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ScreenwriterBones

Stories from a seasoned screenwriter. Take heart! Your creative source is infinite and un-ending. Sometimes Hollywood just rips up the roadmap back to it. The bottom line is that Hollywood is not at all as bad as it sounds. Additionally, it's worse than you can imagine. Remember to pack a sense of humor.

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I am a screenwriter living in Southern California. I've written screenplays for most of the Hollywood studios over the past 20 years. One of the uncredited writers of FANTASTIC FOUR, I wrote FIRE DOWN BELOW starring Steven Seagal, and the TV Movie 12:01 PM starring Martin Landau and MANEATER with Gary Busey. I have directed short films. I have written on numerous Hollywood studio assignments, some for big shot actors, some for small shot nobodies.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do you need an A list actor in an independent film?

The short answer, No. But it comes with several qualifiers.

a) is the film $400,000 and under? Then you can make a genre film and probably guarantee a $500,000 return on horror/violence from a Distributor, thereby convincing a financeer, but not more. So if you stay in that framework you don't need bankable stars.

b) you do it for even less than $400K and crowdfund or have angels back you and cross your fingers when you go to sell it.

After that you're looking at bankable talent to pre-sell and finance an independent film. The new 'micro budget' films of $400,000 and under are the result of desperation. A temporary framework that is holding because so many people are out of work, and can grab a few days or weeks at low pay on one of these - so that they can survive to the next one.

I just wrote one of them, and had an amazing cast and crew, so I know by experience.

The next level of budget jumps farther and has bankable talent. $1.5 M and up need stars, and even non A list stars, but say stars of a cable franchise or HBO series could generate the kind of budget as Distributors feel confident of that return.

I know this too as a friend secured a star of a cable series for a film of her's last summer, and raised $1.5 million off of his name - and they made the film - and it turned out great.

The time has never been better for independent films in terms of cast and crew that you attract. So do all you can to generate a script that will magnetize what you need.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Julia said...

Nice post which A temporary framework that is holding because so many people are out of work, and can grab a few days or weeks at low pay on one of these so that they can survive to the next one. In which The time has never been better for independent films in terms of cast and crew that you attract. Thanks a lot for posting.

Sunday, July 22, 2012  
Anonymous Arti Biogas said...

Nice Post, good work

Friday, February 22, 2013  

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