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British Film council are they playing by the rules?


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#1 Mark Williams

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:02 PM

I am really having doubts regarding the councils awarding of lottery money does anyone else feel the same?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 04:05 PM

Hi,

I have doubts, but on what grounds are you objecting?

Phil
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#3 Mark Williams

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 04:21 PM

Hi,

I have doubts, but on what grounds are you objecting?

Phil

Well my script was rejected and the reasons were tested but then obstacles seemed to prevent any forward movement.

Also this

McGregor rages at film fund's agenda


Trainspotting star's latest potential prizewinner almost failed to get made for want of emergency money from lottery fund

Fiachra Gibbons in Cannes
Monday May 19, 2003
The Guardian


The actor Ewan McGregor accused the British film establishment yesterday of slapping him in the face by refusing funding for his latest, critically acclaimed movie.
Young Adam, a thriller based on Alexander Trocchi's beat generation novel set in Glasgow, contains McGregor's most compelling performance since Trainspotting and is one of the favourites for a prize in the Un Certain Regard (special consideration) section of the festival.

But like The Mother, another unconventional British hit at Cannes, it fell foul of the funding system and was almost not made.
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#4 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 05:26 PM

Well my script was rejected and the reasons were tested but then obstacles seemed to prevent any forward movement.


Well this will make you feel better.

This film was reject Film Council funding too:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0857265/

At the opposite end of the scale I'm not seeing any fresh talent come through either.
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#5 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 05:03 AM

Well this will make you feel better.

This film was reject Film Council funding too:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0857265/

At the opposite end of the scale I'm not seeing any fresh talent come through either.

No it seems like its a closed circle for the safe upper classes? lOOKS LIKE A UK Film Council Promo

The U.K. Film Council is backing development of "The Club," inspired by director Brian Hill's documentary about the back-stabbing politics of an English golf club. Script is by Peter Bowker, writer of the Golden Globe-nominated miniseries "Viva Blackpool."
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 02:30 PM

Hold on a second here, are you guys saying that in the UK profits from the lottery are used to fund British films??????

Wow what a concept!

Well I guess it's better than Canada's ridiculous system of using tax money to make awful Canadian films that never get seen.

I'm probably one of the few people in Canadian history to make a feature film in Canada without a penny in welfare money.

R,
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#7 Matthew Bennett

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 02:36 PM

I'm probably one of the few people in Canadian history to make a feature film in Canada without a penny in welfare money.


How did you do it and what was your budget? Any new trailers or promo material?
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:09 PM

There will be a new trailer when all the VFX are done, there's about 25 shots left to do. But it's all edited, just waiting for those shots to drop in. Plus it's getting an animated opening sequence.

I can't reveal the "true" budget on a public forum as it would limit my negotiating power. All I can say is "under a million."

I do a lot of the work my self, producer, director, DOP, co-writer, & editor. Amazing how much money you can save when you wear this many hats :)

Plus I have my own gear, 35mm camera package and edit system.

A lot of filmmakers are hung up on needing a huge crew and lots of expensive gear, you can get far with a small crew (non-union of course, the unions will KILL any indie project).

R,
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#9 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:22 PM

No it seems like its a closed circle for the safe upper classes? lOOKS LIKE A UK Film Council Promo

The U.K. Film Council is backing development of "The Club," inspired by director Brian Hill's documentary about the back-stabbing politics of an English golf club. Script is by Peter Bowker, writer of the Golden Globe-nominated miniseries "Viva Blackpool."


One of the problems with the UK Film Council is that it suffers from the British condition of only wanting to bet on the winning horse rather than simply enjoying betting on horses. It essentialy wants to make a profit with public money - why because we as a nation love to get angry about the idea of wasting money!

Remember the mess of the Millenium Dome - how many careers have been ruined by that.

This sets up a dangerous conflict of interest, as its essentialy set up to facilitate development of new talent, encourage diversity in the industry and assist productions which express British experiences.

Of course because it wants to make that money back, those ideals become compromised. They no longer want to invest in new talent, because that may prove too risky, so they invest in talent which is more established. Funding films relating to diversity and British experiences don't necessary hold global potential so that importance becomes downgraded.

Infact there is a fair bit of dollar chasing going on - look at Stormbreaker, it cost £25 million. How many low budget feature films could be made with that, quite a few.
And the tragedy is, that money was never going to come back - why? - because it wasn't backed by a studio with enough muscle to get the exposure a big action family films need. So it ended up only taking $20million worldwide. (notice the £ and $ dollar shortfall)

Jude Law and Ewan McGregor arn't the only ones that get fustrated their films barely get made, a few years ago a film based on a prize winning book with Helen Mirren, Michael Cain, Bob Hoskins and David Hemmings struggled for financing. In the end money came from Germany - 'Last Orders' probably one of the most underated British films in recent years and a genuine and honest portrait of living in South London after the war.


The terrible thing about the situation now is that nobody is simply financing micro or small budgeted features any more. There is now an insistence on joint funding - which more often keeps a production in limbo as producers strugle to find yet another financer to complete the budget. In that time scripts get caught in 'development hell' and are rewritten so many times they lose all sense of originality and spark.

The only time when things seemed to be working was when Film Four was willing to completly finance a feature film, for £1million to £2 million. The budgets were just about large enough to provide satisfactory production values but low enough to fund numerous projects so some good or popular films were enough to cover for the bad ones.

Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Lock Stock and Two Smocking Barrels, East is East - most probably would not get made today.
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#10 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:28 PM

There will be a new trailer when all the VFX are done, there's about 25 shots left to do. But it's all edited, just waiting for those shots to drop in. Plus it's getting an animated opening sequence.

I can't reveal the "true" budget on a public forum as it would limit my negotiating power. All I can say is "under a million."

I do a lot of the work my self, producer, director, DOP, co-writer, & editor. Amazing how much money you can save when you wear this many hats :)

Plus I have my own gear, 35mm camera package and edit system.

A lot of filmmakers are hung up on needing a huge crew and lots of expensive gear, you can get far with a small crew (non-union of course, the unions will KILL any indie project).

R,

I would love to do everything myself too. I would play the lead be the cameraman set the lights place the mic, recording levels etc. Measure distance, follow focus. Take the light readings, pick the lens. Design the sets, write the script. Do all the editing and the cgi greenscreen work. Wardrobe, makeup, costumes, especially the cinematography. compose the music. Design the titles. place the lights and grip. No kidding I really would love to do the lot and many times have. I guess its the creative process and this is great for fun for practice, For understanding how to direct others but then wearing all those hats means being a jack of all trades and perhaps a master of a couple.. BUT in the end your film will only be as good as those involved in its creation. YOU need professionals and usually that costs money no matter how frugal you are. :)
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#11 Mark Williams

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:49 PM

One of the problems with the UK Film Council is that it suffers from the British condition of only wanting to bet on the winning horse rather than simply enjoying betting on horses. It essentialy wants to make a profit with public money - why because we as a nation love to get angry about the idea of wasting money!

Remember the mess of the Millenium Dome - how many careers have been ruined by that.

This sets up a dangerous conflict of interest, as its essentialy set up to facilitate development of new talent, encourage diversity in the industry and assist productions which express British experiences.

Of course because it wants to make that money back, those ideals become compromised. They no longer want to invest in new talent, because that may prove too risky, so they invest in talent which is more established. Funding films relating to diversity and British experiences don't necessary hold global potential so that importance becomes downgraded.

Infact there is a fair bit of dollar chasing going on - look at Stormbreaker, it cost £25 million. How many low budget feature films could be made with that, quite a few.
And the tragedy is, that money was never going to come back - why? - because it wasn't backed by a studio with enough muscle to get the exposure a big action family films need. So it ended up only taking $20million worldwide. (notice the £ and $ dollar shortfall)

Jude Law and Ewan McGregor arn't the only ones that get fustrated their films barely get made, a few years ago a film based on a prize winning book with Helen Mirren, Michael Cain, Bob Hoskins and David Hemmings struggled for financing. In the end money came from Germany - 'Last Orders' probably one of the most underated British films in recent years and a genuine and honest portrait of living in South London after the war.
The terrible thing about the situation now is that nobody is simply financing micro or small budgeted features any more. There is now an insistence on joint funding - which more often keeps a production in limbo as producers strugle to find yet another financer to complete the budget. In that time scripts get caught in 'development hell' and are rewritten so many times they lose all sense of originality and spark.

The only time when things seemed to be working was when Film Four was willing to completly finance a feature film, for £1million to £2 million. The budgets were just about large enough to provide satisfactory production values but low enough to fund numerous projects so some good or popular films were enough to cover for the bad ones.

Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Lock Stock and Two Smocking Barrels, East is East - most probably would not get made today.

I think that the film council make decisions based on personal opinion and ultimately personal agenda. IE if the man in charge plays golf then a golf film will do well. If the man in charge likes shakespeare or classics then thats what gets through.

To me thats not fair. YES thats life but this is lottery money. Not theirs. It shouldnt be awarded on the back of someones personal preferences it should be awarded BECAUSE of giving someone a chance to prove themselves with a workable idea.. Instead we have someones opinion. "OH that would cost to much" Not come bck with a costing or we would consider this if its affordable. They dont know. FOR example

QUOTE
Furthermore we also take into account the (Proposed) team's ability to deliver on the ambition of the submitted project.

This means playing God. Being the father. Being the guy in control. They may know nothing about you or your team but enough to know your not one of them and that means not as good. YES its subjective yes their entitled to their opinion. BUT should that opinion be used as a determining factor when that opinion is subject to their own agenda and determination? In other words what chance does any up and coming new talent have when judged on this mindset?

My belief is the film maker should be given a chance to answer those questions. Then the evidence of whether it can be done fairly judged by checks into the claims. NOT on someones opinion which in the UK is often subject to a grey haired middle/upper class lover of classics and or opera with a likely dislike of popcorn hollywood style films or basicly anything likely to APPEAL to the majority of film goers who would be in the 15 to 30 range.

Just my opinion.

Edited by Mark Williams, 23 February 2007 - 04:53 PM.

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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:12 PM

BUT in the end your film will only be as good as those involved in its creation. YOU need professionals and usually that costs money no matter how frugal you are. :)


I will have to respectfully disagree. I'm not doing the VFX work for example, I don't have the training and skill for that. But I can certainly do the other roles I mentioned.

There's no reason to stand on the side lines while other indie people make films just because you can't hire an army of pros to fill every position.

I can give you a long list of films that had mega million dollar budgets and every talented person on the planet working on them, only to have the film be a giant box office money losing bomb.

Then there are all the low budget indies where people do five jobs that earn back 100 times their production cost.

R,
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#13 Mark Williams

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:17 AM

I will have to respectfully disagree. I'm not doing the VFX work for example, I don't have the training and skill for that. But I can certainly do the other roles I mentioned.

There's no reason to stand on the side lines while other indie people make films just because you can't hire an army of pros to fill every position.

I can give you a long list of films that had mega million dollar budgets and every talented person on the planet working on them, only to have the film be a giant box office money losing bomb.

Then there are all the low budget indies where people do five jobs that earn back 100 times their production cost.

R,


As I said in the end your film will only be as good as those involved in its creation. YOU need professionals and usually that costs money no matter how frugal you are.

Thats not to say you cant make a good attempt or come up with such a good story no one cares about production values OR the production values are part of the reason for watching. Plan nine from outer space being a classic. OR an audience that just want a day out at the abbatoir.
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 10:31 AM

As I said in the end your film will only be as good as those involved in its creation. YOU need professionals and usually that costs money no matter how frugal you are.

Thats not to say you cant make a good attempt or come up with such a good story no one cares about production values OR the production values are part of the reason for watching. Plan nine from outer space being a classic. OR an audience that just want a day out at the abbatoir.


Yeah yeah, I get your not so subtle sub-text. (FYI, the slaughterhouse reference is one "b" and two "ts".)

Again, you DON'T need an army of pros, they fail as often as the small budget semi-pros. They just do it in more spectacular fashion.

R,
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#15 NathanCoombs

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 11:47 AM

Well the budget for my feature is going to be £10K.

Which is, by any measure, a stretched shoestring.

But seriously, I think film budgets are generally too high. Considering the level of enthusiasts willing to work for a pittance we could have a filmmaking renaissance if there was financing available in the £10K-£100K range.

The problem is a lack of compelling stories and an overemphasis in the film indiustry on technical issues, production schemes, distribution etc. which makes the actual stories being made pale into insignificance compared to machinations of the industry required to get anything made.
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#16 Mark Williams

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 12:13 PM

Yeah yeah, I get your not so subtle sub-text. (FYI, the slaughterhouse reference is one "b" and two "ts".)

Again, you DON'T need an army of pros, they fail as often as the small budget semi-pros. They just do it in more spectacular fashion.

R,

Sorry richard I didnt mean to cause offence. I dont know if your making a horror movie BUT good luck with it if you are.. My feeling is many horror films are made because its something that can often be done cheaply.. Nothing wrong with that.. I never meant to imply that horror films are inferior although I cant stand zombie movies or anything to gory either. And yes your right many big films do fail but the big films usually have higher production values even if they flop.. All things being equal a good story with higher production values should do better than a good film with lower production values and sometimes those bad or cheap values can be so obvious they can take away from a good story.. But really Im stating the obvious here.
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#17 Mark Williams

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 12:34 PM

Well the budget for my feature is going to be £10K.

Which is, by any measure, a stretched shoestring.

But seriously, I think film budgets are generally too high. Considering the level of enthusiasts willing to work for a pittance we could have a filmmaking renaissance if there was financing available in the £10K-£100K range.

The problem is a lack of compelling stories and an overemphasis in the film indiustry on technical issues, production schemes, distribution etc. which makes the actual stories being made pale into insignificance compared to machinations of the industry required to get anything made.

Well 10K Wont go far not even enough to cover film costs if you went that route OR perhaps your using HDV or DV for a feature? I dont know if that would even be viable? HDV? Using the new canon XLH1 OR XH G1 that outputs HD But even then youd need to capture this and have a computer to edit it and with the 1/3 chips it would have to much dof you would need something like a redrock micro although I guess you could make a feature using DV only and a redrock micro to decrease dof.. hmmm unless your not counting the cost of equipment? or film? Perhaps the money is for sets stunts actors who would all have to work for free? A good composer? Music ? I guess if the film was made using stuff to hand and some of the amazingly free locations. I guess 10k could go a long way.. Personally though to find actors who would work for free and be up to the job would be quite difficult. Let alone all the other trades.. Best of luck.. My estimate for a feature film to get it ready for a DI and everything free basic and simple would be a stretch at £30k
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#18 NathanCoombs

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:36 PM

Well 10K Wont go far not even enough to cover film costs if you went that route OR perhaps your using HDV or DV for a feature? I dont know if that would even be viable? HDV? Using the new canon XLH1 OR XH G1 that outputs HD But even then youd need to capture this and have a computer to edit it and with the 1/3 chips it would have to much dof you would need something like a redrock micro although I guess you could make a feature using DV only and a redrock micro to decrease dof.. hmmm unless your not counting the cost of equipment? or film? Perhaps the money is for sets stunts actors who would all have to work for free? A good composer? Music ? I guess if the film was made using stuff to hand and some of the amazingly free locations. I guess 10k could go a long way.. Personally though to find actors who would work for free and be up to the job would be quite difficult. Let alone all the other trades.. Best of luck.. My estimate for a feature film to get it ready for a DI and everything free basic and simple would be a stretch at £30k


1) Using HDV is definately an option. As is shooting super-16 with only a stright to best-light DV transfer at a cheap post house in the USA. Tight shooting ratio and Fuji deal.

2) Music will be done for free by musician friends of mine, who happen to be very talented. Or used under permission for free until/if a distribution deal is signed.

3) Locations will be more or less free. Maybe £500 for the main house in the story.

4) Actors will be non professional working for a minimum free. Im budgeting £3K for principal actors for a 3 week shoot.

5) This will be all shot in Colombia - which may decrease or increase costs, not sure yet!

1) Using HDV is definately an option. As is shooting super-16 with only a stright to best-light DV transfer at a cheap post house in the USA. Tight shooting ratio and Fuji deal.

2) Music will be done for free by musician friends of mine, who happen to be very talented. Or used under permission for free until/if a distribution deal is signed.

3) Locations will be more or less free. Maybe £500 for the main house in the story.

4) Actors will be non professional working for a minimum free. Im budgeting £3K for principal actors for a 3 week shoot.

5) This will be all shot in Colombia - which may decrease or increase costs, not sure yet!


Also note this £10K budget excludes the cost of my time and a year or so of lost earnings. It also exludes the use of my own camera and sound equipment, my FCP 5 suite, my van and budget-grip.
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#19 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:07 PM

Hi,

I'm not sure if I agree or not.

I certainly wonder whether the current system really works - they occasionally lavish millions on huge shows which have the same pass/fail ratio of any movie while the majority starve. Or, you could give out smaller packages to a larger number of people to make shorts (or even TV shows, etc).

This all comes down to what charitable film funding is supposed to be about. I agree that there's an overemphasis on funding moneymaking films; that's not what lottery money ought to be for. Moneymaking films ought to be able to finance themselves in a healthy industry; I think that funding what should be commercial cinema from the lottery may actually encourage economic backsliding and inefficiency at the top end of the industry. The worst case scenario here is that it actually creates an industry which will never be able to stand on its own feet, however much it's nice to "help" on a case by case basis.

It would seem to me that the purpose of noncommercial film funding is as a source for new talent. This means funding shorts, and funding material without any overdependence on its commerciality. The purpose of this is to give people an opportunity to learn, move up, and to expose ability, not to make commercially successful material. I don't think that it would necessarily be any more difficult to pick out potentially profitable shows in this manner anyway.

Either way, I know I have worked on a lot of short films which were eventually fairly dismal, which could have been very much better for a few thousand pounds, because they had fairly easily identifiable problems - not enough gear, transport problems, bad food, poor locations, poor costume - things that can be bought, problems that can be washed away with the money hose. There's also the issue of shoots going uninsured, performing stunts with unqualified people, homebrew special effects of all types going awry. There's some serious safety issues going on out there and I've been lucky on a couple of occasions.

As I've said before, one of the starkest differences between the US industry (which is successful) and the UK industry (which isn't) is a complete lack of a middle ground in the UK. There are no $150,000 movies - none whatsoever, literally zero instances per year. There's five guys and a PD-150, or there's the latest American imported shoot with millions to spend. Nothing inbetween. This has a very serious negative effect on the employment and crew-skills situation. I think wider funding of smaller shoots - to take them off the very bottom rung of the ladder - would help that hugely.

At the end of the day you would have a lottery-funded film organisation that would hemorrhage money at an alarming rate and probably come up with about the same number of truly watchable productions as it does now, although they'd likely be shorts not features. Because this is the UK, everything must be justified in terms of a balance sheet and the modus operandi I've just described is anathema to that, but I think it would fundamentally mean that the film council were actually doing a better, more useful and effective job.

Phil
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#20 Mark Williams

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 02:18 PM

Well I think they should look at the script make sure its good to go then look at the projects plan. When thats done give an amount they decide they have within their budget taking into account other films too. SO they just contribute fairly and as helpfully as possible.. This means then you can seek to raise money from other sources with your credibility enhanced because of the film councils approval. This would get those investors with cold feet or unsure to look more deeper.
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