How to go about setting up an indie film business

For those who love film, it’s the dream to set up a project that lets you develop and create a movie all of your own. Indie filmmakers, as they are known, attempt to operate outside the world of Hollywood and the big box office movie worlds. Perhaps they choose to focus on a theme or topic that they think isn’t being covered by the mainstream film establishment. Or maybe they decide to employ a more diverse cast, or work from a lower budget in order to focus on the passion and skill of the actors rather than name recognition.

However, nobody is under any illusions: indie filmmaking is far easier said than done, and there are all kinds of barriers ranging from lack of knowledge to a world in which support can seem scarce. There are some ways to mitigate these problems, however, and to surge ahead in the indie film world. This article will explore what these solutions might be, and how a budding indie filmmaker can make themselves as ready as possible to do a great job.

Get some experience first

There are plenty of budding indie filmmakers out there. If you want to do it, you can guarantee that many others have had the same idea – and this means that you’re likely to face some competition when it comes to securing funding, finding the best scriptwriters, and getting picked up by festivals. For that reason, a better strategic goal might be to ensure that you get some experience in the industry before pressing ahead. Why not consider, for example, taking a job as an assistant on a camera crew? Before you find a professional NY camera crew for your own film, taking one of the many camera crew jobs in NY will not only give you an insight into the whole supply chain, but will also ensure that your skills are high and that you have some cash as you develop your idea.

Do your reading

Some indie filmmakers get gripped by their idea as soon as it is born, and can then barely think of anything else while they’re getting set up. While this sort of burning creativity can be good, it can also be damaging. It can lead to you pressing ahead before you’re ready – and producing something that, in the long term, might turn out to just be substandard. However, by reading up on the state of the indie film scene, you’ll quickly be able to find out whether or not it’s right for you and whether or not your idea could fly. There are all kinds of resources available on the internet, such as forums for filmmakers. Don’t worry too much about others stealing your idea: provided you are vague enough to get the advice you need, it’s possible for these sorts of circles to be mutually supportive places in which you can get what you need and then fly with it.

Find some support

When an indie film is made, there are always all kinds of people involved. As mentioned above, a camera crew is essential – but so are producers, directors, lighting specialists, marketers and many more. Before starting your project and casting roles, you need to be sure that you have the assistance you need – especially if, as many indie film projects are, you’re strapped for cash. Would people be willing to work on your project as volunteers, for example? Would people be happy to work part-time so that they can keep space for other jobs? These are all tough issues that you as an indie filmmaker will need to iron out – and if you don’t do it early enough, then your hard work could go to waste in the long run.

Working as an indie filmmaker here in the US is not easy, despite there being many cities that are so welcoming to amateur filmmakers. Money is a big problem, and you’ll need to be sure that you’ve got a good support network around you who can keep the lights on while you’re being creative. As this article has shown, there’s a lot of research to do before you can get to the top, and you’ll need a lot of patience. But by persevering, biding your time and keeping yourself well informed about everything pertaining to your industry, there’s no reason why you can’t eventually produce an indie film that gets played at a festival and becomes widely known and even critically acclaimed.

Product Feature: “Escape Goat 2” Indie Box – June 2014


Are you a fan of independent video games? Well then you need to subscribe to IndieBox ASAP. This month is the companies second monthly mystery subscription box. What it does is that it gives collector’s edition treatment to great indie games. This month’s release is “Escape Goat 2”, developed by MagicalTimeBean and published by Double Fine Productions. When you subscribe to IndieBox you get Retro-style Collector’s Edition boxes jam packed with tons of goodies and they are simply delivered to your door – every month for as low as $14.99 a month (+$3 US S&H). IndieBox is the only monthly subscription box that aims to recapture the nostalgia of the traditional video game boxes.

IndieBox not only teams up with indie video game companies to release their comes in a collector’s edition game box, they also feature handpainted artwork with reimagined game cartridges, full color manuals, CD soundtracks, posters, and much more. The June IndieBox includes: Cover Art by Kailyn Boehm, Custom USB Game Cartridge for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux, Steam Key, 24-page Color Manual, Original CD Soundtrack, Additional Bonus Track by Video Game and Chiptune Guitarist Danimal Cannon, 11”x17” Poster, Stained Glass Static Cling Decal, An official CubeeCraft Papercraft of the Goat, Keychain the Mouse Companion and Escape Goat 2 Themed Vinyl IndieBox sticker.

IndieBox is growing very fast and have increased their subscriber count from 150 to 400 over the last month. You know what that means, more subscriber = cooler monthly releases. If you missed signing up for this month release, a copy of the Collector’s Edition of “Escape Goat 2” can still be purchased for a limited time at http://indiebox.myshopify.com while supplies last. Since last month’s game, “Teslagrad”, sold out in 36 hours, IndieBox has created an additional 200 copies of “Escape Goat 2” to help meet the demand. So if you are a fan of indie video games and aren’t subscribes to IndieBox, I highly recommend it for sure!

 

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Kevin Sean Michaels talks about indie film “Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random”

Imagine an indie horror movie with a big Bollywood ending.  I thought I’d seen it all until I watched, Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random on Amazon Streaming, a web hit. The movie goes where few movies have gone before. It is no surprise, then, that it comes from the mind of a former Troma Studios alumni, director Kevin Sean Michaels, who worked with Troma President Lloyd Kaufman on Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.  He also directed two documentaries, Vampira: The Movie and The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels, which in fact was narrated by none other than John Waters himself. I caught up with the director to ask him why he made Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random.

Mike Gencarelli: What inspired Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random? Seems pretty bizarre!
Kevin Sean Michaels: It is! I grew up watching a lot of sitcoms, where for no reason there would be a serious episode.  Then back to comedy. The worst was Family Ties, where Alex Keaton (Michael J. Fox) actually lost his virginity at 17 and has to talk to his Dad about it.  Anyway, I thought it would be entertaining to mix horror and comedy like that.  But we decided not to put a laugh track.  As a result, no one is cued to laugh, they just do.

MG: What has been the reception?
KSM: Very intense because the movie plays like a practical joke, similar to the movie, “The Room” by Tommy Wiseau.  It’s like—how can this be a real movie? Are they serious? But the movie is like one of Ed Wood’s—it reads like a stage play gone wrong, but in this case the train-wreck is part of its charm. And totally planned out.  People seem to really connect with it on its level. And on its terms.

MG: I know you directed “Vampira: The Movie”.  Are you a fan of Ed Wood?
KSM: Of course! When I did Vampira: The Movie I was able to talk to some of the original actors like Conrad Brooks. He said Ed really put heart and soul into his films and that they were supposed to be funny.  Like the imperfections was the perfection. That’s why I look up to Ed Wood, too.  I read recently that Bobcat Goldthwait got a tattoo from Kat Von D, stating just that—Ed Wood was inspiration to filmmaking independence.

MG: What was the inspiration for the characters in Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random?
KSM: The Garter Snakes gang was funny.  I love the idea of a gang of girls, like in the biker movies.  Basically, for them to act like old Bowery Boys, Three Stooges with a dash of Happy Days.  There is love in the group, even if they all insult each other.  If Fonzie tells Potsie to “sit on it” he doesn’t mean “fuck you. “  And when the characters start dying in Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random, it comes down to how the gang reacts.  But it is goofy cartoon fun in the end.

MG: Some pretty harsh things happen to the gang…
KSM: (laughs) That’s the point.  It’s got an unreality to it.  It’s like the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  Freddy can laugh at all of it and the audience is with him somehow.  Our villain is also our main character.  She goes through changes, but it’s the force of evil that is the real villain.  I’ve seen a few audience members jump out of their seats at some parts of the movie.

MG: Any advice for filmmakers doing their own special effects on a budget?
KSM: Yes, never put soap in your mixture for fake blood.  People slip on it.  That’s why I have never done it.

MG: What about the nudity in Supernaturalz: Weird, Creepy & Random? Especially the snake scene…
KSM: Yes, the snake scene is a stand-out.  I was always amazed by reading about the stir caused by the snake scene in The Devil in Miss Jones.  They cut the scene out so many times that it’s now legend.  Our scene is a homage to that.  The other thing is to play with nudity where it’s sexy but yet scary or weird at the same time.

MG: And the Paris Hilton scene?
KSM: Well, it’s not really Paris Hilton (laughs).  I like the idea that someone would be cruel enough to steal someone’s clothes as well as their car just to humiliate them, but also to follow their sexual fantasy.  In this case, Patti’s fantasy.  To strip the rich is sexy.  Our gang member Patti is a shoplifter and can’t seem to stop herself from going too far.  So our Paris Hilton-character is stranded like in Castaway, talking to her fuzzy handbag instead of a little dog.  People seem to really like the scene.

MG: Why the strong emphasis on Indian mythology and Bollywood dancers?
KSM: Something I haven’t seen in a movie like this and people don’t expect it. It really challenged us, too.  It’s very panoramic on the screen.  Indian mythology is very interesting and there is so much to it.   Even our character, The Mighty Sardar, isn’t mighty enough to handle it all.  He has to rely on his assistant.  The phallic symbols are a part of Hindu temples, so we have that as well. When you see the movie, we really made it twisted, so I hope there is no bad mojo because of it (laughs).

MG: Is horror and comedy a trend?
KSM: It’s always been there.  Comedy is always part of horror.  You can’t have dark without light.  I’d rather be in the light.

Like the movie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/supernaturalzthemovie

Website: http://www.supernaturalzthemovie.com/

Check it out on Amazon Streaming or DVD: http://tinyurl.com/mtwsagv

 

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Shakin’ the Indie Film Scene in 3D

April 17, 2012 – Kevin and DeAnna Cooper are ex-studio executives that recently signed a distribution deal for their independent 3D family comedy I HEART SHAKEY, the first film from their company Amarok Productions. The first independent film to be shot entirely in stereoscopic 3D, it is paving a new path for other filmmakers. To better understand what the Coopers have accomplished after leaving careers in the Hollywood studio system, you should know that 95% of independent films never make it to the marketplace. An even higher percentage of films never get a theatrical release. This is the story of “the little engine that could….”

I HEART SHAKEY, was shot in the Chicago area and stars Steve Lemme (Broken Lizard comedian, Super Troopers, Beerfest), Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy franchise), Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation movies), Alfonso Arau (Three Amigos), 12 year old acting phenom Rylie Behr and a rescue dog named Ebony. The movie also touts some of the hottest actors and comedians in Chicago including Andy St. Clair and Greg Holloman (of Second City fame) and award winning stage actress Janet Ulrich Brooks. A full list of credits can be found at their IMDb listing.

I HEART SHAKEY tells the story of a widower, his 9 year-old daughter and their devoted mutt Shakey. The film follows this family of three as they move from a small town to Chicago and are forced to get rid of their dog, who wreaks havoc in their new apartment building. It is a simple heart warming story geared toward kids and families that focuses on the importance of loyalty and keeping the family together. It has recently been approved by the Dove Foundation for family viewing. The teaser trailer is now live on their Kickstarter page.

Talent from the film will attend their red carpet premiere on June 13th in Chicago . Sneak previews over Father’s Day weekend (June 15-17) in Chicago will precede its theatrical and OnDemand release June 29th by Phase 4. The DVD arrives in stores late August. Spotlight Pictures will handle international distribution.

In theatres and On Demand June 29
http://www.iheartshakey.com
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MouseTrap Films Snaps up Four Pix for the Launch of Film Festival Flix & Redefines Indie Film Distribution

First appearing on the scene at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, newly launched MouseTrap Films has been rapidly snapping up films for distribution via its FILM FESTIVAL FLIX monthly theatrical series and ancillaries. Acquisitions include “Face to Face,” “The Calling,” “The Holy Land of Tyrol,” and “Rancid.” MouseTrap President / CEO, Benjamin Oberman, has teamed up with VP of Theatrical Distribution, Jill Gray Savarese, to roll out the films theatrically.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 29, 2012
First appearing on the scene at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, newly launched MouseTrap Films has been rapidly snapping up films for distribution via its FILM FESTIVAL FLIX monthly theatrical series and ancillaries. MouseTrap President / CEO, Benjamin Oberman, has teamed up with VP of Theatrical Distribution, Jill Gray Savarese, to roll out the films theatrically.

Early acquisitions include Michael Rymer’s (QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA) “Face to Face” which won the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress at the Newport Beach International Film Festival. The film, which is based upon a play by Australian Playwright, David Williamson, is frequently compared to “12 Angry Men.” Awarded Best of Fest at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Jan Dunn’s “The Calling” stars Oscar®-nominated actress Brenda Blethyn and was the last film of Oscar®-nominee Susannah York. “The Holy Land of Tyrol” (aka “Mountain Blood”) is a visually stunning German foreign language film by director, Philipp J. Pamer. Alastair Orr’s “Rancid” is a highly-anticipated sci/fi horror film. An additional 10 films are in negotiations and expected to close soon.

Oberman, who founded MouseTrap says, “MouseTrap Films was started to find the film festival gems that regularly fall through the cracks. The FILM FESTIVAL FLIX platform was created as a solution to the traditional challenge of marketing and branding a great film that lacks star power or other elements associated with a traditional campaign. We present great films and the film festival experience, monthly in your community, and make the films available to independent film enthusiasts on multiple platforms.”

The FILM FESTIVAL FLIX series will host actors and filmmakers for Q&A in 25 theaters nationwide, while simulcasting the events in up to 200 more. In an unprecedented move, filmmakers and actors may earn the right to screen their 5- minute short films theatrically before the features. Rewarding one local artist who coordinates the event-screening in their community, MouseTrap will screen their short film in that venue. The winner of the monthly online nationwide contest will be screened in all FFF theaters and distributed online at http://www.FilmFestivalFlix.com.

According to Savarese, who will establish and head-up the theatrical division, “My belief is that we, as distributors, can strengthen the reach of independent films by giving merit-based opportunities to new filmmakers and actors and by supporting the small exhibitors. To that end, we will strive to make our films available to even the smallest venues (including those without digital conversion) and offer them cross-promotional and grassroots marketing support.”

Branching out into film distribution is a natural progression for Oberman after 7 years of producing films, documentaries, and commercials. Savarese, who was a child performer and had a long career as an actor and producer on stage and film is also at home here. A curiosity that some don’t know, however, is the “consultant” parallel between them. Oberman, a former professional pairs figure skater who performed in the 2002 Olympic Games Opening & Closing Ceremonies, was a Figure Skating Consultant on Paramount / Dreamworks’ “Blades of Glory.” Savarese, a political interpreter who interpreted for President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, was the Sign Language Consultant on the Fox Searchlight film, “The East.”

About Mousetrap Films:
MouseTrap Films offers an alternative releasing strategy, with FILM FESTIVAL FLIX functioning as a powerful new platform to launch and distribute Independent films. MouseTrap, via FILM FESTIVAL FLIX, plans to release 3 films a month in theaters across the US with day and date VOD/DVD. The films will be available for DVD Purchase, Download to Own, and Streaming Rental through the soon-to-be launched website http://www.FilmFestivalFlix.com and through additional partnerships and platforms.