MIA Films

Mia Bays, from MIA Films, was our hostess for the next two hours at Vision & Media‘s  headquarters in Salford, Manchester.

Having attended a few of these talks, you soon realise a common theme. In general, speakers deal with the business-end of film- making and not the creative aspects.

Some will say that making films is all about being creative. Whilst there is truth in that statement, remember Mr Dyson didn’t make a penny until he dealt with the business-end of his creation the Dyson Vacuum.

So, making your film is only one half of the jigsaw; to recover your development costs means dealing with the business-end of the equation.

So, without further ado, here are Missing In Action’s top tips for independent film-making.

10. Be Innovative

Use innovative companies who have a unique way of approaching your project. Think strategy, think marketing, think sales.

9. Look After The Team

Always look after your team and include everyone from the cleaner to the executive producer. It’s an old adage but people are your most valuable asset.

8. Be Passionate

If nothing else, have passion about what you do, as you will need it in abundance. Without it, your project will fall at the first hurdle. Passion breeds enthusiasm, enthusiasm breeds belief, belief helps develop a team and the team gets the job done!

7. Know What You Are

Decide what type of film-maker you are. Visionary or Reactionary? Both have their place but one stands out as ambitious, making waves, creating something new and the other does not. Decide as early as possible and make your mark.

6. Something For Nothing

Do not wait for handouts. There are umpteen film-makers all waiting for a cheque to drop on their door mat before they will start making a film. Wanting to make a film and making a film are two different things. The only way you attract money to your project is by demonstrating what you can do. It could not be clearer; do not wait for handouts.

5. The Desert Island Test

Choose your team carefully and always ask yourself ‘If I were stranded on a desert island, would I want to be stranded with a) the producer b) the director c) the camera man so on and so forth?’

If the answer is ‘yes’, then include him or her on the team. However, if the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not in a month of Sundays’ or ‘not even if you paid me’, then you probably have the wrong person sitting in front of you and you should make a polite excuse and leave quickly.

4. Use  Deadlines And Limitations

Use deadlines and work with limitations. With neither of these two in place, you will still be working on your first project in 2020. Deadlines enforce urgency and limitations allow your creative flair to rise. Both enhance your ability to deliver and making films is all about delivery.

3. Why Do You Want To Make Films?

Be clear why you want to make films. If it’s because of wealth, stardom, fame and fortune, then think very carefully before embarking on such a long and tedious road. Film-making is not for the faint-hearted.

When making decisions about the film’s direction, content, dialogue etc., always serve the film and not the cast’s or crew’s ego. A film should be made for a single purpose and that’s to tell a story. When egos become an obstacle then it’s time for the ego to move on and the story to take centre stage. As a producer, this is a key focal point for you to monitor.

2. Be Prepared – Know Your Subject Matter

Take your time during the development phase, this is when you can afford to make mistakes, fail quickly, re-jig or revamp ideas. Ensure you have the three knows:

2.1  Know your story, inside out, upside down and from left to right.

2.2  Know your audience; your story will be told to them, so anticipate what they expect.

2.3  Know your theme; in what style will you shoot, how will the story unfold or how will it be described?

and finally….

1. Content is King, Content is King, Content is King

The most important point is the storyline. Find stories that matter and let your imagination run free. It costs nothing, it’s creative and there are no limitations. This is your one opportunity to do anything you like, so make the most of it. Your storyline is king!

The majority of Mia Bays’ points are already in practise at K’motion Films, so I left with a warm, comforting feeling of knowing that we are well on our way. Talking to industry insiders is a great way to ensure you are on track and to learn from others without having to make the same mistakes.

I actively encourage film-makers to sign up to their regional film agency and attend as many of these workshops as possible.

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