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What Does It Take to Be An Independent Film Producer?

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.

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