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Archive for May, 2009

Here are some more of my “favourite” expensive expenses…

6. Stunts & Special Effects – Well, any of the special departments really. Lots of planning (read “money in prep”) has to happen to make sure the “special” shots happen with all their movie magic on-the-day. The many logistics on set to address issues like safety will also slow down the speed of the production on-the-day.

7. Prototype Equipment – Prototype means there is no backup when it goes wrong or breaks down – you have the only one. You  may need 24-hour fix-it crew to keep the equipment in working order for the set day. If you are fortunate enough to work with a prototype when there is two – one will be being repaired while you’re on set with the other one… Murphy’s rules.

8. Large Vistas – The more you see in a shot, the more it costs. If it’s a country vista in a period piece, there will probably be telephone poles or the like to digitally remove. If it’s a city vista, you may need to close a number of streets with all the permits and personnel required to do so. If you have crowds of people in the vista – that’s a lot of (paid) extra vouchers.

9. International Co-Productions – Granted that structuring a coproduction may be necessary for the Producer to raise sufficient funds to make the movie, but the costs of travelling cast, crew and/or equipment, immigration & customs, the extra sets of accounting books, the extra legal costs to set up the necessary documentation, etc. bring unique expenses to a production that non-copros do not typically have to deal with.

10. Music Rights – There are rights to use the “sheet music” (kind of “author rights”) – that allows you to perform your own version of the song… but there are also “master recording rights” that you also need to purchase if you want to play a certain recording of that song… and sometimes there are also artist rights that have been held back by certain performing artists that you have to purchase too. If the song you want is in the public domain… someone can still write a particular arrangement of the P/D song and therefore attach new “author rights” to the song you thought was going to be free. Research the origin of any and all music you want to include in your film in any manner.

Happy budgeting!

Cheers,
Deb

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As a P.M. at some point in your career you will be asked to write a budget on spec, or simply on a voluntary basis. Sometimes this is a great opportunity, whereas other times not. Do you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”? I wrote an article for the MWP Virtual Film School about just this issue. Surf by and have a look:

http://shop.mwp.com/blogs/screenwriting-articles/870152-to-volunteer-or-not-to-volunteer-as-a-production-manager-by-deborah-s-patz

Cheers,

Deb

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“The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations” 
   —  Stella (Silverado – 1985)

This is one of my all-time favourite inspirational movie moments. Stella reminds us that no matter what life deals us, we still have the power within ourselves to take charge of our own lives… to make our own opportunities. Powerful stuff indeed. Stella is one of the great movie optimists. I try to remember her words when life is getting tough around me. It really helps.

When the candle seems dim around you, who’s inspirational words do you hear? 

Cheers,
Deb

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I’m not sure how I got the travel bug, but I have to admit that travel after completing a production is one of my best ways of recharging the ol’ batteries. Either international travel and spontaneous travel tie as my favorites.

On a 4-day shoot, a friend of my asked me on set where I was travelling to next. I told her “no way.” I mean, it was only a 4-day shoot! Then that night another friend tempted me with the travel section of the newspaper. Sigh. By next morning our flights were booked and 3 days later we were off to the jungle in Belize. A place where they turn off the generator that runs the electricity at 10pm… oil lamps in the room. Fireflies off the deck of the bar/restaurant. What a recharge trip that was! Spontaneous AND international! Oh yeah!

Hmm… where do you go?

Cheers,
Deb

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