Tag Archives: mission x

ARE INDIE FILMS DYING?

If you are in the film biz and you keep up to date with what is going on, you will know the small indie world of filmmaking is dying. Read many articles like this. http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/06/independent-fil.html

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Why are small films dying?  They can be made cheap but its not cost effective for distributors to plug millions into marketing when people are flocking to the blockbusters. It’s a mathetical problem. There is also a flood of indie films because of low cost technology, but most of them are shit, just like most Hollywood films are shit. It’s a “script” biz, but with very few good script writers.

Is this a depressing time to be a filmmaker? No! It’s the MOST EXCITING TIME! I love big dumb Hollywood flicks just like the next person. The best one’s of course. “The Dark Knights”, “Terminator” etc. But we all know that after a while you want to see human character driven stories. Offbeat tales, original takes on old genres, simple stories, or just far out niche filmmakers like David Lynch.

My point! The audiences will never die for small films. EVER! How can I be sure? As long as human beings have problems, there will be a market for stories. Especially in a world that’s increasingly hostile, confusing, dangerous, disturbed, and unpredictable.  Ok, a lot of fear comes from world events that seem to beyond our power. Terrorism, Global warming, political unrest etc.

In reality, I think what is really scary is the dysfunctional nature of human beings in general. We are more likely to die of depression, booze, drugs, overeating, unexciting comfort living. But ironically a lot of us worry about dying in a lighting in a bottle scenerio, terror attacks, catching a virus or plane crashes etc.  Our worst enemy is always ourselves. Even though we might not realise it.

My point! Little character driven stories, whether social comment films, genre, or themed entertainment stories all deal with these dysfucntional issues we have. So why would we ever want to be without those types of films. Sure, we all want to get on that big rollercoaster and forget all our troubles for a quick escape, but lots of people will always look for stories they can relate to, identify with.

The challenge with filmmakers is to start writing good scripts. People get too caught up with technology. All the stars, money, marketing budgets can’t rescue Hollywood when they make a bad film. So its the same with small films. Just because you can make them for the price of a burger, does not mean shit! You need a fresh script, great characters. If you have that, then people will watch that between their blockbusters.

Its an amazing time for filmakers. The guys before us had to raise a lot of money to make a film, then hand it over to distributors. Which was fine if you made a carreer overnight in your first few films. But most didn’t. Now we can make films for almost nothing, and market with well thought out viral campaigns. We can also self distribute direct to that market. Sure it’s not easy, but it shouldn’t be! And if you are good, the Hollywood sharks will also call. It’s REALLY REALLY EXCITING!

Indies are not dying. Want to know the truth. HOLLYWOOD IS DYING! The monster has got bigger, so they have to feed it more and more. Blockbusters are going to get even more bigger, and to the point they will just not be cost effective anymore too.

It will be an industry that really just produces 3D style themed parks, gaming, reality of you being “there” experiences. Which is cool, but the magic of “story telling” will be gone! And who will fill that gap market? Indie filmmakers! The smart one’s who have learned every aspect of the business.

I am going to get out there and get my audiences. It might take a few films, I need to cultivate a global fanbase for my work, but it is doable with a little talent and a lot of drive. I also might have to get into Hollywood too for a bit to build a fanbase, but I sincerely believe the independent filmmakers can rise from the ashes. But ONLY if we all get out heads out of our navels, and get biz and web savvy!

Thanks for reading

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FAST FOOD MOVIE MAKING!

mcdonalds

I lost a budget last year at the 11th hour for my horror flick that was set to shoot in Los Angeles. More about it at my “film Journals“.  I had developed it with my own money from corp video work for two years.  I was left so broke, that I needed any job fast to pay the rent. Within 48 hours I was empting bins at Mcdonalds. Glam movie business!

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(The Mcdonalds I worked at, until recently. Still from phone camera)

I have juggled unskilled jobs my whole life, so that was no big deal. But losing a £500,000 budget was tough. Incy Wincy Spider! My Mcdonalds badge said I was “loving it”  My face said “fuck off I shouldn’t be here!  However, I have absurd optimism, so I just plough on! I was not starving, dying of cancer, so I was not down for long.

NO BUDGET MOVIE MAKING

Ironically, after a few years of being stuck in limbo after securing and losing budgets for various reasons, I kick started my career again among leftover McFlurry and unhappy meals!  I have now completed “MISSION X“, and have 10 companies between UK & Hollywood interested in other projects, but I am dedicating my life to building my “creation to consumer” brand for the time being.

So whatever shitty job you are stuck in, you are not trapped if you want something bad enough. I have learned we trap ourselves. When you hit the bottom, it either kills you on a slow burn, or you become much tougher. I went into Iron Man mode. You want something bad enough, you will get it. I woke up to that fact that you can make a movie on a day job budget, with a little beg, steal, and borrowing. (legal of course) We have no excuses.

NO RULES!

I reminded myself that Tarantino worked in a video store, Kevin Smith made a movie about the general store he worked in, and Rodriguez moved into a drug clinic to kick start a career. Thats what I love about this business, there are no fucking rules! Even though the industry will try and convince you otherwise!  Nobody really knows shit! If they did, most movies would not be bad.

When you have funded your own movie, it also means you control the vision for it 100%. I never got enough control on my first movie, but at least I would on this.  I would also own it, so any sales could fund future development, festival trips, and pay the rent. I might even get lucky and have a hit! Either way, I would be “doing” and not “dreaming”

TOP DIRECTORS FUND THEIR OWN FILMS

Its not by coincidence that some of the top directors in the world funded their own flicks from peanuts. Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids) funded El Mariachi by volunteering for drug tests for cash.  Chris Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) funded “Following” with £10,000 from corporate videos.

Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) private funded the $50,000 PI. Kevin Smith funded the $30,000 “Clerks” budget from credit cards. Sam Rami, Kubrick. The Coens, Peter Jackson, and many more good and bad filmmakers done the same. They didn’t wait for permission to be creative.  So self funding is nothng new, but thats not my point.

UK FILM INDUSTRY/COTTAGE

One of the reasons we don’t have an industry is because we have sent out the wrong messages to filmmakers here for years. In the US, some dudes get a camera, a few actors, tiny amount of cash for a genre flick, and create a career. They might be artists at heart, but they also create genre horror/thrillers to make investors some money back too. Which in turn turns them into “movie makers!”

In the UK, we have an unhealthy preoccupation with winning “awards”. I am not attracted by this biz to get back slapping awards all the time. You want that, be a fucking sprinter! I want to make movies for movie fans. We take ourselves so fucking serious in the Uk, it takes the whole “fun” out of this biz. You got a burning “cause”, cool, make a documentary, write a fucking blog, start a human rights campaign. Just don’t drown me with the films “message”

NO BUDGET APPRENTICESHIP

Pulling off a movie yourself to show the industry is the best apprenticeship you could have. Making your own film will teach you EVERYTHING. If you are handed a lot of money at the start of a career, it does not encourage you to be inventive, entrepreneurial. Solving problems with money all the time is not beneficial in any way.

DIY at the start also instills a passion, drive that never leaves you. I have been around filmmakers who got funding at the start, and they don’t have that edge, fire in their belly. You need that, because like it or not, each new project is an uphill climb to secure finance. In the indie world, or Hollywood. Or even self distribution.

MASTERCLASSES, GURU’S, TEACHERS

I am not a fan of preachers, guru’s, life coaches, so called Experts. Anybody can pull out motivation quotes from a book, or teach theory, but actually pulling it off in the real world is another planet! It’s better learning from other filmmakers that are “doing it”, then go do it yourself. Schools teach you about 5% of what you need to learn.

TARANTINO: DON’T GO TO FILM SCHOOL!

DO IT!

Since I made this small flick, lots of industry doors are now opening. That proves its not about securing budgets at the start. Just “do it!” If interested, watch me over the weeks, months, years, and see if my way works. Or laugh at me falling on my ass! Either way, I am going to make sure it’s fun. I would rather fall on my ass, than sit on it!

Thanks for reading

David

PS. Next blog posts will be Twitter style size! Short and sweet. So please come back! haha cheers