Indi Film Production

When trying to get your screenplay produced and distributed there are moments of despair – especially if you’ve travelled the road a while and have studied what the universities have to offer. The basic elements of Development, Pre-Production, Production, Post and Distribution are interesting diversions when compared with the real process of raising confidence, collaboration and eventually money, to produce and distribute your ‘baby’. That’s the thing about filmmaking – until you’re at the very top there can never be a missed opportunity to show what you can do.There can never be an ivory tower – it has to be down in the trenches face to face, intention to make it unalloyed by ‘other fish to fry’.

How do you do that? Well, I’ve seen Film Producers come and go, and there are always two qualities apparent in all successful producers – PERSISTENCE and THE ABILITY TO MAKE DEALS. Persistence is a given – if you don’t have it, take a full time job somewhere and forget about filmmaking.  Deal-making is really an ability to confront other people and to scrape together something that works for both of you – it almost always comes down to MONEY and FILM BUDGETS. If you aren’t good at making deals then collaorate with someone who is good at it. It may mean some creative sacrifice, but – hey – that’s part of the deal.


About filmproduction
I have worked in the film production industry since 1985, working on over 50 different productions of every size in 6 different countries. My self-published book, "Walk The Talk" is written in an easy to read manner for film students and working professionals who haven't had the chance to learn how to 'Direct the Money'.

3 Responses to Indi Film Production

  1. Mr WordPress says:

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  2. Joanne says:

    Hi John,

    I am working on my first multi-million dollar budget. I have been knee deep in union rates and wondered if accountants are in any unions or if their rates are negotiated per individual. If the latter is the case, can you provide standard pay rates for a Key Accountant and 2nd Accountant?

    This is a great site and I plan on ordering your book!

    • Hi, Joanne. Accountants are unionized in the west coast and in New York. As a rule the accountants are in the union for the benefits and as some protection against abuse from some of the worst producers, but accountants aren’t usually of the militant unin variety. If you production is less that say $7Mil to $10Mil you can get a good accountant for about $2,500 to $2,800/Wk on the West Coast. In New York add another one or two hundres dollars a week. If you have a union show then you’ll need a good payroll accountant – but not someone who is used to doing 200 to 800 timecards a week – so the range of should be about $1,500 to $1,800 per week. Again in New York and a hundred or so. If the show is more than $3Mil add a third at a Clerk rate – say $750 to $900/Wk depending on West or East coast.

      Always go with an accountant who can give you some phone numbers of who they worked for and be sure to make the calls because it’s surprising how different someone can be between the interview and the work. Also, if you are using a bond company ask them who they would recommend – an accountant is terribly important to them, so they will give you specific help in finding someone and they’ll know their usual rate.

      I hope that helps.

      Best regards,
      John Gaskin

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