Getting a Movie Started: Step One – Team Building

On Set: Cider Springs Slaughter

On Set: Cider Springs Slaughter

I realize for many people this will be an “ox before the cart beginning”. I have always been told, find a project then find the team to make it. I know that can work. I also know that the world is littered with the bodies of unfinished films. By the way I define a finished film by; is it out there and people can see it.

Getting a film from point A to Z is almost impossible. It is easy to get people excited about a project. It is difficult to keep them excited when they find out that it is more work than it is fun. This is why I say building your team is the first step. You want to find people who are committed to the work that is filmmaking. You want people who see your project and you as a necessary step along the way to their dream of becoming something in film.

Another contradicting point: It does not matter if they know what they are doing. It matters are they willing to learn. Odds are you don’t know what you are doing either. Once you have a group who want to make a movie, find out what each person does know, or more importantly who they know that can help you a little bit along the way.

James Duval, Mustafa Waiz Dylan Kellihg (Delkha)

James Duval, Mustafa Waiz Dylan Kellihg (Delkha)

My first experience with this was with Devon Ryan. I was attending San Francisco State University with a friend. We met another young man there who had shot a short film. I had a script (which surprised him. I guess people had ideas not paper). He knew more than we did. We began our journey that lead us to meeting Devon Ryan a special effects guru, who had taught many people in the industry. I meet with him with my fairly standard slasher pick screenplay and asked, would he help us. He gave me a budget for the effects which we could not afford naturally, and then made an offer. If we gave his students the credits, he would do it at cost.

As I was leaving, he said I had learned the most important thing in making movies, Ask. And he was right. I ask lots of questions. What do you want to do? Do you know how to do it? Will you let us shoot here? Will you help us make a movie?

James DuvalEveryone wants to make a movie. It takes dedicated people at every point to make it happen. If you have them, you can make any movie. It simply takes time. You need to be excited about your movie. More importantly, you need to be excited about being able to actually finish the movie.

I quietly sneak out an help students on films and first time filmmakers. Usually the ones who ask. I don’t get to do it as much now, but I always have time to talk about how they can do it.

Continuum Motion Pictures The Team

Continuum Motion Pictures: The Team

Much of my team has been with me for years and I miss the ones who are not with us now. People get feelings hurt, or have girl friends or boy friends, sometimes both, parents and responsibilities that find them in life. These can get in the way. In the end it has to be about the dream and making the dream real.

Finding a team and sticking by them, makes the dreams more likely to become reality.

Jame Duval
Continuum Motion Pictuers