It's strange how getting denied can ultimately be a good thing.
"Dana" has been coming along slowly - or at least, slower than I've wanted. With a completed script and a D.P. safely in hand, the next step was to find a producer. Of course, there was a series of steps I had to take in order to successfully pull that one off... the first being understanding what the hell I was getting myself into.
I'm by no means ashamed of my student films - while Wake Up wasn't spectacular, it was indeed my first foray into 'real' attempts at filmmaking, or at least as real as a student film can be. While I did some other piddily projects on my own in between, and a few pieces of contract work for Elgin County Museum and Museum London, and a 30-second ad for an AIDS for Africa lecture, in large part my own creative work did not continue until last year's One Way Out. However, student films and small independent work does not give any insight into how the actual, professional film industry operates. At wow, has that ever been a humbling, and 'holy shit there's a lot of information' experience.
And here's where the information began:
Dana initially began as a short with an estimated budget of $5,000 CDN. There's a definite desire to do this short as a professional piece, which entails setting up a 'limited company' and filing corporate tax returns - two things I both generally expected, although I didn't know how to go about accomplishing this. However, after a meeting with the DOP (Director of Photography), it became clear that the budget would have to be doubled to 10K. So that's where it now stands.
However, in order to raise 10K, I need investors. Well, before I can even get investors, I need a producer. And before a producer, I need to get a budget. And to get a budget, I needed to know how to set up a professional film budget.
Now, if there's one thing I DID know about the industry, it was that doing any paperwork outside of the status quota means that you'll get ignored - and thus, the cycle of no money, no chance would go on indefinitely. So, in order to learn how to set this up, I happened upon a 'Building a Business Plan' course that was being offered by Raindance Canada and the Toronto Writer's Centre. This three-hour workshop turned into an absolute onslaught of information (all relevant and useful) that had me writing as fast as I could the entire time. However, included in the course was a handout of a budget sheet, as well as a crash course in how profit sharing works - more handy for a feature film, but nonetheless it will be useful for Dana.
That was April 23rd.
I returned back to London with the intention of putting out an open ad on crew-and-casting site Mandy.com for a producer or co-producer. This ad was rejected outright - evidently Mandy doesn't accept those kinds of ads - I had issues with this, particularly considering I wasn't just some jackass looking for free help, the ad stated that the position was paid. So, for about a week, I was pretty sure I was screwed - regardless, I was back to square one - fund this myself.
That was April 28.
Well, that predicament pushed the intended shoot date of September 1st back to "Summer 2010." How the hell was I going to raise 10K? While there was grants I could apply to (and will), that still left me having to raise what looked like a minimum of $5000. I was floating ideas around, some of which hold more merit than others (bank robbery WAS an option for awhile...) and may be used anyway.
One of the biggest steps holding anyone looking to put together a film in London, Ontario is the fact that it's slim pickings for crew and connections, since London's arts scene is more geared towards painting and studio work rather than film. This is caused in part by the fact that Toronto is just two hours away, and most people gravitate towards that city when trying to get into the industry.
In the meantime, I returned to my toil of three jobs. On short notice, I took a shift (one of the jobs I has puts me in different places in the city all the time) and ended up running into a girl I went to University with. Much like me, she was toiling away, trying to break into the industry, working at an irrelevant job. But after a quick conversation, it turned out to be a great chance meeting - because she's produced other arts work (such as fashion shows) and has had success approaching private investors. I gave her a quick overview of what I was doing and how I wanted to approach it, and we exchanged info.
That was May 2nd.
So as of today, I've been researching more funding sources, trying to find more crew, and I've got a meeting coming up with her next week.
Funny how things go in this business. We'll see how the meeting goes. Lots to do before then...