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By Peter John Ross | August 5, 2003



Here’s a story that will probably sound familiar. You hear about an audition. Someone posted a flier that said something about a short that’s in the Sundance Film Festival. This sounds interesting. You, the actors & aspiring actors go to a cattle call for a no budget DV short. You wait in line, although the people sitting around at the public library is hardly organized enough to be called a “line”. After you get asked to read sides by a first time director who doesn’t know what a “slate” is and isn’t taping the auditions anyway, you leave wondering what kind of movie this could possibly be, that you read a fragment of a script that had dialogue as interesting as an Insurance Actuarial Table. After your call back a week or two later, you read the lines again, and talk with the director and his cronies about your dreams an aspirations.


At this point, they tell you the game plan for this incredible movie. It’s a 10-20 minute opus about an everyman that is in some kind of struggle and it’s completely original. The goal is to shoot the movie on DV, send it to film festivals, and then get the money to reshoot it on film. Of course there’s no pay. We can’t afford it. But this is a Unique Opportunity because the script and idea are just that good. You ask about distribution and you are assured that after the film plays at several festivals, it will have a distribution deal. At that point, everyone will get paid. They say this with such conviction that you buy into it.


You work on your weekends for 12-13 hour days, this first time director is giving you line readings and there is barely any craft services to munch on while everyone stands around. Eventually you finish, and you wait to see the movie. Over the next few months you try calling, then emailing the director to get a status report. It’s still being edited. Eventually you may or may not ever see a finished product, but waiting for that film festival screening seems to be as likely as finding weapons of mass destruction in the filmmaker’s basement.

If this has happened to you more than five times, then you are an ideal candidate to attend an Amway meeting with me. I have just the right opportunity for you.

And now for the flipside…

The story continues in part two of INDIE FILM CLICHES – A FILMMAKER’S OPINION>>>

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  1. James says:

    As a film maker, I was looking for an article on Independent film cliches, what I got was an blog of “can’t bee”. This article is definitely mis-titled.

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