For whatever reason, Stu Maschwitz is pushing this dude's Kickstarter project. It's the guy's first feature film. And he's trying to get donations of $30,000 to shoot it.
Every single thing about that is just wrong to me.
Now I realize, that being I'm on the "genre" side of the indy business I sometimes get a bit short with the "art-house" side of the business. And I suppose if you don't need to ever worry about making your money back, because it was all given to you with no expectation of return, then you also don't need to worry about ever selling your picture.
Still, for a personal project, you're way over budget here at $30,000. Way.
I'm going to get another drink.
There. Now let's go over the budget breakdown from the kickstarter project, my comments are underlined:
Location fees? Seriously? Stop shooting at places that charge location fees. There. Budget item eliminated. This is the kind of thing where the filmmaker just says "The story needs to take place in blah-blah-blah..." And it totally doesn't. You don't need a supermarket. Or an infirmary ward. Or City Hall on a weekday. We shoot in New York so we're predjudiced against location permits. But just don't get permits. Make the damn movie. That should run you about $600 for 12 days. Like what? You don't need any additional gear. Your costume budget is $250. Hell, my costume budgets are usually $250 and I make off-world sci-fi movies. Find stuff around the house. Don't buy stuff. Seriously, how much specific stuff is actually needed for the story that you don't already have? A telephone answering machine? A wine glass? Should be $15/day/man unless you're in overnight locations then thing $30 or so. Does that start to get expensive? Then reduce your crew. Think "crew of 3". That's about right. If you're spending more than about $100 on this you're over-spending. You really don't need to photocopy anything. Phone calls and internet should really be the same item. You need to print your contracts. Do not print more than one copy/person of the damn script. No no no no no. Do not licence any music. It is only a waste of money. I know you think that song is really cool and you'd love to have it in your movie. But you can't. Get over it. It doesn't make your movie any better. Some local indy band will provide music which is just as good. Ask them to deliver a mix without vocals. Can't argue with that. You're paying for this? Just do it. On the editing computer. Use Colorista or something. Without whining about it. The DVRebel Tools are free for cryin' out loud. Conform? You're on drugs, right? Online? You're not shooting film here. Do all this stuff on your own damn computer. Look. I'm actually getting more cranky. Why is Stu recommending this project when they aren't even making lip service to the Rebel's Guide? You will get exactly zero sales from your website. I sure hope you know someone who's a program director at a film festival that buyers actually go to. Because as far as I know, that's the only way to get in.
To me, though, the worst part is the insistence of shooting on the Red camera with fancy-pants "anamorphic" lenses. So what? The Red isn't some kind of magic camera which will suddenly make your movie look mysteriously awesome. It will however, cost you a lot. Nobody will look at your footage and say "Oh clearly this was shot on a Red". No, instead they'll say "Oh, clearly, nobody bothered to do a re-write on the script."
Shoot the movie for eight thousand bucks. Without name talent in the lead you haven't a prayer of getting distribution right now.
UPDATE: I have nothing in particular against the Red camera. As I point out in the comments, some of my best friends have made features with the Red. Of course it was not their first feature, and they'd actually got distribution on earlier features. You know, so they knew they could afford to shoot on a Red.