#WW CSSC Writer Wednesday | Blog the 16th: Sadly, Film Isn’t Cheap

If only we could be so lucky

For a moment, let’s take a look into the future. You have just polished up that final draft of your script and now before you, typed out so perfectly is a story so fresh and unique it has to be made into a film.  Because it has to be made into a film.  Scripts don’t get published, scripts aren’t read under the light of the lamp on the night table. Scripts become films.  So after all your writing, you need to find a way to turn your script into a film.

And the first stumbling block you will encounter is money.

Without money, the film doesn’t happen. Money is needed for equipment, crew, locations, post production, props, wardrobe, makeup, etc.  The expenses can go on and on. And no matter how much money you have, you will always feel like you could have used more.

So you will have to join every other filmmaker in the search for money.

But, before you head out into the wild, I suggest you inform yourself.

The best way I have found to inform yourself is to find your local film cooperative and ask them if they have any information. I am on the mailing list for a monthly newsletter and it provides me information on employment opportunities, screenwriting workshops, film festivals, funding opportunities and more.  Such things like BravoFact, NSI, Linda Joy, CFC and more.  Without it, I would have to rely on word of mouth from friends to know about these opportunities.

Now there is also another way to search for funding and it’s called social networking.  The goal of marketing your film online is to reach as many people as you can from your computer chair   And for this, there appears to be two major websites, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.

Both sites work essentially the same way.  You create a page for your project, you can upload a video explaining the project, you upload information and essentially you pitch your project to everyone who ever passes by the site with the hope that they will be so enthralled by your idea that they just have send a little help your way.  This is where your logline from last week will come in handy.  Hook them in from the start with something quick and simple then fill them in with all the wordy details.

To get more people involved, you can also add incentives to donating.  You can promise whatever you can think of for the different amounts donated.  But if you are really strapped for cash and can’t provide incentives, a simple thank you in the credits is often enough to satisfy anyone who simply wants to see your film brought to life.

Finally, always tell them where the money is going.  Be it script development, casting, catering, locations, film stock, whatever.  If the reader knows where the money is needed and will be used, they are more likely to trust you with their money as you make your film.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing site. You set a fundraising goal and a target date to reach it.  If you reach the goal then you get all your funding. If you don’t reach your goal, then you get nothing (everyone gets there money back). The idea behind this is that you can’t make your project if you don’t have the money, so there is no point in receiving your $300 when you needed $15,000.  And there is no point in someone donating money to you if it isn’t enough to complete your project.

IndieGoGo (which I used for Those Forgotten) lets you set a fundraising goal and a date to reach it and it simply penalizes you for not making your goal.  The site takes a 7% cut from the total raised if you reach your goal, and it takes 12% if you don’t reach your goal.  It’s annoying to lose the money, but it made donating really easy for friends and family who lived far away.  So in the end, it helped me raise a lot more money than if I just starting asking everyone I knew.

Lastly, when you have your site, promote your film.   Tell everyone you know, use social networking, reach as many people as you can from your computer chair.  You just might find someone you’d never thought of who understands your struggles and believes in you enough to send some financial support.

So I hope that starts to paint the larger picture for you.  You don’t have to go out and make this film with no money and no help. The services and aid exist out there, you just have to look for them. So get out there, apply and make the film your script deserves.

Now, before I sign off for the week, anyone keeping up with this blog, you will have noticed that David Cormican has reached the fundraising part of filmmaking for his super cool short, Elijah the Prophet. He has set up a Kickstarter page, which you can see here: http://www.ibelieveinelijah.com

There are plenty of great incentives to donate, most notably from my point of view is that for $100 you get the script, a song, the DVD and more, as well as a free submission to the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition (which would cost you $75 anyway). So why not kill two birds with one stone. If you’re planning on submitting to the Competition, then why not get some cool swag and help out a filmmaker while you’re at it?

Well that is all for this week, good luck on all your fundraising, and I will see you next Wednesday.

About Evan Jobb

Evan Jobb is a screenwriter and producer and is the returning Writer Laureate with the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition. He placed 4th place in the 2009 Canadian Short Screenplay Competition an 9th in the 2010 Competition. His 2011 award winning short film, "Those Forgotten" is currently available at CBC Downloads. When he isn't writing he is teaching science and math to junior high and high school students. He currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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