Friday, February 26, 2016

Reaching Your Film Making Goals

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
~Walt Disney~

As a young child, I  always looked forward to Sunday nights when The Wonderful World of Disney came on television. I especially loved Mr. Walt Disney with his warm and charismatic ways. Mr. Disney wore several hats, was a self starter and brilliant businessman.  As anyone in the motion picture industry knows, filmmakers often wear several hats in order to obtain their goals. It takes hard work and dedication to get things done. It takes more doing and less talking, just as Walt Disney said. Making a motion picture was a huge undertaking. Thank Goodness for all the people that helped me in the process. Now back to Mr. Disney. Walt Disney was a voice actor and cartoonist and as I said earlier, a suburb businessman--not to mention a cultural icon. He and his brother, Roy, founded The Walt Disney Company.

My favorite ride at Disneyland is The Haunted Mansion. I really love the spooky atmosphere, like the haunted paintings, ghosts and "Doom Buggies." This creepy ride comes with state of the art theatrical effects plus vintage ones as well. Maybe this is why I chose to write a screenplay that included a spooky, haunted mansion.  My motion picture, The Forlorned, was shot in a historical mansion in Somers, Montana. The filming took place in the dead of winter--in below zero temperatures. Although this was very hard on the actors and crew, it created the perfect "chilling" atmosphere for the movie. Filming in the dead of winter came with a lot of worries, thank goodness the production company charged ahead and did it anyhow.  

Remember, if you want something done--you have to just do it (even if its in the dead of winter with no heat or running water).

Sometimes it's hard to get started. Why not take the first few steps. Start with getting a solid script together. Go through the script and figure out your budget. Don't forget to include insurance, props, actor fees, food, lodging, etc. There are many helpful guides online for budgeting for filmmakers. Get it all roughed out on paper and plan the next few months out in small goals.

The journey isn't easy but you have to start taking steps down the path in order to reach the end. Give yourself plenty of time to make the movie and to find distribution. Any questions, please contact me. I'm always glad to give helpful tips or advice when I can. Have a Wonderful Weekend!

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Breaking into the movie Buisness


Breaking into the Movie Business

By Angela J. Townsend

A few years ago my writing career as a traditionally published author took a turn to motion pictures. Since that time I’ve had a flood of emails from authors seeking advice on how to obtain a motion picture deal. There are many ways to break into the industry. In this blog post I will be sharing the way that worked for me.  

I’ve learned a lot since the start of my motion picture adventures, which began in 2013. As strange as it sounds, I always envisioned my novels as movies, right from the very start. This is because I’m a visual writer. I absolutely live in the world of my creating and it is a bright and vivid place for me. In order to have a sellable screenplay, you must be able to envision the landscape that is your story. You must know every single brick in your story’s foundation, every little detail about how the world works. You must know it like you know your own soul.

A question I am often asked is, do I need a screenplay version of my novel in order to sell it? The answer is simple. In most cases, no. If you find a producer interested in your work, send them your completed novel. They’ll read it and decide if it’s a project worth pursuing. This is how it happened in my case.

If you do have a screenplay, keep in mind that every scene and element of the script will cost money to produce. So in addition to writing a wonderful script with a niche audience in mind, narrow down locations, characters and difficult special effects. It’s much easier to sell or produce a movie that doesn’t require an extra-large budget. Keep in mind movies can be very expensive to make, most studios have a budget in the millions to work with. Most independent films are generally made on a much smaller scale. 

Once you have a solid script, see if you can gather a group of volunteer actors to have a table read. Hearing the screenplay acted aloud for the first time is an unforgettable experience. I will never forget the first time I heard my words spoken from the mouths of talented actors auditioning for The Forlorned. It was life changing for me. Our casting agent held auditions in another state. I watched the actor who played one of my main characters and fought back tears. Not only was it a surreal experience for me, it also gave me ideas of how I could make every word count to push my screenplay forward.

I had an advantage with being familiar with the genre in which I wrote. I suggest you do the same. Do your homework and know your target audience. What hook will you use? What are the popular trends in your genre in the film industry?  You may find most of your answers by performing a simple google search. Go to Google and sign into ad words. Once you are there, try Google’s keyword planner. This is a wonderful tool that will allow you to input words that will give you an idea of how many people are searching for your particular genre and if there is a genuine interest in what you write.

The next step is to find a producer with a solid background and connections to the industry. A seasoned producer will also have connections to funding sources. To get started I recommend searching IMDB (Internet movie database). This is a wonderful way to find out what movies are produced in your genre and the quality of the work. If you love the movie, look and see who produced it. Gather a list of names to contact.  

Everyone involved in my film, The Forlorned, can be found on IMDB. It’s a trusted resource for me. Make sure whoever you work with are experienced with connections in the industry.

After you find a producer interested in your work, I suggest that you obtain an Entertainment Attorney. Make sure they have experience and a proven history in Entertainment law. I work closely with mine and I find that his advice has been priceless. Every state in the U.S. has a bar association. These associations will give referrals and also keeps public records on disciplinary actions taken against attorneys. It’s a great way to make sure who you work with can be trusted. You can find the bar association for your state by going to the American Bar Association website and looking under State & Local Bar Associations tab.

Last but not least, you must believe in yourself and your project. It takes hard work and dedication. If you have questions I’m always happy to help. The quickest way to reach me is through my twitter account for The Forlorned (please see below).

 Links

American Bar Association: http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html

IMDB-Internet movie database:  http://www.imdb.com/

Entertainment production software: http://www.lightspeedeps.com/

Capture Audience leads:  http://www.aweber.com/easy-email.htm

The Forlorned on twitter: https://twitter.com/TheForlorned

 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Finding Time To Write and Make Movies

This is a very busy time in my life. I not only have many books to market, but I am also working on marketing and finishing more movies scripts, contracts and projects.

The Forlorned is definitely not my only or last movie. I'm so excited that there will be many more movies in my future. It hasn't all been easy.  I will never complain about my job or the time it takes up. I am truly doing what I love to do--my dream job. I love my book fans and I cherish their friendships. I am so grateful to those that support me and keep me moving forward.

A huge thank you to all of you! Although its hard for me to respond to all your emails, I will try to write to as many people as possible. You really do matter to me and I appreciate your endless support!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

From Novel to Big Screen

When my novel, The Forlorned was adapted to a screenplay for a motion picture, the majority of the plot was changed in order to meet the demands of a budget and time restrictions. A lot of the fans of the novel will notice many differences between the book and the movie, especially the last half of the movie and the ending.

The good news is that although the film is not an exact replica of my book, it still cares the same message. A message that no solider should be left buried and forgotten--no matter how long ago the death occurred.

As I near completion of the second and third script adaption for The Forlorned movie sequels, I get more and more excited. What started out as a single film has now grown into several. I feel that as a writer, I have finally found what I love to do most. To create stories and to share them!

Please stayed tuned for more updates this week. 






Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Forlorned Motion Picture--How I broke into the Movie Business

Many people have asked how I was able to get my book turned into a movie.  The answer is simple, with hard work, endless dedication and lots of faith. Years ago a wise old sage informed me that only with hard work does one achieve success. Although I believed this advice was true, I found it hard to keep moving forward and to not give up. I was a struggling author and a single mom. Even though there were moments I wanted to quit, I kept working long hard days and nights. Most nights I would work until nearly sunrise, I'd go to bed for a couple hours and then be up again in time for work the next day.

There were many times I wanted to give up. I was exhausted, but I persisted in going after the brass ring and I'm glad that I did.

At the start of my journey I did a lot of research into horror movies, how they were made and who directed and produced them. I wanted someone top notch to do my film. I was lucky to connect with a director right away---And no, it wasn't a "catchy title" that caught their eye or some other gimmick, it was the a story that stood out in the genre. A unique tale of a young man alone on a lighthouse island haunted by ghost soldiers from the War of 1812.

Getting my novel turned into a script and then onto the big screen took a monumental amount of work. My director and producer read my script and quickly adapted it. Those two extraordinary people made my novel come to life on the big screen and I will be forever grateful to them.

The key to any successful project is to find believers. People who support your goals and ideas. I was very fortunate to have a producer, director and a business partner who were willing to work alongside of me for a common goal.

One particularly hard day, I sent a text message to my director Andy Wiest. I told him I wanted to give up. I just couldn't go on. I will never forget his reply. "I'm sticking this out with you until the very end Angie, no matter what." Andy's words of support kept me going.

I encourage all struggling artists to find people who believe in them. People willing to work together to achieve a common goal.

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