You are on page 1of 15


take action and make
movie now!
My name is Jason Brubaker. I live in Los Angeles,
make movies and help other filmmakers do the
same. This filmmaking guide will provide you with
useful filmmaking tips, tools and tactics.
icture this! By some miracle to end all
miracles, born of equal parts luck and
blind determination, you’ve gone against the
odds. You’ve put together a cast and crew,
refined your script, found some financing and
in the process, you’ve somehow managed to
make the impossible possible. You have made
your first feature!
Can you imagine the excitement, emotion and
applause of a packed audience during the
premiere your first movie? Can you imagine
yourself walking down the isle to claim your
award? Can you imagine yourself in the Q&A
session? Can you smell the popcorn?
Then my question is, what are you waiting for?
My name is Jason Brubaker. I live and work in
Los Angeles. I have worked in the movie
industry for over a decade. And if YOU have
the desire to make your own movies and get
paid for your work, then I encourage you to
read every word in this guide!
Note: This guide contains recommendations
for products and services. If you decide these
are a good fit for your moviemaking business, I
may receive compensation. This will not a!ect
your purchase price. And if referrals aren’t
cool, feel free to ignore my links!
If you like this report, feel free to
GIVE it to your filmmaking friends!
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 2
Welcome Filmmakers
this filmmaking guide provides tips, tools and strategies
P Filmmaking Stuff To Know
1. Stop asking permission to make
movies. YOU are responsible.
2. Given the resources that you have
right now, what is the movie you will
make this year?
3. Do you have a website, a YouTube
channel, a Facebook page and
Twitter handle? No? Get busy.
4. Boldness is rewarded. Be bold.
5. If you don’t ask for it, you’ll never get
it. Seek and you shall find. What you
focus on expands. Take action.
his seems obvious. But without a
screenplay, it is very di"cult to make a
movie. I know some filmmakers are interested
in making an “experimental” movie. If that
describes you, then ignore the following
screenwriting tips.
But if you would like to write a screenplay, here
are some professional tools that I recommend.
For screenwriting, Final Draft software is the
industry standard. Additionally, you can also
use Movie Magic Screenwriter. But I never
used it. And if money is tight, there is FREE
screenwriting software called Celtix.
Once you have the tools, it is important to
remember that nothing happens until YOU
take the time to write. Set aside time to write
at least one page each day. And give yourself
permission to write a crappy first draft.
If you need extra help, research the writing
course at - In
the system, you receive writing tips, an action
guide and a fill in the blank writing workbook,
so you can finish your screenplay this year.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 3
Screenwriting copy
your screenplay is the blueprint for your movie
Screenwriting Tips
1. Have a well defined log-line. Be able
to explain your story in one sentence.
2. Everything in your screenplay costs
money. Consider the movie’s budget.
3. Ice, Snow, Rain, Sun, dogs, lighting
bolts and children are worth avoiding.
4. If you decide to produce your movie,
hire a seasoned Production Manager.
5. Hire a GREAT First Assistant Director.
Not some film school kid either.
“There is a saying that everybody
in Hollywood has a screenplay.
This is not true. Most people in
Hollywood only have 20 pages.”
— Jason Brubaker, Filmmaking Stuff
fter you finish your screenplay, the next
steps is to break it down. A script
breakdown allows you to schedule and budget
your movie. To complete this process, you
take everything in your script (wardrobe,
stunts, locations, characters, props, et al.) And
you put these elements into a schedule. And
because this is your “initial breakdown,” you
will use this information to estimate your
budget. If this is script breakdown process is
new to you, I recommend you take a look at
Peter Marshall’s Script Breakdown and Film
Scheduling Course. His course shows you the
fundamentals of a breakdown. For more info
go here:
Once you understand the fundamentals of
script breakdown and film scheduling, you
might want to sign up for a FREE account at
LightSpeed EPS. In addition to helping you
break down your screenplay, this tool helps
you manage your productions. For more
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 4
Script Breakdown
break down your script and schedule your movie
Three Types of Filmmakers
1. Employee Filmmaker (indie
producer works at a production
company): An employee filmmaker is
someone who gets a job at a
production company.
2. Freelance Filmmaker (indie
producers hired on a per-project
basis): As a freelancer, you get hired
on a per-project basis. Then when
the production wraps, you go back to
your network, seeking your next job.
3. Entrepreneurial Filmmaker (indie
producer creates his or her own
projects and hires other people): In
this scenario, your goal is to find a
good screenplay, raise money and
make your movie now! You don’t wait
for anybody to give you permission.
But if your project does not get
made, you do not get paid!
“Your script, your budget and your
schedule are all linked. Change
one and change them all .”
— Forrest Murray, Producer
ike most filmmakers, I spent a lot of
time trying to figure out how I would
find an investor for my projects. One of my
friends said I should contact a local auto
dealer who owned a dozen dealerships.
One day I picked up the telephone and called
his dealership. To my surprise, he agreed to
meet. That was the beginning of a business
relationship. For the record, this small town
auto dealer is worth sixty-seven million dollars.
Since then, I have met countless rich people.
These people get calls from entrepreneurs
seeking funding every week. And while
establishing a relationship is essential, it is
important to have a business plan.
A business plan outlines how your movie will
be produced, marketed and sold. It outlines
how much money will you need and how the
money will be spent. Your business plan will
outline how much risk your investors will need
to take in order to gain the possible rewards.
To create a business plan, you may benefit
from some free online templates. Or you may
benefit from - There
you will find a movie business plan kit, which
provides you with a step-by-step approach.
As a word of caution, always contact a lawyer
before you pitch your project to anybody. Your
lawyer will have suggestions on how to legally
approach prospective movie investors.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 5
Get Movie Money
make a plan to make, market and sell your movie
Contacting Investor Skills
1. Very few investors are out there
waiting to throw money at unproven
filmmakers. Stop dreaming.
2. What is an asset? What is a liability?
What is cashflow? What is capital
gains? Figure this out first.
3. Write a business plan. Contact an
attorney. Get your paperwork
finalized before you contact anybody.
4. Find the biggest business in your
hometown. Pick up the phone and
call the owner and request a meeting.
5. It takes seven meetings on average
before you build a business
relationship. Seven meetings!
s a filmmaker, the moment you start
putting your project together, you’re in
business. At this point that many filmmakers
get a business card and set up a website,
touting the wonders of their projects.
This is also a time when many costly mistakes
are made. How you establish your filmmaking
business can have legal and tax ramifications.
As such, the moment you decide to start
putting a project together, you should also
seek out the legal and tax advice of qualified
professionals. After meeting with these folks,
you might find that operating your production
company under the protection of a corporate
entity (such as a corporation or LLC) may
provide you with basic safeguards.
The steps of setting up a business entity are
pretty simple, but they could be a little costly
depending on your state (or country) laws and
tax liabilities. Also, as a general disclaimer, I
am not qualified to o!er legal or tax advice. So
I can only talk about my own experience –
which may not be right for you.
When it comes to entertainment attorneys, you
might consider researching Gordon Firemark.
He runs and has very
informative podcasts, full of valuable legal tips
for independent filmmakers.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 6
Legal Stuff
protect yourself from your filmmaking business
A Protect Your Movie Business
1. Talk with an attorney about how to
protect your assets in the event
things go south. Do this before you
do anything else!
2. As a second line of defense, talk with
a qualified insurance broker about
your goals. Common insurance
packages include production
insurance, liability insurance, workers
compensation insurance and E&O.
3. Make sure you get releases singed
by everybody. This includes the
obvious stu! like your cast and your
crew and the less obvious stu! like
aising movie money becomes much
easier when you have a network of rich
and successful friends. If you have not already
done so, check out
- di!erent from all the other BS out there, you
will discover some little-known strategies on
how to find and make friends with rich people.
But sometimes knowing rich people is not
enough. Many prospective investors will want
to see some proof of concept. This is where
crowdfunding can be helpful. Aside from
raising money, the more important aspects of
crowdfunding include testing, proving and pre-
selling a concept. Additionally, a crowdfunding
campaign allows you to test the footprint of
your social influence.
When crowdfunding attempts fail, it could
mean the concept is not interesting to the
marketplace, the filmmaker’s social media
reach is limited or a bit of both. It is better to
correct these hiccups prior to production.
To get started with a crowdfunding campaign,
visit my friends at Indiegogo. This platform
allows you to set up a profile, promote your
movie project, set a financial goal and find
supporters who will sponsor various aspects
of your movie.
You must never forget that you are creating a
product. So before you approach any
prospective investor, you need to first figure
out how your project will make money.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 7
tap into your social networks and presell your movie
Three CrowdFunding Tips
1. Study the pitch videos of successful
campaigns and create (then test) a
pitch video for your project.
2. Always include a one dollar perk.
While transactionally small, you may
benefit from the social reach of your
contributor. Some of their friends
may decide to fund you.
3. Update your funders frequently.
Many initial funders will actually
contribute a second time when they
see your project is gaining progress.
inalize your script. Get it to a point
where you aren’t going to keep
changing things. Once you get to this point,
consider it a locked script. Number your
scenes. Then break down your script again,
and create your final shooting (production)
schedule and budget.
You probably know how much money you
have to work with. If you find you don’t have
enough you have two choices. You can get
more money. Or you can modify the script and
schedule to fit your budget.
Everything in your movie, no matter how small,
will cost you money. Sometimes these
elements are negotiable. I know a guy who got
both food and locations for free in exchange
for product placement.
If you have the money, I suggest working with
a seasoned physical producer, line producer or
production manager to help you get organized.
These professionals work to make sure your
movie stays on budget. They then tweak your
initial schedule as needed to stay within both
your budget and time parameters.
Additionally, if you’re going to direct and
produce, having these professionals on your
team will open the door to relationships with a
great 1st AD. The First Assistant Director
keeps your movie on schedule.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 8
Final Budget
lock your script and create your final budget
F The Final Budget
1. Everything in your movie costs
money. But some things are
negotiable. Always negotiate for a
better o!er.
2. The Line Producer and 1st Assistant
Director should be your first hires.
They will help you with the day to day
minutiae so you can focus on getting
your movie made.
3. If your budget is greater than your
money - you have two choices. You
can lower your budget or modify your
script and schedule.
nce you get the money, pick a date for
production. You are now entering the
phase of pre-production. The quality of your
production depends on quality of your prep.
I emphasize the planning aspects of pre-
production, because many filmmakers crash
and burn during production because they
didn’t have a solid plan.
Go back to your lawyer and get help with your
contracts and releases. If you’re short on cash,
do a web search for lawyers for the arts in your
state. Since many of these folks will be
working for free, expect a lot of “no’s” before
you find the right fit for your show. You can
make your jobs easier if you find someone with
film production experience.
And if you are using a Line Producer and 1st
AD, both of these professionals will help you
hire the cast and crew. They may also know a
thing or two about tax credits in your state. Tax
credits can be used to help further incentivize
prospective investors. This is invaluable!
To make sure your production goals are
executed in such a way that you get the most
movie for your hard earned money, you will
need to check and re-check with your
department heads to make sure everything is
AOK. Assuming you have a plan A, plan B and
a plan C, you’re ready to shoot your movie!
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 9
Prepping For Production
the quality of your production depends on your preparation
O Prep For Production
1. Take time to visualize each day in
advance. Picture every camera set
up and every shot. This will help you
outline an e"cient day.
2. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
This sounds silly. But you will need
every ounce of energy you can
muster to make your movie happen!
3. Remember that you are making a
movie because doing so is fun. Your
goal is to enjoy every minute on set,
as you’re doing what you want in life.
reate a website specific to your movie.
Then make sure you have a way to get
site visitors onto your mailing list. Additionally,
have a place on your site for press, so that
they can grab your press kit and materials.
To get started, you will need a domain name
and website hosting. To do this, set up an ac-
count with a filmmaker friendly company. more
ideas for movie hosing and domain selection
can be found at for
all of my movie websites.
When you set up the site, make sure you use
your movie’s title in your link. For example, in
our environmental movie, we reserved:
Once you have your website hosting, hire a
web designer to create a website for you. If
you already spent all your money making the
movie, then check out a service called – On this site, you’ll probably
find a dozen people who will create an
awesome website for a whopping $5 dollars!
As you get into production, you will later want
to add a movie trailer. This will help drive tra"c
to your website, which will increase the size of
your mailing list. To build your mailing list,
check out This
service allows filmmakers to capture leads
from their movie web- site, build a mailing list
and set up email newsletters. (They pay me,
but I use them for everything.)
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 10
Movie Website
your movie website is essential for filmmaking success
C Website Tips You Need
1. Keep it simple. Your website should
tell a visitor where they are and what
you want them to do.
2. Your movie website should have info
about you, your movie and provide a
trailer that fans can watch.
3. Stream your trailer from YouTube.
Aside from being the second largest
search engine on earth, the service is
free and has a social networking
component built in.
nce you have all the above stu!
checked o! the list, you’ll want to meet
with your department heads and make sure
everyone’s needs are being met. Assuming
you’ve maintained limited locations, with a
limited cast and crew, you will probably still be
ba$ed by the amount of questions that come
flying at you.
Seriously, you would think you’re making a
gazillion dollar movie. But questions are simply
indicators that people care about their work
and the movie. And they want to make it a
success. Trust your team and be rewarded.
This goes without saying, but don’t be a jerk.
Seriously, you’re making a movie. It’s a real
accomplishment and it’s one of those great
things you can do in life. In fact, it’s quite
awesome. So push forward. ENJOY! Did I
mention you need plenty of sleep?
During production, try to constantly get press
to come out and pro- file your movie in the
news. The goal is to leverage the media, cre-
ate buzz and hopefully get people to your
website and get them to opt into your
newsletter mailing list.
After the WRAP, have a wrap party. And trust
me when I tell you this—try not to sleep with
anybody in your cast or your crew. Also, if
possible, monitor your alcohol intake. You are
a professional. Act accordingly.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 11
Make Your Movie
begin your production
O Last Minute Filmmaking Tips
1. Walk before you can run. If the only
movie you can make this year is a
three minute movie for YouTube, grab
your cheap camera and make that.
2. Make sure you have adequate food
on set. If you do not have much
money, food is your currency. Don’t
skimp for the cheap stu! either. Get
good stu!.
3. If you have to cry on set, just make
sure you go somewhere nobody can
see you. When you cry on set,
everybody looks at you like a weirdo
and you erode credibility with your
cast and your crew.
fter you recover from your hangover,
you’ll probably start editing the movie.
This is the phase they call post production.
And it really is the final rewrite of your movie.
In the past, all the talk and buzz in the world
revolved around Avid. Now you’re like Avid
who? Seriously. If you have a Mac, get yourself
a copy of Final Cut Pro. It’s industry standard.
It’s powerful and a!ordable. Enough said.
If you don’t have a Mac, find a friend who
does. And if you don’t know how to edit, you
should find a friend for that too.
Your first edit will be rough. Screen it with a
group of people who have never seen the
movie. Get feedback. Then take the feedback
and refine your edit. After that, take a week o!
– don’t look at the movie or play around with it.
In this way, you’ll come back to the edit suite
with new perspective. Refine and refine again.
Have another small screening with people who
have never seen the movie. Take notes. Then
take those notes back to your edit suite. Add
some sound FX to your movie. Clean up actor
dialogue and rough areas. Remember, audio is
often more important than visual.
Screen the movie again with a new, small set
of people. Take notes. Go back and refine. You
will probably repeat this process many times
until the final cut of your movie meets your
standards. Just remember, less is more.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 12
Post Production
the edit suite is your final rewrite
A Edit Your Movie
1. Don’t be an idiot. You will need to cut
at least five minutes out of your
movie, if not more. Many directors
keep the long scenes. Snooze fest.
2. You’re in a dark room for hours on
end. Please make sure you shower
and maintain your hygiene. I don’t
know why, but edit suites smell funky.
3. Quit asking people on your payroll for
an opinion. Many want you to hire
them again, so they will be included
in sugarcoat their opinions. Get
outside opinions from people.
hen you have a cut you’re happy
with, then you can implement your
sales strategy. For example, will you go to film
festivals? Sales agents? Film Markets?
Because finding traditional distribution deals
are rare, you must always plan your own
marketing, sales and distribution strategy. To
get started, you will need to create a trailer,
refine your website, set up a Facebook page,
YouTube channel, and a newsletter will allow
you to build a relationship with your visitors.
Refine your trailer so that it helps you sell your
movie, without giving the entire story away.
Make sure your trailer includes a backlink to
your website. Once you complete the trailer,
upload it to YouTube and all the other video
streaming sites you can think of.
Most filmmakers make a website with all sorts
of bells and whistles. Your website should be
simple. You should have a trailer, an “about”
page, a “buy now” button, links to your social
networks and your opt-in audience list.
Out of everything I mention, getting people
onto your list is most important. An audience
list will allow you to collect a name and email
address of your visitor.
Additionally you may want to research my
friends at about
getting your movie on iTunes. This company
pays me to promote, so conduct diligence.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 13
Sell Your Movie
you are now responsible for the success of your movie
W How To Sell Your Movie
1. Remember video stores? Neither
does my kid cousin. Video On
Demand is the future. Get it?
2. If most sales agents are attempting
to “pick up” your movie for iTunes,
and you can get your own movie
onto iTunes, why do you still need the
validation of a middle-man?
3. If you want more information on how
to market and sell your movie, check
4. Did you create your movie website
yet? If so, you may want to write a
press release and broadcast it.
5. Just because your movie is in iTunes,
Amazon and VOD marketplaces does
not guarantee sales. You still need to
market to sell your movie.
Jason Brubaker is a Hollywood based Independent Motion Picture Producer and an
expert in internet movie distribution. He is focused on helping YOU make, market
and sell movies more easily by growing your fan base, building buzz and creating
community around your title.
Jason is a contributing author of The Independent’s Guide to Film Distributors, he is
the founder of Filmmaking Stu!, a professional resource for independent filmmakers,
and his articles on independent movie marketing and distribution have been
featured in Film Slate, The Independent and Movie Maker Magazine.
Brubaker currently serves at the Interim Director of Operations for Distribber, a
modern movie aggregator where he helps indie filmmakers get their movies seen
and selling on popular VOD platforms like iTunes, Hulu, Amazon.
Find out more here: http://www.filmmakingstu!.com/my-filmmaking-story-part-1-of-4/
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 14
About Jason Brubaker
take action, make your movie now!
If you are seeking Filmmaking Tools, the following resources are
my personal picks. In full disclosure, many of these sites pay me
to promote. So make sure that you conduct due-diligence prior
to making purchases both here and everywhere on earth. provides you with the o"cial
filmmaking stu! newsletter and FREE filmmaking tools. is for writers and screenwriters
who want to write movies for the new low budget cinema wave. is an online production
management tool that allows you to break down your script. helps filmmakers discover strategies
for building relationships with prospective investors. resource for filmmakers to get movie
site hosting, a domain name and easily set up a website. provides an online training
course for filmmakers who need a breakdown and schedule. allows filmmakers to capture leads from
their movie website, build a mailing list, set up email newsletters
and a sequential email auto responder. provides tips on getting your
finished feature seen and sold. This site contains resources on
how to leverage digital distribution and internet marketing. allows you to get your finished feature
onto iTunes, Netflix and Amazon.
Copyright 2013 Brubaker Unlimited LLC -- -- 15
Filmmaking Tools
professional filmmaking tools so you can make your movie
Filmmaking Tools