January 13, 2014

The 1 Thing I’m Doing To Write My Best Screenplay Ever: Make My First Feature Film


Last January, I posted 6 things I was going to do to write my best screenplay ever in 2013. I even reviewed my progress midway through the year. Did I achieve my goal? I guess that's subjective. Am I satisfied? Never. So, this year, I am doing only 1 thing to write my best screenplay ever: I'm going to make my first feature film. Here's why making my first feature film will help me write my best screenplay ever.

Improving your screenwriting is very difficult if you never actually see your screenplays turned into movies.

Screenplays are not books. They are not meant to sit on a shelf in a library (even though you certainly can learn a lot about screenwriting by reading great scripts). Screenplays are written to be blueprints for movies. As such, they go through many iterations. A screenwriter must write several drafts of a script to get the story right before production. Screenplays are rewritten constantly during production to deal with the realities of a shoot. Finally, screenplays are all but forgotten in post. The editor essentially rewrites the movie based on the existing footage. The screenplay becomes merely a reference tool for the editor to understand the initial intention of the story before the cameras rolled.

Without experiencing the process of turning a screenplay into a movie, a screenwriter is lacking vital knowledge of what works and what doesn't work in a script.

I have written and directed a number of short films and produced several more for other filmmakers. I understand how to translate a screenplay into a film on a small scale. I have made audiences laugh so hard that they miss the next joke and want to see a short again. I've made people shed a tear for a good reason, and not because the short sucked. What I don't have experience doing is turning a 90-100 page screenplay into a 90-100 minute film that tells a captivating story. I believe I have written a very good screenplay for CENTS. I also know it will only get better if I go through the process of turning the screenplay into a feature film.

Understanding how a screenplay is translated on the set is hard if you don’t direct or collaborate with a director.

Writing screenplays day in and day out and never learning how to direct a cast and crew to transform pages into a film leaves a gaping hole in your knowledge of screenwriting. The director translates the screenplay into his/her vision of the film. The best screenplays make that vision clear on the page for the director. But if a screenwriter hasn't seen those script pages through the eyes of a director, that screenwriter will never know if the vision is clear on the page.

This is why I believe it is imperative for all screenwriters to direct their own work or collaborate closely with directors to see how their screenplays come to life in front of the camera on set.

I have to admit that as someone whose primary responsibility is to be a father to two kids, I haven't directed as much as I would have liked. That said, I have been incredibly fortunate to spend so much time raising two amazing kids. As a result, I have spent hours and hours writing and rewriting my screenplays early in the morning. When I get time to direct, I make the most of my experience. That directing experience informs my future screenwriting decisions.

I am also not a cinematographer. I am grateful when our visionary CENTS DP Corey Weintraub translates my concept for shots into actual footage that exceeds my expectations. These collaborations help me visualize my next screenplay so much better when I return to the keyboard.

Understanding how a story evolves from the set to the final cut is challenging if you don’t edit or participate in the editing process.

The story is far from told once the film is "in the can". The real story in a film only comes to life during the editing process. At this point, the structure of a story in the shooting script is completely flexible. The visual elements can be cut, rearranged and streamlined to tell the best story possible. Entire chunks of dialogue hit the cutting room floor because an actor's look says it all.

If you as a screenwriter have not edited a film or sat alongside an editor at work, you cannot understand how a story evolves from the set to the screen.

I have cut some of my own work out of necessity, but I am no editor. I truly appreciate a professional editor's fresh eyes on a film I have directed. I really enjoy sitting in a post-production suite going back and forth with our very talented CENTS editor, Reuben Finkelstein. I get to make suggestions for tweaks, and Reuben shows me his ideas to tighten sequences to serve the story. After working with a great editor, the cuts and transitions for my next screenplay are much more apparent in my mind.

The tools and technology available to write, shoot, edit and distribute a film are now very accessible.

Writing screenplays is basically free. Perhaps this is why so many screenplays are written every year that will never get in front of a camera. While shooting a professional feature film is not exactly inexpensive, the amount of affordable tools and technology available today makes filmmaking very accessible. And with the success of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, a well-written screenplay combined with a well-researched and planned crowdfunding campaign can lower the financial barrier to making a feature-length film. New digital distribution platforms make distributing a film available virtually to all filmmakers.

All combined, the traditional obstacles to financing, shooting, editing and distributing a feature-length film have been significantly reduced.

I feel that I have worked hard on my craft as a screenwriter, pursuing directing opportunities as my life and schedule have allowed. I have waited patiently for the moment when the right story and right technology come together to allow me to make my first feature film. And I have worked closely with my CENTS producing partner Ella Sitkin to craft a budget we believe we can raise that matches our vision for the project.

One more thing: An unbelievably supportive spouse will make you a better screenwriter and filmmaker.

I honestly don't know how screenwriters and filmmakers manage to write and make films without a supportive spouse, partner or significant other. I have pursued my craft and my dream for more years than I care to count, and at times, my wife Jennifer has believed in me more than I even believed in myself. She has supported me and our family financially as I have worked to become a better screenwriter and filmmaker.

I would not be able to make my first feature film CENTS without my wife's unwavering support.

I should add that I feel honored to get the opportunity to contribute to No Film School. I learn so much from my fellow NFS writers and from the community as a whole through your comments and feedback. I have become a better screenwriter and filmmaker because of No Film School.

If you would like to learn more about CENTS and how we plan to make our feature film, I hope you will check out our CENTS Kickstarter campaign. [UPDATE: The CENTS Kickstarter is indieWIRE's Project of the Day for Jan. 14. Thanks, indieWIRE!]

I look forward to your thoughts and constructive feedback in the comments.

Link: CENTS Kickstarter

Your Comment

60 Comments

how did you get your kickstarter film 2 appear on nofilmschool....

January 13, 2014 at 9:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jerome Lucas

I'm a regular contributor to No Film School. You can read more of my posts on screenwriting at NFS:

http://nofilmschool.com/author/cboone/

January 13, 2014 at 9:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Goodluck man! I will be donating! Scriptnotes last two podcasts talked about the importance of a supporting spouse or significant other for emerging screenwriters and filmmakers. If they don't understand what it takes, it can be hell/everyday grudge match as to y u haven't gotten a "real job". U are lucky, man and good luck once again.

January 13, 2014 at 9:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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thadon calico

Thanks for the support, Thadon. And you're right. I am incredibly lucky to have my spouse, my family, and the time to pursue what I love. I try to remember that every day and I try to be grateful for it, too.

January 13, 2014 at 9:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Did you try approaching production companies, even small ones? If the script is good, they might invest in it. They could also help guide you through the process of making the film and distributing it.

January 13, 2014 at 10:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tom

Hey Tom,

You're right, that's always an option. When the 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist list was published, we received inquiries from about a dozen production companies and management firms who showed interest in the screenplay. Each company is looking for something specific, though, and we didn't establish a formal relationship with a production company at that time.

Also, after many years of pursuing this goal, I realized that even when people like your script, very few want to take a chance on a first-time feature film director. So, if I want to get this film made, I have to be willing to make it myself.

January 13, 2014 at 11:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I gotta be honest; I do not like the idea nor the concept of the movie.
That being said, film makers should always respect each other, so I wish you good luck with your first feature film.
And thanks for the article! Really useful.

January 13, 2014 at 1:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Emil

Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude.
I just don't like it because it's filled with clichés. A main character who's a genius, but too shy to show it is so common in today's movies.
The evil girls at school might be the biggest cliché of American movies.
She is pushing gum? It seems like a joke. Maybe it is, I don't know. And I don't really get it.
Maybe I am too quick to judge your movie or maybe it just isn't my taste.

Again; that being said, you seem to be innovative and very good at persuading your goals. One can only respect that. Also, the character (though I think she is a cliché) is interesting. And films about being yourself, especially in today's TV where narcissist like in Paradise Hotel get to show everybody how important it is being popular, is a great help for lots of young people.

Oh, and how come you only accept the crowd funding money if you reach your goal?

January 13, 2014 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Emil

Hey Emil,

Thanks for your comment. I don't think you're being rude. I think you're being honest and I appreciate your feedback. I think you and I would both agree that a movie can't appeal to every person. I guess you're not part of my target audience, but I'm glad you find the article useful. Hopefully the article appeals to a broader audience than the film itself. That's the goal of No Film School.

To answer your last question about only accepting the crowdfunding money if we reach our goal, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. If we don't reach our goal of $60,000 on Kickstarter by our campaign deadline, we get nothing.

The reason all-or-nothing can benefit a campaign is each backer who has pledged to the campaign most likely wants to see the campaign succeed. In those final days and hours, all of those backers help spread the word to push the campaign over the finish line. I have participated as a backer in multiple campaigns that had to raise ~$10,000 in the last 24-36 hours on Kickstarter and were successful because all of the backers worked hard to get friends to join them in pledging.

January 13, 2014 at 1:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I don't agree with this at all. If you have never worked with actors or taking acting classes or work as a director then I would not just up and direct a feature as a writer. It took you a long time to learn how to write, its the same for any other craft.

January 13, 2014 at 1:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Good point, Michael. I should clarify because I only briefly mention it in the article. I have worked with actors on a number of shorts as a director. But every writer will have a first time directing actors. I hope this article will encourage writers who haven't made a short film from one of their scripts to take that risk and have that experience.

You're absolutely right about every craft taking time. If I had never directed any shorts, deciding to direct a feature would not be the best idea at all. It would be foolish.

For me, the next step as a screenwriter and a filmmaker is to make a feature film. I know the experience will make me a better screenwriter and a better director for projects beyond CENTS.

January 13, 2014 at 2:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Please don't listen to Michael. Just go out and make it. You ARE by DOING. As in if you write something you are a writer. If you direct something then you are a director. The only rule is release it - whatever way you must (nobody gets any points for sitting on a piece of work even if it's a masterpiece). Creating art, whatever the medium, isn't a right that has to be earned. Respect and integrity is earned with time but if some dude is gonna say to you, me or anyone else that they don't agree with us creating something because they think we haven't been doing it long enough then we'll leave them to posting their bullshit online while we go out and actually make stuff that we want to make. If people choose to support us along the way then good for them and good for us! I wish you all the luck in the world and even if this is just a stepping stone (and lets be honest - what in life isn't) then I hope the next stone is even better :) All the best! Ps. your temperament is admirable.

January 16, 2014 at 6:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kraig

Thanks for the support, Kraig.

January 16, 2014 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Ditto. Some ppl just learn fast. Everyone doesn't get the same circumstances. Make your movie. Someone will like it and at least you can say you made one while others are still dreaming. I'm up next

January 19, 2014 at 11:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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This really isn't an unorthodox path to take towards directing a first feature. Write a bunch of screenplays, write and direct a couple of short films, help other filmmakers get their films made, write a modest feature with the intention of directing it yourself, hustle the money together, direct the film. Many an acclaimed director has started out this way (or with even less experience.) There'll always be another how-to book you can read, short/music video/advert you can direct or acting class you can take before you're ready to make a feature. At some point you just have to go for it.

Good luck Christopher. I'll be donating. Keep us informed as much as you can as you move through the various processes of getting the film made and out into the world.

January 13, 2014 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mak

Thanks, Mak. I'll do my best to keep you well informed of our progress.

January 13, 2014 at 3:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I am really trying hard not to be negative but that's a very very very stupid statement. The only way to learn to make a feature is to make one. Taking a class wouldn't help ya, working on a real feature film set would do better, but the best is to make one

January 13, 2014 at 4:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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thadon calico

Says who? You?

I say pick the camera and shoot the film! Best of luck mate.

January 20, 2014 at 6:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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maghoxfr

Very good kickstarter video.

January 13, 2014 at 2:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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J

Thanks, J. Much appreciated.

Since you mentioned the Kickstarter video, I should point out I learned about how to do the Kickstarter widget animation right here on NFS, thanks to Ryan for posting and to Joke & Biagio for sharing from their Kickstarter campaign for "Dying to Do Letterman".

You can find Ryan's post with a how-to video on the Kickstarter widget animation here:

http://nofilmschool.com/2011/10/animate-kickstarter-widget-thanks-joke/

Since "Dying to Do Letterman" is already complete, you can support Joke & Biagio and buy or rent "Dying to Do Letterman" here:

http://www.amazon.com/Dying-To-Do-Letterman/dp/B00AHSG1DU

January 13, 2014 at 2:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

The concept seems much more suited to a short than a feature. The idea just doesn't have the hook to sustain the length that would be required. Penny drives? Calculus? A goal of buying a smart phone? Personally, I think these are better explored in an 8-10 minute short. From the trailer it seems like a major dramatic point is that the character does math in a bathroom stall. That doesn't cut it at the feature level. Like the commenter above, I'm not trying to be rude, but rather just provide feedback so that you might find fresher, more expansive ways to approach the story and carry it out for 90 minutes.

January 13, 2014 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Miranda Q Plumb

Agree with Miranda.

My wife and I don't see how this could be 90 minutes.

If this story can't be told in a short....it isn't a story at all.

And again, not to be rude, but didn't you sum up the entire story in the pitch? What else is there?

Im just scratching my head on this one. $60,000 huh.

Really?

January 13, 2014 at 3:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hey Miranda and James,

Thanks for your comments. Like I said above in response to Emil, I think we can agree that a movie cannot appeal to every person, so CENTS may not be your kind of film. And that's fine. Thankfully, with ever-increasing modes of distribution, we can all find films that fit our particular niches.

To your points on sustaining a 90-minute film, what you don't see in the Kickstarter video or the teaser is anything from the B-story and C-story - our protagonist's relationship with her single mother, Angela, and with her math teacher, Ms. Dyer. You also don't get much in the way of depth of the other three girls in the film in either video. Why? Because the videos have to be short and we have to make our points concisely. That means we have to highlight the A-story, just like loglines typically do.

Our main character Sammy has to navigate several relationships, each of which drive the plot forward. And each of these relationships changes over the course of the film, creating conflict and drama.

I realize without reading the full screenplay, you can't possibly know exactly how we plan to sustain this story for 90 minutes. I will tell you that I have written and rewritten several drafts to get it to the point of becoming an Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting semifinalist, and I have more rewriting to do as we get closer to production.

In fact, the rewriting will continue straight into production on the set and then into post-production as we edit the film together. Just like the post discusses.

Thanks again for taking the time to read the post, watch the pitch video and share your feedback.

January 13, 2014 at 3:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Christopher I don't know how you are able to reply with such kind sincerity to some of these hateful people. I give you major respect. It's hard to put up a project that comes from the heart and get spit on. I'd expect that from homophobic, small minded, racist trolls on youtube but not here. On NoFilmSchool we are supposed to be a community of filmmakers.
People respond negatively on here because they are jealous of your success. Again you have my respect for not responding violently. Just know you are motivating me today to work on my script. Thank you man and Never Stop.

January 14, 2014 at 12:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Julian Terry

Thanks, Julian. Glad I could inspire. Hope you got some good work done on your script. Keep writing.

January 14, 2014 at 6:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I was thinking the same thing. Some of these people are just down right rude, and to be honest they seem jealous. If you haven't read the script, I don't think you should speak on it. Christopher, I wish you luck with your first feature. I myself am shooting my first as well. Much look to you friend.

January 16, 2014 at 12:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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NamarB

Wrong. The criticisms here are mild to say the least. if you want to live in a bubble where there's no discourse, no one challenging your ideas, and everyone offering false encouragement, then you're going to end up learning a very expensive lesson. The remarks made here are mostly constructive and valid (especially regarding concept, the pitch so far, and the target audience), and absolutely nothing compared to what you're going to hear from financiers, producers and studios. If people are so fragile that they can't take the feedback and try to figure out where that perspective is coming from, and instead rather egocentrically pawn it off as jealousy, than they're in the wrong business.

January 16, 2014 at 11:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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GD Burton

I certainly appreciate the feedback I have received from all sides on this article. And honestly, I'm my biggest critic and I realize where I still need to make improvements. That's what I strive to do everyday as a screenwriter and a filmmaker. I'm sure we all do.

Believe me, I read even the most negative criticisms to understand the "note behind the note" to see how I can improve my film. I want it to be the best film I can possibly make. It still certainly won't be for everyone, as we can all agree based on the comments here. I need criticism. We all need criticism. Constructive criticism will push me to make it better.

And negative criticism, even if the language sounds harsh to some, will only prepare me for the criticism I will continue to face down the road in my career.

My hope is the positive feedback will outweigh the negative based on the quality of the work and the storytelling. And that still remains to be seen.

So thank you for both of your perspectives, Namar and GD.

January 16, 2014 at 10:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Well said

January 19, 2014 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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A supportive spouse is important. My wife is very supportive of my 6 year feature film project Space Trucker Bruce (on demand in April!). But be careful not to talk to him/her nonstop about your movie. I have worn out the subject and although she's still supportive, she gets upset when every topic of conversation becomes about the movie.

January 13, 2014 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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That's absolutely true, Anton. I have spent many years figuring out how much is too much when talking movies with my wife. I've almost figured it out. Almost.

January 13, 2014 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I love this approach of "learning by doing." Making a feature is a very different beast than making a short. We can take all the classes or read all the books, but one never knows their weaknesses and strengths as a feature storyteller until they make their first one. Very excited to see where this goes!

January 13, 2014 at 6:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dee

Thanks, Dee. That's so true about finding out your true strengths and weaknesses as a storyteller by actually making a film. It's probably what excites me the most and scares me the most about making the film. Ultimately, it will be a great education.

January 13, 2014 at 7:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I think that this is an excellent approach for writer to take and to those who say its a bad idea, understand this - you can only really learn by doing no matter how many books or courses you invest in. I wish more writers would get off their chairs and be proactive like Christopher. Don't go to 'how to be a director' classes and expect to be a director - its like the lines from Good Will Hunting about the Sistine Chapel... but do you know what it smells like? Good luck Christopher, go for it...

January 13, 2014 at 7:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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shaun wilson

Thanks, Shaun. Much appreciated.

January 13, 2014 at 7:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Forgot to say, there are those who don't make their own feature films and those who do. Listen to those who do and forget all the opinions from those who don't. Unless you understand what its like to finance, produce and distribute your own feature, all of these other negative opinions that I'm reading in this comments section are simply hot air and nothing more.

January 16, 2014 at 5:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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shaun wilson

As a contributor to this site looks like you have learned very little when it comes to Kickstarter and production budgets. Koo admitted he didn't know what it would take to film a feature with kids at school, yet he still took our money and created a lot of negative feedback.

How do you plan to produce a similar type film with less budget and experience? Will you come back to us in a year and proclaim you had no idea what you were doing and it was just a stepping stone to find more funds?

These Kickstarter films are bad news for the indie genre, eventually the funds will dry up when very few of them are delivered.

January 13, 2014 at 7:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mark

Hey Mark,

I understand your concern. If you take a look at our Kickstarter page, you'll see that I am personally putting $30,000 of my own money into the film. I wouldn't ask anyone to contribute if I wasn't willing to contribute myself.

We also mention that we have applied for a grant from the Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Filmmaker Fund, which supports narrative feature films that focus on science, technology and mathematics. We were a strong contender for the grant last year, and TFI encouraged us to reapply this year. If we receive this grant, it could be anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000. A successful Kickstarter campaign will certainly demonstrate momentum to TFI and help us win the grant.

Finally, we have been actively pursuing additional financing through personal meetings and contacts. We have been working very hard for over two years to put the financing for this film together, and we will continue to work hard both during and after the Kickstarter to complete our financing.

We touch on these issues in the now required Risks and Challenges section of our Kickstarter page. We acknowledge that without completing our financing, our production may be delayed, which may cause delays in the delivery of rewards.

I will tell you that when I accepted the terms and conditions of Kickstarter to complete our film once we have a successful Kickstarter campaign, I took that very seriously. I am committed to making this film, and I hope we will have the support of the Kickstarter community, including a few NFS readers.

No one has to pledge. But I certainly hope some of you who find value in what I write on NFS about screenwriting may also consider supporting our project.

Thanks for reading the post and taking the time to comment.

January 13, 2014 at 7:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

Yeah...never got how Koo seems like so
savy...and yet he had no clue how mucho $$$
it is to do a SAG feature with kids and sports
crowd scenes. Hope you are not going down
that same traveled No Film School road
that takes a sharp detour suddenly when
100K in reader donations roll in.

January 13, 2014 at 7:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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sammy

I never get how people can recite nonsense and opinions as if they were fact. From the ManChild Kickstarter page: " I drew up the budget below myself, but note that I am NOT a producer. Once there's a producer attached, they will come up with their own budget, which will undoubtedly be higher than mine, and then we'll have to raise more money or make tough decisions about what we WANT in the film versus what we absolutely NEED." Koo then went on to do a short break down, which totaled $130k, though he admittedly left some items out. I'd have to say Koo has been pretty transparent with the numbers and I think any intelligent filmmaker with his connections would be going about this the same way.

January 15, 2014 at 9:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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That's absolute BS. Nowhere in the campaign literature or in the pitch film is this ever stated. Nowhere. It's only when you search and click through the FAQ do you find this disclaimer. I don't remember this being in the original pitch either and seeing as you can add FAQ's after the fact who knows when it was written. I feel the community has been misled.

January 16, 2014 at 7:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Mark

I like your screenwriting articles, so I wish you good luck!

January 13, 2014 at 7:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Fox Mulder

Thanks, Fox Mulder. Or whoever you are.

January 16, 2014 at 10:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I am going to be brutally honest. This feels like a movie a math teacher would pitch. If your only goal is to make a movie and teach kids a lesson, thats fine, I am sure you will achieve that but if you wish to make a profit or sell to a distributor it would be unlikely. I think some people on here touch on some very real albeit harsh truths about Kickstarter. It is over-saturated with mediocre projects. This is from too many people responding with kindness rather than honesty or criticism. Asking readers to fund your own feature for you to learn why your film did not work is unnecessary, you can do that by going to film school.

I believe the story needs work, and (based on your pitch) it needs a lot. Why should I care about this girl? I need more than seeing her struggle with first world problems. What is your theme? What are you trying to say? I got, "saving is good kids, pennies add up" or "its ok to be a nerd" -there's gotta be something deeper. It needs more interesting conflict. How will this movie intrigue/entertain me? Escapism is why we watch movies, to get lost in the story. Who is your audience? 11 year old girls? Unless your talking boy band, that may be too small, how can an older person relate to your story? What does your protagonist really want (hint: It's not money to buy a new phone) -what is their struggle and why should I care? I recommend either going back to the drawing board on this one or reworking your pitch.

January 13, 2014 at 10:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Alex

Go for it mate - and the best of luck. We're all itching to do the same - I'm in pre-production on my first feature, and getting to the stage where, as they say, I've got to shit or get off the pot...!

Whether people on here agree/disagree/love the story/hate the story - None of it really matters, as long as you learn something from the process.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing the results.

January 14, 2014 at 5:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thanks for the words of support, Alex.

January 14, 2014 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
Writer
Writer/Director

I agree with a lot of what you've said as I've actually done it (currently in post production), however you haven't, yet (I'm sure you will) so basically this article is just a pitch and I feel it's misleading because Kickstarter isn't mentioned until the end and a lot of what say comes across like you've already shot a feature but you are not really speaking from experience.

Assuming you make your budget good luck with the film, but I think with this article you should make it clearer you're looking for contributions (and you haven't actually shot the film yet).

January 14, 2014 at 6:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Filthy Punt

Here on NFS, when we feature a Kickstarter campaign - ours or someone else's - we don't typically write the article asking for contributions. We try to share a lesson with our readers.

I apologize if you felt misled, but I hope you found value in the content of the article.

January 14, 2014 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
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Writer/Director

There is no great mystery in working with actors. If you know what you want, you can direct/coerce them toward your goal. Consider yourself more than qualified if you can think on your feet. Everyone should prepare as best they can for the task, but at some point you have to give it a go. Listen to everyone and no one. Your choice.

January 14, 2014 at 6:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Bilge

I think it's great that you're trying to use film as a means to fix the world a little bit- dealing with issues of school, math, bullying. Above all, I think this is really commendable and deserves encouragement.

January 14, 2014 at 8:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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+1

January 14, 2014 at 12:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Re: making CENTS
Hi Christopher!
I'm a camera grip and lighting techie and creative
(and father of a 10 year old girl) from berlin, germany
and would love to help realize CENTS.
I also like the kickstarter fundraising for creatives but hate amazon.
Would offer to work for food and accomodation.
If you like the idea, mail me back!
Best, Oli

January 14, 2014 at 5:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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... and yeah, you can not write a serious script without the experience of having realized even a short own film story.

January 14, 2014 at 5:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hey Oli,

Thanks for the offer and the support. We will be hiring local New Mexico crew for two reasons: 1) we have a really talented crew base because of several film and television productions that come through every year (e.g. Breaking Bad, The Avengers, True Grit, No Country for Old Men, etc., etc.); 2) we have a 25% film tax incentive for all qualified production costs, including local crew wages.

I wish you the best in your own filmmaking endeavors in Berlin, and hope you can find a project that will speak to your 10-year-old daughter as well. Hopefully both you and she will enjoy CENTS when we finish the film.

January 14, 2014 at 6:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
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Do your thing man! This is awesome! At a certain point there's nothing left but to do the damn thing.It's always good to see someone stepping out and doing instead of sitting on an idea and never trying. I find it amusing how some of the rudest comments all contain the phrase "I'm not trying to be rude but...." Constructive criticism is one thing but some folks sure don't know how to word things if they're trying to avoid sounding rude. No one knows your idea like you. I wish you all the success in the world.

January 14, 2014 at 6:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Adrian

Thanks, Adrian. I appreciate the support. You always have to take risks when you put your writing, films or any creative endeavors out into the world for all to see.

Some feedback is constructive and helpful to the project. Other feedback isn't. Knowing what to use and what to ignore is another skill I have learned over the years of screenwriting and filmmaking.

January 14, 2014 at 6:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
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Very interesting! Quite helpful for start-ups like us who are still testing the waters and learning!! :)

January 16, 2014 at 12:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Panorama Art Studio

BTW where is the screenplay?!?!?

January 16, 2014 at 2:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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salve christopher boone ! (please read beyond the piramid critique)
I work as script analyst for cinema tv in Rio de Janeiro and I loved the first second and third part of video,
BUT was terribly shocked at the final piramid scheme ! totally unnecessary, because we the viewers
are not in the story for the math skills - that I can find in a school or a calculator if I need it... -
you should think again where the love is and where the love is going to into your '''Cents'''
All was ringing true and absolutely interesting before that. we all know where money goes into production, so, the math scheme - in the meliflous way presented - was a bad spot dirty in front of that almost ruins a beautifull presentation. almost kills the intention you so carefully found merit.
I also understand that some jokes are difficult to avoid telling... but that one was... a mishap.
""Cents"" seems to be a lovely film, although the end story was not presented,
it really filled the gap me myself see too in moviemaking for girls and for girls with math skills.
The presentation lacks too as 'origin' of that math skill, wich in the long run will show that girl as a mutant girl, instead of a normal girl. My wife knows better than me how to spell spenses... and we should not treat that as an after thought image without reason...
I am not really sure that we should encourage children to 'circumvent' institutions as schools,
we may teach them to circumvent a whole bunch of wrong societies idiotic bureacracies...
that movie with kevin spacey about the good idea is not about breaking bad schools, but making better humans... and CENTS seems to go that direction but - from the video only - I'm not so sure.
the complimentary idea to show how girls affect each other at a distance too was such a good idea
that might become a series for tv...
Fight morality with bad morality is not really smart... please watch 'book of eli' !

Considering you want my money, support and friends, please inform me:
a) happy ending ? does she goes out to become a cientist ? a bank operator ?
please do not add a boyfriend nice guy that makes all right...
b) origin of 'higher' math skills ? would you put energy into making the viewer smarter ?
c) morality ?
saluti, RomanBruni

January 16, 2014 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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roman

Hi Roman,

I can't give away everything, so I'll answer your final three questions as best I can

a) There is an opportunity for redemption for our protagonist in the final act, but she has to make difficult choices. I can't tell you if she makes the right choice. You'll have to watch the final film to find out.
b) It will be clear that our protagonist is way beyond her age in terms of math skills. I don't know if anyone can say where that comes from for certain people. This story is focused on a very specific timeframe in the lives of our 12-year-old characters.
c) Morality? Our protagonist and the supporting characters are all flawed. When faced with difficult choices, sometimes they make a good choice and sometimes they make a bad choice. And they all make bad choices during the story. That is what propels the story forward and keeps the audience interested to see what will happen next.

And no. No boyfriend will come in to save the day.

January 16, 2014 at 10:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Christopher Boone
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