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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 6 of 17

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

6. Getting Your Foot in the Door

Lesson Info

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Foot in the door oh my goodness okay, so you know this is you know, this is a big one because it's like if you can't don't get your foot in the door then you're not getting through the door so basically, you know, there's different ways to do that and, you know, in my opinion people making films are not the best filmmakers they're just the most tenacious mother efforts you've ever met because it's like you just are going to make this movie and you have to kind of have that attitude that like you're just doing it and you're just doing it and it doesn't matter it falls apart doesn't matter doesn't matter this matter it doesn't matter if you just keep going like a mad thing and so tenacity I think is a big thing and getting to set anywhere you can is a big thing like it doesn't matter if you're a p a or an assistant or whatever you're doing because it's like you're in it in you're in the machine you have eyes like when you're not like bringing someone coffee or pulling some wire or whatev...

er you're paying attention, you're seeing how the whole shit show runs you know and like that is worth its weight in gold in my opinion, you know possibly more than film school just because it's like that's where it's happening and you know, uh so getting to set me personally I got to set because it happened to be dating the actress so that's an option sleep with the actors to get to set however you get to set it doesn't matter just get yourself to set so that was going down for me so now I'm on set so that's good now I noticed that the directors are also italian I'm italian we're connecting so that's good on dh in the meantime I'm writing something and at the time I know thing I was you know it was a failed musician singer songwriter andi I was like ok I got it at some point grew up I realize this is not going to happen for me um and you know what am I going to do and I was like oh I could definitely right I know I can do that because I can song right so maybe I can screen right so then I you know started to write this project called motel novella and then being on set I developed enough of a camaraderie with the directors that I shared what I had with them you know which was very rough and whatever but you know they loved it for whatever reason they left it which was great and so they were on board to come on board with me and help me so they would give me notes and whatever but they were busy because they were directing a tv show so it wasn't like they had all this time in the world so then it's like I started thinking who else from university that I went teo you know is in the film business and I remembered michael cost again, you know, who's a big producer now in l a you know that I knew not well at all but enough that I could sort of get myself to him so you've got, you know, some pages of this, you know, pilot that's like, you know, have some support on from, you know, these directors, the russo brothers and I go to me with michael who's kind enough to see me and I show him what I have he sort of gets me knows I also noticed that he's on this lot and that there's an empty office across from him so I'm I go and I check out how much is that office going to cost, you know? And it wasn't much because it wasn't a fancy law he was on and I convinced, you know, whatever the office manager person tio have we rented for a month because I had enough money to rent that office for months like, oh has me across the hall so now, like every day it's a tick tick tick like, can you help me with this? Can you look at that? You know and you know, he was kind enough and obviously saw that I was tenacious enough to help me you know what I mean? S o then I could go back to the russos and now my project is much better and now I can tell michael that I've got their support I can tell you know him that I've got you know, it's like now suddenly they're like oh well russo's are believing in her and the roosters were thinking with cost again is believing in her now we're all thinking that I'm fantastic and who knows if that's true but that's just what's happening s o we get so we three three parties sort of work on this thing we get it to a good place and then we go pitch it at hbo now there's no way I would have a failed singer songwriter there's no way I'm getting in that door at hbo but I'm getting in that door at hbo because michael cost again who's produced like brokeback mountain and a bunch of other films and russo's who went on to win and emmy for arrested development are coming in with me that's why I'm in that door you know what I mean and so now you know the team that hbo's who can't mean like well, these guys are willing to direct this madness and this guy's willing to produce this madness we want this madness you know what I mean? So it's like and now I've sold a pilot hbo from literally like haggling over twenty dollars, in an alley like somewhere here in san francisco and what I was playing like I don't know that is that the palace that's here there's like some I was on tour with matty stars the opening act and somehow they weren't getting paid and literally I was doing that like the month before and now I'm like, you know, all super shiny like in an hbo office, you know, selling a pilot and you know, but it's like the only when I got there was because I, you know, made those connections and I made those connections because I happened to be on set I wasn't just hanging in the trailer I was looking around, I was making friends, I was just seeing like, hey, what's going on here and, you know, who can I connect with, you know, not in the make ah horrible way, but just in a way like, hey, I wanted, you know, I can't play bass and saying and make a dollar, so I got to figure out a different way. S oh, that's, you know, sort of connections, but you can make those going to, you know, film festivals because that's where you know, people in the industry go, you know what I mean. And it's like, and they drink a lot, and you can probably get them to chat to you. And, you know, and that's, you know, any way that you can do that, you know, getting to set in my opinion is probably the best way. And, like I said, connecting with those guys gave me the credibility.

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. 



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.