Writers Wanted! MovieBytes is looking for articles. Call for Submissions
I just finished making my first short (5 mins) and loved the experience. This has lead to a friend and I wanting to make a low budget feature with our own cash and we were thinking of starting our own production company to do so.
I'm already doing research on this but if there is anyone on this site who has started their own production company and can give any advice or recommendations from your experience, I would appreciate any information that you could pass on.
I've got an LLC. Feel free to ask any questions.
About two years ago, I made a six thousand dollar movie called Geek Mythology which is in distribution on Netflix, Amazon, ATT U-Verse, and free due to world wide unmitigated piracy. My general words of advice are to mentor with an established producer or hire a producer to get you through the process from beginning to end. There are so many potential problems that can fatally hurt the movie technically, artistically, or limit your chances at distribution and recouping your investment. It's also important to get the right type of producer for your budget. Some of these guys have crazy ideas like getting insurance and permits which aren't possible on a shoe-string budget. Of course, you need a book to cover everything.
Shoot me an email if you want more specific advice.
I incorporated as an S-Corp when I made my 2nd film. It's good to form a something (I don't know the differences between Inc and LLC) to protect yourself plus you may as well write off your expenses of the film against your personal income (S-Corp does that). Look online or ask a professional so you do the right thing. I think you can form these things cheap now at places like legal zoom. PLus you get a seal - what more could you ask for?!
Insurance is a must even on a small budget. I've always carried it and couldn't have gotten some locations without it. Lots of resources where you can get it inexpensive.
I would suggest shooting more and more complicated shorts. Do the budget. Do the breakdowns. Look at SAG, WGA, DGA, you don't have to pay scale if you are going non-union with a local cast and crew, but it is useful so you won't be shocked when you do go bigger.
You can choose to eliminate some items from your budget but be aware that you've eliminated them and why. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very stressful. Planning is very important.
You need insurance for some equipment rentals and locations. You need workers comp for SAG I think (it's been a while). But if you're just going run-and-gun with a friends camera (or in your house), you can skip the insurance which will save you a bit of money.
Thanks Paula, Phil and Irin for the comments/info.
As I get further into this, I may email those that said I could with more specific questions.
I appreciate your time.
Several years ago, I wrote a western,
Several Years ago, I wrote a western, THE OLD COWBOY. I almost got it off the ground with CABIN FEVER PRODUCTIONS, the people who did LONESOME DOVE, however, I didn't have an agent and it fell through the cracks. I've had two coverage reports and both gave it a 'consider.' Now I see Michael Bay wants to do a western. I've written to script 5 agents...nothing. Anybody have any ideas.
Write to more Agents, write to managers. Write other material to garner interest. Westerns are hard sells unless you film them on your own.
Raise money for your films using a Private Placement Memo through an entertainment attorney or CPA (that knows how the industry works... you don't want a CPA that don't know squat).
Talk to your local and/or state film commissions. Write a business proposal to the Mayor of your town to see if they will help with free space to shoot your film, or even raise bonds to sell to help support your film.
However, you should always have a solid business plan written and prepared upon incorporating.
Good luck, from the owner of Forest City Film Company. You'll hear about us very soon.
For micro productions, I use a DBA.
Martin, you should try to get A list talent attached to your western.
Register here to receive MovieBytes' FREE email newsletter featuring contest deadline reminders, news, articles, and much more. Choose a password to access the MovieBytes bulletin board and other great features.