Couldn’t I just make my proof-of-concept short for “no money”?
More than one person has asked me that. Sadly, the answer is no. Here’s why:
1. Agents, producers and distributors are all used to seeing high-quality, polished products. If my project looks flat, or has less than stellar acting, the professionals evaluating my material may mistake my cash limitations for an inability to see flaws in my work. I must demonstrate that I can be trusted to create something viable.
2. The tools available mean anyone can make a great piece. If mine is missing necessary elements to make it look professional, it’ll be noticed and considered sub-par, no matter how good the writing is.
3. Film and television is more competitive than ever. Anyone can create a high-quality production. Anyone can find great actors. There is no shortage of people writing great scripts. To stand apart from the mass of people trying to break in, I must bring all three elements to the table (story, performances, production) to have a shot at consideration for distribution or other directing or writing jobs.
Technology and software have made it far more affordable to create exciting and compelling stories. And somewhere, someone will grab their friends and make a movie on their iPhone that will get a lot of buzz, and perhaps a sale. But that’s analogous to being discovered as an actor in a mall; it can happen, but shouldn’t be your strategy to become an actor. People around the world make thousands of films a year for various festivals, and distributors. I can’t shoot myself in the foot making something that looks cheap. I can’t let anyone think I believe cheap looking work is acceptable.