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Making a feature film and need some help

Hi all, first and formost thank you for reading.

I currently am seeking passionate individuals that would like to come on board and help me make my first feature film. Please drop me a comment with email addresses and a bit about what you do. It would be so great to hear from you and hopefully work with you!

Looking for: Assistant director, sound mixer/boom operator, DOP and lighting.

All equipmeant provided for!

I am based in London and the feature will be shot in and around london.

Warmest regards
Tristram

  • Heya Tristam, sounds a little gun-ho... You know that the gear is no where near the expensive bit right? The gear is also kind of dictated by the film and crew.... I don't mean to be negative :) your post has a bit or a ring of 'disaster zone' about it :) PS, if you know London, have you any ideas re-locations (my post a few above). Have a good day! Giles.

    9 months ago
  • Hey Giles i would love to know what you mean by gun ho? and why you feel it has a ring of disaster? Would be great to hear why you feel this and what your thoughts are based on? seeming as you dont know anything about the project etc. Look forward to hearing back from you.
    Regards

    9 months ago
  • Hey Tristram, That was literally just a response to you post, I don't know anything about your project. Look, there are no rules, you can go about the process how you like as long as it works. But there is a traditional, practical process to making any sort of film. However you intend to make your film, your post will be read and responded to in that light. You don't say who you are looking for so I assume you're looking for a whole crew? Buying gear before looking for a crew sounds hasty. Buying gear at any stage might also be hasty. Saying that you've blown your gear budget before setting off could easily be taken as a turn off to anyone who might otherwise have been interested in the project. It's constructive criticism. It also keeps your thread at the top of the pile and invites you sell your project a bit!

    9 months ago
  • I'd have to relate to what Giles suggests; and I'm one of those who believe in owning kit for my own specific reasons. When you say £20k of kit it gives no indication of how useful or relevant that particular kit is. It might be sufficient for some projects or it might be useless for others. The most valuable assets for any type of production is the people and typically it's the people their fees and expences that absorb most of the money. The value of equipment typically deployed on a dramatic feature is often worth a lot more than £20k. For documentary features that meet EBU broadcast specifications £20k is enough to buy something like an FS7 with a couple of nice lenses and the batteries, recording media, media transfer unit, some mics and sound kit, a decent enough tripod and some basic lighting etc., if one ducks and dives a bit, buys used where possible and registers for VAT for the 16.666% rebate. Then of course there's post production, HD or 4K issues. If ones sights are not as ambitious there are cheaper options, but as they say, "you pay your money and make your choice".

    9 months ago
    • The kit i have bought is relevant to making a feature film. Top of the line film camera, top of the line audio mixers and mics top of the line lighting and top of the line rigs. I have every aspect covered in terms of equipment to make a very serious feature production. Most importantly i have a beautifully written script, some fantastic actors to pull of the job.

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam Just for info, £20k isn't going to be a top of the line "film" camera, that's pretty much an Alexa XT with open gate license. That's the current digital work horse for features.

      9 months ago
  • Yep, I poorly phrased that first comment, I was doing several things at once, reading it back it sounds combatative, I didn't mean it to be at all, I was in a bantery frame of mind! Sorry.

    9 months ago
  • Oh I see you've re written! Nice one, that makes sense. Good luck!

    9 months ago
  • As to "gung ho" you've just told us that you spent 20K buying what most people would spend a lot less on hiring. If you had a business plan for the purchase that amortises it over a range of projects, projects that need that kit, fair enough. But you have come across as "bought the kit, let's make a movie", and that usually goes pear shape fast UNLESS you have enough money left over to shoot, post, and market the movie.

    Film makers always start putting numbers on kit. I always start by counting heads and per day cost then beds, plates, cups and car seats. Because payroll and logistics are the real constraint when money is short.

    Shorts can be made with favours. Features, you have to pay people.

    So,

    1) What is your budget? and do you have that money to hand? If you are still seeking investors, you're being a bit previous seeking crew.

    You have a line budget? Have a producer look at it. I am not a professional producer but I have a finance background and every filmmakers budget I've ever looked at has been full of holes.

    The biggest holes are usually realistic pricing of cast and crew, food and drink, locations, hotels, transport and insurance. And often costumes. "Run across the muddy field, stumble, fall, keep running" they won't use their own clothes, (which they wouldn't anyway as their clothes are probably unsuitable for the character) and you can be sure of a single take, so there's £200 quid+ even if they are in jeans and tee shirt.

    Any potential investor can do logistics costing. They might not have a clue about kit or post, but if they realise you have assumed a fiver a day per head for food and drink, put all your people in Travelodge family Rooms and don't have a clear justification, ("students, they'll live"), they'll assume your other numbers are dubious and, very politely, pass.

    Basically you'll need another few tens K, probably more, UNLESS you really do have a one location, all interiors, minimal cast script, and all the cast and crew can commute.

    Have you got it?

    2) Is there a script?

    9 months ago
    • This was a fantastic read! Most people definitely would spend less, only to go out and make their film and realise all the shortfallings. For example, i nearly bought a zoom 8 for audio, then i realised this isnt going to hold a feature together, so i got a sound devicess 633. Then i looked at rode ntg3 shotgun mics, great mic, the average filmmaker can pull of his movie with this mic, but i decided to go with the Sennheiser MKH50 and 8060 mics, one for indoor and the other for outdoor. Also camera, now i could of went with a GH4, beautfiul camera, lovely image, yet it doesnt quite match a 4.6k RAW sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range so i went with the URSA MINI PRO. I didnt just get trigger happy and spend a load of money on equipment for fun, i am a passionate filmmaker and i know how to get the job done. I now have equipment to make my own projects, get employmeant to help make others projects happen and i can rent equipment out etc. I also bought some essential rigs, jib cranes, dollies and sliders, this will allow a wide range of visually dynamic shots. What i have come to realise is filmaking is something many people are passionate about and i have seen that by posting job applications via shooting people the rersponse from people has been tremendous. I have worked on many film sets and one thing i know is that when people come together out of passion and love for filmaking, budget, pay etc usually isnt a major issue. I am 28 years old and i have been acting for 10 years, i have now combined my love for acting with writing and directing. Yes i have a 100 page script written and finalised which tells a really beautiful story of one boys struggle to save his childhood home from money hungry landlords who are trying to give him the boot! Im not too concerned with potential investors etc thats why i bought all the right equipment. Once the right people see the project the rest of the work will do itself and i believe this more than anything. I like to work with people that pull together to ensure that art is never held back! I can sit around all day stressing about budgets, how to pay people etc or i can just get up and make it happen, make the movie, communciate with others, allow them to read the script and just see if its something they might want to be a part of. There are many of us un established that would love to work on a feature film with top notch equipment and i believe that because i am one of those people. I do it out of love and passion for making films.

      9 months ago
  • Passion makes shorts, for free, under poor conditions.

    Features - different level.

    You talk about art, but recognise that it's YOUR ART, it will be YOUR NAME, and everyone knows full well that if there is an artistic difference between them and you, you win.

    On shorts, not an issue. People get it and accept it. they get to play with the toys for a weekend or so and accept it's your story. But a feature?

    The thing about paying people, and looking after them at a comfort level, it is that it shows you are committed to THEM. That you RESPECT them with actions rather than words. If you can't do that, that's when your amazing wonderful supporting actor says, two days into shooting, "terribly sorry, but I've had a call about.." the soap, LA screen test, other project which is more important to their career than yours.

    You don't have to pay people a lot. People understand budget limits, but do give them minimum wage, do meet their expenses and do give them such comforts as is possible. If you can't do that, hold fire until you can.

    I'd also say that the less you want to pay people and the less you want to meet their comfort needs the MORE important it is to worry about budgets because they need to see that you really do have it all nailed down and that they won't be investing their time in a poorly managed project that winds up failing to produce something worthwhile after post.

    I speak from experience in organising volunteers on projects and events. The bigger the effort you need from them, the more organised they expect you to be, and that means at DETAIL level. As soon as you start hand waving at volunteers, you're waving them good bye.

    Be passionate, but be practical, and if you know that you're not that practical person, that's the first person you need.

    Good luck.

    9 months ago
    • I couldn't agree more with what you have said! And to be honest i love to pay people and would love to be able, i have applied for several funding applications but many of the funding comes with certain expectations etc and they wont fund certain types of projects, so its very difficult. But you are right about paying people to show you are commited to them and i couldnt agree with you more buddy. Its not just my story. There is no I in team and the story without an amazing crew that are able to tell it through there talents is just a story that never gets made. This project i am doing is about everyone involved and contracts will be drawn up etc, If the project went on to make money i would happily give it all away to everyone involved, my main passion is just to make beautiful films we all can enjoy.

      9 months ago
  • Hiya, just to pipe in as someone who does produce distributed features - the game changes massively. A feature isn't several shorts back to back, it is simply more in every respect. I know there are a lot of courses that say "Go straight into making a feature! Passion is all it takes!", and whilst those courses can teach some useful things, check how many features the course leader has actually produced. There's an industry in aspiration itself, some could even accuse SP of having a tiny slice of that. Anyway, some of those course leaders have realised it's easier to tell stories so enthuse the 5% of their paying audience who'll ever get it together to make anything than to go out and make a movie themselves. They are in the seminar business, not the movie business. Just sayin'.

    It takes more than passion, it takes a lot of convincing people and overheads. It's fine to ask department heads to invoice you below minimum wage, and some may even agree for a couple of days, but shorts rates are simply unviable for a feature. You have to be thinking in terms of minimum wage and paying NI and holiday pay for any engagement over 6 days, you'll need the right insurances of course. So you need an accountant, production department, etc. Then you're trying to do crew deals where runners are paid more than HoD's, or at least similar rates. That's a tough ask of an HoD. As Marlom notes, you can get that for 2 days, any longer and people will simply stop turning up. Production will fall apart. Corners get cut, someone gets hurt, and game over. I'm trying not to put this in an offputting way, just trying to share some real world experience with you. I heard that so many times I assumed it to be true, now I recommend people practice on shorts because it's so much cheaper and you get results faster, and a shoestring feature isn't going to make any money back anyway, so all you do is to stretch the resources and goodwill beyond what it can handle. Everyone at this stage quotes the Blair Witch Project, a film of its time with a very misleading budget figure, effectively subsidised by the cast (who improvised the script), that caught a moment, was BRILLIANTLY marketed for over a year in advance in early internet days, and whose success hasn't been repeated in a couple of decades.

    I note you are an actor/writer/director and de facto producer, DoP, Soundie. That's a lot of hats, so naturally you're hoping for a lot of other people to get behind your vision, with the incentive of using your equipment. Even if you do manage to use that as a selling point, I suggest you may want to consider what else you can do with that kit? Can you go onto other people's shoots as Soundie/cam OP? Get some real world experience with it, find out what you're missing (there is always something, even if it's just a Chinagraph pencil for 1AC, or pile of hard drives for the DIT, framing or reference monitors, cables, or even illumination or glassware!), and you may be able to build it up and get paid for it and build up favours to call in.

    Despite the odds, some films do get made, and people earn livings in the movies. Directors do work up from humble beginnings, as do cast, and crew go from job to job earning ok money for brutal hours. You may be one of the successes, and good luck to you. To do that, you'll need to charm a lot of people into following your dream, and a lot of drive and be prepared for a tough journey. How do you convince a team to come around you and provide the structure and experience you need when there are 100+ other projects wanting quality results from quality crew for no (or effectively no) money? It takes a bunch of humility as much as anything. Listen to the village elders even if you disagree, there's often a reason they got to become elders, they've often been where you are now and are trying to signal a smoother path for you, they want success for you. I give production consultancy away every single day, and I'm happy to take the odd call or email here and there. Several hours each week. I'm under no obligation to do so, but I like to see people avoid some huge potholes I can see because I know the roads. Is my advice always "correct"? Heck no, but it does seem to help a lot of people, and that makes me happy. Some of those people have gone out determined to make a feature straight off without the depth of experience, and then come back to making shorts when they grapple with what a big job it is. It really is not a great plan to go straight into making a feature. Build up to it, I suggest.

    Legal and logistical things aside, it's easy to lose momentum. If you even get to distribution that's over a year away, and several thousands of pounds in legal fees. And you still need to pay rent and eat, so you're trying to fit the shoot and edit around another job, so it's more like 2 years at best. That's a long time to stay enthusiastic. Even a 4 week shoot is a long time to stay enthused - week 3 is nothing short of horrible.

    Even if you're paying 30 people (cast and crew) £80/day +fringes for 4 weeks plus prep and wrap, you're looking at £85k in payroll alone. The problem is that that's just the start, it excludes locations (never free in London), travel, trucking, parking, facilities, costume, effects, printing scripts, phone calls, insurance, extra hires, consumables, legals, accounting, editing, losses, catering, etc. That stuff adds up fast and cannot be avoided in the main. You may convince professional crew to show up for £80/day (good luck!), but remember it's their day job, and they could earn more working in a pub, so they're subsidising your dreams to the tune of hundreds of pounds a day.

    For them to do that, you really need to convince them it's worth barely paying their rent for, and that's where budgeting and planning are essential. Given a choice of projects to subsidise, would you go for the unstructured one that is almost certainly going to crash and burn, or for the one that's structured and has other professionals and is so meticulously planned with professionalism that it stands a chance of being completed? Me too. I get a lot of "opportunities" to work for free, almost free, deferred fee (free), all of them are "exciting", all talk of "passion", all offering me the chance to work with a first time yet "upcoming" director. I politely decline. It's simply not worth the hassle. I'd rather take a bar job than a project where you know every corner will be cut, where you'll have a rotation between pizza, pasta and kebabs for weeks. I suspect a lot of old lags will say similarly, but if I can see it's really organised and genuinely interesting, I'll take the occasional punt. I'll support someone who's driven enough to put in the work and who I'm confident will listen to me, and again many older hands will do similarly.

    So even though you've spent your cash on kit, I suggest not rushing into trying to spin a feature out of nothing but using your kit, paid, on other people's films to get value from it. New kit isn't a "Buy it and they will come" thing, it dates immediately and there will always be newer, especially at the level you've invested at ("proper" cinematic lenses can run to £10k each, but will last 10 years+). Get out using it whilst it's still new and has that appeal, so you can start your own short and then carry some people through to your feature once you've found enough money. I just don't want your kit to sit unused whilst you try to raise feature money!

    Good luck whatever you do

    9 months ago
    • Thank you for this, really good read, very incitful and helpful in most parts. In terms of losing momentem, i think the love and passion for the art will keep that going throughout the whole journey. As a person, i grew up in a very respectable manner and have great communication skills and i think a lot of the time, we are only a good conversation away from connecting with likeminded people who share similiar goals and aspirations. I have made about 4 short films in the last 3 years so i am not just diving into making a feature. Aside from that i have worked with a number of organisations producing films with young disadvantaged people to help them express themselves and gain confidence through acting and filmaking. The equipment i have purchased will carry me well into the future. I am an enthusiastic writer and director and i have an extensive acting CV of 10 plus years, so i have learnt a lot about the industry. This disccussion has helped in many areas so i really do appreciate the time you took to write it. Warmest regards
      Tris

      9 months ago
  • Hi Tristram, I am also trying to make my first feature and I think everything said in the comments especially Paddy is right. So far I had Ben fundraising for 18 months. Instead of spending 20,000 on equipment that could have paid people who bring their own equipment in with their day price.
    The biggest hole I see and I am no expert is that you at no point mention your audience for this film. What is the point of making a film that no one buys or sees? At least if you make something commercial you can pay people on deferred? Perhaps you have thought if this? Look at I think he is called Robert Follow or Fellow who compiles stats on your likelihood of success and many other things. Making a film that will sell also brings you funding through perhaps a sales agent. (Who knows people)
    Have you had your script critiqued? The thing is loads of scripts are just vanity projects YOU want to make it because YOU think it's good and everyone can come for the ride.
    I am also afraid to say I have had people disappear on minimum wage Shorts just once so a feature will be worse and I was paying something.

    Make a fab short from your script get it into BAFTA nominating festivals and hey then everyone will believe in your feature length version and may be more inclined to jump on board and you may get funding too.
    You may surprise everyone and get it done with no problems, sell it, make some money but I think that's a pipe dream on the model you are using.

    9 months ago
    • Hi Jane, thank you for your message. Firstly best of luck with your feature, if i can help you in anyway get it off the ground let me know, would love. I have some fantastic audio and camera equipment fit to take on any big budget feature!
      I do have a target audience, of course, every film must.
      I dont see why at this stage its relevant in mentioning target audience? This discussion was to see if their is any passionate like minded people that are interested in coming onboard. Of course if target audience, film plot, synopsis etc is something your interested in, feel free to ask and i am happy to send you a full breakdown via email with all the in depth information.
      Its noy a pipe dream, i have many years of expierence under my belt in the field. I have been acting and making films since the age of 18, i am currently 28 and was fortunate enought to be able to purchase my own film kit that is of the highest professional quality in the industry. Warmest regards, tris.

      9 months ago
  • Sounds complete madness to me. Should have got a producer first and foremost. They would have advised you to not spend that on kit. Ridiculous tbh. Lots of crew can come with their own kit and rentals would have been more cost effective. Just shows inexperience and lack of judgement. Gun-ho for sure.

    Pay people first - always! Then get your kit.

    :o

    9 months ago
  • Hi Lee,
    Madness? i dont understand why?
    I have been fortunate enough to buy my own equipment that a lot of people dream of owning. I am a director/filmaker and you say its madness and that i have bought tools to do my job? I am a gun ho? excuse me but i dont know why your so concerned about how i spend my money? Besides i have posted about making a feature film, this should be a positive time, i guess people only respect people that have a name these days. Inexperience? no, it means i could afford to buy my own kit and not worry about my next meal or my next bill. It doesnt show any inexperience what so ever.
    Warmest regards
    Tristram

    9 months ago
    • Producing a feature film is like running a business - but a business where if it can go wrong it's likely to. Making short films gets you only so far. A feature is a mammoth task in comparison. All the great advice given above only scratches the surface.

      I hope it does work out for you. But having spent over 35 years in the industry and produced on a number of films and TV, the films that fail are the one's driven by arrogant naivety or simple stupidity. Where the filmmaker has disregarded / misunderstood / ignored the basic rules of filmmaking.

      I'm not suggesting that you are in any of those categories, but the tone in a number of your replies above suggest, at least in part, that you and only you know best.

      Best of luck.

      9 months ago
  • Tristram if you’re after crew your best bet is to post it within the production section rather then a discussion thread; then you’ll get applicants for each role separately (dop, sound recordist etc) and it’ll be easier for you to categorize.

    If the roles are unpaid or low paid then naturally you’ll get a different experience level of people applying. It’s a big ask for people to commit to a feature as opposed to a short if it is unpaid so be prepared for some dropouts within the shooting process.

    As long as you’re upfront about the payment situation from the beginning and have genuine realistic expectations about what the film can achieve then people can either take it or leave it.

    Oh and don’t say it’s a deferred fee as anyone who’s been doing this for a while knows 99 times out of a hundred that means no pay.

    9 months ago
  • Hi Tristram (and everyone else)

    Definitely do post into the production area about this, with specific crew request and further project details (!)

    I will just say that this thread is a great example of the benefit of this (comparatively open) forum, compared to say - listing a role, not receiving many responses, and getting no feedback as to why - what might be mistaken about the advert, what has been skipped over etc.

    Some great advice and responses have come out of the opening request, about how to plan out a project, how to get people involved, and what not to do / where money can be lost.

    Some things to thing about, for opening poster and all the people glancing over (like me.)

    Matt
    SP

    9 months ago
  • Damn it, Wozy. You made me spit up coffee all over my keyboard. "Sounds complete madness to me." Shit that was funny. Thing is, Wozy, Paddy, John, me, probably have 30 plus years of experience in our positions. What we do day in and day out. This is your first feature, and you should take their advice to heart, even if you didn't ask for it.

    Tris, I gotta say, man, you kinda had all this coming with that "All equipment provided!" in your post. Details, dude, details. When I'm asked to do a job, my first question is "What's the budget?" I've been around long enough to know what that figure means. The next is: "do you have distribution? What's their release date?" If not, "do you have a festival deadline?" (I work in post). I have been asked to edit a feature in two weeks. That's locked reels. Not a first cut. "No thanks. I'll pass."

    Can you even answer that first question? Have you done a schedule and budget? If not, you're not ready to find a crew yet. If you have, you might want to mention pay in your post. Remember, the more inexperienced the crew, the more unexpected costs come up. Paying professionals properly on an 18 day shoot (or whatever) can cost you less than people just wanting experience. Jibs and dollies take a lot of skill. How many takes are going to eat away your day because the dolly grip is a student? Giving someone a bump can get you experience at a lower cost (what I mean by that is, someone that is a professional 2nd AD might do your film for less if they get a bump up to 1st AD. Or someone that has 10 features as an assistant editor is probably itching to edit a feature). I've been working uncredited fixing films for so long, I'd edit a film with a great cast, script, and director for dirt cheap just to be involved from the beginning and get a screen credit, but no way would I do it for free.

    What about your hard costs? I usually start with those when I budget. Feeding people properly is $25 a plate, minimum. You mention the script is about a boy. Here in Los Angeles, minors (here, that's under 18) are expensive to work with. They have very limited work hours, you must hire on onset tutor, and I believe a registered nurse. None of that comes on the cheap, so those too, would be hard costs. While you may be able to get a deal at a sound house, mixing stages still aren't cheap. And you need to know how many days of a mix you'll need before you can even begin to get a "deal." Dialogue editors, Foley artists, and ADR sessions don't come cheap either.

    It just sounds like the first thing you need is a producer.

    Still, I wish you the very best of luck.

    9 months ago
    • Darn it Dan - I was hoping for the screen! Hey ho! ;)

      The problem is if you don't have a schedule, you can't budget. If you don't have a budget, you don't know how much money you need. And if you've gone and spent all your money on kit, then you wont get anyone experienced enough to operate it. It's all well and good having 'top' kit, but if you're going to have newbies and inexperienced crew operate it, its as good as useless.

      And let's face it. Any decent DoP who has experience and is expected to bring a masterpiece to the screen will want to shoot on a Red or an Arri given the choice (from my experience anyway - or a panaflex if on film). However, with the quality of these three cameras being very close, just try giving the kit to someone who hasn't clocked up 5000 hours on one and you'll get pure shit out the other end. I worked on a film a while back where the main unit had a Red Scarlet as did the second unit. On one was a highly experienced DoP and on the other a Cam Op. The difference in captured 'data' was astonishing.

      It may feel like I'm harping on here, but the point is the crew should be determining the kit based upon what they are being asked to deliver. Not "Here's the kit, now go make me a masterpiece." A DoP would normally work with a regular crew. And if that crew hadn't used the Ursa before, there's a good chance the whole crew will not want to work on your film.

      Want to know what real professionals consider 'top' kit? Go look on Panavision's website and see the range they offer - Millennium, Arri Alexa, Sony F55, Red Epic, Varicam, Phantom, Genesis, etc... Now that's top kit.

      The one thing I may have missed above is what lenses did you get for the Ursa? I hope you got the PL mount version / adapter. You'll want lenses on that thing that would probably cost £60k to get the actual best out of the camera.

      And don't even get me started on sound... Mixing and recording sound on set is 'fuckin' difficult unless you know what you're doing. A top sound guy/gal, will more than likely come with their own kit as they will know what the settings should be right off the bat to get the best recording. With kit they're never used before it may take a bit of time to fine the sweet spots.

      Just sayin...

      9 months ago
    • Yes i have a schedule just no budget. I do have top of the line filming equipment so hopefully if people are interested in having a great time, lots of fun and laughter and at the same time making a great film with some really cool tools then this is more so aimed at those people. The lenses i am using are Carl Zeiss Milvus glass and the canon cine lens 50mm T1.3. You dont need 60k glass thats just a hype to get you to spend more, dont get me wrong it would be great to, but in no way a neccesity. Infact it would be ludicrous to think that! Using the sound devices 633, with some awesome mics (sanken cos 11-d, Mkh50, Mkh8060) sound mixing will be a breeze! And with setup etc thats what rehearsals are all for. Regards

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam Kinda need that budget, even if you're just paying expenses! How do you know if you can actual cover expenses without your budget?

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam Great you have a schedule, so now you can do a budget. A budget just isn't "how much is this gonna cost?" It's a game plan. I'm sure you have some idea of how much money you have to spend. A budget will let you know if you can do it for that. I do a proper first budget. In other words, how much would this cost with union labor, stage rentals, etc. This lets me know that if that budget is 6 million, there's only so much I can trim. There is no way to get that down to 20k. It sounds as if you'll be trying to do a "reverse budget." I have X dollars to spend, so how can I do the movie for that? I'm not a fan of reverse budgets, but if you at least did that, would have a much better idea about things. Or find things you may not have thought of. For example, you mention having a jib and dolly. But you are only looking for a DP. Those types of rigs need a top notch focus puller as well.

      9 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich In the UK the grips are the last island of union stronghold (the grips section of BECTU managed to erm...help us recrew ...on a project by calling the grip who was going to do a non-union deal for us the day before the shoot and warning him off), so any shot requiring a grip is real money. Steadicam also know how to charge.

      9 months ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin Oh, no doubt. Here, the IA has different agreements based on budget. Back in the day, if you were doing a film under 3 million, the unions left you alone. They were even cool with below the line union members working on a non-union film. Then they revised the contracts with different pay rates based on the budget. Nowadays, you can't do a million dollar picture without the union showing up.

      9 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich I've sympathy with the unions where their scope is looking after members whilst allowing them to choose whether or not to take work for themselves - but blocking a movie is just rotten, it gives them a bad name and forces people to find ways around them. At the moment I'm hella excited to see the gimbal development that will mean I can dump the steadicam/grip since they're both such high budget lines whilst everyone else starves.

      9 months ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin Yeah, I agree on both sides of the argument. Typically, it's when crews are used and abused, one of those crew members makes a call to the union. There have also been producers I know that will go to, say, the Teamsters with a 2 million budget. They'll try to work with the producer, but often say "yeah, your budget is too low for us. Go in grace, my son." The IA is much the same. But you have to go to them first to see if you can work union on a low budget. So many producers are scared of unions and want to stay off their radar, but the unions actually do try and work with producers and their members, and would never threaten a producer into raising more money. Now the Directors Guild is a whole other story! I've even seen them screw their own members over. It's crazy.

      9 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich When a union will poison the well, it's just awful. It's nothing to do with members interests and becomes about mob-like extortion power. That spoils it for everyone.

      9 months ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin I couldn't agree more.

      9 months ago
  • The Ursa Mini is actually a very good camera and has impressed a lot of people in testing. The Mini Pro addresses problems that were with the original Mini. As a low budget camera its great and I know of many Commercials and promos that have been shot on it.

    For feature films, its not just a question of Arri or Red. Sony, Canon, Panasonic Varicam etc all get used. And now we have the new Panavision DXL which looks interesting. Each sensor is differnet and its the sensor/lens combo that is important; not what the brand is. Similarly, with 35mm, Panavision is just a brand. Arri, Aaton, Movicam, Mitchell, none of them are any better or any worse than any other. Its a matter of personal preference. Its the person using the camera that matters; not the camera.

    9 months ago
    • Yes I agree that the Ursa is a great camera - if used by a knowledgeable DoP and crew. If not then it's no better than an iPhone! And anyone on the ground knows that what works great in testing may not stand up to the rigors of 100,000+ hours in the real world. Reliability and confidence play a huge part in what to chose for your kit.

      I remember before HD came in as a standard for film production. Films where still being shot on, errr, film, due to the lack of a track record and understanding of how to use this new format. It was a huge risk. Little familiarity and lack of trust.

      My point about the list of camera's, of which you relist, is from the comment about the Ursa being a "Top of the line film camera" - which it isn't. Firstly, it's not a film camera. And secondly, if we're talking 'top of the line', then if you were to take 10 'top of the line' DoPs and asked them to make the same simple script into a feature on a realistic budget - they may all choose different camera's, but the chances of them choosing a UMP is very slim. A £5k camera doesn't complete with a £25k+ camera for many reasons and it's wont be just about the sensor.

      Familiarity plays a huge part I agree and that in and of itself supports my points about being asked to use something that they may not be used to working with. Let the crew make that choice.

      To me, saying 'here's the kit' is like saying to a director, "I've chosen all the motivations and character actions, please just ask the actors to move from A to B". It's stifling the creative process before you even begin.

      Just sayin...

      9 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren

      Firstly any camera needs to be used by a knowlegable DOP and crew to make it great, i think your being a bit harsh comparing it to an iphone lol. It is top of the line in the sense that it offers what most top of the line cameras offer, and the UMP is a fantastic camera for any film project, big or small. At the same time its about preference, thats all, people will watch the movie the same way regardless of if its shot on the URSA, RED CAM, ARRI ETC.
      Stanley Kubric use to choose his cameras and lenses he shot on and never left it down to 'crew'
      Just saying...
      I do appreciate some of what you have said above in earlier comments, makes a lot of sense.

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam You seem to get the point then not get the point. You're exactly right when you say "a knowledgeable crew..." But for what you're offering you probably won't get one! Do you want experience or do you want cheap? "people will watch the movie the same way regardless of if its shot on the URSA, RED CAM, ARRI ETC...." correct. But if it's not shot very well on the UMP, then it'll look pants. Word of mouth will kill it before it gets legs.

      The point isn't what camera... its that all these creative choices have already been made for the crew who would ordinarily be making them for themselves based upon their own experiences. I've had Panavision 'gift' me camera kit and rigs for shoots before - hence no cost to production other than the insurance. That money was then able to be spent on paying people more. As a producer you have to look for ways to make the film the best way you can. And that means collaborating with people and allowing others to make decisions and provide input. This all seems too autocratic for a first time feature director.

      9 months ago
  • Hi just a quick response to your reply to my previous post. Tris you are not listening to anyone yet you seek advice on here. I see you have put up adverts and I wish you luck.
    The reason at this stage that you have to have a good script and know your audience is because you should have this from the beginning to be commercial or as I said it's a vanity project. You say you have experience, acting in films is not the same as making them. If you have made some Shorts/ docs this should be your opener as a hook i.e. Award winning shorts director see "film title" - "link" . Personally as others have mentioned very few good crew do not have their own equipment and could not care less about your equipment unless it is miles above theirs so that your offer will likely only attract beginners. Besides that people do not dream of using equipment they dream of being paid.

    9 months ago
    • Well there you go then - £20k on kit and not a penny for anyone who works for 4-6 weeks on a feature. Not even insured!

      'Top of the line' kit with no one with experience to use it.

      9 months ago
    • Hi Jane, I do have a good script, its really good and i have had a lot of great feedback. And i do know my target audience. Its not about people caring about my equipment? The point is, i have equipment, and thats all i was stating. You need equipment to make a film so im letting people no the equipment is provided. I am listening to people and at the same time Jane if you read my ad, it was never an ad seeking advice? So excuse me for not 'listening' but i genuinly was not asking for advice on how to make or budget or distribute a film, in anyway shape or form. Infact if you read what i wrote at the top of this page you will see that for yourself. I was actually looking for crew that would be interested in getting involved? In saying that some really helpful stuff has come up and infact been very insiteful. I really dont know where your getting the whole idea that im not listening? I am in the process of making this feature and filming begins in June, ive had a lot of responses to my ad and two meetings already. I have a wonderful assistant director on board alread and a great sound/ boom guy. I am meeting a DOP this friday who is very interested so things are moving in the right direction. The problem with film making is so so so many people talk about it instead of getting up and actually doing it. I am not concerned by limitations, far great things have been acheived in the world, with far less tools. So thats all im doing, im actually making it happen. I have 25 committed actors all cast and excited to go and pretty much secured a wonderful crew of people. The energy is incredible and you know, we are going to make it happen, im sure it will be a facinating journey.

      9 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren
      Lee the thing is their is just no budget mate. Im not forcing people to get involved, simply asking if its something people would like to be a part of. I have currenrtly secured two committed people and i am meeting a 3rd on friday, so it just shows me their are passionate people out their that arent just bothered about money. I think its a little unfair you judging peoples expeirence when you havent read their CVs. I have and i am happy with the experience they have. I will be delighted to show everyone the end results and will invite you all down to the premier. Regards

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam I'm not judging anyone. Fair play if people with a lot of experience want to work for free. I doubt they will though. But that's their prerogative.

      But my overriding point is that for 'anyone' to be asked to work for free, on an uninsured feature film, for possibly a month or more, after the production company spent shit loads of money only on kit - it's a bit of a kick in the teeth. £1k production budget when you spent £20k on kit?!?!

      It's likely to attract mainly inexperienced crew which in turn will mean the kit is not going to be used anywhere near its full capabilities. Then the question becomes "why go down this route in the first place?"

      But kit aside - insure your production at the very least. If you can't do that then you have no business going into production.

      9 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren To be honest buddy like i said ive got a lot of interest. The film will happen and there are trustred professionals on board. can i ask, have you ever made a feature film? If so i would love to watch it, please send links thanks

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam Wow - have I ever made a feature film? Hmmm. Let me think on that one!

      9 months ago
    • Tris, yes, Wozy has produced movies :)

      9 months ago
    • God damn! This thread is so entertaining! Tris, the reason people are answering outside your original question is that this is a filmmaking community. Others will read this. Others who think "I gonna buy a bunch of shiny new gear and make movies." They may read this thread and decide not to. Back in the day, there were basically 2 choices for cameras: Arri and Panavision. Now there must be at least 50. So now, more than ever before, the mantra "don't buy, rent" is an important issue for people to understand. A DP can't know every single one of them. So people are going to argue about your camera choice or whether you should have bought one at all. Or that one needs to do a schedule and budget and get insurance. All the things that you can get away with when doing a short are gone when doing a feature. I was a bit floored to see you've cast 25 actors. This thing is huge. It made me wonder how many locations you have.

      If I ever do a film in London my first 2 calls will be to Wozy and Paddy.

      9 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich no quite sure how I would manage 25 actors on a budget of £1,000 for 3 weeks or so! That's £55 per day per person. But it leaves nothing for anything else!

      9 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren In fairness I doubt it's a cast of 25 pax for the full 3 weeks - but I assure you I know what you're saying - £1000 is a modest catering budget for instance.

      9 months ago
  • That was my point Lee. Its the person behind the camera that makes the pictures, not the camera istself. The Ursa may not be top of the line but it way outperforms its pricepoint; which makes it an interesting camera. Certainly, I am seeing it pop up more and more.

    9 months ago
    • Also, I have to say, that the reason I listed the cameras is that the idea that any DOP, given the choice, will want to shoot on Arri, Red or Panaflex is just plain wrong. Rob Hardie deliberately choose the Sony F65 for Ex Machina and what a good film that is! Also, none of the camera crew on that film had used the F65 before and it didn't worry any of them. It just takes 30 minutes or so in prep to get to grips with a new piece of kit and then its fine. It doesn't matter what the camera is, they all work in the same way, all have matte boxes, folllow focus, rods etc. Its just mechanno at the end of the day; you just need everything to work.

      I know several quite established DOPs who have now tested the Ursa Mini against the Alexa and many other cameras, and it certainly deserves to exist in the same space as they do (and the price, for what it is, is rediculously low). I know it has been used on at least one feature in challanging conditions and it came through fine.

      Also, there is a lot of really good PL Mounted glass out there that does not cost £60K. Xeen, Celere, Zeiss CP2s, Canon Cine. All good. Cooke, in my opinion, make the best lenses in the world, but it doesn't mean the rest are rubbish and, I know of a lot of features and TV dramas that have used quite surprising lens choices because they produced the look the DOP is after.

      People should hire a DOP, listen to his/her advice and go with it. Not be blinded by brand name and think that the more expensive the camera is, the better it is.

      9 months ago
    • @Mark Wiggins But that's the point - let the DoP decide!

      9 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren Its not about let the DOP decide, its about i bought a camera and this is what will be used. I dont get whats so hard to understand the camera i have chosen competes with any top camera out there, why does the dop need to choose? I know what quality we need. I really dont see your point!

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam - I know!

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam
      There is a Nowegian film out at the moment called "The King's Choice. This film was mostly shot on the Alexa XT. However, one scene was shot with the Panasonic Varicam (can't remember which model, but that's not important). The important thing is that the reason this scene was shot with the Varicam and not the Alexa is because, the DOP wanted to used the Varicam's sensor for this scene and not the Alexa's sensor.

      All sensors are different, and they record the light, colours etc coming from a scene in a different way. They are like film stocks; each film stock records the scene differently and have different looks. Therefore, the DOP chooses the film stock/lens combination in order to achieve a particular look. The same with sensors.

      With film, some parts of a movie may be shot with one particular stock/lens combo, another scene with another, in order to achieve a different look. The same with digital. The DOP on The King's Choice wanted a differnt look with the scene he shot with the Varicam than he could achieve if he shot it with an Alexa.

      This is why camera choice is normally left to the DOP together with lens choice etc.

      9 months ago
    • And echoing that point - If George Lucas had said to John Dykstra, "Here use this Panaflex Gold to shoot the VFX..." we probably wouldn't of had Star Wars. Those VFX were only possible because Dykstra used the 'alomst' obsolete VistaVision cameras that utilized horizontal film carriage to give extra frame real estate.

      Trust your crew! Don't second guess.

      9 months ago
    • Then you must not understand what a DoP is. Your DoP, art director, cast and crew is where you should be focusing, but instead you're essentially making decisions for him/her that should be THEIR expertise, and most likely aren't yours.

      You're also making it sound very much like you're going to be a nightmare to work with, which is going to make it just that much more difficult to get a good cinematographer to sign on with you. I wouldn't; for one thing, you're sounding very insecure about your camera, and for another, you're sounding very petulant about the fact that buying gear is almost invariably the worst place to start when you're prepping to shoot a feature film.

      9 months ago
    • " It just takes 30 minutes or so in prep to get to grips with a new piece of kit and then its fine. It doesn't matter what the camera is, they all work in the same way, all have matte boxes, folllow focus, rods etc. Its just mechanno at the end of the day; you just need everything to work."

      That's not accurate. Every camera has both different sensors and different image processing. Their color rendition and noise characteristics vary; even cameras with the same sensor model but different image processing (e.g. Black Magic's 4K Ursa Mini compared to AJA's Cion) can behave differently; the Cion uses linear encoding so it preserves more detail in highlights than the 4K UM which uses logarithmic encoding, but the Cion also requires more care to avoid highlight clipping.

      Their color rendition is also significantly different.

      The mechanical side of things is easy to learn on most modern cameras, but to get the most of a camera you haven't used before, a good DoP will spend quite some time testing it to get to know it first.

      9 months ago
    • @Rakesh Malik
      I was talking from the point of view of the camera crew NOT the DOP. From the point of view of 2nd AC, 1st AC and Operator, what I say is true. The idea that crew would not work with new cameras they didn't know is false.

      9 months ago
    • @Mark Wiggins Also, I do realise all sensors are different. Its what I've been saying throughout the entire thread! :)

      9 months ago
    • @Mark Wiggins It's mostly true. They might justifiably resist using gear that they're not familiar with because they may not be certain that it will stand up to the rigors of production though. I've run into that; I've worked with gear that wasn't what I recommended, and it only lasted for a few hours of light use (i.e. being turned on). As our lights failed, it made my job harder to do...

      9 months ago
    • @Rakesh Malik Yes, I agree dodgy equipment is always going to let you down. Fortunately, as an Operator I've never had that issue (nor when I was an AC). As a DOP I have had problems with substandard equipment when working on some low budget stuff.

      9 months ago
    • @Rakesh Malik
      Im a pleasure to work with, its obscure you would suggest such a thing having never worked with me? No need for negativity, im in a very happy place in life.

      9 months ago
  • Oh dear this is getting out of hand Tristram. Your plan may or may not work out but on the bare details you've described, experience and probabilities don't look, in the eyes of those who've been doing this stuff for a long time, very promising. I've no idea if this describes you with any degree of accuracy but nevertheless I'm reminded of any number of rich young toffs over the years who've attempted to buy their way into roles unsuited to their abilities. Being a producer of any feature that actually intends to be distributed commercially, requires a unique and widely eclectic set of skills and business aptitude. It's perhaps a little ironic that you refer to your ability to communicate as being a primary asset. Whilst communication grace is always benificial, it rates several points below actually knowing what one is doing. Certainly knowing who one is talking to rates higher. Many is the time someone has opened an issue on these Shooting People lists manifestly misjudging who they're talking to. It's no surprise that some very qualified people have raised cautionary conciderations regarding your initial post. (By the way what happened to the £20k declaration?). Shooting from the hip doesn't bode well. Asking Wozy if he's produced features is just one example of that. You ought to have done a bit of basic research before responding to these doyens who give their time to Shooting People.

    I can understand that you want to defend your process because you've committed such a lot to it. However, be flexible and ready to adapt to those unanticipated things that are going to prove unavoidable for success. Clearly the main critisim raised is that you've put the cart before the horse in buying kit; unless you have a plan for recouping capital over further projects. Perhaps, as I might infer, your loaded and have no worries about losing money? You'll be limited to working with other people with independent means if you can't pay them. No senior craft roles are likely to be filled with senior crafts people who'll be eager to fulfil your vision just for fun. Will it be a rich boys film club or perhaps a traiming opportunity for beginners on benefits?

    Having said all that, people buck the odds all the time and many a well and sensibly produced project ends in failure despite the fact. I hope your project does buck the odds. Nevertheless it's self evident that you're going to have to rise quite a way to the occasion. Learning on the job in this context will be a risky business.

    9 months ago
    • Hi Mark i think im about to buck the odds! People are very negative on here i have witnessed. I never asked for anyones opinion, i think people just wanted to shoot me down before i took off! If you read my add you will see that, as soon as i mentioned 20k and equipment people got upset and started throwing in there 2 pence. Im making a movie and i know exactly how to pull it off. I'm one million percent confident of this. The films called BEING MITCH, Keep an eye out for it towards the end of the year, i will also keep everyone updated. By the way im far from loaded. Infact im from a very poor background, Im a working class man thats worked and worked and worked over the years, ive been to university and got A levels and GCSE's so no im far from loaded.

      9 months ago
  • Let me know if youre wanting a film score or sound score. I have full studio and facilities. Starting out in my own. But would need to cover expenses at least.

    9 months ago
  • Remember to get enough storage as 4.6k generates a lot of data. Even if you don't shoot Raw but go for ProRes 4444 its still 38 GB for 10 minutes. And you will need twice what you need as you will need two copies. Also, Blackmagic Cameras are notorious for eating batteries. So make sure you have plenty of those. Also chargers. As lots of batteries with only a couple of chargers is useless really. May as well not have the batteries.

    9 months ago
    • Sorry, that's 22.16 GB for 10 minutes at Proress 4444. Playing with DataCalc too early in the morning! :)

      9 months ago
  • Tristram, I had to get involved as this debate is amazing. Why don't you actually put the equipment aside and simply advertise for the cast and crew you need with the rates you'll pay them. Why not document the process on YouTube? What will be the actual budget for the movie? If you can find £20,000 for equipment, why not £20,000 for the general budget?

    9 months ago
    • I didnt find 20 grand for equipment i bought it out of my own money that i have saved over the years. The equipment is used for many different things in my line of work as i am a run and gun filmmaker so i need equipment any way for my daily work. the film doesnt need a 20 grand budget, if i could get funding it would be for around 10k however i have had great responses and meetings with people that are willing to work for the love of the art as their is no budget which is very kind of some of the amazing people i have spoken with and met.

      9 months ago
  • This is a fascinating and VERY LONG read!!! Tristram (and everyone else), I just wanted to add to this. Yes, Wozy, Paddy, Dan and all you "doyens" (@ John Lubran – nice one!) you are absolutely right with all your comments and advice, and indeed very generous to take such a lot of time to give it.

    Tristram, about 3 years ago I was in a similar position to you as I wanted to make a feature, but in my case feature doc, and I knew in my heart people would want to know about the story, and the film would find its audience. I did come on here to find crew, but in the end went with colleague recommendations instead. I did though listen to everyone's advice on here and took a lot of it in. I also made a Bafta-winning producer my mentor (he doesn't know that...) and met him a few times for coffee/dinner to pick his brain – for which I ALWAYS paid. I also met up with other producers and DoPs to drill them for knowledge.

    The film in question was shot in very remote off-the-grid locations so I was astonished that my DoP insited using RED Epic, given that we could only charge up in a 4x4. In any case, the moral is that I left it completely up to my small but very skilled – and PAID – crew to elect the kit they wanted to use. I picked the crew specifically for being A. very good and B. very adapt to multi-task to keep the crew small. I produced and directed the whole feature for a manageable amount that I raised through people and organisations that would respond well to the subject matter. The film opens this summer in the US, UK and Europe thanks to a good sales agent attached early on.

    I understand your conviction about wanting to do it – I did just that – but I was fully aware of my limitations and wanted to surround myself with the best skill I could afford. And that meant a TINY crew of 3, plus driver and interpreter on location, plus post staff in the UK afterwards. You can shoot a feature for 20K if you pay skilled lighting DoP and Sound Recordist etc a wage but let them bring their own gear. So in your case it's a little bit horse before the cart I'm sorry to say. UNLESS of course, Tristram, you yourself are a run-and=gun self-shooter, in which case it's only right that you select yor own kit.

    So all this to say, do listen to people's advice, and do ask people who've made similar projects if you can pick their brain over a coffee/lunch, and you'll find most people are actually happy to do so, unless they find that you just want to talk about yourself of course.

    Anyway, good luck.

    9 months ago
    • I am a run and gun filmaker hence why i bought my own equipment, the feature i am making is not the only work i do that requires my equipment i also shoot music videos, short films, actors showreels and documentaries. I do appreciate some of the advice and its been a great insight, in saying that i find some people on here VERY NEGATIVE which makes me laugh in a way because i thought the general consensus on sites like these where positive but clearly not. I've just done some amazing test shoots over the weekend with a small crew in place and it went amazing. Its going to be a great experience and i cant wait to share it on here especially for those with massive opinions, that called me a gun ho, an amature etc. Very negative people that i have no time to listen to. warm regards Tristram

      9 months ago
    • @Tristram Anyiam, well that explains it obviously. I did think you wouldn't go out and buy this kind of kit if you didn't know something about it. If you haven't yet maybe have a look at Tom Di Cillo's 'Living In Oblivion'. It's a feature he set out to make as a short first, and basically ended up making three longish shorts in installments depending on his funding, but with the same core group of actors and it works brilliantly. It's also a film about filmmaking and hysterically funny. The character Chad Palomino is his version of Brad Pitt, who he'd cast in his previous film. Have a look. No budget feature filmmaking at it's best.

      9 months ago
    • @Ivo Marloh thank you i will check it out tonight, cant wait, i love watching those kind of indi features i draw a lot of inspiration from them! will give it a watch, thank you!

      9 months ago
  • What's wrong with this chap's original posting that folk are getting heavy on him? I think it reads perfectly fine and good luck to him.

    9 months ago
  • Hi Tristram (et al)
    Glad you are getting on with making the film. I have just read the entire log, and I'm sure that , although it has been a bit heavy at time, you realise that a lot of very experienced and knowledgeable people have been spending a lot of time in giving you good advice.
    There are top notch gifts in there!
    However, you are in the position of having spent the money on equipment. Now you have cast and crew willing to work on your film, and put in their own energy and creativity.
    GO FOR IT!
    We all wish you the best, that's why folk have spent so much time trying to help.
    Here are some of the issues you will have to deal with next. You've got those guys to give their creativity on the shoot. Sometimes their wishes will severely clash with yours. You need a coherent whole at the end. Finding an amicable compromise may be hard.
    The going will get tough, you have to look after all these guys, and let them know how valued they are, or they will start to fall by the wayside.
    Always go for the absolute best, bearing in mind that it doesn't matter if this particular scene is mind-blowingly beautiful, if the key scene never gets shot because you have run out of time money and people. Make sure you cover the action in the time allotted. (You will allot time won't you?)
    First features are a great adventure, we are all gunning for you - even if some fingers are crossed for good fortune!

    9 months ago