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06/29/2001 - Some Random Thoughts On The Industry

How to Produce Movies for Television

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good things that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to my fellow creatures, let me show it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

-- William Penn (1644 -1718)

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" It's a question that we've asked ourselves from time to time and perhaps you have done the same too.

The song said it best: "Show business is like no business that I know." It's totally unpredictable and yet enormously rewarding. Just when you think that you know everything and have seen everything, something surprising comes along that awakens
you to a new reality and to a new beginning.

Every day and every deal is different.

Some random thoughts about the state of the industry:

Runaway Production

Budgets are always a concern. There's an economic reality for filmmakers that must be confronted on a daily basis. New equipment is getting lighter and therefore more portable. The new state of the art is allowing filmmakers to be more mobile and therefore more realistic. It's easier with lighter equipment to go on locations such as the Rocky Mountains, the Florida Everglades, or to the desert in New Mexico and Nevada. And, with the advent of digital technology, location shoots will become even easier to pursue.

The lighter Panasonic and Aeroflex cameras and the lighter sound and light equipment are making a big difference when it comes to shooting on location.

On-Location Advantages

Many filmmakers say that they're motivated to go on location because of the budgetary considerations. Certainly, this is a crucial factor. But in addition to taking advantage of overseas shoots because of the strong dollar, or tax subsidies in some countries, the best reason for shooting on location is because it affords filmmakers a better look. It allow them to open up their films with a look that they can't get anywhere else. Nothing can ever replace the real thing.

Big Budget vs. Small Budget Films

The big budgeted pictures have virtually driven the small budget films out of the theaters.
The exorbitant costs for prints and advertising alone dwarf the budgets of most independent films. Mega hits are usually tied to heavy box office sales. Fortunately, indie filmmakers are able to connect with the home video, cable, overseas and syndication markets.

Breaking In As Filmmakers

If you're coming straight out of film school, it's far better to find a job connected in some way to production. Getting started as a messenger, production assistant, grip, or as an electrician if you have those skills is a good way to find yourself on a set observing how films are made. Once you acquire the knowledge and confidence to strike out on your own, get together with your film school colleagues and go the digital route. It's the most cost effective route to take.

Film Making and the Moral Imperative

There is a certain moral and social responsibility that is an integral part of the filmmaking process. Expect to pass through this world but once. Do the right thing. Make films that you can be proud of.

"Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong."

-- John Riefenbaker, author


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