Do your shot in your films look very flat, or washed out? Do your actors come across looking like they have a bad spray-on tan, or blue tinted skin? Have you ever wondered how some digital films have consistently beautiful colors, look beautifully sculpted, and almost look like they were shot on film stock? The secret to great-looking films is usually achieved by color grading.
When I worked as an agent and spoke with people who had never worked with one, it became quite clear that most people have no idea what an agent does or why they should have one. The Dictionary.com definition of a talent agent is simply, “one who represents performers.” This is pretty vague and doesn’t say a lot. If you look up the definition of agent, the first entry is “a person or business authorized to act on another’s behalf.” This comes much closer to describing what an agent actually does. A talent agent has two main functions-to negotiate contracts, and to solicit clients on your behalf.
Attending film festivals can be an awesome experience–seeing great new films on the big screen, walking the red carpet, and feeling the energy in the air can be inspirational to new and experienced filmmakers alike. But festivals serve another very important function for anyone in the industry–the networking opportunities at film festivals can make or break a career. In the fast-paced world of Hollywood, you never know who can help your career in the future. That fresh, new director you met at a small festival–she could turn out to be the next Scorsese, or the guy you were shooting the breeze with in the lobby could be the buyer for an international distributor or the casting director for one of the major studios. Film festivals may be the one opportunity you have to connect with the person that will give you your big break in the film industry.
“Well, um…see it’s about hand fishing, but it’s kind of also about these two guys…” It was clear the man was getting nervous as he stammered his explanation to me. I listened politely for the following two minutes as the older gentleman finished his epic narrative, before excusing myself and moving on to the next booth, silently cursing myself for starting up the conversation to begin with. I was at a film festival, and had asked a seemingly innocent and (I thought) straightforward question: “What is your film about?” Based on the earful I had just received, it seemed as if the director to whom I had been speaking with didn’t really know.
Film financing: the seemingly elusive holy grail of independent filmmaking that we all know we need but nobody seems to know how to get. In the old days financing meant hitting up the film markets in hopes that a distributor would find some potential in your project among the thousands of others out there, or begging for funds from private investors or equity firms. The last decade has brought some new advances that make raising funds for projects much more accessible to the average independent filmmaker, and one of the most valuable of these newer methods has been crowdfunding. Minneapolis Producer Ryan Strandjord is no stranger to the topic–in the past two and a half years he has managed crowdfunding campaigns for two different film projects and several food-industry related projects, raising a total of over $270,000 primarily through Kickstarter. In fact, one of his most recent projects, the Herbivorous Butcher, was featured in the New York Times. We talked to Ryan and he shared some of his best tips on how independent filmmakers can hack Kickstarter to raise funds and build an audience for their projects.