What should a DP need to do before a film has financing?
Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:08 PM
I have worked with these guys before on shorts, and now they are trying to get a feature together.. I am a fairly new DP, although I have shot a feature that was sold to lionsgate, and many shorts (not tooting my horn, just stating who I am) I have been in the business for over 14 years as a PA/AC and really like to think I have an idea of how this business works..
They want me to DP this film that currently has no financing or actors attached and are looking for about 1.5 million, and they want ME to tell them my needs for Lighting, Camera, and Crew.. To that I gave them a very "GENERIC" list of what the minimum would be and told them there is NO way I can give them anything more specific until we do a scout of every location, now they are asking me who I want as my gaffer because they are going to start "crewing it up".. WHAT THE HECK?!? Crew it up before they even have ACTORS or MONEY!?!?! He even asked me what film stock I want (which I told him) then he came back saying "oh, how about this film stock, it's newer!?!)
At this point I am loosing interest just because I feel like they are going to get NOTHING QUICKLY and are over producing.. The director is an ok guy, but also says stupid things like "we don't need a dolly"?!?! I basically told the producer to don't ask me anymore questions until he has money, and whatever money he gets we will make the best film we possibly can with the crew we can afford.
My question: What as a DP should I need to give the producers before they have any idea of what their budget is?
Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:19 PM
These producers are over-producing because they are not able, for whatever reason, to do the hard stuff WHICH IS FIND THE MONEY. So they are doing the easy stuff, talking about gear and crew, etc. Sort of an intellectual game until the money arrives.
If you are a beginner and need more breaks, by all means, get involved with this, but don't let them waste your time and their time by deciding stuff in the wrong order because you are just going to be doing it all over again once the money and cast are locked down.
I remember a director telling me that a producer came to him and said "we have everything in place... except the money" to which this director said "then you don't have anything."
Posted 11 June 2010 - 02:45 AM
Posted 11 June 2010 - 06:14 AM
So I'd agree. Way too early to get involved, and you never know what kind of deal will be cut later. Think of number. Double it. Add six.
OK OK, that's not very helpful. Here's a suggestion. If you want a ball park figure go here and er.. multiply above the line costs by 4, camera hire stock and lab by 2, and everything else by 3. It's not really the way to do things, but I've seen worse, and it looks like you've been busy.
BIG tip to your producers - get a really good casting agent on board as soon as poss. Pay them! They will get the talent, and that will get the money.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 11:10 AM