So you want to be a filmmaker, eh? Well, unfortunately nowadays to become a filmmaker you must make a film. And what do you need to start your film with? Aye lad…an idea.
This idea needs to be wide and baffling enough that you can make an entire film out of it. Don’t have one? No problem. An in-joke is just the same thing. Remember when you were a student? Remember that sunny day you bunked off and you and all your mates saw that tramp asleep on the grassy bank? He was so dirty. Laughing and pointing at him you made up a nickname for him, ‘Muckey’ or something like that.
Legal Note on slander from media/fishing lawyer ‘Klan$’: We have changed the tramp’s name to Muckey in case he rises from the dead, reads this and sues us for malicious falsehood. His real name was Hundy. short for One Hundred Per Cent Dirty. What a little shit he was. Couldn’t fish at all. Never caught even a tench.
After laughing at him you all went to the pub and you made up all kinds of stories about him. From inside your soft cushioned little world, you and all your friends laughed and laughed at that poor man. Remember any part of that? or something like that? That will do fine - there’s your idea – The Adventures of Filthy the Tramp. Now type that up on a computer.
IMPORTANT: Once you type up your idea on a computer don’t forget to save everything. Do this by pressing Control and 'S' frequently.
2 Pitching / Begging
To make your film you will need money. There are people whose job it is to give out money to film makers. They will be called Catherine. Catherine works for the funding body Story Telling Regional GB Creative. Time for a pitch meeting with Catherine.
NOTE: Never again take all your wood chisels along with you when going into a pitch meeting.
This whole begging business will be tense. For Catherine to even think about opening her cobwebby purse you will have to explain your film idea to her in as dull a way as possible, this is called a Pitch. There are several types of pitch and they all will and must be leant:
*The Elevator Pitch: Basically if you happen to share a lift with someone of importance bark your idea to them before they can get out. Should last 10.4 seconds.
*Chipoil Pitch: As above but while getting fast food. Should last the amount of time it takes to get free scraps (or 'bits' as they incorrectly labelled in Lancashire) on your chips.
*Bog Pitch: Either you in the bog shouting out of the door at Catherine or vica versa with you shouting under the door of her bog. If it’s a number 2 – then this will take 20 minutes (half an hour if she does a crossword). If you have irritable bowel syndrome then schedule half a day with Catherine. If it’s a Number 1 – then be quick.
*Pitch ‘n’ Puke - This can last 2 minutes. Only for the truly exceptional pitcher. Or a bulimic.
*Email Pitch – steal some email addresses and randomly throw your thoughts out into the digital ether.
*Group Text – a pitch aimed at no-one in-particular, just in the off chance.
*Hollywood Dial Pitch - Simply make one random phone call to anyone in Hollywood. Remember they are Americans so speak slowly. Here's what to say: First say: 'Hello is that Hollywood?', If they say ‘Yes’ then you're in. Then say 'Send Cheque now we’ve got a proper good film'.
With wholehearted enthusiasm, their appetites far from suppressed and their interest whet, they may now ask you the name of the film. This bit is easy, you can make a perfectly decent film title from any combination of these words:
Hot Rod, Rumble, Athena, Party, Death, Wheels, Tattoo, Frogs, Dragon, Mars, Fireball, Princess, The, Death, Love, Sex, Explosion, Hunk, Man, Woman, Creature, Blah, Thing, That, One, Two, Three, Four'
After giving them the name of your film just give them your bank details and sit back and wait for the money to make 'Rumble Frogs' or 'That Blah Thing' to come rolling in. If by a slim chance you're asked to elaborate further on the film then of course oblige them. For example for 'That Blah Thing' say things like: ‘We've all been there’ or ‘this is the film that slurs something unintelligible to us all’ or ‘this is the film that shouts ‘Uiilleeebbarrbbarragghh’ or ‘here is without doubt the every-man written large’ or ‘not much but something’ or ‘the human condition is opened up like a back street surgeon with a scalpel strapped onto each finger and one on the end of his knob rampaging through a well stocked native menagerie in Micronesia (Which incidentally, by complete fluke of random chance, luck and destiny is the plot line for the movie, ‘That Blah Thing’.)
By the way Hollywood insiders say this pitching technique did work for Ace Ventura Pet Detective.
Nollywood Dial Pitch. Try the above Hollywood dial pitch but in Nollywood.
3 Amazingly Sometimes Catherine From Story Telling Regional GB Creative Calls Security To Have You Removed From The Meeting So Here Are Some Further Funding Methods To Fall Back On:
Crowd sourcing - There is no law against this. Well there isn't yet, so exploit to its fullest whilst you can.
Random chance – Sometimes things will happen by random chance, seize on this, you never know where it might take you. Or ignore it as its directionless nonsense. Either way someut'll happen.
Job seekers Allowance. The people at the job centre are some of the friendliest people you will meet and have done more for the British film industry than any other organisation. For many years they have kept Creatives like you in the enviable position of being able to moan at length about not getting work whilst not actually needing to get it.
4 Cast ‘n’ Crew
Cast: Here’s how to cast your film: Advertise in your local rag saying you are looking for any ugly lunatic willing to stand in front of a camera. Beware: There are specialised websites helping you to find ugly lunatics. These places exploit ugly lunatics by offering them money to appear in films. IN NO WAY should you have to pay for the services of any of these ugly lunatics. They are available for free collecting trolleys in any Supermarket car park across this beautiful nation. DO NOT make them professional, it just encourages their madness.
Crew: Basically people that get in your way of your vision. Worth their weight in shit. It’s up to you to beat your vision out of these parasites. Tethered to their machines they need and respect a leader. You are that leader. They will mumble baffling nonsense about light metres, release forms and voltage. Ignore all of this, it just gets in the way of your vision. As long as someone
can press a button when you shout ‘action’ then they can be employed. They only need one finger to press this button. Check they at least have one finger. They are expendable and can be killed if really necessary. But to be honest this is not usually worth the trouble. They can be replaced with other button pushers instead. If anyone gives lip then get someone else to fire them. Do not fire them yourself because at some point you will have to walk across a field to your car alone and they may strike. Leaders are always alone. It is normal.
5 Production (or Dealing with Confusion / Hyperventilating / The Daily Terrors
Start looking at your hyperventilating/paralysis as like a cigarette break. Or a good appetite suppressant. Panic attacks keep you thin and earthed. All this is normal, do not be alarmed. This will happen daily. Embrace it.
See also our second The Wisdom of Stupidity 2: Dealing with squits, muscle spasms, frozen neck syndrome, goitres, stammering, collapsing in clubs due to strawberry flavoured dry ice, fainting and squits.
6 Boredom (Getting through the Post Production Process)
During the post production process you will find yourself talking about the amount of pixels in a picture. You will argue about what is broadcast quality when there is no such thing. You will start to count the number of words on a page. You will argue about the percentage of strobing in a scene with a man whose job is to measure this when the truth is that no one has ever actually had an epileptic fit caused by watching a film/TV show (I read this in a meme so it must be the truth). You will speak meme after meme somehow believing them to be the truth and other people will believe you without consideration. In essence, fucking tedious all of it.
How to deal with this?: Alcohol, marihuana, long walks, outdoor freezing lake swimming, free running (Parkour in Italian), pornography, self harm, binging and purging, hammering and nailing.
NOTE: By the way, you might want to keep notes on some of this, you’re never going to remember it otherwise. But if you’re a lazy amateur then this book will soon be available in spreadsheet form.
7 Things to Buy when the Money Comes In
The gravy boat at last! You have the money from your film it is time to buy that Harrier Jump Jet from the Army NOW: It is the time to film that scene where a shepherd has decided to herd his sheep in a new and exciting manner – by using a Jump Jet to fire dogs at the sheep.
You could also think of buying an expensive hotel for tramp Hundy (Klan$ Media/Fishing Legal Notice: Sorry, we meant to say Muckey) to live in. Although he may already be dead.
It may seem odd but when you earn money you have to pay the tax on it. Therefore we recommend that you do pay tax unless you will go to prison.
9 Dealing with Liars
Really this is impossible to deal with. They will come so thick and so fast that you’ll even end up joining in. Here is only a small example of some of the lies you will hear/say on a daily basis:
* Yes we have an accountant
* Yes you will be paid
* We should be able to pick you up one of those no problem
* Your dead prop shark will be massive
* No that van is nothing to do with us
* Oh, that van? Yes, it is ours and we are going to remove that unsightly commercial vehicle form your car park today.
* No, we didn’t fire fireworks at your building whilst driving away from your car park in an unsightly commercial vehicle.
* Oh him, yes, he’s the one. But he moved to Baildon/Keighley/Australia/Jakarta and no we don’t have his address.
Subsection 9.1: Dealing with the truth
Just to keep you on your toes, some truth will be spoken too. Look out for these, they are rare. Here’s an example of something truthful you might say:
* Yes he is with us but no we didn’t give him permission to crawl around the gantry system in Studio One at night time. Here are his details. Yes be as ruthless as necessary. Do what you want. We’ve washed our hands of him.
The main thing with accountants is to hire one before you go bankrupt, not after. Don’t just give them a courtesy call after bankruptcy only to find out he/she doesn’t exist. Ensure the people you have employed as accountants actually exist and are not just a voice on the phone.
When you finally get a real accountant you can try the razzle dazzle: Talk to your accountant about the millions that will come. But it will probably come to nothing. Your accountant will rub his/her face alot and sigh, this’ll feel like they’re rubbing salt into your wounds.
Strange coincidences will baffle you. For example your accountant may have bought and now live in the house you grew up in as a child. You will have to deliver documents concerning the £50,000 owing to the Inland Revenue and the resulting bankruptcy to his/her house and you may have a meeting about this in your old childhood bedroom. Remember: This is actually happening and is normal.
11 Dealing with Bankruptcy
The best thing to do at this exciting stage of the film production process is to contact Leeds’ best bankruptcy lawyers, Rhodesy & Townhouse (0113 24658378). You will know they are the best because when you phone round three different lawyers to get quotes for how much it will cost to make a business insolvent you will get conflicting costings. One lawyer will say it will cost £5,000, the next one you ring will say it will cost £14,000. You will know the third lawyers you ring are the best ones when they tell you that it will cost only £2500 (The idea that they are the best will be reinforced by them telling you not to mention the amount to their boss. They will later also prove they are the best by making sure you get redundancy pay from the Government, the very people that you have gone bankrupt owing £50K to).
You can probably get them on the number above, I haven’t tried it for a while, but it worked back in the day. Funnily enough they haven’t rung me since I became insolvent. But they did say we should go out for a drink so I should give them a call.
NOTE: They might openly mock your names. If one of you is called Augustin then you will be laughed at. The names Julian and Bob will also be laughed at. They will be hung-over. Still good blokes. Whether you believe in God or not you will be made to swear on a bible at your bankruptcy hearing. If you mention you are a believer in the Cult of Osiris you will be laughed at. Do not try the razzle dazzle on them – they have seen it all before and they know you have failed.
As told to Julian Butler and Bob Priestley by Producer Peter Ward from the forthcoming book ‘The Wisdom of Stupidity: 'Making hard film making easy the easy way by film makers' from Headpress Books.
(See the ‘Public Air’ TV pilot as an example of how, when put into practice, these theories can create groundsmashing content.)