Post-Production : How to know who you need to meet your scripts SFX requirements by Mark S. Jenkins

Mark S. Jenkins

How to know who you need to meet your scripts SFX requirements

I am in the process of pre-production / creating budget for a short SciFi. It will be my first produced film ever, and have no idea who or what category to search to get a realistic budget for the little amount of "creature" time this short has. So I'm reaching out to you folks ... the experts ... HELP! lol Thanks, Shaggy

William Reliford

Your best bet is to post a description on what you need in detail. If you have drawing or some sort of reference of what you are looking for would be a great start.

Mark S. Jenkins

I have the script posted here on my log lines. It is called The God Code. The only scene with "creatures" has an actor interacting with them. They are just blob dough like beings that can extend a part of themselves to become a sort of arm, and hand. Not really very defined. Also, I believe there may have to be some SFX shots that involve computer and test equipment images being placed on a computer screen, and prop test equipment. These will be in scenes with actors also. I have had one SFX company estimate 11-12 fx shots based on script. My producer said let's be sure to get this right ... so I am reaching out to you all.

Mark S. Jenkins

Also, the creatures have multiple eyes that blink together and independently, and a small slit like mouth.

Mark S. Jenkins

I guess nobody cares to help ... Thought it would be a very useful discussion for any filmmaker diving into the world of CGI, since not much online to define categories and separation of jobs / tasks.

Doug Stringham

Generally you take a project to several CGI houses for a bid. They will definitely want to meet with you and discuss your creative vision and goals. Style, realism, amount of detail, and anything that will give them real information to give you a bid. I would recommend hitting small or medium sized studios first. From your description I'm guessing they could likely handle your project.

Mark S. Jenkins

Thanks guys. Getting real close. Starting getting bids for SFX but way way more than I anticipated. That being said, if that is what it takes to make it right then that is what it takes. The producer and myself would rather not do it if we don't do it right ...

Doug Stringham

Just so you realize that prices can vary greatly. I would definitely shop it around. Large VFX studios have a lot of mouths to feed. So their prices are certainly going to be higher. And you may or may not get a better product by going to them. You may find a smaller graphics boutique who can give you comparable work for much less money.

Pierre Schiller

You could tackle this by assigning different sequences to different small studios, but same assets (3d creatures) that's the basics. But in general you'll get different looks and animation, that's why it would adapt to your budget means....

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

I have e-mailed people who run FX houses and asked them if they would read a feature script and give me a 'guesstimate' of what the FX would cost. Some ignored my e-mail but a few responded positively. You need to look around on the web, particularly by reading what the FX guys post, both here on Stage 32 and elsewhere, before you inquire. That way, you can get a feel for how approachable they are. Good luck.

Mark S. Jenkins

Thanks so much Douglas. I've done just that and have started getting some responses. I have come to conclusion I would like to have an FX Supervisor / Director to help oversee this portion of shoot. My producer wants this to be top notch so don't want to blow it.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

I don't want to create any 'dissension in the ranks' but I'm wondering about your producer wanting 'top notch' but apparently leaving finding out about the cost of FX to you. In other words, it strikes me that normally (and certainly, there may be no 'normal' in indy film making), your producer would be looking into the possible cost of FX. On low budget projects, (to borrow/adapt a phrase from Starship Troopers) 'Everybody works and nobody quits'. That is, everybody does jobs which they might not have to do given a larger budget. So if your producer wants you to look into the cost of FX, OK, go with it. But I would ask your producer, 'What is 'top notch?' An example might help. In other words, before I went to the FX guys, I'd try to find out in more detail what your producer wants, in the context of the money which your producer is presumably trying to raise to make the project.

Mark S. Jenkins

Appreciate feedback Douglass. No dissension. I'm really good with my producer. I understand he is being pulled in many directions, and sought after regarding his many talents, throughout this tiny world and as such is constantly traveling. This is his way of letting me sink or swim, and getting my feet wet in the totality of this business side of movie making. He recently confirmed my understanding, and I have secured a VFX Supervisor / Director who is now in the process of assisting me / our team.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Excellent. Good luck with the project.

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