2018 PRODUCING & DIRECTING (The Odds for Independent Filmmakers)

WANT TO PRODUCE OR DIRECT? (Be Realistic)

Want to Produce or Direct a profitable Feature Film?

I’m sure the answer is “Yes”.

Then here are the odds-of-success with either a No-Budget, Micro-Budget, Ultra Low-Budget, Low-Budget, Medium-Budget or Mega-Budget Feature Film.

However, to succeed, you must be “realistic” and select a “realistic budget” that you can “realistically-finance” with a script that is “realistic-to-make” for money that you “realistically” obtain.

Want to Produce or Direct? Then be “realistic”

Director-1

(“Spielberg being realistic started his career (1969) with a five actor, one-location low-budget story, “EYES”,  for “Night Gallery”.”)

 

REALISTIC MOVIE BUDGETS:

Feature Films are inevitably categorized by it’s budget and classified as either a…

 

(1st) NO-BUDGET MOVIE:

$10,000-$30,000; usually a weekend shoot (3 days, Fri-Sun, 7a-10p, 30 pages/day, 15 hour workday) with a 80-90 page script, set in real time (i.e., what happens over a 90-minute period), shot with a 4-5 person crew with 2 no-budget cameras (iPhones, BlackMagic, GoPro, DSLR, etc.) directed with 95% Master Shots.

NO-Budget2

(“TANGERINE” was a no-budget feature (4 actors, 1-location, real time, 2 iPhones) discovered at Sundance 2016 and released last year.)

 

(2nd) MICRO-BUDGET MOVIE:

$50,000-$100,000; a one-week shoot (over two weekends), shooting schedule of 10 pages/day, with a 90 page script, in one location (house, courtroom, bathroom, jail cell, etc.), accomplished with a 5-6 person crew (DP, PM, PD, Grip/Gaffer, PC & AD), paying $350-$1,000 each, with 3 PAs interning, using 1 Red or 2 DSLRs, directing with 80% Masters, 15% Mediums, 4% Closeups & 1% Establishing shots.

 

(3rd) ULTRA LOW-BUDGET MOVIE:

$150,000-$300,000; a 2 week shoot (13 shooting days, working 7a-7p), with one-location (Apartment Building, Hotel, School Campus, etc.) and several sub-locations (Bathroom, Foyer, Hallway, Garage, Office #1, Office #2, Guest Room #1, Guest Room #2, etc.) of a 90-page script, with an 8-9 person crew, paying $450-$1,200/week, & 4 PAs interning, with 2 Reds, based on a stage play, with great dialogue, possibly signing with SAG (Ultra Low Budget Agreement) and directing 7 pages/day allowing two takes on setups for better performance with, during post, an original score 100% owned and $2K-$5K put aside for Publicity and Film Festival entry fees.

 

(4th) LOW-BUDGET MOVIE:

$500,000-$1,000,000; a 3 week shoot (18 day shoot), with a 90-100 page script, set in one-location (Hotel, Office Building, School, Police Station, etc.) but using 6-8 rooms for variance, or using 4 locations over one-block, with easy parking, a 12-15 person crew, paying $500-$2,000/week, with 4 PAs ($200,week), excellent craft service (feed properly), with a 50-60 scene script that has a superb Act I, with 2 grabbers in the first 2 minutes, an excellent Act II, with 5 Uh-Ohs & 5 Oh-Shits (layman’s terms for inciting moments and crises), and a satisfying Act III with the final OMG (Oh-My-God), Resolution and Epilogue and a shooting schedule of 5-7 pages/day achieving 20-25 setups/day with superb coverage and having $20K for a splash at a North American Film Festival like Tribeca, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, South Hamptons, etc. to entice Acquisition Execs.

BarberShop2

(“BARBERSHOP” was an excellent Low-Budget, 3-week shoot, one-location with a couple of B-list names that not only got released but became a franchise.) 

 

(5th) MEDIUM-BUDGET MOVIE:

$2-3 Million, $3-5 Million, $5-7 Million or $7-10 Million: usually an international co-production, financed with 2 name actors (pay-to-play commitments), pre-sold at Cannes, AFM, Berlin or Toronto and shot in a state with a Transferable Tax Credit program (Georgia, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, etc.) on a 5-week shoot (25-28 Shooting Days), Directing a schedule of 4-5 pages/day, allowing 2-3 takes per setup to achieve a very well acted story with $100,000 set aside for a solid publicity and marketing campaign to culminate with a screening at a major film festival where 30-40 Acquisition Executives, Agents & Producers Reps are in attendance.

MAMET2

(“AMERICAN BUFFALO” was a superb medium-budget, character driven, dialogue oriented movies with 2 A- actors made on a 5-week shoot with a marketed $10,000,000 Budget.)

 

(6th) MEGA-BUDGET MOVIE:

$100,000,000 to $200,000,000 and if you’re James Cameron hustling his “AVATAR” franchise, of a 3 picture trilogy for $1 Billion; This is always a major studio movie, signing with the three guilds (SAG, WGA & DGA) and one union (IATSE) like “Star Wars”, “Batman”, “Avatar”, “Fast & Furious”, etc. that are franchises with little-to-no-story but a massive amount of “eye candy” visual effects that, due to little dialogue, allows it to be a box office hit in every nation around the world, especially China, and gross $1-2 Billion, sell a lot of merchandise, have 75-110 product placement logos ($300K-$5,000K each) in it, with a big on-demand deal, a huge dvd sale (CostCo, Target, Wallmart), plus a big sale to HBO or Showtime…. with the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) tech companies lurking with OTT Streaming Deals.

PRODUCER-1-Lucas

(“Star Wars” started the big budget visual concept, with per picture budget between $100 Million to now $300 million, massive revenue streams to include an amusement park mega-ride.)

 

NOW YOUR PRODUCING ODDS:

Now let’s talk “what are the odds” to launching your career on each of the above six budget categories for your first project.

 

ODDS OF SUCCESS

NO-BUDGET is 99.9% (Guaranteed, if you have a work ethic, 2 iPhones  and true talent)

MICRO-BUDGET is 75% (Very Good odds, but be sure the script is one location with great dialogue)

ULTRA LOW-BUDGET is 40% (Odds more than OK, especially if partnered with an Executive Producer Attorney)

LOW-BUDGET is 20% (Odds good-but-not-great, but you must be an excellent salesman)

MEDIUM-BUDGET is 2%-10% (Not likely; Assumes your parents are quite wealthy but, also, likely if you can get to Netflix, Amazon or Hulu)

MEGA-BUDGET is 0.01% (Near impossible: Assumes you own a Mega Commodity, with the great script, a power agent and a studio bidding war ensued)

DovSimensFilmSchool

(“Be realistic. Best odds lie with either a No-Budget, Micro-Budget or Ultra Low-Budget movie. Start at the bottom.”)

 

Happy 2018 Filmmaking!

 

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(“Want a film career in 2018? My DVD Film School will do it….  www.WebFilmSchool.com“)

 

Welcome to Hollywood,

Dov Simens

 

 

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