Hollywood's Four Biggest Lies

  • The List
  • 28 February 2007


Ahead of his one off weekend seminar on low budget filmmaking in Glasgow, Raindance Film Festival founder Elliot Grove (pictured) lifts the lid on the greatest celluloid fibs.

The film industry is pretty simple to break into if you first understand some basic concepts. However, there is some nonsense that surrounds the industry that keeps first-timers away from writing, directing, producing or starring in a movie.

Lie 1: Filmmaking is an Art To make a movie you need to write cheques - lots of them. When your movie is finished, you will want to negotiate the best possible deal for the greatest amount of revenue. Therefore, filmmaking is about writing cheques, negotiating and revenue potential. To me, that sounds like a business. And everything in the British film industry is about business. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you are likely to succeed.

Lie 2: The film industry is about filmmaking The film industry spends more money marketing a film than making it. You have probably heard about the way a distributor ‘opens’, ‘releases’ or ‘markets’ a movie. So, if it costs so much to open release, or market a film, then surely the film industry is more concerned with these processes than with the actual making of a movie. Technically, in the film industry, the marketing budget is called the P&A budget (prints and advertising), and the two elements which the industry markets are: Who is in the film? and What is the budget? That’s how Hollywood works. Hollywood takes a film that has no value, puts in the newspaper ads and gives it value. The film industry is a film marketing industry, not a filmmaking industry.

Lie 3: What the budget is Is there any industry that tells you the cost of manufacturing the product you want to buy? Why is it that in the film industry we always seem to know what the budget is? Do you think the film industry really tells you the truth? There are only four budgets in the movie industry - the Blockbuster Budget, the Hyphen Budget, the Million Dollar Budget and the Micro Budget. The budget of your feature film is going to be one of those four budgets.

Lie 4: The film industry makes filmmakers deals The problem with all filmmakers is that they are perennially attempting to make a deal to get the money to make a film. This will never happen. You are putting the horse before the cart. First, make a film! And, if that film makes money . . . then you’ll make a deal!

Lo-To-No Budget filmmaking course is at RSAMD, Glasgow on Sat 3 & Sun 4 Mar only. Tel: 0207 287 3833 or visit www.raindance.co.uk

Post a comment