Short Stories are an Entire World in One Simple Package

For some reason, most of the movies we see in the summer are part of some sweeping epic, taken from the pages of a series of novels that can double as doorstops once you get done reading them. But the interesting thing about short stories is that they contain a kernel of a story, and the entire world, theme, and drama that unfolds can be found in a much smaller form.

Short stories can be your greatest ally when it comes to creating an independent film. Your source material is limited to only a few scenes or characters, which means that budgeting for actors, location, set design, and a myriad of other details that just chisel away at your funding can take a back seat to actually putting together a quality story. A story that isn’t going to get out of control.

Character complexity, interaction, and importance of detail are the bread and butter of short stories. Independent films have been no stranger to incorporating all of these elements into a production with limited funding to create a good story. Today, most of the best ideas are coming from independent films.

The larger, Hollywood tentpole productions tend to be bloated, cramming as many big-name actors, special effects, and location shots as possible into an hour and a half. A working script is barely recognizable from its original draft, being more of a collection of what to cut for time, while incorporating “notes” from everyone who has to throw in their two-cents worth. Every cook in the house having a finger in the pie can lead to a blockbuster flop of epic proportions, worthy of a Don LaFontaine voice-over trailer.

When making your film, you have to have complete control. Due to cost-cutting, you have probably already donned the hats of casting director, editor, writer, and director, and you might believe you are already in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, when individuals are footing the bill for a production, they still have control over your idea. How many great movies were spoiled because the person writing the checks decided they had a niece that wants to be a star, or they had some great ideas in a college creative writing class that will really make your story “pop?” And as long as you want the checks to keep coming to pay for little things like film, cameras, actors, or sets you will wind up agreeing to nearly any completely insane idea if that’s what it takes to make your dream happen.

This is where comes in for you–the filmmaker, the Storyteller, the Dreamer. You control every element of your story. You can deliver your promise of keeping your story honest, real, and as gut-wrenching, poignant, or horrific as you want, deviating from the original concept only when it feels right. You can make a quality movie that will touch people. The only “notes” that people will expect you to take when they donate is that your film should tell them a good story.

If contributors didn’t like your idea, they wouldn’t be giving you their money. To them, it already sounds excellent; and as a film maker, you cannot put a price on that kind of support. Along with everyone who contributes, you already have a fan base and some word of mouth advertising. They will want to say “I helped produce this!” When you crowd-source, you hit the ground running, with an audience of people eager to love your film!

Contact us if you want to make compelling stories without the frustration. Get out there and just tell a story.

Thank you,

Edward Panos

It’s Never too Late to Direct your First Indie Film

Stories of directors making their first films during or right after college are not uncommon. In fact, it’s so common that it might be easy to get stuck in the idea that if you haven’t made your first movie by the time you’re in your late 20′s, game over. The truth of the matter is some of the most talented and innovative directors started “late”. So if you think you should be put out to pasture just because you remember using VHS, consider the following success stories.

Ang Lee, the director of critically acclaimed and award-winning films such as Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, didn’t direct his first feature until he was 39 and his first Hollywood feature at 41. Three time Best Director nominee Alexander Payne didn’t direct his first feature until his mid-30′s, as did Robert Bresson, one of the leaders of the French New Wave. Then there is Manoel de Oliveira. He didn’t finish his first film until he was 63! He went on to make several other films and is currently the oldest living filmmaker at 105 years old.

While some of these celebrities had previous education and experience in the film industry, other did not. Ian McKellen was a stage actor for many years and didn’t appear in his first movie until 1998′s Apt Pupil, when he was in his 60′s.

We often forget, or ignore, that true expertise takes time to cultivate. Somebody at the beginning of their life will have a lot of theory, but little experience with which to utilize for their story. Mainstream films rely more on whiz-bang fluff, technological marvels made for young audiences by young filmmakers. Indie films, however, can still rely on complex stories; the type of stories that can only come with age. You’ve reached a point in your life where you have a lot of experience, and the wisdom to understand and explain it. All you need is the passion to move forward, and the dedication to see it through.

It’s never too late to direct your first indie film. Contact us today to get started!

Thank you,

Edward Panos

Storyteller: Don’t Stifle Creativity Because of Budget

A woman races down the pavement fear etched across her face. She fights to control her breathing but the footsteps chasing behind her has her anxiety levels peaked. Fear can be the death of you or your salvation. She is determined to attain the latter. She darts out into the street. A car horn blares in anger as it barely misses her. Her assailant is too close. A few more feet and he’ll be on top of her and God only knows what will come. Her lungs burn like acid. Her body aches as if it had been beaten. She pushes forward. A hard shove knocks her face down. She screams in terror, arms flinging wildly. It takes her a minute to realize no one is upon her. She turns toward the street and is mesmerized by the flames engulfing the night sky. Mayhem has struck. A passenger van has slammed into a fuel truck. Beneath its wheels lie her assailant, crushed to the bone. From her position the scene seems surreal. Pedestrians flee from the chaos in panic but despite the destruction, she is at peace. The fuel truck explodes one last time in finality.
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