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Producing An Independent Film From The Grassroots Up

with Michael Gottwald

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Class Introduction

    17:31
  •   05 How to Get Into Producing

    23:13

Class duration: 5h 26m

See all 18 lessons
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    3 student reviews

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About The Class

your guide to producing indie films.


Producing an independent film takes an enormous commitment of time, money, and energy – but there are steps you can follow to make the whole undertaking more productive and less overwhelming. Producing An Independent Film From The Grassroots, Up is your guide to reducing friction during every stage of independent feature film production.

In this class, Michael Gottwald, a producer on the OSCAR®-nominated, Beasts of the Southern Wild, will detail the process his team used to bring this sleeper hit to life. By exploring the independent film production process through the lens of Beasts of the Southern Wild you’ll learn how to generate your own independent film success. 

Michael will teach you how to:

  • Find optimal material to produce
  • Engage private and social fundraising resources
  • Craft a production plan suited to your existing resources
  • Distribute and market a finished film


Whether or not you have industry connections, or live in traditional “media centers” (such as New York or Los Angeles), you can still give life to a project that will impact the film industry and artform. You don’t have to blindly navigate the rocky terrain of grassroots film production alone. Michael will offer the insights you need to tackle common challenges during every stage of the producing process.

Producing An Independent Film From The Grassroots, Up will show you how to create films that, if positioned properly, rise above the current indie film marketplace "noise."

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    17:31
  2. 02

    What is Grassroots Producing?

    16:37
  3. 03

    The Different Types of Producers

    10:58
  4. 04

    The Producer/Director Relationship

    14:59
  5. 05

    How to Get Into Producing

    23:13
  6. 06

    Connecting with People

    13:27
  7. 07

    The Script

    19:09
  8. 08

    Get the Funds for Your Film

    41:12
  9. 09

    Logline Critiques

    06:02
  10. 10

    How to Approach Film Budgeting

    24:56
  11. 11

    How to Approach Film Budgeting

    14:29
  12. 12

    Find a Grassroots Cast

    19:26
  13. 13

    Locations with Casey Coleman

    16:35
  14. 14

    Scheduling & Shooting

    14:20
  15. 15

    Who is Your Film's Audience?

    29:30
  16. 16

    Film Festivals

    11:36
  17. 17

    Grassroots Film Distribution

    20:48
  18. 18

    Watch Movies & Read Books

    12:05

Meet Your Expert

Michael Gottwald

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Michael Gottwald graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He served as Executive Producer on Court 13's Glory at Sea in 2007. In 2008 he worked for Obama for America as a Field Organizer during the primaries, ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 1.pdf
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 2.pdf
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 3.pdf
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Keynote Part 4.pdf
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Call Sheet - Filled Out.xls
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Sample Low Budget Documentary Excel Budget Total Budget.pdf
  • pdf Michael Gottwald - Sample Low Budget Documentary Excel Budget.xls

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Creativelive Student

    February 2015

    A top-notch presentation on indie film making. I learned a lot from this course which I hope to soon put into practice as I'm about to embark on my first indie film - as a screen writer for the first time out, but eventually I hope to write, direct, and produce my own film. Very easy to follow the presentations in this course, and the handouts I received when I purchased the course are quite useful.

  • A-Rae

    A-Rae

    February 2015

    Such a great course! Being an indie "Grassroots" filmmaker in the middle of three projects, I found what Michael shared to be very valuable. The way that he described the different aspects of producing and illustrated with examples was very clear and fresh. The course really opens you up to examine your own processes, what works / what doesn't and stirs up some new ideas on how to move forward. Thanks CreativeLive team for making the class happen!

  • user-5e0444

    April 2016

    This is a tremendous introduction to grassroots filmmaking. Michael takes you step by step through the various elements of film production and offers those so inclined a cursory understanding of what is required. Because filmmaking is a creative pursuit, the direction the individual filmmaker takes from there is entirely up to each. I would highly recommend this course to any one starting out in filmmaking. Well worth the cost. David W. King, Michigan Movie Magazine

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