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Advice For Independent Filmmakers

Tips for Indie Filmmakers 🔑

From YouTube to HBO


I strongly recommend producing in order to fast track the production your ideas and have greater creative input to final project. Selling a project in the can [already produced] is called an acquisition. The name of the exec at each respective company is called an acquisitions executive. An acquisition could be an outright purchase–they now own it and can do whatever they want with it–or licensing your rights. To make a project salable for an acquisition is moderated by a number of factors, pretty much in this order: 

  1. Who’s in it [greenlightable star]? 
  2. Who made it? 
  3. What are the production values [does it look expensive; ≥4K RAW, use the Netflix approved cameras list as the de facto minimum standards anywhere]?
  4. Does it fit within a genre that has an audience and we already know how to market? [marketing plans are not customized and come straight from a template]?
  5. Who here in acquisitions knows you [contacts and connections]?

You may not necessarily be offered enough money to cover what you spent. If you did not produce the project under a non-union agreement, or you produced it with a SAG Low-Budget agreement, you’ll need at least $1M – $2M to cover pension, health, and welfare for the actors once it hits the airwaves, and you’re offer will not come even close to that unless Tom Cruise is in it.

In the world of show business, the business people win out, even when bereft of any creative ability, because the approach making projects like a business. Think Shark Tank. The prudent producing makes projects for whom there is an audience and negotiates distribution in advance of shooting anything.

However, some genres are exceptions to the rule. Projects with lots of high-end special effects are considered theater of spectacle. The special effects are the star and star power is not as essential. In big budget projects, sometimes you might see smaller name stars accompanying projects with lots of special effects.

Some genres have a cult like following and also do not require star power. Horror and faith-based films do not need big names, but it never hurts to have a recognizable name or face.

In lieu of big name actors, a celebrity of note–any highly recognizable name and face–can also carry weight to the value of your cast.

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Dr. Christopher C. Odom, MFA, PhD

Dr. Christopher C. Odom, MFA, PhD

Dr. Christopher C. Odom, MFA, PhD, Our Vision Chief Executive Officer 🎞️ earned his PhD in Texts and Technology, Digital Media at the University of Central Florida and his MFA in Film and Television from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a filmmaker, Dr. Odom has produced, directed, written, shot, and/or edited +500 short and long-form creative projects. As a Course Director at Full Sail University, Dr. Odom has supervised and developed an additional +500 student short scripts and films. A published author and domestic and international award-winning filmmaker and voiceover talent, Dr. Odom’s work has appeared in major cities worldwide, including Cannes, Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York, and Los Angeles. Connect with Dr. Odom on LinkedIn.