Benefits of Hybrid Distribution and Virtual Screenings

How to use hybrid distribution and virtual screenings to be more effective at raising funds, selling your film, and generating revenue

by Carole Dean

Keith Ochwat is the founder of the Show&Tell virtual screening platform which also offers educational courses for filmmakers.  After producing his own documentaries for 12 years, he’s advised hundreds of filmmakers on their distribution fundraising strategy.

Keith recently joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  His information is most important for documentary filmmakers who want to reach their target audience.  Here are some highlights of my interview with Keith on implementing a hybrid distribution strategy for your film.

What is a hybrid strategy?

I would define a hybrid strategy as one the most effective ways to think about getting your film into the world and to fundraise. I think distribution and fundraising are really hand in glove working together. And I think if you’re successful at this new approach to distribution, we’ll be talking about today, you’ll be more effective at raising funds, selling your film, and generating revenue.

Hybrid strategy the way Peter Broderick and I always talk about distribution. Someone who is great at theatrical release, is not going to be that good at securing you a television deal. If they’re good at television in the United States, they are probably not going to be that great at securing television deals in Finland, in Brazil, which can be most lucrative for filmmakers as it has been for me and many other filmmakers.

If you make a deal with a single distributor, then you are not taking a hybrid approach. Rather you are   placing all your faith in the belief that one company can maximize your audience and your revenue in all of these windows of distribution.

What we advocate is a hybrid approach where you split your rights.  I define a hybrid strategy, big picture, as splitting rights and retaining control. There are some organizations like the Film Collaborative that helps filmmakers make the most of festivals if they’re willing to work with you. But they’re probably not going to want to make a consumer release deal for you.

Or if you’re working with Richard Abramowitz for your theatrical, you’re probably not going to want to work with him making your international deals. We advocate splitting your rights and using organizations who are expert at certain windows so you can make the most of every window of distribution.

Tell us more about the benefits of hybrid distribution.

We call it hybrid because you do distribution with some of the old ways and some of the new ways. I did the old way with some of my films and when I embraced a hybrid strategy for my latter films, they were much more successful.

We made much more money, and we reached a larger audience. Fundamentally, it was more rewarding to go through that process with a hybrid strategy. We got our film broadcasted on PBS nationally. We made a streaming deal with Netflix.

With my last film, we also prioritized a new or less traditional approach to distribution and fundraising. We worked with non-profit and corporate partners that believed in the message of our film. AARP was the biggest one. They ended up putting up over $250,000 to support a, a series of live events, virtual events, and they sponsored our PBS broadcast.

You may have heard sponsors on PBS where they say this program was brought to you by, and it was AARP and a few other companies that sponsored our film.

How has the expansion of the virtual world has created a new window for documentary filmmakers?

The rise of Netflix is because there’s been a rise in this virtual streaming world, especially for documentaries. Audiences expect to be able to stream films from the comfort of their home. Less and less documentary fans, even in this golden age of documentary are going to theaters to see documentaries they’re streaming at home.

And I think another way you should think about a hybrid strategy is harnessing the best of the old world, which is reawakening and the best of the virtual world.

Tell us about your new company Show&Tell

We help filmmakers execute the strategies for a hybrid funding and distribution. It’s about making the most of live events, but also virtual events. We have a virtual screening platform, and we help filmmakers do virtual events when they’re in distribution and virtual fundraisers when they’re in pre-production and production and post.

I do a lot of teaching. I love to teach. If I had another life, I’d probably be a professor. And I love sharing what I know so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.

We have an educational community. I coach filmmakers on their distribution and fundraising. I also have an online course which has over 50 lessons and we have a private Facebook group. We have a webinar three times a month, on Thursday at 1:00 PM. It’s a free webinar about different topics.

Example, the month of July was dedicated to fundraising and in traditional ways and I had the pleasure of doing a webinar with Carole on July 15th. You can go to our website ShowAndTell.film, click on coaching, and you’ll see our calendar of events.  There you can sign up for a free webinar and learn more about what we do.

My motivation with ShowAndTell.film is to help filmmakers avoid mistakes and help you generate revenue for your film plus help you build your audience.

If you’re at picture lock or interested in a virtual event, if you’re in distribution, you can use our services. With our services, you can ask for paid tickets or you could ask for donations or do both, which is my recommendation.

What is best way to monetize a virtual event?

We teach you how to approach partners and ask for virtual events. You can recognize your partner with a hyperlink or put their logo on your event page. You can even put a short commercial message that plays before your film. There’s a lot you can do with our platform.

You can totally customize your event.  You can set the dates, change the dates, add tickets, lower the ticket price, change donations amounts. A store is available for you. We make it easy with simple tools.

The thing I’m most proud of is we provide knowledge and knowledge is so important. Knowledge is going to give you strength and it’s going to give you options.

And I think that the knowledge that I’m providing is unique. What we do is really encouraging filmmakers to embrace the hybrid approach, make the deal with Netflix when you’re in your consumer release stage, get on PBS for your TV release. We’ll show you how to do this. You should also prioritize conferences, partnerships, and fuel that success through understanding with clarity, your target audience.

In our online course there are over 50 lessons in our private Facebook group, we help filmmakers understand strategies and tactics related to target audience identification, pitching partners, identifying partners, providing templates and tools for you to make money with distribution.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits 

Accelerate Your Video Editing with a New Program for Indie Filmmakers

Cquence for Adobe Premiere helps you create your first cut in minutes, not hours.

by Carole Dean

Larry Rosenzweig is a filmmaker who dreaded the first draft, rough cut video editing process.  He knew how much it took emotionally and physically to create it.  So, he decided to do something about shortening the time involved. 

Partnering with two other technically trained people who all saw the need to short cut the first edit, they began raising funds to support themselves while they built a brilliant program to solve their problem. 

Video Editing

Cquence

Now ready, Cquence is a rough-cut video editing platform that dramatically accelerates the video editing workflow.  Larry says, “they currently have a seamless one-click integration with Adobe Premier. Eventually we’ll be rolling out integrations with Final Cut 10 and DaVinci resolve.”

I interviewed Larry on my recent The Art of Film Funding Podcast and he shared more about how this program works and what’s in it for filmmakers.

Larry, what does Cquence do?

A filmmaker or a video editor uses Cquence to hold your film and enable you to search for the things that you need and then very easily edit the best moments from your footage within your rough-cut editor. Cquence can be used for shorts, features, documentaries, webisodes, and may other people can find benefits by using this for large amounts of information, example, teachers can use this.

You will be able to use our platform to search for specific quotes, specific interviews, and people. You could search for a word that you remembered from an interview. And visually we also offer you the capability to search for a specific object or a location.

Example, if you want to search for all the coffee cup shots, all the mountain range shots, you will be able to find all those relevant clips from a visual perspective.  And once you find the moments that you want, you’re able to seamlessly drag and drop that over to our rough-cut timeline inside of Cquence.

Normally what people do is they import hours of footage into Cquence.

Who benefits from Cquence?

Cquence is most valuable for filmmakers, video editors, video producers, and this could be used for doing scripted or unscripted work.

At the end of the day Cquence accelerates the video editing workflow. What does this mean?  It enables filmmakers and video editors to focus on higher order thinking and creativity. Not only do you save significant time using Cquence, but you can increase your revenue by having more time to focus on bringing in clients, to fundraise, and to create more projects.

It makes it easy to repurpose and repackage your footage into a social promo and trailer content for you to share across your social channels. Think of Cquence as a searchable archive for every project that you have because we make it easy to use footage even from a previous project.

Another benefit is if a filmmaker and a video editor want to collaborate, they are able to replace the traditional act of having to mail a hard drive or upload terabytes of footage to a cloud storage because Cquence essentially replaces that workflow.

Now that you can save 30 to 50% of your time in editing and what are your plans for the future?

We have a big vision. Our goal is to save 90% of the time it takes to create a first draft.

We have spoken with hundreds of filmmakers and video editors at this point and Cquence is available for both Mac and PC.  As of today, we have an integration with Adobe, so you can download the creative cloud plugin as well, and you can easily export your rough cut from Cquence, which is on your desktop, into Adobe Premier, which is also on your desktop to continue editing, and then finish your film in your existing workflow as you have always done previously.

Can you give us another example of editing with Cquence?

I was using Cquence to edit a documentary web series and had 40 hours of footage and I felt overwhelmed to start editing. I imported all of it into Cquence. The import is simple. You can take a whole folder on your computer and drag and drop it into Cquence and then walk away, let it run over night. You don’t have to sit there while it’s running. This took 10 hours to import and analyze everything overnight.

Tell us about the pricing.

You can go to cquence.app and you can start using Cquence for free up to 10 hours of footage imported. And we also have a standard plan for $24 a month and a pro plan for $48 a month. Both of these plans give you a lot more footage and a lot more export options like automatically generating subtitles.

We’re giving your entire audience a discount, Carole. Your audience can use the discount code SUMMER21 on checkout, and that discount expires at the end of the summer.  Basically, the discount is you get first three months free on any of the plans.

You should be able to follow the steps on our website once you sign up.  Your listeners can reach me at Larry@cquence.app.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits 

Cinematographers to Directors: “Be Prepared”

When Jacqui Frost asked DP’s what they wanted out of their directors, they all had the same answer

by Carole Dean

In my ongoing search for educational information for filmmakers, I recently interviewed Jacqui Frost who is a full professor in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at California State Fullerton. Jacqui has taught cinematography, documentary production, advanced motion picture production, the language of film and many other production courses. She’s been a producer and cinematographer for over 30 years.

cinematographers

Cinematographer, Professor, and Author Jacqui Frost

She is also the author of Cinematography for Directors: A Guide for Creative Collaboration.  She joined me on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast and I was impressed with her knowledge of filmmaking and cinematography.   While writing this book, she interviewed our top cinematographers.  She asked each one what they want their directors to bring them to understand the vision of their film.

It was amazing that all the cinematographers said the same answer, “they want their directors to be prepared.” Basically, the cinematographer wants to know what the director intends to say with this film and how they want to say it.

A Picture is Worth an Incredible Scene

She shared with me that Spike Lee would get prints of films and project them in a screening room. He would take the cinematographer to the theater and show the film while pointing out what he wanted in a visual style and a visual look.

Sometimes director’s use fine arts photography to communicate a particular look with the cinematographer.   She said that if you look at a Dorothea Lange photograph, you can find a still from the film Grapes of Wrath that will match. In fact, you would think they were stills from the same photographer.  Road to Perdition was photographed by Conrad Hall for Sam Mendes and he used the artist Edward Hopper as a reference.

John Seale worked with Peter Weir on Witness.  Before they began filming, Peter took his DP to the museum, and they looked at Vermeer paintings.  Peter told him, “I want the light to come from the left like that.” John said, “I can do that.”  Think back in your mind and see if you can remember the scene in the film where the boy is looking into a glass cabinet of pictures.  He then points out the killer who is a man pictured inside the glass cabinet in the police station. That’s a pivotal moment in the film and the lighting in the scene was just like the lighting in the Vermeer painting.

Some directors want high contrast in their images, so they go to Georges de La Tour, a French Baroque painter, for the candlelight low-key source. They also use Rembrandt who is often on the directors list. Some like Andrew Wyatt for a realistic look.

Matching the Director’s Vision

This is what cinematographers want their directors do, to clearly show them the look of the film. They want them to show them the color and the emotion they want to emit from the audience. They want directors to use things that they can visually connect with like movies or paintings or still photography.

Jackie says when a director of photography reads a script, they have a lot of notes for their first meeting with the director.  They want to impart to the director their vision for the film. Then, during discussions, the cinematographer will sit and listen to what the director says before he shares what he saw as the vision for the film.  Then the cinematographer knows if he’s got the vision right or not.

Secret of a Good Relationship

Most directors have a team. It’s not just the director of photography it’s usually the cameraman and the assistant cameraman.  These three usually work together.

Jackie said that not every director knows everything about cinematography. There are some cinematographers who would prefer a director to focus on their vision and deal with the actors. These directors often let the cinematographer choose the lenses.  Jacqui thinks directors should know what the different lenses are and what they can do.

The secret to a great relationship between the director of photography and the director of the film is good communication. These two should be collaborating to create the director’s vision.

Making a Connection

I asked Jacqui, “How do you choose a cinematographer?” Is there a list of questions you can give us?  How do you make the decision that this is the person you want to work with?

Jackie said first look at their reels.  If that reel speaks to you visually, you may want to talk to them.  Then you can determine if you believe you can connect with them as a person. She says the conversation should be, “I want to have this theme in the film. So, how can we create that visually and represent my vision on the screen through your cinematography?”

Jackie says that directors should know about lenses because they are a storytelling tool. You need to know what a long lens gives you versus what a wide angle gives you. You need to ask this question; do we want to focus on the actors or the actors and the scenery?

Creating a Mood with Color

I love to talk about the color palette of the film. This is one of the most powerful storytelling devices that the cinematographer has because humans are so emotionally affected by color. With color films, you can set a mood quickly with the right color. This is when your cinematographer becomes a genius with lighting. And of course, they get help from the color correction artist who comes in during post and your set director.

The director might say I see the color palette in this scene for this character to be slightly desaturated because their world is kind of grim. I might want a strong color and much more saturation when you go to the memory that he shares with another person.

You want to use that when you create your look book.  That gives the cinematographer an idea of what you want to do. Jackie says you may want your production designer in your conversation about color and what the color scheme will be. Perhaps it’s blue and orange like you see in Michael Mann’s films or very dark and soft lighting like you see in David Fincher. There are different ways you can go with creating a mood with your color.  You can see each character perhaps having a different color palette.

Jacqui Frost knows her films and her filmmaking.  I highly recommend this incredible book. It will certainly teach you how to communicate with your cinemaphotographer.  Please also check out her newest book Conversations with Contemporary Cinematographers: The Eye Behind the Lens now available on Amazon.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Puzzle Theory: A New Way to Attach and Connect with Your Audience

By Carole Dean

A technologist, a linguist, and a cognitive psychologist. Ina Sofia Kalo is also the creator of Puzzle Theory (PT) for independent filmmakers.  Developed by Ina over two years, Puzzle Theory is an exciting tool for independent filmmakers.  With it, Ina has created a way for filmmakers to attach to their audience while making their film.   As you know, finding and engaging your audience early is important because many of them will fund your film. 

“Less than one percent of films reach a distributor via film festivals.” Ina shared with me in a recent interview on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast.  “However, let’s say you get a distributor, their goal is to spend lots of money for PR and marketing, recoup their expenses, make some profit and then quickly move to the next film because you’re already an old product.  I think the entire system has become completely unsustainable.

“I wanted to build a humane technological system, which allows for real deep, meaningful human engagement, the way humans truly engage over time with ups and downs, with multiple points of connection, with inspiration and curiosity.”

How Puzzle Theory Works

“You or your production company can register a film at any stage of production,” Ina explained. “It can be any genre. Our categories are fiction, documentary, TV series or animation. You build your own page. It will have your unique URL and you can post the link anywhere.

“You have different modules that give information about you, you but basically you start curating your film using storyline. You combine original pictures and video or production shots and video with hand selected content from your existing social media accounts and pages.

“Using our proprietary technology, you can tag and extract any information from current content of your existing social media. We give you the tools to hand select only the most special pieces that you want to include with the making of your storyline.”

Build it Like a Puzzle

Perhaps you start with a shot of your first day of shooting. Then, you have that one Facebook post that you selected because this post is the one that people love and you had the most response.  Or include what everyone thought was very funny, put that in. Then you have let’s say some video that you produced, put that in. You have Instagram that you want to post, perhaps something on your lead actress.

What you are doing is putting different social media views about your production, and information on your crew and your storyline in one place in a timeline. This can be your most valuable promotional asset. It will be one coherent narrative that can be accessed at any time, and even after the film is completed it can stay online for a small $38.00 fee per year.

How Puzzle Theory Can Benefit Filmmakers

Ina told me a story about a Swedish filmmaker who entered a Film Festival. When the festival asked him to send his materials, they expected to get a one sheet, a bio, etc. Instead, he sent them his Puzzle Theory that he’d created.

The organizers of the Film Festival were shocked. They called to talk to him about what he was doing because he had over 75,000 people who were watching the making of his film and they were in 12 different countries! The Film Festival was impressed and excited because he knew his audience and he was in constant contact with them. This gives you an idea of what you can do with Puzzle Theory.

Connecting and Finding an Audience When You Start Developing Your Film

Ina says people connect to ups and downs, to blood, sweat and tears, to real human moments way more than a packaged product. So, they are getting a look at the backstory of the film that brought you to where you are now.  They feel connected and if they like the subject materials in your film, they are even more connected to you.

You can share the link to your film page with anyone over the world or people can search for your film on Puzzle Theory. You can also keep your film page private and share only a private link. This is up to you.

People may find you from being on PT where they can search by genera and find your film.  PT is used by distributors to see what is being made.  People share this link all over the world and you may have people find you from around the world.  You can keep it private until you want to open it up to the world.  This is up to you.

By posting often people can see your movement with the film.  They can log on to PT day or night.  Since we know the average time to make a documentary is six years and a feature is from 3 to 8 years you will have an interesting story history for your audience to connect with you.

You can link your PT information to your crowdfunding page.  This way people can see the entire story of making the film and the inside information long after donating.

How to Get Puzzle Theory

At this point Puzzle Theory is by invite only.  Ina is checking content and does not want violent films or nudity.   She has a brilliant website and best of all she has a question and answer session monthly.  You can find that on her site and get to hear her personally. 

She is most enthusiastic about this brainchild of hers and rightfully so.  This can be a major asset for you in your Public Relations, Marketing and Distribution.  This is a place that you can proudly sit back and look at what you have achieved.

You can hear the entire interview here and get more specific information and costs. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-art-of-film-funding/2021/03/10/puzzle-theory-is-the-answer-to-marketing-distribution-for-indie-filmmakers

Contact for Ina and PT is contact@puzzletheory.com

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

Section 181 Reinstated: Good News for Filmmakers!

Tax Law Extension Provides Major Tax Benefits for Investors of Film and Television Productions

by Carole Dean

In my recent interview with entertainment lawyer Corky Kessler, he was excited to tell us that he helped reinstate IRS Revenue Code Section 181 for five more years.  The reinstated Section 181 offers tax benefits for digital media producers.  This tax law is most beneficial for features and documentaries with budgets up to 15 million or 20 million.  It will greatly help producers of those projects attract financing.

Section 181

Expense Production Costs

The reinstated Section 181 is straightforward. It’s the same law that was created for the Jobs Act of 2004.  It’s been extended and approved for five years until 2025. It allows investors in a media production to expense all production costs when it is paid.  This creates a loss for the production which creates an immediate tax benefit.

The rules are that 75% of the costs of the film or television project must be spent and performed in the United States.  The balance of 25%, can be shot anywhere.  This means you can take advantage of other countries tax deductions like Canada or Germany.  Many countries have good tax incentives for you to shoot in their country.

US Tax law 168 is still in effect so you have a choice of using the reinstated section 181 or the 168.  The 168 has no limit on the size of the budget and you must “Put the film in service” to get the write off.  Those are two main differences and you can only use one of these, 168 or 181.

Cover Your Investor’s Money

“The good thing about the 181 is that I can cover the investor’s money.” Corky explained. “I can tell the investor that I can cover almost every dollar that the investor puts in. I can cover 70 to 76 cents on every dollar, which is amazing. There’s no other business that you can cover their investment, 70 to 76 on the balance.”

The 181 law allows up to a $15 million loss. Or you can go up to a $20 million loss if you spend a significant amount in a low-income or depressed area. For the person who has a 15 or $20 million dollar movie or even lower, the 181 is still better and you can grandfather your films.

Need Just One Day of Photography to Get Grandfathered In

“So, as soon as you have a screenplay, “ Corky says, “ and you have a summary budget, you are ready. You do one day of photography with some dialogue that doesn’t have to remain in the project. And you need your investment documents, which I can prepare, but you don’t need investors. Once you have these things, you can get grandfathered into 181 forever. That will never expire.

“Now when your film is grandfathered, you can change your screenplay or teleplay.  If it’s television, that’s acceptable. You want one day of photography with some dialogue. You can shoot it on your iPhone. It doesn’t matter, and you don’t have to use it in the project. Also, the investor documents that I prepare, those can change. Once you have these set up, you are grandfathered forever. There’s no end date.”

How to Learn More and Take Advantage of Reinstated Section 181 for Your Film

Filmmakers that want to know more about Section 168 or the 181 benefits and how to grandfather their films,  can contact Corky via email at Corkykessler@aol.com or on his cell phone at 312-925-2110.

For more information on both the 168 and 181 see this blog: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/how-to-get-your-film-funded-with-new-tax-law

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future – Part 2

By only asking for things for your highest good, you will raise your energy and increase your happiness.

It’s exciting that science is now looking into Eastern spiritual information and practices to understand quantum physics.  It’s a wonderful time to be alive and get to understand the power of our minds. 

Manifesting

The physicists say that you have an electric body. Your mind is electric, your thoughts electric and they are energy.

Many things Carole Dean wrote ten years ago are now proven and understood by physicists.  She wrote “The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future” to explain the law of manifestation and outline how to use the law of attraction to accelerate your manifestations. You can turn dreams into reality and this book shows you how.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, she discussed with host Claire Papin how filmmakers and others can use the lessons in the book to create their own success.

Are we manifesting daily with our thoughts and if so, just how powerful are they?

The physicists say that you have an electric body. Your mind is electric, your thoughts electric and they are energy. Your thoughts are things, they are alive, they are energy. Plus, we are living in a conscious universe. Our universe, sees everything, records everything and is part of us.

All this is proven. Currently they’re doing PSI (term used to refer to psychic phenomena, experiences, or events) experiments and they are proving so many unusual things that we’ve always been wondering about.  They are researching psychic phoneme, like premonition, when you know something’s going to happen.  Or when you talk to someone on the wind and ask them to contact you and they do. The researchers are finding that these things are natural.  They can reproduce many things we call physic phenome in the lab. If we talked more about these unusual experiences with each other, we would realize that they happen often. 

Dean Radin, head of The Noetic Science Institute has written a brilliant book called The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena where he explains his psi research. It’s amazing how many of these things we think are abnormal are being proven in the laboratory.  He concludes that we are physic and we are all connected to each other. I think we are very powerful beings and we need to recognize our powers and use them.

Are we walking WiFi’s?

We’re constantly sending things out with our thoughts. We are always asking the universe to help us with decisions. Are our thoughts contributing to our futures?  Are we sometimes dreaming things into existence?

Let’s use what physicists say and picture a universe where all around you, every inch of space around you is teaming with energy, energy that is constantly moving and refreshing itself.  It is a constant and exists all around us and incorporates us to the stars and all life on our earth and to all of our galaxy.

To give you an idea of the power of this invisible energy, if you and I were sitting three feet apart, the energy between us would be enough to boil all the oceans on the earth. Now that’s mathematically proven. This energy is called the quantum field.

This field is what connects us. We’re all connected through the quantum field and this field is constantly recording everything that happens, every movement, every sound, every thought. Here we are as electric beings, our hearts are electric, our brains are electric, and we are living in a universe teaming with energy, it too is electric.  And, we are constantly broadcasting our thoughts.

So, let’s pretend that what you’re sending out with your thoughts you are manifesting.  I know this is a big jump, but let’s consider what if.  If you are visualizing your film finished, if you can see yourself at the premier screening where your title comes on the screen, the credits roll and you are experiencing joy, gratitude, happiness, success and achievement as you watch your completed film, is this helping to create it?  That’s the question.

If you change your thoughts to those of success and gratitude daily where you have a vision of your completed film, you know it is sold, and you are profitable, then does this help you?

Why not consider they are for a month. Just pretend that all the thoughts that you send out, will manifest what you want.  Try this for a month and watch how more positive you become.  You will only want to think of harmony, happiness, success and benefit to all.  Then you will begin to see major changes in your life and the lives of those around you.

It all starts with your thoughts. What you’re sending out and what you believe.  By only asking for things for your highest good, you will raise your energy and increase your happiness.

When you come to the realization that you are living in a conscious universe, realizing that it hears your thoughts, it knows what you are doing, it knows what you are thinking, then you will want to carefully chose your thoughts to be of the highest vibration. 

Your thoughts will be for your highest good and for the good of all involved.  Now you are coalescing with the universal mind.  You are co creating with the universe and your wants and needs will be of second of importance to you.  Your first focus will be to achieve where all involved benefit and this will happen.

Tell us more about the law of attraction

According to the mathematician, Rob Solomon, in his article The Mechanics of Reality, Solomon states that “the past is finished, and the future is unformed. Both have no existence in physical reality only the now is real.”  He refers to the quantum field as the “matrix.” Hs states: “The matrix is infinite and exists outside of time. It contains, in an intangible form, every possible instantaneous configuration of physical reality, like a vast archive of film frames. It is pointless to conjecture why this is so.”

He quotes the Russian physicist Vadim Zeland who proposes that: “the matrix also contains information on alternative ways each state could develop overtime if materialized. These possible timelines he calls lifelines and refers to the potential alternative sequences with which events might unfold as scripts. Because the matrix is infinite in principle there is no limit to the scenarios and scripts an individual could potentially experience.”

Solomon says let’s take a hypothetical person and call them Ellie.  “her fixations self-image, strongly held beliefs, (some of which are self-conscious, and which she is not aware of), attitudes and opinions about how she sees her world, be collectively labeled as her “mindset.”

Where the conscious mind does not access the matrix directly, its conclusions, convictions, and strongly held beliefs can as long as they impact the subconscious mind, by possessing a powerful emotional content.”

I believe this is an important key to manifesting.  Emotions are the way to manifest your dreams to fruition. Sending feeling with emotions along with visualization of the desire you want is what produces the event. And to live as if you have what you want is what makes it happen quicker.

“The usual analogy is that our mind set acts like a radio. Ellie’s mindset “tunes in” to the corresponding region of the matrix, and lights it up. The matrix then delivers the circumstances held in the lit-up region to Ellie’s physical experience. Although there is always a time delay. Belief and expectation are important factors to the success.

If Ellie performs physical action as if her intention had already been achieved this can have a powerful impact on her belief and the realization of her intention. Action can also reinforce the following factors which can be brought under Ellie’s control and which powerfully impact the matrix, even independently of action: intention, commitment, determination, focus, emotion, excitement, enthusiasm, passion and imagination. As we now know only the present instant is real.

The only power Ellie has is to intend and form the future, preferably with excitement and enthusiasm, by behaving as if her intentions have already been achieved in the here and now. This will cause the reality film to roll in the direction that points to her desired frame in the matrix. So that by the time the future arrives– by becoming the present—- it delivers what she desires.” 

“In applying the law of attraction to achieve some desire, we should visualize, and meditate upon our desire with the excitement and feeling that it has already been achieved, with a strong sense of the present. Only the present instant is real, and it is only in the now that we have the power. We should not even imagine ourselves projected into the future with our desires fulfilled, because the future does not exist. Most importantly we should not entertain thoughts about how intentions are quote going to happen. That places desire squarely in the future and the matrix will respond by reflecting back an endless state of going to happen–one day!

Instead picture our desires fulfilled in the here and now the associated excitement and feeling will then steer the analogous matrix film strip towards a frame where our intentions have indeed been achieved. These will emerge into objective reality at the appropriate time.

Actions also, as far as possible, should be preformed as if the intention has already been achieved.  Pay no attention to the facts, existing circumstances, contingencies, or to the seemingly necessary Ways and Means. And disregard all limiting factors, be they inadequate funds, poor health etc. Dismiss probabilities, possibilities, and seeming likelihoods as irrelevant. Even business theories and practices of the material world have absolutely no place where the law of attraction is being invoked. “

I think Mr. Solomon has given us a clear, concise way to manifest and I highly recommend it.

The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future – Part One

Film funding really starts in your mind with your faith in yourself and your film

Successful people manifest success. That is a core part of what Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions, has been teaching filmmakers for over 3 decades.  It has helped fund a lot of films.  It’s not enough to desire to create a film that audiences applaud or getting that check you desperately need to finish post-production.  You’ve got to have a picture in your mind of yourself in those scenarios.  Feel comfortable in it, feel you deserve it, and it will happen for you.

Art of Manifesting

Do you have a clear vision of yourself and your future? You will need it to manifest your success

Carole Dean wrote “The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future” to explain the law of manifestation and outline how to use the law of attraction to accelerate your manifestations. You can turn dreams into reality and this book shows you how.

On The Art of Film Funding Podcast, she discussed with host Claire Papin how filmmakers and others can use the lessons in the book to create their own success.

What prompted you to write the Art of Manifesting, Creating your Future?

I wrote this after traveling the world teaching my book, The Art of Film Funding. I began to realize from listening to filmmakers that the greatest asset they have is their mind.

I made it a point to keep a record of those filmmakers who assured me that their film, “would be funded and finished within a certain time.” I also kept track of some who told me that film funding was “very difficult and they were unsure of themselves.”   I made it a point to connect to these filmmakers and followed up to see what percentage of them finished their film. 

It was an incredibly high percentage. No matter what the subject, no matter what the budget. The fact that they believed they could do it seemed to overcome everything else. And those that said they thought it would be difficult were still looking for funding.

I had nothing in my book to support the power of your mind. I had intended to encourage people that their mind was powerful but did not focus on what is the most important asset filmmakers have, their faith.  Your belief in yourself and your belief in the completion of your film is paramount to production and funding.

The information in my “The Art of Film Funding” as well as my new book “How to Fund Your Film” must be accompanied by how to use your mind to fund your film.

I taught in South Africa, in New Zealand and all over America and I had so much fun, but the more I taught the funding book, the more it became clear that was only half of it. The real important side of film funding starts in your head. It’s all about what you think because “you are the magic.” You are what makes the film. And if you feel you cannot do it, that If you have the slightest feeling of discomfort, or if you lack confidence, this can impede your process.

Film funding really starts in your mind with your faith in yourself and your film.  It’s the most important part of funding.  As you might imagine filmmakers pitch me constantly for the film grant and to become sponsored by From the Heart. I can tell when someone calls to introduce themselves and their film if they’ve got the faith to fund their film or not. It is in their voice. It’s in their pitch, it’s in their paperwork and it is in their trailer.

Filmmakers need to be totally determined and fixed in the knowledge that their film is funded.  Their pitch to me must have that confidence.  All of us want to feel that the filmmaker can fund the film without us.  Your job is to make us feel that you are determined to make this film and that no one will stop you. That’s the level of confidence that you need to fund your film.

What does manifesting mean?

The Miriam Webster dictionary says:

Manifesting: apparent to the senses, especially to the sight, apparent, distinctly perceived, hence obvious to the understanding, apparent to the mind, easily apprehensible, plain, not obscure or hidden.

In other words, you can’t say to the universe one day, okay, I am making a feature film and this is my plan, and then the next day I say, well, you know, I’m not sure if I want to make that film. I think I might make a documentary. You need to clearly define what you want to manifest.

This is the most important part of manifesting. It goes back to the definition, “evident to the senses.” You need to feel it, see it, know it, believe it. All the senses are involved.

You want to be able to talk about your film as if it is a fait accompli. This comes through your voice as someone who is most confident. Your body language must be very positive, this comes from your mind, you know that you can make and fund this film and you carry yourself with great confidence.

As for vision, you need to be able to see the completed film. You need to know what you want the film to look like so that you can describe it.  Funders, grantors, donors and crew members want to know your vision of the film.

It’s best to think about what you want, make a commitment to yourself and the universe and say, okay, this is it. I’ve found what I want. Now you start manifesting. Now you start creating the vision, you have clarity on what you want to create. 

To manifest you set goals, short and longer term, like a three-month goal, then a six months goal, etcetera, and start moving forward. That’s how you make it happen.  (Goal setting is fully explained here: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/film-funding-guidance-class/)

From the beginning, knowing what you want, and starting out on a strong foundation with clarity and vision. That’s how you manifest because you are manifesting every day with your mind. Think about this, often, at night, when you go to bed, you say, tomorrow at 8am I am on conference call, my goal is to close this investor, you go over the next day, you visualize it and then the next day you manifest your plan.

When you go back and look at the physics of how things in this universe work, we are the magic. We are what stops a particle.

They say particles are never at rest. They’re always moving even at zero-degree temperature. When a human looks at a particle, they can stop it. Now how does that work? I think it is because we are the magic. We are the power.

Understand the power of your mind and realize how powerful you are so that you can use that power to make your film. Your belief and faith in yourself are the most important part of filmmaking. To believe and have this confidence and have a clear vision of your finished film is how you manifest.

Why do you say that artists need to know the market for their films early in production?

Let’s say if you were going to drive from LA to New York, the first thing you do is to create a route to get to your destination.  You would not get in a car and start driving not knowing where you were going.

Your destination is the most important thing. Too many filmmakers start out to make a film and they’re not sure where they can sell their film. They’re not sure where it’s going to be screened or shown or what the distribution would be. They don’t have a destination in mind.

And you need to identify your audience at the beginning of production.  And don’t say “everyone” will love this film.  We want to know specifically who your audience is.  Give us a composite of the person who represents your audience.  Where do they hang out?  What clubs and what organizations online do they belong to?  How do they get their news?  NY Times or Buzz Feed?

You want to identify and connect to your audience because these people will fund you and they will buy your download. Once you Identify your audience then you can connect to organizations where there are more people interested in the same content as your film.

You need to connect to these people, attach them to your mailing list and keep them informed on the progress of your film. This is how you expand your database of contacts. Your contacts in film production are the lifeblood of funding and marketing your film. This is your audience.

Once you identify the audience then you can ask, “who would be interested in buying the film? Where, which channel? Which cable station, which streamer? Which one of these places would want to buy my film? You need that destination.

Downloading is going to be even more prominent in the future because of Covid-19. We may not have as many theaters when they reopen, we may have a smaller number, and they will be dominated by the major distributors. Now, more than ever, filmmakers need to have the knowledge of how and where to distribute their film. 

It’s times like this, during a crisis, that your creativity can soar, and you can find new ways of distributing your film and end up making more money than you would have before Covid 19. Look at this as “a shake up of the old way” and you become an innovator for the new ways to distribute your work.

You book says you must have relentless faith to manifest, we want to know why.

Faith is one of the great keys to a successful life and I am sure it’s the greatest key to filmmaking. Faith in yourself, faith in your film, faith in the knowledge that universe will support you to raise the funds to make the film. If you read one of my favorite parts of the Bible, Matthew 17:20, it says:

For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I don’t expect you to move the mountain, just move the Hollywood sign a bit.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film production. Her new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

 

Setting and Achieving Goals in Uncertain Times

How to move your film, film career, and life forward through an unsettled future

by Carole Dean

This is a special moment in all our lives. Nearly all of us are hunkered down at home during a pandemic.  How do we continue with our lives and keep funding our films with daily cancellations of events and the fear of being close to people and of even going out? 

Now more than ever, we need to focus on our future.  We need to have goals and the confidence we can reach these goals after we emerge safe and secure from this crisis. 

Filmmaker Pandemic

Film shoot on hold? Film festivals canceled? Use your shelter-in time to set goals.

I asked Breianne Pryse to join me on The Art of Film Funding Podcast to give us suggestions on creating and implementing goals.  Brianne Pryse is a natural born intuitive impasse, healer, coach, speaker, and writer.  

She is also a regular on our Film Funding Guidance Classes advising filmmakers how to continue to progress on their projects.  As a lifelong student, she’s been trained in many different modalities. Since 2002, she’s been a full time healer and coach.   

Here is her advice from this interview.

Setting Little, Medium, Big and Almost Impossible Goals

One of the things that I really recommend is to set goals.  But you also must revisit them because sometimes we write them down on a piece of paper and never look at our goals. I believe you must look at them every day or at least every week and you need to be able to connect with them.

I also recommend you have four types of goals. You have the very small ones that you can check off almost daily, so it shows you that you’re getting things done. Then you have the medium goals that have a little bit of work, where you can still check these off easy too.

Then you have the bigger goals where you’re doing a film and working on funding. Getting your film funded may be a big goal.  It’s important that you ask for money and give specifics, like you want to say the dollar amount of your funding goal. Getting your crew, that’s a whole different big goal too. So, you write these down.

Now, the fourth one that I feel is very, very important. It is that you ask for a goal that is just beyond what you think is possible. For example, is your goal beyond impossible possible? And maybe something like, I get an award-winning editor on my film, or I raise $50,000 for my fee. Something just beyond what you think you can do. Because what that does is expand your energy and it helps you connect to the quantum field in a different way.

Examples of Goal Setting

Well, a little goal is, ‘I get up at six o’clock in the morning and write for an hour before work.’  ‘I spend a day without going on Facebook and wasting time.’ Goals like this are good because it tells the universe that we’re in, that we are serious about our goals and we’re making changes.

And it’s all about change. Right now, we are in a very, very high energy year. So that means we need to keep on top of things, or we will get swept away in the negativity and in the craziness, which we do not want to do.

So, these are examples of small productive goals. And then medium goals may be that you write a certain number of pages that day or that week. Because as a filmmaker, most of the time you’re writing your script or you’re writing your promotional material or emails or grants, etc.  And put down actions too.  Ones like I contact three people today for funding, this is also a medium to large goal.

 

 

Why “The Secret” Did Not Work for Many People

I attend a lot of classes where we are told, ‘Oh, you just sit in the chair and you say you’re a millionaire and millions come to you.’ And we know that’s not true, but it is absolutely true that we can create anything we want. We just need to get out of our own way.

It’s feeling into the energy and talking about it to the universe. And just looking at the numbers like, let’s say I need $100,000 for myself. Okay, I’m going to choose to go for this. All right? And then you create that goal and then you start asking questions of the universe. 

What energy can I be today, universe, that would create this? Where can I go to find this funding? What can I do today in this moment to really, really get progress on this goal?

Because what also happens with goals is, as we set expectations.  We all do it regardless of whether we admit to it.  Sometimes we get disappointed because our expectations are not met in the timeframe that we would like. So, the more we can just be in the energy, talking to the goals, allowing energy to move and showing us and asking the universe to show us what’s stopping us is a really, really big thing.

One of the big exercises that you can do is, get a journal, and draw a line down the middle. On the right you write what is happening. And on the left you write what you would like to happen.

An example is, I write on the right I have more bills than income. And on the left I write I would like to create money to pay off all my bills

Now you start asking, okay, so what am I doing wrong? What is going on that is creating the opposite?  And just see what happens and what you hear because the universe is happy to tell you the problems, but we need to be open to hearing it.

Sometimes the universe makes you aware of where you’re overspending, where you’re emotionally spending, where you’re not allowing other people to contribute to you. Now you can write these down under what you don’t want and then you start looking at the behaviors that you can change to solve the problem.

Setting Boundaries for Yourself

One of the biggest things I ever learned was setting boundaries.  Here’s what I recommend people do.

Before you get out of bed in the morning you take a deep breath.  Say, ‘I hear by now and forever on all levels of my being set 100% healthy boundaries on people, negative energy and negative self talk.’ Then, take a deep breath and blow it out.

This pushes people’s energy out of your field. Now you add anything and everything to that. If you’re fighting with an ex, you put boundaries on that person, on their energies. If you’re doing negative self-talk, if you’ve got a specific thing, like your relationship like with your mother. You can put boundaries on your relationship with your negative self talk relationship with your mother. And if you start doing that, that will help you get clear thinking.  You can focus more on your goals and be present in the now.

The more you can set the boundaries, the more you can think clearly. And it was life changing when I figured that out about 15 years ago. Now it also helps when you are feeling great and then you’ll talk to somebody and you feel like you were hit by a bus. That’s a boundary violation. So, you walk away, you say I set 100% healthy boundaries on that person and all their energies and then inhale and exhale and remove it.

Carole, I love your filmmakers and I believe that film is one of the few forms of freedom of speech we have left. Through films people are more willing to look at important issues. I think it’s awesome and  I love and I support the work you do at From the Heart Productions.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and 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 is, isn’t. What isn’t, is.

Wi-Fi may be providing you with high speed internet, but it’s invisible bandwaves may be slowly destroying your health  

by Carole Dean

Monika Krajewska has been designing healthy environments for 35 years. She became Electro-Hyper Sensitive (EHS) in 2007 after moving into a 1920’s house.  As a result of chronic exposure to mold and electromagnetic radiation, she was physically debilitated for nearly a decade. She found a building biologist who evaluated her home and discovered alarming levels of high electric and magnetic fields caused by the hundred-year-old wiring.  Monika began to recover as soon as the electric circuits were turned off.

Wi-Fi

The best thing you can do immediately to sleep better is to keep your phone away from you at night.

She devoted herself after that to study the science of healthy buildings. To date, Monika has assessed nearly one hundred homes for EMFs (electric and magnetic fields), has given countless talks, and assisted hundreds of people with creating healthy home and work environments. She is often called by realtors to measure properties for home buyers and renters. She is staff with the Building Biology Institute, lectures about EMFs and is founder of Elegant Healthy Homes.

I asked her to join me on the Art of Film Funding Podcast because I believe we are all living in an unseen sea of electronics that are causing many side effects.

The Dangers of Wi-Fi

I asked her to start with an explanation of the Wi-Fi that comes off our cell phone and our printers and compute,

“We call it radio frequency radiation.” she replied.  “Wi-Fi is part of that electromagnetic spectrum. And we have found those frequencies are pulsed frequencies.  If you live in the city, you have high exposure.  Because there are not only cell phones all around you, but everything is functioning on wireless communication.  You are most likely close to cell towers and antennas that proliferate every city. Those signals are particularly harmful simply because they create oxidative stress in the body.  You are being inundated by that 24/7, especially at night.”

Monika said the symptoms of EMF, Wi-Fi, and dirty electricity are headaches, depression, tinnitus, cognitive impairment, brain fog, heart palpitation, fatigue, skin conditions and skin rashes.

Sleep Time Is Repair Time

The first thing she asks a client when she’s hired to assess a home is, “Do you have a good night’s sleep?”  She begins her investigation in the sleeping area.  At night your body is repairing itself from the onslaught of Wi-Fi and EMF’s during the day. It needs the cleanest and most pristine environment to repair you.” 

Things that Monika addresses are the wiring in the walls around your bed, your metal bed frame, and anything that’s plugged into the power outlet around and up to within six inches from the bed. You might want to use a battery-operated clock to cut down on EMF’s.

The best thing you can do immediately to sleep better is to keep your phone away from you at night.  Do not to sleep with your cell phone near you.  Leave it in another room or better yet, put in a Faraday cage bag. I got one for $18.00.  You will not truly be rid of Wi-Fi until you remove the phone.

Forget charging your phone by your bed.  When you charge your phone next to your bed at night you get the radio frequency radiation next to your brain.  You get the electric field coming off the core that’s plugged into the electricity.  This is very toxic to your body.

 

 

Say Goodnight to Your Wi-Fi

“So how can you recharge yourself,” Monika asks, “if you’re not in a clean environment? You want to get rid of Alexa and any electronic gadgets, move them far away.” She even suggests that you go to the circuit breaker board and flip the circuits to the electrical sockets near your bed. Stop any electricity coming into your bedroom and the adjoining room.

Next, you want to consider the amount of Wi-Fi in your bedroom.  I set my router to turn off at night and back on in the morning and immediately I had a better night’s sleep.

You need to find out if your neighbor’s Wi-Fi is coming in. I bought an electronic monitoring device that measures Wi-Fi and EMF. It showed that my neighbors Wi-Fi was streaming into my bedroom with a very high rating.  I put aluminum foil over the windows and that stopped it.  However, if I left even a slit of ¼ inch uncovered, it would come in via the smallest crack.  So, overlap your foil to cover every opening.

Protecting Yourself From Wi-Fi

If you’re in an apartment building, you don’t have any control over what’s going on below you. However, she says there are items you can buy that will greatly enhance your sleep. There are RF sheets (that absorb or block radio frequencies) or bed mats that go specifically under the bed at Safe Living Technologies.

There are really great quality fabrics that are specifically made called Swiss Shield Natural and Swiss Shield Daylight. These two types of fabric that are used for shielding your body. You can make curtains from this and you can buy a readymade canopy for your bed. There  is a wall paint you can use that comes from Safe Living Technologies in Canada.  Monika has a lot of resources and she is happy to share them.

I replaced my normal electric power cords, which produce enormous amounts of electric fields and bought shielded cords with a ground which was very inexpensive. This reduces your exposure around your desk and work areas. 

Monika suggested you rewire your lamps with shielded cords and she said that ACE hardware will do it for $15.00 a lamp.  It may sound like a lot of fuss but believe me it’s worth it to feel better.

Time to Clean Up Your Environment

Monika went to an EMF conference for doctors in the San Francisco Bay area in September of 2019.  The consensus is that it’s just not enough to see a doctor if you are suffering from symptoms brought on by EMF or Wi-Fi.   99% of the responsibility and success with your recovery belongs in cleaning up the EMF environment in your home and especially in your bedroom.  Once you do this, then the doctors can do their work to help you recover.

Monika recommends you see the Ted Talk by Jeromy Johnson here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NEaPTu9oI   Jeromy  worked in Silicon Valley and became electrosensitive and has become an educator with wonderful sources of information for you, see www.emfanalysis.com 

You can reach Monika at www.eleganthealthyhome.com and on @elegantliving27 on Facebook or you can phone 805 895-4687.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and 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

 

“Bulletproof” Tips for Writing and Selling Great Screenplays

Interview with the authors of “Bulletproof: Writing Scripts That Don’t Get Shot Down”

by Carole Dean

The partnership of the authors of Bulletproof: Writing Scripts That Don’t Get Shot Down is rooted in a 30-year friendship that dates back to their Philadelphia high school days. David Diamond and David Weissman sold their first spec script, The Whiz Kid to 20th Century Fox in 1994 and have enjoyed a very successful screenwriting career.  Together they have conceived and contributed to over a dozen movies with a combined box office growth of over a billion dollars worldwide.

screenplay

“Do not give your script to anybody in the business, any of your professional contacts, until you’re absolutely certain that you’ve done the very best that you can do on a script.”

I was lucky enough to have them as guests on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast. They shared with me some of their brilliant advice for new screenwriters for selling their screenplays in the age of streaming, getting inspired, and getting past the gatekeepers.

Selling to Streaming Services

Carole: I want to know is the pitching and the script submission the same to the new streaming services, as it was to the Hollywood studios?

David and David: Pitching is much more difficult now. In the last really 10, 15 years, development has kind of fallen on the shoulders of writers and producers without studio participation. The streamers have definitely hired a large number of executives from the feature world, to sort of run their feature department.  There’ll be a lot of continuity in selling to them.

What that means though, in practical terms for a lot of people, is that if you’re a writer and you want to sell, whether it’s to traditional studio or to one of the streaming services, you’re probably going to have to write your script.

You should not rely on pitching unless you know you’re coming in with an A list star, and an A list director. Unless you can package your movie as a pitch, you’re going to have to write that script.

The Three C’s of Script Writing

Carole: Let’s get into your brilliant book Bulletproof. One of the first things you share at the beginning of Bulletproof is the three C’s necessary for a great screenplay.  Tell us what they are and why they are so important.

David and David: The three C’s are the fundamental ingredients of an idea for a movie. And those are a character and a concept and a context.

You can’t really start writing a screenplay until you understand what the idea for your screenplay is. And that is a mistake, as hard as it may be to believe, that a lot of writers make.  They’re full of inspiration and they’re eager to get going and they start writing and they really don’t know what the full idea for their movie is.

We put out there right at the very beginning (Of Bulletproof) how important this is and what we think goes into an idea. And that is a specific person in a specific situation under very specific circumstances. And that’s really what you need to know even before you get started doing anything else.

You need to know who this character is, what is somehow broken or incomplete with this person, and what the challenge is that this person is going to be facing and the world that this challenge exists in. What is the world of your movie? You need to know.

The third C, contacts, is also sort of a question of tone and what kind of movie this is.  Because you can have a character and a concept and for instance, the idea for Groundhog Day, that same basic idea was done as a horror film. It was called Happy Death Day.  So that third element which is the genre, the tone, what kind of movie it is, is, crucial as well. 

It’s not enough just to say I’m writing a movie about a character who is living the same day over-and-over again. That can be a lot of different movies depending on context.

 

 

Know Who is Reading Your Script

Carole:  What advice do you have for writers on submitting their projects?

David and David: We have a whole chapter at the end of the book on submissions. Like what do you do when you’re done? One of the points in that chapter is you do not give your script to anybody in the business, any of your professional contacts, until you’re absolutely certain that you’ve done the very best that you can do on a script.

A big part of the perspective of the book is not just how to get a writer through the process of writing a script, which is critically important, but it’s also having in mind as you’re going through that process, who’s reading this script and what are they looking for?

And how is my script going to benefit the person who’s reading it? Because that’s how things progress to production. So, it’s not just about what you feel like doing and what’s in it for you, which is certainly important.

It’s also about the opportunities that you create for the people who are reading your script. And if you’re not creating an opportunity for the person reading your script, it’s not going to go anywhere.”  Yes, you need to know, ‘What are the benefits of the film for the reader? What opportunity is in the script for the reader?’

Where to Find Inspiration

Carole: Well, I love the book Bulletproof. And in there, you suggest writers find inspiration and information in those who have come before. Please tell us how you would do that and how it assists the writer.

David and David: That’s the best part of the whole process, Carole. One of our principal things that we do when we’re preparing to write something is, we try to take inspiration and lessons from movies that have come before that we love or admire or has something really in particular to say about either the vision or the kind of idea we’re writing.

We’ve always done that. And it can be very helpful sometimes. Really, it’s purely for inspirational purposes. You might go back and watch one of your favorite movies of all time, just to inspire you to what got you into doing this. Other times it’s really important just to see what the models are for the kind of movie that you want to write. Hollywood has inherited wisdom and knowledge from a hundred years of, cinematic history. And we take that very seriously,

This is also a literacy issue. You know, you may have in mind that you’re going to write something that’s really genre busting. If you’re not familiar with the movies in that genre, you really can’t subvert the conventions of that genre.  And, and even if you’re interested in honoring, you know, the genre and its conventions, you must know the movies.

If you are going write a romance novel, you wouldn’t set out and write a romance novel without ever having read a romance novel. But I think that that movies are the same way. You really need to know, if you’re going to contribute to the conversation, the ongoing conversation that’s taking place in the movies at all times, you need to know what’s come before you.

Getting Past the Gatekeepers!

Carole: Many producers tell me that not everyone reads a script, but everyone does read the one-page synopsis. And to me that’s the most important part of closing the money man and closing grantors.

David and David: The idea is there are really two purposes for being able to encapsulate the main points of your story in a single page. And the first one is for the benefit of the writer to have a roadmap to follow that it can keep you focused as you’re writing your screenplay.

But the other advantage of being able to reduce your story to key points on a single page is that, at some point in this process, somebody is going to have to walk into their boss’s office and say, you know, I just read something and this is what it is. And they’re going to have to be able to encapsulate that in a brief period of time.  And the more that you can exert some control or influence over what they say in that conversation, the better off you are.

So the idea is to be able to create a page that basically sums up the essential ingredients of your story,  that can be then used in situations just like the one you’re describing when people are thinking about financing something, buying something, so they know what it is even before they’ve read it. Eventually someone’s going to read the screenplay.

Certainly, in the in the studio world, movies don’t get made without the people who are buying them, reading the scripts.

But it does take surviving this process of script readers and assistants and development executives being able to describe what a screenplay is about before it ends up being read by someone who actually has the authority to spend the money to buy it. 

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and 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.