Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

25 11 2009

Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

  1. Costs less money

a) less gear less to insure

b) fewer PC programs less to buy easier to use faster training

c) Smaller crew less payroll less insurance moves faster

2. Offers more creative solutions

a) forces the crew to work w/ different ways for dealing w/problems w/o the money to throw at it

3. Forces focus on the story not on effects

4. Work more effectively and efficiently

a) know the desired output of your project have the right programs to convert the audio and video to the end product

b) offers experiment w/ open source programs and/or cloud computing

c) offers more coordination across time zones (outsourcing)

d) allowing people to work to their strengths

5. Some positions could be outsourced

a) location scouts

b) script writer

c) editor/ after effects/ sound editors

d) publicist

6. Allows for flexibility

a) fewer distortion through the team “clearer communication”

b) faster to move “IE. Company move” fewer transportation costs

7. A small team is easier to motivate

a) have a like minded, energetic and focused team

b) get the best DP Script Sup and Sound guy/gal

8. If the project is profitable a bigger take for each member

9. Using speed as a start up tool

10. Faster turn around leads to availability of team members to take on more projects and allows for easier scheduling

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The Art of Speed

1 11 2009

I was listening to The Art of Speed podcast from 2008 SXSW. It’s a panel discussion on startups and ipo’s.  http://audio.sxsw.com/podcast/interactive/panels/2008/SXSW08.INT.20080308.TheArtOfSpeed.mp3

I thought a lot of it could be applied to the art of filmmaking.  Filmmaking I do include film, television, webisodes and anything with audio and visual component.

My biggest surprise was the extremely short timelines that they use. Day one before they even started all of the speakers had great simple to start  ideas and stuck to them.

For instance  Mike Cassidy did all his hiring all in one day.  Checked the references while in the interview and told applicants  employees they have till 9am the next day accept the job or not.  Also once there were hired they already had their job list and timeline waiting for them on their desk. No first day HR meetings , w-2 forms or extra paperwork fill out to kill time.  That stuff was handled once they accept the job.

Also one other great idea that he had was to have 90% of his team already thought out. He knew through his network of friends and business associates who he wanted and didn’t to waste time postings positions online.

I was impressed and a little embarrassed.  If it was soo easy, why haven’t I done something yet. I’ll beat myself up about that later.

So far 2 simple ideas.

1) create one awesome easy to start idea….a logline… a pitch

2) get people that know their stuff and like your idea…in a perfect world you would already know how to call

What if my stuff isn’t really that awesome….. finally something I could relate to.

Cali Williams stated it the best….just do it and work out the kinks later.  Most people focus on the perfect..get frustrated and give up.

In the Army there’s an expression “Embrace the suck”  “Embrace the suck”: Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.

Meaning that no you will not be a rockstar on the first try but will practice you’ll get good enough as not to kill or embarrass yourself or others.

Nice so now we have 3 key points

1) create one awesome easy to start idea….a logline… a pitch

2) get people that know their stuff and like your idea…in a perfect world you would already know how to call

3) Just do it and work it out when problems come up. You will infinitely learn more if you screw up rather than doing everything right.

Ok so that sounds pretty cool right?  But how an Art of Speed film schedule look like?

I’ll show you.

1 day loglines 5-7 or more if you’re really good at ideas (be original…please. A lot of cool films don’t get the press or buzz that they deserve because they are hard to define. Try to find a way to define your story that stays true but can used to sell it. But please be original theres already too much crap in the cineplex)

1 week testing on IMDB.com. Also look into Adsense domain names (to create a buzz)

3 weeks writing the script based from the logline that received the most interest from IMDB (by interest I mean from producers who can get you funding or advertisers who can get you press)

3 days recruiting (remember you should have your team in mind with a few alternates in your #1 is busy) Keep in mind also if you’re #1 isn’t busy….. time to find a new #1 if your guy/gal is really good they will be busy.

1 week  Pre production shot lists casting location scouting scheduling

4 weeks Production start editing on day 1

3 weeks Post Production creating deliverables

All in total 3 months 5 days.

You could condense this further if you are so inclined.  Ideas such as write your script to include cheap or easy locales.  Cheap props…properly dummied props.  Fewer characters as well.

Hollywood takes 6 months to a year to complete a movie not including the typical 7 year wait for a script to emerge from development hell.

I wish you good luck and see ya in the pictures!!!!

PS. I would love the hear the arguments if there any against this timeline. Please clean rational arguments just because it never been done or “they say so” or “I say so” are not valid points