Scaling Down/The Importance of being Earnest/To my Fellow Film-makers


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Sid

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I've taken the time I've had off from school this week to work on my script for the series I have been developing and I realized that I can do one of two things. I can put out something mediocre and film it live-action and make the armor I can barely afford, have the ability, or means to build, or I could take the money I have and commission an artist into making the series into a comic first.

It sounds silly at first and not really that news shattering or even why someone would bother giving it a thread. Well, here it is, the point that is, "Scale down, be earnest, cause God knows you're not going to be the next Bay, Nolan, or Tarintino. So for the love of Pete don't act like you have their budget now!"

I've been an amateur film-maker for a while now. Any project worth a damn will cost you at least $100. That's money to cover your tapes, your gas and expenditure expenses, and maybe if you're lucky a little cash to throw towards the actors for helping you out or maybe lunch for them. After all actors are a responsibility and your Mother and I will only allow you to keep them if you feed, walk, and play with them regularly.

Me, I ain't going to lie. I'm a mediocre film-maker right now. Up until this point all my films have been shot as a handy-cam footage of fire scenes for the Volunteer Fire Departments I'm on. Even then I only film when I'm too sick to actually do my typical jobs on scene (My Primary Department I'm an Engineer who manages the trucks and water supply for all entry teams. Department B, I'm Entry/RIT.).

There is no shame in admitting what you are. Obviously, with 95% certainty, if we came to the 405th. We came because we can't afford to hire real production companies to do the work for us. Furthermore, with 99.9% certainty, if you can't afford a production company to do your work, then most likely you probably can't afford one of the regulars on this site to do it for you either.

Logistically speaking: To do that uber-cool Halo movie you're dieing to make or whatever project you're trying to sell, you're going to have to throw down some cold hard cash, and I mean a lot of it. Going by my understanding of the costs as based by the "Master Chief DIY tutorial" on IndyMogul (A Child of NextNewNetworks.) it will cost around $100-$250 to make one suit worth a damn to film with. That, my Comrades, is if you do it. If you commissioned someone to do it I would expect to pay no less than $500-$600, that is unless of course they are using a different method than pepakura, curing, and fiberglassing. However, that's one actor, one suit. $500 down the drain.

Secondly, you're film is going to look pretty dumb, unless of course your MC is fighting Zombies or arguing with a soon to be Ex-girlfriend (Let's see who catches that reference.). So you'll most likely need either a Marine or two, another Master Chief style character, or something else. Welcome to another $500-$750 down the drain and your film is already taking a budget of $1000-$1250 and guess what? We've not even got into the visual effects yet.

If you're like me and you and your cast are all experienced gun owners then you'll most likely use blanks. Blank guns cost around $250-$300 each. The rounds typically go for over $15 a pack and you'll use a lot of them. However, if you're just a kid or you just plan on using after effects then you're going to be out the cost of the software and the cost of your time to animate in the muzzle flashes and bullet expulsions. If you have someone else do it.... Oooh ho-ho! I'm not even going to attempt to appraise that cost. Let's just say: Meet After Effects, she's your new girlfriend, you won't have another for several months as you learn all her inner workings. Then maybe, just maybe, she'll let you get to second base.

$1500 is roughly where we're at now. Can you still afford to do your project? If so why are you here and not emailing an actual production company? See, this is why the 405th members do not trust us. Don't be upset. They have every right to be suspicious. Because if you can really afford to do a movie you can honestly afford to go with a production company and not prey on some kid whose working in his basement to enjoy a hobby he or she loves.

$1500. This goes without buying rights to use the "Master Chief" character so you can actually show your film to other people for free, don't even dare think about what you'd have to spend to make actual money off your project, and also note this doesn't show how much you will have to pay your actors. Emphasis: you will have to pay your actors, because if you can drop $1500 to go this far, guess what... You can afford to pay staff and crew.

That is why I scaled down for now. I can't afford $2500 to do my project just yet, and if I could it would still be mediocre because I have mediocre equipment, and it will cost $5000 in the end after I buy all that. I just looked at the logistics: $5000 to do a mediocre-alright film, or $100 to script out my project 20 pages at a time as a black and white comic. Logistics. Sensible, reasonable, logistics.

You're not the first to have to succumb to logistics. Let's look at Anime for one brief moment before I end this topic. Why is anime so popular in Japan? Simple, back when Japan first started producing content for entertainment in the scale of our Hollywood they couldn't afford to do what they dreamed up either. The visual effects were expensive, the storylines too great, and actors were hard to come by. Those that were around were damn expensive. Their solution? Animate everything. Animation is, was, and will always be cheaper than live actors and large visual effects attempted in real life/time. Why produce one movie for $1 Mil. When you can do four or five? Logistics, my friends. Simple, Reasonable, logistics.

So don't boo-hoo because you're not allowed to search classifieds. Don't snap or bite the hands of the Mod's that feed you. All you're going to do in the end is make yourself come off as a snotty bratty child. Because Lord knows if you had the money to do it right in the first place you'd be contacting the professional services of a company that specializes in it in the first place.
 
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