WMM BLOG

Why & How Indie Filmmakers Should Use Payroll

We Make Movies has streamlined the process of filmmaking, starting with simplifying the bureaucratic paperwork behind pre-production and production. There are many legal and practical variables in figuring out how to handle all aspects of production, and knowing how to pay your cast and crew is one of the most important ones. We thought we'd break it down for you through our infographics below. We're here to help you manage the tedious elements of handling payroll. We're always just a click away!


 

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Filmmaking 101: How to Navigate SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Contracts

Want access to the most professional and experienced actors for your next project? Then you'll want to make sure you're producing under a SAG-AFTRA contract so you can hire union performers.  However, we know navigating the signatory process and on-set paperwork can feel....daunting. But, we're here to break down the four most popular, low- budget, SAG-AFTRA contracts for you, so you can level up the talent on your indie project.  WMM President (and our in-house SAG-AFTRA consultant, as she has been involved with the organization for almost a decade) Aubrey Mozino, discusses the factors you'll need to consider such as how much the overall budget of the project is, where the project is slated to land (distribution? festivals?), specific elements of the project (nudity? stunts?), and the various paperwork that accompanies each contract (Exhibit G? Pension & Health Remittance Form?). It's a handful, which is why we provide services that can handle...

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Filmmaking 101: What Does A Line Producer Do?

Filmmaking is not for the weary and line producing is not for the amateur. A Line Producer is one of the most critical members of the filmmaking team, as they are responsible for planning and overseeing all operations and logistics from pre-production through delivery on a project. In short, they are the project manager and accountant for the project - the ones adulting so everyone else can focus on the making of a film. The primary order of pre-production business for a Line Producer is to break down the script to determine every specific need in order to create an initial budget for the project. Funds are allocated towards every key department (camera, set design, hair and makeup...), hiring decisions are made based upon rates available to offer, locations are decided upon depending on the particulars of each day, and a schedule is created considering all of these factors fiscally and for optimal efficiency. A good Line Producer will also take into account all the moving parts...

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Making A Challenge-Winning Film: No Reservations

One of the countless benefits of being a We Make Movies member is the opportunity to enter into the Rolling Production Fund Challenge in hopes of securing funding for a community-backed project. Our unique system of vetting and testing projects for an audience is made complete by actually allowing our members to vote on their favorite pieces based on staged readings done by professional actors who bring the scripts to life in the semi-final stage of the challenge. Numerous short films have been chosen by a live studio audience of WMM members, and consequently been greenlit through this process. Prolific writer Flip Kobler penned the comedic gem No Reservations, which became one of the four winning RPF Challenge films in 2019. The film went on to be directed by award-winning filmmaker Steven LaMorte, who then additionally documented the magic behind the scenes of making the film, including the resourceful techniques and swoon worthy gear and software...

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Love Is Literally A Fire With Director Sofie Somoroff

“Soon after moving in together, a couple is forced to confront their challenges with intimacy, exacerbated by a toxic yeast infection and deep rooted insecurities, as their relationship slowly devolves.” No matter your cinematic sensibilities, if that logline doesn’t pique your interest in director Sofie Somoroff’s short horror film Love Is A Fire, you may need to check your pulse. With a world premiere at the end of this month at Portland Horror Film Festival, the film will also enjoy a run at our We Make Movies International Film Festival this October.

No stranger to films centered around coming to terms with bodily functions, Somoroff’s directorial menu includes a series of musicals; My First Night In Los Angeles about a girl learning self-love while crashing in her friend’s living room, and My Worst Night In Los Angeles about needing to eliminate (yes, her bowels) while on a Hinge date. To follow with a film about an acidic yeast infection...

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Marketing Tips For Indie Filmmakers - Why Is BTS So Sexy?


One of the worthwhile ways for independent filmmakers to build their audience for their projects is to procure entertaining, shareable BTS. To be clear, we are not referring to the K-Pop sensation that has swept the world over, but instead, the behind-the-scenes snapshots and footage that showcase the developmental stages of your project, offer a sneak peek into your world, and unleash the potential of attracting partners, investors, and everyone else you hope sets eyes on your work. For a production company and filmmaking collective centered around helping artists practically, efficiently, and authentically materialize and deliver on their dreams, sharing the story behind the story is just as essential as cultivating a voice or expressing a point of view.
 
We Make Movies CEO Sam Mestman emphatically advocates BTS as an invaluable marketing tool for filmmakers, stating that "BTS gives a look into your process and your process as a content creator is what...
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Ushering In A New Generation of Filmmakers Through An Intern University

Filmmaking (like raising a child) takes a village and the team behind our Make Your Feature Competition winning film Under The Influencer, is birthing their film with exactly that in mind. By creating what they term Intern University, the production team (comprised of all queer women) is  supporting their budgetary, workflow, and (wo)manpower requirements while elevating a fresh crop of queer, female filmmakers. By employing 12  film school interns in various positions on their crew after putting them through a training program prior to the shoot, the team has provided an exceptional opportunity for those who may not otherwise be afforded a chance to gain experience which would in turn connect and qualify them for future assignments in Hollywood. “With a diverse cast and crew, our priority is that everyone feels safe and welcome, and by setting and articulating those expectations before filming begins, we hope to see our goals of positive and respectful...

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How To Pitch A Feature Film Part II: Pitch Decks & Look Books

As our Make Your Feature Competition submission period is coming to a close, we will be narrowing down our choices for the semi-finals. While the initial submission process only required a treatment of the film, the next round of selections will be based off of a virtual pitch to the community, as well as a few requisite presentation materials. The first is a beat sheet (covered in PART I of this series) along with an artistic primer (a statement describing the intended genre, visual style, similar films, approach to production, and tone of the film), and the second is a version of either a look book or proper pitch deck (both covered below).

What Is A Look Book?

A look book is a compilation of film stills and other visuals that communicate a filmmaker’s vision for their project. Cinematic elements such as composition, lighting, production design, and color help to convey the mood and tone of the film. Similarly, characters and setting can be rooted through casting choices and...

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How To Pitch A Feature Film Part I: The Art of the Beat Sheet

As our Make Your Feature Competition submission period is now closed, we are narrowing down our choices for the semi-finals. While the initial submission process only required a treatment of the film, the next round of selections will be based off of a virtual pitch to the community, as well as a few requisite presentation materials. The first is a beat sheet (covered below) along with an artistic primer (a statement describing the intended genre, visual style, similar films, approach to production, and tone of the film), and the second is a version of either a look book or proper pitch deck (both covered in PART II of this series).

What Is A Beat Sheet?

A beat sheet is a specific tool for storytelling on screen that serves as a road map or skeleton of the story that dives into the pivotal emotional moments that drive the story itself. Whereas an outline describes the scenes, settings, and more concrete details of a film, a beat sheet organizes the intangible thoughts...

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How To Make A Feature Film For 25K

Few feature films have racked up cultural significance or conquered cinematic feats while made on ultra (ultra, ultra... ultra) low budgets. There's the 1977 experimental, horror masterpiece that is "Eraserhead", which was wildly celebrated auteur David Lynch's 10K  budget debut into the realm of feature filmmaking. There are the found-footage horror gems "The Blair Witch Project: (made for 25K) and "Paranormal Activity" (made for 15K), the neo-Western action film that put Robert Rodriguez on the map, "El Mariachi" (made for 7K), and the clever neo-noir "Following" (made for 6K) by a then novice Christopher Nolan. 

Then there are the directors who made their impression on the indie film world with their low-budget contributions, oftentimes shaking up what was considered acceptable and palatable for large audiences. There are a handful of 90's cult classics that delivered filmmakers like Kevin...

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