. But too often I see ?Comments are disabled for this video?.

What are you afraid of? Don?t you want questions, encouragement or accolades? It?s user generated content!

Newbie Mistake?#6: Pick a dumb, boring or obscure title

Titling your clip ?Ted takes one for the screams amateur. Yes it?s the default setting on YouTube but look around, most popular clips don?t use the filename + .mov

Find a compelling or descriptive title for your clip. Put the show/movie name in it. People want to find others in the series.

Newbie Mistake?#7: Forget a vanity card, production logo or URL in the footage.

You know people will download your video and hopefully share it around.

Do you think it will always be linked to your cleverly planned YouTube account name? If it?s a promo for ?Famous on Friday? put the title, prodco and URL in the footage.

Let me know of any other newbie promotion mistakes you see in the comments below.

For your consideration

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 03:13 pm

Duncan Riley’s Inquisitor website fell into the amateur’s trap yesterday. Duncan went for the easy laugh criticising Disney pushing High School Musical 3 for Best Picture Oscar. What a sloppy piece of writing.

Most movies with a “For Your Consideration” ad in “the Trades” are contractually obligated by the talent contracts. Neither Disney, AMPAS members (the Academy), the Producers, Director or above the line talent expect to win an academy award except for possibly a music or technical award.

What the “For Your Consideration” campaign does is enhance the reputation and hence the careers of the professionals who made one of the most profitable movies of 2008. Disney is “in business with” these people. Disney may appear to be an impersonal factory turning out tween entertainment and merchandising, but those people produce those products. And all else being equal a “For your consideration” campaign also tells the rest of Hollywood that those people are players.

All this marketing is designed to make it easier for the talent to do their next picture with Disney.

Go see Juno


Last updated on July 4th, 2015 at 11:45 am

Juno one sheetWe saw a preview of Juno tonight. It opens in Australia on 17 January 2008. Go see it, it?s the best film of the year. It?s as good as Little Miss Sunshine, American Beauty, Election, The Breakfast Club – I can go on.

It captures a voice of youth and the way you felt if you were ever a freaky little teenager. Juno reflects that youth is for the young but dealing with issues beyond our maturity is a life-long lesson.

Juno is a sixteen year old high school junior who falls pregnant after a one night fling with her best friend Bleek. She finds adoptive parents for the baby and the story develops around this smart-alec, punk, clever, cute, insightful mother-to-be as she deals with: her feelings for Bleek, her other best friend Leah, her parents, the adoptive parents, pregnancy and school. Any more and I?d have to give spoilers.

I love this film. We?ll be watching it again with our 14 year old daughter, although she won?t think I?m cool enough and the teen pregnancy will freak her out.

See it then let me know what you think.

27 Dresses short review

27 Dresses

Last updated on July 30th, 2018 at 06:08 pm

We saw a preview of 27 Dresses thanks to 20th Century Fox and Metro Magazine – since 1968 Australia’s oldest, continuously published film and media magazine.

I’ve managed to somehow overwrite the original review – how frustrating.

I like a good romantic comedy. Most of my more bloke-y friends think I’m a bit suspect. However I’ve found 2 things to be self evident:

  1. Chicks like rom-coms and chick flicks – this makes them great date movies with significant fringe benefits, and
  2. after watching a chick flick most self-respecting women will happily endorse you excursion to the pictures with your mates to see the latest addition to the Alien franchise.

27 Dresses is a solid 3 star addition to the wedding film sub-genre of the romantic comedy. It isn’t as good as the Wedding Singer or even My Best Friends Wedding but it’s fun, clever, entertaining and natural.

From the trailer Jane has been a bridesmaid 27 times and is looking forward to one day being the bride. Secretly in love with her boss, George, Jane is both the perfect bridesmaid and the perfect executive assistant. Organised, in-control, resourceful, sensitive and competent, she can take care of any crisis but can’t pursue her own happiness. George is handsome, sincere, loveable and clueless. Jane’s insensitive sister Tess whisks in from Milan, meets George and Jane must organise her sister’s perfect marriage to her boss. Kevin is a journalist whose cynical view of the marriage industry is at odds with his gift to write about weddings in a way swoons brides, to-be’s and wanna-be’s.

The relationships and plot development are mostly natural and relaxed, flowing while setting up engaging gags. I have two complaints. Firstly the easy plot choices made for Tess, I’d love to see what would have emerged had the more mature Tess from the end of the film been there all along. It’s hard to write characters who are flawed but good.

Secondly, I hated the way Jane broke out of her people pleasing pattern. Again I think it was the easy or lazy story choice but they missed greatness by not reaching for it. All rom-coms need the all-is-lost moment and it is extremely hard to write. That’s what makes them worth doing.

Still a good effort with hilarious moments not in the trailer. A great date movie that will let guys get more action than Alien vs Predator: Requiem. Go see that with your mates afterwards.