We’ve had idea for this project for a little while now but as all college students we are pretty much broke. We have applied for college project funds before but we haven’t had any success.
This time though we went the whole 9 yards. Provided the script, scene planing, locations, planed video effect, actors, sound details, music, equipment we will use. Absolutely everything we could think of, from clothes to make up, to weather and so on. No chance in hell we would be rejected this time.
So all three of us got ready for the presentation of what we are planing. We dressed up nicely, planed everything we will say, discussed questions that might be given to us. Sure generally pleas for project funding are done with email but we wanted to make an impression and show how much we want to do this short film.
So it took us two weeks to get everything in order (most of that was finding the perfect location), most probably longer then it will take us to complete the movie. We were ready, we felt aggressive and very confident that this must go through, we will not back down.
So we get into the office with all the bags, papers and pictures. Lay everything down and prepare for a lengthy speech. Tom stands slightly in front of us and starts “So the plan is to make Philosopher Kings movie and-”
He got interrupted, the guy just said “Yeah, sure you got it. Just let me finish the paperwork here.”
We were pretty much depressed for not getting a chance to fight for our project after so much preparation…
Locating a setting that would capture the scene the way we wanted to was an oddly difficult task. The way we chose to search for it was pretty much driving around the countryside, waiting to stumble upon something that would match what we want.
With all the stops we made it took us pretty much one whole day till we found one. Not to mention we were stopped by police officers two separate times for driving too slow while discussing if we could certain areas we saw not too far from the road. The second cop even asked if he would find illegal substances in the vehicle if he searched through it, “No sir, this is how we always look like.”
As the day was coming to an end we were freaking out that we will have to spend second day searching for the right location but luckily Tom spotted a perfect spot on a little hill. It was bit far away from the road and we had to walk so when we got there it was sundown, and it was perfect. The way the light was hitting the area, the grass, the trees, the stone. It took us all day to find one tiny hill that we approved of, perhaps we are taking this project a bit too seriously.
Awesome news! We are back in Australia for two weeks only to reshoot a couple of scenes that we wanted to redo. Usually budget wouldn’t allow us to do it, but a contact we met whilst over in Oz covered our flights. Booyah!
We had been out all night filming a particular night scene and we didn’t get home till 5 am in the morning. I was about to die.
We managed to find this great place on Airbnb at a ridiculously low price and it pretty much fit our small cast and crew (we rotated on who slept on the couch).
I was definitely looking forward to crawling into bed. Except Tom, who was the man in charge of the house keys, left them inside. You had one job, Tom!
We ended up calling up someone to let us into the house and sat on the front doorstep waiting for the locksmith to arrive.
When the dude arrived I swear he did a double take. There we were, 8 of us and half of us in full costume and makeup, sitting out the front of the house. It’s times like this I wish we were doing a zombie flick. I was tempted to set up the gear and do a reality tv (a la Punk’d) shoot.
This locksmith had skills. We whipped out his lock picks and in less that 30 seconds we were inside. He made Magyver look like a boy scout.
I would have loved to pick his brain (see what I did there) on how he learnt to be a ninja at opening locks, but by then it was 6 am and the sun was breaching the horizon. I felt like hissing at it. I hadn’t slept in 24 hours.
When you’re starting a movie from scratch out of your house (or in our case, the cheapest apartment we could find), we’ve got to rely on technology to keep us all on the same page. And while the internet has moved things exponentially forward, it’s not just the wifi connection that’s making everything easier, and being a small movie company, these practices have infinitely increased our ability to connect efficiently and have left our minds open to take care of the other, more important stuff, like creativity.
So with the agenda in the beginning of a project our size—like getting equipment, sponsors, and extra hands to help out—these new technologies help set us up and get us to a point where we can focus on the things that we want to: making movies.
I remember when not saving my work and an impending crash when my battery died or when I spilled something on the keys meant hours of work was flushed down the drain. And while it’s not only counterproductive because I was forced to spend hours at Geek Squad looking for even an ounce of hope that something would be recovered, it also meant that I was the only one who could access and edit my files at one time. While that doesn’t seem like such a big deal in an office where everyone is more likely to be on the same page, in the remote workspace, the Cloud has made things connect without having to get super difficult. Not only are my files uploading and saved automatically, but group meetings with people from all the the continent can upload and edit notes together in real time. How cool is that?
Work from home is a perfect solution to start-up companies needing more space before hiring more workers, or before they get a bigger budget and can afford full-time, but it’s also perfect for established businesses that are looking to cut their spending—or hire new talent. While magazines and newspapers have been doing the freelance things for ages, it’s a great opportunity for other companies that were unable to do it before due to the nature of their work to take advantage of the new tech advances and test out their employees before hiring them on full-time.
With us, we need people who can edit, or design marketing materials, and it’s not something we have a big budget for, so recruiting via freelance work helps us weed out people who won’t really be helpful to us very quickly.
Like the Cloud, Discourse.org has its eye on changing the way you interact with your coworkers, and potentially even your clients. As it’s name suggests, Discourse is the ultimate tool for bringing conversations alive with an updated version of the chat room that allows for more notes, more interaction, and more connections to follow. It’s optimized for using on your tablet and iPhone and it also doubles as a mailing list—just add send your announcement to the discussion group and you’re done, no need to transfer to Outlook for have the intern keep track of what’s what.
Hosted phone systems are on the up and up, and once you get the hang of them, it’s not hard to see why. While we’re out on location and someone is back home grabbing supplies or finishing up paperwork, the hosted pbx we work with is doing the hard work for us and keeping us connected to each other. It works on cellphones, computers, and landlines and isn’t a fortune to get started, which is why it works so well in many home offices or companies that work remotely.
Trello is one of those awesome things that is hard to believe is free, but you can’t argue with the facts. This web management program operates online by tracking projects, attachments, and comments in real time and sending you a notification every time they get updated. Assign a task, finish a deadline, or make notes on a post—it’s all automatically updated on this freemium service and the truth is it’s easy to explore and even easier to get the hang of. If you’re working with a lot of clients and are finding your paper trail to be too messy to keep up with, think about transferring them onto Trello and making your life a guaranteed 100% easier.
While the glamour in making a movie is all in the “Action!” the truth is we’d never get to that point without some serious infrastructure. And with a project like ours, that infrastructure has to match our speed, our demands, and the advanced equipment we use, so if you’re branching out or looking for ways to make your creative venture more cost effective, take these for a spin—we can personally attest to their helpfulness and ability to make the boring stuff easy.
Ok, ok… I know I’ve been slack and haven’t updated you guys on what’s going on. So consider this an update.
We all got together and worked out despite our moderate success on Kickstarter, we were still about $10k short of being able to start this movie.
So, we all put down the cameras and scripts and story boards, and got jobs.
Yes, it sucks, but that’s what you have to do if you want to make it big.
I’ve been talking to the guys who just launched the Aussie movie Wyrmwood and that’s what you have to do to get your first feature film up. You have to bootstrap it.
So that’s what we’ve been doing.
The good news is that we’ve done that. We’ve put in the hard yards, got some cash together, and now we’re ON LOCATION IN AUSTRALIA SHOOTING OUR FILM!!!
Can you believe that? 4 dudes in the land of OZ getting real with Kangeroos and having a great time.
We’ve got about 16 hours with of footage done so far and we’ve got another 120 to shoot whilst we’re here. We’re on a pretty tight schedule but I think we can do it.
BUT… There were two problems.
First problem: international roaming fees. Wow. Who knew? I made one call to my mum and it used almost all our kickstarter funds! I thought it might be a few bucks but I didn’t think AT&T were that steep!
The only way I found around it was to use a local carrier. Yes, international calls are expensive but nowhere near as expensive and international roaming. I had to unlock my iPhone to be able to do it but it was easy enough. There are a bunch of great unlock providers listed here.
It only takes 5 minutes and it saved us $$$.
The second problem was this little game you might not have heard of called ‘The SuperBowl…’
Have you heard of it? It’s just one of the biggest single games of any sport in the world…
Well, here’s the problem, it’s not streamed for free in Australia. For some reason, they appear to hate us and want us to pay money just to watch the game.
Fuck that… NFL.com wants $60 for it which I think is highway robbery considering NBC Sports is streaming it for free.
But, herein lies the problem. You can’t access NBC Sports from Australia. They block overseas visitors from the American site.
So, I did some research on how to watch the SuperBowl from overseas and I found this little article.
It turns out that the only thing you need to bypass the NBC filters in a VPN. It tricks the NBC website into thinking that you’re actually in America and so lets you access the website, and therefore, the SuperBowl, for free.
The $15 outlay for the VPN is FAR better than the $60 the NFL wanted and it also lets me log into Netflix whilst I’m down here as well.
What a sweet deal.
So, long story short, we’re watching the SuperBowl from Australia and we’re going to get crazy! In a polite and responsible manner because that’s the kind of people we are… 😉
As we work towards making our movie a reality, we wanted to sit down and take a look at the work that goes into being an independent film producer. Being an indie anything is obviously going to have its serious obstacles, and its own unique pros and cons. We wondered how being an indie filmmaker measures up against being an independent in any other business.
When you’re an indie filmmaker, you’re in charge of your movie and therefore, your business. That’s the greatest part. No Hollywood execs are going to come stomp on your movie direction. You can make it as marketable or as bizarre as you want. Most indie filmmakers do what they do because they want that freedom.
But you’re also in charge of your own budget and planning, which is the hard part of it all. No one’s going to walk up and hand you a bank account for studio time, sets, equipment, casting or anything. Your movie will be created using the money you yourself are able and willing to put into it. And that can be a real obstacle. I mean, look at us – we’re struggling just to launch the beginning of our own movie, and it’s been months!
Those are the major factors of being an indie filmmaker, and we’re sure they come as no surprise to you. A lot of that probably sounds real familiar to anyone who’s put in a fair amount of work in being an independent business owner.
Like any business owner or professional, an indie producer has to understand the nuts and bolts of being a proprietor. They’re responsible for all the legal paperwork, filing taxes appropriately, getting professional valuations done on machinery and studio equipment, and keeping track of their profits, losses, expenses, and everything else that comes with running a business in any other industry.
Education and financial backing is also a big deal. We’ve all been through film school; we figure most of you small business people out there have put in the long haul through business or management school. And start-ups? We had to figure out how to scrape together a few thousand just to get our feet on the road… sound familiar?
Obviously, being an indie producer carries a lot more ease and freedom than being a big-name guy under the umbrella of a mega-movie corporation. Even though we’ll freely admit that sometimes we envy those big-name guys (and their budgets, especially), we’re still glad to be doing what we’re doing, on our own terms.
And we can certainly sympathize with any other small business owner, because we know you feel the same way. It’s not an easy job, but we think it’s well worth it.
Do we need to explain the importance of the independent film genre, or how much we love indie movies? As aspiring independent filmmakers, we’ve put a lot of time into watching hundreds – maybe even thousands – of truly amazing indie films from incredibly talented creators that deserve applause for their contribution to the art of film. We’d love to shine a spotlight on the indie genre and give some well-deserved credit, so we thought we’d each share a couple of our all-time favorite independent movies!
In case we didn’t mention this already: All the movies we recommended above are currently ready to stream on Netflix, so make sure you get a VPN if Netflix isn’t available to watch in your country yet! There’s surely an indie film for anyone’s tastes; whether you’d best enjoy drama, romance, action, art, comedy, or horror, there’s something out there for you. We hope you check out our recommendations and perhaps even delve into the expansive universe of independent film. Enjoy!