If you want to get involved with the movies, there are many better ways to go about it than simply taking courses, hanging around at festivals, and waiting for your talent to be discovered. At the top, the movie industry is all about making deals, and that means that there are always people out there looking for a better deal. It’s a great environment for small businesses whose leaders have the energy and verve to break through. Could that mean you?
Going into production
If you want to make your own movies, or you’re keen to advance the work of talented friends, it’s now easier than ever to go into production. Working in digital has dramatically lowered costs, but in order to succeed, you will still need to be a skilled deal-maker. You’ll need to network like crazy, know how to talk people into parting with large sums of money, be able to recognize a good pitch when you hear one, and not be afraid to turn a bad one down. A production company needs to incorporate knowledge of every aspect of the industry, along with a strong understanding of finance, especially budgeting. It needs to be able to manage risk and provide the leadership necessary to ensure that projects come in on time. Using cloud software can make things easier for new companies that can’t afford to buy everything for themselves. Infor CEO Charles Phillips, who enjoyed a successful career on Wall Street before moving into the computing industry, also recommends the cloud as a way to coordinate on-site and off-site working.
Finding the right actors for a film is difficult, especially on a budget. The traditional route of holding lengthy auditions is time-consuming and sometimes still doesn’t produce results. Working with casting directors and agencies is generally more effective than making an open casting call, and it’s important to strike a balance between being overly limiting and not giving actors enough to work with. Though secrecy can be important, they’ll be better able to show you what they can do if they have a real sense of the characters.
Over time, production companies tend to acquire their own lighting gear, but in the early stages, it makes perfect sense to hire it. This also provides an opportunity to become familiar with different pieces of equipment so as to make better decisions when purchasing. Anyone can learn to do a decent job with a basic lighting setup, but bringing in a professional cinematographer will make your films look much more polished.
In the modern age, special effects come in two different forms. Firstly, there are physical effects, which can involve make-up, prosthetics, model making and engineering. Though these are seen by some people as on the way out, they still have an important role to play in filmmaking, and many production companies prefer them to CGI, or choose to combine the two. CGI, however, also has an important role to play and has made it possible to produce spectacular films on much lower budgets.
A good score can make all the difference between a mediocre film and one that audiences connect with emotionally. When looking for the right composer, it really helps to have a basic idea of what you want to do with the film musically. Take the time to learn about different instruments (you don’t have to be able to play them all) and different musical styles so that you can think about what will fit with the film and help it to develop holistically.
In order to make money out of your films, you will have to ensure that they reach the public. You can bring in a specialist agency for this, or you can develop the skills to do it in-house. This will require you to network with theaters, invest in DVD or Blu-ray production, or connect with an online distribution system. The relatively low cost of the latter option makes it a good choice for start-ups, but drawing attention to films distributed in this way is challenging, so you will need to be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort, if not necessarily money, in promotion.
Filmmaking is full of challenges, but if you’re not interested in problem-solving, you’re in the wrong industry. To be a good producer, you need to start from the assumption that you can overcome almost anything, and you need to be ready to put in the work to make it happen in a video production studio.