Download Trailer Mechanics: How to Make your Documentary Fundraising PDF

TitleTrailer Mechanics: How to Make your Documentary Fundraising
ISBN 139780976458128
CategoryArts - Film
File Size2.0 MB
Total Pages307
Table of Contents
How This Information Was Compiled
Who Needs This Book
How This Book Is Structured
How to Use This Book
Reading vs. Doing
About the Language Used in This Book
Section 1 • Making Your Trailer
Chapter 1—The Trailer Defined
A Demo or Sample Is…: What’s in a Name—or Names?
An Audiovisual Pitch…: The Trailer in Context
1 to 20 Minutes Long…: Timekeeping and Other Ticking Bombs
Composed of Excerpts of a Future or In-progress Documentary…: All About Content
For the Purpose of Raising Funds: Talent, Time and Treasures
And After All That: Do You Need a Demo? How Soon? How Many?
Chapter 2—Story Development for Trailers
From Motivation to Idea
From Idea to Story
From Story to Documentary
Time to Grow
Section 2 • Smoothing the Creative Path
Chapter 3—You, the Filmmaker
Who Are You as a Filmmaker?
What Do You Want as a Filmmaker?
Exercise 1: Define Success in Your Own Terms
Exercise 2: A Positive Association
What Are Your Assets as a Filmmaker?
Exercise 3: Creating an Inventory of Skills
Chapter 4—The Dark Side of a Filmmaker
The External Pressure Points
The Internal Pressure Points
Dealing with It All
Exercise 4: Board of Unconditional Allies
Exercise 5: The 1-minute, One-day Documentary (or Side Project of Your Choice)
Section 3 • Meeting the Right People
Chapter 5—Sending Your Demo into the World: Industry People
Like Penguins, Like Seahorses
Who Are Those Industry People?
Where Can You Meet Those Industry People?
Chapter 6—Industry People Speak
Commissioning Editors at Networks and Cable
Distributors and Producers’ Representatives
Festivals, Markets and Conferences
Section 1 • Making Your Trailer
Chapter 7—Story Structure Models for Samples
To Script, to Shoot or to Be Aware
Character-driven Storytelling
Topic-driven Storytelling
The Consequences of Your Choice
Working with Models and Making Them Work for You
Character-driven Structure Model for Demos
Topic-driven Structure Model for Demos
Suggested Approaches for Openings, Middles and Endings
What to Avoid in Openings, Middles and Endings.
Chapter 8—Workflow and Methodologies
Traditional Methodologies and Standard Procedures
Structure Awareness Method Before Shooting
Structure Awareness Method Before Editing
Avoiding Wrong Turns and Dead Ends
Section 2 • Smoothing the Creative Path
Chapter 9 • Along for the Journey
Keeping Yourself Motivated and Working
Exercise 6: Make a Comprehensive Long-term Plan
Exercise 7: The Short-term Plan: Daily and Manageable Tasks
Understanding Your Creative Patterns and Best Environments
Exercise 8: Discovering Your Creative Patterns and Best Environments
Being in the Moment Every Moment
Exercise 9: Conquering the Thirty Seconds Before the First Minute of Work
Exercise 10: Contract with Yourself
Chapter 10—The Dark Tunnels of the Journey
External Interruptions
Exercise 11: Identify Distractions
Exercise 12: Dealing with Distractions
Internal Distractions
Exercise 13: The Doubt Collector and Transformer
Section 3 • Meeting the Right People
Chapter 11—Sending your Demo into the World: Foundations, Film Organizations and Corporations
Who Are Those Foundations, Film Organizations and Corporations?
Where Can You Meet Those Foundations, Film Organizations and Corporations?
Chapter 12—Funders and Film Organization Programmers Speak
Funders and Grant Organizations
Film Organizations—Special Programs: Mentorships and Labs
Section 1 • Making Your Trailer
Chapter 13—Evaluating Whether a Sample Is Done
Locking Picture By Choice
Locking Picture for the Wrong Reasons
Chapter 14—Showing Your Sample
Test Screening Your Sample
Tips for Submission of Your Sample
Section 2 • Smoothing the Creative Path
Chapter 15—Preparing for the Spotlight
Completing the Work Within Yourself
Exercise 14: Imagine a Bright Future
Re-owning the Process Through Integration
Progressive Completion
Chapter 16—The Dark Area Out of the Spotlight
Dealing with Old Wounds
Exercise 15: Reincarnation of Past Projects
Dealing with the Immediate Future
Re-owning by Killing the Witnesses
Dealing with Rejection and Negative and Unexpected Comments
Exercise 16: Role Playing Dealing with Comments
Section 3 • Meeting the Right People
Chapter 17—Sending Your Demo into the World: Individual Donors and Investors
Who Are Those Individual Donors and Investors?
Where Can You Meet Individual Donors and Investors?:
Chapter 18—Individual Donors: Experts and Filmmakers Speak
Worksheets for Exercises in Section 2
Document Text Contents
Page 153

shooting or editing is rarely justified, and that non-stop viewing of material
without a plan or any other repetitious task is inefficient. Because embracing
cumbersome labor-intensive procedures is so prevalent, it bears repeating: This
is an ill-informed choice, often used as a form of procrastination.

In two decades of dealing with filmmakers, I have yet to meet one who has a
clear story in her head and then gets distracted by secondary issues. Most can’t
wait to sink their teeth into the important relevant activities. Clarity and
conviction in storytelling actually act as a propeller that pushes you to overcome
production obstacles and streamline the process, because it’s too painful to keep
such a good story trapped inside yourself. But the opposite scenario is more
common—when the filmmaker is struggling with the inner workings of the story
in the demo or actual documentary, all other tasks and small errands become the
perfect excuses to run away from what needs to done, and sometimes an excuse
to do nothing at all.

But many filmmakers have survived this learned behavior of long-winded
inefficient procedures, though at one time we were taught that they come with
the trade and cannot be avoided. For many filmmakers, these procedures are the
stuff of legend rather than a trap. There seems to be a secret competition over
who has the worst war story to share: who has shot the most hours, or who spent
the most months in the cutting room going through 350 hours of footage without
making a single cut. As if being lost and burning out resources were positives.
Some display their wounds proudly, like war veterans. Yep, ten months and five
days to the day in the cutting room. Wow, how amazing—you really don’t know
what you’re doing! Let’s celebrate.

More is not always better. Sometimes it is just more, in this case more pain. By
becoming aware of these processes, I hope we can challenge ourselves to learn
new ways rather than glamorizing and perpetuating harmful procedures.

Documentary filmmaking allows for flying solo or traveling as a group. Working
alone—that is, producing, directing, shooting and editing all by yourself—can be
empowering and liberating. Indeed, some filmmakers enjoy not having to
depend on others, while others find it exhausting and isolating. Working in a
team can be efficient and fun, or it can mean stewing in drama and conflict.
Sometimes there is no choice; the character or topic is better served by the

Page 154

intimacy of a one-person crew. Other times the film must be done on a big scale
with a production company because of the magnitude of the topic.

There is no single answer or right way to do it. The problem arises when
working alone or with others is by force rather than by choice, making the
filmmaker look at the other possibility longingly. Worst case is when such
longing becomes an excuse not to move on with the making of a demo,
expressed often as, “Oh no, I can’t start writing the treatment until everybody
has left the office.” Or, “I can’t start working on the sample until such and such
person is available for cutting it.” Therefore, consider the following:

If you’re an indie producer working on an intimate story and you like working
on your own, then enjoy. How great for you that today’s technology and the
documentary form allow for that. and rejoice. For high-end projects,
working alone is not possible—nor advisable—yet some producers manage to
create isolation through a very vertical organization of their teams that keeps
them at some distance from the rest of their crews.

If you’re working alone because you think it will save you money, think again.
A crew arrives with pieces of equipment under its arms. That equipment costs
money, and you’ll need it one way or the other. A crew also contributes
expertise. Therefore, you’ll have to factor in the time, money and effort that it
will take to do everything on your own. To have an accurate budget of the cost
of working alone and doing it all, set your hourly rate and see how much money
you’re spending on yourself—figuratively speaking. Then you can decide
whether or not you’re better off doing other things, such as raising money or
making money at your regular job. Again, no right answers, but all decisions
should be made with the full picture in front of you, not just the bits that are
more fun to watch. If the answer is yes, this is the most efficient and creatively
most productive way to go about it, then go for it.

Throughout history, since some Greek a few millennia ago begged a muse for

Page 306

Vail, Pegi 270


Wagenheim, Kal 232
Warshawski, Morrie 140, 248, 255
What Is It About Hats?, film 94
Winged Migration, film 17


Year Zero Films 255
Zebra Films 270

Similer Documents