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how do I get the money


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#1 kcfilmmaker

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 04:24 PM

I have already made a few ultra low buget shorts on mini DV and am trying to make a jump to make a short on 16mm film. I knew that it was going to be more costly, but I know that it's it's time for me to make the move anyway. The shorts that I have done on mini DV have be made on my own cost, and I know that I can not afford the cost of 16mm film on my own, even for a 5min short. So how do I go about getting the money for such a project? I have tried in the past to get investers, but there is know real promise of a return on thier money with a short film. A friend of my said I should try prodcut placement to get, but whould that work for a short film, or will I run in to the same problem that I had with trying to get investers? I just want to know if there is anyway to get the money I need to do the work that I love with becoming poor in the process.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 04:59 PM

Hi,

Ha!

Product placement won't work unless there's an audience for your movie, which unless you have a big name involved (and you won't), there won't be. Investors? Why would they; there is no commercial market for short film.

In the UK there is absolutely no government funding for short film whatsoever, but you may find there's some sort of organisation you can petition to support you. Usually they prefer to see high-art production which will be of little interest to anyone, but I don't know what might exist in your part of the world.

Otherwise, you save up. It's your hobby, after all; why would you expect anyone to pay for it? To soften the blow, all I can say is that you have just figured out why shooting film over video is very very popular among people who don't have to pay for it.

Phil
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 06:57 PM

I have already made a few ultra low buget shorts on mini DV and am trying to make a jump to make a short on 16mm film. I knew that it was going to be more costly, but I know that it's it's time for me to make the move anyway. The shorts that I have done on mini DV have be made on my own cost, and I know that I can not afford the cost of 16mm film on my own, even for a 5min short. So how do I go about getting the money for such a project? I have tried in the past to get investers, but there is know real promise of a return on thier money with a short film.


So I guess maybe it ISN'T time to go 16mm?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 07:03 PM

I don't know what country you are writing from, but there are laws in the U.S. the govern investment, so you can't just go around asking people for money with the promise of a return without going through the proper legal steps.

And for a short, there is no real possibility of a financial return anyway -- it would be a donation. In other words, you have to self-finance or get one of your friends to put in the money, or join a non-profit organization that has some system of making short films with a small budget and some deals on equipment. For example, I shot a short film for an organization called Power-Up, mainly a lesbian filmmaker organization that funds about three short films per year with a budget of $10,000 per short. Or at least, they used to. The producers of shorts get donated equipment and other deals, and the crews work for free, usually over one weekend.
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#5 Sidney King

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 07:46 PM

One approach I've known a few folks use successfully is to use the short as a fund-raising vehicle for a feature (some high-profile examples are "Napolean Dynamite" and "Raising Victor Vargas," which both started out with some festival success as short films and were later turned into features).

So in some ways it is similar to fund-raising for a feature, you just approach investors differently in using a fraction of the money up-front it would take for a feature to make a successful short version of that feature (with the same characters, or certain scenes that would be in the feature; occasionally some of the footage shot for the short can even be incorporated into the feature). Some investors are attracted to this approach because it seems lower risk to them.

Some other folks I know were all looking to get a foothold in the industry, so they pooled their money (each responsible for raising x-amount) and collaborated on a short that each of them could use to showcase their work (you get a DP, a director, a costumer, an actor or two to each pool, say, $1,000, and before you long you've got a decent budget to work with).

Of course that could be a recipe for creative armaggedon, but in their case it worked out quite well. The harsh truth is the chance for any financial return with a short is basically zero, you have to find people with other interests/motivations for supporting the endeavor.

And David's right about needing to put in writing that there is a possibility there will be NO return on the investment, although i think that only applies for budgets signifcantly higher than what you would be working with on a short (something like 200K, I think). And I think it also varies on the particulars of the investor, i.e. what percentage of their net worth is tied up in the investment, but it's been a while since I've read up on those laws...
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#6 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:41 PM

... So how do I go about getting the money for such a project? ...

To paraphrase the infamous bandit: "Rob banks. That's where the money is!" :ph34r:
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#7 gregorscheer

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:41 PM

In my beginnings I went to see all sorts of service companies and suggested I would make short films like documetaries about the customer experience if you go into a restaurant, shop, hairdresser etc. I would set them a dvd player or computer hooket to a tv screen in the shop window where my film would play in a loop. It was generally considered a great use of display spage here in New York and thop owners would pay about US $2000 for the complete setup. That was enough to shoot edit and set up the display with a cheap TV DVD player combo and get some experience in really efficient editing.
But then you are really completely making their commercials. If you are interested in shooting some narrative you might be able to take a similar approach. One thing about any art is allways two jobs. The maker and the seller. ;)
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#8 Mark Allen

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 08:07 PM

One approach I've known a few folks use successfully is to use the short as a fund-raising vehicle for a feature (some high-profile examples are "Napolean Dynamite" and "Raising Victor Vargas," which both started out with some festival success as short films and were later turned into features).


The short into feature thing is very very rare. Note that as far as I understand, the money to make the feature version of Napoleon Dynamite came from the parents of the filmmakers. Perhaps the success of the short gave them confidence to invest. But I don't think most people's parents have that kind of money.


If you were asking this question to a group of filmmakers in Los Angeles they would say, "First of all, forget about the short. If you're going to gamble, gamble on something that makes profit. Make the feature."

If I were having to ask people for money to make something. I would certainly feel less guilty asking for an investment in a feature than a short, because at least there is the realm of possibility of financial recoupment.

Kevin Smith and some other filmmakers recommend credit cards.

I'm not sure I would concurr on that point.

Also - another option instead of making like a 20 minute short is to make the 30 second short. Just as effective to show off your skills and might even be able to become an internet favorite. Anything above 1 minute and less than a feature really becomes a work of passion because the bang for your buck isn't there. (To speak in colloquial terms.)
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#9 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 02:21 PM

A good opportunity is to write a really good short script, and pitch it to kids in filmschool. I am always looking for scripts to shoot, and I have the friends in all aspects of production to make sure the script isn't poop, and will be produced at the best level we can manage.

Sometimes, shooting the script on your own, with friends, isn't the best answer. You need feedback on the script, and you need people that can get poop done.
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