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Thread: My biggest project - where to start

  1. #1

    Default My biggest project - where to start

    Hello all, I have just finished writing an outline script for a 3 minute comedy short. Its in the same vein of humour as a lot of my other stuff I have shared here but this ones different. It has a much bigger scope and I could probably do with a bit of help.

    First major hurdle is location, I am thinking a restaurant, the script will call for a place a group of friends can be enjoying food or a drink, with other members of the public around. I can probably get enough people myself to play the extras but the location will be the key. What is the best way to approach a manager?

    I have no budget and could do with raising one, eek.

    I don't want to give away too much here just yet, if anyone is really interested in helping develop this idea I'll be happy to share more, please get in touch.

    At the end of the day, this will be much bigger than anything I've done before and need help.

  2. #2
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    There are the three rules of micro-budget movie making to remember, in this case rule 2: "Be honest"

    Go into the restaurant (dressed smartly) explain honestly to the manager what you're doing and ask if you can use the restaurant out of hours. Be prepared to pay a few quid, £50 or so, for someone to be there while you film. If you have a script or storyboard to explain what you'll be shooting in his restaurant, so much the better. The worst that can happen is that he says "no".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    There are the three rules of micro-budget movie making to remember, in this case rule 2: "Be honest"
    Please elaborate: What are rules 1 & 3?
    Tim

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    Good advice from Gaffer, as usual. Don't forget to promise to give the restaurant a great big credit.
    A word of warning, especially as you have to get a whole bunch of people together at a set time/place - the location can suddenly become unavailable at the last minute.
    Two examples which happened to members of our club during the past couple of years.

    1. We were working on a project about local pubs. A team of two arranged to go to film/interview in one pub. They chacked all was OK with the manager on the Friday night. Turned up on the Sunday to film to discover that manager had been sacked and they had to apply again to the new management!

    2. A group of members were all set to shoot a comedy which required a hotel corridor. All was set, confirmed with the management etc then at the last moment the Hotel pulled out as they suddenly became scared on "Health and Safety" grounds.

    I don't expect you to suffer either of these (indeed the H&S issue is unlikely to be an issue as the restaurant will be closed) but these are just two examples of what can go wrong on location despite meticulous planning.
    Tim

  5. #5
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    Rule 1. "Make the film you want to see." (ie don't try and anticipate what others might want.)
    Rule 2. "Be honest." If you're upfront and don't bullshit, your crew and all concerned will respect you and you'll get a lot more.
    Rule 3. "Treat the project seriously". If you're punctual, professional and well planned, everything will go smoother.

    Sounds simple but, once a project's underway it's often very difficult to keep to the mantras. It's actually a bit of a joke amongst successful producers that these three simple "rules" for starting out are known by everyone and yet ignored in favour of "guerilla filmmaking" books and suchlike, often written by those who have never made a successful feature.

  6. #6

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    Get your self a few business cards printed up for your "film production company", business people love business cards. Hand it to the restaurant owner so he knows who you are and tell him you are looking for locations for your next movie. Apply rule 2, like Gaffer says but impress on the restaurant manager/owner that you have a low budget but can reimburse him a little and see that he will not be inconvenienced or out of pocket.

    Like Tim has pointed out make a big deal about how his restaurant will be given a credit at the end of the movie and how his restaurant is the perfect location for you. If he is a nice person he will want to help you, just like most people.

  7. #7

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    Im in Cardiff and may be able to help you out here and there. Are you shooting in Neath or spreading out a bit? Have you got anywhere in particular in mind?

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the advice, it's helpful to read through in black and white what I've been trying to formulate in my head. A cafe has sprung up on my target list, owned by friends of friends, with a bit of decorating it could easily pass for a semi-nice restaurant. The manager is away until Monday though so I'll have to wait until then to approach him.

    I'll be filming in Neath, all in the one place.

  9. #9

    Default Location advice

    Clay,
    I would just like to add, ‘to be taken seriously, act seriously.’ Dress and present yourself as a professional and you’ll be treated as a professional.
    So far I have ‘blagged’ the use of a nightclub, a fish restaurant, a Cathedral – made a donation – several hotel function rooms, business offices, engineering workshops and a couple of bars, all free of charge. The fish restaurant also included free food for the scene!!

    What I generally offer – as a starting point of negotiation – is who we are, what we’ve done, what festivals we’ve been shown at (track record) and what we plan for the outcome/expectations of this film. Offer a credit for location, an invite to any premier showing, and a copy of the finished film. Include an Ext. Shot of the location – advertising for them – and possibly a name check in the script.

    Avoid offering a fee unless it is absolutely necessary. Be very flexible with your time also. We shot a scene making use of a hotel reception, with the proviso we shot from 1:30 am to 4:40am.

    But I think the key point, as touched on by the other commentators here, is how you present yourself. I have a rule of thumb: I won’t deal with anyone in a comedy tie. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why should I?

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the great advice, certainly something I'll bare in mind for future projects.

    I've managed to find somewhere, I used to know the owner but I discounted the location because it was too small. That was until I found out they had an extension! The place is more of a breakfast cafe than a restaurant, but with a little set dressing of the tables it'll easily pass as one.

    I'm just working on extras now!

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