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Indie As A Business Model

We’ve all heard the old adage, “It’s called show business for a reason.” Indie film can be looked at as a business model as well, but then so can your daughter’s girl scout lemonade stand. Just so you know, the lemonade stand is more profitable.

Ok, so it’s more appropriate to call indie film a hobby. But there are some fairly subtle economics at work: value enters the system in the form of labor, money exchanges hands, bartering of services and resources takes place, products are created (albeit shitty ones), values are assigned to various services and resources, etc. etc.

So if you are a person who works in film, say an actor, or an electrician or god forbid, a writer, what is your value in the indie film economy? Let’s break it down, shall we? I’ve developed a scale of zero to ten–ten being indispensable, zero being beneath notice–that determines your ultimate value to me as an indie film maker.

Where do you fall within an indie film maker’s value scale?

0: Writers. If I’m going to go to all the bother of making a film I’m not going to make your film. Fuck you. I want to make my own story. Yes, I need you to fix my shitty dialog and incomprehensible story arc, but the moment you make any substantial criticism or changes to my baby I’m going to be deeply offended at your disrespect of my genius and assume you are horning in on my territory. You’re fired. Just fix my shit before you leave.

1: Script Supervisor. Honestly, I don’t know what this person does.

2: 1st AD. Is this the person that yells at me and tells me I’m behind schedule? I hate that fuck. Everything is happening exactly the way I want it. We’ll stay till three if I want to. Stop yelling! Jesus, you are annoying.

3: Sound Design. I don’t know what that is really. I know what a composer does, I think, but I can’t afford that. I was mostly going to take a bunch of tracks from my buddy’s punk band and overlay them randomly on top of the footage.

4:  Art direction, set design, prop masters. Who are these people anyway? They are about as useless as Editors. I was just going to use the stuff I had in my garage.

5: Makeup. Yes, so I can’t get the actresses to go on camera without makeup and hair (you can do hair, right?) so I guess I need you. A hundred bucks? For makeup?! Fuck me, you are a leech. I got the director for free and I gotta slip you a C-note to get you to show up? No, I don’t know what a kit costs, what’s a kit? Jesus, you people are like piranhas.

6: Actors. I love actors, especially the one I am trying to bang. God, the one I cast in the lead is hot. They want it. I can tell. Well hey, I’m a  film producer, who doesn’t want me? I can tell when I’ve gotten a half dozen vodka red bulls down their throat at the wrap party and they can physically stand to have me touch them briefly on the leg that I am getting somewhere.

7: Director Of Photography. Oooooh! This is the guy who runs the camera! I know what he does because he stands behind the camera. This guy is important because he makes my film look awesome. And that’s what’s most important. It should look amazing.

8: I don’t have anything for eight. I’m already thinking about the next point.

9: Director. The director is the most important person on the set. They are responsible for the vision and overall look of the film. And they are the person who gets to yell, “Action!” That person is me. And I am awesome at it. I demonstrate my great talent by speaking to the actors in a way they understand and respect, “No, do it more like this,” I will tell them. And then I will read their lines for them the way they should have done it. They love me. I should have been an actor.

10: Set Head. This is the most important position of all, on your knees, in front of me. I don’t care who you are, even if you are a lowly production assistant, if you’re blowing me you will have the run of the set and I will give you the majority of my attention. This leads me to the bonus round, not to be confused with level ten:

11: Spouse.

1 Comment

  1. Radical stuff. I have worked with this guy!!! Once!!!!!!

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