5 Steps to Making a Great Film

Roy W. Dean Grant Winning Filmmaker Jason Smith Shares The Advice He Gives Filmmakers That He Mentors

By Carole Dean

Jason Smith’s Documentary “I Voted” Was Selected to the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

What makes a great film? Jason Smith, who directed the Roy W. Dean Grant winning documentary “I Voted”, has some definite thoughts on this. Jason has worked as a voice over artist on over 100 films including Avengers: Infinity War, Thor, and Deadpool. He also mentors’ filmmakers.

Jason was recently a guest on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  He listed what he considers are the 5 “Be’s” necessary for a great film.

 

Be You. – There’s Only One You

Nobody can make a film like you because they’re not you. Nor can you make a film like someone else. You will always be your own best advocate so you might as well be first in line for your own fan club.

“That doesn’t mean being egotistical, obnoxious and self-centered” explained Jason. It simply means having a sense of confidence in what you do. It also means digging deep in creating content that resonates with you – because if it doesn’t resonate with you, it won’t resonate with others.

Be Open. – Change is the Only Thing That is Constant

“The best laid plans usually turn into something else” Jason quipped. Sometimes change is fortuitous, frequently it’s not. But it is inevitable and it will impact your project at every stage of your endeavor. So, flexibility is paramount. The ability to adapt is integral to success.

Be Resourceful – In Independent Filmmaking One Often Has to Cut Corners Using Borrowed Scissors.

You will most likely be asking for favors and assistance. Pay people when appropriate (which is most of the time) and respect their value. You may not be able to pay market value to professionals but pay them something.

And if you cannot come up with the funds to make your film, ask yourself if you’re presenting the project in the best light. Maybe you’re not attracting others because you haven’t fully fleshed out what you’re doing.

Be Passionate. – Showing Up is a Big Part of Any Filmmaking Venture.

“If you’re convinced, you’re making the greatest film ever, figure out how to share your vision with others” he advised. By convincing others thru your passion, you will build a team and a community. Those are necessary components for the success of your film.

“Convincing people thru passion is necessary for any artist, especially when the art is in the conceptual stage.” You will need to convince others of the value of your idea. Then, you will need to convince audiences thru your execution that your great ideas are up on the screen.

Be Honest. – While Telling the Truth is a Good Way to go Thru Life.

“Yes, you want to be honest with others and not lie. However, we sometimes lie in life – it’s part of the human condition. And the most important human that we should never lie to is…ourselves.” Jason noted.

When we lie to ourselves about our film, we run the risk of making an expensive awful mess that will lose money and damage relationships. The list of lies we can tell others runs long, and the list of lies we can tell ourselves runs even longer.

 

The Art of Film Funding PodcastCarole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

 

The 5 “P’s” of Pre-Launch Crowdfunding

Expert Analysis on How to Prep Your Campaign to Guarantee Success 

A brilliant and respected data researcher for the motion picture industry, Stephen Follows has now set his sights on breaking down what makes a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The 5 “P’s” of Pre-Launch CrowdfundingHis new book “How to Crowdfund Your Film: Tips and Strategies for Filmmakers” details the hard data filmmakers need to create a crowdfunding campaign that will hit their goals. 

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, host Carole Dean of From the Heart Productions was joined by Stephen who shared with Carole his 5 “P’s” of pre-launch crowdfunding that are critical to a successful campaign.  

Pitch and People 

Stephen said either of these can be #1.  Both are complimentary.

In your pitch, you need to understand what is the unique compelling idea that will delight your audience that will cause them to promote or fund your film.  Is it rewards?   Is it the film’s story?

For people, you need to decide who is your audience for the film.   Who will this project appeal to that can turn into donors.  

If you know what makes your film unique, then you can find who your film will speak to the best.  If you know who your audience will be for the film, you need to figure out what would be a good pitch to them to bring them on board.

Planning

You need to do as much research as possible Stephen advises.   “In the evening or the weekend, lunch break, you noodle around looking at other crowdfunding sites that are trying to raise similar amounts, same niche, and same audience.”  Figure out what is working for them and creating their success? 

Process

This is where you are building a team.  Work out tasks for each member.  “You are sort of building a machine which is your pre-launch engine.  Think of it as pre-production.” 

Promote

“This something that can be quite tricky for filmmakers” Stephen warns.  Most filmmakers see themselves as artists and not salespersons.  “But they do have to acknowledge that the projects that work are the ones that are promoted.”  You should be the main salesperson for your film

If you feel you are not capable of selling your project, find someone else who can do it for you.  Don’t expect when you put up your crowdfunding page that the money will just come in.

Stephen suggests that you pre-launch should take up no less time than the campaign itself.   “It will take time,” he says, to get your 5 “P’s” done, “but, it will pay off.”

From the Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to educating and assisting independent filmmakers on getting funding for their projects.   They offer fiscal sponsorship with personal fundraising guidance, three Roy W. Dean Film Grants each year, and the Intentional Filmmaking Class.  

Secrets to Sensational Interviews

How an Award-Winning Filmmaker Got Her Subjects to Open Up on Camera and Reveal More Beyond Her Original Questions

By Carole Dean

Stephanie Howard was a news reporter before she became a filmmaker and created her brilliant documentary, The Weight of Honor.  This Roy W. Dean Grant winning film is a tribute to the caretakers who dedicate their lives to our wounded soldiers.

I interviewed her for my The Art of Film Funding Podcast where she shared with me her secrets for sensational interviews.

Read, Research and Learn Everything About the Topic

Secrets to Sensational Interviews

Stephanie Interviewing for “The Weight of Honor”

Before you create your questions, know everything you can about the person and the subject matter.  Write all of the questions you want and be sure to cover each of the topics you have chosen. 

Do not write a yes or no question.

Write the same question in different ways to get the answers you want them to say.  It’s often needed.  You know what you want them to say to move the film forward so write several of these critical questions in the hope of getting the right answer for the film.

You do not want to be on camera. Normally, you want only the interviewee on the camera.

If they say “as I said” or “Like I was saying” …. Stephanie stops them and reminds them that this has to be new information just for the viewer. You need to answer in the first person. Plus, she reminds them to repeat the question in the answer.

The Most Important Part of Interviewing is Listening

When you are listening, you can maintain eye contact and you know what the next question is from what they just said.  Keeping eye contact is important so they are focused on you.  They could be giving you a real jewel in the answer and you could miss it if you are focused on your list of questions.  You never know what answers you can get and how listening can open new threads of information about your subject matter. 

One of our Roy Dean Grant winners was making a historical family film.  When she was interviewing her subject, he answered her question, but then he also said something about “all those other Negros that were buried under the tree.” 

The woman who was with him said, I don’t think you want to discuss that.  Our filmmaker kept asking questions about this issue while she had him on camera and found that she was sitting on a film about scores of missing black people in the area.  This created Lily & Leander: A legacy of Violence, a brilliant documentary film, just from hearing every word. 

Ask Your Crew

Stephanie said one of the things she recommends is when you are through asking questions, say to your crew, “Do you have any questions?”   This keeps the crew listening too.  She finds that they have excellent questions. 

The crew is listening because they know Steph will want their input.  This really sets a co-creative situation.  They know you appreciate them and they want to be part of the content of the film as well as the production.

Keep the Camera Rolling

Tell your crew that even when you say, “ok kill the camera,” do not stop filming.  You can get the best information during this time.  People relax when the camera is off.  When your subject says something that you want in the film, Steph just says, “let’s fire up the camera and get that” even though it was on all of the time. 

Because you have a signed release it’s all legal material.

I heard some wonderful comments in our fiscally sponsored filmmaker Jilann Spitzmiller’s film, Still Dreaming.  She kept her camera rolling when people thought it was off and caught a conversation that added so much to the film. 

When people think the camera is off then you can get some real jewels.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Sharing Wisdom: From Filmmaker to Author

An Award Winning Filmmaker Decided to Write a Book.  Here is What She Learned and Her Outside-the-Box Way of Getting a Great Deal to Write the Screenplay

by Carole Dean

Many filmmakers tell me they want to write a book to go with their film.  And they want to know if the book should be published first. I decided the right person to ask is Alexis Krasilovsky.

Filmmaker to AuthorAlexis won the Roy Dean Film Grant for her global documentary feature: Women Behind the Camera, which won four “Best Documentary” awards. She also directed a second global documentary, “Let Them Eat Cake” (2014), She is a member of the Writers Guild of America West.

Written under her “nom de plume” Alexis Rafael, her most recent book is “Sex and the Cyborg Goddess”.  Set in 1969, it tells the story of Ana who arrives at Yale just as it’s going co-ed.  It tackles sexual liberation and sexual assault on campus, as well as sexual harassment in the film industry.

I interviewed her on The Art of Film Funding Podcast about filmmakers writing books.  How important is it for your film?  Here are some tips from this podcast.

What Advice Do You Have for Going from Filmmaker to Author?

“It’s often a good idea to write a book first,” suggested Alexis.  “It not only helps you to solidify your ideas, but by getting a book published first, your readership becomes your potential audience for the movie.”

“If it’s a women’s topic, that can be especially significant.  Women comprise 75% of the readership of novels.  Even though the film industry is still very male-dominated in terms of who decides what gets produced and what doesn’t, they are finally recognizing that it can be very good business to produce a film based on a book written by and for women.”

Did You Base “Sex and the Cyborg Goddess” on Your Own Experiences?

“Sex and the Cyborg Goddess” is a work of fiction, set against the backdrop of the sexual liberation era, anti-Vietnam protests and Black Panther demonstrations. It’s a portrait of a filmmaker, Ana, as a young woman who won’t let sexual harassment stop her.” 

But I am not Ana.  Unlike the Ana of this novel, I did let sexual harassment stop me.  I retreated into academia instead of going to bed with the last producer I worked for in Hollywood. The books which I wrote while a professor became a kind of R&D – research and development – for creating the character of Ana as she moves forward through the 1970s and 1980s in L.A. and N.Y.” 

But some of what Ana experiences did come from my own life. Like Ana, the Yale student, I protested against the war in Vietnam in Washington, although the real me didn’t drop acid.”

What Do You Want People to Take Away From the Book?

“I want readers to find affirmation in their right to pursue consensual sex, as well as their right to live without sexual violence. 

For those readers who are part of the “#MeToo” movement, I want my book to provide healing by furthering the discussion about Ana, a relatively isolated character, and young women today, who belong to a Sisterhood.”

What is the Unique Strategy You Are Using to Get a Deal to Write the Screenplay?

“Before embarking on the screenplay, I took time off – including a research fellowship and a sabbatical – to write a nonfiction book entitled “Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling.” It was published by Routledge in NY and London last fall.” 

As a member of the Writers Guild, I thought that by establishing myself as an international expert in screenplay adaptation, I’d get a better deal on the screenplay for “Sex and the Cyborg Goddess.”  I’ve been speaking about adaptation at CBS Studios and on panels around the L.A. area.  In January, I’ll be giving a screenplay adaptation workshop at the International Academy of Film and Media in Bangladesh.”

I hope that strategy pays off. After teaching screenplay adaptation as a screenwriting professor for over two decades, you can imagine what a thrill it is to sit down at the computer, open up Final Draft, and finally, finally, go to work on my own screenplay.” 

I just sit there and laugh and laugh – not all of “Sex and the Cyborg Goddess” is tragic.”

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Getting Creative When Creating Great Adaptations

Author Alexis Krasilovsky Explains When it’s Been Right to Move Adaptations Beyond the Original Material

by Carole Dean

AdaptationsAre you thinking of making a film or documentary by adapting a book, magazine article or TV show?  You’re not alone as many academy award winning films, Emmy winning movies, and series began as adaptations. 

There’s a ton of pitfalls.  Some, of course, are legal that could stop you before you start. Or, you could get tied up in lawsuits after you’ve invested time and money.  Other traps are creative.  How far should you or can you go in changing any aspect of the original?

Fortunately, on my recent The Art of Film Funding Podcast, I had an expert on adaptations to offer tips and guidance on adapting material. 

Roy W. Dean Grant winning filmmaker Alexis Krasilovsky is the author of Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling.  Educated at Smith and Yale, with an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, her book is a compendium for anyone wanting to adapt a story from almost any source. 

How To Keep Adaptations From Being Stifling

“A good student will memorize the storyline and analyze the characters and some of the things they say – whether it’s a graphic novel, a short story, a play or a novel” noted Alexis.  “But a great student — or a professional screenwriter — needs to honor the spirit of the work without just regurgitating its storyline and dialogue.” 

The original work needs to come alive in a new medium.  Alexis says an adaptations calls for a close relationship with the original author.  But, you don’t want to be slavishly married to the book.

“It may mean divorcing yourself from the material you’re adapting in order to discover your own voice in the process,” she explains.  “That fresh perspective can be the key towards involving your audience so that they’re excited by the story and what you do with its characters, setting, and time frame.”  

How Important Is It to Stay with the Original Setting of the Story?

“Moonlight”, based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In the Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”   was shot in Liberty City, Florida.  It’s the Miami suburb where both director  Barry Jenkins and author grew up.  But, Alexis mentions, before filmming began, there was talk about setting a in Chicago!

For some stories, like “Moonlight”, the original location is an integral part of the story and should not be altered.  Likewise, it’s hard to imagine Trainspotting taking place somewhere other than Edinburgh, “The Milk of Sorry” in any place other than Peru, or “Wuthering Heights” outside of England (although Luis Bunuel’s “Wuthering Heights”, renamed “Abismos de Pasion”, takes place in Mexico).

But many times, the creativity of changing a setting is what makes a film a winner.  One is example is Nobel Laureate Naguib Mafouz’s novel, “Midaq Alley”  The original story takes place in a run-down alleyway in poverty-stricken Cairo, Egypt.

Mexican Filmmaker Jorge Fons reset the location in his film “Midaq Alley” (El Callejon de los Milagros).  His film explores the parallel lives of characters in a run-down alleyway in Mexico City.  The film won 11 Ariel Awards in Mexico – the equivalent of our Oscars, and dozens of other international awards and nominations. 

It’s a great example of a story without borders:  It’s a story that resonates with poverty issues in both Egypt and Mexico but is also universal.

Adding to Original Material

Akira Kurosawa was famous for his many adaptations.  Alexis told a story contained in his cleverly named autobiography, “Something Like an Autobiography” in which talked about how  he combined different original stories to create a classic.

“As I cast about for what to film,” Kurosawa recalled, “I suddenly remembered a script based on the short story “In a Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. .. written by Hashimoto Shinobu.  It was a very well-written piece, but not long enough to make into a feature film”

Later the memory of it jumped out of one of those creases in my brain and told me to give it a chance.  At the same time, I recalled that “In a Grove” is made up of three stories.  I realized that if I added one more, the whole would be just the right length for a feature film.”

Then, I remembered the Akutagawa story “Rashomon.” Like “In a Grove,” it was set in the Heian period…The film Rashomon took shape in my mind.”

Kurosawa felt, that in order to write scripts, “you must first study the great novels and dramas of the world.  You must consider why they are great.”

“I’ve tried to do just that in while writing my book, “Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling,” said Alexis  “I hope it will be helpful to others.”

Bonus – Alexis Krasilovsky Negotiator’s Legal Checklist for Film Adaptations

There are six basic questions that negotiators can discuss and check off when working on film adaptations:

  1. Is the basic story under copyright?
  2. Who owns the rights?
  3. Have the rights been previously granted to a third party?
  4. If in public domain, have other versions been previously made and released.
  5. Monetary negotiation with owner or agent of copyrighted version.         6.  Non-monetary negotiations (such as territory, script approval, sequel rights, credits, etc.).

Attorneys can be very expensive and therefore doing one’s homework prior to your consultation can be a worthwhile investment. The answers are discussed in detail in “Great Adaptations,” in the second chapter.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

How a Hawaiian Prayer Can Help Fund Your Film

Hoʻoponopono, the Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation, can release your creativity

by Carole Dean

Hoʻoponopono

Forgiveness is a higher vibration than love

“My enemy has come to ask me for forgiveness.” 

I was in the hospital with my father who had just had a stroke.  We did not know if he would live.  Dad was staring at the door to his room when he said those words.

I said Dad, you have to forgive him and let him go.  “Darling”, he said, “I forgave him long ago.  He must forgive himself.” 

That was one of the most important moments in my life.  Since then, I have learned that forgiveness is a higher vibration than love.  It is the vibration that we all want to reach while we are on this planet. 

Then, I found a wonderful Hawaiian prayer.  It has been an important tool for healing myself and forgiving others.  It brought balance in my life and I owe much of my success to its lessons.

I teach it to filmmakers in my Intentional Filmmaking Class.  It has helped them move past the frustrations and anger artists encounter. 

It’s allowed them to be heard, be creative, and get funded.

Hoʻoponopono

‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’.

Those are the few and powerful words of the Ho’oponopono prayer.  The literal translation of the prayer from Hawaiian is ‘to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, make orderly or neat.”

Many people believe Hoʻoponopono to be a mantra of mental and spiritual cleaning that could be compared to Buddhist techniques for clearing karma.  According to the Hawaiian worldview, “errors of thought” are the origin of problems in the physical world.  The prayer begins the process of cleansing them.

When we forgive others, we are really forgiving ourselves.

Money Has Ears

Ok, how can this help you fund your film?  If you feel like you have a strained relationship with money, you can use this powerful meditation to break through personal blocks.  Creative differences, funding falling through, or family issues distracting you from reaching your goals?   This prayer can help get all of that behind you. 

With Hoʻoponopono, you take total responsibility for your own actions and everybody else’s too.   You must let go of your ego when using this prayer.  Connection, clearing, and forgiveness are much more important than ego concerns about who is right and who is wrong.

This will move you out of any feeling that you have been victimized.  It will release anger that is blocking you from moving forward.

Rejection is a Daily Occurrence for Filmmakers

Each of you has to deal with rejection on a daily basis.  Healing and forgiving are partners in this Hawaiian prayer.  When you have been rejected by a donor or a grant, this can help you accept it and move on. 

There is power in release of trauma, power in release of anger, power in the release of frustration.   All of this power you have is now being used to handle, to keep in place, all of these emotions. 

You can heal yourself and remove any unpleasant situations, rejections or loss, with Hoʻoponopono.  This is asking a lot from a prayer and I believe it works. 

Bring up a rejection of a donation to your film or bring up a confrontation with someone.  Then, say this prayer daily for a week or until you feel you are in balance with this person or issue. 

You will begin to heal that hurt and soon you can say their name without any hurt feelings.  That is when you know you’ve forgiven them.

Give it a Two Month Try Out

Those of you who want to try this, please join me and let’s do it for the months of August and September.  This would give us lots of prayers to forgive people including ourselves. 

You might use a memory trick to tie new things to some habit.  For example, like when you brush your teeth, remember your Ho’oponopono prayer! 

Give yourself time to start saying it before the day comes on you or when you go to bed.  Pick someone, some event, that you want to heal and begin your forgiveness prayer. Say it at least 5 times for one person. 

I will do it with you.  This opens up our creative forces.

Look Online for a Guided Ho’oponopono Meditation

There are prayers on line from 7 minutes to over an hour that you can use.  I suggest you find one that works for you.

I am a long-time meditator.  I put myself into a quiet place or I do this when I go to bed.  In my mind, I bring up the person or event.  Then I say Ho’oponopono, their name, and then I slowly and sincerely repeat these words:

I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you. 

I suggest you do this 3 to 5 times for each person.  I send them forgiveness with each prayer, even when I think I am the wronged person! It does not matter, I know I must forgive them and I must forgive myself.

Forgiveness is the highest vibration on the planet and that’s where creatives want to live, where we are vibrating with the resonance higher than love.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

 

How to Get Your Film Funded with New Tax Law

Hidden in New Tax Law are Incentives For Film Donors and Investors That Could Help Finance Your Entire Film

 

by Carole Dean

Get Your Film Funded

Did you know that when President Trump signed into law the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in January, 2018, new incentives for film investors were created that could help get your film funded?  I didn’t and I’m pretty sure most filmmakers we work with at From the Heart Productions did not know either (and since many in Congress had not even read the new law before it was enacted, they may be clueless as well).

Corky Kessler, Esq. is one of the top film attorneys in the US and he knows better than anyone how filmmakers can take advantage of tax laws.  When I interviewed Corky on The Art of Film Funding Podcast, he brought this incentive to my attention and revealed you can use it to get your film funded.

Bonus Depreciation

The part of the new law that relates to film, television and theater and is called “bonus depreciation, section 168.”  Bonus depreciation means when a film is first shown, at the end of that year, the investors get a 100% depreciation.

As a result, that means the investor can take a loss of 100% for the amount invested.  For example, say your donor invests in 2017 and in 2018 you have your first screening.  At the end of 2018, your investor can get his 100% depreciation for the total amount of his investment.

What a great way to attract major donors or investors to your project by giving them a massive tax deduction.

Take Advantage Before They Put Restrictions on This New Law

Before there was bonus depreciation, there was Section 181 of the tax code.  Enacted in 2004, Section 181 allowed you to eliminate your investor’s tax bill by what they’ve invested in your film.  

Corky says that, when section 181 was introduced,  it had no rules or regulations until February 2007.  Those first years were wonderful.  It was like the wild, wild west with lots of opportunities to help film investors.

This new law replaces Section 181.  And, just like the early days of that law, there are no rules and regulations for the new law.  So, the field of how to interpret things is wide open.  This is good for filmmakers.   

Putting Your Film “In Service”

Your film needs to be “put in service” to get the depreciation.  But, right now, there is no definition of what that exactly means.  We know it has to be shown somewhere.  The law just isn’t clear on where that somewhere needs to be.   A festival could qualify.  You could rent a theater, charge people a dollar, and the film is “in service.” 

But, wait.  The law does not say if it has to be shown in a theater.  It does not even say how long the film has to be shown.  

Corky says it could also be shown on YouTube or social media. The law is triggered when the film is “put into service” meaning the time that a film is first shown.   For television, it is the year it is first aired, for theater it is the year of the opening night of the theater.

The Sky is the Limit

Under  Section 181, said you could expense up to 15 or $20 million.  This new law has no limit. It could be $100 million.  Better yet, the law is retroactive and begins in 2017.   The law ends on Dec 31, 2020.

The New Law is Excellent for International Co-Productions

One carryover of Section 181 is that 75% of your service wages of the film have to be performed in the United States.  25% can be in any country you want.   

So, in theory, let’s say we have a $10 million movie.  You could spend $2,500,000 in service wages in Canada or England and take advantage of their excellent tax incentives for filmmakers. Plus, you could shoot in France with their 25% incentive or the Dominican Republic with a 25% incentive.

We can go any place that we want and spend the 25% and still qualify for the US incentive.

Bonus Deduction

Part of the new tax law is Section 199A.  It gives you a 20% deduction on taxable income for money coming back to you.  If I return a dollar to you, you pay tax on only $.80.  So, you make 20% on the incoming funds.   I believe you can write off a maximum of $350,000.

Get a Good Accountant and Lawyer

There are limitations on what you can do under this.  So, please make sure to talk to your accountant to understand them.

A good lawyer to guide you through this is advisable as well.  Corky Kessler works at Rubenstein Business Law with his partner David Rubenstein.  He can be contacted at   From the Heart highly recommends him and his services for filmmakers.

He’s been in the business for many years and he is intelligent, creative and a lot of fun to work with.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

 

 

Using Your Subconscious to Manifest Your Film

By Carole Dean

By using the conscious mind to impress a belief on the subconscious with feelings and visuals (and using every fiber of your body), it causes the subconscious to accept that belief as truth.

 

SubconsciousWhat do you think of those people who get up on stage at the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar and say that they’ve been dreaming about this moment since they were kids?

You rolled your eyes and laughed, right?  

Well, believe them.  They used their conscious thoughts to manifest and create their success.  You can too. 

The Law of Consciousness

Consciousness, believes noted physicist Amit Goswami, came first in the beginning of time. First, it was consciousness and from that all things evolved.

The knowledge of the law of consciousness and the method of operating this law allows you to accomplish all you desire in life.  This is the philosophy of many wise people. 

However, first you need a working knowledge of this law.  Then, you can build and maintain a great life, an ideal world for yourself.

The Conscious Generates Ideas

“Consciousness is the only reality”, said influential teacher and author Neville Goddard.   Neville states that consciousness is personal and selective where subconscious is impersonal and non- selective. 

Neville believes that the conscious generates ideas and impresses ideas on the subconscious.  Also, he says that first conceiving an idea and then impressing the idea on the subconscious allows all things to evolve out of the consciousness.  

This is the only way, he posits, to create your future and bring to you the future you want.   Because the subconscious does not originate ideas, it accepts as true those which the conscious mind feels to be true.

This is the heart of the matter.  

Getting An Award in Your Hands

Remember when those who win also say they “feel the joy and excitement of being on stage receiving this award?”

That is the result of the conscious impressing on the subconscious the future they intended to create.  By doing that, it becomes a reality.

I think this is a powerful concept.  By using the conscious mind to impress a belief on the subconscious with feeling and visuals (and using every fiber of your body), it causes the subconscious to accept that belief as truth.   

This is how you manifest.  This power to imagine and feel is original for humans.   

Using Your Feelings to Influence Your Subconscious 

You can get control of the subconscious through your control of your ideas and feelings.

What you feel and see the subconscious believes.  This is a gift that we all have.  It is important to understand that what we see and feel, our subconscious believes.

What is it you want to achieve? The first thing that we want you to do is set goals. You want to visualize and feel your goals in order to achieve them.  

Consciousness creates the vision and the subconscious believes it’s real. Because your subconscious mind does not originate an original idea, it accepts as true those which the conscious mind tells it.

The next important thing to realize is that ideas are impressed on the subconscious through feeling.  The filmmaker that envisioned winning the Academy Award visualized being onstage accepting the award and giving his/her speech. 

It’s the energy in the feeling that creates the future.  Your feeling is the most powerful medium that you have to get your ideas to the subconscious.  If you’re not in control of your feelings, you could easily be impressing the wrong things on your subconscious and bringing about things in your life you don’t want.

Feelings Can Determine Our Future

Feelings are the greatest form of manifesting that we have as humans. We actually have the ability to bring our future into the present through our feelings.

Focusing on what you do want and feeling like it has already happened tells the subconscious that this truly exists.  The only thing that would stop this is if it is counteracted by a more powerful feeling that it doesn’t exist, like disbelief, fear or anger.

If you are seeing yourself getting your Academy Award and you are fearful, then the chances are your vision may not happen.  If fear was the more dominant feeling,  then you have just nullified your vision.

Create a personal goal that you know you can achieve and a time limit that feels right to you.  For example, you may need a great editor.  To get that great editor, why not start saying, I love my editor. I chose the perfect editor.

Do this with the emotion of joy, success, achievement happiness and contentment.  Feel very proud of yourself feel very confident that you have the right editor.  

You want to live it, feel it and see it. Know your vision is coming through your feelings.  Remember that all creation happens in the subconscious.  What you must do is get control of your subconscious through your ideas and your feelings. The subconscious doesn’t care if you were telling of the truth or not it excepts as true what you feel to be true.

Use your mind to fund your film.  Your mind is your greatest asset in film funding.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

What Orson Welles Can Teach Us About How to Use Music in Films

We’ve not just got his work to watch and listen to. We’ve also got his notes.

After we’ve watched and enjoyed Orson Welles classic film noir “Touch of Evil” for the 27th time, what do we remember? Is it the amazing long continuous shot that opens the movie? The dramatic final confrontation in the oil fields? How about the incredible varied and creative way he uses music in the film?

On my The Art of Film Funding Podcast, I interviewed award winning composer and Roy W. Dean Grant donor, David Raiklen. We both share a love of movie scores, Orson Welles, and his classic thriller “Touch of Evil”.

I knew the music was integral to the film. It defines characters, sets the atmosphere, and compliments the action. What I didn’t know was how Orson Welles planned out the music and how it was to be used before he shot the film.

David explained he left detailed notes for his composer, Henry Manicini, and his sound mixer. In my latest video, I cover what filmmakers can learn from those important notes on placing music in their films.

Imagine How Music Will Be Used in a Scene Before Its Shot

The opening scene is probably the longest continuous shot that’s been executed on film without CGI. It follows a bomb in the trunk of car as it heads to a border crossing down a city street filled with people.

Instead of using a traditional score, Orson wanted to use source music. He directed the scene knowing this. As we follow the action, the music appears to come naturally from car radios and musicians that are in the shot.

This music, David describes, was specifically created for A “Touch of Evil” and it creates a magical environment.

It’s not like a typical movie score. It sounds natural as it comes from sources in the shot. But, as music changes as the scene progresses, it’s jarring as well and puts us on edge.

Use Music That Fits the Characters

For example, the characters are walking down the street in a town where they have lots Orson Wellesof live bands. The music the characters in the movie are hearing is the same music that the audience is hearing. But, because the camera is moving around to different groups of characters, the music is constantly changing.

The Mexican characters are listening to very festive mariachi music while the detective people are listening more to cool jazz.

This is the sort of thing that their character would listen to but it also tells us emotionally what to feel and gives us insight into the character. It’s source music, it’s character themes, and it’s dramatic underscore telling the story on multiple levels at the same time.

To make it happen was very complicated. Henry Mancini said it was one of the most difficult things he’d ever done. Without the notes and detail Orson Welles provided, it would have never been accomplished or attempted. That music is part of what makes that first scene so involving.

Consider How Sound Will be Mixed

Orson didn’t stop with notes to the composer. He also had a note for the mixer. While most films have a clean, high quality sound, he knew that would not be great if source music was being use.

“The characters are listening to music as they walk down the street,” Orson detailed, “and if the music sounds perfect like it was recorded in a studio, that will destroy the illusion that the characters are walking down the street.”

He suggested they take several loud speakers from your studio and put them out in the alley that’s behind the dubbing stage. Then, record the sound of the microphone traveling down the alley behind the stage on a dolly. This would be like the microphone was the character’s point of view and we’re following them down the street.

When you hear the sound in A Touch of Evil in this first street scene you will truly appreciate all of the great creative genius that went into making it. Getting your sound to enhance and support your story is paramount to a successful film.

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

How to Manifest Miracles (Part 5)

by Carole Dean

Mastering Creative Visualization to Manifest Miracles

Using the work of author Stuart Wilde as a guideline, I’ve created a 5 part series of blogs and videos to show filmmakers how they can have a miracle happen in their life.  I outlined creating a miracle action plan and its components. 

The final video of my video series on How to Manifest Miracles concludes with how to complete your miracle action plan.  Stuart says the final step to master for your plan is visualization. 

Using Visualization

Visualization is the ability to live as if what you asked for actually exists.  You need to live and act as if it is a fact.   Stuart says that the inner mind does not know the difference between fact and fantasy. 

Once you can see yourself walking through a scene, you can feel you are actually a part of it.  

Stuart writes “imagine this: if you can create a powerful and strong image of yourself as a miracle maker, as this wonderful, wonderful human being that has so much to give, so much to offer the world, then that being comes alive.  It is almost as if, by putting that energy into the mind, you shine a light in there that stimulates the mind.”

Others will see this light in you and know that you love and support yourself and this brings miracles.

Creative Visualization

Creative visualization can benefit you when you begin to use it to see yourself living Creative Visualizationyour dream life. 

Whatever your life’s purpose, you want to imagine yourself living that now on a daily basis.  Day dreaming is part of visualization.  Use your driving time or your house cleaning time to see yourself living the life you want.  Live it, feel it, see it, smell it.  Use all your senses and make it real. 

If you are a filmmaker, then see yourself receiving an award for your film.  See you and your crew on a TV interview show discussing how you made the film.  Just create imaginary scenes that could happen.  Give the universe a vision of what you want your life to be.

Goal Setting with Creative Visualization

One powerful use of creative visualization is for goal-setting. Please don’t set goals that are impossible for you because if you can’t conceptualize it or feel that this can happen then you may never reach that goal. 

I think setting small goals first is best.  Then, when you hit that goal  it truly empowers you.  You set another realistic goal and hit that and you are on your way.

I like to see myself at a holiday like Thanksgiving at the table with friends.  I’m sharing what the goal was and how proud I am that this has happened. 

You should “feel” into a goal.  If your body reacts with fear or stress, reduce the goal or give yourself more time until your body relaxes.  The mind and body need to be in alignment to achieve your goals.

This visualization is the last and most important element in creating miracles.   Use this information to create some exciting miracles in your lives and share them with me.   

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.