THE 3 GOLDEN FORMULAS: WRITING, PRODUCING & FILM MAKING (3 Hollywood Game Plans)

THE 3 HOLLYWOOD FORMULAS:

(1) SCREENWRITING FORMULA: “Ain’t Written…It’s Re-Written”

(2) FILM MAKING FORMULA: “First Make-Film…Then Make-Deal”

(3) PRODUCING FORMULA: “Budget Xs 50% Xs 10% = Shoot”

(“Hollywood is a business & when a First-Timer remember “He who has the Gold makes the rules””) 

Hollywood, like life, has very simple rules for happiness (Be nice; Act with love; Trust God; Work hard. etc.) and if you want to Produce, Write or Direct and be happy…The key is “and be happy”… then be patient, use common sense, apply 3 simple Formulas (aka: rules)…. and “Happiness is almost *guaranteed.”

*FYI: Nothing is ever guaranteed…but it is likely

However, in Hollywood, an industry with instant gratification and financial rewards, it is hard to be patient.

(“The money will come but start at-the-bottom, just as Clooney & The Coen Bros did with low-budget projects like “Killer Tomatoes” & “Blood Simple”.”)

The first question to always ask yourself… ”Would you rather be comfortable or successful?”

Pick one… and I bet you go for comfortable…. for truly is success without comfort worth it.

Now, I’m sure you’re saying “But can’t I have both” and the answer is “yes you can have both… but not at the same time”.

Be patient.

First, in Hollywood as well as life, work at (A) being realistic by (B) living within your own skin, (C) working hard and I truly believe (D) success with comfort will come and you will, in Gods time, have both.

In a moment I will apply this approach to Film Making, Budgeting, Screenwriting, Producing & Hollywood…. Be patient.

Bottom-line: “Hollywood is not a fad. Hollywood will wait for you.”

There will always be movies. Point. Period. End sentence.

The movie industry (aka: Studio System) is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Yes, Major Distributors (Sony, Disney, Paramount, 20th, etc.) are producing less but profiting more as the internet (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) demands more and more as revenue streams grow and China expands and the world goes global with product placement, merchandising and licensing the revenues increase.

The combined Hollywood, to include ticket sales, on-demand eyeballs, revenue streams, foreign sales, product placement dollars and merchandising deals is just growing and growing… Now, where do you start?

Plus, always remember, “the movie industry (ticket sales) will never ever disappear as long as the family structure still exists.”

Huh? Why?

Movies are and “always will be” the cheapest form of entertainment when compared with (1) Music Concerts, (2) Live Theater and (3) Sporting Events. Therefore Hollywood will always exist.

For, as long as the family exists (1) children, especially teens, will always want to get the heck out of the house and (2) parents, by-the-by, will always want to get away from their children… and the least expensive form of escapism will-always-be “movies”.

Thus, movie theaters, as long as there are families, will always exist. And, as long as movie theaters exist, they will need product.

Thus, please be patient but don’t sit back and wait for life to come to you but be productive, participate and good things always happen… 

Now let’s apply three common sense rules to Screenwriting, Film Making & Producing.

1st: THE SCREENWRITING FORMULA:

Move your fingers. Be productive. Don’t be impatient. Learn the craft and sell your 4th Script.

SCREENWRITING: In Hollywood everyone believes that if you have writing talent, which is a gift of dialogue (aka: Good Ear), keep writing, developing your skills and learning your craft that you will sell your 4th Script.

FILM-Quote-2

 

(Altman, after 10 years and 65 mini-films, wrote & directed a $60K feature, “THE DELINQUENTS”, and sold it to United Artists for $150K… Be patient.)

Now, the only way to Sell your 4th Script… WRITE YOUR 3rd.

And, the only way to write your 3rd script… WRITE YOUR 2nd.

And, the only way to write your 2nd script… WRITE YOUR 1st

…get the point.

I bet most of you are now saying “I have a great script” but you’ve probably only written your 1st Draft of your 1st and if you have done that without (1st) a Treatment, (2nd) a Beat Sheet and (3rd) Coverage then you haven’t even written the first draft of your first script.

So be patient, be productive, keep writing, learn your craft.

Be patient: Hollywood will wait for you for it needs writers, who (A) understand the craft, (B) have a work ethic and (C) have a gift of dialogue.

Thus, keep writing, develop your skill and more than likely you’ll sell your 4th Script.

Common sense?

2nd: THE FILM MAKING FORMULA:

Your idea is great but you are not starting at the top.

FILM MAKING: The formula is simple… “Want $200M? Start at $20K”

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(Peter Jackson started (1987) with a No-Budget feature (“Bad Taste”) and his budgets increased from Low to Medium to the Mega-Budget “Hobbit” franchise.) 

Want $200 Million to make a feature film, then 1st make a $20 Million feature film.

Want $20 Million to make a feature film, then 1st make a $2 Million feature film.

Want $2 Million to make a feature film, then first make a $200 Thousand feature film.

Want $200 Thousand to make a feature film, then first make a $20 Thousand feature film.

Want $20 Thousand….then “get a frickin’ job (Starbucks is hiring) and save”.

Again: Be patient, start at the bottom, make a feature film, develop your storytelling skills, demonstrate talent and you will grow…with comfort.

Common sense?

3rd: THE PRODUCING FORMULA:

“Be realistic, cut the budget & shoot.”

PRODUCING: Budget for comfort and what you can afford.

The Affordable Producing Formula is… “BUDGET x 50% x 10% = HAPPINESS and HAPPINESS = SUCCESS”

DovSimensFilmSchool

(“My Streaming & Live Film School programs are 100% common sense info with respect to learning Financing, Screenwriting, Directing & Producing.”)

EXPLANATION: Want success but with comfort? Then don’t reach to far ($1-$2, $2-$3 or $3-5 Million low-budget budgets) for it stretches you beyond your means, makes you uncomfortable and when uncomfortable and not in control can not enjoy yourself.

Thus….To budget for your first feature film use the common sense formula and (1st) Write down a dollar amount that you think is low-budget for your first feature film. “WRITE DOWN A DOLLAR AMOUNT!”

…Now, (2nd) accept that you’re reaching too far and (3rd) cut that budget in half (50%).

…Now, (4th) move the decimal point one place to the left (10%)…and Voilla! You now have a realistic budget for your 1st feature film. That is affordable, comfortable and will force you to be creative with the financial pressure off… and you’ll have fun.

Why?

Because if you lose every penny of this mini-budget budget it will not hurt your lifestyle (not that you desire to lose every penny) but the pressure is off.

And, with pressure off… you will “have fun”.

Example: Think your Budget should be $500,000…which you think is Low-Budget. I guarantee that the investors want the $500,000 back and spending this amount of money, when you’ve never done this before, will have you uptight, nervous and anxiety ridden. NOT FUN. NOT FUN.

So, for a first feature film, do not attempt a $500,000 budget.

…Take that $500,000 and cut it in half (50%) and you have $250,000.

…Now move the decimal point one place to the left and you have $25,000.

…and with $25,000 your first feature film (1-week shoot, HD/4K, 1-location, 90-page script) you are “under-the-radar” with little money pressure and you will have FUN WITH.

Life is about fun and with $25,000 your first feature film (1-week Shoot, “Blair Witch”, “Saw”, “Paranormal Activity”, “Clerks”, “She’s Gotta Have It”, etc.) will demonstrate your talent and likely succeed but more important you’ll be comfortable and happy.

Common sense?

Keep writing, be realistic and start with a “Micro-Budget” feature film… Demonstrate your talent with minimal funds and a feature film that makes a profit and you should be comfortable, happy and successful.

Happy Film Making

Dov Simens

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Do you have another Common Sense Film Rule? If so please share.

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3 comments on “THE 3 GOLDEN FORMULAS: WRITING, PRODUCING & FILM MAKING (3 Hollywood Game Plans)”

  1. Robin Mir says:

    Brilliant advices! It motivates me so much to push myself out of my comfort zone!

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  3. Loren C Brown says:

    Nice to see those words in front of me..as I feel it s easier NOT to let us know what is going on..so thanks for the advice so I can move forward with this work of art!!

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