Writers & Filmmaker Essentials (Social Networking, Pitching & Agents)
IMDB - 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
+ 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 £400 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!
BSI Media - You want to sell a script, a film you've made or want to make - How? THIS is where you come. They take your questions, review your material, fund it even - provide feedback and distribution (network, broadcasters and theatrical distribution) for film & series & ran by 'Professionals' / 'Practitioners' - the one's you NEED! Some of them even Emmy Award winners - See for yourself! EXTREMELY USEFUL - They also provide Producer Packages, Concept Videos, Pitches & Appoitnments!!!
Do you realise you lucky people are getting information & research here that I never had that could save you THOUSANDS of £'s or $'s & YEARS of your time? Don't say I don't love you.
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 Ramsay 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.
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.
MPLC - for legal information on broadcast & exhibition rights if you need them.
Pitching & Support
Stage 32 Happy Writers - Simple! An extended FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC part of the already amazing 'Stage32' platform where you book a Skype session & book your pitch slot with a professional of your choice. Just make sure you're ready - use these resources, do your research etc then best of luck
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.
Dominic 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. HOWEVER, its one of those BULLSHIT "Pay To Apply" deals. So give it ONE or TWO shots then if its not working for you - CANCEL IMMEDIATELY! 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.
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.
Shooting People - YES, they charge for you to apply for jobs but just one job as a 1st AD here for 2 days gave me VERY GOOD return on my subscription. They're legitimate and even sponsor BAFTA networkign events. It covers more than actors and more comprehensive as a website overall but can play hell with dealing with the return offers.
The Collective (Locations) - Film locations with "everything" you could hope for with cinematic quality that may just spare you a few extra costs and time for those pressing deadlines. It covers several areas, take a look. Members even get discounts.
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)
Training / Experience /
Internships / Jobs
TV Watercooler - A comprehensive A-Z of ALL employers that hire regularly from production companies to broadcasters. Your best place to start.
Unit List - Without a doubt - the best! No sign up and now bullshit fee sign-up fee. THANK YOU Jude Winstanley for setting it up! Met her at an RTS function once for a chat & to thank her for this. Just what I was hoping for - someone genuine & professional. Anyway, yeah - Why the hell should we pay to "apply" for jobs? All our years, stress, working insane hours, usually broke during our independent filmmaking... Highly recommend this be your first stop.
Edinburgh TV Festival - Far better than the chaos of RTS Futures Careers Fair. Instead of company's just wanting to be seen on social media as making a difference for employability (I have 'never' heard of someone getting a job out of this) the EdFest provides better speakers, more structure and professional insight even for "complete" TV virgins.
Creative Mind Group - They offer opportunities to be involved at film festivals as well as production companies and are very film & TV driven from entry level to senior level jobs.
The Callsheet - You will notice a lot of jobs here that pop up on Unit List already but you had always best be sure and take a look for others of course. Yep, I'm afraid it means setting up 'ANOTHER' account but... At least they're not one of these insane sites that make you 'pay to apply.'
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 / London Connections - 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, another was only a £100 a day for a Senior AP job but it saw me through att the time. If freelance work was this easy to find, I'd be 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.
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 stuff. Try your luck.
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.
Lift-Off Network (& Festival) - Not only a reputable festival but also runs a Film Career Development Programme with 2 days at Pinewood Studios, a 2 week work placement scheme & an assigned mentor.
1st On Set - Ran by an old friend of mine from Met Film School; Christiaan Faberij De Jonge. We graduated together. He's been working as an Assistant Director on film & tv for several years now and offers the training, expertise and some career contacts. Well worth his brilliant asking price.
Casting Collective or Universal Extras - 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.
Spectacle - Ran by an indie filmmaker that is one of the actual few that tries to do his part training young filmmakers ready for the industry providing internships & work placements.
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.
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!!!
Script Angel & Road Map Writers - If you know you're one of those people that require a bit of coaching and a 'professional' motivator to keep you going with your next script, stop by here.
Voyage Media - Say if you're working with SA or RMW (above) this would be the place you consult once you believe your script is now the best it can be to put you in touch with a decent producer. Good luck.
Links for Platforms, Festivals & Competitions
Film Freeway - the name is deliberate not just because of it being related with speed to make it easy to find festivals you can even submit to for 'FREE' - so... Go for it! Just be aware that the less submission you pay, the less recognised that festival will be in doing anything for you.
Coverfly - Like the above but for screenplays ONLY! Score a couple of finalist places with a script competition that belongs to this umbrella group, i.e; Shore Scripts, Page, Nicholl Fellowship, Script Pipeline, Scriptapalooza, Writers Lab, with one of your scripts increases your score towards 'The Red List' (sort of their 2 step version of the 'Black List' see below) and they will ALL count to a collective score that means that even if you don't win, it still retains some merit towards other submissions.
Shore Scripts - I sometimes myself work for them as one fo their script readers. I come across beginner to professional level scripts. They run great competitions. One I worked on in 2015 actually went on to win. A very good place for feedback and compete and acquire funds too!
Script To Screen - EXCELLENT! Not only access to see some of the most up to date scripts but also an 'EXTREMELY' valuable teaching tool that scrolls through the script whilst watching the scene extract to study its direct script to screen translation. A scriptwriter's porn site - See for yourself!
- You should be joining the Facebook page already -
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. When I was living in Vietnam, having a low moment it was thanks to this platform, a fan wrote to me saying how much she enjoyed.
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 (also works like Coverfly - VERY Good! ... but expensive!)
+ Story Expo
+ Stage32's: Happy Writers
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. Reputable unrivalled script development from professionals.
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).
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!
Insurance, Equipment Hire, Clearance For Footage & Music & Carnet Companies
Selling, Marketing, Exhibition & Distributor Information
American Film Market - The best of the best! Don't just crash in. Try and arrange your meetings at least 1 - 2 months in advance. This DOES accommodate films from development to completion, just be prepared! If you're going for this, please let me know how your experience was. These stories are always interesting to me and helpful to us all.
Cannes (Marché Du Film) - Make SURE you go with someone who knows what they're doing before going. Before you go, you MUST register for accreditation otherwise you're not getting in! Visit Raindance for further information. They're extremely helpful on this stuff & even run a workshop on this alone. It is HUGE! It works similar to Berlinale but this is for FILM and NOT television and always seek advice on your travel & accommodation strategy. Don't forget your business cards and to make sure you've got ALL your sales material prepared in advance.
Berlinale - A BIG deal! Project development & funding for filmmakers of various disciplines and a film market! 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.
MIPTV - Also for documentary but in any case, a place you can visit to see 'what exactly' the industry is looking for and who will be there to attend. Maybe you're looking at foreign film - they're here too from Asia to Latin America so... The people there are interested in early stage projects as well as those that are completed so before you start, you may want to come here first.
Hong Kong International Film & TV Market - Lets not forget the East side of the business. You never know, what may not be a good idea on one side of the Earth may work better in another. Not to mention it IS one of the top one's. Go and have a quick look
Closed Captions -
A lot of places, even festivals require to have your film subtitled / Closed Captioned. Here are a few places you can go to get it doen, provided by Amazon Prime.
Colour & Grading -
This is one of the things 'most' people don't know is about the end look of a product by the end of an edit. For crying out loud, GET. IT. DONE. Otherwise it 'WILL' look awful. Here's one place you can go to get it done, not to mention helping you with your DCP for your screening exports.
Scarlet View Media - Instructions for sending your finished edit off to a colourist. They even do it here so if you're within budget, you may wish to just go with these guys.
Find A Producer
I'll tell you this - I believe this to be the most underappreciated job in film next to scriptwriters. These people have to find the funding and the people to invest in a script. It is EXTREMELY hard work! FAR harder when you're not known. When you find one, speaking personally, I have dealt with a few ungrateful pricks in my career that think just because they know me, they think I'm obligated to help them - Get real!
They are a combination of research of funding sources, network of crew, cast, distributors - ALL carefully cultivated relationships over "years." If someone comes to me with an idea, it better be a polished script, you'd better have some kind of track record that helps me sell you, some visible kind of effort, take criticism, remember your manners and give me the support I require to procure the resources you're after.
Furthermore; students; not 'I' nor anyone else... Even your team wil care about 'your' grade! - It's; What's in it for me, what's in it for them and more importantly what's in it for your audience. If you think I come across harsh - I'm not, I'm being frank. Look at this website, think about how hard I've worked to get this knowledge and how far off to a headstart you are already because of it... I did not have this & sure as hell no-one gave it to me. Please understand, most "worthwhile" producers think "exactly" the same way.
The Way They Think - Rightly So!
Voyage Media -
Carefully read their bio's, make sure you're pitching to their interests and prep your pitch - follow the instructions. Be clear of your goals and as I said, ensure there's something in it for them.
Stage 32 - Pitch Sessions -
I have mentioned this platform many time sover the years. It's excellent. Here you book your pitch slot and have access to Executive Producers, their assistant's, Development Executives. Perfect... Now prepare & go - Good luck.
> More Available in 'Mentoring & Teaching' section
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.