Sharing experience of “a young” producer

Partage d’expérience d’un « jeune » réalisateur

How to Make A Movie…sharing the experience of Christopher and director, and reader of the blog


You know I try to bring you the most possible for your adventure to make films, to make a career or to live your passion from the film the best it can be. This is why I share all my years of experiences with you. But sometimes this is not enough. Fortunately, the blog is fairly active, in general, one article per week, but especially of the hundreds of comments every month, from people like you, who share their experiences.

Today the blog is nearly 180 articles and more than 12,000 comments. Suffice to say that some comments are not as visible as this and yet many of them are very interesting.

That’s why I decided, today, to turn one of these comments in the article.

What will follow is not just a copy/ paste of the comment from a reader of the blog. You will read not only sharing experience but also to have the answers that I bring to her.

For this to be as fair as possible, I decided to get in touch with the author of this commentary : Christophe. Know its course etc…result : a phone conversation of over 2 hours. So I have condensed the answers and I have them replaced in their original commentary for clarity.

Frankly this article is very important by its content and by the information and learning that you’re going to have.

The other advantage is that Christophe is true. He knows thathe made mistakes. He learns and improves each time. In brief, Christopher does not cheat and does not tell a story !

This confirms me in the idea of’learn and know about the movie business this is essential. This is why I propose you a Masterclass which will teach you the basics and you will avoid making the worst mistakes and lose a lot of money for nothing.

What I can say for having traded with him for nearly 2 hours it is agree with me to say that he should get moving and to add (and I agree) is thathe should dare !

Christophe : Hi Tom,

Tom : Hello Christophe, tell me a little about where you come from or rather what you have already done as cinematographic career ?

Christophe : I’m not going to expand on my career personally but I have a business and the cinema is a passion for many years and I decided to throw myself

Tom : You can tell me a little more ?

Christophe : 2013 First short film, 6’30. I’m happy with it.

Tom : for a budget ?

Christophe : 4000 euros budget, but in the end I spent 8 000 euros. The filming was done with a Scarlet and a team of 15 people over 2 days. Nobody was paid…just paid. Between the time of post production and the release of the film he has spent 20 months… and there was nothing I could do…

Tom : Kind you had not signer of contract ?

Christophe : Exact and at the end of 20 months, the people who took part no longer wanted the film to sort of festival or elsewhere.

Tom : This was your first experience. You’ve done a film school ?

Christophe : No, I knew nothing about it and even less in technique. I found an association to carry out the project, and at the technical level it is the chief op, who was the choice of focal lengths. Some members of the team didn’t want too trust me and wanted to change my cutting…I have held up well, but I had to fight with a part of the team to keep “the power” on the board and on my film.

Tom : So you find yourself with a film that will cost 8000 euros, and you can’t make it…and you have dropped the arm or not ?

Christopher : no not at all. In 2014 I made a Ultra short 3 minutes. But I’ve Never mounted.

Tom : For a budget ?

Christophe : 700 euros budget

Tom : Always self-produced, that is to say that every time you type in your savings ?

Christophe : Yes, but I don’t put my family in danger. Are as important as the 8000 euros of the first film, it is a sacrifice, but a sacrifice I can make. There I was shooting with a Black magic, with a team of 8 people.

Tom : But why you’ve ever mounted ?

Christophe : I am going to explain you. For permission issues of filming, I had to change locations at the last moment…I had to parley with the cops…but I still manage to turn my plans in spite of several episodes. To finish this story I had no combo to check each plan…at the log I realized that everything was overexposed…and then I was missing shots by a lack of time…in short unusable. 1 day of shooting with great stuff but all of it for nothing…

Tom : ok, so if I summarize, you have to spend 8 700 euros and an energy of crazyfor nothing ! Because from what I understand you twist with actors, pros, with a team and a logistics…and by that I mean that you don’t do this too hard…for someone who is self-produced.

Christophe : yes…but I’ve learned a lot, and then I am very proud of the first film.

Tom : And then ?

Christophe : In 2015 I’m doing a short 8 minutes 30. Incredibly missed compared to what I had envisioned. But I have finished . I had a Budget of 8000 euros, associative, always self-produced, except that there I created my association to avoid having to be dependent on someone other than me. The filming lasted 3 days.

But I made several mistakes :

  • The fact of rehearsing with the actors and has “worn out” before the shooting and in the end I have not managed to find what I wanted in terms of game once on the board.
  • He has had problems of light and not hurt others due to a team with little training. The result is a time of crazy, for example, to set a projo….I didn’t get all of my film, just because of all this I lost a day of shooting on 3…can you imagine ! And I had to turn on all the rest soon to get the whole story. The experience which I made to sign contracts to the actors. But as there is a lack of plans etc…I have nothing to do

Tom : there the commentary that follows, and you left on the blog talking about the last shooting and the last project that you have done. Before that readers have come to know is that you can tell me the two words ?

Christopher : Yes this year I made a pilot of a series, the duration of an episode is 5 minutes that I have written and which I have already talked about this on the blog + bible + etc… I’m delighted! + Creating a + company canvassing. 1 day of shooting for a budget of 4000 euros.

Tom : Ok, thanks Christophe, we will now resume the comment that you left on the blog, I’ll comment on.


Comment of christopher :

A few months later I come back to give news. In all modesty, there may be in my approach to a few positive points that may help readers or, on the contrary of the negative points that you could raise, precisely to help readers. ?

I’m just doing part of what I’ve done.

  1. Driver shot, edited, society of the prod is mounted,
  2. Bible buckled with everything you need inside, the presentation folder is looped.
  3. Contacts according to the codes of the profession (and the advice of the blog) established: call, send the file + the link to the driver.
  4. I had my first refusal, which is completely normal. It would have been incredibly fantastic to have an initial response ” positive “ or open so quickly.

I don’t know if it can help the readers, but I’m going to tell you a little bit more on my strategy. I am not saying that it is good or bad. It is mine. Finally… it has been mine for this project.

  1. I wrote the series (a big part).

Tom : You told me that it is a series of short comedy, 5 minutes per episode. You have for a tv channel or tnt. The problem is that this format is popular…but quite closed. It is necessary to think, if it does not work to migrate them to another media , or another format. But it would be crazy not to try his luck.

Following the comment :

  1. b) I’ve proposed to two of the actors pro who have hung and who have agreed to shoot the pilot.

Tom : It’s a good thing to find true actors. I say to you, moreover how to find them in the Masterclass : How to Make A Movie. One thing that you say and that is true is that, in addition to move, thing that I tell you since the beginning of the blog, it is also necessary to dare. Dare to go to the people, the pros, even the most well-known…because you have nothing to lose.

Following the comment :

  1. c) I created my box in a single optical: canvassing. The idea is not to be co-production or producer but to speak to potential ” partners “. No question that I address to a diffuser alone (no network, no production to show for, etc) I have established this very clearly at the first contact: my approach is that of the author/filmmaker, I do not want to produce. I explain this clearly because it is very important to clarify. In essence, I didn’t propose a pilot shot under the form of an association… it was not a very pro.

Tom : Even if it might seem a good idea, create a box for canvassing as a writer/ director is nothing. Especially if the idea is not to be co-producer or producer. Having a box of prod can help to better dealer, a co-production or a partnership with a company. How ? Because your box brings all the development of the concept of the series, the cost of writing. Have a production company, depending on the location of your box allows you to have funding….in addition it owns the rights. The co-production that comes into play can bring other funding to another region or legitimacy in the eyes of a string ora platform that you don’t have.

Following the comment : But if the purpose is just to sell your series…then a box to prod it doesn’t. In contrast to the projects of short films that you ride must be made with your structure. Because it allows you to find the money, equipment to rent and to possiblys payroll…insurance, to make co-pro etc…

  1. d) When I contact a prod, I request to the company if it agrees to receive project writer/dir not identified, or if the company does not take/more project out of its network. I’ve had positive responses (but I target). Good it is not necessary to send an e-mail with spelling mistakes…it happened to me, it was the mistakes of inattention…because I read it 100 times…that sometimes the stress…

Tom : This is the B. A. B. A ! A lot of young directors, or apprentices filmmakers think that it’s going to work without doing this first approach…big mistake !

Following comment : The board …but at least u answered me ;o) to say no.

  1. e) I send the folder.

Tom : Super. Just to add to protect your scenario before !

Following the comment :

  1. f) I have voluntarily started by companies (I’m talking about 4 companies all for the moment) out of my (very small) network , and the network of the actor main. Why? To test the whole thing…

As advised by Tom, it is interesting if it is a negative feedback you receive indications that advance/enhance the project. I did not go into the details, you see what I mean I think.

  1. g) This may seem curious, but The company referred to, the one with who I really want to work, just to receive the project. Excellent telephone contact, network, actress, etc…We will see. It is the fourth that I have contacted. I had honed my ” speech “. So yes yes, I wasn’t expecting a positive response of the first three (only one has answered for the moment, but it is relatively cool).

Tom : Ok…It is important to prepare and to foster the discourse. Just one thing that annoys me is when you say : “I really want to work “…It should not be forgotten that the objective is to find a production ! If the other three say ” banco “, and the one with which you want to ‘really’ work you said no…I hope that you will not be disappointed ! It will not take ! ;o) The fact that you have talked about live makes me say no ;o)

Following the comment :

  1. h) Starting from the principle that the driver is product on my funds, when I’m talking about the driver, I explained that the spirit in which it was shot is the following: I do not claim to present a product FINISHED and to be DISSEMINATED right now. I remain modest. We love the pilot and all the rest, but in my case I focus more to a pilot/prototype, a sort of pilot before the “real” driver. According to me, but maybe am I wrong, I am on a point of balance between trust (we show our project, we are proud of it), and modesty (we will not tell it because there are always things which can be improved).

The rationale for the pilot is the following: It is illustrate in pictures the universe desired in the series, present a potential, to save time the interlocutors (the first thing they can do is watch the pilot and if they don’t like, not to go further than in the reading of the rest).

I based my presentation on a simple principle: the prod like to invest, prod are not as ” researchers of the fund “, the prod need to ” touch “ to the art, for many reasons. First, to improve what needs to be done. Then to adjust the ” product “. Because I do not lose sight of the fact that it’s still a product. So something that has to be a minimum sellable.

Starting from these simple principles, I explain clearly that the presentation of a pilot does not mean for me ” final draft forbidden to touch it “. This would be suicidal, immature, incoherent, delusional ? in Short, I remain open and I will say it clearly.

Tom : …Then I often talk about the golden rule…that you transgress. After I don’t understand well your approach in regard to…but before returning to this point I have to tell you that you’re going too fast and you’re not working in the right direction.

Continuation of the commentary : In a first time we do a production folder, it is good you did. In this folder you can do what is called a mood board (see article on the blog) it is this mood board complete with your folder that depicts the universe that you wish to set image.

Tom : let’s not forget that for the moment you are looking for a production and not a diffuser ! Imagine yourself in the place of the producer…you come in with a series written…and then with a pilot…basically you leave little room. In addition to his profession it is to know how to read a folder of prod, a mood board, but you watch a driver on a case where he would not have understood.

I’m not saying that all the producers to which you have sent will have this reaction but you hold out the stick for you to beat it ;o)

I’ll be back on your approach to the pilot. Do you consider this pilot as a prototype…to Show it to a producer what he is going to have to redo it ” better “ is not the right solution. If your achievement is not good, if your direction of the actor is not at the top either, your pictures, this driver will serve more than anything else. The producer will say that you don’t know make or direct…

If you decide to make a driver..ok…but you put all the chances on your side for this to be a finished product…why spend the money (personally) to do something that will surely need to be redone ? A producer does not need a driver…a string, or a platform, yes !

If I take the webseries, the platforms (broadcasters) are happy to have a driver before signing up (but this is not mandatory) this driver is the perfect image of what is going to be the series, this is the production that has signed with the author that the product…and not the author himself. Because the production knows that if the driver is not at the height they are going to be throw away…it is the same principle between a filmmaker who comes to approaching a prod ;o)

Following the comment : Balance: yes yes I put my money. Yes yes I have the means to do so (without rolling in gold). No no, this is not a great idea. I built this a few months ago.

But I move the buttocks (I take one of your sentences, Tom, ” get a move on you! “even by making mistakes (like spending some of my money).

Tom : You can’t reproach yourself otherwise…you move the buttocks that is for sure !. I would like to say that what I have just told you is not to be taken as : “I give lessons “. I explain just how this happens and how a approach, good sense, included in a strategy rather interesting, may in the end you serve. After that, if your project is really good, some producers may pass over. But they are not legions to do it : by want or lack of time.


If one thing is certain, it is that you don’t move…I seem to be in front of me there is a lot of years. Your story and your career affect me. But you’ve done a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided by following the warnings present in my articles and training. The difference between you and me is that I quickly realized, very quickly, that there were other sources of financing than my bank account lol so I haven’t spent 20 700 euros for 3 films.

Following the comment : I know this post is long but I chose to do everything in one shot rather than coming every month about my progress.

Tom, thank you for the advice you have given me a few months ago. Do not hesitate to me tickle on things that you appear to be errors. In all sincerity, I don’t put ego in there. I learn each day and I’ll be making more anyway. I remain sincerely to listen to any remark, criticism, etc…

Tom : well I think I have just seen you tease ;o)

Following the comment : I tested it, the filming was wonderful, and when I do the balance sheet of the last year I am not unhappy. I shot my second short, I completely messed up (and I know why, which is a super learning), I finished writing a long as I liked at the time and I don’t like (too much now), I mounted my box, I completed the project/serial driver to the present to prods, I’m writing on something else entirely (a new feature) and I’m here to tell all this ?

Tom : You mentioned product all the time. Personally I don’t have a problem with this language. Just like mainstream ! There is nothing wrong with making mainstream…mainstream does not necessarily equate with poor artistic…

Project mainstream has a strong universal value as well as a potential for dissemination and purchase important ! What are the projects that are mainstream that allow projects more confidential or more “author” to see the light of day. It is necessary, that in France we get rid of this image dusty of the author/ producer that puts knots in the brain of the spectators, and who refuses to do the projects mainstream under penalty than it is to go with the evil one lol !!

Make movies (and series) is a part there’s something for all tastes.

Following the comment : in Short, very sincerely, I am in the letting go series and I’m waiting to see. I will keep you informed.

In this review, I re-note (of course HS here) the message is full of hope to Maria this morning. This is proof thatdoing things in the right order (write/take on board/to rework/to send the synopsis + note of intention), one can, even being unknown(e) establish a contact with return.

Tom : You are preaching a convinced. The success is up to all of you ;o) you apply best practices as the advice given on the blog or professional that you can meet. If I had done the masterclass in 2014 you’d have lost less money and can be time consuming.

Thank you to all, thanks to Tom.


Tom : thank you, Thank you Christophe for sharing your experience and giving me a little of your time on Friday. Let us know for the result of your adventures.


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