Monday, May 30, 2011

Deals and Dilemmas

So, I was just offered a deal to direct 3 more features. Yay right? Well, the movies are all to be shot back to back and to be done over the course of a mere 15 days of production. Yeah, I did just to one in 5, so why not 3 in 15?  I know it’s a gargantuan task, but it would be hella cool to have not one, not two, not three, not four, but five…possibly six features all directed by me, all being released in a one year period. That’s gotta be some kind of record.

I’ve talked a lot in recent posts about quality vs. speed and cost. I now completely understand the creative and technical limitation that such a schedule and budget place on a movie. The question now is can I live with those limitations and do the work. Right now, I think I can.

On one hand, I very much want to leave my day job, and this deal would be a big step in that direction. On the other hand, I kinda said I wouldn’t tackle any more projects at this level. Of course, I said that before completing post on Put a Ring on it. Now, having completed it and seeing how it turned out (much better than expected), I’m rethinking that. But, if I am going to do it, there are a few things that have to be different.

For one, I have to ask for a little more money. I took nothing for the prep on my last movies and put over 3 weeks of work with no compensation. Granted, I did offer to do the prep on that last one for free. This time, I have to ask for something. I also, need a little bit more of a day rate. I’m not talking a huge increase, but more. I’ll ask for the same amount for post, but I want an extra week to complete it this time and I will expect payment more promptly. I was a little rushed meeting the 19-day deadline. I also want to shoot with 2 cameras. We used only one on Put A Ring on it. In order to be able to get more essential coverage, I need to increase our shooting ratio. I believe that having 2 cameras will help accomplish this. Of course that also means an extra camera guy and more money. In addition, I’m also asking for a on set assistant editor, again more money, but we had to schedule an entire day of reshoots on Put a Ring on it because I had no assistant editor and failed to dump a card properly.  I’ve also asked for a little more prep time to go over and make changes to the scripts.

So, I’ve made my counter offer and am waiting to hear back. These are ultra-low budget flicks and maybe this will be too much for the budgets to handle. I will understand, but I can’t work for less, not anymore. Don’t get the wrong idea; it’s not about me making more money. It’s about increasing the quality of the work. The additional crew, the added camera’s. The pay for prep even. Without it, I have to work more day job hrs and that will cut into my ability to prepare for the movie. The most important thing to me now is to make my next project better than the last.


  1. What did I predict?
    And you do need two cameras running. The assistant editor or DIT or whatever you call it also is crucial. Casting three is a big job, but not unlike making a miniseries. And locations will be largely script driven, so watch out on that one.
    I only knew one man who could actively design more than one movie at a time. His name was John DeCuir, Sr. I may also find myself knowing a man who could direct three projects at once. I am not sure that you are sure. But if they offered it, they must believe in you.
    Good luck.

  2. it's totally doable. Look at Albert Pyunn, this guy cranks out mulit low budget flicks every year. Some shot just has fast as mine. He's done entire features on the fly in like 5 days.

    You just have to have the proper tools and prep.

    I've had a trio of horror flicks prepped for a few years that was meant to be shot like that. Just never found the money.

  3. Well, here we are again... The ol' fork in the road. If I had to put my two cents in I'd say weigh out your pros and cons of course. (Quality over quantity) Because challenges that lie ahead are more than just extra crew, money and or time. It's simply the daunting thought of this IS a different script and different location.

  4. I'm pretty sure all three movies are single location shoots. And will all make use of the same location. Of course the quality of the scripts needs to be the deciding factor here. If the scripts are good and the money needs are met, I'll take the gig.