Actual Scripted Films

For a steadily growing subset of camcorder owners, this is the Big Kahuna, the raison d'être, the Main Event: making a real movie, complete with dialog, actors, and a plot. Ever since The Blair Witch Project made $140 million—a movie made by recent film-school grads with a camcorder, no funding, and no Hollywood connections—independent films have become a very big deal.

You can post your homemade movies on the Web sites listed in Chapter 14, where 200 million Internet citizens can watch them. The most popular ones get Hollywood-studio attention. There are even a growing number of film festivals dedicated to showing homemade (usually DV) films. In the sixties, Americans used to say that anyone could grow up to be president. Today, we say that anyone can make a Hollywood movie.

The world, and the library, is filled with books on making traditional movies. However, the process is much more difficult than making the kinds of movies described so far in this chapter. In addition to all of the technique and technical considerations you’ve read about so far, you now have to worry about plot, scripts, continuity, marketing, actors, characters, costumes, props, sets, locations—and budget. You’ll go through these phases of creation:

  • Writing the screenplay. Most movies begin with a script—or at the very least, a treatment (a 5- to 30-page prose synopsis of the movie’s story line that’s usually designed to attract interest from backers).

    If you send your screenplay to Hollywood ...

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