You rent movies all the time. You go to the movies all the time. You have always loved movies, and you just saw the latest Steven Seagal flick that went direct to video on Showtime at 3:30AM, and you say to yourself, “I can do better than this piece of garbage!” This idea brews for at least 5-10 minutes. You download the latest freeware screenwriting plug-in for Word and start banging away. The story unfolds and the dialogue sounds really good in your head.
I read about Soderbergh and George Lucas using home camcorders to make their movies, so all I need is a Sony Handicam and I can become the next Kevin Smith! Because it’s a camcorder, all I need to do is point & shoot. No need to know anything about lighting or cameras. I remember seeing something about Kevin Smith and the Sundance Film Festival, so when I finish the movie, I’ll just send it there, it will be accepted, and I’ll get signed to my three picture deal at that point. Should take about 2-3 months.
Now I need to get people to be in the movie, my masterpiece. I can hold a casting session!
Casting Notice reads: “Actors Needed – Short Film for Sundance Film Festival”
AT THE CASTING CALL:
I can’t believe these people want to be in my movie. Look at all of them. I want to savor this moment. See each actor one at a time. She looks really good, so screw first come first serve, jet that girl Jennifer in here NOW. I want someone here to look and act exactly as I pictured the movie in my head. With 14-16 people waiting to see me, at least five of them should be perfect.
AFTER THE CASTING CALL
Why isn’t anyone exactly as I pictured in my head? That Jennifer was really good looking, and she really seemed to like me. Should I cast her solely based on looks? She can’t act her way out of a paper bag.
Nothing is as good as I thought it would be. The actors aren’t doing exactly what I want and I even tell them how to deliver the lines. I know I wanted to do more camera angles, but we were running late. Everybody is mad at me, and we can’t seem to get it right. I can fix this in editing. I can’t afford to buy another pizza, so whoever is late, they’re just out of luck. No food for you.
THE EDIT (day 2)
This is fantastic, this is great. I mean, there are warts, but the core of this – the idea, it’s so good. I can’t believe I made a movie!
THE EDIT (day 30)
I don’t feel like editing today. I just worked a full shift at the store, and I’m tired. Let’s see which rerun of “Seinfeld” is on.
THE EDIT (day 66)
Finally finished. I can’t believe I edited the whole thing myself on a home PC with my bootleg copy of Adobe Premiere. Every word of my script is here and it’s perfect. Let’s show it to my friends and family and maybe the cast. They’ll tell me if anything’s wrong because they are completely unbiased.
I can’t believe it! My mom, my best friend, and the lead actor loved the movie! I was right! This IS a masterpiece. I wonder what time the limo will be here to pick me up. Hollywood can just somehow smell talent, and they’ll find me. When they do, I’ll hire all my friends and all these actors to work with me and Tom Cruise as we make “Mission Impossible 4.”
It’s been almost 2 weeks, and still no limo. Maybe the people who smell talent have a head cold, or there was a flight delay in Chicago.
I got an email today from one of the bit part actors, what’s-her-name, and she had the gall to ask me if I had submitted to any film festivals yet. She doesn’t understand that I am an artist and I have a day job, too. I’ll get on this soon.
I looked into submitting to Sundance and it costs $25! Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, all of these film festivals want money. What kind of sick bastards charge filmmakers money to submit their movies? How many submissions can they possibly have? I can only afford two, so I will definitely send to Sundance, because that’s the big one. For some reason I was under the assumption that either the film festivals were free or that the entry fees wouldn’t apply to me. I guess I should have done the math ($25×18 film festivals = $450; that’s more than my Sony Handicam!).
REJECTION DAY (late November every year)
I got a letter in the mail today. I can’t believe they didn’t pick my movie. I went to the Sundance page and looked at the movies that did make it. Why would they pick movies directed by Matthew Modine, Danny Glover, or…what’s THIS? Kevin Smith got in too? I thought these people were already famous. Why are they premiering these Hollywood movies? Why didn’t they pick my mediocre movie with no stars shot on DV? I better avoid all contact with anyone associated the movie. I’d rather them not know than have to tell them.
I guess I won’t be able to make another movie….
Find out how to avoid this very common scenario in part three of INDIE FILM CLICHES – A FILMMAKER’S OPINION>>>
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Posted on August 5, 2003 in Features by Peter John Ross
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