Short Film Financing - Should I Get Experience With Short Films?
Short Film Financing is the topic of this 5th part of the interview with Tom Malloy
Me: One of the things I heard you talking about earlier was Short Film Financing. Do you think that film makers should get experience in short film financing before taking on a full length movie or is it pretty much the same?
Tom: There are parts that they are the same.
No, I don't think short film financing does you any good. I think making a short film a director, producer if you're new, would help because it's like a day in the film. 2 days in a film.
You can see that aspect of a director, could be a calling card, but other than that, you have to have the mindset that you want to make features because short films don't make money historically and really just don't.
That's the truth. It could be a lottery ticket if you did. You don't want to get in that world of short films unless you do it for a purpose.
As a director, you're doing it because; I want to be a better director. As producers, you do it because they're saying, I want to see if I could do this for a day, sustain this for a month but no, as far as raising money for short films, I don't think it's going to help you.
Let me tell you, it's harder because you're growing in, knowing it's not going to make any money.
Me: You know this is really interesting. I'm really grateful for the time you spent with us tonight because hearing it from the mouth of an experienced filmmaker, director is really awesome.
There is “what I think we know and what it really is.” There's a big gap between those two things I think, especially for me coming in the movie industry.
If you ask me about lasers I can tell you but as I'm making this transition, it is very helpful for me to talk to you and I'm sure that when we put this recording online, it’s going to really help a lot of people as well especially the new directors and producers that are coming in. I'm very grateful and I'm sure they will be too.
Tom: Perfect, well thank you very much for having me around.
Me: Well, moving a bit closer, I'm actually thinking about writing my own script for a movie that is part of my life story and I know a lot of people around me, where in the same position.
What 3 things could you recommend aspiring filmmakers today to get closer to marketing, making and selling a movie?
Tom: You got to start with a great script, thinking again from a producers mindset.
You have to add elements to it that makes sense, meaning, “A” list casts, cast that is sellable, and saying it again, you going to take your liabilities out of there.
It's this great script and you have this very cool story and you have a great idea of marketing but you're playing the only role in the movie, it's your own version of Castaway with Tom Hanks, but it's you and you're a nobody, well that's tough.
You got to kind of take that liabilities out of the film so I would say get the greatest script you can, try to get the best cast you can and try not to be insane about that thing.
I call them insanities versus liabilities in the book. You got to take the insane things out of there and the liabilities; you got to try to have the fewest possible.
Try to put as many things in there that would try to make it successful.
Me: Having a good cast makes the film more expensive, but does that attract more money?
Tom: Oh yeah, without question, I'll tell you example of a perfect film these days.
Perfect film as far as an independent that's going to make money. This movie called The Sessions, with John Hawkes, he plays the quadriplegic, can only move from his neck up.
Movie is made for million dollars.
I was talking to the director and it was like basically what happened is he got a great script, he was a writer director, he writes the story, great script, and then got John Hawkes. John Hawkes was nominated for Academy Award in “Winter's Bone” a couple of years ago, right away that added clout.
That brought Helen Hunt on, that brought William H. Macy on, and that brought Adam Arkin.
That movie for million dollars can be a test pattern. It's going to make money on their names alone and those people did that because it was a good script and it is a serious movie. If it was a crappy horror film, no chance, karate action.
You're not going to get Helen Hunt or all those people. So then, Helen Hunt gets the Oscar nomination, John almost did he got a SAG, and Golden Globe nominations I believe. You're guaranteed probably $20 million at the end of the day.
That's an example of a model to emulate.
Tom Talks About Short Film Financing And His Book
Me: Very interesting, great comments. You've spoken a lot about the films, a lot of your thoughts in financing and you mentioned your book a couple of times, “Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films”, do you want to tell us a little more about the book?
I always was giving back, I go meeting for lunch and then I end up usually paying for the lunch. So you're a broke filmmaker or whatever. And then afterwards I said “I have to stop doing this. I got 2 kids and all” that and so that was kind of motivation for me. Those lunch meetings, here's the advice I was giving.
Me: Is the book like an ABC, 123, follow this step, this step or is it, what is it exactly?
Tom: Oh yeah yeah, it is a combination, I think that's why it is well reviewed because it's a combination of practical steps and also stories of failures and successes of myself and other people. You can take the road quickest from A to point B and not go zig zag zig zag all over like I did.
Me: I don't know if can see my screen, but at the moment I'm showing some of the comments people have made about the book in Amazon.
It seems to have a very positive response from people who bought it. Do you have any stories of people who have bought it, used it, applied it and made great films?
Tom: Yeah, You know I get emails probably 1 a week now. When it first came out, it was like 3 to 4 a week which is really cool. I still get 1 a week just saying how much it helped changed their life and inspired them. I love every one of those emails. I try to get back to every single person. Gosh, I've asked every one of those to write reviews 3 or 400, I should have an autoresponde that says “hey can you write a review.”
In the meantime, some credits are popping up on IMDb and I don't even know the films or the filmmakers, I think there's one that's like, Executive Consultant and then there's one producers who would like to thank and actually that guy is friends with me anyhow.
We met in Sundance and so but I got credits I didn't think have anything to do with film. The only reason they did is because they read the book. I guess is pretty cool.
Me: Yeah, cool. I’ve got a link up for the audience which will take automatically to the Amazon page. It's www.argonette.combankroll. So you don't have to go and search for it in Amazon. That will take you directly to the link for the book.
It’s featured at a moment to $17.92. I think $18 is an absolute steal for an amount of information that you're going to give I guess.
Tom: Yeah! And I got something that's even better than that. The books, obviously I highly recommend this, it's the second edition but there is, I used to have a CD online audio course that sells online I think $129, and but that’s the same as all day seminar but I recently put that online so now you can just go and listen to it and then you'll always have it there.
You have a login and a password. You can always go and do that. I think it's like $29.99. You're $10 worth the book and you have the same acquired, there's over 5 hours of information. This is what you get exactly as a start.
Me: I see. How do we get a hold of that?
Tom: It's in Bankrollthebook.com and it should be on the top right corner.
Me: Bankrollthebook.com. I'll check that out later and that sounds great. If I get a copy of all this, this will work, the system you showed will work basically in a worldwide basis or is it specifically for America.
Tom: No, no, worldwide. There may be some challenges, I would say, in countries like China and things like that may have more government's censorship or organizations like that but other than that it's getting somebody excited about the film no matter where you at.
Me: Fantastic. I think I have to look at on both of those and see if I can start raising some more money on my next movie. $20 million dollars sounds awesome. I wish someone would send me $20 million dollars.
Tom: Ha-ha that's not just one deal at a time.
Me: Well listen Tom; we've been nearly an hour. It's been absolutely awesome having you on the call today. I'm so happy to have met you and I hope we can invite you back again sometime.
We got a bigger audience going and you can be part of the community a little bit longer. I'm putting a lot of stuff together on the website over the coming weeks. I will certainly include this in it. We really appreciate you for having taking the time, coming on the call and I don't know about everyone else but I've learned and discovered so much from you.
I want to really thank you for being my first guest about movies, not the first guess for Awesome FM but definitely the first guest about movies. I look forward to connecting to you so much more in the coming weeks and months. It's been fantastic talking to you.
Tom:Great! Well thank you very much for having me on. Fantastic.
Me: And Sam actually had to leave and he was in a war zone area, he still got bombs dropping around him and it was kind of bit scared for safety, I think he was hiding somewhere.
Me: Maybe they can make a movie about that.
Thanks for being here, thanks to everyone on the call tonight.
If you have questions that have not been answered tonight by Tom or myself, you can send them to me in firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll forward them to Tom to get them answered.
Once again Tom, thank you very much, thank you to all of you on the call today and don't forget to get Tom's help with this awesome book at www.argonette.combankroll.
This is Tim Bennett for Awesome FM, wishing you an incredible day wherever you are and we have been talking to the one and only Tom Malloy about Film Finance.
Tim Bennett from Argonette.com Interviews
Tom Malloy About Short Film Financing