Thursday, November 02, 2017

Permission Slip

The key, the true key to making a film (or anything you want to do) is not waiting for permission. I’ve stalled so many projects, or not made others, waiting for permission. From who? The Irish Film Board, from producers I’ve reached out to who aren’t getting back to me, from readers, from financiers. Waiting for validation, for someone to tell me my script is good, to go ahead and make it. That may or may not come. So don't wait for it. Get your script right, and get to work and go.

Don’t wait for funding from the IFB, you’ll be jumping through hoops for a year and maybe end up empty handed. If a producer isn’t getting back to you, chances are they don’t give a shit about your script. Busy or not, if they liked it, if they were excited about, they’d be on board. Besides, they’re more than likely putting 100% of their time into their own project, which is what you should be doing. Don’t hang around for those people, give them a week, send a follow up email, give them another week, move on. As for readers, take their comments with a pinch of salt, don’t take it personally, if the same problem keeps coming up, you might want to address it. But they’re coming from their life perspective, they have their own thoughts, ideas, ways they’d tell the story, be careful they’re no telling you how they would do it, that’s no help. Be true to you and the story you want to tell, trust your instincts, not theirs. Financiers? I don’t even know who those people are.

Figure a way to get it made for less money. Or, start out with a small idea, you’ll can still make a feature, but keep it contained, be smart, be resourceful. Use what you have to hand, who you have to hand. I did it on Derelict, I made a feature film in one week for €9000. My downfall, the script wasn’t solid enough. Get that right! Don’t rush that part. Then get the film made, get it out to festivals. But quickly move on to the next one, don’t wait and see how this one does, be at work on the next film while this one is doing the rounds. Crowdfund for a little more, maybe five or ten grand. Just get that script right and keep going.

You’re sitting on a great script right now, waiting for permission, waiting for validation, someone to say this is the next Reservoir Dogs, or Little Miss Sunshine, or whatever, you’re waiting for money to come from somewhere, you’re waiting for a funding application deadline, waiting waiting waiting… let me tell you, waiting doesn’t get shit done. Waiting just creates more waiting. Get up, get out, get started. Film is all about momentum. Start today. 

So, what’s the plan? How do you get this off the ground?

Sure, you’re going to need money. Can you shoot it for the money you have? You’re broke. Can you get a grand together? 2 grand? I bet you can. Small crowdfunding campaign. Local event. I’ve written about this before, you can scroll down and find my advice on that. But the point is, you can do it. Is the script you’re sitting on a bigger budget? Does is have car chases, expensive locations, a big cast? How about putting that one further down the line, don’t worry, you’ll get it made, but let's start smaller, a solid two handed drama. A single location crime thriller. A love story set around your town. Lets show everyone you can handle the character based drama the big script needs.

Shoot on your iPhone. "But I'm a purest,” I hear you say “I want to shoot on a real movie camera,” this is where I slap you in the face... you’ll be waiting a long time to afford rental on a RED or and ARRI, shooting in 4K and then posting that stuff. And haven’t we already talked about waiting. Your iPhone has a good camera. You can buy third party video apps to boost it’s capabilities. Take a look at Filmic Pro for example. Just get the sound right and you’re away.

Story is what’s important, this is your training ground, this is where you test everything about yourself as a filmmaker, your creativity, your resourcefulness, your tenacity, your capability. You’re going to learn so much, and everything you do and learn here will be a tool in the toolbox you’ll carry throughout your career. And let me tell you, years go by quickly, I still feel like I’m 25 and starting out… I’m 40! How the fuck did that happen?! You’re going to be asking yourself the same question if you don’t get up off your ass and do it for yourself.

One thing I’ve learned for sure in my 40 years on this planet, no has your best interests at heart but you. No one is going to give up their time and money and months and years of their life so you can shine, you want something done, you have to have to have to do it yourself. Be self-reliant. It’s the only way you’re going to get your films made. You have to trust yourself. If you can’t trust yourself and rely on yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to later on. You need to do this to prove to yourself and others you’re capable, you’re committed, you’re competent, and worthy of investment. 

But all that’s secondary. Right now, it’s about you and your film and getting it made. And if you still need permission, you got it, you have my permission, go make our movie. You still need validation, you got it, you’re good enough, you’re story is good enough, trust yourself, believe in yourself, go make your movie, and then make another one. Let’s not get hung up on the first one.

Start now, make a list of everything you have to hand, everything with in reach, physically and by phone. There’s a film there. You just need to see the puzzle pieces and start putting it together. It’s going to be hard, it might take longer than you’d hoped, but it’s there, it’s possible, it’s real. Your film is a destination in the future. Waiting at the station isn’t going to bring the destination any closer. You just have to board the train. You already have the ticket. Just step on and go. Go. Go, I mean it. Your destination awaits.