Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Some Greenlight Stories

One potential filmmaker had a script. It was very personal to him. Covered a lot of things about his growing up. But it included some pretty pricey stunts and some major military action,, requiring vehicles, planes and such. Budget-- minimum $5 million.

Can this be done? Absolutely. Likely? No, not with the guy pitching it as script/plus him as the lead. Have first time filmmakers received $5 million to go out and make their first movie? Yes-- Bottle Rocket, Boiler Room and others. But they are clearly the exception. And this filmmaker in question is still waiting to get the money.

But another guy who put together a neat little $200,000 movie got it shot this year. Now he lacks talent and his movie will be lucky to see the light of day, but he wrote it for a genre market that forgives much on bad production value.

The point is-- you have a choice to make. Either you think you can realistically raise a bigger budget (maybe you have something in your back pocket, like your best friend, an A list actor, is willing to star) so you work on that, or you do a film for lower budget that you can get moving on.

I know one producer who says a movie shouldn't be made for less than 2 or 3 million. I hope that works him for him. Because that would mean a lot of us never make a movie. And some really good, even great movies have been made for less than $2 million.

So look around. What resources are there? Can you get it all pulled together? No? Then find or write a project that can be and save your epic for after you hit it big.


  1. This is the age old delima. I've worked in film for over 2 decades and I can safely say that on 99% of them there has been at lease 1 person on set that has written a "script". Most claim to have multiple scripts, all of which are "fresh" and ready to be shot. Except they lack one thing....funding.
    With enough money I could get any actor I want.
    With enough money I could get all the stunt doubles I need.
    How does someone get funding for their first project? This, my friends, is the $64,000 question. Sure...if I get funding and can pull off something with AVATAR 'wow' on my first project, the next ones will be funded with a blank check.
    Dan, I admire you for somehow being able to pull off the amazing, time and time again. Writer, Director, Producer, Actor.... (we haven't gotten you to do many stunts yet though).. and find funding to make it all happen. That's a true talent.
    And all those I have run across over the past 20+ years who have scripts waiting to be shot... still they sit in the closet, collecting dust and waiting for funding.
    Incidentally... I have 3 scripts myself. Wanna buy one?

  2. I wanna Direct you in some stunts. How fun would that be?!

  3. Oh that would be the bomb. And Steve could make the bomb.