Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cinematography Notes 05



Before Distribution: Forming a Production Company


Cameras, Lights, Mikes, Software…there is always a new product. It is always (A) better-than-before and it is always (B) cheaper-than-before. So, you ask your question, when you read about someone saying they “Formed a Production Company” you want to know “What the hell does that mean”; “what does that cost”; “how do you do it”…

…Did they buy equipment? Have they built a soundstage? What is needed to FORM-A-PRODUCTION-COMPANY and does it mean you buy equipment.

On a prior day’s Hot Tip (January 18) I gave you a list of what is considered THE BEST OF 2012 equipment by VideoMaker Magazine with respect to Cameras-Lights-Software-etc. to purchase, when you’re a No-Budget Prioducer/Director…at the most affordable price.

Forming a Production Company DOES NOT MEAN that you buy equipment. It just means you have a (A) Business License that states (B) you are a production company with (C) an office and (D) website and (E) an employee titled “Development Executive” (probably you wearing 3 hats) who reads a lot of scripts… It does not mean you BOUGHT EQUIPMENT or BOUGHT A BIG-BARN (now called a Studio). Got it!

It just means you posted on CraigsList that you are a “PRODUCTION COMPANY with FINANCING” that is in need of character-driven screenplays… And, When you are deluged with Spec Scripts (PDF File) you will need to read them. Did you hear that “READ THEM”… and if you are not educated enough in what a good script is and what a great script is you should have an employee, at your company, that is titled a “Development Executive” (usually has a Masters Degree in Literature) who reads 500-2,000 scripts/year and does “Coverage”.

Thus, a PRODUCTION COMPANY is just a company with 1 person who “reads screenplays and does coverage”.

But, you keep reading articles about a new camera, a new software program, a new this, a new that…then you see the price and you go “I can afford that”… Whoa Nelly.

Here’s the bottom-line: “If you buy equipment you will likely get into the equipment rental business”. BE CAREFUL. Do you really want to buy-and-rent equipment or do you want to Produce-Direct Feature Films? This is your question to (A) ask yourself and (B) answer.

If the answer is “You only desire to make movies…”, then don’t buy equipment. However, if you desire to be a small day-in/day-out production company making rock videos, industrials, commercials and wedding videos then absolutely BUY.

There is an excellent article from “VideoMaker Magazine” (January, 2013 issue, pages 46-51) titled “SHOULD I RENT OR SHOULD I BUY”, which will give you most, if not all of the information, that you will need to make up your mind.

The subjects they address are:
1) YOUR FUNDS ARE LOW
2) YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT
3) YOU HAVE CLIENTS WITH NEEDS
4) YOU HAVE LIMITED EXPERIENCE
YOU WORK FROM HOME
5) CLIENT STICKER SHOCK
6) REMOTE OR FOREIGN SHOOTS

Get the article and read it.

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