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  • $20,000 for short or feature?

    $20,000 for short or feature?

    Ok so I do have this money in place, my question is do I shoot a short film or a feature film?

    Let me know what you would do!

  • #2
    I would do a long short. (Not extremely long, maybe 45 min, just longer than the average Youtube short.) Is this an actual question on how you should spend money or a "just wondering" question?
    -AF

    sigpic

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    • #3
      Feature - Horror
      Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

      Comment


      • #4
        Do you have this opportunity in front of you or this this hypothetical?
        http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnlyHavey

        Comment


        • #5
          Definitely a short but using the best of the best stuff and build the whole set.

          Comment


          • #6
            Do NOT under any circumstances invest $20,000 into a short film. You can not make any money with short films.

            Shorts are great, but only on a volunteer basis, where everyone is in it either for the experience, fun, art, or honing their skills and getting filler for their reels.
            You can get professionals or semiprofessionals to come in for a day or two for a short film shoot fairly easily, if it's a project they like, or it's a change from their usual work.
            Or you can get a gaffer to work as the DP for free because they want to build their cinematography reel etc.

            But once you have a budget of $20k and the word gets around, you are not going to be able to get these people for free anymore, they expect to be paid.

            So in the end a $0 short vs. a $20,000 short might end up exactly the same, only you paid full salary for everyone in the latter.

            Is this hypothetical or do you actually have the cash on hand and you are thinking about these options?

            If so, the money needs to be loose money to you, meaning that if you make $0 back on your investment, you wouldn't be screwed.
            Definitely don't take out a personal loan or anything like that.

            If you are going the spend the money, then there are two options as I see it, both have their risks:

            1. Try to leverage the money you have to raise a bigger chunk of cash, like in the $100,000 - $200,000 range.
            With that sort of a budget you will be able to afford name actors, who will help you or in some cases guarantee you to get distribution.

            This is risky, because a major part of the initial $20k would go into legal fees to set up an llc, packaging the movie with the needed crew + talent, making a poster, basically everything you need to entice investors.

            However, if you have no background as a producer, and you are only starting out, I would not do this, since there is a large possibility that you aren't able to get investors interested without a strong track record.

            2. making a $20k movie.

            This will be tricky, because if you want to make a distributable movie, you have to have good audio and good visuals.

            I would spend $5,000 to hire a DP and a soundmixer/boom op for the shoot. You aren't going to be able to get them for their full rates for that money, but try to make a deal with them. If you don't have a camera beforehand, hire a DP who owns their own gear, same goes with the sound mixer.
            You will have to wheel and deal and beg and borrow, but it can be done.

            $10,000 I would invest in post-audio and deliverables, this means a 5.1 mix and an M&E track (if you want to sell the movie overseas).
            $10k for post audio is not a lot of money, so again, you have to make deals, and look for the right company or a person.

            The last $5,000 I would invest in marketing. Getting a professionally done poster made, printing DVD's to send to sales agents, distributors and film festivals. Setting up a professonally made website along with a twitter and facebook profile (for these you would want to buy these programs that can get you more followers, small price, but the amount of time you need to spend online to gather a fanbase will take long), also setting up screenings, maybe four walling a theater or two.

            Basically at this budget level, if you want to have a sellable product, almost everyone has to be in it on a purely volunteer basis, you provide everyone their meal, gas money, and maybe possibly $50-$100 a day and that's it.
            It's brutal but you can not afford to pay everyone full salary at this level.

            This will be hard, since you can expect a lot of your crew to leave for better paying jobs during your shoot.

            It can be done at this budget level, but if you have the cash on hand, try to get more investors on board, even if they are friends and family donating/investing a couple hundred each, everything helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by OffMindEnt View Post
              Do NOT under any circumstances invest $20,000 into a short film. You can not make any money with short films.

              Shorts are great, but only on a volunteer basis, where everyone is in it either for the experience, fun, art, or honing their skills and getting filler for their reels.
              You can get professionals or semiprofessionals to come in for a day or two for a short film shoot fairly easily, if it's a project they like, or it's a change from their usual work.
              Or you can get a gaffer to work as the DP for free because they want to build their cinematography reel etc.

              But once you have a budget of $20k and the word gets around, you are not going to be able to get these people for free anymore, they expect to be paid.

              So in the end a $0 short vs. a $20,000 short might end up exactly the same, only you paid full salary for everyone in the latter.

              Is this hypothetical or do you actually have the cash on hand and you are thinking about these options?

              If so, the money needs to be loose money to you, meaning that if you make $0 back on your investment, you wouldn't be screwed.
              Definitely don't take out a personal loan or anything like that.

              If you are going the spend the money, then there are two options as I see it, both have their risks:

              1. Try to leverage the money you have to raise a bigger chunk of cash, like in the $100,000 - $200,000 range.
              With that sort of a budget you will be able to afford name actors, who will help you or in some cases guarantee you to get distribution.

              This is risky, because a major part of the initial $20k would go into legal fees to set up an llc, packaging the movie with the needed crew + talent, making a poster, basically everything you need to entice investors.

              However, if you have no background as a producer, and you are only starting out, I would not do this, since there is a large possibility that you aren't able to get investors interested without a strong track record.

              2. making a $20k movie.

              This will be tricky, because if you want to make a distributable movie, you have to have good audio and good visuals.

              I would spend $5,000 to hire a DP and a soundmixer/boom op for the shoot. You aren't going to be able to get them for their full rates for that money, but try to make a deal with them. If you don't have a camera beforehand, hire a DP who owns their own gear, same goes with the sound mixer.
              You will have to wheel and deal and beg and borrow, but it can be done.

              $10,000 I would invest in post-audio and deliverables, this means a 5.1 mix and an M&E track (if you want to sell the movie overseas).
              $10k for post audio is not a lot of money, so again, you have to make deals, and look for the right company or a person.

              The last $5,000 I would invest in marketing. Getting a professionally done poster made, printing DVD's to send to sales agents, distributors and film festivals. Setting up a professonally made website along with a twitter and facebook profile (for these you would want to buy these programs that can get you more followers, small price, but the amount of time you need to spend online to gather a fanbase will take long), also setting up screenings, maybe four walling a theater or two.

              Basically at this budget level, if you want to have a sellable product, almost everyone has to be in it on a purely volunteer basis, you provide everyone their meal, gas money, and maybe possibly $50-$100 a day and that's it.
              It's brutal but you can not afford to pay everyone full salary at this level.

              This will be hard, since you can expect a lot of your crew to leave for better paying jobs during your shoot.

              It can be done at this budget level, but if you have the cash on hand, try to get more investors on board, even if they are friends and family donating/investing a couple hundred each, everything helps.
              I agree and disagree true there is not much money to be made with a short but it can get you alot of attention which might lead you to better things in the future.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by brianknapp View Post
                I agree and disagree true there is not much money to be made with a short but it can get you alot of attention which might lead you to better things in the future.
                Absolutely. But you should make that amazing short on a shoestring budget. The internet is filled with amazing short films which practically nobody has ever seen. Only one in a thousand becomes a viral hit, if even that, so the chances against your are greater.

                With a feature however, if you play your cards right, you could get it distributed, which you can leverage into bigger movies.

                A great short film that nobody saw vs a feature that got distributed, the latter sounds better to me. :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by OffMindEnt View Post
                  Absolutely. But you should make that amazing short on a shoestring budget. The internet is filled with amazing short films which practically nobody has ever seen. Only one in a thousand becomes a viral hit, if even that, so the chances against your are greater.

                  With a feature however, if you play your cards right, you could get it distributed, which you can leverage into bigger movies.

                  A great short film that nobody saw vs a feature that got distributed, the latter sounds better to me. :)
                  Like you said you could pay a large sum to get marketing for that short like pay to have it as a featured video on youtube to get massive views. Then at the bottom to tell all people email me for inquiries if you want me to do work for you filming and what not. This could allow you to land great paying job somewhere this is also true with a feature but considering it is longer less people will watch it compared to a shorter video like a short.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great thoughts everyone OffMindEnt thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts, that does not go unappreciated.

                    Nick, can you give me your thoughts on why you say Feature Horror?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Feature. Maybe two. I'm the king of cheap.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Director View Post
                        Feature. Maybe two. I'm the king of cheap.
                        Like so cheap you should be on Extreme Cheapskates on TLC but for filmmakers?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would for sure go feature. If you are spending 20 grand on a short, you might as well write in an extra 20-35 minutes and make a full length film anyways.

                          And I'm with Nick. Go with Horror.

                          And not only horror, but maybe a found footage/cinematic horror with 75% of it being shot as a found footage.
                          http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnlyHavey

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Havey View Post
                            I would for sure go feature. If you are spending 20 grand on a short, you might as well write in an extra 20-35 minutes and make a full length film anyways.

                            And I'm with Nick. Go with Horror.

                            And not only horror, but maybe a found footage/cinematic horror with 75% of it being shot as a found footage.
                            Something similar to the movie Chronicle? I would watch something like that.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGcwSDNFcsU

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yep. Something like Chronicle!
                              http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnlyHavey

                              Comment

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