Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pitching Your Film Script in Hollywood

The studios and other large production companies are signatory to the Writers Guild. This means they have agreed to use Writers Guild-approved contracts. Their names can be easily found in a variety of directories.

What are large producers looking for?
Their perceived needs can change monthly, or even weekly. They are constantly assessing the markets for the right formula. In general, they want something that can be easily pitched to other producers, studios, distributors and moviegoers. So the concept or central idea must grab them immediately.

They also want something written for the actor. They want a script that makes the difference between Bruce Willis doing the movie and Tom Cruise doing it, or Julia Roberts as opposed to Lindsay Lohan.

We must be aware that when a producer produces the script of a new writer, he's putting his job on the line. If the resulting movie fails, he could be canned for trying someone new. Whereas if a film using a proven writer fails, it can be seen as a fluke.

When a producer hires you, she's hoping you're up and coming.

These large producers have deals with studios, meaning that they have contractual agreements to produce a certain number of pictures with a studio or production company, or a studio may have first right of refusal. This is another reason why its better to let a producer take your project to a studio than go directly to the studio yourself. These producers are big because they have the money needed to finance a film.

Generally, large producers accept scripts only from agents.

However, if your query is strong enough, there are some WGA-signatory producers who may accept a script without an agent. In such cases, they may require a submission agreement or release. A submission agreement is a legal document is a legal document that basically absolves the producer or executive of responsibility if your work is accidentally stolen. It sounds horrible, but you should consider signing the release to get your work sold and produced.

Generally, these folks aren't interested in stealing your story. Theft occurs occasionally, but large producers are more interested in avoiding lawsuits than they are in a theft. Writer's paraonia is the hallmark of an amateur.You've got to get your ideas out there. Perhaps your best protection is your writitng ability, industry savvy and completed script.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Entries Sought for 9th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards

PlanetOut Inc. , the leading media and entertainment company exclusively focused on the gay and lesbian market, is seeking entries for the 9th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards (POSMA) 2008, sponsored by Scion in association with the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF).

The PlanetOut Short Movie Awards, the largest online awards honoring film and video shorts by, about, and of interest to LGBT audiences, is an acclaimed international platform for top gay and lesbian filmmakers. Noted winners include Angela Robinson ("D.E.B.S.," "Herbie Fully Loaded," and "The L Word"); Jamie Babbitt ("But I'm a Cheerleader!," "Ugly Betty," "Alias," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Gilmore Girls," and "Nip/Tuck"); and Q. Allan Brocka ("Eating Out," "Boy Culture," and "Rick and Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in all the World").

Deadline for entries is Dec. 7, 2007 and information may be found on and and

Up to 20 finalists will be selected from all eligible submissions. Judging will be based on an equally weighted criteria consisting of the following: cleverness and originality; quality of writing, acting, and production values; innovative use of the medium; relevance of subject matter; and entertainment value.

Winners will be announced in January 2008 at PlanetOut's annual event during the Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Prize Winner and four runners-up will be screened at a special ceremony and program in Miami as part of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on Sunday, April 27, 2008. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize and will be exhibited on and, along with the runners up, who will each receive cash prizes ranging from $1,500 to $500.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

4 Reasons Why Film is Dying

Here's a great article from Mac Filmmaking on why film is dying and paving the way for digital filmmaking! 4 Reasons why film is dying:

Act 1: It’s time to change
I think we really just need a change. The same kind of change that we need, has occurred in the music industry, so why can’t it happen with movies. The answer to this question finds itself entangled in the hierarchy of the Film Industry. The Film Industry has built up a workflow for pumping out movies fast and efficiently and they don’t want to change this workflow anytime soon. They have figured everything out, so that they can write and produce a film for a few million and make four times as much back. The only hope for change can be found in independent production. If companies have a format that is cost effective and doesn’t jeopardize the quality of production (such as Red), indie filmmakers will support it.

Act 2: New Ideas
We also need some new ideas. For years we have been simply working upon a dead format. We all know it’s on its way out, so why do we continue to pump our money into it. That comes back to what I said about the Film Industry. They have their money invested in the film workflow and would rather not change.
One example of a new idea coming to the market is the Red Camera. Red has built a new workflow system for producing films, and many indie filmmakers are eager to get their hands on it. Red seems like a really good solution to these problems that we face and in the future I believe we will either see the Film Industry adopting Red, or creating their own digital format.

Act 3: Conversion
Ever since computerized (non-linear) editing stations entered the market in the late 1970’s, the filmmakers workflow has been compromised. When shooting on film you must have a lab convert your footage to a data file to be edited on a computer. This has become a hassle for many filmmakers when digital filmmakers can simply import their footage right into their personal computers. Until a data format is adopted, the mainstream (film) workflow will be compromised and filmmakers will continue to convert and out convert their footage though labs. This is just one more reason why film is dead, (or at least dying).

Act 4: "Data" enters the dictionary
Many camcorders are now using data chips (usually flash or HD), to store footage. This dramatically decreases the time it takes to import footage and start editing. This principle has also been implemented in the new Red Camera. Now, more then ever, film seems like an inconvenience to send to a lab to be processed.