Monday, September 17, 2007

Microschool - Getting ready for day one


I'm ready. 7:30am and I've got enough time and I'm alert enough to write a note to you. It's a 10am start and like a good producer, I've got everything planned and ready. I worked all day yesterday to prepare the final packs and I've got them all neat and ready in some cool box files. Four copies each of the 90 page screenplay, 16 page budget and 9 page schedule, as well as copies of the answers to 10 questions on our submission.

The budget template provided by Film London made the job less complex. Each potential cost item was listed with some indicative costs and it was much like a shopping list. Two of those, six of them, and it was a great reminder to all the small costs that we often forget to budget for. Makeup, wardrobe, drivers, telephone costs are all included in a structured way. It soon burns a hole in the £100k budget. Fortunately we don't have any set design requirements, no music to pay royalties on and no Hollywood stars. If we did, the film just couldn't be made. £100,000 seemed a lot of money before I started this but now I feel it's a comfortable amount to make a film. This doesn't even include the marketing and distribution costs, this is just to make the film. It could lie in a cupboard somewhere if it doesn't get a distributor. Fortunately in this instance, the BBC will be showing the finished film on TV and supporting us in the sales cycle as well. Well, they've got to do something for their 60% ownership. The other 40% goes to the production and our top-up investors. The Film London scheme provides £50,000 so I've got some investors waiting in the wings to negotiate with if we get the deal.

There's no business like show business.

Here's the schedule (below) for today. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for continuing to be interested and your supportive feedback.


10.00 Welcome/scheme overview: Maggie Ellis & Mia Bays
Introduction to Microschool: With Alexis Johnson & Mia Bays
10.30 The Market Place: Talk with Andrew Orr. The benefit of strong market positioning for micro-budget features, focusing on genre, treatment & log line.
11.30 The Business of Micro-Budget Films: Talk & Discussion with Mike Kelly.Introducing the fundamentals of Micro-Budgets, understanding cost drivers & the balance between expenditure and income. To make the case for entrepreneurship & being positive about your budget.
12.30 LUNCH
13.30 Introduction to Producer & Script Mentors: Teams divide into 3 groups & work in their assigned rooms.
14.00 Genre Group Project Analysis: Workshop with producer-mentor name & script-mentor name. Group discussion to introduce projects.
15.30 Genre Independent Study: Teams may book 1:1 sessions with their mentors. Booking sheet will be provided.
16.30 Debrief: With Alexis & Mia. Identify day 1 achievements, & day 2 prep.
17.00 Microwave 2006 Alumni: Discussion with Steven Sheil, Lisa Trnovski, Ben Pugh and Rani Creevy; chaired by Mia Bays. Sharing the challenges and successes of making micro-budget features, and their experiences of the first year of Microwave.
18.30 END

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