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Film council funding


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 10:02 PM

Hi,

I'm probably wasting my time here - this is a forum generally populated by Americans, but it's the only place I have to vent my spleen about this.

I've recently been looking around for potential funding sources for a TV pilot I'm involved with, and, as you do, looked through the UK Film Council website, if only to find out what mountains need climbing to make further enquiry worthwhile.

They have an outfit called the "New Cinema Fund", which claims to support... well, new cinema, from new people, using new techniques. The problem here is that practically every one of the options for financial support under this agency more or less requires a pre-sale - in their language, the "requirement for a UK theatrical distributor to be attached to the film". And of course, anything qualifiying as "New Cinema" does not get a pre-sale. Ever. Hundred million dollar action movies with huge stars get pre-sales. Working Title shows with Hugh Grant and a token American get pre-sales.

The thought occurs that the UK Film Council is nothing more than a rather laughably not-clandestine way to funnel lottery money to Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. As if they need any fricken more.

Phil
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#2 Mark Williams

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:57 AM

Hi Phil

I don't understand your saying your trying TO get a grant for a TV show pilot? And using the UK Film Council? Who want a UK theatrical distibuter attached?

Surely the Film council is saying the grant is only available for a film made for release at a UK cinema and not a TV pilot?

I must admit though looking at grants and conditions attached its like you have to promote the governments agenda..

The grants themselves are typically so low you would struggle getting it made in china let alone the expensive UK.. I would like to get some help with my project BUT I can't see there is much soft money perhaps only to make a polished Home movie that may get some quaint kudos.. That aside I guess at least there is something available for films.. Im just starting to look at finances and who gets what and realizing things are quite unfairly balanced..

Have you thought about getting in an established producer? Although probably take all the money?

If I was an investor I wouldnt want to risk money on making a film by an unknown. My thinking has always been someone must have money that they can discard as a tax write off and if it doubles they get some back. Or something along those lines..

A great idea would be to have people on deferred wages. Perhaps have their own equipment etc I wonder how many local Amatuer dramatic societies who have set builders who would love to build film/TV sets AND would do this part time? Perhaps someone with a big outbuilding even a barn could beaver away building required sets with schedules planned and timed?
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:21 AM

Hi,

The pilot/feature issue is currently a bone of contention, but yes, you're right - it may spontaneously double in length.

I'm only pursuing this because I point-blank refuse to not pay people. I've been there too often myself. Deferred pay means "unpaid" and we all know it.

Phil
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#4 Mark Williams

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 07:17 AM

Hi Phil

Well actually I thought deferred meant when the film makes a profit then you get paid! Although After everyone takes there slice theres not much left of course this is all down to negotiations and if the money your using is purely from a grant then no producer or investor will take any of the pie.. and they usually take most of it including the crumbs.. BUT If your relying on the grant only then surely this doesnt apply? Unless your expecting it to fail?

Have you got a site? Advertising your new Pilot? or coming soon? I would love to see it..
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#5 Dominic Case

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 07:41 AM

Unless your expecting it to fail?

If "fail" means failing to return a profit to the producer, then most films fail.

That's not as negative a comment as it might seem. It's like most horses lose in a race. That doesn't stop people from horse racing. Taking the big picture, overall, making films makes money.

So apart from the little challenge of actually making the film that you want to make, the first big challenge is to persuade some financier (a government fund, a TV network, a distributor, a studio, a private investor, a wealthy relative, or probably most of the above) that your film is the one in a dozen that will make money.

Or, in the case of some government arts-oriented funding, that it deserves to be made more than the thousands of others that are up for the same small amount of funding they have to give out.
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#6 Mark Williams

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:29 AM

If "fail" means failing to return a profit to the producer, then most films fail.

That's not as negative a comment as it might seem. It's like most horses lose in a race. That doesn't stop people from horse racing. Taking the big picture, overall, making films makes money.

So apart from the little challenge of actually making the film that you want to make, the first big challenge is to persuade some financier (a government fund, a TV network, a distributor, a studio, a private investor, a wealthy relative, or probably most of the above) that your film is the one in a dozen that will make money.

Or, in the case of some government arts-oriented funding, that it deserves to be made more than the thousands of others that are up for the same small amount of funding they have to give out.


So your saying a lot of Film Makers are aware their project is likely to fail and yet live in the hope of winning the equivilent of a horse race? SO an investor chooses his Horse (Film) he studies the form (Script action Plan etc} Then Gambles his Money Knowing he will probably not win anything at all...

I thought most films up to the 2 to 3 million mark usually made a small amount but those between 3 to 15 usually lost although over 30 million and they usually suceeded SO money can be made on low budget films and high risk ventures like this can make good business sense if applied to enough films and a small budget with many hoops to make sure your film maker is determined? After all its the money that counts not the film.
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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:07 AM

Well actually I thought deferred meant when the film makes a profit then you get paid!


It does. Unfortunately the reality is that most deferred payment contracts specify payment from Net profits, not gross box office. Films are notorious for never making a profit (at least not that you can prove) so you never get paid.

A few ago, there was a situation where some of the profit participants of Four Weddings & A Funeral had not recieved any payment. They were told that the film had not made a profit. This from a film that took £250,000,000 worldwide!

A pet gripe of mine at the moment, is that it appears that all the short film funding that is available at the moment is specifically aimed at Digital Media. If you want to shoot film, they won't fund you.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 11:13 AM

Hi,

I'm happy to shoot it on HD, any decent format, but absolutely the only funding for shorts that exists in the UK is a digital shorts program that includes some "training" and insists you shoot DV - that is, more or less requires that you are the sort of production that will produce deeply shoddy results.

Great work there guys. Promoting the industry well. Garh.

Phil
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#9 Mark Williams

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 11:54 AM

I have had email contact today with a potential investor who wanted pre sales.. I am beginning to see getting investment to make a film means finding a producer who Investors know.. I wonder if this means the whole thing is basicly closed to anything other than projects SO the money is kept within a network OR closed group of people.
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 12:46 PM

I'm happy to shoot it on HD, any decent format, but absolutely the only funding for shorts that exists in the UK is a digital shorts program that includes some "training" and insists you shoot DV - that is, more or less requires that you are the sort of production that will produce deeply shoddy results.

I own reasonable 35mm gear (Arri II, etc.). But if I see one more comment about "shoddy" DV, etc. I swear I'm going to take my Sony TRV-30 play toy and write, shoot, and produce a g*d-d**n good short just to prove the axiom: a good story, well produced, well lit, well shot, and well acted will find an audience regardless of capture media. No-one in their right mind would shoot a $100 million action feature with a TRV-30, but to quote an Englishman we're all familiar with: "The Play's the Thing".
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#11 Mark Williams

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:19 PM

I own reasonable 35mm gear (Arri II, etc.). But if I see one more comment about "shoddy" DV, etc. I swear I'm going to take my Sony TRV-30 play toy and write, shoot, and produce a g*d-d**n good short just to prove the axiom: a good story, well produced, well lit, well shot, and well acted will find an audience regardless of capture media. No-one in their right mind would shoot a $100 million action feature with a TRV-30, but to quote an Englishman we're all familiar with: "The Play's the Thing".


Well this was shot on DV and I dont think the format will give any better than this?


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#12 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

Phil, have you considered making a "seed" film, a kinda means-to-an-end project? something that you likely won't be very proud of, but may help lead to the kinds of projects you want to do? because this is generally the standard procedure in the US. i understand that the default way of thinking in most of europe is to find state assistance for film projects, but really man, we live in a time when film/video production (and post) is incredibly accessible and affordable. i think anyone living in a first world country is silly to complain about the difficulties of getting a project off the ground.

get a "no interest for a year" credit card, buy a modest DV/HD camera package, pay a low/fair rate to a skeleton crew and make some sort of creature feature that also contains some sampling of what you'd like to be doing full-on with a feature (inject some art into it), and trim your expenses by purely finishing for video. creature features are really the no-budgeters' only hope, and the good thing is that they usually have relatively good international distribution potential. just make sure you take a lot of high quality marketing/publicity photos (the key art is arguably more important than your actual film with a creature feature).

sell off the gear after completion and put those funds into an online interest bearing checking account. use those funds to make your minimum payments on the initial credit card expenses, while you get another card with 0% interest on balance transfers for a year/etc. rinse and repeat. it is possible to eventually (though it would take a long time) pay off the initial credit card expenses with just the recouped equipment sales money, though you will have to pad the interest bearing checking account with your own funds to garner enough interest to make up for the monthly payments. but at the very least, it makes funding a cheapo feature attainable with minimal risk for financial devastation. but above all else, the project would likely lead to something else, in some way shape or form.

i'm sure this is all old news to you, but based off what you have stated over and over on the board is that there is a surplus of production people & talent in the UK. they are probably dying to work on something interesting as well. i sincerely hope you do some kind of project. god, i feel like such a cliché american for feeling like this.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:53 PM

Hi,

Whatever you're on, who gave you the prescription?

Phil
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#14 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 06:11 PM

Hi,

Whatever you're on, who gave you the prescription?

Phil


best of luck on your endeavors.
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#15 Mark Williams

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:56 AM

best of luck on your endeavors.


Jaan I think your reply was very upbeat and helpful you have to have an inspiring positive outlook.. America is a great place to make films you can make deals get people involved and there is more of a team attitude of working together to achieve something rather than the goal of making money.. HERE in rip off britain everywhere you go someone has there hand out the equipment is overpriced and often a fortune is spent on glossy advertising to take film making into the luxury class of noblemen, and as for buying film and getting it developed its ridiculous as its so overpriced.. There is a snobbery and an elitism and unless you fit in then your talent means nothing.. Why do you think we churn out buckets of snobby type arty films and yet have some of the most talented and great studios?

But I would rather follow your advice any day of the week than give in to feeling sorry for myself or the world hates me.. ITS an attitude that takes you straight out of the game.
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#16 Stephen Williams

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:12 AM

Hi,

Whatever you're on, who gave you the prescription?

Phil


Hi Phil,

I think it's a case of No Risk, No Fun!

Stephen
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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 09:49 AM

A pet gripe of mine at the moment, is that it appears that all the short film funding that is available at the moment is specifically aimed at Digital Media. If you want to shoot film, they won't fund you.


A few of our camera assistants are having problems in making the leap to clapper/loader because there aren't that many film shorts being funded. Used to be they got the break of having "done it" on the shorts. They're working as assistants on video and HD, but can't get that start on the film work, even on the few documentaries because the producers don't have the confidence in them
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#18 Mark Dunn

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:33 AM

Phil, have you considered making a "seed" film, a kinda means-to-an-end project? something that you likely won't be very proud of, but may help lead to the kinds of projects you want to do? because this is generally the standard procedure in the US. i understand that the default way of thinking in most of europe is to find state assistance for film projects, but really man, we live in a time when film/video production (and post) is incredibly accessible and affordable. i think anyone living in a first world country is silly to complain about the difficulties of getting a project off the ground.

get a "no interest for a year" credit card, buy a modest DV/HD camera package, pay a low/fair rate to a skeleton crew and make some sort of creature feature that also contains some sampling of what you'd like to be doing full-on with a feature (inject some art into it), and trim your expenses by purely finishing for video. creature features are really the no-budgeters' only hope, and the good thing is that they usually have relatively good international distribution potential. just make sure you take a lot of high quality marketing/publicity photos (the key art is arguably more important than your actual film with a creature feature).

sell off the gear after completion and put those funds into an online interest bearing checking account. use those funds to make your minimum payments on the initial credit card expenses, while you get another card with 0% interest on balance transfers for a year/etc. rinse and repeat. it is possible to eventually (though it would take a long time) pay off the initial credit card expenses with just the recouped equipment sales money, though you will have to pad the interest bearing checking account with your own funds to garner enough interest to make up for the monthly payments. but at the very least, it makes funding a cheapo feature attainable with minimal risk for financial devastation. but above all else, the project would likely lead to something else, in some way shape or form.

i'm sure this is all old news to you, but based off what you have stated over and over on the board is that there is a surplus of production people & talent in the UK. they are probably dying to work on something interesting as well. i sincerely hope you do some kind of project. god, i feel like such a cliché american for feeling like this.


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#19 Jacob perdew

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:32 PM

I see what your saying here with the "Seed film" I actually did that got tired of all the going back and forth and ended up just making a Pilot episode on my own dime. But now i cant figuer out what my next move is, Im having a hard time finding anyone to even look at it. Before I made it at least there was a templet for what I need to do but now Im at a loss looking all over the internet to try and find contacts but no joy. SEEMs like I have to know someone in the production game.. Any suggestions ? ( Sorry if this is alittle off topic.
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#20 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Nice 6 year bump there, Jacob.
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