The lure of filmmaking is so demanding, that upon completing your movie, one is normally completely exhausted. There’s some serious pitfalls to avoid if you want your film to succeed, and if you want to be able to clear that last hurdle of monetising your film.

1. Uncleared Music Rights

In order for a film festival to screen a film, or for a distributor to license or buy a film, the music rights need to be cleared – something a shrewd filmmaker will do before the shooting begins. Music rights can get expensive too, so including a Beatles track in your movie will most likely mean a huge music clearance fee which will encumber the sale of your film. Even your mate who composed some ambient music needs to sign a contract which gives the filmmaker the rights to their music.

lo to no budget filmmaking with Elliot Grove 2. Poor Publicity Stills

Picture editors at magazines, websites, film distribution companies and film festivals always complain about the poor quality of production photographs that accompany press kits.

Learn how to take excellent photographs – ones that have action in them, not ones looking like they were clipped out of the high school yearbook.

3. Trying to get into Cannes, Sundance or Toronto Film Festivals

There is much talk of the so-called festival route – a route full of starry promises of glory, recognition and money. By all means submit to the big three festivals, but realise that unless you have someone to champion your film to the festival programmers, it probably isn’t going to get in.

There are many excellent film festivals around the world, and over the entire breadth of the calendar year. Research them, either by attending or looking at www.withoutabox.com. Submit. Cross your fingers. Remember always that festivals only screen the festivals that they like. Don’t take their pink slips personally.

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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