Writers & Filmmaker Essentials (Social Networking, Pitching & Agents)
IMDB (& Withoutabox.com) - This should be your first stop. Get as many of your films up here as possible. Your name will come up for all to see and gives you the look of professionalism you need. Here's how to go through the process
+ Danny Lacey's Tutorial - Adding Your Tiles On To IMDB & Withoutabox.com
+ List of IMDB Qualifying Film Festivals
+ Add New Titles To IMDB
Production Pay Rates - Don't know what to charge your clients as a freelancer? Check these rates out. Next time an employer wishes to argue. Trust me, it's gonna happen. Don't cave in unless its "really" worth it. Our industry is being weakened by people working for free and some employers think just because we live in the digital eram, they can stick a camera in an interns hand and deliver excellence. Love and take pride in what we do.
LinkedIn - If you don't have this, you're crazy! Get on right now and populate it with your projects, showreel, creditations, people you've worked with, what you're working on presently - at the digital age, this is a quick way of vetting people, if you're not keeping your online presence fresh, it shows one thing - you're not very pro-active or serious. ALWAYS have something on the go. Not only this but you can search jobs with it too.
London Screenwriters Festival - YES, its something else you'll need to pay for with money from SOMEWHERE but get yourself a ticket for the next festival and sign up to this - clearly if you're prepared to pay almost £300 for an expensive three days for your ambition, it says something about you.
ENSURE you Make & take some Business Cards with you!
Film Expo South - Who says London has all the talent. My years living in the South Coast working my ass off like crazy brought me across this great event, I helped its CEO, Gilly Tully, who's become a good friend of mine - F.E.S launched in 2015 and works as an annual filmmakers networking event with all sorts of people in Southampton in late January / early February. Make sure you go, it's great!
Talentville - A U.S registered site, you upload your script for feedback in return for giving it back & a chance to be found by someone looking for their next project, especially if it makes it to a high rating, although there are membership costs involved but I'll be honest, they're pretty cheap.
Stage 32 - The Facebook for cast & crew internationally. A really great idea and a crime not to be signed up to.
Bang2Write - If there's a Gordon Ramasay of the script edit world, you'll find them here! Lucy V Hay is a straight talking script editor, whom not only sits on panels of things like 'Shore Scripts' competitions but also speaks and works at the London Screenwriters Festival. I skype her 'every' time I think I have a good idea. She tells me what's good, what's shit, what needs to change. I've got no time for ass kissers or molly coddlers & God only knows how disappointed we were with the writing advice we got out of higher education. And for the ignorant assholes who continually think 'anyone can write a script' - I challenge you to do just that then set up a video recorder to your facial reaction so I can watch you cry at her feedback. I only wish teachers were more like Lucy, I really do.
Talenthouse - A sort of instagram that filmmakers can use, not essential but you may as well, right?
Protecting Your Work
Copyright User - With regards to keeping your work safe, here's a company who offer the advice around it as well as providing it.
Laceys Solicitors - Someone who can help when it comes to this business is Luke English who has turned up at Film Expo South (above) more than once and knows far better than you or I when it comes to copyright and how cases can be fought. Another lawyer who specialises in this area, I went to one of her seminars and is pretty good is Dinusha Mendis - she actually teaches law to students at Bournemouth University. That should give you a good place to start.
Pitching & Support
Chris Jones' Production Office - Advice before you start mixing with the agents, production companies, a lot... and A LOT of support in addressing those fundamental queries from othe filmmakers
+ Living Spirit Resources - his blog with more interesting stuff like interviews with Christopher Vogler & Linda Aronson.
Domic Carver's One Page Pitch - On of those gems that came through on one of my regular feeds which I actually loved... I sucked (kinda still do... don't tell anyone though!) at pitching, so found this immeasurably helpful.
Joey Tuccio (producer & actor) - a contact I made through 'Stage 32' pointed me to this guy to help refine my pitch technique, very good stuff on here.
Miranda Sajdak (screenwriter & producer) - an insightful eye-opener in developing your script loglines & her website (ScriptChix.com) even offers a script feedback service.
Screenwriter's Friend - List of UK Literary Agencies.
Script Express - List OF U.S Literary Agencies & Managers.
International Screenwriters Association - Not that I've gotten much work out of this site but it is a very good hosting site that showcases your work professionally and 'does' pop up with the odd gig or two that you can feel free to apply for but don't bank on much. Alike most of its counterparts they're another bunch of greedy guts who want you to pay just to hear about and / or apply to certain jobs.
Screenwriting Staffing Utopia - Job hunting site for people looking for scripts and sign-up for a regularly updated newsletter. You'll also find this link on the jobs page because if you sign up for their 'Premium Members' part, the job offers that come in are pretty good as they're ALWAYS paid only & you get usually 40+ offers per month.
Lets not kid ourselves! Actors make all the difference sometimes whether a film can live or die in the hands of an audience, so if you don't want rookies and / or friends to play parts that have the risk of making all that hard work looking awful, you must either:
a) cast call for 'real' actors, remember, even if working for free, they're looking to add to their portfolio just like the rest of us.
and / or b) be willing to put the time and training in with the friends you choose, so long as you know what you're doing and looking for, accept no less.
In either case, you make sure they're committed to the dates you need and that they know, just because they're on camera, this does 'NOT' give them a reason to think they're more important or treat crew or other cast with less than due respect. If you go for a star name in your film, that's the risk you take but personally if they come across as impolite, impatient etc - ditch 'em.
Spotlight - houses some of the best talent worldwide, costly but worth it. Be prepared to go through agents.
Casting Call Pro - a wider range of actors with more variety in talent but probably living on a bit more of a constrained budget than those of the above, therefore usually more susceptible to offers.
Casting Networks International - a newer version of the above & pretty good too. Access to agents, cast calls for new projects. Worth a look.
The Casting Website - Another professional casting site for all your actor / actress needs.
StarNow - poorly put together in my opinion where anyone can join & claim to be a an actor so I'd advise caution when going through it & make sure you vet them properly with the aid of Google first.
Fame Street - Similar to the above and you're having to add 'yet another' online profile to your list if you want to grab some work as extras etc here too but it pays off with offers to be extras on Pirates Of The Caribbean etc.
Shooting People - covers more than actors and more comprehensive as a website overall but can play hell with dealing with the return offers. Just because you're filling your audition space doesn't mean they're going to be any good, so watch yourself.
The Urban Experience (Locations) - abandoned locations with cinematic quality that may just spare you a few extra costs. It covers several areas, take a look.
999/24/7 Uniformed Supporting Artistes & Vehicles - For those looking for police cars, uniforms and the rest in their films this' what you need, costs aren't available online, which is what ropes you in to call them I guess. They also claim to be able to offer over 28 acres of locations.
Northumbria Vikings - for those interested in re-enacted battles, costumes, armoury etc from the earlier ages, you should give these guys a look over regarding getting your hands on the right stuff.
Children Actors - Those parts which require children, here you go!
* with actors & actresses you are liable for certain costs such as their transport & (time dependent) meal(s)
The Writers Hunting Ground (Jobs, Funding & Accomodation)
Arts Council England - Probably the first place I suggest you go. This thing has it all. You will just need to cerate a profile. Wait a couple of days. They'll validate your account then if you haven't done so already. Finish your project submission with a comprehensive summary, what the funds will be used for etc. Just make sure you are applying for the right fund. It isn't just film that they do so don't go wasting your time.
BFI Film Fund - several different kinds of film fund and "many" sublinks you have to pay attention to in order to find out what the right one is to apply for and there's also those allocated on a lottery basis.
Creative Skillset Film - these guys support the funding of shit University courses like the Scriptwriters one I did at Bournemouth to one's in National Film & Television School... Go figure. Anyway, this part backs projects in the UK on a 'Skills Investment Fund', supporting your short films through the 'Shorts Support Scheme' - so long as its successful in one of their top listed festivals.
+ key funding & developing bodies in UK
+ BFI (formerly UK Film Council) Film Fund
Creative England - I attended a talk with Celine Haddad, their senior film executive and this is largely to do with supporting film talent outside of London & aims to really help stand behind those still without representation as well as emerging talent - check it out!
Kevin Spacey Foundation - Not only is an awesome actor and always will be long after he's gone. His words: "When you reach the top, it is your responsibility to send the elvator back to the ground floor." So here you are, whether it be film, theatre or dance, make sure you apply for your funding through here. Its costs nothing but you need to obviously be very clear about where the money's going and all the details suurounding your submission.
Musicbed - Fairly new but they've already started awarding films with a shit tonne of money to get their projects off the ground. Alike the Kevin Spacey Foundation, they will also ask for any key talent you've attached to your project and so when it comes to casting, composres, DoPs etc, just aim the highest you can get. Its no good applying to this stuff with average Joe's. You have to try!
Hiive - Based at Pinewood Studios. Fairly young but ambitious and have a handle on some good positions out there usually as well as offering work with themselves + they also run some pretty good project fund competitions sometimes WELL worth a look.
Berlinale - Project development & funding for filmmakers of various disciplines, I'd have put the application up directly but it changes each year so find it on here but believe me its worth looking at other areas around their website to begin anyway.
Indiegogo - If you want to put your heart into presenting yourself and explaining why people should invest in your film then this is what you should try, there are some great success stories on this.
Livetree - A film oriented crowdfunding site recognised by BFI and are also prepared to chuck in some camera stuff like Blackmagic's. They're (rightly so) quite specific and quite bespoke to the others in film by comparison so make sure you give it a look over.
Kickstarter - A variation of the above, I've seen simple projects raise themselves into the 6-figure mark, not to be overlooked.
WeFund - Yet another variation but have been told that payment of anything you make is only subject to you achieving the full amount you're after.
Phundee - Another to add to the fray you can try. A friend of mine raised her £10,000 through this for her project; The Crystal Egg. Phundee noticed it as being a fairly noteworthy project and so extended her running time to raise the money & promoted it somewhat themselves. Says a lot about the people that run it to me.
Unit List - Without a doubt - the best! No sign up and now bullshit fee sign-up fee. Why the hell should we pay to "apply" for jobs? All our years, stress, working insane hours, usually broke during our independent filmmaking... The guys who made this make the job hunt process so much easier. Make sure you make this your first stop.
Advertising Producers Association - All the way from runner to producers jobs and emailing straight through to the employer. Unfortunately, they don't advertise a a lot of positions regularly but at least its another fairly straightforward resource you can use, just to dive in and out of.
Christy Media Solutions - You can fill out a generic application that covers you as a student graduate / postgraduate... Whatever. They even ask you for the name of your dissertation. Ha... Like they really give a shit. Anyway, apply away... At least they don't charge you like some dickheads will.
Mise-En-Scene - Everyone knows my opinion on most Universities teaching media production (they're not worth the money to keep it short!). Usually they require students to partake in placements or internships but have "nothing" to offer usully, so whether you're a student or just looking for work experience, here's something to help you guys out.
The Talent Manager - in my opinion, the best one out there available! Relevant decent jobs & recognised by many. I'd be surprised if you didn't find the opportunities you're looking from here alone! In addition they've got links to equipment hire.
Crew.Me.Now - I'm not shitting you. I 'have' got decent money out of responding to Facebook posts. One was a 2nd AC position on a China / UK collaboration paying £1,750 for a week. If freelance work was this easy to find, I;d a millionaire by now. Do NOT rely on this page to set you up. Its always last minute and its not reliable but its always good to know there may be the off chance position you can respond to once in a while.
BBC - set up for a full list of jobs both clerical and production. Set up a profile first. It's an amazing site all categorised by location too, definitely worth doing. Not only this but they also provide a full list of what they're looking to commission for Television and radio.
+ TV Commissioning
+ Radio Commissioning
Channel 4 (links below) - jobs and opps through Channel Four.
+ further information
Sky - a simple job search filter after you set up a quick account with the ability to work both in the UK and abroad if you're willing - worth a look.
Shine Group - Sign up to this so that people like 'Princess Productions' can find you easily, more for like Reality TV and stuff.
ITV - jobs and opps through ITV.
Other Jobs Production Companies - depending on the filter you use, you can get a full list of production companies in all countries from here plus a full list of jobs around the world - pretty good!
Hat Trick Productions - Have a number of successful, money-making shows behind them & seem to be quite receptive to new blood enquiries. You should give them a try, particularly if you're looking into television.
Tiger Aspect - Have a fair bit of content to their name & a healthy yet up to date reputation and appear quite forthcoming with applications you can start off as a runner etc.
SceneOne - London, London, London, right? Gets a bit gutty knowing 80% of the opportunities are in the most expensive part of the country, whilst you live in Dorset, so here's an asset that helps you keep an eye out for something more down that neck of the woods.
Internwise - create an account for free and some good one's really do come up, another string to your bow, doesn't give you a place to put in any links so make sure you include them on the CV's you upload.
Casting Collective - useful if you don't mind being given only 24 - 48 hours notice before you're needed in London somewhere, the pay is exceptional for even a days work as an extra on a feature film (I've done it!) but you need to go to 'White City' in London for your initial registration and the work is never consistent enough to survive but for experience, can be quite rewarding.
Considering the United States? - it's RIDICULOUSLY confusing, this took a "long" time to understand but this is the best website to guide you through, they don't like picking up an email if you have questions but they do leave a phone number which isn't 0845 so that's a start.
Start Here (BUNAC) and make your way from here!
* As a student you're applying for the J-1 Visa
It lasts 1 - 12 months PROVIDED you've already got a placement lined up & approved by the employer, it MUST relate to your current course of study & DON'T book your flights until the visa comes back you've got to be able to prove you've got access to support funds of around £1,500
Internships.com - For those hunting down an easy list of open film positions in the states.
Room In The Moon - It's no good having a job with no accommodation now is it? - Sign up here, it's a social media site for those in the same position as you but more importantly, those who have done it and can share you tips etc to help sort you ut
Dream Careers - Another one for the statesthat helps you streamline your searches and saves the time you're likely to waste + they ALSO provide a helping hand with finding your accommodation but be aware these guys also charge a bloody fee as well!!!
Links for Festivals & Competitions That Have Served Me Well:
Withoutabox.com - worldwide list and shortlisted entry criteria including fee's, genre, length, date of material acceptability.
+ Austin Film Festival (Lee Jessup recommendation)
Film Freeway - the name is deliberate not just because of it being related with speed & a motorway bit also is an effort to cripple 'Withoutabox' they illustrate quite forwardly & have listed all of their festivals as 'FREE' - so... Go for it!
Festhome - like the above but the rates are "much" more cheaper, making the festival circuit much more accessible to guerilla film-makers.
Film Festival Life - here's another, need I explain, just take a look, there's quite a few.
Festival Focus - the scale of this festival finder allows for many submissions without spending hardly anything, starter festivals want decent films to help get them going + there are those which still have.
Simply Scripts - An interesting one, if you're looking to get your script made then put it here and filmmakers can see it from all over the world, not only do you they need your permission before they make it but they also need to retain your credit as the film's writer. Not bad for films that may be out of your budget.
Bafta - a list of BAFTA acclaimed festivals & view over previous winners, helpful to understand what people are looking for... hopefully some not as ambiguous to you out there as some are to me. In addition the site's quite easy to use and has links to various videos of director & screenwriter insightful interviews.
+ Bafta & Rocliffe & New Writing Forum (Terms & Conditions)
Screenwriting For Hollywood - you want a list of the best festivals, here it is.
The Black List - if you've got the work to upload, you start here, this way it is visible to'those who choose them to be made' through mediums such as 'Variety' magazine, 'Los Angeles Times', 'Hollywood Times' - the lost goes on, so get going!
- also recommended by Lee Jessup -
+ Page International Screenwriting Awards
+ Spec Scout
+ Story Expo
+ Stage32's: Happy Writers
+ Brooklyn Weaver
Best Screenwriting Contest List - the more comprehensive worldwide list of best festivals.
UK & US Script Submissions - a site ran by something else I'm signed up to called 'ScriptSpotter.' You'll need to sign up for it but that's tough, just do it and keep a list safe of all your usernames & passwords for this stuff as there's going to be lots more, whether you like it or not.
Wildsound - a widespread festival with submission interests across all types of script (even film). Plus, if you can put a short video pitch together, they will do a script readthrough for you by professional actors to increase your publicity on the project.
The Nicholl Fellowship Award - 'THE ONE' to win which gives you the career we are all looking for, I've seen it happen with a graduate from Bournemouth University.
Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award - Those under the age of 30, you must apply for this each time, whilst you've got the chance. Nobody ever told me but now I've told you all - MAKE SURE you give yourselves each opportunity, especially when its free!
New York Screenplay Contest - another individual screenplay competition that takes a bit of saving for submission but worthwhile.
Euroscript - one which one of my teachers one at Ealing Studios' Metfilm school, after which got her the groundings for her cinema feature release.
Shoreline Scripts - not only a festival but also one that helps with development of your material, being as its supposed to have a script analysis team having worked with some major production companies (i.e; Universal, Working Title, Lionsgate etc).
Script Pipeline - yes it will take you back to 'withoutabox.com' but this is one of the top within that site.
Hollywood Screenplay Contest - alike the previous mention but for another festival with its own individual merit.
BBC Writers Room - submitting for something more local, THIS is where you must try!
Scripts Online - if you haven't started reading scripts yet (doesn't have to be the whole whack or even that many) but you MUST start. At least use them as a template to write stuff in you're not sure about.
Internet Movie Script Database - same function as above but usually more responsive with more archives.
Box - and don't forget to upload your own, or what you feel comfortable uploading at least - GET AN ONLINE PRESENCE, if you don't then you're shooting yourself in the foot each passing moment!
Fiverr - Some employers can ask for the Earth and offer peanuts. However, others are well worth it but they're always asking for filmmakers who are also animators...?! They DO NOT exist! Especially when we want to sell ourselves in the 'one' discipline we're most interested in but we have to become multi-faceted just so we can earn some money to pursue it. VFX & animation is my weakness but if you need something to aid your own efforts & create something in a rush, use this website I found. It should help you get through some of those situations. Very handy on your showreels for example.
Prezi / Emaze - Everytime I'm considering a corporate job, I'm usually counting down until they mention 'Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation.' Its usually with regards to how I plan a shoot, tell them where I could add value etc. Look, we're creatives so use either one of these to put your own together when you deluver one. Their minds usually explode, you'll get a free compliment :) but more importantly they will 'have' to see you for what you are - a "visual" creative. Not one of their corporate senses of the word but from the off - they start looking forward to the images 'you' will hopefully be creating for them further down the line.
Hacker Typer - Ooh, something cool for anyone writing a hacking script that needs a simple way to make something hard - exceedingly easy! Here's a small software program you can use to masquerade as a hacking, hit F11 and off you go!
Equipment Hire Companies