‘You all know the drill, in the art industries if you really want an idea to leap off the page and make your dream a reality, you need money. Now you have probably also heard the saying that money goes to experience. It’s no secret that while still difficult, it can be easier for a person to create a film if they have a list of credits and awards beneath their name. But what if you don’t have that – should you even bother? Yes – absolutely. If you have a dream and an idea for a feature film don’t waste it by allowing it to decay onto the page it was written, do something with it and get your message across. I’m not an expert and I don’t claim to be but I would bet any money that if you feel strongly about a subject matter or human emotion/ conflict and you have an idea that can express that, somebody else out there will connect to it. And just like that you have an audience. Now of course I am not that naïve about the film industry – it’s tough but if you really want to make your screenplay into a film, don’t let the subject of funding stand in your way. You will have an audience – now just convince someone/ a company to supply the money.
So I know the challenges you all face, how does an unknown and young filmmaker get funding for a feature film? I do have a plan at the minute, but of course I am in the early stages of writing the screenplay so it may change, but if you like I am finding a back entrance into the film industry. Edward Milner of Acacia productions has been kind enough to give me advice about the film industry for the past couple of years now, and there is one piece of advice which has stuck with me constantly. “To succeed in the film industry, you have to find a back entrance – like a stage door” and that is exactly what I am doing. I plan to release the book on Amazon kindle on the 15th June 2014 and hopefully with the sales I make, I can use the statistics in my pitch to film companies.
If unlike me, you do not have a novel, just the screenplay there are so many ways in which you can build a budget for your film through social media. No doubt you have heard of the various websites like kick-starter and indiegogo.
We now know about the determination and ambition needed for anyone, let alone any young filmmaker straight out of education with their degree in Film & Television production, in order to make the words of your screenplay turn into a film. I also briefly mentioned the use of social media in order to build excitement around your film, and create the foundation for an audience.
When someone mentions the term ‘social media’ there are three websites that immediately come to me – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. There is no doubt that these are incredibly powerful websites and if used correctly, a potential platform for your film. The most viewed YouTube video has over 2 billion views, therefore making it clear that if used in the right way, a video can reach a lot of people. To use this site and help your film get off the ground, a good idea is to create a teaser trailer. It does not have to be made with the actors and actresses that will eventually be cast in the film, but it should give a snippet of the film in order to get people interested. If you use YouTube correctly, you will understand that Twitter and Facebook are closely linked and are both key in order to get more views on your YouTube teaser trailer, and therefore most interest in your film.
Now you have developed some interest, and a potential audience, you need to go back to the issue of money and funding. In recent years, funding films through the internet has increased dramatically. The websites which have made this happen are Kick-starter and Indiegogo. By using YouTube, you can add a description to your video and add website links. In order to get the money it is very beneficial for a first time director to create a Kick-starter or indiegogo campaign, linking the page clearly in the description of your now popular YouTube trailer.
Now that the views i.e. people, have followed the video to the kick-starter page, this is where you can start to make money. You can have the same teaser video posted on kick-starter and you can add several other videos. A good idea would be to include interviews of the director, screenwriter, cinematographer and if you have a cast – the actors and actresses.
The way to make money on Kick-starter is simple. You set a budget [what you want to raise] and for each amount donated the person who contributes, gets something in return. For instance if someone has donated 5 dollars or pounds, they can get a free film poster. If they have donated $10,000 they can become one of the film’s producers, and so on. Indiegogo works in the same way.
Therefore, in terms of using social media to promote and raise money for your film, it is actually fairly simple. You put a teaser trailer on YouTube – promote the video through Twitter and Facebook, and then link your new audience to the films Kick-starter or indiegogo page in order to convince them to donate money to your project, with the promise of getting something in return. That’s all it is. The promotion part is of course still hard work, but by using the social media method of raising money for your first film, you may have more success rather than going the traditional route – i.e. going to film companies and asking for money. Despite this, if you are still searching for more money after your social media campaign has ended, you can use the interest you now have in your film as part of your film pitch to film companies.
Written by Alice Catherine Carter 19 years old, studying Film & TV Production at York St. John University Alice has just finished her first year. Alice has already had a glittering indie film career having made 20 short films, writing 2 feature films and 2 novels. Alice is currently working on turning her first book into a screenplay, which will be her first feature film.
Edited by Sam Parkinson – Studio Manager – 02077370007