Financially Independent Ebooks Catalog
If you're planning on making a film for your own amusement and have no intention of trying to make money from it, you can probably skim through this section. But if you're like most filmmakers, you would like the possibility of selling or licensing your film some day.Whether you hope to see your film in the theaters, on cable TV, or on DVDs distributed worldwide, you'd like some return on your financial investment. It should come as no surprise then that if you want your film to make money, you need to treat your production as a business.
Being an agent is the true realization of living in the fast lane. Many burn out, either becoming workaholics or resorting to drugs. This is not an easy job. This is not a job that makes a lot of friends. It requires a dog-eat-dog type of energy, and if any vulnerability, weakness, or lack of self-confidence rears its ugly head, you can bet the individual will fail and find it difficult, though not impossible, to climb back up again to his lofty heights. Nonetheless, agents and managers ultimately are the kings behind the business. They make deals that in turn make money. It's a win-win situation and it works well.
Jane decides to stage a comeback to make money. The comeback doesn't work, so Jane decides to drive her sister out of her mind in a series of grisly incidents (like serving her her pet parakeet and roasted rats for dinner.) When Blanche confesses the truth about the accident that had left her paralyzed, Jane decides to take Blanche to the beach and bury her alive. Jane becomes even more delusional as the police arrive and a crowd gathers. The final scene is reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard, as Jane welcomes the crowds and begins to sing and dance for her public once again in her life, this being, of course, her final performance.
Since the rise of the multiplex, video and DVD, it could be argued that the role of the star has changed yet again, that their role is simply to make money. Lately, however, there has been concern that stars are failing to fulfil their function and are no longer bankable. After the success of the 200m blockbuster Titanic (1997), its stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (see case study below), have both appeared in box-office failures (Celebrity, 1998 Hideous Kinky, 1998).
Insisting that America was once again 'standing tall', Ronald Reagan crushed Walter Mondale at the presidential elections in November 1984, winning every state in the nation except Minnesota and the District of Columbia. One left-wing British filmmaker who was then a rising star in Hollywood, Alex Cox, chose to avoid the Republican celebrations by heading south to visit Nicaragua during its first democratic elections. Since 1981, Reagan's efforts to overthrow the left-wing Sandinista government had made Nicaragua the focus of his campaign to 'roll back communism' in Central America. The CIA and private American bodies had spent millions of dollars training and supplying the opposition militia, the Contras. Beginning in 1983, the National Security Council's Office of Public Diplomacy had conducted a multi-million-dollar propaganda initiative inside the United States, projecting an image of the Contras as democratic freedom fighters in the mould of America's Founding Fathers and the...
As we shall see, during the 1950s and 1960s American policy-makers identified the nation's so-called 'Negro problem' as their Achilles heel in the Cold War's war of words. Consequently, race was the one theme that official propagandists probably spent more time on than any other. As coordinator after August 1953 of the nation's overt international propaganda activities, the USIA carried the chief burden of this task, seeking to counter allegations made by critics at home and overseas that the conditions American blacks suffered were utterly inconsistent with the United States' claim to be the land of the free and equal. As part of the agency's multi-million-dollar media campaign designed to cast America's racial problems in a positive light overseas, one film stands out in particular Charles Guggenheim's Nine from Little Rock.
On NBC's Today show Barbara Walters rose to widespread public attention by asking hard questions in a soft, feminine way. Walters became the nation's premiere woman news talk host in the 1960s and continued to refine her reputation and persona until 1976, when she was successfully courted by ABC with a highly publicized million-dollar-a-year contract.
The interesting thing is that I find whether you're doing a big-budget film, or a small-budget film, it seems like you never have enough money. On a big-studio movie you're paying rent to shoot at the studio. It's their studio, but you still have to pay them this exorbitant amount of money to be there. What's the reality of what money really is in these situations I think if the studios did not play so much with funny money it might bring the budgets down and also make it less abstract and, therefore, you could feel slightly more responsible as to what you're dealing with. If you're on your own doing an independent film and you've got a million-dollar budget, you know what you've got you know how to spend it. The more a movie costs, the more pressure there is. It's a simple fact. That's obvious. But in reality, you never feel like you have enough. Big-budget movie, low-budget movie, it's all the same. There are problems no matter how much money you have.
Some 50 years later, as the studio system had to find ways to adapt to the 1948 antitrust legislation, changing lifestyles and television competition, increasing numbers of films were produced by 'independent' companies companies set up, sometimes by maverick filmmakers, for the production of a single film such companies hired facilities from the studios but were otherwise financially independent. However, as successful production companies were established, and as the restriction on vertical integration was eroded during the Reagan years, powerful commercial concerns came to dominate all sectors of the industry, most noticeably distribution (see pp. 66-7 above). It is thus very debatable whether the films of Tarantino and Jarmusch, for example, can really be called 'independent' Pulp Fiction, for all its innovation, was co-financed by Miramax, as was Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995).
Gone with the Wind was not a typical, film-a-week studio production. It was advertised as 'The most magnificent picture ever ' This was meant from the start to be an epic big, broad, expensive and long. It won nine Oscars and is generally held to be the most popular American historical film ever made. It is still on the list of the top 20 money-making films of all times (and would probably remain first if inflation were taken into account). It opened in the USA in the second week of December 1939. By New Year's Day Selznick's 'blockbuster' had sold a million dollars' worth of tickets. In London, it opened in 1940 and played for a record 232 consecutive weeks. In 1976 the American TV premi re of Gone with the Wind was the highest-rated single network programme ever broadcast.
The now-classic television series, Friends, first started with six unknown actors who were paid modest salaries. But by the time the show left the air, each actor had become a TV star, earning a million dollars per episode. Although these stars boosted the audience and advertiser appeal, the talent budget alone was six million dollars per episode. Other costs rose, as well, as producers created new swing sets and added guest stars. Yet its high ratings, and subsequent sales to syndicators and international markets, allowed NBC to pay the increased costs. Money
With Street Trash, that in-your-face black comedy about melting winos, with no socially redeeming values and a certainty of either an X rating or an unrated release, I didn't stand a chance of raising half a million dollars from thirty-five people or less. What a little investigating showed me was that I stood a reasonable chance of getting the money from middle-income people, for whom a fun risk was going to Atlantic City twice a year for a weekend and dropping a few thousand. So, my goal became to sell two hundred shares at 2500 each. Some investors bought multiple shares some bought one. We used a Joint Venture for this film. The Sweet Life, at a quarter-million dollars, with a soft R rating and a broad audience, and at least one notable name in the credits . . . that I could scavenge from fewer than thirty-five people, so we had ourselves an LLC to create.
On television, your work is being seen by more people. I remember when The Kid Stays in the Picture went into theatrical release, we did 1.5 million dollars which at the time was, I think, the fifteenth highest earning theatrical documentary. But when it premiered on HBO, we had 1.6 million people watching it that first night, which was five times the amount of people who actually saw it in theaters. Then in subsequent viewings, we added it all up and it's probably now thirty, forty times the people who saw it in the theaters. Q Then how do you make money doing that A You can't start a series and then bail-out after the first season and think you're going to get rich by taking some sort of royalty unless it's The Osbournes or some mind-blowing exception to the rule. Cable budgets are between 75,000 and 200,000 for a half-hour reality A There are so many different types of producers. In television, there are people who are really brash and confident and charismatic. Then there's...
A year after the film came out and was a great success, I went back to Columbia and asked them if I could do a special edition and reedit the middle and the beginning. They said yes and gave me a million dollars if I would agree to show the inside of the mother ship. That was the compromise with Columbia. If I put in a glimpse of the mother ship from Roy's point of view, I could get the money and change the film and then they would sponsor a reissue of the picture. I did that, but I was not happy with the ending. I was happy with everything else. Now I've got the best balance on the laser disc version and someday on the DVD, which is the balance between the original film and the special edition. I've cut out the ending so you no longer see the inside of the ship. The latest version is kind of a hybrid of both pictures.
Television in the 1980s was highlighted by the emergence of new cable outlets such as Ted Turner's TNT and the Cable News Network (CNN), an all-news channel along with Bravo, the first network dedicated to film and performing arts. MTV premiered as a revolutionary station that was specifically targeted to the growing youth culture, showcasing a new format known as music videos. These music videos promoted recording artists and their labels, and influenced the creation of programs like NBC's Miami Vice, which went on air in 1984. Independent production companies broke new ground with shows like Hill Street Blues, Cheers, St. Elsewhere, Cagney and Lacey, and L.A. Law. In 1983, Vanessa Williams was the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America, and the middle-class African-American family was the focus of the ratings hit, The Cosby Show, soon to be followed by shows like A Different World. In 1986, Oprah became the first major talk show to be hosted by an African-American...
After that I started working on the script for Goodfellas with Nick Pileggi. But at the same time I was always trying to get Last Temptation made. Finally in January of 1987 I signed on with Mike Ovitz and Creative Artists Agency and within two or three weeks he got a meeting with Tom Pollack at Universal and Garth Trabinski at the Cineplex Odeon Group, who would actually play Last Temptation of Christ in his theaters. That's the main reason we didn't get it made in 1983. The United Artists theater chain wouldn't play it back then. If you make a picture for millions of dollars, you do need a place to show it. So, it's understandable. They asked how little I could make the picture for. We said we could make it for seven million. So, in September of that year we actually started shooting the picture in Morocco with Willem Dafoe as Jesus. I had seen him in Platoon and thought he was great.
Financial compensation for the producer, especially the independent producer or production company, is obviously an important issue to consider. The range of financing can be considerable for example, a major network pays more money than a premium cable station, which pays more than a standard cable channel. Is your project a single documentary, a multipart reality series, or a sitcom Each example has its own budgetary parameters. Compensation depends on costs like foreign locations, big stars, complicated rights clearances, and animation, which are then balanced against any revenue that could be generated through ancillary opportunities. There is no set fee structure, and each deal is on a per-project basis.
So does the mixing, or sweetening. You're paying for each minute, so discuss with the audio facility how much time you will need to book. Often, an audio facility is willing to negotiate a flat fee for the whole job. You may have only booked six hours but the actual mix ran ten it not only cost you more money but it placed a real strain on the facility they may have booked the studio for another job after your estimated six hours was scheduled to end.
As it turned out, he was very good in the picture. It opened on a Friday and was a huge success and Ron had a percentage of the profits. So, I called him on Monday morning, about 10 00, after doing some bookings for the second week of distribution, and I told him how big the film had opened and how well he was going to do with his share of the profits and he said, I know that. I've been waiting for your call. I assume you're going to do a sequel. I said yes. He said, Wait right there. I'm coming right in. He came in and he said, When an actor is asked to do a sequel, he wants more money. I don't want any more money. I will take exactly the same deal I had on the first picture, and I'll do another job for nothing. I'll direct the picture. I told him he always looked like a director to me. I will say that Ron was probably the coolest first-time-out director I've ever seen.
I truly believe that filmmakers must be dead honest with everyone about what's going on, says Carole Dean. Honesty and integrity pay off. Anytime you make a financial deal with someone, it must be of the highest caliber, in that it must make money for all involved. We're in the film business and there most be something profitable for each person involved, or don't make the deal.
Thirty years ago Carole Dean took a 20 bill and turned it into a 50 million a year industry when she reinvented the tape and short-end industry in Hollywood. As the president and CEO of From the Heart Productions, Carole has produced over 100 television programs, including the popular cable program HealthStyles, where she interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry, including Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Weil, and Dr. Caroline Myss. In 1992 Carole created the Roy W. Dean Grant Foundation in honor of her late father. Today Carole's grant and mentorship programs have provided millions of dollars in goods and services and have played an instrumental role in establishing the careers of some of the industry's most promising filmmakers. www.fromtheheartproductions.com
Deferred tax an accounting entry that is included in, amongst other things, a company's financial statements, to reflect a potential liability to tax. Conventionally, deferred tax is established where reliefs and or allowances (particularly capital allowances) have the effect of deferring liabilities to tax that would otherwise have crystallized. These are called 'timing differences'.
NB At the time there was a lot of sync sound. You would have departments in charge of this, but sometimes the assistants would do the syncing up for the editors. Editors would never do it themselves. I did it sometimes as an extra job when I was working as an assistant, just to earn a little bit more money. I did syncing up for Cinquini26 when he was cutting II diavolo bianco.
Like Kristel, the Italian-American Joe Dallesandro was a foreign actor who became associated with French erotic cinema in the mid-seventies. His five French films were all made between 1975 and 1979, and include a performance alongside Kristel in La Marge. Dallesandro was an underground star in the United States during the sixties, first in nude 'beefcake' photography, then as one of the so-called 'Superstars' of Andy Warhol's Factory film studio. Although Dallesandro himself is straight, his star body and husder persona in the Warhol Paul Morrissey films Flesh (1968), Trash (1970) and Heat (1972) made him a gay icon. The husder is a 'representative figure of the gay underground' who appropriates some of the glamour of mainstream American stars, aping 'the sullen hunkiness of Brando, Dean, Presley and co.'45 The business transaction whereby a star - whether underground like Dallesandro, or mainstream like James Dean - trades on their image, is made explicit in the figure of the...
Unlike the dramatic film, the goals of the documentary are not entertainment and, ultimately, economic success. Nevertheless, those goals must be met, or the sponsor may claim the footage from the director, just as Sinclair Lewis took Eisenstein's Mexican footage. This is one of the reasons why some filmmakers finance their own documentaries. Financial independence may mean low-budget filmmaking, but it also gives rise to a personal filmmaking style that only independence can provide. Most documentary films are sponsored, however, and the sponsor usually has an impact on the type of film that is created.
Das Deutsche Mutterherz belonged to the first group of Weimar films about the war, and premiered on 27 July 1926 in Munich. Perhaps the date was not coincidental, because it marked the beginning of the war twelve years earlier, within a day or so. The film premiered in Berlin one day later, at the Alhambra on the Kurfurstendamm as well as at a smaller venue, Schauburg. The film was produced by Emelka and directed by Geza von Bolvary.7 This Hungarian-born director began his film career in Berlin in the first half of the twenties, achieving success mostly as a director of comedies. For Das
Reaction to The Green Berets reflected this highly charged political atmosphere. As might be expected, opponents and supporters of US policy in Vietnam latched on to the movie for their own propaganda purposes. The film's premiere in New York City, for instance, was picketed by protestors sponsored by the Veterans and Reservists to End the War in Vietnam.86 Wayne had got used to the drubbing his films received from critics over the years, but in this instance many were so vitriolic as to be foaming at the mouth. Renata Adler, chief film critic at the New York Times, led the case for the prosecution, calling The Green Berets 'vile, insane' and 'dull'. In Glamour magazine, Michael Korda, influential publisher and son of the famous British film production designer, Vincent Korda, condemned the movie as a 'simple-minded tract in praise of killing, brutality and American superiority over Asians'. 'I do not know how it would be possible to produce a more revolting picture', he continued,...
The conventional view shared by observers at the time and film historians since is that this clumsily produced, overtly propagandistic Red-baiting material was deeply unpopular with audiences, and that it may even have hindered rather than helped the anti-communist cause by bluntly depicting fifth-columnists as moronic and easy to spot. In 1953, one notable commentator, Karel Reisz, a leading light in the British New Wave film movement of the early 1960s, warned that such a significant body of work risked having a 'boomerang effect' because its very directness alienated those whom it was intended for. Filmmakers should concentrate less on negative, anti-communist propaganda, Reisz urged, and more on selling the positive aspects of liberal democracy.38 Because so many of these films were shot quickly on low budgets with non-stars, most historians have assumed they were not intended either to make money or to teach the American public anything of real value about subversion. Rather,...
A lot of filmmakers are very wary of working with distributors because they think they're going to get exploited, but unfortunately the only way to survive for a lot of distribution companies is by retaining most of the profits, says Ruben. The reality is that with marketing costs and expenses, it's difficult for distribution companies to stay around. So filmmakers have to decide if they're after exposure or money, and once they decide what they're after, they have to seek a deal that accommodates that goal. There are some companies that will give you all the exposure in the world but you'll never see a dime, and for some filmmakers that's a dream. They're not interested in the money they're interested in showing off their work and getting a picture deal in the future. Other filmmakers just want to make money and often decide to self-distribute, which has been very successful for a lot small production companies. They'll come out with a little sci-fi spoof and sell 10,000 copies...
With few exceptions (among which the various guises under which Oscar Micheaux produced his films) most of these companies did not survive the introduction of sound. Thus in the 1930s there were only a handful of companies that supplied product to the 400 theatres that served approximately 12 million African Americans.78 With the exception of Micheaux, however, these companies could not lease studio space and use the new sound systems that the studio-produced films had access to.79 As a result, certain companies continued making silent films for theatres that could not afford the costs of wiring, a long time after the introduction of sound.80 Despite the problems, the market for race talkies developed gradually in the 1930s, from twenty-three black feature films made between 1930 and 1936 to over fifty made between 1937 and 1940. Partly responsible for such an outburst in the productivity of black films were Million Dollar Productions, a company created in 1936, and International Road...
Regardless of the budget, all film sets have the same problems big-budget films just solve them more expensively. The same kinds of questions have to be answered by the filmmakers. There are millions of decisions that have to be made at each step along the way. With a bigger budget, acclaimed craftspeople, and an experienced crew, problems might be solved with more money, expertise, or artistry, but the basic dilemmas are still the same. The same questions arise no matter the budget or the film medium. A student film is made by someone in film school who is making the film as part of the school's curriculum. There are many different levels of these projects and it's always a good idea to know what level and type of project it is before you get involved. There is almost never payment it's usually meals, transportation, and a copy of the tape. The meals will be bagels or peanut butter and jelly, the transportation usually an overcrowded secondhand car, and the tape (a copy of the film...
Spike Lee's willingness to use his financial power to further the interests of the African American community extends beyond the film industry. He maintains that the success of several black entertainers and athletes have created the illusion of progress, but the black underclass is bigger than ever. While filming in New York and thus providing a great deal of work for the teamsters' union, he openly criticized them for failing to open their membership to minorities.14 Although he actively supports issues of interest to African Americans, he refuses to see himself as somehow obliged to use his wealth for philanthropic purposes. In his interview with David Breskin, he became indignant when the interviewer reiterated a question posed by an earlier television interviewer about what he would do with the profits from his retail store. He pointed out that white entertainers had a right to make money and nobody asks anything about it. When a black man makes money it becomes a racist...
Capitalism justifies itself on the basis of the freedom (separateness) of anyone to make money, sell their labour how they will, to be able to express opinions and get them heard (regardless of wealth of social position). E ven while the notion of the individual is being assailed on all sides, it is a necessary fiction for the reproduction of the kind society we live in. Stars articulate these ideas of personhood, in large measure shoring up the notion of the individual but also at times registering the doubts and anxieties attendant on it.
Violence, had no measurable ill effects. Beginning in 1986, during President Reagan's last two years of office and into the first Bush administration, the Commission on Pornography, headed by Attorney General Edwin Meese, made significant strides in prosecuting and demonizing pornography. Ostensibly, new laws and an Obscenity Task Force were aimed at child pornography, but the elaborate new record-keeping requirements (combined with extensive legal fees) were intended to drive producers of sexually explicit materials out of business. Established in 1987, the National Obscenity Enforcement Unit attempted to eliminate as much sexually oriented material as possible. Frequently the unit would force plea bargains and settlements on defendants who wished to avoid prosecution in one instance, plea negotiations with the Adam & Eve Company demanded that the company stop selling even mild soft-core porn, including marriage manuals like The Joy of Sex (1972). A federal circuit court ultimately...
A place where people can make money is to get something on DVD or video that has marketability says Michael Harpster. There is a lot of money being made in that area right now, which will continue over the next few years. These will generally not be features as much as special interest programming, like skateboard or fitness movies. The economics of DVDs are tremendously attractive to investors as you don't have to spend one or two million in production. You can spend between 20,000 to 100,000 and slap it into a DVD. If you can sell 20,000 units on a Web site, you're home free.
The news of Walters' hire and million-dollar salary was greeted with the avalanche of publicity'' the ABC brass had hoped for, but the adjustment was not as smooth as they had hoped. The odd-couple pairing of Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters did not work out nor did the new format, which was to emphasize Walters' personality profiles. Pierce and News Division head Bill Sheehan had expected to expand national news from half an hour to forty-five minutes or an hour in fact, the expansion was announced to the press, but affiliates resisted because they did not want to lose advertising time, and ABC retreated. Walters' interview pieces would radically reduce the time ABC had for hard news. Reasoner objected. The veteran newsman, acerbic about the arrangement from the beginning, engaged in behind-the-scene battles for camera and air time. When Roone Arledge entered the picture, he attempted to salvage the situation by putting veteran CBS news producer Av Westin in charge of the show....
The vast majority of films, whether American, British, Brazilian or Japanese, have been structured around the kind of mainstream narrative described above. Such narratives tell stories about characters who are 'believable' (either because they are 'realistic' or because they correspond to accepted genre stereotypes) as they experience a series of events within a relatively coherent time and space. It may be worth repeating that such films, as part of the commercial film industry, are made with profit in mind the aim is to make money. As is stressed elsewhere, this also tends to mean that such films are likely to belong to a genre and to contain stars, as both these factors tend to help in targeting a large audience.
Consequently, in 1928 7.5 per cent of films shown in British cinemas had to be British. This in fact led to a higher concentration on the production of fewer, higher- quality American films. The British market was invaluable for Hollywood, providing 30 per cent of Hollywood's foreign gross profits, exceeding 30 million dollars (US) annually by 1936. The impact of the films is difficult to exaggerate. Tim Lott lucidly described the childhood experience of his father during the 1920s in his autobiographical novel, The Scent of Dried Roses 'But it was the cinema that thrilled Jack's - and every other child's - imagination more than anything else - the first great hustle by another culture into the isolated life of England which, up until this point, had remained a unique, peculiar and yet essentially European place' (1996 49). The films carried with them powerful images of American consumer goods, which, as the American authorities were completely aware, British film
The photography seems a professional success. Having taken the pictures he went to take and thus achieving success, he appears to fail on the personal front with his wife in Armenia and with these various women in Canada. In a sense his limited engagement with the places he has photographed (Armenia) implies a personal unease about who he is (identity).
Thought was her behalf, but it became more complicated. Her best friend was there, who was really poor, and I ended up giving her money. I guess because I liked her and I felt that the film had made money and it seemed kind of weird not to. It's strange that you make films about people, some of whom don't have any money, and you make money on the film. It's an odd thing.
There's definitely a trade-off all the way down the line when you have less control and more people working, you can finish films faster. You make more money. But I'm mostly comfortable with what I've set up for myself in this approach to making films. It's altering from year to year a little bit here, a little bit there, but, basically, I'll keep doing it this way. It's certainly not the style for everybody, it couldn't possibly be my way of filmmaking would drive most filmmakers insane.
This book is aimed at the independent filmmaker who wants to make money by selling his or her film.You, the reader, may be an industry professional, a recent film school graduate, or an amateur who wants to break into the biz. Regardless of who you are, if you want a chance at selling your film you must have artistic passion and you must be prepared to treat your film project as a business.
There's always going to be someone who gets the job you deserved or wanted more someone who gets a better break someone who has better connections someone who's prettier, thinner, taller, younger, more handsome, sexier or more stylish than you someone who makes more money someone who has a bigger house or
Majors question once again their knowledge of the film market. Once the majors came out from the heavy recession of the 1969-71 period and the effects of conglomeration (renewed emphasis on blockbusters, scientific audience research and new marketing techniques, aggressive diversification, and so on) were becoming apparent, it became clear to them that (1) the exploitation market was too important a market to be overlooked and (2) the youth audience for that market was too large to be ignored.24 Not surprisingly, the majors decided to move to exploitation turf and 'upgrade' the normally extremely cheap independent product by throwing their millions of dollars on monster, science fiction and car chase films such as Jaws, Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit (Needham, 1977).
The US Treasury Department noted that she was the highest-paid woman in America, having made 300,000 for the year 1946-1947. This was not too surprising, given that she was the star for whose legs Fox purchased an insurance policy for a million dollars with Lloyds of London in 1940. This was most certainly a publicity stunt to launch its newest star, but it forecast what was to be Grable's best-known role during World War II that of a pin-up girl.
The wholesale rejection of popular culture. Leavis held, quite correctly, that popular culture was thoroughly contaminated by capitalism, its productions primarily concerned with making money, and then more money. However, film criticism and theory have been firmly rooted in classical Hollywood, which today one can perceive as a period of extraordinary richness but which to Leavis was a total blank. He was able to appreciate the popular culture of the past, in periods when major artists worked in complete harmony with their public (the Elizabethan drama centered on Shakespeare, the Victorian novel on Dickens) but was quite unable to see that the pre-1960s Hollywood cinema represented, however compromised, a communal art, comparable in many ways to Renaissance Italy, the Elizabethan drama, Hollywood cinema was also compromised from the outset by the simple fact that the production of a film requires vastly more money than the writing of a novel or play, the composing of a symphony, or...
Into the industry as a sell-out, bowing to a capitalist oligarchy that had historically denigrated their communities. Melvin Van Peebles abandoned his deal at Columbia to independently produce, direct, and star in Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971). The film represented a radical break from Van Peebles's earlier work. Dedicated in the opening credit sequence to ''All the brothers and sisters who have had enough of the Man,'' it is a touchstone example of African American counter cinema, utilizing a loose shooting style, experimental editing, and a discourse rooted in Black Nationalism. Sweetback, played by Van Peebles himself, starts out as a politically naive and uninvolved sex worker who has his consciousness raised and becomes a folk hero. While in police custody, he witnesses the beating of a community activist by the police. Sweetback uses his handcuffs to fight off the two policemen, saving the activist's life, then spends the rest of the movie a wanted man, evading the...
We have a revenue sharing deal whereby the series or films we sell, the filmmaker makes money, explains Ruben. It's typical with short films because there's such a plethora of them out there and the commercial opportunities are limited, but anytime we make money, we like to see our filmmakers make money. A non-exclusive agreement can be very attractive to a filmmaker simply because it doesn't close any other opportunities. If another television, broadcast, or home video distributor would approach them they'd be completely free to take advantage of it. But on the flipside, if you do have someone that's representing you exclusively, there's an inherent driving factor for that company to get the maximum To assure producers that they won't get 'stuck' I offer producers a ninety-day release guarantee, should I ever not meet any terms of my agreement, says Chip. In twenty years I have never had a producer use that ninety-day release, but it's good insurance for them. I have heard some...
When I first started MotionMasters I had a conversation with the man who was going to be our accountant, recalls Diana Sole. I said, 'I don't know anything about which column to put the money on the books, but what I do know is how to produce great work and take care of my clients and I can do that and make money at it. Now you tell me where to put the money on the books.' He laughed and said, 'Diana, this is going to work very well ' You have to find people of integrity who will be as committed to excellence in their craft as you are and just move forward. I shudder when I look back at all the things I didn't know that I should have known. I just fumbled along and made a lot of mistakes. But I did what I could with the knowledge I had and learned when to seek the advice of others.
So the business plan is something that should be started when you first begin thinking about the business. If you go for financing because you need operating capital or you need capital to buy equipment, the banker will want to know something about you. Unless you have a tremendous home with great equity, the banker's going to want to see your personal financial statement with your assets, liabilities, and net worth. If you walk in with a business plan, whether it's a quarter-inch thick or an inch thick, it should say, 'Here's my experience, my personal history, and why you should lend me money. Here's where I see my business today, here's where I see it in six months. Here's why you want to lend me money because you're going to get me to this point.' Bankers are in the business of lending money. If they don't lend money, they don't make money. At the same time, they need to have a reason to lend it to you, and a business plan is a key thing to have as an ongoing tool and, like your...
As an industrial, technological product, film is a commodity, produced to make money and created on the basis of a complex and sophisticated division of labour and tasks, with a high degree of specialization in each of its branches of production. Its textual basis is the shooting script, itself a historically evolved practice, at one end comparable to a blueprint for an engineering
It's a wonderful feeling to get up in the morning with the freedom to do the silliest ideas in the world. They could be stupid or bad or a waste of time but at least you're doing what you want to do. Conversely, you don't make a lot of money. If I were to work for Disney or Dreamworks i would have restrictions but i'd be making a lot more money and have more security. That's a question all artists have to ask themselves what's their priority Is it to make money, raise a family, and have a house, or do you want to be an artist who will probably suffer, at least early on Now I make good money but initially it was very difficult to get started. I'm not being judgmental. There are a lot of great animators working for Disney and Dreamworks who I admire, and in a way
The increases in the budgets of the movies that I made weren't a concern to me up to a point. It wasn't a question of macho posturing that you now have made your first million-dollar movie, and now you've made your first two million-dollar movies. I was never very pragmatic about it. What I was concerned with was did the budget allow me to do what I had to do in a reasonable way Can the movie at least pay for itself given that this is the budget Those are the aspects I considered when I was thinking about budget, and I was always forced to think about the budget.
The most violent and hyperbolic of family melodramas, Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind may be the quintessential American movie of the 1950s. The film turns a cold eye to the antics of the desperate super-rich, with Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone as two overaged juvenile delinquents, one a lush, the other a nympho, the wayward offspring of a Texas oil billionaire. Trash on an epic scale, it's a vision as luridly color-coordinated, relentlessly high-octane, and as flamboyantly petitbourgeois as a two-toned T-bird with ultrachrome trim.
Its idea of 'production value' is spending a million dollars dressing up a story that any good writer would throw away. Its vision of the rewarding movie is a vehicle for some glamour-puss with two expressions and eighteen changes of costume, or for some male idol of the muddled millions with a permanent hangover, six worn-out acting tricks, the build of a lifeguard and the mentality of a chicken-strangler. Raymond Chandler
This table features reasonable costs on a film budgeted at less than a million dollars. It was composed to demonstrate how all aspects of a basic film budget are allotted and where the art department monies stand in contrast to the remaining budgeted items. Efficient scheduling of rental items keep limited budget lines in balance. Most low budget shooting schedules are three weeks long, but consider the advantage of a one-week shooting schedule regarding rentals and apply it to three-week schedules. day), but cast members, especially, will be more eager to commit to it than for three weeks, which translates into a month when all is said and done. With some persuasive coercion, an extended one-week rental can work to the benefit of your limited budget. Your ability to convince a vendor demands that you keep your end of the bargain by returning goods on time with no excuses. Vendors renting props and set dressing to small film companies have heard every story imagined about why a rental...
When I finished American Graffiti, I was broke, because I didn't get paid very much to do the film. It took me two and a half years to do, and when I finished, I was desperate to get another job. United Artists is where I developed American Graffiti, but it was Universal who ended up backing it. But while I was developing it at United, they asked if I had anything else I wanted to do, and I told them about this space film idea. They said they were interested in doing that. Initially, Universal was not going to release American Graffiti. I was dead broke, and so I had to get a job just to live on. I went back to United Artists with my space film idea, but they now turned it down. Then I went to Universal and they turned it down. Finally, Alan Ladd Jr., the head of Twentieth Century-Fox, saw American Graffiti and loved it. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I was trying to get this space thing off the ground. He agreed to fund the development of the screenplay. I got 20,000...
The turning point for Johnny Carson as talk-show host and entrepreneur took place in 1967, right at the beginning of the challenges that were mounted against him as ''king of late night.'' As opposition to the Vietnam War began to mount, and as the culture wars flared, Carson was engaged in his own battles with NBC executives. Up to this time Carson's network salary had been quite substantial, almost three-quarters of a million dollars a year. Out of that amount, however, he had to pay salaries not only to his personal staff but also to a number of other Tonight show staffers.18 His offices and dressing room were small and shabby, ''just a little bigger than closets,''19 one secretary recalled, and more importantly, Carson did not make the larger financial decisions that affected his show. NBC owned the show and called the shots.
After I finished making Dead Calm, I was lucky enough to see some of Orson Welles's footage. Actually, it was a trailer that he had made to try and raise more money. It was quite funny to watch the same story with different actors al-though, oddly enough, a lot of the shots he had chosen originally were very similar to my angles. I guess you're restricted on a boat to how many angles you've got. Both Orson and I chose, as one of the more dramatic shots, a shot where the camera is up on the mast and looks down on the deck. It's almost geometrical in its properties, and it's distancing. I use it in Dead Calm just before a
I really don't know why I still do it. You tell yourself it's for the money, but when you do the math for the amount of hours you work and the BS you endure, you can make way more money at The Gap, and from what I'm told, nothing is more rewarding than a properly folded pair of chinos. I do think that there is a hurry-up-and-wait thing going on, but I would not call crews lazy. They are some of the most dedicated, hardworking people I've ever seen, and as long as you are talking about goofing off, you can't imagine the lengths some of these guys will go to to put gaffer's tape on your back or put a laundry pin on the tail of your shirt.
After finishing Boomtown, a Russian immigrant saw the film and said he'd be happy to finance my next film. I was really excited and thought, Gee, this guy is giving me free money to make a film. This is perfect. But as I was lying in bed that night I thought, Wait a minute. He's going to own the film and if he doesn't like something he can threaten to retract his money and I won't be able to finish it. So I called him the next day and said I've got 3,000 and I'd rather just invest in my own project. That was the smartest thing I ever did because Your Face, which cost about 3,000, went on to make about 30,000 and it's still making me money. I think it's a question that every filmmaker has to ask themselves. How strongly do you believe in the film and how much money do you have in the bank to finance it The great thing about animation is that it's really evergreen. It never ages. Look at something like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which came out in '38 or '39, and now the film is...
Be seen, but you just need to have one very good one that looks like you. If it can show some personality, great, but I am a not sure that can be captured in a photo as well. The idea of having a different photo for each medium must have been invented by photographers to make more money. Perhaps I am wrong, but I truly could care less what picture I have of you, as long as it is professionally taken and it looks like you.
I began thinking that maybe I should go to America, do a movie there, because maybe I won't be able to raise any more money to make movies in Australia. So I came to Hollywood and made the 6 million Blind Fury. I cast Dutch actor Rutger Hauer as the blind samurai. We shot that in Texas and Reno, Nevada, in 1990, while we were still editing Dead Calm.
There's a really perversely amusing thing in Hollywood, where if you don't want the job, they're willing to throw more money at you to say yes. If you do want the job, it's because your passion's there. You don't charge extra for the passion. If you're gonna hire somebody, wouldn't you want somebody who's really enthusiastic about what you want made That's kind of how I think, but that's not the way they think in Hollywood all the time. It's very strange. I didn't direct again for five years until Steve King called me up one day and mentioned The Green Mile to me, and that's how that got triggered.
Assuage studio executives whose offices, like the home in D. H. Lawrence's The Rocking Horse Winner, shout out for more money. Don Bluth was director of animation at Disney Studios when he and several of his coworkers left on September 13, 1979 (Bluth's birthday) as a result of creative differences. Bluth's first full-length film after establishing his independence was The Secret of NIMH (1979), which is still regarded as his best film and the focus of the interview included in this volume. Budgeted at seven million dollars and a thirty-month completion deadline, Bluth had hoped that if the film did well at the box office, it would open the doors to the financing of more animated films. Praised by critics for its revival of classical animation and later well received What alarms and depresses Allen about today's pictures is how so many of them are determined by eighteen to twenty-five year olds during market screenings in malls and by bean counters in studio offices who have no...
The first film I made as an official film was called The House, and it was for Channel 4 in London. They were looking to give people who'd never made a film before an opportunity to get in there. So I went in with a little film that I'd made for the theater on the basis that with a little bit more money I could film the parts that had been theater. I could sort of cobble together a one-hour film
Even in the most enlightened circles, the mere mention of Jean-Luc Godard directing a million-dollar international coproduction of Alberto Moravia's Ghost at Noon in Rome and Capri for Carlo Ponti and Joe Levine seemed the height of improbability from the very beginning. Once Contempt was completed, Levine was shocked to discover that he had a million-dollar art film on his hands with no publicity pegs on which to hang his carpetbag. Levine ordered Godard to add some nude scenes, then challenged the New York censors like the great civil libertarian he is, and finally released the film with a publicity campaign worthy of The Orgy at Lil's Place. The New York reviewers, ever sensitive to the nuances of press agentry, opened fire on Brigitte Bardot's backside. It strikes me that this is attacking Contempt at its least vulnerable point, since even if Miss Bardot were to be photographed au naturelle fore and aft for a hundred minutes of Warholian impassivity, the result would be more...
When working with the composer, the ownership of the rights to the soundtrack is a key issue. Producers should structure the deal as a work made for hire, with rights to both the recording and to the composition vesting initially in the production company.This will avoid issues of controlling the exploitation of the publisher's share of the copyright. It is almost always better to pay a little bit more money to the composer in exchange for ownership of all of the rights.
Emma's short films primarily get shown at film festivals and at industry screenings in London. It's very difficult to make money from short films, Emma acknowledges, but not impossible. The most I have known anyone to make was 7,000 UK pounds due to the fact they sold all rights to HBO. However, the contract was negotiated by a short film distributor, and the filmmaker in question has yet to see any of the money. Although I haven't made a penny from the short films, the exposure generated has been worth its weight in gold
Lethal Weapon is the ultimate eighties action crime movie - an adult blend of laughs, thrills and ultraviolence. It established actors Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as one of the box-office partnerships of the decade. But Lethal Weapon is more than simply a buddy movie with a million-dollar firework display. It has disparate influences, including Vietnam veteran movies, Dirty Harry cop thrillers, Death Wish vigi-lantism, Cosby Show sitcom domesticity, The Three Stooges and Lassie.
If you want to make independent films on shoestring budgets you can be anywhere, says Les. It's not like 90 percent of us are in L.A. and the other 10 percent someplace else. It's really the other way around. Hollywood is not so much about filmmaking but about making money. Granted there's nothing wrong with wanting to make money but
We began shooting our film with no real concept of what it meant to have a real story structure. We had no concept of character development or first, second, and third acts. I learned that all on the fly. I knew a lot of people who did music, so we pulled our musical resources in and developed a soundtrack and score. After the shoot we had to get the film processed and cut so we went out and raised more money for that. A local video company that produced the sports show for our football team donated their editing bay. We used a linear, and I underscore linear, editing system to do the rough cut. With non-digital linear editing, you have to put in one tape, then a second tape, and then flip the switch to do your manual dissolve and it outputs the scene to a third tape with a certain amount of generational quality loss.
Important to be able to connect with the producer so that their goals and my goals mesh. I think filmmakers need to ask themselves why they're doing a particular story and meditate on that to be clear. Are you doing it just to make money or get recognition or because you're trying to help other people What's your calling What's your relationship with the people in your story Passion and determination is also important. I've seen people where nothing's going to get in their way of making a film happen, and that might be a corporate producer who does this at night or on the side. It might be an individual who's doing totally other things to make money but does the film on the side because they're so committed to the reason that they're doing it. It might be an issue on AIDS or a child with a learning disability or MS, you name it, but they're really drawn to it. If you're clear about why you're telling a story, it'll make what you're going for that much easier.
In contrast with many of the films mentioned above, and indeed with the majority of case studies in this book, MGM's late 1930s romantic satire Ninotchka was not designed for political purposes, but rather to entertain and make money. Yet this arguably, if somewhat paradoxically, made it a more effective weapon of propaganda than any anti-communist film made in the United States to that date.
Mainstream from its regional (Southern) and socio-economic (working-class) base, was signalled from the early 1940s by numerous 'crossover' Country hits, whether cover versions by non-Country singers of 'hardcore' songs (such as Tony Bennett's recording of Williams's 'Cold, Cold Heart'), or songs by singers with 'softshell' Country associations (Patti Page's 'The Tennessee Waltz'), or songs by major Country artists - like Cline - achieving success in the Pop charts.1 In the early 1950s MGM signed Williams to a contract, which included making a biopic, though nothing came of this. When the film came out in 1964, well after Williams's death, its shooting in monochrome indicated MGM's guardedness about a style of music still identified as 'hillbilly'.2 By the 1980s a complex combination of factors - changed demographies, the economic renaissance of the South, folk and 'rockabilly''s input into mainstream pop, together with the 'sincerity' and 'authenticity' attached to Country music that...
Most of the time, your writing will, in fact, be relatively standard. You will probably avoid anything too archaic or literary and keep to a simple structure. What do we mean by literary or archaic You could say, A million dollars sounds like a lot, but compared to the federal deficit, it is an infinitesimal amount. The problem is that the expressions federal deficit and infinitesimal amount may be a little too complex for the film, so a simpler version might be, A million dollars sounds like a lot, but compared to the government's debt, it's peanuts He made his fortune with gambling and real estate. Eventually he was worth ten million dollars and opened his first bank. He certainly lived very well and had dozens of women. But the crash of 1929 hit him hard. Eventually, he lost all his money and lived the last days of his life where he'd started out, around the gambling dens of Kansas City.
But by late 1925 Ufa was at the brink of financial collapse due to multiple factors, including the revaluation of the reichsmark after a period of hyperinflation, failing to invest profits in infrastructure, high production costs (Metropolis 1927 is later blamed), and the mounting pressure of American companies attempting to make inroads in the German and Central European markets. In December 1925, Ufa announced the so-called Parufamet contract, which gave virtual control of Ufa's first-run theatres to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount while also granting them 50 percent of income from Ufa's own productions. In exchange, Ufa received a loan for four million dollars and American distribution of its suitable films in theatres in the United States. But the Americans claimed that all but a handful of German films were unsuitable for distribution.
Let's look for example at the case of the Lockerbie air disaster. In 1988, a Pan American jumbo jet was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, resulting in the loss of more than 200 lives. The killers were thought to be Syrians or Libyans. As a result of Libya's refusal to hand over suspects, sanctions were imposed on the country by the United Nations. Millions of dollars were sought in compensation by the relatives of the victims.
The Name and No-Name's eleventh-hour ambush would, in a very real sense, have gained them control of the production. If we had acquiesced, not only would they have been getting several times more money, and three times as many points, but our capitulation would have set a precedent for them to make whatever further demands they wanted otherwise they could hold up production and potentially shut us down. Even though SAG insists, as a precaution for their members' interests, that 40 percent of all SAG salaries be put into an escrow account, The Name No-Name's agents had demanded that the remaining 60 percent be added to the protection fund. SAG, you will be interested to know (names off-the-record), agreed with us that such an actor agent maneuver was underhanded. And perhaps something could have been done by their union to force them to retract their demands. But they hit us on a Friday, and we were forced to act with little time to think, and into the after hours of that day. With all...
To meet the demand of digital video, new theaters are being built, and existing theatres are being equipped, to project digital video to audiences. Technicolor has announced 500 of these theaters across the US in the next yean The pne-existing chains (Clearview, Sony, etc), are adding digital projection to some of their multiplexes. Already almost a hundred of these theaters exist in the US. By next Summer, when The Sweet Life is ready for release, the figure may be well over a thousand. This is a sound business shift on the part of the theaters - several hundred million dollars will be saved each year by not transporting film cans from theater to theater by truck, let alone by not having to manufacture thousands of prints of a film on cumbersome 35mm reels. The delivery system will probably be replaced by having the film video beamed down to the theater projection booth via satellite. Soon a digital video feature may have access to a major theatrical release without having to incur...
Naturally, every video format has its own style of camcorder. If you are in a studio setup, you can use any kind of camera, and the format choice boils down to what kind of videotape recorder you want to record the footage on. These days, the consumer video market has settled (for the moment) on Digital Video shot on miniDV cassettes. The prosumer market has also gone digital, using miniDV or DVCam cassettes. Professional cameramen are mostly shooting BetaSP. The choice of format is primarily a financial one, with better formats costing more money, but it also depends on where you want to edit. If you are planning to upload the footage into your Mac, miniDV will be easier to deal with. If, however, you are taking your footage into a professional edit suite, they will be much happier if it shows up on BetaSP, because they will have the right deck to play your footage into their computer.
A very fine student of mine with his first feature-length original screenplay, after three or four years of struggling to raise the money, was offered sixty thousand dollars by an independent producer to direct it. Almost simultaneously a major studio offered to produce the film with a five-million-dollar budget. But this studio was known for interfering with a director's vision. My student chose to ensure his control, and made the film with the much lower amount. I'm happy to say, the story has a happy ending. The film was an artistic and financial success and paved the way for the director's next film, made with a much larger budget, but this time with the control he wanted.
Have a feature film in the can within a year or two. Will it be any good Will it make money Will it win first prize at the Sundance Film Festival I don't know. But in my dealings with students I am continually reminded of Francis Ford Coppola's prediction about what the advent of video recorders would mean Suddenly, one day, some little fat girl in Ohio is gonna be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father's camera, and for once the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever, and it will really become an art form. Today, that little girl is running around with a digital video camera.
Many have been disastrous flops, and if the runes are right, their days are numbered. In 2000, John Patterson reported on the studios' effective withdrawal from these deals ('You're so Vain', Guardian, 22-8 July 2000 9-10). A new austere financial climate at the millennium led to the cancellation of some projects -Michelle Pfeiffer's with Columbia, Melanie Griffith's and Antonio Banderas' with Warner Bros, among others. In the same article, Patterson quoted one Warners executive on the ending of their deal with Madonna 'Hers may be the last of the old-fashioned vanity deals. I can't see our shareholders allowing us to sign such deals again.' The Wall Street Journal reiterated this, adding a studio complaint that 'some of these deals have been costing studios millions of dollars annually, but that many actors wind up making their movies elsewhere' (us.imdb.com StudioBrief, 2 June 2000).
In addition to the aforementioned restrictions and requirements, a parent or guardian and every employer must comply with the Coogan Law, named for the actor Jackie Coogan. Coogan was a child performer who shot to stardom in 1921 at the age of 7, staring opposite Charlie Chaplin in The Kid. He had earned four million dollars by the age of 13. However, in 1935, when he demanded his money from his mother and stepfather (who had been his manager), they refused. He filed suit, and the court held that under California law he had no right to the money he earned as a minor. Because of the notoriety of this case, California passed the Child Actor's Bill in 1939 to protect a child performer's income for his or her future use. The law, which was known as the Coogan Law, has been amended several times since 1939. Coogan later went on to play Uncle Fester in the television show, The Addams Family.
As opposed to a loan, which obligates the borrower to return the money loaned (plus interest), an equity investment represents an ownership interest in the company. Examples of this kind of financing include shares in a corporation or membership interests in a limited liability company (LLC). If the company fails to make money, so do the investors, but if the company makes money, the investors share in the profits.
Frank Capra's (1897-1991) watershed work, It Happened One Night (1934), in which a blue-collar reporter (Clark Gable) and a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert) squabble but eventually fall in love. This romance becomes a metaphor for various forms of reconciliation, be it romantic or generational. Garry Marshall updated many of these components in his 1999 salute to the genre, Runaway Bride, which featured both a reporter (Richard Gere) and a woman with commitment issues (Julia Roberts). Similarly, writer and director Steve Gordon (b. 1938) brilliantly focuses on the genre's occasional union of classes in Arthur (1981), with a billionaire (Dudley Moore) falling for a waitress (Liza Minnelli).
Cinema emerged from the war a mass cultural phenomenon. The studio system was consolidated in Hollywood and strengthened its grasp on world markets, war conditions having precipitated the end of French cinema's dominance and the rise of German cinema. Although stars in each country had embedded themselves as home-front personalities, an exodus of talent streamed toward America, not least from France the French comedian Max Linder (1883-1925) left for a 5,000 weekly salary in Hollywood. Chaplin, whose comic Shoulder Arms (1918), released shortly after the Armistice, was now earning cinema's first million-dollar salary, a sign
The same electronic distribution systems that created new ancillary markets for feature films also created new distribution channels for pornography. Once a clandestine industry operating on the fringes of society, the pornography market has now gone mainstream. The VCR enabled adult entertainment to enter the home during the 1980s. Today, adult films can be purchased or rented from local video and music stores and major chains, they can be ordered at home and in the finest hotels on cable TV with video-on-demand, and they can be accessed on the Internet. The widespread acceptance of pornography has created an industry that rivals that of Hollywood in both revenues and size. Located in the nearby San Fernando Valley, the porn industry consists of 75 or 85 major production companies that churn out literally thousands of titles a year, generating billions of dollars in revenues.
Film is a blend of creativity and commercialism. It must always be remembered that most film production is an 'industry', a business designed to make money through entertainment. The profit motive of the industry cannot be stressed enough. America's film industry, for example, is the country's second largest source of export. At the same time film production is very expensive and involves high overhead costs. Finance, therefore, is essential to every
The Power Of The Entrepreneurs Mind
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