Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Had a good response from my last post about making a movie. Since a bunch of y'all are out there about to do so, I thought I'd throw some info your way.
We made Better Days in 2001, and although the movie wasn't all that, most of it went very smoothly.
I'll just cover two things today. One is:
1st, go re-write it. I'm sure it needs another pass or 12. Then read it again. give it to a friend to rear (preferrably someone who knows SOMETHING about story, characters, etc. NOT your mother). Gather your cast or at least some friends who won't piss all over the dialogue and do a reading. Have someone read the descriptions, it should NOT be you. Your job is to sit on your ass and listen.
Also, send it to another writer. Or a coverage service. Or Christ, I'll even read it. Just don't take your script into production before it's ready. I've done it more than once. Never again.
Better Days should have had another draft or two before we put it into production, that much I know.
You probably can't afford to pay them so you'll have them sign a deferred payment contract which basically says when the movie starts making $$, they might see something. Most actors understand these contracts, and they understand they probably will never see a nickel. But you'll give them food, screen credit of course, and a copy of the finished film for their reel. I've had some actors ask me for their unedited footage. This is an insane request.
There are zillions of actors out there and a zillion places to list your movie to request headshots. I get them by the boxfull every time I put out a search for actors/crew.
Break the script down and get your actors to inform you on the days they can't make, etc. Then make your schedule of shooting days and get it to them ASAP.
Try not to have your actors come back for every shooting day. I'd try to lump some of the actors' scenes together so I can get them in and off the project. One less actor to worry about, plus if they are there for free, their time may be valuable.
This depends on a lot of things though and might not always be possible, it's also a good idea to do the same thing around a location. You only have that diner location for a limited time? then take all those scenes and shoot them all at the same time if you can. this is where a script supervisor excells, make sure they are taking pictures of the actors so you know how people looked, what they are wearing, etc.
The actors will not likely remember.
Always have food nearby. The actors & crew need to be fed. If not, they WILL talk about you, your production company, your shitty movie, etc, and word will spread about you.
At the audition, have some donuts or bagels. On set, I ALWAYS have a nice cooler with plenty of waters and fruit (apples & bananas work best) for people to munch as we go about the shooting day. When everyone gets on-set in the AM I'll have donuts, bagels, muffins. And coffee. Dunkin Donuts sells a box of coffee. My gang loved that.
For lunch it's nice to have sandwiches, or hoagies. Pizza is okay, but not for every shooting day. Try to mix it up a bit. Another thing I like to do is take the cast and crew to a decent place (not too expensive, but a nice joint or someplace with a lot of variety on the menu) and just let them order whatever they want. This should be done when you have your core group together, at least all your leads and crew. Usually (if they're polite) they won't order the lobster but at least by taking them out once or twice, you're showing them that you give a shit. And in return, they'll give a shit.
That's it for now. My main points for today? Feed your cast & crew, and go do another re-write.