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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 4 of 17

Putting Together Your Creative Package

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

4. Putting Together Your Creative Package

Lesson Info

Putting Together Your Creative Package

I'm going to talk a little bit about putting together the creative package so let's say that you are your screenplay is done how do you get to that next part of building that creative right? So basically you're screenplays never done but if you think you're at a point that sort of your you know and also sometimes it's you need to take a break because you're just like otherwise kind of just spinning around like sometimes taking a couple week break and come back to it you have a lot of ah ha moments that you can sort of implement but to me a creative packages superduper important when I'm trying to get financing for a film because it's like you know a people are super lazy about reading so this will hopefully entice them enough to read your script and secondly it shows some kind of what is your vision of this film in this film so I go back one grant in this film you know it's like it's a period piece so it's already difficult because people are like oh my god it's a dusty period piece I'...

m already falling asleep but the sound of it but it's like super sexy so it's like you've got to sell the sex of it you know what I mean? And and so anyway so you put your little log line and there this is kind of the world before and then on this is kind of you know and these are just images you pull off the internet this is kind of the school this is kind of the vibe you know, this is the woods that's around the school but it's like suddenly they're having a feel of like, you know, the actress is there going to be really hot? Um the costumes they're going to be amazing there's going to be some nudity like you really want to see this film you know and it's like in this creative package in particular I put a lot of sex cells because it's like this superior piece but it's like it's about this relationship and you know what I mean? And you put your you know, your little synopsis in here which at a glance somebody knows okay it's movies about this um on ben it's just more images about you know what this film is and you just have to you know, show your style you know of like film making you know and mine is very intimate and it's like and it's getting inside her head and it's like, you know and it's sexy and its aesthetic and it's like, you know, whatever your strengths are, make sure that the package sort of you know represents that and the framing is going to be interesting and it's going it's going to be evocative, you know and then this is sort of you know tells you a little bit about the book because it's like you know especially recently there's been a lot of you know, movies that have done well that have been about real people and it's like so this is just helpful that you know, to have a little bit like where did this come from on dh this is a director statement and it's a little long winded this is three pages in my thing but it's you know, tells you kind of would have done before a little bit about the book what drew me to this you know, film fear and acceptance like the themes in it the consequences of living life that's less than truthful um and then in the visual telling of this movie I explained that I'm not going to make like a proper period piece I'm going toe you know, use you know, costumes that are sort of evoke that time period but I'm not they're not going to be in proper nineteen hundreds costumes you know and there's going to be music from, you know, kind of from different times and not just going to use you know, french nineteen hundred music but I'm going to use music from you know, different errors and like so it gives someone you know, a feel of like, what is this movie going to be like, you know, and and that's really, you know, critical this's just me blind on more and more about, you know, things that are important to me that here was written anonymously at its time because of its gay content and, you know, just stuff that, you know, hopefully is interesting to the person they're treating it, and then you get on to sort of showing they coup this girl is and, you know, and this girl isn't this girl, but this girl is this girl in my mind, and I'm going to cast someone that evokes this sort of feeling, you know what I mean? And then because this is being sort of put together now and cast together, I don't have what usually is the next page, which is pulled from I'm vey be sort of the ten actresses that are sort of on my hit list, you know what I mean? Like these air the girls that I want to get to play this part and so that's, what would come next but what's coming next here is just like the neck who's the next lead, you know, and it's madamoiselle julian, what does she feel like? You know what I mean? And she's trouble and she's gorgeous and, you know, she's going to seduce anyone ofyou on dh, then you know, in the next page it's like, ok, the hit list of the main actress is I want to get to play her so it's like someone, you know, flipping through this can sort of start in their own mind to build what this film feels like and looks like this is, you know, her partner who ends up being killed. This is, you know, the most diabolical character in the movie whose ends up, you know, taking over the school but it's, just like, you know, pulling images that sort of evoke that. So by the time you know, this is, you know, the assistant who to the headmistress who is actually a really good person but can't stop what's going on the's air the clever ones, they're the friends of olivia, you know, at the school and it's just sort of like capturing what that is going toe feel like and look like this is the police commissioner that comes in, you know, to investigate the murder, and this is a page that I've pull together that is sort of like, you know, I explained, like, this film is this film meets that film, you know, gets in bed with this film, makes that film, you know, but it's sort of like and you know, it has elements of this and that and the other so you know, in looking at that you're like I can get an understanding of like, what is this film going to feel like and look like and be like and you know what I mean? And there you have it I mean probably you don't want to have these many films but you know, to me there was an aspect of each of these films which I tried explaining this run on sentence that it was important to sort of put in there, you know, and this one my agents had me put in there because it made a lot of money so like, you know, so you put in films that are like, you know that you know, an investor looking at is like, ok, I'm gonna not lose my shirt making this crazy lesbian period piece movie that's you know, of the nineteen hundreds but not and like, you know, you just and then the page of building that's not in this is sort of the music page because, you know, I was a musician for some music and all of my films plays a really big part and it's going to be that way in this film as well, so it's like I need to sort of explain how am I going to pull off sort of having music from different periods but speaking to and not pulling you out of this kind of period piece movie on dh that's and that's your creative package o in this get a nice picture of yourself from several years ago um make it see pia and sort of you know, whatever explained who the hell you are so that somebody knows you know where you've come from yeah, hopefully where you're going and like that and that's your creative passion but to me it's really important to have this and that it really be a exciting and good and capture what you've spent so much time writing, you know what I mean? Because a lot of people are not going it's you know, I have trouble reading scripts it's a big thing to ask someone to read so it's like if they're engaged by your visual presentation and they really have a sense that you know what you're going to deliver, it will get them to read your upping your chances, which is all you're doing it at any time you know, this actually taking flight okay on then there's another thing that you could dio, which I did, which is sort of, you know, a portfolio of your work and right now you may not have aa lot of stuff that you've done, but maybe you've done some shorts that you can pull some like great images from and like you're basically just puffing yourself up I mean as far puffed is you can get you know what I mean so it's like I've made two features and have done to sort of commercial kind of works up so you have pulled the best images that I can from those and then you know, make it into a portfolio that's email herbal and that aiken bring two meetings and it's just you know again for me I'm rather aesthetics so I can sell that I can you know, deliver something that is going to look good and you know and and then you just write down sort of you know what it is when you've done it who you've done it with on dh then sorry and then so this isn't this jake saw a campaign that I did and it's like I'm not going to bore you with the twenty photos from it but in my portfolio that's what it has on dit shows and then I did a campaign for dvf and again there's like a lot of images but I'm not for this purpose we're not going through those but it's like emanuel and all the images you saw that and tender hall and all of that so you're just trying to sell yourself that like, you know whatever your strengths are like I could do stuff I've done stuff et cetera so it's just you know, more tools to sort of make yourself you seem good yeah we're going to wrap up this segment but that was a great time for any questions are students have here anything that we touch down in this segment that you've been wondering go ahead my favorite part of what you said was to make movies that say something that means something u so I'm actually interested if you could tell me more about what is like for you as a human being that's making films that are cathartic so when you finish a piece like how do you feel as a human like having gone through something like you know what I mean? Because I like the idea of growing and evolving personally not just professional yeah definitely I mean making a film is a long ass process you know what I mean? So it's like for me you better make a film that means something to you because it's like you have teo and you can't fake being excited but you've got to stay kind of with a semi the whole ride because it's like you have to inspire your you know, cinematographer, your actors, everyone that's working for scale or below to sort of stay with this and give what you're asking people to give is much more than you're ever gonna be able to pay them even when you're making a huge movie because it's you're asking them to sort of bring their heart and soul and humanity to telling this story so the story that you're going to tell andi characters hopefully that you've created are compelling and excite you enough that you can inspire the rest of the team because that's your because that's your job and I think you know, filmmaking is a super powerful medium and it's like and you take all your experiences, you know, good and bad and you make this, you know, little piece of our and you in the process you kind of transform, you know, all of that into something good that is going to go out into the world and touch people and change people or make people see things in a different light because we all only have our experience and it's, you know, it's really limited you have this body and born in this place and doing this thing and what's great about movies is in two hours you travel into someone's mind and heart and soul and see this totally other world that you're probably never going toe ever set foot in and, you know, they've just open up this door t this other thing and it's it's a magical you know, it's a magical thing and I think you know, it's just for me anyways, it's important that I spend my time making something that is a meeting at least to me or that sends some sort of message out there you know and it's like you know as a woman I think it's important you know to tell stories you know from our perspective because it's like you know it's getting way better but still I know what the percentages are but something scary like you know eighty five percent of the movies air told for the male perspective so it's like you know I know for myself growing up as a woman going to the cinema I had to sort of you know relate to the male characters because they're the only ones that were doing anything you know what I mean and I didn't want to be wrapping up their wounds or like you know, raising their kids or you know having sex with them is then they go off to do their thing you know so it's like you know in my movies it's the story's center around you know the girls because that's who I am it's my experience and I think it's important to you know leave that behind you know what I mean like what was it like to be a woman or a girl in sort of in your time and what will your experiences and like even stories now that are sort of have the girl leads and sort of the big studio movies it's still being helmed no offense was it's being bound by a male director and that's the male gaze and it's you know it it's still it's sort of a female story because it's about a girl but oftentimes it's written by a man directed by man and you're just like I don't know that that's an accurate telling of what the story is like the experiences like you know what I mean because we are the same we're all humans but it's like we're different you know and that's a beautiful thing but it's like a thing that needs to be in my mind sort of represented more in cinema because it's just like you know it's lacking you know I hope that answers your question anyone else have any yeah yeah so you mentioned that you know you're kind of a control freak and imagine that you first met your shorts their friends like you're the one holding camera on hold mike in one saying everything like your whole career right yeah what kinds of things you learn about how to delegate once you have a crew and just like a massive crew we have been it people are better than you hopefully that's what the whole point is to hire people that you're going to learn something from and that are better than you you know and so it's like it's hard I mean for sure it was hard for me with the dp because I was the one holding the camera I'm like well you know what I mean but it's like I really made sure to hire someone that I could communicate with that was excited about my ideas that was like, you know, a partner in crime, you know? And so you just have to know yourself and hire people that you're going to get on with it because it's a long ride and you're gonna have fights and you're going toe go crazy and you're going to ask them to do impossible things and hopefully they're going to try at least but it's like yeah, I mean delegation is really hard but it's like you learn really fast and you can't do it all and you're not good at all of it, you know what I mean? And hopefully is a director you're good at, like hiring the right people in the right people that you can work with so that at the end of the day that vision that you had is actually much better than what you had you know what I mean? And I think part of you know, being a director is sort of, you know, having a re clear vision of what you're going to do and having the flexibility to wander because, you know, wondering is great it's like, you know what I mean? Like you take the same street to go to your coffee shop every day and then one day you take a side street and you're just like, whoa like what's this and who's that and it's just like and it's exciting and I think like so you have to have that openness of mind of like, oh, I was going to shoot the scene this way and your cinematographers like well I was thinking this and just being like well actually that's way better and I'm really excited about that in the same with your actors when you're thinking like they're going to do the scene this way and then you see them going a different direction it's like sometimes they're totally off base and sometimes they've got something interesting and knew to say and especially if you've written it it's exciting for it to sort of evolve and change because it keeps you engaged it's not like by road it's going to happen like this and then it's going to go here and it's like oh no it's going over there and you just like you know, keeps you present and engaged and one of the things I find is that like very early on in the process of the film happening when you're shooting it is the film itself kind of takes on comes to life and is now has its own personality and its own needs it's like you know what I mean do you think you're directing something but it is telling you I need to go here I need to go there and you're suddenly like in service of something that is like much better than you and you just have to I think it's about, you know, really staying awake and present to feel sort of the shifting tides and kind of just writing it, you know, you and all your crazy cohorts on kind of noah's ark and just trying to, like, make sure it doesn't fall apart, you know, but make sure that there's breathing room so that people feel like they have a voice and they have, you know, some say and then just kind of, you know, corralling everyone together to sort of, you know, make sure you're making the same movie, but hopefully you've sort of that out in preproduction, and I can't say enough about pre production that's really critical where your movie like lives and dies it's like, just be so prepared because what time you reach set your like being shot out of a cannon, you know what I mean? And everything's flying so fast that you really don't have time to bake, figure it out you got have fully fully figured it out, so that it's, just like you're just like patching holes as they're coming, you know what I mean? Because there's problems every day in this location you thought you had and I don't have and you know what I mean? And you're just basically problem solving at that point, so before is really when you're making your movie, you shoot kind of shooting a movie then. And then it's. Just like the reenactment off, you know.

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.