When you realize what a colorist does, it’s easy to understand why no one knows they exist.
by Carole Dean
Sam Dlugach won our Roy W. Dean Film Grant in 1996 and is one of the best colorists in LA. He has over 30-years’ experience working with all types of films. Sam works for a major production company, but moonlights helping indie features and documentaries. He generously gives us his time to serve as a judge for the grant and donates he services to the winners.
I recently interviewed him for my The Art of Film Funding Podcast and asked him how to help filmmakers understand how important a colorist is for their film.
What Does a Colorist Do?
Sam equated the coloring of a film as the same as mastering is for audio. After a song has been recorded and mixed, then mastering is the final process before it goes to distribution. That’s like putting the final polish on your films’ audio. Well, that’s what coloring is for the image.
“We can take some beautifully photographed work,” Sam said, “and enhance it just that extra 10% or 15% to make it even more impactful in terms of emotion that we want the audience to feel.”
He explained that no matter what you’re shooting, whether you’re shooting a documentary, short film, or a feature film, you’re probably using multiple cameras, multiple lenses, and you’re going to certainly have all sorts of different lighting conditions. At the very minimum, what a colorist does is make all that stuff match.
Actually, when you realize what a colorist does, it’s easy to understand why no one knows they exist. When they finish their job, the film looks perfect. Every single shot is lit perfectly, and all your shots match, each scene flows seamlessly, and the audience is fully engaged in the film never realizing all the work the colorist did.
Enhancing the Story and Setting the Mood
“In a more creative sense,” he noted, “I’m part of the storytelling process. I’m helping the director and the director of photography set story beats in terms of the look of the film, in terms of the mood of the lighting, and the contrast ratio and certainly the color imagery.
“I have a day job where I work on TV commercials, so a lot of what I’m doing daily is emphasizing the product and de-emphasizing the background or bringing out people’s faces. There’s a lot of very specific stuff that I’m doing on a psychological level to direct people’s eyes.
“That same sort of artistry and science works in storytelling as well whether it’s episodic television, or a music video, or short film, or feature film, or documentary. Anything that I can do visually to help tell the story is my main job.”
Matching Scenes and Matching Visions
If filmmakers bring great footage, then the colorist can look great as well. But many times, filmmakers have challenges on the shoot.
“They may have had problems with lenses, problems with cameras,” Sam explains, “or very different lighting setups from shot to shot that have to be evened out and made to match. It’s a collaborative process at best. When you’re working with a team of people, if everybody’s got a singular vision of what this film is supposed to be, and everybody’s just working towards that one image, it can be a really great experience, and the rewards for the film can be great.
“I’ve always loved working with filmmakers and directors of photography because I work to achieve their vision. And a big part of what I do is to interpret what I’m being told. Some people come in, and they have a better understanding of what happens in the color bay, and some people really are intimidated, or they don’t understand the process.
“It’s my job to deal with all levels of filmmakers and all levels of people that walk into my room and understand what they are trying to tell me so we can find a way to achieve their vision.”
What First Time Filmmakers Need to Know about Working with a Colorist
Typically, after you finish your edit, you would send Sam a version of the edit with a decision list and it will refer back to your original footage. He creates the edit timeline. He on the Baselight system and uses a $40,000.00 monitor. Sam sees everything with this monitor that your audience will see.
The first thing he does when he meets someone new is to talk about the story before he ever looks at the film. Together with the director he makes notes of scenes and shots by writing down what they mean and exactly how they are telling the story. They discuss the color journey of the entire movie.
Sam will look at the timeline of the move and talk to the director about the story. The main question is “what is the story we want to tell?” They will stop and look at shots of each scene.
“What is the emotional tone?” Sam will discuss with the director. “What are we going for here? How does this flow into the next scene? How does it relate to the previous scenes?” Sam and the director start very basically coloring from raw camera information to a finished look for that single shot.
By the end of the first session when the filmmaker leaves, they should have a good feeling about how the movie will look. They will have seen scenes from all over the movie that tell the story they have painted together.
The filmmaker goes away and Sam works for a week or two coloring. When they come back, Sam will have filled in the holes, done the coverage, and stitched the film together. Then, Sam watches it with the filmmaker and makes notes to do a trim pass and sometimes a second trim.
Sam works with people outside of Los Angeles area. He colored a fiscally sponsored film of ours in Hawaii. You can transfer files very easily now so you don’t need to be in the same city as your colorist.
Seeking Passionate Storytellers
Sam loves working with independent and documentary filmmakers that are passionate and really have a story to tell.
“In a perfect world I’m invested in that story too. I care about what they’re trying to say, and so I tend to gravitate lately to unique stories about human nature, about people.”
Sam wants to work with filmmakers that have something to say about the times we are living in. “I love working with documentarians because they’re usually trying to right some wrong. They’re usually trying to expose something that needs to be exposed.”
“I get a charge out of working on projects that make a difference, and so I do tend to be a little picky about the projects that I get involved with independently. There’s a great thing about knowing you came through from the Heart Productions. The people that gravitate to what you’re doing at From the Heart tend to be great people and tend to be impassioned storytellers with their heart in the game, and they’re not just in it for the money. They’re not just brazenly commercial. They’re doing something that matters.
Gift to Filmmakers at From the Heart Productions
“I’ve met so many wonderful people from the work that you’re doing (at From the Heart Productions) and from the outreach that you do with independent filmmakers. I encourage people that are in your program, and your funding programs, and your writers that you work with and filmmakers that find you to come talk to me.
“My door is open, and like I said, advice is always free. You can reach same at and the time to interview and hire a colorist is early on in production.”
Conversation with award winning filmmaker Karen Day on the importance of being your film’s advocate and getting the upper hand with a film distributor
by Carole Dean
Karen Day is a very successful writer, photographer, and filmmaker because she made it happen. She is always working on creating a successful future for herself. She focuses on humanitarian issues in exotic locales like Afghanistan, Cuba, Myanmar, pre-war Iraq, pre-Madonna Malawi, Hollywood, and Washington, DC. They’ve offered her exciting opportunities to dodge bullets and write for national publications like More Magazine, O, The Los Angeles Times, and The Pentagon.
Director Karen Day on location with cast and crew from “Nell Shipman: The Girl From God’s Country”
While it’s important to seek out others for advice, independent filmmakers need to take active control of the future of their own work to have a successful career and to make any money.
The Harry Potter Effect
Karen says one of her real joys is being able to mentor women, young women beginning their career in filmmaking. “It’s a real tipping point right now in the industry. There’s so much opportunity. And it’s difficult to find a mentor.”
“But, Carole, you know better than anyone, and I think you’re one of the major voices in how to manifest and believe in yourself that you can get things done. I call it the Harry Potter effect. I put my mind to an idea and start whipping results out of the ether. I might as well have a master wand.”
This is very true. Karen realizes that your faith in yourself and in your film is paramount to a successful production. Your attitude towards yourself and your film must always be of the highest level as you deserve to be funded. Belief and faith will carry you a long way in the film industry “and make doors open where there were no doors before.”
The Dark Web of the Film Festivals
Karen was at Raindance Film Festival with her latest film Bamboo and Barbed Wire, a documentary that chronicles the life of a 17- year old Syrian refugee girl in Idaho. She says that Raindance is a premier festival and they give filmmakers an amazing amount of support. There are distributors there from around the world.
But, she warns, don’t assume that just by getting accepted and networking will get you a deal for your film.
“There’s a lot in the film festival world that independents still have to learn the hard way. You think oh, ’I’m going to get accepted, and then I’m going to be distributed, and then I’m going to be famous.’ No, actually, there’s a lot of innerness and I call it the dark web, the dark world of politics that goes on in film festivals.
“It’s a good way to meet people and make connections, but it’s not as simplistic as it appears. Film festivals and film distributors are in the business of making money on movies, and producers and writers and directors and cinematographers are in the business of making movies. And it’s a hard lesson to learn that there are two different businesses.”
She is right. The distributors want to buy the film for the cheapest price possible and filmmakers think they will get prices near what was quoted in Variety for recent sales. However, these prices are normally exceptional prices. Distributors and Netflix and Amazon are paying low prices unless you have a known actor in a feature or a documentary. In that case, it’s a bit higher but not what they were paying a few years ago.
The information I get from our fiscally sponsored filmmakers is that by the time they get to a festival, usually they are tired from years of producing and are ready to let go of the film. Once they get an offer, they are so excited that someone loves the film and wants to help, that they often make poor decisions. Distributors are offering egregious contracts and very low up-front money these days.
Finding Out What Your Film is Worth
Because of the horror stories I have heard from filmmakers about bad contracts, distributors not complying with contracts and people selling their film for 20% of the cost, I started a search for who is paying what for films. That search turned into a blog.
It’s very important that we know the current selling price for docs and features. So, if you want to share any information on what the current prices are for films and docs, please contact me. All info will be kept confidential.
Karen says that going to the festivals and talking to other filmmakers is the best way to find what happened to other filmmakers, what prices they were paid, who are the worst distributors and who to watch out for. You won’t find this information in print, only word of mouth or in our blog talk shows where some filmmakers will offer up the truth about their poor distribution deal.
Find Leverage with a Film Distributor
Karen said that getting a distributor as an independent is not always what you thought it would be. Often, people think that a distributor will change your life. You need to know what money you can make and you need leverage to negotiate.
“The one thing I can say is, if you do have a distributor that’s interested, immediately contact several distributors to see if they will be interested. Because then, you have more power to negotiate a minimum guarantee. Number one thing I say to independent filmmakers is, your MG, your minimum guarantee with the distributor may be the only dime you ever see. So, make sure that you negotiate that. And the best way to do it is to get more interest than one distributor.
“I did that, and so I was able to negotiate more money than I was originally offered. And I naively thought, oh, well, this is going to be a cakewalk now. But what’s true is my distributor is in the business of making money on movies, and they’re like a shark. They have to keep moving to pick up more films and compete with all these distributors to find the next great documentaries.
Be an Advocate for Yourself
“I literally had to become a thorn. I’ve been working with the major network media for a long time, so I know what it’s like to push. And some people don’t have that advantage, because I’m older, too. It’s not like I’m 20. I’ve been around the block, as they say, about 4,000 times.
“The bottom line is, none of it’s easy. It was a daily process of what are you doing, what’s happening? Otherwise, you seep into the carpet and you’re thinking, oh, it’s going to happen for me. Mm-mm (negative).
“I can definitely say there have been a couple of great films. The great film Sonita, which is about the Afghan rapper who escaped an arranged marriage. Somebody was doing a documentary on her and they bought her out of the marriage. It won an Audience Award at Sundance, and it was sold to PBS National. I can’t divulge how much it was, but I would say it’s not enough to buy a used car.
“I really feel that the art of film negotiation is the number one thing, and the art of film funding. You have to be your own best advocate, and you just want to say, ‘Oh, I’m an artist.’ Well, you can be a starving artist all you want, but you better learn to be a business person too if you want to make a living at your art.”
Yes, miracles do happen that can help you fund your film. It begins with using the power of your mind.
by Carole Dean
In our bi-monthly Film Funding Guidance Class for our fiscally sponsored filmmakers, I’m in the middle of a 6-part series on how to begin creating miracles in your life. Your mind is your greatest asset and knowing how to use it is the key.
You should brag about your achievements. Be very proud of what you have done and don’t be afraid to tell us.
In our most recent session, I covered the importance of having a positive self-image and the need to treat yourself with respect. Miracles won’t happen in an environment filled with negativity and doubts.
Here are some steps you can take in your life to creating miracles.
Never Put Yourself Down
Always hold yourself in the highest esteem. Muhammad Ali was asked to give a short poem about himself. He said “Me….Wheeeee” So take a lesson from the champ and tell yourself daily “I am the greatest.” It worked for Ali and it can work for you.
If you are late for a meeting, never put yourself down to anyone. Not even you! You are the film, you are the creator, the manifestor and you must love you. With all your heart and soul. Love you first then you can give that love to others through your brilliant heart chakra.
I want you to honor yourself. Honor who you are and give gratitude for your many talents. I talk to filmmakers daily and they are writers/directors, some are writer/producer/editors. Loving yourself is highly important to let miracles come to you.
Know You Are Worthy
Sometimes miracles come in the form of money. This where a lot of people stop incoming money and miracles because they don’t feel worthy. I want you to brag about your achievements. Yes, be very proud of what you have done and don’t be afraid to tell us.
Each day when you look at your to do list and perhaps you had 10 items to do that day and you only completed 3 say “Good job, this is wonderful.”
Compliment yourself and say “tomorrow I will complete even more and it will be effortless. The universe is helping me with the film, they are my invisible partner, clearing problems and making my efforts complete easily.”
Stop Asking How
Another step that stops people from receiving miracles is the “HOW”. We all want to know how will it happen, where will it come from. That can be a block for many people. This How will it happen, will act as your resistance to receiving and believing.
Your job is not to think about the “HOW”. Your job is to know it will happen and do all the things you know to do to make it happen. By believing it will happen, you are totally open to receive.
Seeing is Believing
The next step to receive miracles is my favorite, it’s visualizing. It’s the ability to pretend like you did when you were a child when you wanted something. Often you got what you wanted and that was partially because you were visualizing it daily.
Remember when you would think about what you were getting and how excited you could get just by the visualization of receiving and using it? You were sending joy and excitement and gratitude to the universe when you saw yourself receiving it. Emotions with visualizations are paramount to receiving. Emotions are the key to visualization.
I have had many filmmakers call me when they are crowdfunding and say, “I am only a few days away from the deadline and I am $6,000 short or $4,000 short I don’t think I can make this goal.” That’s when your visualization is a great asset.
All of the people that called me in such a panic listen to me and they all hit their goals. It’s very easy. You need to focus on the end result. See yourself with what you want and send up joy, success, gratitude and happiness. Do not, get into the how….just visualize you with what you want achieved.
Feel the success and know you deserve this and are worthy of it. Visualization is the icing on the cake. It will take you home to any goal and definitely any miracle. Please include these things in your daily life.
Daydreaming is In!
Visualize what you want on a daily basis, daydreaming is in!
Fred Alan Wolf said in an interview with me, that daydreaming is a handshake across time where once you see it, feel it and send that vision to the universe you are creating your future.
Dealing with his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, filmmaker Eric Gordon created a documentary to guide others. He got help in finishing it by finding those that cared including his fiscal sponsor.
Over the past six years, award winning filmmaker Eric Gordon has produced, shot and directed the feature-length documentary, “When All That’s Left Is Love.” It’s an emotionally gripping film about his aging mother’s determination against nearly impossible odds to care for her Alzheimer’s husband at home.
The film gives viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes understanding of a medical dilemma that currently has no cure, but has patients who depend heavily on the heroic tenacity and love of the Alzheimer’s caregivers.
When All That’s Left is Love is the emotionally gripping story of a wife’s determination to care for her Alzheimer’s-stricken husband in their home. With unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access, the film reveals the toll that the disease takes on families coping with Alzheimer’s, while also showcasing the power of love that sustains both patients and caregivers.
Many times, Eric was on the brink of running out of funding. Using his resourcefulness, belief in his film, and important lessons from his fiscal sponsor, Eric was able to find financial support and an audience for his film. Through his community outreach, his film is now being shown to thousands who can learn from his mother’s and his experience caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Eric shared his story with host Carole Dean. He offered advice to other filmmakers on how to rally others around your film by thinking outside the box, by believing in yourself, and your project.
“Eric, Something’s Going on Here, You Need to Start Filming”
It started with a call from his mother telling him his father was lost. He found out his father had Alzheimer’s. Realizing his mother could not care for his father by herself, he moved in and started helping his mother care for his father for about five or six years.
“Eric, something’s going on here, you need to start filming,” he thought as his film-making instincts kicked in. His father was starting a research political trial program. He approached Dr. David Watson from the Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment Center and asked if he could film the program.
The total project took six years to make. Eric filmed for about four years of the total filming and with editing alone the production did over 900 editing hours in an editing suite. “It turned out to be a lot deeper and a lot more heartfelt than I could ever have imagined because, unfortunately, we captured the complete breakdown of a caregiver.”
“And, because of the access that I had, I was fortunate to have other caregivers who are dealing with the same situation to allow me into their lives as well and we built an amazing trust together and that’s how the project began.”
Donors Like When Their Money Goes to One Specific Thing
Dr. Watson allowed him into his office to film. Eric would keep him involved with the whole process of the film. As he got closer to completing his documentary, he noticed money was running out. “I started seeing the costs involved to finish the film because I was getting ready to hire a composer for the music score and I was a little shocked by the costs involved for a composer.
“So, because of my deep relationship with Dr. Watson, I shared with him.” He had been following Eric’s hard work and appreciated his dedication to bringing attention to the effect the disease has on families.
“You know, I need help with getting money for the composer,” Eric mentioned. Dr. Watson took care of the funds for the composer.
“Now that’s really what it’s all about,” Carole Dean pointed out. “Donors are giving money to you and the guy saw how hard you worked and dedicated, and yes, he wanted to help you. And I think a lot of donors like it when they know that their money goes for one specific thing.”
Finding Guidance from Fiscal Sponsor From the Heart Productions
“I didn’t have a grant proposal or a budget and I said, ‘Eric, your funds are running out.’ I worked very hard at my day job and any extra money I had, I used for the making of this documentary. My funds were running out because I had a lot of bills. You start seeing these enormous costs involved with a documentary, you realize you better start doing something.”
Eric considers Carole Dean and From the Heart Productions pivotal in changing his thinking and making him get money. He put together a budget and a proposal. He reached out to her and her organization for their fiscal sponsorship program. Their program offers personalized advice and film funding strategies.
“I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because From the Heart Productions is why I’m where I’m at today.”
“You were giving me guidance and Carole Joyce, who is also part of From the Heart, mentioned to me to think outside the box. I said to myself, ‘You know, my film deals with death, unfortunately, which comes with Alzheimer’s.’ And at the end of the film, we deal with the emotional distress of dealing with funerals and the death of a patient.”
He thought, what an important issue he could discuss with caregivers about pre-needs and the costs involved. He realized that a lot of people don’t realize how expensive it is when you pass away
“So, I reached out to various funeral homes to tell them, ‘My goal is to educate caregivers and I want to share this with the world and I would love for you to come in.’ Dignity Memorial, Melissa and Michael Tavers, were unbelievable. They have a foundation and the foundation vetted my film and they also believe in educating caregivers, not just about getting business, and they gave us a National Community Engagement sponsorship.”
Making A Screening an Event
Eric is a believer that any screening you have that you need to make your screenings like a show. Even if you’re starting out with your first rough cut screening or you finally add music.
“I make it an event and an experience and I invite various different people that I think would want to be part of the film. I don’t think just money at first. I think, ‘How can we build a relationship together?’ And so, at these screenings, I would invite all of these different various organizations, whoever it may be.
“For example, I invited a few funeral homes. Once they saw the film, I was able to take them to lunch, tell them my goals, and the importance of educating people in the community and nationwide.”
He told them how he could get them in front of thousands of people, their target audience. From that, they vetted him. It took months, but they believed in his passion. “They believed in the project and I’m so grateful and humbled and fortunate to have them part of my team.”
Making the Most of Every Connection
Near the end of production, looking at the budget at the funds needs to finish, calculating the costs involved with outreach, Eric started to think “How am I going to fund this film?”
He was outside at the Center for Doc Studies. It was 3:00 in the morning, freezing cold, and he was having a smoke when he met up with a gentleman who said he was here as an Alzheimer’s researcher.
“Are you going to the Alzheimer’s Summit?” he asked Eric.
“What’s the Alzheimer’s Summit?” Eric responded
“It’s in D.C. You need to be there.”
“So, I went there and from that I found out about the Alzheimer’s Association Conference. I didn’t know why I was going there at first, I just knew I needed to be there. And somebody at the conference said to me, ‘Eric, you need to meet with these foundations. They have funding available and they love to support different various projects that would educate caregivers.’”
“And I was walking down an aisle five minutes later, incredible story, and I walked up to the Roskamp Foundation Institute booth and they say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And they say, ‘What do you do?’ And I said, ‘I’m a filmmaker. I just finished a documentary on Alzheimer’s caregivers.’
“They looked at each other strange, and they turned to me and they said, ‘We were just talking about backing some type of media project.’”
Always Bring Something to a Meeting or Screening
“I called them a week later, drove over to Sarasota with a big heart cake, showed them the film, and from there it’s history.” Eric said.
“You never walk into an office without bringing something,” Carole added. “You always bring a gift of something, right? People love that. In my teaching class, Stuart Wilde talks about the fact that you give to people. You open people’s hearts through your giving and they get to know who you are, so I bet the cake was something they loved, right?”
“They really loved it.”
“I took your advice and I’m making little chocolate hearts that say “love,” so anywhere I go, I think it’s really important that as a filmmaker, as an Indie filmmaker, any screening that we have … For me, if it’s one person or 10 people or 100 people, even one more person to watch my film is important.
“It’s crucial for a filmmaker to go to any screening they can, possible, and give something, hand something out. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it makes them a little curious. It makes them a little bit happier and they’ll show up to your films.”
“From my past experience, you never know what’s going to happen from one person watching your film. All the other doors that could open or just the fact that you’re impacting them, making a difference in their life.”
Getting Friends to Make Introductions
Eric wanted to get in contact with Brian and Steven from Senior Information Centers. His mother had visited them years ago, years before, because they help seniors with legal issues or finding nurses and doing their pharmaceutical drugs.
He approached Arlene Rossman who was one of the caregivers who’s in his film. She had a really close relationship with Steven and Brian and she got him a meeting with them. He showed them a few clips of the film. They believed in what he was doing.
“They are one of our main sponsors now, as well. And without them, I don’t think I would have been able to finish the film because they paid for all the funds to get the documentary finished.”
Creating a Package for Community Outreach
When Eric started realizing the enormous costs involved with outreach, He decided that he needed to make a grand proposal. He also needed to make a budget. “It was really was eye-opening for me.” Eric commented when realizing the enormous expense, he was facing in marketing his film.
“Thank God, that I met From the Heart Productions. Again, I go back to that because that was so pivotal for me focusing and really changed my life because I realized how important it was to envision and realize that the power of your mind is so important.”
“And so I made my vision board. I listened to those classes that you have on Saturdays. I listened to everything Carol Joyce and you told me and I followed those directions. Plus, utilizing my own experiences and since I was the event coordinator and sponsorship development officer at Clear Channel, I knew the importance of branding and putting together a package.”
Find Your Target Audience
“People want to see that they’re going to receive value for what they’re giving. So, I started thinking outside the box and I realized, as a filmmaker, and I want to share this with other filmmakers, it’s really, really, extremely important to know your target audience.”
Eric remembered the lessons he heard during From the Heart Productions bi-weekly film funding guidance classes. That your film “can’t be just for everybody. You have to have your target audience.”
He started thinking about people that would want to get in front of this target audience. They might be medical professionals, Alzheimer’s caregivers, people who have a loved one who have Alzheimer’s. He started to develop a package for these people so they would get their logo on the website. They would get announced at these screenings. They would get their logo on the film. He thought of all of these different ways that he could help their organization.
“I gave them my passion and love and told them how important this was for me to educate caregivers and they followed suit and they all came on board. Every single one of these organizations have gotten new business directly from our film.”
Calculate the Costs of Outreach
Eric found the costs for outreach rivaled the production cost of his film.
“Most of my production costs, people jumped in and devoted their time because they wanted to get a screen credit. But when you run into outreach, you’re running into such enormous costs.
“Posters, press kits, graphic designers, trailers, festival fees, that can run over $5,000 for festival fees. Social impact producers. You need a DCP, which is a digital cinema package to project. Publicity, publicity stills, private screenings, traveling, broadcast cuts and they add up.
“They could go over hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s what why it’s so crucial that you find people that believe in your project and show them the love, and they will see your vision and help get that project out into the world.”
Benefits of Working with a Non-Profit
“And another thing that I’ve learned is that I’m keeping it much simpler by going through a nonprofit, which I think is really important, not only for direction. Foundations love to give other foundations monies to educate people in the community, as I stated before.”
“They feel secure that the foundation they’re giving to will make sure that you follow through” added Carole, “because heretofore, there were a lot of films that got financed, but never got finished. So, nowadays, they want to make sure that you finish the film, so you’ve done all that. You’ve got a gold star, as far as most of your donors are concerned.”
“Carole Dean, I just love you and your organization” Eric responded. “I can’t think you enough for the guidance you’re giving me and the places you’re sending me to go to. You’re incredible and, again, I’m not just saying that. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
Attracting a Team with Your Passion for Your Project
“Having an amazing team is really important. I hope filmmakers realize that and if you show the passion in what you’re doing, you don’t have to pay full fees.” Eric advised. “You can get people to help consult on your projects. They’re more than happy to answer questions.
“For example, when I first reached out to you”, he said to Carole, “I was calling you … I Googled amazing fiscal sponsors, found you, and asked you a question and you had no problem answering and helping me and that’s how, for example, I built my relationship with you.”
“I wasn’t a brilliant grant-writer, so I found an amazing grant-writer to help consult. Normally, it would astronomical charges, but because I did a lot of the work, they jumped in and helped consult. So again, I want to thank, for example, Carol Rainey.
“I have an impact producer that has been crucial in guiding me. She’s amazing and she’s so brilliant. Christina Lindstrom. And then I brought in a marketing team to help consult, and so I think these are key things to remember that, for outreach, that collaborating and building a really strong team is very important.”
Advice for Caregivers and Filmmakers
“One thing also I learned, and I hope this can help caregivers, is take a deep breath. You have this. You can do this. You need to believe in yourself. Believe in your project. Be passionate. You will do this. It will happen.
“And it takes a lot of time. It takes years, and years, and years, but look for giving programs from corporations. Think outside the box and I believe that all of us, as filmmakers, will succeed.”
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash – You can create storyboards by shooting photo boards using your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it.
He shared some stories and what he’s learned about filmmaking over the quarter decade since the film book was first published:
What He Taught Michael Jackson on Filmmaking
“At one point, I taught Michael Jackson and I had to be sensitive to the fact that he was Michael Jackson. But, a couple of times after I got to know him, I said, ‘Michael, you can pay for anything. If you wanted to make a film for $35,000, you can do it!
“And yet, so much of what we’re working on together over these many months, we’re circling, coming to getting started to making a film, why aren’t we making a film every day? Why aren’t we making a film every week?’… And I’m talking about making a short of some kind, that’s how you learn.
“For new filmmakers, if you’re at that age when you can take weeks off, months off, or use weekends and not have too much else to do except your love of filmmaking, then you ought to be doing that. Whatever is the gene that prompts you to be highly self-motivated and not fearful is good for filmmakers.”
How to Get Over the Fear of Creating
“When I was in China, it’s a very mimetic culture, they copy everything, and it was a difficult habit to break with the artist I was working with. I did bring 20, 30 people to the room and say, ‘Okay, let’s just talk about how you generate an idea, and where they come from.’
“I would just pull people at random out of the class and say, ‘Okay, well how did you get to work this morning? What happened?’ ‘Well I biked, and I did this, and it’s eight miles for me.’ ‘And where did you get food?’ ‘Oh, I did this,’ and out of that, I would start to pick little moments. I would say, ‘What if this had happened?’ And I would build a story out of the events they’d be telling me.
“And the whole point of it was, Hey, every day you do something. Go to lunch and something interesting happened, and if it didn’t happen figure out a place where it could’ve happened and then let your imagination run.
“I think a lot of the fear that people have about going out and just making something, is where their ideas come from and is the idea too big? You do get better at it. You get better by doing small ideas, that’s the first thing you have to learn is, you don’t have an unlimited budget.”
Creative Ways to Storyboard
You have a script. You’re a director, you get this (script) and you’re reading it and of course what’s happening is, you’re having all these pictures in your head. If you want to say, ‘I want to start with a close-up and I want to pull back and then we’re going to cut to Nancy over here for a close-up. And then we’re going to go wide.’ Well that doesn’t mean very much. It has to be seen visually, so visualization is getting it from where it is in your head, where you see it, onto a new form.
“There are many different ways to do that and storyboarding is one of them. You can go out and shoot photo boards, like you can use your iPhone or any other camera to shoot it. You have a scene in a diner, well get your friends, you’ll buy them lunch and then you go around shooting them from all different angles.
“Now you’ve got all these shots, now you may not even be recording the dialogue, you’re not doing the video either. You’re just getting individual frames. Then you’ll bring back your shots and put them into an editing package. You’ll start to put something together and that’s a photographic version of a story. These are all things you’re doing to be able to present the material to other people, but it’s also for yourself.
“With a pencil and a sheet of paper and you can draw stick figures. So, if you’re a director and you don’t draw, you can make up this very primitive looking thing but believe me, that primitive thing when you write dialogue underneath tells you so much. And what happens is, people say, ‘Wow, I didn’t understand why this didn’t work. I got two close-ups in a row, that’s not good.’
How the Directing Greats Protected Their Work
“Alfred Hitchcock would design all his shots in a storyboard. He would go shoot those shots and he wouldn’t really shoot many alternative ways of doing things. And it was the way he could ensure the control of how he wanted to do his movie and the studio couldn’t step in as they often do today and take control. So, say you shot 45 different shots, but you only at the end need eight of them. And you can endlessly try different versions of them.
And there was a story of John Ford, I forget what picture, it was with Maureen O’Hara, one of his later pictures. He was being asked in an interview about a famous shot where the Maureen O’Hara’s very close in a carriage, and very, very far away is one of the most prominent characters and they’re silhouetted in the distance and tiny in the frame.
“So, someone asked John Ford… ‘I remember that shot. It was so great, but it was done in such an unconventional way, why didn’t you go and get the close-up? Did you get that? Did you cover that in the shot in case the long shot didn’t work?’ He said, ‘No, I didn’t shoot it’ And he said, ‘Well why?’ He said, ‘Because the studio would have used it.’ “
Just do it!
“Look, you want to become a filmmaker? You’ve got to make films, that’s it. That’s the shortest answer. There are a phenomenal number of resources out there, YouTube, and anything online with courses.
“If, you don’t go to film school another option is to do something like the New York Film Academy. There are a number of those and many of the colleges are now offering shorter programs for people who just want to train to get the basics of filmmaking and they’re not looking for a degree.”
I’m on mission to solve a mystery that is preventing independent filmmakers from fully realizing financial success. And, I need your help
by Carole Dean
It’s basic business 101. When you start a business, you need to know how much money you will make from selling your product. As an independent filmmaker you should know, before you even start, what you can expect to get when selling your film. Right now, that is nearly impossible.
When I started my business, Studio Film & Tape, I knew exactly what to expect as profit. I know because I set it.
Back before the world of image capture went digital, you needed motion picture film to create a feature, documentary, or television series. I bought back leftover motion picture film from studio productions. I called that film short ends. From buying millions of feet of short ends off of features and selling them at a discount to new film to independent filmmakers, I eventually created the one of the largest privately woman owned business in US.
I decided that I could sell short ends of Kodak film stock if I put the selling price very low. So, I set my purchase price accordingly. I wanted a 45% gross profit and I was able to achieve that. Gross to me was the selling price less the cost of goods. I had my books set up for this on a monthly basis. If I did not see a 45% profit, then it was caused by one of two things: a mistake in the inventory or thief. Believe me, I experienced both.
Filmmakers Are in the Dark
It is very simple to run a business with clarity like I just described. Now, fast forward to today’s world with filmmakers creating budgets to make their features and documentaries. As head of the non-profit, From the Heart Productions, we support hundreds of filmmakers each year. I find most of them have no idea of what they can sell their film for.
They are sure they will get into one of the top 10 film festivals. They are also sure that a distributor will take their film and pay prices paid at Sundance. Some filmmakers think their film is perfect for Netflix. But do they know the price Netflix will pay? No.
They only know what they read in the papers when Netflix or Amazon makes a gigantic purchase at Sundance or Toronto. Then, they use that number as a reference and believe that Netflix or Amazon will pay them the same price. Please do not do this. Anytime a selling price is in the papers, that means it is extraordinary.
Here is Where I Need Your Help
Filmmakers need to know what to expect from a sale of the finished product when preparing their budget. How can you create a budget for a film when you don’t know if you will ever get that money back? You can’t really or shouldn’t.
I am asking every one of my filmmakers who has sold a project, “what did you get paid?” But I really want to gather as much information as possible.
This is where every filmmaker who reads this comes in. If you sold your film, please, let me know the selling price. You can be anonymous. I just need numbers to create a data base for filmmakers to know what they can expect when selling their project. Once I get enough reliable data then I can release it to everyone. With this information, you can create a budget that will give you a profit.
What I’ve Heard So Far About Selling Your Film
Distributors that I’ve spoken with tell me that VOD (Video on Demand) will get you $3,000 to $5,000. If you spend a lot of time and money marketing, you might make $15,000.00.
What??? I thought VOD was the financial replacement of the DVD and that you could definitely get some of your $300K budget back.
Many filmmakers say to me, “I am sure Netflix will love my film.” That may be, but I am told by a reliable source that they pay $1,000 per completed minute for films with known actors and docs known actors voices or interviews. That would mean your 90-minute feature or doc is now worth $90,000? Since that is a buyout, how can you make back your budget if it’s over $100K?
One film distributor said that Netflix recently paid only $25,000 for a completed feature. And that Hulu just paid $22,000 for a finished feature. This is not good news. I think it is interesting that both of them paid almost the same price. How did that happen?
Strength is Real Numbers
We need to find out what amount can be expected from a film sale. Do you know? If not, please do some research. Call people with similar films, ask them, “what did you sell your film for?” Please share with me. If they are reluctant, say, “Was it over $100K or under $100K?” Try to get an idea. You owe this to yourself so you can make a profit.
We must band together and find what are the current selling prices of films. We have to be honest with each other and share this information. It’s not fair to those who are spending 6 years making documentaries or features who end up with a brilliant film and then ask, “Where’s the money?” I find that It’s just not there for 90% of the filmmakers.
Together we can solve this mystery. You can email me at and give me your selling price or some general idea of what it was. You can be anonymous. We need a central organizing place for all of us to talk about the amount paid for films. I want to be this place. You can call me as well at 805 201 2080.
Don’t mind letting let others know what you got for selling your film? You can also let me know via Twitter. We are at @fromtheheartprd. Let us know what you got for your film with the hashtag #whatyourfilmisworth You will be helping us and others as well.
I see hundreds of films going through my film grant. There are so many talented filmmakers there are across America. I want them and all filmmakers to know the potential selling price when they create their budget.
Your time and talents are too valuable to give away.
“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out?”
Heather believes a great pitch is the key to raising money for your film and it must include your USP (Unique Selling Point) to be effective. She discussed how filmmakers can define and create their USP then maximize it to win investors and an audience.
What is the Unique Selling Point for Filmmakers?
For filmmakers and content creators, Heather says that ideally your USP is in your log line. “Simply elegantly, and above all quickly conveying what will compel your target audience to pay to view your film or TV show.”
How Do You Find Your USP?
“It’s what’s fresh and different about your film that we haven’t seen before,” she advises. It could be your unique point of view, your unique subject matter expertise that you bring, or your frame of reference. It could be the way you’re telling the story as there are many non-linear story telling techniques now.
“What are you doing that’s fresh and different, that we haven’t seen before, that makes this film stand out? Think of films like This Is Us with the two parallel story lines, and even Jane the Virgin. It’s a telenovela, but we’ve never seen anything with that kind of fun, tongue-in cheek, campy style. Ask yourself, ‘What makes your film fresher and more relevant to today’s audience?’”
Your USP is what bonds your film to your audience and builds rapport. She offers Game of Thrones as an example.
“There’s so much social media discussion over that, because people root for it, they get emotionally engaged. What is your point of entry that makes for rabid fans? Viral is not a business plan, you can’t make something go viral, it has to catch on.”
How to Build the Spine of Your Log Line
A simple way to build your log line, Heather suggests, is to start with the six questions journalists have used since the beginning of news to tell a story. “Sometimes they call it the five W’s, who, what, where, when, why, and sometimes how. It’s the inverted pyramid that inherently forces you to stick to the spine of your story. So, you start with the most compelling details first before funneling down to the rest of your pitch.”
“For example, who is the main character. It’s the protagonist. It’s also who stands in his or her way, the antagonist. Sometimes this could be a what, like an antagonistic force, but you’re always better if that is personified as a who. Next is what happens to him or her? That’s your catalyst or inciting incident.
“’What’ could also refer to what he wants or she wants. What is the protagonist’s goal and what is the problem? What’s the conflict? What are the obstacles and stakes? The climax is the most important what. It’s the most important moment in the script. The where and when is where the story is set, the story world, the milieu or the backdrop. That should influence all the other elements of the script.
“How does the main character overcome all that adversity? Well, there’s your plot. How does your protagonist or other characters evolve psychologically? There’s your transformational arc. How does he or she resolve the conflict? That’s how your story ends, which drives back to your climax. Ultimately, the why is why should we care? That’s the theme. So, I often think the plot is what a story is about, while the theme is what the story is really about, the undercurrent.”
“Why do we care? That’s the theme. Yeah, why? Why would I watch this? Why would the protagonist put him or herself through all that? That’s the why, the driving force, the theme. And typically, your plot, and your character arc are a metaphor for that theme.”
How Important is Your Log Line to Selling Your Project?
“It’s critical. It’s everything boiled down to that one sentence and it’s sometimes all that anyone will hear. And it’s what gets pitched over the phone, across the credenza, across conference room tables. In markets and meetings, that’s one line that people will use to default to. So, you want to be the one who’s crafted that perfectly.”
Log Lines with Irony Create a Great Sales Pitch
When watching a movie or a television show, Heather notes, viewers like to proactively add two plus two for themselves, to try to figure out the mystery, to figure out who will end up with who, second guess the plot, and the antagonist’s plan.
“So, just as you try to make the script an engaging fun read, you want to allow the story to unfold similarly for your pitch listener. So, when the log line is an intriguing puzzle to solve, and inherent in that conflict is the juxtapositions of irony, that’s the arc that launches this inevitable climax, and it shows what the character arc is going to be.
“Irony not only is fantastic in a log line, it’s a really terrific re-writing tool, because you can work backwards and forwards from log line to script and back again, minding the collision of sub-text to explore maybe missed creative opportunities, and where you could be pushing boundaries. It would be more obvious about what the character has to learn and overcome. It would be more obvious about the contrast between characters. That irony is a really critical.”
Your Log Line is Like a Great Reduction Sauce
“I don’t know if you’re a cook or a foodie, but a reduction sauce could be a sweet sauce drizzled over a dessert or a savory gravy dolloped over protein or vegetables.
“It starts with this huge terrain of raw ingredients, like your screenplay, like your documentary, like your reality TV show. Whatever it is, you have this huge amount that is slowly boiled down over time, reducing each flavor to its core essence. And then ultimately strained into this rich, dense, fully saturated, but completely original new puree, and that’s your log line.
“So, if you see a Broadway musical or an opera, the overture reveals snippets of all the music and moods to come, and the log lines are this alluring tease. It’s a synthesis of all the essential ingredients. So, writing that log line is like a microcosm of your script. Just as editing a moving piece of content. I think reverse engineering backwards and forwards enhances both. One informs and improves the other.”
The Importance of a Great Tag Line
Tag lines are understood within the context of the title and the log line, and when they’re accompanied by key art, they give you the whole picture. Film is a visual medium and tag lines help viewers or readers understand the whole picture in an instant.
“If you remember the Social Network, about Facebook,” Heather gave as an example, “the tag line was, ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’. That sets up what some of the conflict is in the world. I had a bunch listed in the book. Chicken Run; ‘Escape or die frying.’ That’s a pun that also shows you the stake in the film.
Tag lines just allow you to give that extra angle or that extra twist. Heather suggests to look on IMDB at a comparable project and look below the storyline and you’ll see plot keywords and tag line. And you can click to see what are the project’s tag line.
“What were the keywords that they used and then brainstorm using other people’s tag lines. Not remotely are you cloning or stealing or using someone else’s idea, you’re just looking at different angles to push it to see what’s been explored or not explored. It can be a really rich fertile territory for brainstorming.”
The more the merrier and rewarding when you identify your film’s audience because 98% of your donations will come from your database
by Carole Dean
One of the most important questions to ask yourself before attempting to crowdfund your film is “How do I enlarge my database of contacts?” It’s crucial as 98% of the donations to your project will come from your contacts.
Our fiscally sponsored film “Saving the Rabbits of Ravensbruck” found their audience and surpassed their goal on Kickstarter
The first step in growing your database is to define and find the audience for your film. How do you do that while you trying to make your film? Here’s information from my book, The Art of Film Funding and Stephen Follows book, How to Crowdfund your Film.
Who is Your Audience?
What is it that attracts people to your film? Start by interviewing some of the people who already love your project. This does not include family and friends (as the reason they love your project may just be you!).
Some questions you might ask include:
What social media platforms do you hang-out on?
Where do you engage with people online?
What kind of news do you pay attention to?
Check out my blog, “How to Mine Your Audience for Gold” to get a list of right questions to ask. Then, use the answers create a profile of your real audience. Remember, your audience needs to be motivated by the subject matter of your film.
Is Your Audience Big Enough?
Is your existing audience big enough to fund your campaign? Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, told me filmmakers can expect to get 20% to 30% of their contact list to donate.
The most popular donation is $25. So, if you are lucky enough to have 500 names, that will be at most 150 donations. Multiply that by $25. That’s $3,750. Is that enough to reach your campaign goal?
If it is not, then you need to add more names. This audience will need additional reasons to donate because they don’t know you. To get their donations, you need to create likability and trust.
Locate Communities or Groups
What is unique about your film? Find that and be able to talk about how special your film is because of this uniqueness.
Start listing the various audiences that your film addresses. For documentaries, it’s much simpler than features, but let’s just take an example of a documentary on organic food. Go online and start looking for organizations and groups who fit your film like vegetarians, vegans, organic consumers, benefits of organic food, etc.
Find those organizations through Facebook and Google. On Facebook, there are thousands of groups set up around nearly every topic imaginable. You can find films or subjects that resemble closely resemble yours.
Log into your Facebook profile. Enter a relevant keyword in the search box at the top left of the page. Then, click the Groups tab to see a list of groups related to your search term. Click on the name of the group to learn more, or click join to become a member of the group.
Make a list from your Facebook and Google results. You want to find the top 40 organizations and set a goal to connect to at least 20. Hopefully, they will have a minimum database of 5,000 members each.
Your goal is to get them to support your film. Get them to post about your film on their database, or newsletter, or ask them to tweet about your film.
Twitter and Instagram
Author Stephen Follows in “How to Crowdfund Your Film” suggests doing research and marketing via Twitter. He advises to search for key people around the theme of your film and use tools like Socialbro or Rival I Q to understand more about that audience.
“Look at who is following these big people”, he writes “and look at who the big people are and find who is the most active with communicating. Look specifically to see if they recommend other projects because if they do you want to contact them early to get them on board and promote your film as well.”
He recommends to seek tweets which motivate the audience to retweet and comment. For example, “It might be that people are talking about dogs but it’s only when they get to talk about how to look after dogs that created a lot of people sharing and commenting this will help you understand the language and the sub topics that inspire action.”
Instagram can also be useful with the visuals answering questions like what are the common things with the images on your topic? How professional are they?
Capturing Your Audience
Ok, you’ve got a good idea who the audience is for your film. You’ve socialized with them on social media, in their communities, and made yourself known. Many seem really interested in your project and are likely to support it.
Sign up with an email marketing platform such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. Through them, you will get an opt-in link for others to sign up to get more information on your film in exchange for their email address. We use Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions. They have a text to join feature as well.
Don’t ask people to join a mailing list. Ask them to join your community that revolves around your film as well as its subject. No wants to be on a list.
Include this opt-in link on your Facebook page. Facebook has the call-to-action feature. This button appears near the “Like” button on your cover photo and is another great way to encourage email sign-ups. Add the “Sign Up” button and link to your online sign-up form so your Facebook visitors can join your mailing list easily.
Add your opt-in link to your Instagram Profile and your website if you have one. Also, make sure it is in your signature in your emails.
You can drive them to your website where you can collect their email address is by giving them a nice gift, something they can’t live without. Create short three-minute trailers. Then, put them on your YouTube channel to drive people to your website. Once there, they can’t resist your gift and will sign up to be part of your film community.
Reaching Out to Your Audience
By now you should have the audience profiled. Try to list them by groups.
I always say when you ask for money you often get advice but when you ask for advice, this can sometimes lead to money. So, with your first emails don’t ask for a donation. They may still not be sure who you are yet. They may not trust you even though they may be interested in your content.
I’d ask them to give you feedback on your film. You might say, ‘I making a film about dogs and I wonder how you feel about these various topics and what information you would like to see in a film of this nature.” Do you like what I’ve written? If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.
You might get feedback and it could be very good. I’ve had a lot of filmmakers say they were impressed with the return information. And, you can find that as this person gets closer to the film through their relationship with you, they may eventually donate.
Remember, You Need a Lot More Than Money
Make a list of the things you need that could be donated other than money. Airline ticket miles, social networking, a PA for the shoot. Craft service on the shoot etc. etc. Some filmmakers put this information on their website to encourage people to contact them to become part of the film’s community and donate their time.
Identifying, contacting and entertaining your audience is key to crowdfunding. You want to take your crowd to the crowd funding. They will follow you and donate and support you if they like and trust you and are interested in the subject matter of your film.
How to Keep Your Environment and Emotions From Holding You Back
by Carole Dean
Breianne Pryse is an intuitive life strategist and business coach trained in many modalities. She specializes in helping people get beyond their limitations and create what they desire. Born with many intuitive gifts, she excels at moving people and businesses into places they never thought possible.
Toss Your Past Traumas and Current Negativity Surrounding You Into a Bin and Take Back Your Energy
If you’re working from your house and it doesn’t feel good, this can be a sign there’s too much energy there. It could also mean there is too much negativity or it’s a sign you have not released your energy correctly.
“With all the political stuff going on, the weather, we are constantly bombarded with energy. We have to own that,” Breianne suggests. “We say to ourselves ‘All right, I am really bombarded by the energy. Universe, I’m feeling crap today. All right, I’ve got to change this. I have life to live and more important things to do. I need to change it. I’m going to change it today.’”
She points out that there are very basic things that you can do to change the energy around you. “Spraying rosewater around an environment is really great. Roses are the flowers of angels, so doing that is very good. I like to flood myself with white light as that really helps.”
“Putting boundaries on energy, changing your space. Think of going down to the beach one day and working, instead of sitting in front of your computer in your office. A lot of people have modalities, prayers, rituals that make them feel good and shift their energy. Salt baths and showers are really excellent, because it cleans out your auric field and it cleans out your skin.
“But, is really super important that you honor that you feel like crap and you can change it. Because as we know, we can get caught up in the nastiness so much, and we forget that we can change it. We really need to be in our power, and in our awareness and we can do that by changing the energy.”
Clearing Your Mental & Emotional Past
Breianne believes our past traumas not only affect who we are today. They also affect our thoughts and our feelings.
“Most of us are energetically sensitive people,” says Breanne. “Sometimes when we go to create something awesome, we can feel like we hit a brick wall. Or we’re trying really, really hard and it doesn’t work. Well, a lot of times that’s some sort of mechanism, some sort of energy within us from our past, that is preventing us.”
Start by Identifying the things that are limiting you. She offers “one fun exercise that you can do is to imagine in front of you a bin of velvet white, or purple light, and it’s burning really, really bright. You want to find any past traumas stored in your body. You want to ask, ‘All right universe, what stuff did I pick up from my mom that prevents me from having the money that I want to have right now?’”
“Feel into that energy, and you start picking it out of your body, and physically throwing it into the bin. You can do the same thing with your father.
“One of the things that was very helpful to me is, I had a lot of feedback and energy from people with old sayings from Oklahoma and Arkansas, because that’s where my family is from originally. One of those was, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Well, that might really be affecting me now, and even though I don’t consciously buy into that, I can remember my grandmother saying that. So, I pulled that and I put it in the bin.”
She believes your ancestry plays a part in this, too. Usually by the age of two, where your parents were financially gets ingrained in you. So, if they were struggling, and usually when they’re starting a new family, there is a lot of struggle, that energy can be in you and make it hard to make money.
To overcome that, Brieanne likes “talking to the traumas and saying, ‘All right, trauma. Thank you very much. I’m reclaiming my energy. I’m stopping you. I am choosing to create money to help me, my family, humanity.’”
“Throwing everything in the bin is awesome because that’s just saying you no longer need it, and you no longer want it. Now, with this, you need to go back to that magical word, truth. What I notice with a lot of people is that they did not get rid of it. What they did is, they just put it in a box. They did something else with it, so they can’t find it anymore, but it’s still there running the show.
“What I do is, I invite all the energy from all the things that I’ve ever thought I’ve cleared, all the things from all the modalities that I thought I’d zapped. I bring it all up, pull it up from inside my body and I just throw it in the bin. That helps clear it.”
Refine Your Ask
Before embarking on their project, Breianne advises filmmakers to ask “All right, universe, is it time for this film? Will this film have the impact that I want it to have at this point?”
“It’s all about asking and refining your ask, but you have to remember to ask.” She reminds people that they’ve got to ask every day and ask consistently. “Because the universe hears everything. Ask the universe ‘How can we make more money today? What can I do to make more money for my film today?’”
“Please don’t say ‘Oh my God, it’s so hard to make money. Things don’t work for me.’ You need to basically be asking daily, and you keep asking, as you refine your ask. Are we asking for the right thing? And just see what happens.
“One of the things that was explained to me was sometimes what you’re asking for is too small. Sometimes, things don’t show up because we’re asking for $10,000 for a film. Maybe we should be asking for $100,000 for two films. Back to that magic truth energy of what is working and what is showing up.”
Be Aware of What Shows Up
“If you’re asking for something, and something else shows up, pay attention,” Breianne warned me.
“Carole, I know that you’ve had this experience too. With me it’s like, I want new clients. So, I send fliers out in the west. Well, all the clients come from the east. Nothing comes from those fliers. It’s all about telling the universe that you want something, but not being attached to how it shows up. I’m sure you’ve had the stories from your filmmakers many times, they’ve spent all this time and energy trying to get money one way, but then it magically appears from somewhere else.
“We have to be aware of that, and say, ‘Wonderful universe, how can I magically receive more energy?’ We have to shift, because if we’re so ultra-focused on one way, we’re not going to see all the opportunities.
“What’s wonderful about this day and age is there’s a zillion and a half ways to make money, we just have to choose. We have to choose what works for us, and go with that, okay? Then that brings it to the fifth way.”
You Have to Put Energy and Action into What You Want to Create
That’s just how the universe works, regardless of what anybody tells you.
“Years ago, when the film, The Secret, came out, there were a lot of people who loved it. I had a psychologist. She said, ‘Oh yeah, we have The Secret Syndrome.’ I said, ‘Well, what does that mean?” She says, ‘Well, it means people said they asked for something, like they wanted a million dollars. Then they went, and sat in their armchair for a year, and got mad because they didn’t get their million dollars!’”
“But the million dollars wasn’t going to find them sitting in their armchair, watching TV. So, it was such a phenomenon that they had to create a syndrome for it.
“It’s basically taking action. Now, sometimes that action can be going down to the local coffee shop, because you might meet the person who is going to give you the money. Sometimes, it could be going down to the beach, spending some alone time meditating, contacting an old friend that you had, you know? It’s all about just looking for energy, opening the energy, keeping it open and following it, because that’s how the magic happens, is just following the energy.
“Choose to be in the energy of a successful filmmaker, of a person who makes good use of other people’s money. Go back to number one about keeping your energy clean. You keep your energy clean, you keep your focus, and you keep yourself in that wonderful money energy. Allowing yourself to stay there, regardless of what craziness people are doing around you, stay focused on your goals.”
Author of “The Field” Discusses Her Reasons for Writing it and How Our Thoughts Can Change Matter
by Carole Dean
Lynne McTaggart is a brilliant author. I fell in love with her mind when I read her book The Field. She has an incredible way of transforming difficult information from physicists so that we get it.
We study The Field in our Intentional Filmmaking Class where we intend our future with the science found in Lynne’s book. One filmmaker, Diane estelle Vicari, took my class and went on to study with her.
“A thought is a thing that affects other things…It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them.”
Diane connected me with Lynne McTaggart and I was very lucky and honored that she agreed to an interview on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast. Here are highlights:
On What Took Her on a Journey to Write The Field
“I was curious about why spiritual healing works.“ Lynne explained. “I run an international magazine called What Doctors Don’t Tell You, we look at the science of what works and what doesn’t work in conventional and alternative medicine. I kept coming across really good studies of spiritual healing and I kept thinking to myself, if that’s true, if you could take thought and send it to someone else and make them better, that undermines everything we think about how the universe works.”
“So, I decided to go on a quest to try to figure out what was behind all of this. Do we have human energy fields? What else do we have? So, I began to speak to a number of pioneering scientists in consciousness research and I soon realized that each of them had made a small discovery that was revolutionary in its impact and its implications and together compounded into a completely new view of the world, a totally alternative view of reality where we are not separate entities as we’ve been told.”
How We Are All Inner-Connected
“We’re not these kinds of little billiard balls just independently operating according to fixed laws in time and space but we are one giant connected entity, thanks for a thing called “the zero-point field” and the zero-point field is essentially a quantum energy field that unites us all in its invisible web.
“But some of the other things they discovered are kind of an outgrowth of that too, that our minds may not be locked inside our heads but be out there in the field, that we are very interconnected with everything, that we have an enormous and vast human potential for extending well beyond our five senses and also the thing that tickled me the most, that thoughts are an actual something with the capacity to change physical matter. “
Thoughts Can Change Matter
“I’m at my heart an investigative reporter, very interested in fact-finding and evidence and so the reporter in me was sort of saying, well, are we just talking about shifting a quantum particle or are we talking about curing cancer with our thoughts? How far can we take this?
‘And also, what happens when lots of people are thinking the same thought at the same time and that shifted me to creating the intention experiment but it was really that kind of left-over question. It was an itch I needed to scratch, left over from the field that propelled me onto my other work.”
Our Thoughts Are Trespassers
“We’re creating all the time. One of the things that came out of my research is the idea that thoughts are trespassers. I mean, a thought isn’t just a thing; a thought is a thing that affects other things and it’s affecting all of the time. It’s trespassing into other people and things and changing them. So, we are co-creators essentially, every moment.”
One physicist proved this in his experiments.
“The amazing Fritz Albert Popp was absolutely brilliant. He discovered accidentally, when looking for a cure for cancer, that there is a very subtle current of light that’s emanating from all living things and moreover, that other living things are beaming back synchronistically.
“He found that this light was a communication system inside the body. So, if something was going on in one place, it would simultaneously let the rest of the body know what was going on. It was coming out of DNA but also it was communicating with the outside and the outside was having a conversation back and so that is a huge, huge thing and may account, to some degree, for why thoughts affect us outside, why they’re affecting other things outside of us. Popp found that highly cohesive light existed in living things.”
Are we Vibrating Tuning Forks?
“I believe we may be a tuning fork resonating with other things at the same frequency. Maybe through these ‘tuning forks’, we set a resonance frequency for what we want and we attract it to ourselves through our relentless focus and faith.
“You see this all the time, where someone achieves something difficult and we often say ‘He willed it so.’ Or you may know people whose focus allows them to bring the future to the present so that doors open were there were no doors before.
“People who move up rapidly and always seem to be in the right place at the right time, we have to wonder, are they highly functioning “tuning forks” bringing things to them to achieve their relentless vision?”
How to Make Use of Lynn McTaggart’s Lessons
I want filmmakers to consider using some of this brilliant science. For example, you could see your film finished and envision yourself at the end of filmmaking at a major screening room and hearing a standing ovation for your film. This nightly vision could begin to attract what you need to make the film.
That might be money, goods, services, connections, mentors, strategic partners, all of the things you need to make a film. You attract them with your vibration that comes from your vision of the future as you want it to be.
Who knows? I do believe that we are all vibrating strings, so perhaps it is all about finding those people and things who are vibrating with you by your relentless visions.