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The Biz

There's a reason why they call it "Show Business" and not "Show Charity," and most of it has to do with two things – money and the gavel.



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Breaking Down a Script

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Edward Burns discusses microbudget filmmaking

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Four common budgeting mIstakes

You’ve taken the time to assess your goals, so the “bottom line” should be pretty clear at this point. Basically, this boils down to a new question: how are you going to actually make your project? Unless you can form a hippie media arts commune – and hey, there are probably worse ideas out there – you’ll need to deal with money and contracts. If saying those words aloud makes you feel like a filthy sell out, then find someone who can handle the business side. Even the most passionate supporters of your artistic vision can’t work for free; and if they can, maybe you should ask them for financing.

TOPICS:

  • BUDGET | Creativity vs. Reality, Union vs. Non-Union & Budgeting With Your Pen
  • LEGAL | Know Your Rights, Roll Credits & Liability

Shockingly, there’s a business side to financing as well! Accountants, lawyers and all those other jobs your parents wish you were doing instead play a big role here.

TOPICS:

  • BUDGET | Financial Proposal, Marketing, Bonding & Tax Implications
  • LEGAL | Chain of Title, LLC’s & Collection Account Management

Pre-Production is the one stage of the process where money doesn’t really matter. Psych! It’s still really important, only now it comes with even more paperwork and headaches.

TOPICS:

  • FINANCING | Do You Have The Money?, Accounting, Bridge Loans
  • LEGAL | Production Legal, Clearances, Bonds, Animals & Kids
  • MARKETING | Product Placement, Get Your Social Media Right…Right Now

It’s not exactly true that you need to spend money to make money. However, production is more about spending money than bringing it into the project. Still, it’s not a bad idea to be thinking ahead as to how you’ll earn some of your investment back, as long as you’re still hoping people see the final version some day.

TOPICS:

  • FINANCINGIs There Still Enough Money?, Accounting
  • LEGAL | Onboarding Replacements, Post-Production Deals
  • MARKETING | Teasers, Showing Distributors Footage, Updating Blog, Contacting Festivals

Wait, there’s a business side to post-production as well? Of course there is! For starters, post-production ain’t free. Believe it or not though, money isn’t even the only concern. There are issues ranging from the legal guidelines about credits to how audiences will actually see your project. So change out of your cutting room sweat suit and dust off that office casual blazer for another round of wheeling and dealing.

TOPICS:

  • BUDGET | Don’t “Borrow” From The Post Budget, Bring on a Post-Production Supervisor Early & Goals
  • LEGAL | A Bit About Titles and Credits, E&O Insurance/Clearance
  • DELIVERY | Formats, Trailers & Lock/Answer Print
  • PREVIEWS & TEST MARKETS | Doing a Screening Right & Being Objective While Keeping a Backbone

Like financing, distribution is almost all business. Now that you’re this close, it’s not the time to forget about this side of the project. Thankfully, most of this work involves stuff you’ve already done, so basically you’re making sure there are no loose ends. Of course if there are, or you haven’t done this – well, hopefully you have a business-minded partner who can help.

TOPICS:

Resources

Article

Five Legal issues Every Documentary Filmmaker Should Keep in Mind

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Article

Five Legal Issues All Writers Need to be Aware of

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Book

The Biz: The Basic Business, Legal and Financial Aspects of the Film Industry, 4th Ed.

Buy now $18

Book

The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers: A Legal Toolkit for Independent Producers

Buy now $27

Article

Legal Issues in Film Production

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Article

7 Things Writers Need To Know About Production Budgets

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Book

Film + Video Budgets 5th Edition

Buy now $30

Book

Film Budgeting: Or How Much Will It Cost to Shoot Your Movie?

Buy now $15

Book

Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film: A Panic-Free Guide

Buy now $27

Article

How To Create A Film Budget – Learning The Production 411’S

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Article

Don’t Fudge on Your Budget: Toeing the Line Items

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