This week, I had a 1 hour and 6-minute conversation with another independent content creator. Let me say that I LOVE talking to other independent filmmakers. Because we wear so many hats and have to be incredibly resourceful and open-minded all the time, that being an expert problem solver comes naturally for us! The person that discounts a filmmaker's credibility because they are INDEPENDENT lacks wisdom.
The call with this filmmaker wasn't an easy call to make happen. Yes, he's independent, but he's a hustler with passion. At least, that's how I view him. He'd been quite busy working on his latest film, Miles, the movie, with actors Missy Pile (Gone Girl), Paul Reiser (Concussion, Mad About You), and me! That's how I met him; on his film set. I had a minor role, but now that I look at the connection made, it was clearly a God connection and not simply an acting role. It took us more than a month to finally connect.
It was important for me to interview him for my upcoming book, #100Pitches, Mistakes I've Made, So You Don't Have to. I felt his story, one that I will share in my book, will help connect many dots for content creators like myself who are working hard to figure out how all the pieces are put together to create a big picture. Independent filmmakers, oppose to those who create content for television, will especially love his commentary!
I left with many takeaways but wanted to share a few with you.
1. You don't have to have representation to make things happen! Yes, the process becomes easier with help, but it's not the only way. If you are a filmmaker, networking at festivals is critical! If you are not great at networking, then you may want to practice how to be better at it. For this writer/director, he hit it off with a film executive producer, gave him a rough draft of his script, and his film was produced and at festivals a year later. That relationship helped him create his next feature film with a bigger budget. MY TIP: While networking, if you meet someone with the potential to take your project to the next level, and you feel a great connection happening, don't be afraid to ask them to take a look at your script and give their opinion. ALL YOU NEED IS SOMEONE THAT BELIEVES IN YOUR STORY. Which leads me to my next takeaway:
2. You can have a fantastic concept, but it's nothing without a well written story! This director shares his very rough draft with an executive producer, and the executive producer called him and said, "I want to help you." Admittedly, I hate these types of stories, because I'm always left feeling like, "Really...that's it? That's all it took?" (then crying), "Why doesn't that ever happen to me!") THAT MUST'VE BEEN A DAMN GOOD, ROUGHLY DRAFTED STORY is all I could think! It made me want to write another draft on all my projects. (Laugh out Loud). I did decide to schedule a table read or two to make sure my stories are up to par.
HIS TIP: Ask a few trusted sources to read your script and give you truthful advice. This way, when you do meet someone with the potential to take your story to the next level, it's in a GREAT place.
3. Last takeaway (for this post, but not our 66 min conversation): There are all sorts of ways to get funding for your project. We have to start thinking creatively, out of the box, and being open and flexible if you want to get that money! (Insert Usher song for humor: "go get that money, money, money")
Please pay no attention to my foolery.
Hope you've enjoyed my tips! Feel free to read these other great tips I give by clicking on the links below:
A TIP ON GETTING YOUR PROJECT PACKAGED THE INDEPENDENT WAY
5 Tips to Rising Above "We Pass" When Pitching.