Just recently, I had an exploratory talk with a potential movie producer. He has 3 million pesos intended as investment for 2 movie projects. One is a commercial movie that would earn and the second is an award-winning movie.
Mr. Manny Nuqui of 4N Films used to say that producing a movie is a gamble. There’s no sure fire formula for a movie to earn. He once made a film that earned awards but did not earn even half of the 25-million budget.
Mr. Manny Nuqui, producer of 4N Films
Mr. Nuqui’s first consideration in a movie production is the cast. Especially for popular actors who have a fan base, earnings become easier due to the word of mouth promotion. Talent fee is no object when a popular actor is hired.
We had a project which would headline a comedian for the lead. When he felt that the comedian was not that popular anymore, the project was shelved in spite of having given a downpayment to the scriptwriter and director.
With the technology and modern way of movie production, the indie bandwagon is bustling with newcomers – producers and directors alike. It is now much cheaper to make a movie so an indie can have a budget of less than a million budget.
For the potential movie producer, I introduced him to the hidden elements of movie production. With profit in mind, the first consideration should not be the cast but the market. There are many indie with good casting that did not earn.
For starters, check the story for commercial value – what sector of the society is the target market. They say a gay film never loses simply because it has a capture market like the bold films.
But for decent films, it is difficult to ascertain the market – drama, comedy, action, etc. That’s why mainstream movie producers always rely on heavy casting. Do you think Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy would earn that much if not for Vice Ganda?
A pre-production meeting with script reading
When the story and cast are settled, the next move is the location. The so-called location hunting is participated in by the director, production designer, assistant director and production manager. Of course, the cinematographer should also be involved.
The production meeting is held with the participation of the production team and the cast. Sometimes there’s a script reading for new actors. At this stage, the scripwriter is on the lookout for probable revisions of the script.
The production takes place when location permits and rentals were secured. Aside from the talent fee, the other expenses are equipment, food and transportation. A recent production spent 780,000 pesos for the rental of equipment – camera, lights, rig.
The shooting is not as simple as one would think because there are unforeseen incidents like a power outage that would require a generator set. Another probable snag is the unruly crowd that would require the intervention of the barangay people.
How about if the lead actor couldn’t make it to the set? Or a major cast gets sick? Or the vehicle of the equipment had engine trouble? There are so many what ifs so a list of contingent action should be on hand to avoid panic.
The tarpaulin used in the shooting as para of the movie’s promotion
When the shooting is finished, the editor takes over with the guidance of the director. This post-production stage entails an expense of about 300,000 for film editing, color grading, sound and music, titles.
When the final copy of the movie is ready, prepare 30,000 pesos for the pictorial for the poster while the movie is being previewed by MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board.
So finally, the movie is now ready for exhibition. A movie booker will take charge from here. However, big moviehouses like SM have their own format called DCP (Digital Cinema Package) that is used by their projector. There is a charge for the conversion.
When the potential movie producer had digested the information that I had provided, he had a change of mind. He said that it is appropriate for the movies to be called show business because it’s indeed a business and not a simple one.
Obviously, he was overwhelmed with the long list of expenses that included transportation rentals, gasoline, toll charges, gratuities and other incidental expenses.
As for the award, a movie can surely win an award when exhibited in film festivals abroad. But the movie should have English subtitles that can be provided by the film editor. Oh, oh, another expense.
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