Anything Goes : Starting a production company by Ami Brown

Ami Brown

Starting a production company

As a beginning screenwriter, I have noticed that lots of writers are also producers or directors. I know this is great if given the opportunity, you would have much more control over your script. Has anyone got advice on starting up your own production company (if only to have the credentials) before you start pitching your script? Or is it just too soon? Any thoughts?

Geof Spalding

Great question as a writer of novels and a newbie at screenplays I have wondered the same thing. If you have never been involved in making a film then I would read up on how to make a film. The Dummies Guide to Filmaking is a good first step, a book by Rodriguez about how he made El Mariarchi for $6000 is also a good read and inspiring. Other steps could be to ask a producer directly or volunteer with a production company. There are many film making and screenwriter groups in here and on a site like meet up. Hopefully some more experienced members of Stage 32 will read your post and give you some good advice. There are certainly some wonderful, giving people in this group.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

I started writing. Then I got interested in producing and worked on developing one of my own scripts. But the budget was too big. So last year, I helped raise the budget for a smaller project which was someone else's script. We're now working on selling the completed film which is a challenge in itself. Assuming you work with your own script and you write 'to budget', that is, write a story which can be done cheaply, you'll need to raise money. If you do so, you may also need legal help. I second Geof's comment on R. Rodriguez's discussion of making El Mariarchi. You can find short versions of RR's 'Film School' on some of the DVDs of his movies (one of the DVD editions of Spy Kids has it).

Doug Nelson

Ami – It’s a natural progression that I have gone through. As a beginning screenwriter, I concentrated on story (short scripts) writing. Within a couple of years, I entered (and won) a few contests. Then I optioned and sold (real cheap) a couple. When I saw my script filmed by others: I was totally underwhelmed by the filmmaker’s lack of production quality. Since I couldn’t find a local director who knew his nose from a hole, I took up filmmaking myself. Now, I’m a screenwriter (I teach it,) a producer (shorts) and a sometimes reluctant director (I’m still looking.) You have to ask yourself what you really want to do. Writing leans toward the creative side, production leans toward the business side and the director needs a foot on both sides of the line. My advice is to just do it. You’ll make lots of mistakes along the way and hopefully learn from them. Best wishes with your endeavor.

Ami Brown

Thanks I am looking into it.

Leigh Stanton

My husband and I wrote a contained script with the intention of producing it ourselves. It was optioned by another producer with years of experience. Production is a huge undertaking. Money is always an obstacle. Connections are key. The screenplay rules.

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