How to get money for your film

This video by Film Riot discusses the in’s and out’s of money making for indie filmmakers. Please take note that he does mention that Film Riot videos do make about $1,000 on Youtube because they have over 1-MILLION views. Yep, there’s a stat to take notice of.

Host Ryan Connolly also mentions that he sells Posters and some ancillary products — but he never recoups his cost. “Short films are passion products…you make them to get exposure…you rarely make any money…”

How does he get money to make a film? He goes to people to sponsor him — of course, Film Riot has a large subscriber base, and products like Adobe, and manufactures of cameras respect Film Riot, so he has a realistic approach to getting investors based upon his Film Riot following. Do you have an audience of millions like Film Riot?

Another method, do what Alex did with the Movies Plus Fire TV channel. He streamed his film for 6 months. He then took the download stats to an investor (about 70,000 downloads) and Alex got financing based upon his success on Fire TV. See how you can do this for $4 on https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Kickstarter, Film Riot has never used it. He does talk to a filmmaker who treated Kickstarter campaign like a full time job and made “Pizza Time.”

Also, The film “Sky Watch” (released on Youtube) is discussed, and how the filmmakers no-budget, badly made short films finally helped him to produce films like Sky Watch successfully. He says “you can’t make money on narrative films…” And he “fostered relationships from short films” to gain financing on a bigger productions. That’s a lesson.

If you treat your cast and crew like peons or minions, do you think they’ll help you on future productions?

David Sandberg talks about how he used low budget equipment like a homemade built dolly made from Ikea parts, cheap 300 watt lights to shoot his early shorts, and like Blender 3D software (free). He says “professional gear takes a beating and will go on forever…cheap gear will [cost] you…time.”

Below is another Film Riot – budget oriented video. Before watching it, Youtube played a “Masterclass” advert-video by Ron Howard. It was very interesting to me, and one thing stuck out. This is a little off topic, but please indulge me for a second.

They showed Ron Howard behind the scenes, he instructed an actor to say a line a particular way, and Ron said the line the way that he, an actor would say it. I’d like to point out that Ron Howard has the acting chops to do this, while other Directors might not have the experience to suggest to an actor that they emulate his delivery. (A little food for thought.) Let’s move on to the next video.

What is low budget?
This is mostly a video about independent films made with low or now budget. Ryan says a micro budget is up to $500,000 outside of the Hollywood system, but geared towards being sold to legitimate distributors, some who are “Hollywood.”

Note that Ryan mentions these are not hard and fast rules and “numbers.” When focusing on shorts, budget can depend largely on where your located. His short films were all low budget films (like $300.) And he discusses how he progressed up to $100,000 for his “Ballistic” short, where he depended on allot of free crew-work and more. He says “…The more money I had…the more stress…and tighter restraints.” So, the take home lesson here is that having more money does not guarantee that you’ll have an easy, stress-free shoot.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to read more, please visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus

Cheers,
Dean

Film Festivals are canceling but Online Fests are thriving

Who would have thought that this whole dang virus thing would screw up every live event on the planet? I didn’t anticipate this kind of things months ago when I entered my film into Film Festivals via the FilmFreeway website.

And now, I’m getting email notices. The fests I entered are either postponing or canceling until next year. There’s almost no alternative. Except my own Festival.

Yep, I created a film festival 6 years ago. It’s an online Festival that offers the winners the option to have their movie streamed online and on Roku, Fire TV, and Android.

A little more history…I started building Roku channels years ago. In order to get content that was not the usual public domain fair, I operated two Facebook Video/Photo contests and I also contacted some film buddies and I offered them a free deal to get their films streamed to my audience. The formula worked, although none of us made any money. That’s okay, because the exposure was great — and no one makes money on short films anyway.

If you think you can recoup your cost of producing a short film — then you’re dreaming…and may God bless the dreamer.

Next, I asked filmmakers if they wanted their film compiled into a feature film or a 30-minute featurette for streaming purposes. The result was my “Zombie Pix” feature film, distributed by VODO to 15 thousand VODO viewers online. Secondly the 30 minute compilation film project was and is still being streamed on my channels, it’s an all-genre video called “Film Fest Best” — and it is one of the most popular videos that I stream. In the end, these two compilation videos gave filmmakers free exposure, and I have some good content for my streaming TV audience.

In 2015, after successfully running (2) video/photo contests on Facebook, I decided to give my Festival a more tangible presence. I built a website, http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com and then I developed an Amazon Fire TV channel. Both worked very nicely. And the audience has grown ever since.
Roku4
Now, I have over 375,000 subscribers on my Fire TV channel, called “Movies Plus.” And, I have built several new Roku channels, in which the total subscribers are over 1 million. That’s great reach. And it’s free for filmmakers who would like to stream their film on my channels.

There’s even a success story. A filmmaker named Alex who took the initiative to leverage my Fire TV channel. He streamed his “Down River” feature film for 6 months. Then he took the stats from the streaming experience (about 70,000 views) and he presented this to a venture capitalist. It impressed the money-man so much that he agreed to finance Alex’s next film. Now Alex has his movie, “The Directive” on Hulu. There’s a newspaper article that tells the whole story — read it via my Festival page on FilmFreeway.

Okay, so to wrap things up a little, now I have many channels. The most popular are TMN (The Movie Network) and “Movies Plus TV.” And I have my Film Festival that is online and supported by my Roku and Fire TV channels. I also have an Android App, but that is still in the “launching” phase, so I don’t brag about my Android subscribers just yet. You may add the channels and TV-Apps via www.moviesplus.org

If you’re a filmmaker looking for free film distribution…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free exposure for your movie, TV or web series…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free publicity and promotion for your movie or TV Pilot or series…You can get in on this, free.

To get started, you may email me directly, BUT I suggest using the free service film freeway. My Festival is only $5 to $8 to enter. That’s cheap! The submission fees are less than 9 dollars. And in return you get access to all the resources I listed above. Free online streaming for your movie, TV show, Pilot, web series and more.

(Please note that the current Festival doesn’t have a category for Features, therefore if you’d like to have your feature streamed, simply contact me directly on Facebook or through the links on my moviesplus website.)

Also, TRAILERS AND TEASERS are FREE TO ENTER, and you may get yours immediately streamed on Android by visiting my Youtube channel, again the link is on the Movies Plus website.

To enter the Festival for FREE or for as low as $5, please visit https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Cheers and good Streaming,
Dean Lachiusa
Curator, the Metro Film Festival.
http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com

Indie Filmmaking – Distribution 101, your best bet to insure The Calvary is Coming!

Recently I read an article werein several successful filmmakers answered questions poised by an independent filmmaker. We’ll call the indie “Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream.” Along with my interjections, below is an excerpt from the “Shooting People” website.

Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: “I am searching for a way to make exploitation movies with loads of action, gore, fun & excitement that people can watch over a beer (the way that the Sy-Fi channel make countless “Shark” exploitation movies).
And I’d make them cheap, for £5,000 ($8,000). I have all the equipment so no need to rent lights, cameras, etc.”

A response from Film Composer, Kays Alatrakchi: [On Imdb, Kay has an enormous list of films since 1992. This guy knows his business.]
Get to the back of the huge line? Because what the world really needs right now is more shit films!
Several friends of mine work for The Asylum (if you have no idea who they are…google them). I’ve also had the misfortune to work on a couple of their films, mostly because one of those aforementioned friends talked me into it. The Asylum does follow a Roger Corman type of model in the sense that they pre-sell everything. They have been around for long enough that they have strong relationships established with distros all over the world. What they literally do is custom-create their films to fit whatever markets they’re trying to pre-sell…hence the shit that they turn out because Germany wants a tornado/disaster film, and shark films are really huge in Japan right now.

Their films are typically budgeted in the $250K range, even so; most of the budget goes for them to get the have-been F-list actors that (once again) the distributors require to close the pre-sale. The Asylum generates good earnings as it’s been reported in a number of industry trade rags. On a movie where they invest $250k, they typically have made $750k without breaking a sweat.

But they have a system, and they have an established distributor network. They have enough muscle to be able to negotiate lucrative deals. They also can pickup the phone and speak directly with SyFy Channel’s program director and work out inside deals for exclusives etc. Did I mention that they also have an in-house CGI dept, sound design/foley/mixer, green screen and shooting stage, and a music composer who does great work because he knows that he will make money through cable airings and so he’s willing to work for peanuts up-front. They pay their crew about $100-200/day on their shoots which are typically in the 7-10day range for a feature.

The point that I’m trying to make is that The Asylum is not making films for $10k, they are very business savvy and have the type of workflow and connections that you don’t have. To look at them as an “example” of how to make movies that make money, without looking at the rest of their picture is to set yourself up for failure.

A response from Documentary filmmaker, M. Rossato-Bennett: [This filmmaker does not have a long filmmaking career, but his documentary is rated 8.2 on Imdb, and I think that means that he’s done something right and is worthy of listening to.] I would like to submit that there is another way- What the world needs is not more distraction- think about it, if someone wants to be distracted your film is now competing with virtually every other film ever made! It used to be there were just a few films playing in your town any given week. That is real competition!

alive-inside

So I made a doc that I cared about because I wanted to change the world. I knew there was an audience, I knew I could help a million people. I never expected to get accepted to Sundance, as a matter of fact I almost did not apply.
…Why not change the world rather than try to recreate what has been done? I think everyone is always following dead dreams- after Picasso there was a huge generation of want to be painters. After Lucas there was a huge generation of want to be Spielbergs. If you want to make money make a low budget VR movie! Look to the future not the past for inspiration!

Here is my truth- Emotion is everything- Make a film that makes people feel deeply and it will find an audience. People need to feel. Distracting entertainment is so overdone I would not want to compete there.

Response from Michael, a low budget filmmaker with a dream: (…I’d like to clarify that I don’t intend to re-work or make a ‘Corman’ type film, but make a film in the same ‘business’ style as him. Making it dirt cheap, shoot for a few days (Little Shop Of Horrors was shot in just two days), mainly one or two takes max and move on…)

And a response from Kays Alatrakchi: Nothing good can come out of that type of filmmaking. Good films take time, talent, resources, and a great screenplay. If that’s what you’re setting out as your goal, I think you’re doomed from the start.

My take: I think that both Kays’ and Bennet make valid points. While back in film school (circa 1997) I did think that what Michael proposed would be a good idea. Because genre films were selling to territories across the globe. But that was when low budget films were being produced on 16mm or the new Sony and Canon DV cameras. It was an era before the over-saturation of low budget Genre films.

Nowadays you can shoot your low budget zombie film on a cell phone. And you likely will get an offer for distribution. But you likely will not make any money. Rather, it will cost you money. Because here’s what typically is happening in the distribution landscape. Because there’s just too much low budget product out there, and you want to get your film seen, then you likely will end up paying your “distributor.”

You’ll pay them to prepare art. Yes, I know you have your own art, but they will insist on using their studio artist, and this is not cheap. (let’s call it $1,500. to start.) Then, you’ll pay them to prepare your content for delivery. This is another area that hits filmmakers. Even if you mastered in MOV or Pro-Res, they’ll want to check the film for formatting errors. For example, you shot in 29.9FPS, but you placed a clip in your film and it runs at 24FPS. This can create streaming problems. So, add the cost of another $5,000. or more for “delivery.” In the end, you might just get your movie placed on Hulu. And when your film doesn’t get watched by enough viewers in the first week or so, HULU will drop it from their catalog.

You may be wondering why a Distributor does business this way. Well, think about their mode of operation. They have a large catalog, with some “A-List” titles that add klout when the distributor negotiates with platforms like Netflix. Do the distributors “A-List” titles go through the same nightmare I described previously? Heck no, these titles have weight, legs, etc. So no, let’s get back to you, the low budget indie filmmaker. You’re there to fill space in the Distributors catalog, and you’ve been chosen because you need to get your film seen, and you’re willing to pay to play.

Before you lose all hope, please read on…this is NOT ALL BLEAK!

If you think you’ll make money from sharing ad-revenue. Ohhhhh, my filmmaking brother, I wish it were true. Google it…You won’t find any success stories. And the reason is in one word. Subdistribution. If you manage to land a distributor who does NOT require payment for their services, then you have be weary of the tricks of the online distribution system.

Here’s a typical scenario. A Distributor promises you 15% of the Ad-revenue. But, they don’t actually have a direct deal with the platorm (VUDO/HULU/NETFLIX.) No, they typically allow another “distributor” to make that deal, and in exchange that distributor gets…15%. Okay. So now you’re getting 15% of 15%. See what I’m getting at?

Let’s say you do manage to get a reputable distributor. One that really has a direct relationship to a streaming platform. I’m sorry if this sounds so bleak, but now imagine trying to get paid your $75 ad-rev royalty. They don’t want to issue a check because you haven’t reached the tier required. If you manage to get $200 in a payment period, then maybe they’ll send you the money if you haven’t accrued any other weird fees like data charges for uploading your film to their server. And that’s if you can rely on them to pay you. In some regards, you have to understand their position. Imagine, dolling out $25 checks to hundreds of filmmakers every month, that’s something that is timely and costly. Bookkeeping is of course is the oldest, most common complaint in regards to Distributors.

You could produce a film that’s easier on the eyes. Something that doesn’t depend on the Genre. Something with Marquee value. What’s Marquee Value? It’s that little thing that talks to the potential film-watcher. It says “Oh that might be a good movie, it has that guy from Alien in it.”

lance-henrikson

That’s Lance Henriksen, and no I don’t know him and I’m not endorsing him – but you get the idea. What talent like this costs you will return you many times in Marquee Value.

Okay, so what’s the take-home or main-thrust of this article? Here’s ann alternative that costs the price of a large Latte. If (IF) your movie is good enough — OR HAS MARQUEE VALUE — then Roku and Fire TV channels like mine will stream it. I cannot endorse the slew of Roku and Fire TV channels out there, but I can tell you that mine have been popular for 6 years now, and I think it’s a nice way to go. You’ll have to submit your film to me via my film festival (a measly 5 dollars) but in the end, if it’s good enough I can get you about 50,000 views on my connected TV channels.

Note that my TV channels have over 1 million subscribers…but the actual viewers are less, so I won’t Blow-Smoke.

But hey, 50,000 viewers is pretty darn good, and imagine if you put your point-of-sale on your film, film-art, and logline? Have you imagined? Well, think about setting up your website for donations, T-Shirt and Coffee-Mug, and DVD sales. And then when people from my channels visit your website, you could actually make a buck, ehhh?

Additionally…if your film isn’t quite ready for prime-time, then you may stream it on my Android App. Check out http://www.moviesplus.org to take advantage of Droid and Youtube opportunities.

Oh yes, let’s not forget the dotcom for the Streaming-Fest is www.metrofilmfestival.com

Cheers,
Dean

Star Trek TV series you may watch free

ARTICLE 1 of the ten part series on Star Trek programming available online and on Roku for free.

When I first took notice of Star Trek Continues the new “Kirk” through me for a loop. I wasn’t prepared to hear a new voice introduce the programs continuation of the “5 year mission.”

After watching a few episodes, I was hooked. The series is great. Before I analyze this TV program and others of similar quality, I’d like to simply give you some links so that you may do a little browsing around this Trek world that fan’s like me enjoy.

A. From Vic Mignogna and the Neutral Zone’s Kingsland, GA Star Trek studio comes 10 shows and a few extra’s — https://www.youtube.com/user/StarTrekContinues (the new Kirk takes some getting used to.)

toserveall-mydays-newposter (Yes, that’s the original CHEKOV back on screen!)

B. One of the best episodes from a different group called Renegades, operated by Tim Russ (Voyager) and his Atomic network is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFqAME7dx58

C. From the Hollywood-connected James Cawley and his NY Trek studio-come-Official-Star-Trek-Tour is one of their best episodes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFjikVnvypg

D. Watch some of the episodes on my FREE, NON-COMMERCIAL ROKU channel’s linked on my website http://www.moviesplus.org

PSSSS: You can also watch free and AD-Free on my Android APP called “Fan Films” on Googleplay here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fan.films

Enjoy…I’ll be back with more after a brief ‘NON-COMMERCIAL’ announcement 😉

-Dean Lachiusa
PS: If you like my free TV streaming services please support me with a buck or two on https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus

Film Distributor for Independent TV

There’s tons of film and TV shows to choose from.
There’s tons of channels to find them on.

If you’ve struggled to find great Films or Television among the countless number of titles on Hulu, Netflix or the slew of channels on Roku and Fire TV then we can help. IF your a filmmaker trying to get exposure for your film or TV-Show on these platforms…then we can help. And finally, if your simply a person who likes films that are a little outside of the mainstream, WITHOUT ADS, WITHOUT RENTING, WITHOUT SUBSCRIPTION FEES…Then we can help.

The “Movies Plus” brand of TV channels is an advocate for the independent.

It’s FREE. FREE to Watch. AD-FREE to Watch!
And it’s FREE for filmmakers to use to get exposure for their work!

Started in 2013, Movies Plus was a humble indie film channel on Roku. They then branched out into a Amazon Fire TV channel. Then they expanded into the Google Play store as a free Android App.

The circulation aka “subscriber base” is over a million now. That’s right, over 600,000 Subscribers on Roku, over 375,000 on Amazon Fire TV, and over 10,000 on Android (although to be fair, this is in Beta. And two channels are operating to reach Legacy as well as New devices.)

So, if your a “Cordcutter” or a “Filmmaker” or a “Filmlover” then you might want to check out the Movies Plus headquarters for all the details, and links of course to their TV Channels, Free Film Festival, and very COOL SWAG!

Here’s the link, enjoy! www.patreon.com/moviesplus

-Dean 10/28/2019

Actors — it’s a no brainer, put your REEL or Short Film on Smart TV

Here’s a free way to get exposure. If you’re a “cord cutter” or Independent film lover, then you may have already watched Indie-made films and TV-shows on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and other platforms.

A (free) way to get exposure for your film Reel and Short films that you have appeared in is to use the TV channels that you find on “Connected TV (CTV.) CTV is the method that Netflix and Hulu use, and you can take advantage of it.

The following methods cost you nothing or almost nothing. And they are ad-FREE, and (free to use) when you follow a few easy steps.

If you have a video that you would like to see stream on TV, there are two ways to do this:

1.) Visit http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com – and you’ll see a FilmFreeway link, just use the Free Trailer/Teaser entry for short form content, and for longer movies just email them for a fee waiver. This is not really geared towards Reels, so see #2.

2.) Visit their Patreon campaign and donate a buck or more: https://www.patreon.com/moviesplus

It’s just that easy, and you’ll reach over 375,000 Subscribers on Fire TV, and about 600,000 Subscribers on Roku. The Android App is new, so I don’t have allot of statistics yet.

**To Check Them out:

Go to their website OR You can search for the channels on Roku and Fire. http://www.moviesplus.org has all the links. It’s FREE to add the Roku channels and the Android App — but really, you don’t need to add the channels to take advantage of them.

TV Broadcaster is looking for Music Videos

Movies Plus is a Connected TV Platform operated by Publisher/Influencer, Dean Lachiusa.

I’m looking for Bands, and also Partners who would like to take advantage of my Roku, Fire TV, and Android Channels. My Broadcast reach is nearly 1 Million viewers.

Here’s how to start…
1.) There’s never a fee to stream your content on the Movies Plus TV Android App.

Add it free from Google:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.usman.deanlach

2.) If you like what you see, then its free to add your Music Video to the Android APP. Just click on my youtube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3n2v7WouIwjvtRwnkG6PJF65IpliZB4w&disable_polymer=true

***************************************************************
I broadcast films and music-videos on several channels and Connected TV Platforms.
The subscriber base for Movies Plus on Amazon Fire TV is about 425,000 and growing daily. Check it via this website: http://www.MoviesPlus.org

And, if you’re a Roku user, it’s free to add these channels:
TMN (The Movie Network),
Film Fest Best,
AHM (Art House Movies,)
Movies Plus TV.

I hope you like this opportunity. If you’d like to add your content to my Roku and Fire TV channels, then please drop me a note by email (metrofilmfestival @ gmail.com) or PM me on http://www.Facebook.com/MetroFilmFestival or https://twitter.com/Movies_Plus_TV

I broadcast and stream only great looking videos, please no nudity or adult language.

Cheers, and good luck.
Dean Lachiusa,
Curator for Movies Plus and the Metro Film Festival.

PS, I’m in Metro Detroit, but my Channels broadcast Internationally.