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Editor's Note
A journalism colleague sent me an email today asking about a guy who had never been on a film set, knew nothing about filmmaking, but who raised all the money for his first feature. How did he do it? I wrote back, "You know the guy, you tell me." But I don't think I'll be surprised when I find out the answer. Making movies and being the kind of person you want to give money to to make movies are two different things. They converge in a Venn-diagram kind of way, but they're separate. There are people who intuitively understand the social aspect of capital -- who has it, how to get to it, and how to make those people part with it. It's about hustling, selling. Good producers can do it, but sometimes directors can too. This director is probably a savvy, well-connected hustler, someone plugged into the nerve system of global wealth.

If you're not that kind of person -- the kind who people give money to even though you've done nothing -- you need to open the door another way. The other day I had lunch with a young film writer who wanted to pick my brain about the job market. I went on a bit of a riff, tossing out ideas like pitching custom film content to non-film sites, or starting a company to do contract editorial work for filmmakers who've decided they need social editorial presences. "Wow, all your ideas are so entrepreneurial," he said. I guess. Maybe in a down market -- today's "new normal" -- I couldn't imagine approaching it any other way, even if the approach does require initial sweat equity.

Jonathan Tasini, a longtime author's advocate, published an editorial this week at The Guardian in which he told journalists that they should never work for free. "Creative people, especially writers, are a funny breed," he wrote. "We are the only profession I know of who work for free. No coal miner, nurse, shipyard worker, accountant, or any other person with bills to pay works for free. But, that is what writers are often being forced to do. And the consequences for creativity and democracy are dire."

Tasini's article prompted a reply from Paul Bradshaw at the Online Journalism blog titled, "Telling Wannabe Journos 'Don't Work for Free' Doesn't Help." He agreed that writing for free for places like HuffPo can amount to exploitation. But he said a blanket prohibition is unreasonable in today's economy. He suggested a corollary: "Don't work for free unless it's adding to your value in the market." Elaborating, Bradshaw recommended, "Aspiring journalists now need to make the same business decisions as publishers do -- because we are all publishers now. They need to ask: will investing my resources in this piece of work make me more valuable in my market? That includes the skills learned, contacts made, and experience gained."

I thought back on my own entree into producing, and realized that it came from working for free -- doing development work for a start-up production company, discovering a director through that work, and then producing that film on a deferment.

The real problem with free work is more on a macro level. Again, Bradshaw: "[This problem] also includes the effect of working on the market itself: for instance, working for free for a publisher might contribute to depressing wage levels and reduce full time opportunities."

Should you work for free? Consider the above, or, perhaps, just cut to the chase by going to a website titled, yes, Should I Work for Free?

I'm going to end this week's ramble of a newsletter on a happy note by going back to my colleague. About 45 minutes ago I sat here wondering what I'd write this week. I got the email from my friend, and that started the chain of comments you just read. And as I was writing them, I imagined some slick, party-hopping, smooth-talking filmmaker, the guy who lucked into all that money. In my head I admired this guy even as I didn't like him. So, just as I was about hit "save," ending on the paragraph above, I checked my email again, and my friend, who is a normal, straightforward, regular sort, replied to my question, "You tell me, how did the guy raise that money?" Here's what he wrote: "I believe the reason is this: The story is dynamite! The story funded the film. It might be a message for those obsessed with the latest in funding trends. Call it back to fundamentals. BTW, I'm the 'filmmaker.'"

See you next week.

Scott Macaulay

Upcoming At IFP
SUBMIT NOW FOR IFP'S CROSS-MEDIA PITCH CONTEST AT INTERNET WEEK IFP is now accepting submissions for a special contest to be held on Thursday, May 17th as part of IFP's newest partnership with Internet Week in NYC. Five lucky audience members (pre-selected via Twitter-based submissions) will pitch live to a group of creative and financial experts, gaining access, momentum and fresh perspective on their stories - and their career options - from innovators and icons in the film, television, web, new media, gaming and advertising worlds.

To submit your pitch, just tweet a 30-word pitch that includes #PitchIFP by Monday, May 7. Also be sure to specify all formats of your pitch in parentheses (ie: screenplay, & web series, documentary & video game, etc.) Example: After a high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer, he starts dealing meth to provide for his family (TV show, Books & Web Series Extras) #PitchIFP

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In This Newsletter
Editor's Note
Hammer to Nail Review
Sound of My Voice
Could You Be Loved: Kevin Macdonald's Marley
Submit Now for IFP's Cross-Media Pitch Contest at Internet Week
Fest Deadlines
Hammer To Nail
ELLES By Susanna Locascio

In Elles, the new film by Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, Juliette Binoche plays a journalist writing an article for French Elle on young women who finance their education (and more realistically, their apartments, clothing, and lifestyles) through prostitution. But forget the pimps and hookers of the movie underworld. The world in Elles isn't one of coercion or strung out desperation, but of choices. It's softcore social criticism, far less interested in systemic injustice than in the strange forces that move women to desire, and to vastly different ends. The question of exploitation remains, imposed on the young prostitutes, and also on Binoche's upper-class heroine in subtler form: what are we willing to trade for the life that we want? read more
New In Theaters
SOUND OF MY VOICE In Zal Batmanglij's sci-fi psycho-drama Sound of My Voice, Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) start investigating a cult led by Maggie (Brit Marling), a woman who claims to be from the future. Written by Batmanglij and Marling (Another Earth), the film is the first entry of a planned trilogy. After premiering at Sundance 2011, Sound of My Voice has garnered rave reviews for its engrossing and twisted portrayal of investigative journalism gone obsessive.
BERNIE The latest film from director Richard Linklater, Bernie stars Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, a mortician from Carthage, Texas, whose tumultuous relationship with an elderly widow leads to him murdering her. In his desperate attempt to cover it up, Bernie comes under the scrutiny of local Sherriff Buck Davidson (Mathew McConaughey). Based on a true story, the film has divided Carthage citizens. While some resent its darkly comic tone, others believe that the film serves as an honest portrayal of the real life tragedy that changed their town forever.
HEADHUNTERS Based on a novel by Jo Nesbo, Headhunters focuses on Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a headhunter by day and art thief by night. After learning of a former mercenary's possession of a famous painting, Roger embarks on the biggest -- and possibly last -- score of his life. Director Morten Tyldum's Norwegian-German thriller was a hit upon its original release in Norway and received acclaim as a Hitchcockian thriller with laughs as well as chills.
Recent Blogs
This week on the blog, Nick Dawson interviews Josh Koury Josh Koury (pictured left) the director of Journey to Planet X (pictured left), Randy Astle discusses StoryCode, and Alix Lambert shares animator Nick Criscuolo's "I Can't Breath" music video.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
Newest Web Article

At first it seems curious that the starting point of this brilliant, definitive documentary about the late Jamaican reggae sensation Bob Marley is archival footage of Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, the facility from which 60 million Africans were crammed through the Door of No Return to commence lives of total servitude in the West. Marley was the offspring of a black Jamaican mother and a white English father (who posed as a captain), whom he met only a handful of times. In the film there is no mention of slavery in the family history. Late in this elegantly elliptical movie, Marley himself finally gets to Africa, putting on concerts to promote tolerance and to defuse violence. (African audiences were initially resistant to his music.) read more

Festival Deadlines
Cincinnati Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: April 27
Regular Deadline: May 25
Late Deadline: June 8
WAB Deadline: July 15
Festival Dates: September 6 - 13

Coney Island Film Festival
Regular Deadline: April 27
Late Deadline: June 28
WAB Deadline: July 12
Festival Dates: September 21 - 23

Bel Air Film Festival
Late Deadline: April 26
WAB Deadline: July 10
Festival Dates: October 12 - 17

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