The Film Business

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Understanding the Business of Entertainment – Some Thoughts About Development Hell

by Gregory Bernstein

Once a project finds its way to a studio, network, cable channel or other major production company, the development process moves forward as scripts are written, analyzed, commented on (called notes) and rewritten. Executives give notes and either the original writer or a new writer continues work on the script. These days in film, it’s…

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Independent Film Financing – The Options

by Gregory Bernstein

DEVELOPMENT For those who want to make independent films, the beginning of development is comparatively easy–you do it yourself. Someone has an idea worth writing. That idea could be original, or perhaps based on a work in the public domain, or based on a pre-existing work. If the latter, the work will need to be…

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Press Kits to Die for

by Danny Draven

Press kits are promotional booklets for a film to be submitted to the festival with your entry form, or upon their request. It’s like a sales brochure promoting and informing people about your project. This can be done as a traditional hard copy press kit, or an electronic press kit (also known as an EPK),…

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How to Approach a Film Budget

by Rick Smith and Kim Miller

I always make at least a simple budget to forecast expected expenses, no matter what size the project is. The more complicated the project, the greater the detail I put into the budget. This also helps tremendously when you are working with a partner or outside funding source. All parties can then see what needs…

Photo by Kevin Dooley

Can I have a dollar…or $50,000?

by Barbara Freedman Doyle

When you approach someone to invest in your film, you are really asking them to invest in you. Of course they should feel great about the project, and they will note that you somehow persuaded a known actor to play your lead, but ultimately it’s about whether they are convinced that you are the one…

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Filmmakers & Financing – Why Bother with a Business Plan?

by Louise Levison

WHY BOTHER WITH A BUSINESS PLAN? Art Versus Profit Lately, this topic has been in heated discussions on social networking and entertainment industry sites. Such activity is often the result of any film festival or market. At the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, James Stern, CEO of Endgame, stated three rules when making a film:…

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What Does a TV Producer Really Do?

by Cathrine Kellison, Dustin Morrow & Kacey Morrow

The definition of a producer: An idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, and a stage-struck child. – Oscar Hammerstein THE PRODUCER’S DOMAIN Television has affected—and reflected—the culture of global communications for over a half-century. And now, the explosion of new media is demonstrating a similar impact, as it bursts onto the scene…

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Rent-a-Distributor: When a Producer Rises to Studio-Like Clout

by Jeff Ulin

The rent-a-distributor model is rarely used and limited to producers with enough of a checkbook and a track record that they can pay for production costs and bargain for reduced distribution fees. The most famous example of this model is Lucasfilm’s deal with 20th Century Fox for the three Star Wars prequels, The Phantom Menace,…

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Testing For Documentary Values – Six Vital Questions

by Michael Rabiger

To distinguish a documentary from other nonfiction forms, or to check whether you have strayed beyond the pale, see how you answer these six vital questions: 1. Does it depict actuality— that is, real people in a world that exists, or did exist? 2. Does the film arise from a belief of some kind? Documentaries…

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Art Departments and the Importance of Research in Pre-Production

by Michael Rizzo

Gathering visual research is a powerful way to define the visual concept. Within the first several weeks of pre-production, the walls of the art department quickly become plastered as a repository of photocopied and color printed images: icons, indexes, symbols, and metaphors of the visual concept for the film. We surround ourselves with these images…

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about MasteringFilm

MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.