I am currently working on a blog about my upcoming Kickstarter campaign. But there is something else that has been on my mind for the last few days. I wanted to quickly write about it here as I am hoping that you can offer your opinion as well as your insights and related stories.
A filmmaker sent me an email asking advice on raising money for his first feature film. Though I am hardly the person to answer this question. I was humbled by his inquiry so I took the time to reply with a list of ideas and suggestions. My key point was one we all know, there is no one way. He hadn't given me his budget, so I couldn't get into specifics.
In my mind I was thinking it was probably for a lower budgeted film, under 100K. He then responded to my message with more details surrounding his film and that his budget was going to be at least $300,000. That doesn't include all of post-production and everything that comes after.
I would like to keep this one brief. But please allow to highlight some things.
1) This $300,000+ film will be this filmmaker's 1st feature film.
2) This filmmaker has a small/limited audience.
3) The post production will be extensive with compositing, matte paintings, CG airships, etc…
Once I received the details and the budget range, I informed the filmmaker that I believe before he makes this film, he should first focus on a smaller film that he can make while also building his audience.
My belief is that no filmmaker should make their first feature for more than 100K. Unless you have studio support. Or if you know some money folks who don't care whether the money is made back or not. Your movie being made is worth more to them than the money.
I believe in everyone making their film. But I am a bigger believer in making your film with the resources you have in front of you. Expand and outwork those same resources. I believe the majority of filmmakers overextend themselves on their first feature film. They find themselves straddled with debt, or are unable to recoup their money for their investors, etc.
There are so many filmmakers who are much more talented than me who no longer make films because they took on too much too soon.
There is so much I can write about here, but I would like to turn it over to you. Even if you don't have time to answer all of these, perhaps you can just give me a number for #2.
1) What would be your advice to this filmmaker?
2) What should the budget range be for a filmmaker's 1st feature film?
3) Am I... 'A Dream Crusher?'