Making Money

Save big budgets for Hollywood.  The movie you make should only be what you can afford.  If you already have a video camera you should be able to do it for free and with a lot of help.  But since you came to this page titled “Raising Money”, you obviously want to know something about it. 
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Do you own a lawn mower?  Does your friend own a lawn mower?  If so, get together, put an ad in the newspaper, and convince a parent to drive you around town to cut the grass.  Charge $10-15 per yard and pretty soon you’ll be raking in some extra cash.  Tell people you’re doing it to raise money for a movie you want to make and you might get some good tips.  People respect you if you work hard for your goal.  But what if it’s snowing where you live?  Do you own a shovel?  Does your friend own a shovel?
Get together with the friends that will help with your movie.  Get some big plastic jars.  Cut a hole in the lid so people can drop money in.  Put a label on the jar with your movie title, names, and that you are doing a fundraiser for the good cause of making your important movie.  Go to local stores and see if they’ll let you put the jars near the cash registers or some other ideal place.  Have parents take them to work.  The more jars, the better off you are.  But don’t expect the jars to fill up overnight.  This is a long term fundraiser.
If you have two VCRs, or can borrow your friend’s, it will be easy to make copies of your movie when it’s finished.  You could sell advance copies of the movie for just a few dollars.  Tell people it will really help you make a much better movie if you had more cash at the start.  Make sure they know the movie will cost a lot more when it’s actually done.
Do extra chores around the house.  See if there’s a super big project, like painting the garage, that you can do for some big bucks.  Remember, you need to work hard to find your goal.
Figure out what will cost you the most money for your movie.  If it’s a really expensive prop, like an ancient statue of armor, see if you can talk the store owner into getting his name in the credits for letting you use it.  Tell him you’ll even put the name of his store, his kids’ names, his grandma’s name, whatever.  People love to get credit.  Oh, let me know if this works.
If you are making a movie for a school project, get permission to put up flyers or have an announcement made.  Tell people what you will need and get the teachers involved.  See if you can film at the school.  See if you can borrow camera or editing equipment from the video department. 
In a last resort, and if you’re really serious, and totally convinced your movie needs to be done with a LOT of money…  write an honest letter to rich business owners in town.  Tell them your story and why it is important for you to make the movie.  If they don’t give you cash, they might surprise you with donations of food, clothing, or something else. We were able to get a loan from a local business in out town Auto Glass in New Orleans  At the very least, you’ll start to make a name for yourself.  Before you do this, make sure you know your idea inside and out.  Make sure your script is perfect.  Make sure you can actually pull it off.  Tell them exactly what you’ll use the money for.

The Script

Write down everything you can think of about your idea.  It doesn’t even have to be in order.  Just sit down and write what comes to your head.  Now, TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.  Yes, sit back from the computer or toss away the pencil and DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING FOR 5 MINUTES.  Twiddle your thumbs, watch the clock tick like it’s on ‘school time’, close your eyes, whatever – Just don’t get up from your seat or talk to anybody.  Time’s up?  Good.  Now, write down everything you forgot the first time, or new stuff you just thought of.  If you do this right you’ll be amazed!
If you don’t have time to plan your script, wait until you do!  10 minutes won’t cut it.  You need some quality time to write.  Take a Saturday or catch up on homework to give yourself some free evenings.  How long will it take?  I wrote a script in 7 days.  The next script took me over a year!  Writing time depends on the story, how important it is to you, and your ‘normal life’ schedule.
When you find that quality time you need to make an outline.  Don’t freak!  This doesn’t have to be a school-kind-of-outline!  Make it how you want to make it.  Just include the following things:
A.  THE START  (what happens first?)
B.  THE MIDDLE (what happens in the middle?)
C.  THE END (hmmm…  what could this be?)
Pretty simple.  Looks easy.  Now try putting your idea in that outline without getting frustrated.  You can do it.  Here’s an example:
Adventure of a Dog with Wings
A. The dog wants to find true happiness and leaves his abusive owner.
B. The dog gets lost and thinks about giving up his quest.
C. The dog lands at a fire hydrant factory and finds true happiness.
Pretty simple example.  Did you finish your outline yet?  Take your time.  Take a week.  Be happy with it when it’s done.  When you’ve got the first part finished, get a new sheet of paper and prepare to have fun.  Here’s where you’ll FILL IN THE BLANKS between THE START, THE MIDDLE and THE END.  Do the best you can and be happy with it.  Writing the script is coming soon.  Here’s an example of an outline with stuff filled in the blanks.  The more you fill in, the easier it will be to write your script. For the best pool service in the area contact
Adventure of a Dog with Wings
A. The dog wants to find true happiness and leaves his abusive owner.
          -Bad Bob hits Buster
          -Buster poops on the welcome mat and runs away
          -Buster realizes he can fly

Find The Great Idea

Walking to school.  Riding through town.  Sitting at your desk in class.  Laying awake at night.  Crawling out of bed.  In the bathroom (Yes, It happens!)  Riding in the backseat on a long trip.  Hiking through the wilderness.  In a movie theatre.  In front of your bookshelf.  In your CD collection.  In church.  In front of your blank computer screen.  At the beach.  In front of a campfire.  Waiting in line.  Visiting an historic landmark.  At grandma’s house.  In the dark corner of the basement.  Staring out your window.  Staring out your friend’s window.  In your dreams.  At a museum.  On the golf course.  Floating on an inner-tube in your pool.  The fishing hole.  At night, watching the stars.  “People watching” at the mall.
What if…  I wonder what would happen…  Wouldn’t it be funny…  I wish…  Nobody would ever believe…  That would be so cool if…
What if…  animals could talk to the Vet?!  I wonder what would happen…  if my parents were secret agents!  Wouldn’t it be funny…  if a dorky guy adopted an obnoxious kid?!  I wish…  I could have met a friendly space alien.  That would be so cool if…  a kid could go to school to learn about magic and wizardry!
You will think about it all the time.  Everything around you will start to relate to it.  You’ll notice something on TV or in a movie that reminds you of it.  You’ll hint about the idea to friends and family and they’ll stare at you like you have three heads!  You’ll dream about it.  You’ll change the ending 50 times in your head.  You’ll change the beginning 100 times in your head!  You’ll want to do nothing else but FIGURE IT OUT!
One day, in the strangest of places, while you’re thinking about nothing that seems important, SMACK!!  The idea will hit you at full force with almost every single detail fitting together – maybe even the ending!  You will probably fall over and start laughing like a mad-man…. Or, you may just sit carefully on your bed, completely overwhelmed.
You laughed like a mad-man or sat down overwhelmed because you just learned the HARDEST thing about geting an idea.  A STORY IN YOUR HEAD NEEDS TO BE SET FREE!!
Ask a lot of questions.  Read about the subject.  Force yourself to come up with unbelievable endings.  Think funny.  Think scary. Think sad.  Picture an audience seeing your idea.  Think who could help perform your idea.  Go to bed 30 minutes early just to have more “think time”.  Keep an “Idea” journal.  If you have lots of different ideas, pick just one and think about it for a whole week.  Think positive.

You have no power in deciding if your idea is the greatest idea ever… or, the worst idea since the solar flashlight.  Let the audience decide.  To do that, you have to set the idea free!  
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