“Just because more films are being made, it doesn’t mean there are more filmmakers out there,” said teacher, filmmaker and author Bill Millios.
Sure, an inexpensive DSLR camera helps, but in order to make a beautiful film that’s seen by real people, you need more than the cast, crew, director, money and techy tools. You also need to have marketing and fundraising capabilities, and you need a producer with a passion for storytelling.
Filmmakers and co-authors Millios and Mark Vadeboncoeur are holding a workshop that will help experienced and to-be filmmakers discover (or rediscover) the ways of independent film today. It occurs Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at Cinderella Modeling Studio & Agency in Manchester.
Millios isn’t surprised more people are becoming so drawn to film; today, he said, you can get a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera for $1,000 or less. There’s an instant wow factor when toying with these pieces of equipment.
“These cameras shoot unbelievably. I teach classes at SNHU [Southern New Hampshire University], and these kids won’t even know what they’re doing, yet. … it looks gorgeous,” Millios said in an interview at the Hippo office last week. “I think they get attracted to filmmaking by looking at the footage, but that’s the equipment doing the work.”
Millios of Back Lot Films and Vadeboncoeur of Goodheart Media Services have held lots of film workshops in New Hampshire, but this is their first in years, and their first since the publishing of their book, The Digital Filmmaking Workshops: Producing, Marketing & Screening Your Independent Feature-Length Film, which took three years to write and went to print in August 2013.
“We started holding film workshops around 2007. It was a time when shooting a film on video instead of 16 mm film was a fairly new concept,” Vadeboncoeur said. “In the old days, the biggest expense was renting a camera, having film stock and having it developed on the technical side.”
For the workshops and the book, Millios and Vadeboncoeur drew from their own personal experiences in creating Old Man Dogs and Dangerous Crosswinds, the latter of which was screened in nearly 20 locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.
The workshop has an updated approach to filmmaking, technically speaking, but it’s also just as much about what happens after the film is shot and edited.
“We really push the grassroots thing,” Millios said. “Both our films we did all on our own. … We booked it at at least a dozen theaters throughout New England. We brought the film to the people and bypassed the festival route. We recruited the money from the production budget, and made it back by selling DVDs.”
Millios would like to see more filmmakers take this route.
“It was a lot of hard work, but we kind of use that as a model to encourage other filmmakers to treat it like a business. Especially with Kickstarter today, some filmmakers lose accountability,” Millios said.
These filmmakers, he said, are putting effort and money and time in physically making the films, but they don’t see them through. Instead of marketing, booking screenings and finding means to sell it afterward, they try to get their work in the film festival circuit and end there.
“You want to see it through — it’s where the real gratification comes from, actually screening it. You get to meet real people and real viewers and get some wonderful discussions after the film,” Millios said.
The event will have a few speakers, but for the most part, the workshop will be an in-depth, hands-on couple of days. Participants will also each receive a copy of their new book.
“We really try to emphasize the hands-on nature of it. … Students will be getting their hands right on the equipment,” Millios said.
As seen in the April 10, 2014 issue of the Hippo.