Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Dillio pt. 3

As we continued to “chat” over the coming weeks a theme began to emerge. The theme was that I need to shoot a “starter” film. A $200K low budget thing to prove myself as a filmmaker.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Look, here’s the thing…I met these guys that shot this feature for $150K and it looks good. I mean these guys had a dynamite script and knew what they were doing and shot a hell of a film. And you know what? It went straight to DVD and made a killing. That’s the kind of thing you need to do.

COOPRDOG
I’m not interested in micro-cinema.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
There’s nothing micro about $200K

COOPRDOG
Maybe if you are buying a house in Montana, but here in the film industry that’s a really miniscule amount of money to try and shoot with.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Listen these guys took their time and shot for 30-35 days making sure they had everything you needed and they could do that because they are shooting digital, so it’s cheap.

COOPRDOG
Digital or not, you still have to feed a crew and give them a place to park and shit. And I don’t know whom you’ve spoken to but you can’t shoot 35 days on $200K, you can’t even shoot 15 days on that sum…you can’t afford to feed a crew for two weeks on $200K.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Listen Cooprdog. I like you.. I think that you are going to make a good filmmaker some day.

COOPRDOG
I’m already a filmmaker.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
You shot a short, it’s not a film.

COOPRDOG
Really? And how many speaking roles does your $200K feature have? Not 15. How many car stunts does it have? Oh that’s right you can’t afford insurance at that level so there will be no stunts involving street closures or precision driving.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Listen you have to start small

COOPRDOG
$4MM is small. Titanic cost more than $200MM

DENNIS MCGOVERN
What about your favorite film “Sex, Lies & Videotape”

COOPRDOG
What about it?

DENNIS MCGOVERN
What did they shoot that for, a few hundred thousand?

COOPRDOG
It was shot for a million in 1987 dollars which would be the equivalent to a $2-$2.5MM in 2007 dollars.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
What about Clerks?

COOPRDOG
Ok.. what about it?

DENNIS MCGOVERN
They shot that film for $10K

COOPRDOG
Yes they did.. but that wasn’t the print you saw. The print you saw they dumped about another $1MM ADR-ing all the dialogue and adding sound elements.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Listen it can be done. And you’ll be getting into the game and then after they know you…you can raise the $5MM you think you need.

COOPRDOG
Ok, first of all I don’t think I need $4MM…that’s what the budget is… that’s what it will cost to realistically capture the narrative. And as far as experience is concerned, people who shoot $200K are very different from people who shoot $5MM features. It’s not like they’ll throw you a few extra million because they like you. Filmmakers compete for funds in certain budget ranges. If you make a habit of shooting no-budget features, they’ll assume that’s all you are about.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Well I can't help you without distribution. I can’t raise $5MM dollars.

COOPRDOG
Then why can’t you say that? And there is nothing wrong with that.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
It’s not going to happen!

COOPRDOG
Why are you yelling? I’ve listened to you very patiently for more than 30 min’s

DENNIS MCGOVERN
You know you aren’t just going to be able to walk in there and make demands with no work history.

COOPRDOG
I have the short

DENNIS MCGOVERN
Which is just a short!

COOPRDOG
That was shot on film and utilized a larger crew and more locations and lens and wardrobe pieces than the types of films you’re thinking about shooting.

DENNIS MCGOVERN
You need to grow up

COOPRDOG
And you need to read a book. Preferably something without pictures.

And then with the slamming of cell phones that relationship came to a end. I should point out that I never believed that he would be able to get me any money…but I still engaged him because you never know. What I think is important is that I didn’t subscribe to his “views” just so I could get $200K to shoot a film.

I know a lot of you think that it is foolish but let me ask you this….

Does it really matter how cheaply you shoot the film for, if no one is willing to pay to see it?

If you water-down your ideas and compromise your vision to make you film and it is a critical and financial success; will you be happy? Will you look forward to the next project where the same people will make the same suggestions stating to you that it worked with your first film and be optimistic?

As far as my answers to the preceding questions I state this…. I’ve made tremendous sacrifices as have numerous other individuals so that I may have something that resembles a career. It is dishonest and insincere to be so…pragmatic with their money; because every single one of my investors told me to go for it…because they never had the courage to stand by their convictions and seeing me go for my dreams and to be intrinsically involved in the process is what brought them real joy.

My politics on these issues are clear…are yours?

COOPRDOG

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