Monday, July 13, 2009

Part Three: Film Projects

Let’s face it - You’re nothing without your work. Film Projects are your chance to strut your stuff, expand your horizons, mine familiar territory or, perhaps, say something important.

A Film Project can’t be accomplished alone, however. A basic Film Project involves the cooperative efforts of a Screenwriter, a Producer, a Director and, at the very least, one Actor. The budget and scope of the project can vary from a bargain basement television commercial to a lavishly produced big screen blockbuster.

A project begins with a script idea generated by a Screenwriter. The Screenwriter sets a minimum price for her idea and determines a date when the project must begin. Then Producers begin the bidding, trying to woo the Screenwriter with a large Cash Advance, a healthy Royalty Percentage and the promise of a successful production.

Note: All video projects, whether televised or projected on the big screen, are filmed. So we’ll just call all of your works “Film Projects”.


When the Producer wins the bid he must then make the Project a reality. To accomplish this, the Producer must first set a budget for the film. The budget must, of course, be within the Producer’s means. Keep in mind that just like in real life, the budget is merely a guideline. With quality personnel involved, the project might come in under budget. The opposite may also occur. Unless you’re going for broke, it’s a good idea to leave plenty of cash in your coffers.

The budget is the sum of the film’s parts. It includes the salaries of all personnel involved and production costs. It does not include the costs of Publicity.

After winning the bid, The Producer has a few important tasks to perform before selecting a Director for his film. These selections help the Producer narrow the field of Directors to potential selections whose availability, strengths, successes and asking price fit the project.

1. Design your demographic

* Age Demographic
Choose your primary demographic audience from the pull down menu

Developers notes: A key here is to have the age groups closest to your primary demographic also generate substantial income. These demographic trends can be tracked to see which kinds of films are clicking with which sort of audience. As we go along, these demographics may begin to skew younger and institution programming like Sesame Street may more and more often appeal to 30 year olds. In fact, I believe that Institution honors should be a goal you should shoot for as a Producer. It’s in the Syndication!!

100 programs = Syndicated
2 years in Syndication leads to Cult
+/- 10 years with a Cult following leads to your program or film series becoming an Institution

The Cult Thing
Maybe a show could become cult simply by being accessed by other users?

The Other Thing about Institutions
A single film project can become an Institution on its stand alone merit.

* Sex Demographic

* Locale Demographic
Art House

* Audience Demographic

2. Pick a Genre

3. Plan The Release Date
Each weekend’s box office or Neilson week has a potential maximum. It’s our Producers’ job to tap that potential. The better your release; the bigger your piece of the pie. Or not…it actually seems kind of random sometimes.

From this menu you can preview all the films tentatively slated for release each weekend.

4. Publicize Your Project


1. Set the Tone
A film rating will be assigned to your film based on the intensity of five unsavory elements: Adult Language, Violence, Nudity, Sexual Situations and Drug Use
Use the pull down menu to select the intensity of each (1-10 scale).
Tinseltown uses the American standard rating system. You will be shown your projected Film Rating before continuing.

G = General Audiences
PG = Adult Language, Adult Situations, Brief Nudity, Violence
PG-13 = Adult Situations, Sensuality, Adult Language, Violence, Drug Use
R = Nudity, Graphic Violence, Simulated Sex, Adult Language, Drug Use
NC-17 = Graphic Sexual Situations, Nudity, Graphic Violence, Adult Language, Drug Use

2. Pick a Time Period

3. Cast the Film
To begin, the preliminary casting guidelines are set.
Your budget determines the maximum amount of player characters that may be involved in the project.

~1 million = 25 actors
1-5 million = 35 actors
5-25 million = 50 actors
25-50 million = 75 actors
50-100 million = 100 actors
100+ million = 200 actors
These guidelines will look something like this
(these numbers come from a pull down menu):

Deluxe Movie Film
An Alan Smithee Production

Lead Male:
• Age Range: 30-40
• Salary: $750K-$1mil
• Primary Attribute: Wit!
• Secondary Attribute: Beauty
• Aura: Neutral

Lead Female: …….


Milking It
* Box Office
Finally, your film is ready for release. On the week of its debut, it goes into direct competition with all other films currently open in cinema. Box office revenues are then amassed. The better your film performs, the longer it will run, until, eventually, it is replaced by newer or better film projects. The film’s profits are then split among all characters according to the predetermined royalty percentages.

* Home Video
Revenues are not finished there, of course. In fact, once a film is released it can potentially generate revenue for the rest of your life.

The first method of extending your film’s lifespan is to release it on home video.
The producer must decide whether the home video appears as a Basic or Extended Edition release. Bigger budget efforts or blockbuster surprises may warrant an Extended Edition, with even higher revenues the potential prize.

Most major releases will continue to generate some small amount of revenue for years to come.

* Television Revenue
Next, audiences will expect to see their favorite films at home without ever having to rent the film. A few months after your film’s Home Video release, the Networks will come calling with offers. Negotiate with the top Network to get the most exposure and most income for your film.

* Re-Releases and Box Sets
Much further down the line, certain films will earn the option of Home Video Re-release or (very, very rarely) Cinematic Re-Release. Choose these options for your very best efforts to squeeze that little bit of extra juice out of them or link them to new releases as promotional tools.

Box Sets are two or more projects packaged together into one commercially intriguing product. You may box a film and its sequels, a season of a television series, an actor or director showcase, or any other combination you want to make. Box Sets are expensive to make but can be an excellent source of revenue from the film collecting public.

1 comment:

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