Money. It has been said the love of it is the root of all evil. It has also been said to make the world go around. In the world of filmmaking, it is a simple fact: you need it and getting it is not easy. Even with the advances in HD video and micro budget indie productions, the scramble for funding is on.
Currently, our production, “Isn’t It Romantic?” has $5000. That’s actual cash in the bank, ready to spend. How did we get it? From me. Every penny of it. I happened to come into a little dough and I put the whole thing into the project. To be perfectly honest, I should not be spending the money this way. It doesn’t matter. I am committed to getting this film made, so that’s what I’m doing with the money. No guts, no glory. Fortune favors the bold. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Let’s see if I’m still saying these things when I’m living in a cardboard duplex in an alley.
The budget we have, as it now stands, is $10,000. Yes, that’s a big discrepancy, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Initial budgets are estimates and much manipulation occurs when coming up with the actual numbers. For example, our actual location fee is only 30% of what was budgeted.
That said, I still would like to have more money, ideally the entire $10,000. We may have a significant amount coming soon. I took a job several months ago, rewriting a feature screenplay titled, “Facades”. It’s very different from my usual work, not a comedy, but rather, a character study, a psychological drama. It’s a good script, an art house project. The original draft was written by the director and he hired me to do the rewrite. I have been working on it steadily, making adjustments based on notes I get from the producer as well as the director. For this, I will be paid $3500. I intend to put every penny of it into “Isn’t It Romantic?”.
The problem is, before I can get paid, the movie needs funding. I knew this upfront and I was okay with it. It’s been a very good experience for me. It got me out of my comfort zone and doing things I had never done as a writer, such as working on someone else’s story. I have improved my skills. No matter what, it’s been a worthwhile experience.
Today, I sent the sixteenth draft to the director. That’s a lot. Many more drafts than I generally do. But, it looks like the payoff, in the most literal sense, is imminent. An investor is very interested in the project and funding should be in place very soon. I have been assured that my fee is the first order of business. My fingers are crossed. I am sure the intentions are genuine, but deals in show business can fall apart easily.
At any rate, there is hope. This would actually help me in more than one way. Obviously, raising the coffers for our film to $8500 would be huge. We could run a crowd funding campaign, which we are going to do anyway, but we would only need an additional $1500 to reach $10,000. That would be a very comfortable number that should allow us to shoot with a minimum of financial stress.
The other benefit would be that “Facades” would go into production on schedule for later this year and make its May release date. I would have a legitimate screen credit. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much that would do for my career. Between that and the contest finalist status achieved by my feature screenplay, “Soul Mate”, I should be able to get an agent. Also, the director and producer of “Facades” have other projects for me. I could get very busy as a writer and start taking those numerous baby steps that lead to a writing career.
Whether this all comes off or not, who can say? But it is exciting to be in this position. Possibilities keep us going, give us hope, make us feel, at least for a little while, that all the effort as been worth it.