Therefore our goal as directors is to get as many elements in place on a project -- producers, talent, crew, schedule, financing, locations -- to make the film as real as possible, in order to help bring talent on board. With that in mind, in addition to the MANCHILD screenplay, I've put together a mood reel (we've looked at the sizzle reels of several other directors as well), director's statement, hypothetical cast list, potential budget, and I'm putting together a marketing plan now as well.
Movies are really expensive; Hollywood spends $100 million on making a single movie all the time. From meeting with a number of experienced producers -- indeed, one of my Kickstarter updates was titled Fifty Meetings Later -- that last sentence has proved to be the case. Chip has been great to work with, and he obviously brings a lot of experience to the table. Shooting with a larger budget is not a matter of having luxuries on set or affording star actors. Any working filmmaker understands -- when it comes down to it, you're chiefly concerned with doing what's best for your film. Making a short to help get a feature made isn't a new approach by any means; I'm not claiming any credit for it. Five Feet High and Rising received the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance in 2000 and the resulting feature Raising Victor Vargas was selected for the 2002 Cannes film festival as well as the 2003 Sundance film festival.
While we riffed on it here, I highly recommend Short of the Week's full case study on the topic of releasing a short online versus playing at festival(s). 1 Help us get to 100,000 views0 VISA issues for a European director wanting to make first feature in the USA?3 Which outlets and what's the future for independently produced tv drama? Curious how much additional money you're seeking and whether or not that was the plan all along. Cashback was a great short film that went to Cannes and secured funding to be developed into a feature.
Does Kickstarter have a limit within which the project must start, before they take the money back?
There is no deadline per se; I put "August 2013" for estimated delivery date, and hopefully we'll have it in the can by then.
It seems like shortening the script and doing the whole story might take the piss out of the longer version, but just doing a couple of scenes might not get the full idea across. Thanks Matthew -- we're taking a minor character from the feature and making him the protagonist of the short.
Congrats Ryan - this is not just a smart approach, it is even smarter because you've thought it through and can see how it will help you in the long term. I was glad I did, not only did I learn a lot of stuff that would have made life hell later on, but I was also able to learn first hand which team members would be able to deliver. This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Cheat Master And Friends Words Cheats LLC.Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. A well-produced feature-length version of the TV documentary series with actual footage from the battles described, it's emotional and provides a good look at what our men and those of our allies, and even enemies, faced in WWII.
Richard Rodgers, fresh off of several hit Broadway musicals, was retained to compose the musical score for the series. For your next project you have dozens of scripts from which to choose, from big-budget studio films all the way down to no-budget student projects.
But it's a catch-22 -- you might need talent attached to raise the financing, and you might need financing attached to get the talent. But while these materials are nice to have, they are more likely to help someone see how the project could work -- they're less likely to convince them that it's going to be good. To really demonstrate your vision for the feature, the best approach may be to bite off a smaller chunk of the full-length story and make a short out of it.


Of course, I already ran a Kickstarter campaign for MANCHILD, so why make a short if the financing is already in place?
Frozen River, which he produced and line produced, received the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2009 Academy Awards. He and the other producers I've met with have all felt the same way -- that there is really no way to make this feature as written with JUST the Kickstarter funds.
It's a matter of doing the story justice: being able to give us enough time on set to get convincing performances, being able to capture the basketball as written (the sports scenes are a vital part of the piece as a whole), and being able to include the sub-plots, minor characters, themes, and arcs that I've constructed very carefully over the past two years. Most Kickstarter campaigns only cover part of a film's production, not the entirety of it, and this one is no different. You can't get caught up in thinking about what people are going to say, how it's going to look to outsiders, and whether you're going to get someone's goat.
I didn't actually realize how closely I'm hewing to these past approaches until writing this post, because while it just so happens that both of these shorts are portraits of urban youth (one even holding a basketball!), the example that first came to my mind when I was planning a short was in fact Sean Durkin's Mary Last Seen, a short that played Sundance and helped get the Ted Hope-produced Martha Marcy May Marlene off the ground. For example, you could premiere at a festival for the laurels (and the chance to potentially pick up an award), and then after that show it privately to prospective investors. Submitting to a festival brings with it a delay of a few months while you wait to see if you got in; furthermore, the festival you think is right for your short may have already come and gone, or it may remain several months off. It's to make everything about the project better: to help with talent attachments, to gain credibility in the basketball world, to launch the MANCHILD website (there isn't one at present), to hone my own on-set chops on a shooting pace similar to that of the feature, to find potential collaborators for the feature, and to generally raise the profile of the project.
They actually used the 20+ minutes that they filmed for the short as the start of the short and filmed the rest as an extension of that. It's a separate script (I wrote it in November-December) but it leads directly into the feature. I wanted to test out the camera and the editing, finishing, etc before I dived into it head first. The film is fast-paced with excellent narration featuring Alexander Scourby, and legendary music by Richard Rodgers.
Rodgers would contribute twelve "themes" - short piano compositions a minute or two in length - while Robert Russell Bennett did the scoring and conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra on the soundtrack recording sessions. Some of them have financing attached, some of them are shooting soon, some of them have other (possibly star) actors attached, and some of them are just at the script stage with no firm attachments or schedule.
Not "this could be good." Every script is execution dependent, and there are plenty of projects out there that could be good.
Especially because it's a sports movie -- it's not one guy in a room talking, it's a lot of people running through carefully choreographed actions in a gymnasium in front of a crowd of spectators.
Or you could premiere at a festival (or three) and then after that move on to widespread online distribution.
During this waiting period, you can't show it online -- most festivals will not allow your film to play online before it premieres at their festival (understandable). And that means we're on a tight timeline with the short, which means film festivals don't make sense.
We'll be shooting in a couple of weeks and I'm going to put some long hours in the edit room to fast-track post-production so we can get it out there -- online, available for anyone to see and share -- ASAP.
If you're thinking about putting together a short that ties into a feature, many of these reasons will likely be similar for you as well!
I look forward to seeing the short, (whenever you get around to letting the average Joe see it).
I think the pressure on a film project is less than if, say, you bought a watch and wanted to wear that watch around (I never got one that I bought on Kickstarter). I'm curious what you're thinking about doing with the short; will you do a couple of scenes from the script, or a shortened version of the script?


Rodgers' "Beneath The Southern Cross" became "No Other Love" and was a big hit of the time.
It's highly unlikely you're going to move the ones that are "just a script" to the top of the pile. You want to put together a package that makes someone think, "this is going to be good with or without me.
Absolutely -- but we'd have to cut out a lot, and I haven't worked so hard to get to this point only to make half of a movie. So depending on when you're looking to shoot your feature, it may not make sense to wait months before you can show your short anywhere.
For example, the Tribeca Film Festival is one of the top film festivals here in New York; it even has an ESPN Sports Film Festival component, which makes a lot of sense for MANCHILD.
And why do I think this strategy makes a lot of sense for other first-time feature directors?
I'm in all of the latter situations, as my no-budget, black-and-white, stylized "urban western" web series I co-directed with Zack Lieberman, The West Side -- which I shot myself in 2007-2008 in standard-definition black-and-white -- is still what I"m known for today (the only other thing I might throw on a reel is my RED SCARLET camera test, and that was done under even more limited conditions than TWS -- except we had a better camera). Once there's a producer attached, they will come up with their own budget, which will undoubtedly be higher than mine, and then we'll have to raise more money or make tough decisions about what we WANT in the film versus what we absolutely NEED. The best films are greater than the sum of their parts, and if we start pulling out components, the movie as a whole will surely be a lesser work. So it turns out that the minor controversy over me buying a camera would've been moot even if I HAD used the Kickstarter funds -- which, again, I didn't -- since, by virtue of sub-renting the camera through a rental house, the SCARLET is now paid off. It would be great to have the short play at Tribeca, especially in light of the fact that MANCHILD received a grant from Tribeca! Because there are millions of people with a screenplay, all trying to figure out how to get from here (words on a page) to there (actual finished movie). By the time we're shooting the feature I'll have hopefully spent negative money on the SCARLET, which makes it hard to argue with that purchasing decision!)) If you have goats, believe me, I'm not trying to get them. But the deadline to apply to the festival was in November, and the festival itself is in mid-April. I am interested in upgrading camera and curious as to how that can affect this as a financial plan.
If your goal seems impossibly far off, that's when it's time to bite off a smaller chunk and show what you're capable of. Unless you have a lot of them, in which case we could maybe sell them and finance the rest of the movie.
So as much as I'd love to play there -- assuming the short got in, no easy feat -- we would've needed a finished short by November, which was when I was just starting to write it.
Feel free to contact me through my website or email if you are wary of posting this info publically, for some reason or other.
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