Is it safe? We spoke to indie directors in Montreal, as well as other Hollywood members of the industry about the money made on their films, and what it takes to make a career in the film industry.
There’s a lot of debate in the industry around whether or not indie films earn more or less than movies made by larger distributors. But whether or not it is safe for a indie filmmaker to work in the independent movie market may have less to do with distribution than it does with the cost of doing business.
“If you are making a movie of your own design, it’s all about money,” says Montreal screenwriter-producer Michael Darnell, who just opened the Sundance Film Festival’s premiere of his new movie, Pity, and is in the middle of pre-production on A Place for Me. “You’re making a movie about your story, so if at the end of the day people feel like not much else happens during the movie, you’ve earned your money. If you’re making a movie for distribution you’re not putting that much effort into making that movie, but at least the audience will appreciate it.”
Even though you won’t make much money from your films, you are probably making money, according to Darnell. “Even if it’s only a couple hundred dollars, it’s still a big deal for you to go and see somebody else’s film during the festival, because those are the people who are opening your movie for a few days,” he adds.
“If you’re making a movie of your own design, it’s all about money.
The key in being an indie filmmaker is not to worry about making an unrealistic budget, which means making your film smaller than the one you were originally filming. This will only work if you do these four things:
1. Take the time to make your film.
If you’re producing a short film you might spend a couple days making a pilot sequence before you start worrying about running the show. That means that you can afford the time to make one of your films, because you can show it to the public, and tell them you made it. And don’t forget you still need the money for your film.
“I don’t want to see this film be a part of the conversation about the quality of films,” says Darnell, who was made aware of this idea by his friend Adam Goldberg, who is directing the film Pity with him. “It’s great
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