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Filmmaker
For the aspiring filmmaker. Director, actor, writer, producer? Share the knowledge.
20

Wannabe Indie?
Topic by: dwhudson
Posted: August 19, 2002 - 9:10 AM PDT
Last Reply: August 19, 2002 - 9:10 AM PDT

author topic: Wannabe Indie?
dwhudson
post #1  on August 19, 2002 - 9:10 AM PDT  
Film Threat editor Chris Gore has unveiled a "special report" entitled "The Top Ten Secrets of Independent Film" -- and, well, they're hardly secrets, I'd say. Even so, as a list of do's and don'ts, ten in all, with Gore's commentary they're not entirely unhelpful, either. A few humble reactions:

"1. Corporate independents rule. Deal with it."

Not a secret. It's as old as the term "Indiewood" and the whole "death of indie film" thing.

"2. It's a business of relationships. Yes, it really is who you know."

Also not a secret, but hey, can it be said often enough?

"3. Casting counts. Unfortunately."

First, duh. Second, I don't think it's unfortunate.

"4. Be original. But don't be too original."

This is a secret? It was a hard and fast rule in Hollywood; hardly a surprise that it's no different in Indiewood.

"5. Want to get into a film festival? Get to know the 'Phantom Programmers.'"

Now this is actually a really helpful point, and it's not too surprising to see that if famed festival-goer Chris Gore (he wrote a guide on surviving them, after all) really has a fresh pointer to offer, it'd be festival-related.

"6. Get a good review from Roger Ebert."

This point's not as dumb as it looks. The real meat follows: "If you can't get a decent review in a recognizable media outlet, there are plenty of unknown media outlets on the web just salivating over the prospect of being quoted on your movie poster."

This can be problematic, as in the case of Harry Knowles, who's getting a rep even among those who don't keep up with the industry as a pushover for a free screening. But otherwise, it is encouraging to see more and more Web-based media getting a farer deal in terms of attention from film distributors, book publishers, what have you. And the mainstream media itself; articles on blogs in Newsweek, etc.

All this can lead to the further nichification of the movies, but for indies, this is a good thing.

"7. Awards are meaningless."

The tongue-in-cheek one. He goes on to say, in essence, that awards are like PR: there is no such thing as the bad kind.

"8. Don't be an orphan."

I.e., get distributed. Here's what caught my eye, though: "...it's critical to get the film into the commercial marketplace even if you have to self-distribute it on DVD."

As I've argued here elsewhere, I really think that this is going to be playing a more and more vital role for indie filmmakers, just as the ability to cheaply make and circulate CDs has been for musicians.

"9. Get a look."

Interesting point, actually. And he's talking about directors, not actors.

"10. The Truth."

In short, indie filmmaking is hell. But that doesn't seem to be holding back the hordes.

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