The Easy Path to Becoming A Professional Indie Filmmaker

forget the wide release (for the moment)
forget wall to wall media coverage (for the moment)
forget Hollywood (for the moment)
forget Indiewood (for the moment)
forget the multi-million dollar paychecks (for the moment)
forget confusing fame, wealth, power for love & health (forever)
* P R O D U C T I O N
make a movie [feature length, or several shorts that can work as a feature length program]
(if u do not have sufficient filmmaking skills, learn them by reading books & websites & watching movies, also through trial & error - grab a video camera, mics, lights, some cheap editing software, work on your craft 'till u get it to a point where u & those whose opinion u care about will think the skills are awesome)
use DV or another accessible, affordable format
make it excellent
make it inexpensively
- forget the typical indie film financing insanity & B.S.
* fund your film from some cash saved up from your dayjob paychecks
(it's alright if it takes a while to get the movie done)
- also can do benefit events for the film project, can make merch to raise $s for the film, can get small loans from friends & other supporters, & small investors are cool as long as they know the full risk of investing in the project - the key is maintaining financial independence and not getting into a crippling debt situation
* D I S T R I B U T I O N
Once The Movie Is Done:
* call up a local theater/club/bookstore/record store/video store/someone w/ a space - anyone w/ a space that can accommodate several dozen people, a large TV or screen, projector if possible if there is a large screen, some audio amp/playback system
- set up a showing of your movie
- set up a website for the movie
- set up a blog for your movie, blog regularly - build up some readers/friends
- let all local media know about your movie and the upcoming show
- mail out some review copies of the movie to interested people on the web & in other media
- constantly promote the upcoming screening & the movie, self through all available avenues
Make Some DVDs to sell
* talk to media & other people who are interested in discussing your movie
- submit the movie to film festivals
- do your public screening, charge money for entrance if appropriate
- sell DVDs to whoever wants them
- keep track of sales, put some money aside on a regular basis for taxes & emergency film distro related expenses
The Road Show
- get in touch w/ other venues in town, see if you can play/show your movie
- rent some spaces to play if you have to
Contact Venues In Other Towns
- try to get some gigs
- get some gigs
- go play the movie there when you are off from your dayjob, sell some DVD's
Mail Order
- make the DVD available for sale through your website
- promote the movie, the DVD, self through other people's/friends/co-indiefilmmaker's websites, blogs
The Future:
* Make Another Movie When It Feels Right, Repeat The Steps mentioned above
* When You Have Plenty of Money Coming In Through Your Filmmaking Work, Quit Dayjob
* Continue To Make Movies until you don't feel like it anymore
* Enjoy yourself at all times. U R a lucky soul.
- This work is not very difficult, takes patience, action, creativity. You can do it if you really want to.
Playing w/ Indiewood & Hollywood:
once you have a feature film done & in self-distro, Indiewood & Hollywood may be interested in working with you, choose carefully and select collaborations that benefit you & your indie filmmaker career. If Indiewood & Hollywood gets in the way of living well & being productive, pull back, go back to your ultra-indie roots FT, get work done & out. You & your fans will be happy.

[And on a purely creative note:
creativity is a powerful gift & ability, use it wisely
being able to make a movie is a rare ability in the history of this world, use that power well
seek out things that should be celebrated but aren't, celebrate them, your peers will reward you for it
seek out things that should be articulated (because doing so will make life more livable for some or many people), no matter how painful, articulate those things through your art, you will be making the world a better place]



Jacky Treehorn said…
It does not get more clear and concise as that.

Kick-Ass Manifesto, S.

Thanks JT. We are building a new Heaven & Earth. Or a new Hell :) Or something like a new Heaven & Earth. Exciting work whatever the outcome. Talk to you soon.

William said…
Very cool blog. Keep up the good work.
jmj said…
This is great!

Very excellent advice that could save a lot of people stress and money.

I love that you point out the creative benefits to your mind, body, and soul are more important than anything fame and wealth can provide.
Thanks for the props William. The good work will be kept up.

Thanks for the positive words JMJ.
Yeah, happiness & health are key, and next to that is getting good movies done & out. Wealth can be achieved by saving money for a while. Fame, well, that's probably a mixed blessing. If you've got good friends, cool filmmaking skills & r using them, and u can get some money saved up over time, you probably won't miss fame and you'll probably handle it well if you already have the other stuff by the time/if you get the fame.