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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 15 of 17

Beyond the Set - Festivals, Sales, & Premiers

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

15. Beyond the Set - Festivals, Sales, & Premiers

Lesson Info

Beyond the Set - Festivals, Sales, & Premiers

I know a lot of people out there may be struggling with that it's something that it's hard to wrap your head around can you just reiterate kind of the importance of casting and what people should be looking for wealth for me? You know, I like to sit down with my actors and like for a coffee or a drink, huh? And and sort of get to know them a little bit because to me, what I look for is the essence of that character that I've written in that person um I know acting is acting so anyone can act anything but it's like to me ultimately what comes across and what is magical is not so much what they're acting but what they allow you to see of themselves um as a human on screen through the camera so it's like I want to know where feel that that essence of my character that I've written is mohr less the essence of that person that is the actor s o that's important to me and something that I feel is critical and also some actors are not great auditioners you know what I mean? And kaya is auditio...

n tape wasn't the best audition for the part in manual, but I had got an opportunity to meet with her and I knew she was emanuel that was just that it's like I knew from minute one, when she sat down and she talked to me in her mannerisms and her just something in her eyes, I just knew this is the girl and, you know, in the audition was kind of whatever an after thought, you have to do it for the producers of the investors or whatever, but I mean, there was kind of different experiences for ten or hall tenor hall was just, you know, we had no names and we just sort of had girls come in one after the other, the other, the other with rooney, she came in actually auditioning for the fourth lead because she hadn't done anything her agency thought, well, you're definitely not going to give her the lead s o you know, she came in for that part and got cast in that part, and then we continued our search for the lead of the movie and we couldn't find her and so that way we went back to her taking like, could she play the lead instead? And so we brought her in for the lead part and gave her that part and found someone else for the other part. S oh, it's, just, you know, it's about trusting yourself and again seeing as many people as possible, not giving up. Until you find you know the right person and with emanuel that's pretty much what happened is I had met I think I mentioned this before with so many actresses to play manual couldn't find her it's kind of a long convoluted story but my best friend tatyana who had done ten a hall with happened to be in italy had on accident happened to her where she injured her neck and spine and it was just like a very harrowing situation so I was just literally on a plane to italy to make sure she was ok she was fine everything was fine but then I was all the way across the world I still hadn't found my meat actress and I was like, I'm a two hour flight from london like they have english speaking actors in london are you okay flight in london season people and then come back and she was fine she was happy to give it to me for two days on dh that's what I did I you know with my casting agent that was in the u s who was sick of showing me girl after girl after girl contacted someone in england that she knew they figured out ah hotel lobby that I could sit in and just booked me like you know girl after girl to me and I met kaya and I knew that was a girl and I flew back to italy and then came back to l a and then you know the rest is history and with jessica biel for you know, for the other co lead of linda I love jessica biel I did not think she was right for this part or this movie at all and I said as much my casting director and she say insistence she's like well she's read the script and she really likes so I'm like that's great and it's super flattering but she's just not right for the part she's too young she's too pretty she see this whatever things you tell yourself and she's pushing really wants to meet like ok I'm going to see no kind of lunch and jessica biel leg is not going to do it so we go to lunch and then I'm thinking that this is going to really suck because now I'm going to lunch with her and now I'm not going to give her the part on top of it all and and then she basically told me that she would come in and audition for me and I was a ok I think that's great but it's like god now that's going to be really horrible after she auditions for me and then I'm not going to give her the part this is just getting worse and worse and worse and you know but I thought how cool you know like she doesn't audition for any parts really anymore she sort of gets offers so that she's willing to audition for pretty much unknown director for this part like something about this part is really speaking to her like she needs to play this part maybe as much as I need to make this movie, you know? And if you want someone with that kind of passion and dedication on your set and on your team because it's going to take that to do it right and then she came in and she didn't fucking awesome audition and I was like, hey, I stand corrected, this is your part, and I didn't know that and I was sort of blockading it and like looking everywhere else and not looking at the person in front me that's saying hello that's my part and I know that's my part so it's like sometimes, you know you're pretty conceptions of, you know what an actor khun dio are incorrect because it's like they can only show you what they've been given to dio you know, they're only as good as the material they have and you know, and it was very cool of heard audition, and it was very cool for two when she arrived on set and there was like new trailer for her and it's like you're going to do be doing hair and makeup in this bathroom of here in the back of the house with the cat litter box and you know what I mean, it's just like I think it was, you know, it was definitely an eye opening experience for her when reality sets in of what an indie movie is actually going toe be like, you know, um, yeah, so sorry, that's, a very long winded, casting a question over here. Go ahead. Yeah, so as far as you know, casting in the context of pre production, I'm curious how much of that pre production process happens in order to secure financing and how much of it can only be done after you have some. Because I imagine that there has to be some kind of money to fly around and, you know, meet actresses. Or I mean, are you just at that point continuing to just sort of run on the good graces of people who like the creative well, two things for so called the flying around? I did on my own dime because I had a friend to enter to herself in another country, so like I was flying there regardless of emanuel, like the emanuel going to london was an afterthought in that, you know, that that plane flight was maybe two hundred dollars, to go from there to there, you know, and back so it's, like not that much money and what you can do and what I did, and sometimes you get some of that money back and sometimes you get none of it is you start and accounting list of development like this is the money that I have personally spent in getting me to quote unquote, the day we start preproduction because you rightly said that pre productions kind of been going on for months before you're officially in preproduction and, you know, and somehow that money's being spent and somehow hopefully you're going to get that money back and it's, like, you know, hopefully then you sit down with your producers and that investors and they approve some of the spends and not others of the spends, and you just get some point, thank a truce and agreed, tio, whatever it is that the budget can afford to pay you back for your sort of out of pocket, you know, situation, but you write any pre production is sort of like inching its way along kind of the whole the whole time and really no one's getting paid until you're kind of heads of department come on and usually with then even you can get good graces because he probably not starting pre production until like depending what post that's soonest six weeks out but you kind of call them up and say, hey, I know we're starting in two weeks but you know, let me take you to dinner, you know? And really you're just like pounding them with information of what you need and doing in this and then you okay, we're seems location on saturday you want to come, you know what I mean? And it's just like, you know, and it's like people just if they're going to do the movie it's to their benefit to the movie looks great and is great the department did a killer job, so everyone just kind of steps up and starts working for free basically and you know, but you have to try to surround yourself with those kind of people that care and you can't pay people to care it's either in their nature and they're those kind of people that are just going toe you need to do it right and need to do it well for their own sanity or not, you know what I mean? And yeah let's talk about hiring a producer what qualities are you looking for when you're trying to hire a producer? Well, I mean producers it's you know it's tricky business because it's like you know you're the creative and you were trying to get your things done and make it look and sound and be the best that it can possibly be and the producers are kind of like the bank and the voice of reason for lack of better words so there's a lot of you know, wrestling back and forth I mean, because the projects have done you know, I've hired the producer I'm in a good position because it's like I'm hiring someone that I feel I can get along with, you know, but ultimately their responsibility is to make sure that at the end of all when all of this is said and done, you have a movie you know what I mean and that's on them to make sure that you're making your days and you know you don't like go off on a tangent shooting stuff that's never going to be in your movie and so it's like, you know it's like I like reasonable people I like to think of myself as a reasonable person which is a big tall order as a creative to also be reasonable but it's like you just want to sit with someone and feel like you've got their support that you know that they're going to you know, be problem solvers because that's ultimately what's happening it's kind of a very not a great job it's like basically every day you just handed a bucket of problems to solve and make sure that your director and the whole thing moves forward one more day without being stopped without the union's spreading you down without you know, everything that could go wrong will go wrong and so it's like someone that's levelheaded you know what I mean? Because I can get quite hot headed and emotional and you know what I mean and extra animated and you just want someone that's like even keeled like you know what? And you're not going to ruffle them you khun you know, do whatever you want and they're not going toe also be going crazy they're just going to be sort of you know, keeping it steady s o I think steadiness you want someone smart smart is always helpful um and um you know if you could get ted hope who have never worked with but gets it hope he wrote this book that I read what is it hope for film, which I really recommend um I don't think many producers are sort of director driven producers but he is one of those people I think like, you know, as you know, young directors, filmmakers I think, you know, trying to find someone that is director driven is a good thing, like someone that cares, you know, about your vision and making your film and not just about the dollars and the, you know, licenses for this and that and the other because ultimately you're going to want to be able to talk to them and get them to understand why it's really important that you secure this location rather than that location and, um, you know, and basically, someone that's going to champion you to your investors if you need more money, tio the whole time, you just want someone sort of behind you that is, like also seeing problems before they happens, you know what I mean? That has some sort of vision? Um, you know, because you can get quite myopic, you're in the scene, you're just working on this piece of it and they can see sort of a road block ahead and you don't give you a heads up kind of thing, so okay, yeah, any final questions here on the segment, anything about pre production? Good thing when you're first starting out, how do you get someone with experience? What all comes down to your script? You know what I mean? It's really comes down to that it's like, if someone reads your script and something about your story speaks to them then you're kind of in business because, you know, people want to do stuff that matters, you know what I mean? It's like that's, the kind of the name of the game is like, we all have limited time and you might as well spend it, you know, making something of worth so it's like it really so much of it comes down to the script, I mean, being able to attract the talent, the producer, that just getting it going, suspending a time on your script and making sure you know, that you don't prematurely shoot it out into the world is also really important because you kind of get one shot of people reading it, you know what I mean? So you want to get to the point where you've like, exhausted your inner circle and you're starting to get like, oh, it's really working, you know what I mean? Like, you want to get positive feedback? I mean, you know, I can get it from everybody, but you want to get to a point where people are really digging your script before you send it out and not sort of blow your chance at your film because somebody read a draft that was almost there, but not really there, and now they're not going to read it again because they're like, you know, busy

Class Description

Independent filmmakers are often called on to not only write and direct, but to produce their projects. Wearing all three “hats” can be a daunting, yet inspiring proposition. In The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker with Francesca Gregorini, you’ll learn easily-applied strategies for balancing the demands of doing all three very unique jobs.

Francesca’s work has been officially selected by the Toronto Film Festival and premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In this class, she’ll discuss both the advantages and challenges of producing a film you’ve written and will direct. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to decide when its ‘right’ to produce your script and when to develop it further
  • Which "hat" to wear at what time from start to finish
  • Personalized paths for fundraising, production, and distribution

Francesca will explore the processes of writing, directing, and producing and how leading the charge can make these three unique perspectives more efficient, productive, and artistic.

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker will help you develop best practices for all aspects of indie film production and inspire you to take control of your own destiny as a filmmaker. 

Ratings and Reviews

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I think there were TONS of marvelous takeaways, here, in this course. The examples she presented about Scene Cards, the hardships, and the beauties-- all of it was very beneficial information for aspiring filmmakers. However, the verbal hesitance; "um", "you know", "uh", "you know what I mean", "or whatever"-- that started to get really distracting really quickly. But the course and the overall purpose of the lessons, that was great!


The good - Lots of helpful info about pre-production, things to consider, and working with actors. The not-so-good - Not exactly self-sufficient. If you were to cut out all the " know..." clutter, the course would probably be about 30 minutes shorter.