Direct Your Own Film
Directing your own film is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of responsibility.
In our collective, we expect the Director to write, direct, edit, location scout, and cast their films. We will help you through all of this. We also can provide equipment, a cinematographer, an audio engineer, a script supervisor, production assistants, and more.
If you are new to the group, we ask that you participate on others' film sets before starting your own project. Film making is a team effort, and this team works as a collective because we recognize that the only way to get a film made is by helping each other. Everyone in the film collective is a volunteer. So before we offer you our time and support, we would like to see you offer your time and support to others in the group. This is easy to do! Come to our meetings, and help out on-set in any capacity that you are comfortable with, even if you just want to observe at first. We are all here to learn.
Everyone in the group is a volunteer, and our not time is not limitless. For this reason, we primarily produce short films (about 10 to 15 min long) as they have more manageable production schedules.
If this is your first time directing a film with our group, we ask that you limit your project to something that can be filmed in one day (i.e. 12 hours). There is plenty that can be done in one day if you plan appropriately. If you keep your script length to no more than 10 pages, this is probably achievable. However, we will ask that your script be peer-reviewed by some of our senior members. This is a not a review for quality or to try to change your idea; it is simply to gauge whether they think your script can truly be filmed in one day. If given the thumbs-up, your project will be included in the upcoming wave of productions! If not, we may ask you to simplify or shorten your script. We don't want to ask our members to volunteer for a project that we don't have confidence can actually be done in the given time allotment.
After successfully completing your first film, we are more willing to support projects that may be more ambitious. Even still, most of our members' projects are sized so that they can be filmed in a weekend (i.e. two 12-hour days). Historically, that has been the best fit for this film collective. That said, we are always trying to push our limit and produce something bigger and better than before!
We are often asked how much it costs to produce a short film. Most of our productions operate on a shoe-string budget. Cast & crew on our sets have only three expectations for "payment" that the director is required to provide. We refer to these things as the "Three C's": Craft, Copy and Credit.
Craft refers to craft services; the director is expected to provide meals and snacks for everyone on set. This is a must.
Copy refers to a copy of the final product when it is ready for release. Most of our actors are non-union, and are putting together a "reel" (i.e. portfolio) of their acting work to acquire bigger roles in the future. Providing a copy of your film to your actors for use in their reel is a must.
Credit simply means that all of your cast and crew should be appropriately credited in the film itself. Again, this is a must.
We will help you find camera gear, lighting equipment, sound equipment, etc, if you do not have these things of your own. Various group members own different pieces of equipment that we pool together when making projects. However, if your project requires a special piece of equipment, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for that yourself.
Many of our sets and locations are filmed in public space, or in a friend/family's home. Therefore most locations do not have a cost. However, if your project requires a location that will need to be rented, such as a studio, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for that yourself.
Most of the actors we attract are non-union, local to the region and are willing to work for the Three C's described above. However, if you want to hire an actor that is a union member or will have to travel a long distance, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for their wage and travel expenses yourself.
As you can see, the initial question of cost can vary quite a bit depending on the needs of your project. If you plan appropriately though and don't require anything too specialized, your film could be made for as little as a few hundred dollars.