Making My First Independent Feature Film – An Update

I am busy writing and re-writing at the moment.  In full flood, as it were, now I have decided on getting my film into pre-production early 2021, with a view to film in the fall of 2021.

So what to tell you about the process?  Apart from a blow by blow of my somewhat excruciating shuffling of my script, not much honestly.  Covid has kept me home, which, as I am sure you are all aware of by now through your own bitter experience, hardly seems to give more time for anything. But I have managed to focus my aim a little.  Trying to stay off the TV and away from all mention of the election, which is mind killing.

How to write in what should be a vacuum and is, in reality, much more like a fishbowl?  I wish I had a better answer for you.  I still seem to find it easier to work later in the day, once it’s dark even.  The world retreats and, like a classic trombone shot, my script comes frighteningly into focus.

So on I plod.  Honing and rearranging. Deleting and undeleting. But always moving closer to the finish line.  I am close to the point at which a few very select friends will be getting copies in their inbox for notes…which is a bit terrifying, but very, very necessary.

I have been considering entering my script in some screenwriting competitions.  These, when successful, can give credence to your project, if you plan on self producing, as far as raising money, or even casting well.  They are also an excellent opportunity to get good notes, although not all do that, so check before you enter if that’s part of your goal.  Also they are about $35 to enter usually, so be selective.  Pick the contest that best suits the genre of your story.

If you win there is prize money and the possibility of interest from agents and producers etc. Even if you don’t win and have something good, you might get a nibble or two of interest, so that’s worthwhile. Ultimately it’s all about putting what you have out into the universe one way or another and bravely facing whatever occurs.

Screenplay competitions:

Here are a few very interesting articles I read recently on financing a film….so much information!! But well worth the read if you are seriously considering doing this mad, mad thing.

So with the script on the way and the financing of the film also buzzing around in my head, I am basically bookending the project really.  Since quite possibly a large part of the fundraising is also a form of marketing in a way…if I choose to use a variety of fundraising platforms, crowd funding will undoubtably be source – a basic of indie film now.  Crowdfunding has a naturally built in audience, already supporting and waiting for the completed film. And, if they are happy with the result, ready and willing to share it and promote it along with their involvement as a producer.

Making a film this way is like building a company.  The script is a business plan of sorts.  An inspiration for raising the capital. Every dollar invested has to be accounted for and each share of the potential profits assigned correctly.  Maybe it’s closer to running numbers.  Either way I have about the same experience of each and no real passion for either.  But to make a film one must be all things, or it will just never happen.

Onwards and upwards then and back to the core of it all…the words, the story.

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.