Feather's Charm presents...
Made for Film Something...
It’s another filmmaking post today! This time, we’re talking about patience. Everyone knows that making a film not only takes effort, but time too. Now, what does this mean? Well, for those of us who don’t have the money, it means years. If we take a look at the Marvel Films, you see many of their films take about two years to make. It’s because they have the money to do that, and they have hundreds of brilliant minds and talents working behind the scenes, to make sure everything works perfectly. With small budget, and independent films, it takes a lot more.
The Problems Are The Same, The People Are Not
Alright, just to give you all some context, before diving into the nitty gritty stuff, let’s use our previous example, of the Marvel Films, as well as the Star Wars ones. Let’s look at the first of each of these series.
For the Star Wars Saga, the first film took 6 years to make. Why? The original concept was adapted so much, it was wholly different by the time it came out in 1977. Remember, George Lucas initially decided that he wanted it to be a Flash Gordon adaptation, and that concept was decided in 1971. Thus, the 6 years.
Now, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe– for those not in the know), began in 2008, with Iron Man, but the concept was first thought of in 2005. That’s three years. That’s because Marvel Entertainment (the original company that produced the Marvel Universe – thank you Stan Lee, may you rest in peace) wanted to produce their own films, in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, but they’d already had a few goes with other production companies, like Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema and Sony (remember the original Spider Man movies?). So, it was technically a shoe-in for them to get a few films made by that time.
Do You See The Difference?
If you don’t here’s a breakdown:
Marvel had previous experience, George Lucas did not.
Marvel had the backing of so many different companies to help them make their films, Lucas did not.
Marvel had been around for more than half a century, Lucas had not.
Now does it seem clearer to you? Of course, when Lucas came out with the idea of Star Wars, he’d already been in the circle of greats for a few years, but that does not mean he had the backing of the big production companies to make his films. In fact, it took a lot of work on his part to even get 20th Century Fox in on the deal.
Marvel, however, is a well beloved, and well-known company, amongst film companies, along with TV and video game companies. So, it’s not that surprising their ambition to create their own cinematic universe would be much more appreciated, today.
Ok, But What Does This Have To Do With Patience?
Haven’t you been listening? The fact that Marvel was well-known, made all the difference in terms of the time scale their films were released. Lucas had barely any presence on the film production stage, before Star Wars was released, so that’s why his first film, A New Hope, took much longer to make than Iron Man.
The same will go for any of your productions, if you decide to go into filmmaking. Yes, you could go the YouTube route, and gain a following there, but that’s mostly for blogs, skits, and short web series that, in terms of “professional filmmaking” (yes there are quotation marks there, because any kind of long term filmmaking is deemed professional), look like child’s play.
If you want to go down the “main route” of filmmaking, and I’m saying the classic version of going through film festivals, appealing to production companies and convincing investors to help you make your film, then it’s going to be much tougher. It’ll take years for you to get anyone to agree to help, and even then, you’ll never know if your film will inspire an audience or go down as a major box office flop.
That Is Why Being A Filmmaker Requires Patience
Now, if you’ve been on the scene for a while, there will be people who will say “I want a film at this time, so you better have one ready for me”, these people are not filmmakers. They may be in film, but they’ve never been a part of the whole filmmaking process, especially if your film is on a small budget.
So, it doesn’t matter if you take one or even ten years, as long as you have the patience to make a film, you can guarantee that the end result will be the best it can be. Yes, I’m saying the best it can be, because regardless of the audience’s reaction, you put your heart and soul into that film; it is the amalgamation of yours and your team’s hard work, and because of that, it is the best it can be.
Think about it this way, the film Avatar (2009) took 15 years to make, because James Cameron was waiting for the right technology to make the film. He was waiting for the language of the Na’vi people to be developed properly, and he was waiting for the right people to help him make the world of Pandora come alive.
It’s all well and good if you have the backing of influential people, but essentially, if the vision that you see isn’t made as well as it could be, then your film was not done properly. Of course, it’s a different story, when you have no backers whatsoever, and you need to find a way to fund your films. This is another reason why you need patience, when you make a film.
Money Is Not A Question
Money is a necessity. It’s all well and good, if you want to make a film, but to be in with the big shots, you’ll need the equipment, the team and the cast to make it happen. With platforms like YouTube, all you need is your phone and a few good friends who are willing to help star and make the film.
With filmmaking proper, you either need the already have the equipment, or hire it from a company. A lot of filmmakers already have their own equipment, so experienced DOPs (Directors of Photography) will probably have their own camera and lighting equipment; sound designers will have their own mixers, microphones, recorders and accessories; gaffers will have their lights, gels and reflectors, and sometimes the director or producer themselves will have a combination of all three. That’s why some good filmmakers have small budgets, because they don’t need to borrow the equipment. They have it already.
The only problem lies in hiring these people, so that you don’t need to worry about spending for equipment. That’s why, a big chunk of development and pre-production, for a small budget film, is spent in finding the funds for it. This is the aspect you’ll need to factor in, for your film. If you don’t already have the backers, you’ll need to find them, and most of them can be found on crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. In order to even have your first shot of the film, you’ll need the funding for the people.
Take it from someone who’s had a go at it. Without the connection to big players on the film production scene, the only avenue we could afford, is going through crowdfunding, and even then, our budget was much smaller than what we should have anticipated. Luckily, we managed to make something from that money, but the lesson we learned was that we needed much more, if we were going to make something that was worthy of a major film festival.
Essentially, we rushed the project, purely because we wanted to get the film done, so that we’d have something under our belts. While it might have been good to get something out there, I learned that if I wanted a piece that felt right to me, I’d need to have a better plan of what I was doing, even if it did take me years to make that piece, at least it was the best I could make it.
Well, I’ll leave it there for now, because the last part will be on getting the right people for your film. Trust me, there’s a good story behind this one, and if you want to get the best you can, out of your film, you’re going to need to hire the right people.
So, I’ll see you guys then!