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Independent Film Making page 2

In the U.S. producers have to scramble for good stories, casting, and production values, while their distributors must come up with innovative marketing campaigns. Even if a film fails domestically, there are always the foreign markets. The U.S. market makes up only about 40% to 50% of the revenue stream. With half or more income from the U.S. market already in hand, producers have great leverage for finding international co-production partners. 

The Europeans have been doing co-production for years and are getting very good at it. Half of the approximately 150 films made in France last year were co-productions with other European or U.S. companies. Foreign films are also becoming more known and respected. With recent films such as Life is Beautiful and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon winning major studio awards in the U.S., the eyes and ears of many studios are looking abroad for the next big thing. 

This is somewhat unfortunate for those small or first-time filmmakers in the U.S. who are also trying to gain recognition, but the idea that studios are open to new and fresh ideas is encouraging. Today you can make a film or video anywhere in the U.S. (with minimal expenses and equipment), which can be seen in dozens of countries around the world by millions of people. This is not fantasy. This is a real possibility that exists.

Development
Development of a film is described as bringing your ideas to paper so that they may be shared with others. What this means is that they are working on an idea or script, or it might be that a studio has put up some money to have the writer develop an idea that the producer has pitched. It does not mean that the picture is a sure thing or that a deal is set in stone. It also does not mean that the producer has complete control of the project. In the majority of cases, this is far from the truth. 

If a studio puts up money to have you write a script, they control your idea and the script from that moment on. They may produce it but probably won't. Most likely it will go on a shelf with the thousands of other scripts they've developed over the years. By the time the producer hears a response from the studio, a script that was a go at first may be filed away in the end, and the reason is never fully explained. The only way for producers to control a project is to control the script. The script is the only thing that can not be taken away from you. Ideas can. 

Studios spend millions of dollars a year developing ideas and reading scripts so it's unlikely, as an independent producer, that you are going to see a great script before they do. However, there is a plethora of scripts out there. Over 70,000 scripts are written each year. If you don't write one yourself, you have to be willing to spend quite a long time looking for scripts. 

Even Hollywood, bombarded by thousands of scripts weekly, complains incessantly of a shortage of material that is fresh in voice, vision, and point of view. There are a lot of ways to come up with a good idea. They are all around you every day. An incident or character may suggest a story idea. A life story in a magazine or newspaper may be your inspiration. 

One of the main problems with major studios today is they are all looking for the sure thing. In today's society, what sells the most is big name actors, action-packed sequences, and special effects; all of which cost a great deal of money. For the new or independent moviemaker, these are generally not options that are feasible.
For a new producer, finding backing by a motion picture studio is very difficult... Making independent films requires a lot of heart and perseverance
Motion picture studios are the principle source today for obtaining the funds needed by a producer to produce and distribute their films. For a new producer, finding backing by a motion picture studio is very difficult. In the past few years there has been a great deal of films that have been made independently, and this is due in great part to the fact that a producer had the inability to sell their projects to a studio. 

As previously mentioned, quite a number of independent films have become very successful in recent years. Besides The Blair Witch Project, films such as Shine, Good Will Hunting, Life is Beautiful, Shakespeare in Love and Boys Don't Cry have all been critically acclaimed, have been nominated for, and have received several Academy Awards. Each one of these films received little or no studio backing, and was made out of love and belief in the project. Making independent films requires a lot of heart and perseverance. 
Producing
A producer is involved in a film from the conceptual stages of the project, beginning with the preproduction, research, and writing, to the casting, shooting, editing, and postproduction. The job continues with negotiating the distribution contracts and arranging for the promotion and exhibition of the film. 

The public typically thinks the producer is the one with the big cigar and a roll of money. That's not so, at least among independents. He/she is the one responsible for raising money and paying the crew. The producer keeps the production on schedule. Much of the job is an administrative one. If a producer finds it unlikely or even impossible to gain support in their project from a studio but still feels as if their project is worth while, finding alternate sources of financing is essential. Because the average cost of a film produced by a studio exceeds $28 million, studios are not really attracted to films that will only bring in $1-$2 million profit. 

The term "Independent" can have various meanings in the production industry. Usually, the term independent is applied to any production company that is not directly affiliated with a major film corporation. Independent can also be used to define a small studio or an individual producer. 
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