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#990070 - 12/31/12 03:29 PM Screenwriting #2--Horror  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
In an effort to dissuade anyone from getting into screenwriting,
I was gonna do some financial breakdowns of Indie Films, but got sidetrack on just the horror genre, because that's where the money is. I'll cover Indie Films in general in another Thread.

So, even though money is a fool's pursuit:

If you wanna make money as an Indie, then I fear, no pun intended, that Horror is the way to go. They're CHEAP to make, there's always a demand, and most importantly, they’re FRANCHISEABLE!!...Probably spelled that poorly...You can even enter in as just a writer...Although most of the one's I’m gonna mention were low budget writer/director/actor/production teams.

George Romero's Night of the Living Dead may be the granddaddy, but other’s have come along, and often led to much better things for those involved.

The Evil Dead, 1981…3 films, by Sam Raimi...Michigan Boy who's gone on to much bigger things, as has the actor Bruce Campbell.

EDITTED TO ADD: This just in. The originals, Mr. Raimi & Mr. Campbell have filmed an updated version due to be released this spring woo hoo!!!!!!!!

Halloween…Friday the 13th…Freddy...Fast forward to the 2000's...SAW, and the one that kicked off the Horror reboots as well as the Found Footage and Shakey Cam, 1999's: The Bair Witch Project...I believe Paranormal Activity is the current darling.

Hollywood is full of small companies that are looking for the next small thing that could turn huge...ie: Contained Thrillers/Horror...Movies set in 1 location. Tiny budgets. Big dreams.

But here’s the deal: They still need to be marketed!! The Blair Witch idea began around 1996, was released in 1999…And here are the numbers via Wiki:

The initial investment by the three University of Central Florida filmmakers was about US $35,000. Artisan acquired the film for US $1.1 million but spent US $25 million to market it.[14] The actors signed a "small" agreement to receive some of the profits from the film's release.[15]

That’s 35 grand to shoot...25 million to market...Oodles & Oodles of Profit.

Contained THRILLERS, have a niche, but it's pretty small. If you have a contained HORROR script lying around, there are dozens of big-dreamers out there with cameras and crews who might be interested...But financially, it's an all or nothing crapshoot.

It's not my cup of tea, but have at it...



Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

#990126 - 12/31/12 08:16 PM Re: Screenwriting #2--Horror [Re: MidniteBob]  
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I answered to your another post then found this one...and others too, so, what about a comedy? Is it required by filmmakers?

#990128 - 12/31/12 09:06 PM Re: Screenwriting #2--Horror [Re: Alek]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
Heya Alek!

Thanks for the response. I know that screenwriting is an interest of yours and wish for you the best!! As to your question, I'm not sure what the "it" is, but I'll ramble for a bit and maybe I'll hit on "it".

As undiscovered, or even as successful, screenwriters, our basic job is to write "Actor Bait". Something that someone high up the food chain simply falls in love with.

Hollywood is so full of remakes/sequels/book adaptations, that to break in wityh something totally NEW, means that it really has to rise above 99.9 percent of everything else, or else it has to attract a "Name" actor.

But not even a "Name" actor guarantees distribution..And it's ALL about finding a distributer.

And for comedy, a low-budget works best...Low-budget is a shooting cost of under $5,000,000.

Professional Low Budget examples:

Written by and starring Jeff Goldblum...Filmed in 2007. Its budget wasn't announced, and it never found a distributor to get it into theaters. It made the Festival Rounds, but never caught on...It co-stars Ed Begley Jr. and has a hilarious cameo by Moby.

It was basically a Passion Project for Mr. Goldblum, but all it's made so far are a few thousand dollars from Netflix and some DVD sales....I enjoyed it a lot.

2010...Written & starring Josh Radnor(Ted on the hit TV show "How I Met Your Mother")
Budget: 250,000
Box Office: 235,000
Sweet little film, one step above sit-com level, with some wonderful songs provided by New York singer/songwriter Jaymay. This one at least made it into the theaters, but not by much. But it was another Passion Project y an actor who could afford to pay for it themselves.

Personal Low-Budget example:

I had a script of mine shot a couple of years ago by an VERY Indie Production company in DC....It cost less than $10,000, probably closer to $5,000...It was completely filmed, but they had a problem with the final editting, basically because they ran out of money and the mostly volunteer production team had to find real jobs.

HOWEVER, even the rough cut film is, IMHO, hilarious. Really, it's laugh out loud funny in places and has a real emotional edge to it...But even if they'd managed to finish it properly, without a "Name" actor, the poor thing didn't have a chance.

They could have taken it onto the Festival Circuit, and who knows, maybe it would have earned back its cost...But without that Name actor, it would have been a serious uphill battle.

The Advertising budget of most films is often obscene, but without it, chances are the film will tank....And even the biggest advertising campaign in the world won't save a crap film.

But there are production companies who make a decent profit by shooting low-budget, crotch joke level, straight to DVD films.

How to attract a "Name"???? Wish I knew:-)...But it helps if your story has a "Hook", just like songwriting. Real life example:

"The Zookeeper". It sold for $300,000 against $3,000,000, which means the screenwriter got $300,000 up front, and topped off at $3,000,000 depending on its success.

I read the script before it was produced...And it SUCKED, big Time Sucked!!!

But it got into the hands of Kevin James(King of Queens), who was hot/bankable at the time...Once Kevin James signed on, the bidding war started.

And it had a "Hook" that attracted Mr. James...The script was seriously rewritten(about 60% of the original script was left out or changed)...But the hook was "animals can talk, but only talk to their beloved Zookeeper in an effort to help make him a ladies man"...And THAT was all it took.

Whether it's horror or comedy or any genre in between, without distributorship, then you might make it to Netflix, but you're basically hoping that at least your family might by a couple of DVDs.

I don't think I actually answered your question:-(

Bottom line: write the best damn anything you can!

The best advice I've ever heard came from a screenwriting panel. An audience member(with $$$ signs in their eyes) asked "What does Hollywood want? What kind of story should I write?"

The answer was "Write a story that will change your life, that way, even if it never gets produced, at least your life will have changed".

Hope that helps at least a little bit.



Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

#990461 - 01/03/13 05:35 PM Re: Screenwriting #2--Horror [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Alek Offline
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Wow, it's cool! I never read before so many info on a subject that placed on the same place, thanks for your input Bob,
by the way would love to place there some of my beats/songs if get lucky with that script
Very important is your tip about a name actor...
I try to get involved in topics of screenwriting everywhere to get acquainted with pros who are "there" already,
found that everything related with filmmaking looks like songwriting/pitching or similar

#990474 - 01/03/13 06:26 PM Re: Screenwriting #2--Horror [Re: Alek]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
Yeah Alec, it's all VERY similar when you break it down..Including the odds of making it:-)


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:


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