Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Best Use of Extra $5k?

Filmmaking - Using Resources Wisely

"What Would You Do With an Extra $5k?"

Camera equipment? Lighting equipment? Editing software? Let's imagine that $5k has just fallen in your lap. What to do with it? Shoot your short, film your feature? As far as you can go, until the money runs out? What should you buy?

If I were you, I'd spend the $5k to pay my rent and bills for a couple months, and quit my job, or take some vacation time, or a leave of absence.

I'd sit in a room and turn off the phone and tv, and eat spaghetti and raw vegetables 2 times a day, and exercise in the morning and skip dinner and take a walk in the evening, so I didn't get fat.

I'd get up early, and go to bed late, and not even look at, listen to, or answer my voicemail and email and filmmaking sites, until the evening.

THEN...I'd turn on my computer, and WRITE.

And write and write and write and write and write and write. Then I'd write and write and write and write and write and write and write. Then I'd edit, and write and re-write.

Until I had a really great movie script. That's what you should do with the money. Write.

That effort would give you an asset in the world of filmmaking that most filmmakers simply don't have.

Ever wonder why you're not getting anywhere? The answer to becoming a great filmmaker is not "camera equipment." The answer is "writing."

The way you get good at writing is not college or reading books or hanging out with friends. The way you get good at writing is by "writing."

You can sell a great script, or get hired to write another one, or talk somebody into lending you money to make your great script into a movie, but you need it written first.

Great scripts don't write themselves. They take time and effort, more than anything. If your scripts aren't very good, chances are you haven't put a lot of actual time and effort into them.

By the same token, if you have a script you wrote it in your spare time, from dribs and drabs and scraps of time, in between working all day at your job and family and school and church and bills and relationships and pets and all the crap that gets in the way, chances are it isn't very good.

So, take the time. Invest the money - $5k is real money - and buy yourself something nobody can give you. Buy some time alone, and write your script. It is the best possible use of that money.

That's what I'd do if I had an unspoken-for $5k. Just my opinion, because I want you to succeed.

Best to you,




  1. Hell I agree with you Mr Longoria. Writing is a habit we need to develop, and redevelop and polish with practice. After all, there is a serious dearth of good scripts in the film industry now...every year one or two movies do manage to make a mark, but the rest well, needed some improvement at the pre production stage itself. Also, I believe if you're a fresh film school passout, you should pass out with a script in your hand, coz that's what is going to get you a smoother entry in the industry, and also have better prospects in the long run.

    What do you think of Syd Field's school of screen writing Mr Longoria? I'd love to know your opinion.

    Lovely post, cheers :)

  2. Hmmm.. $5K on your lap eh? what to do with it eh?... As much as I do agree with Mr. Longoria and sarthak with needing to develop a script and in suggesting to use the money to establish a kind of breathing space within which to write the script (the old Virginia Woolf adage that all a writer needs is money and a room of one's own), I believe $5k in your lap should best be budgeted.

    By this I mean that, for example, if you are an independent filmmaker and you're trying to develop a project you've had in mind into a film, then I suggest you see exactly what an extra $5k can buy you, be it equipment or expertise.

    Yes a script is important and yes writing is the fundamental element of a film that can make or break a project, but I feel that being practical with the money and projecting it into a costings breakdown would allow you to really bring together the pre-production planning you most definately need to make the project happen.

    I guess this is just a producer within me, but I do feel that, especially if you're an independent filmmaker, being both director and producer, it's important to put the producer's hat on and look at things on a practical basis.

    $5k on your lap would be awesome, but it should be spent, and it should be spent wisely...

  3. Anonymous10:48 PM

    What's not to like? I've read Syd Field's books "Screenplay" and "Screenwriter's Problem Solver" many times, and recommend them to people. Very cogent and well thought out.

    That being said, my favorite screenwriting book, for simplicity and ease of use, is still Viki King's book. "How To Write A Screenplay in 21 Days."