Home > Joe's Movies!, JoeRants > Locations, Locations, Locations (Post-Mortem)

Locations, Locations, Locations (Post-Mortem)

September 14, 2012

One final thought about finding film locations, (the first part is here) or really doing anything in film. This is one of the reasons I love making films the way I do – in a town of 50,000 people at a University.

Making a film is incredibly difficult, it involves coordinating so many elements in so many ways, you need every advantage you can get, especially when you don’t have a lot of money (and we don’t!).

My best advice is to work with a group in a place that wants films to be made there. That’s really two thoughts: so let me break them apart. First, the group. Whatever your film is, find a group that’s established and interested in your project. There’s someone who is, you just need to find them.

I’m lucky – for me, it’s my University, and they have a good reputation in town. When I call a business, trying to film there at some strange hour, the school’s reputation helps that phone call work a little better. Honestly, I rarely call, I usually go in and speak to someone – it harder for someone to say “no” in person. And I lead with my business card showing that I’m with the University, as well as a printed proposal to give them more information about the project, and it has the University’s logo on the cover, too.

But by finding a group, suddenly, you have a support system. You have a calling card. You have more people who know more people who might be able to help you. Or who might know someone else who can. The wider that net is, the better your chance of getting what you need for your film.

As far as finding a group – look around for someone who might be interested in seeing your film happen. If it’s a story about two kids making trouble at the playground – talk to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Let them know what you’re doing, and are they interested in supporting the project? Do their kids want to be extras? Two birds with one stone. Or is the film something your church might be interested in supporting, or one of the church’s committees? Again, by having their support, now when you approach people, you’re not some face in the crowd, you’re working with “Organization X” to make this film. And everybody likes to help “Organization X.”

Incidentally, I wouldn’t go looking for money from the groups, but is there a I-can-help-you-and-you-help-me exchange that can happen. I bet the Boy’s and Girl’s club would love a couple of filmmaking classes for their kids (they do – I’ve taught some!). And in exchange, make them an Associate Producer of your film and get permission to let people know that you’re working with them to make the film.

The Associate Producers for “Sympathy Pains” were an incredible resource for us – we chose a number of people around town who were interested in film and also could help us secure the support of other people in the town – and they really came through for us in some incredible ways!

The other thing that helps is being in a smaller town. When I was in Southern California (for 16 years), where you’d think it would be easy to make a film, I directed fewer movies than I have in the six years I’ve been in Conway. Because no one wants to make your movie in California – the place is overrun with people trying to make films. Here in Conway, we’re interesting to people – they want to help us.

And that’s the new face of independent filmmaking – not in the six places in the country films were made 20 years ago, but in small towns all across America. There’s a whole industry building up in towns our size, because people actually want films to be made here – it’s fun! Take advantage of that, and make your film!

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