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Jason Brubaker – www.MakeYourMovieNow.

com – Filmmaker Checklist

Filmmaking tools for serious filmmakers…

Filmmaker CheckList
Take Action: Make Your Movie Now! ™

By Jason Brubaker

© 2015 Brubaker Unlimited LLC - All rights reserved. No part of this book, including interior
design, cover design, and icons may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means
(electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the
author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

This eBook is designed to provide information on modern
filmmaking. It is sold with the understanding that the author or
publisher is not providing tax, accounting, legal, investment,
business or other professional advice. Filmmaking is risky.

While the process of making movies can be fun, filmmaking can

also be detrimental to your life, wellbeing and savings account.

The information in this ebook is meant to supplement, not

replace, proper filmmaking training. Like any business involving
money, employees, personal and professional liability and
emotions, Filmmaking poses inherent risks.

Although the author and publisher have made every effort to

ensure that the information in this book was correct at press
time, the information contained herein is limited. This book is
meant to provide a viewpoint on filmmaking and serve as a
supplement to other texts and information on the subject.

The purpose of this book is to educate and entertain. The author

and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to
any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or
omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from
negligence, accident, or any other cause.

DISCLOSURE: Many of the companies, products and services

mentioned in this book are affiliates of Brubaker Unlimited LLC.
This means that the publisher gets paid to recommend various
products and services. Your price will not be affected.

But please conduct your own due-diligence prior to making ANY

purchases both here and everywhere on earth. In fact, before
you make any business or financial or life decision, you should
speak with qualified tax, legal and business professionals.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

Hello Filmmaker -

My name is Jason Brubaker. Since you're reading these

words, odds are good you either heard of me through my
popular filmmaking website, Filmmaking Stuff – Or you
have a friend who excitedly heard of me and then gave
you this checklist. . .

Before we get started, it's important that you know a little about
me... And I promise to keep this part short.

As a filmmaker, I'm currently living and working in Los Angeles.

So far, I have made, marketed and sold a few feature films via
popular Internet, video-on-demand platforms.

Outside of making movies, I am very much focused on helping

other filmmakers (people like you) make, market and sell movies
more easily. This involves providing you with solid tactics on how
to build buzz and how to create community around your movies.

Additionally, I am a contributing author of The Independent’s

Guide to Film Distributors, founder of Filmmaking Stuff, a
professional resource for independent filmmakers, and my
articles on movie marketing and distribution have been featured
in Film Slate, The Independent and Movie Maker Magazine.

Very recently I served as the manager of Film Acquisitions for

Chill (which was funded in part by WME). And prior to that, I was
the Director of Operations for the popular video on demand
aggregator, Distribber. (And as a result, I have helped over one-
hundred filmmakers get their movies distributed.)

I share this because I think it is important to understand who

you're talking to. And while I don't claim to have all the answers,
some of what I'm about to share is going to provide new insight.
The best way to utilize this guide is to take whatever tips work
for you and ignore anything that doesn't.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

Getting Started
As a filmmaker, making a movie is challenging. There are a lot of
elements that must come together.

Sometimes you work with good people and this comes easy.

Sometimes there is so much to do, that you get overwhelmed.

(Believe me, I've been there!)

But don't worry. . .

I put together this filmmaking checklist to help you.

The following film production checklist will provide a brief

overview of the independent filmmaking process.

Keep in mind that this is only an overview.

Seriously. . .

Without actually grabbing a camera and working with people

more experienced than you... All the resources in the world will
do you no good. So here is our goal.


After reading this guide, if you can grab at least one useful
filmmaking tip from this checklist, then we can both be happy.

That's it. Easy, right?

I mentioned this earlier. And in full disclosure: Where it makes

sense, I have included recommendations for related products
and services. If you click the links and make a purchase, I may
receive compensation. If referrals aren’t cool, ignore the links!

As always, if you have questions about anything in this guide,

please feel free to contact me. I would love to find out how these
tips help you get closer to your filmmaking goals!

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

Filmmaker Checklist
In the following checklist, I broke the filmmaking process into 65
steps. Obviously some steps will be more challenging than other
steps. But like I said, if you take time to study this guide, you
might get a tip or two that can potentially make your life easier!

1. Before you get started, make sure you read and study
everything you can about the filmmaking process. A good place
to start is obviously the Filmmaking Stuff website.

2. A screenplay is the blueprint to your movie. Write or acquire a

screenplay you want to produce. Make it something exciting!

3. Complete an initial breakdown of your movie. From there,

schedule and budget the project. How much does it cost?

Note: If you are unsure how to break down and schedule a

movie, my affiliate partner Peter Marshall has an awesome
Course at and if you are
not yet ready to make a feature, why not start by making a
short movie? Go to:

4. Write a business plan that details how your movie will be

made, marketed and sold – What is your budget?

5. Talk with a lawyer and other professionals to figure out your

best funding strategy. Is it best if you utilize equity funding,
crowdfunding and tax incentives to fund your movie?

6. Following laws and regulations, go after the money. This will

require strategy, persistence, honesty and enthusiasm.

7. Finding, meeting and closing prospective investors on the

merits of your movie will be one of the tougher parts of the
process. Realize that every “no” gets you closer to “yes.”

8. Most investors will want to know how the money is going to

be spent, what they can expect in return and how will you
eventually get their money back. Filmmaking is a risky business,
full of unknowns and you should ALWAYS disclose this.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

9. Have a plan for the movie when it is complete. Will you take
the festival route? Will you market it to colleges and universities?
Will you send it directly to sales agents and acquisition pros?

Note: While it's great to imagine that a movie distributor

will hand you a million dollar check, this rarely happens. In
fact, most movies end up in popular marketplaces like
Amazon and iTunes. Visit:

10. After following these steps, you have been networking with
prospective investors. The question is, were you able to get the
money? If not, here are some (but not all) of your options.

A. Choose a new movie project.

B. Alter the screenplay to cut costs.

11. Get more favors and freebies. Seriously, write out a list of
everything you can get for free, or at a discount. This includes
props, wardrobe, locations, transportation and craft services!

12. Assuming you did get the money, pick a date for production.
(And if you don't get the money, go back and repeat step one.)

13. Hire a lawyer to help you with contracts and releases. If

you’re short on cash, do a web search for lawyers for the arts in
your area. These folks will usually help with minor legal stuff.

14. Before you have the money, many people will be working for
little to no money. So expect a lot of “nos” before you find the
people who can help you bring your vision to life.

15. You can make your life easier if you work with people who
have production experience. If you are in a small market, reach
out to people who spend their days producing corporate video.

16. Finalize your script. Get it to a point where you are no longer
going to keep changing things. This is a locked script.

17. Number your scenes. Then once again, break down your
script. This involves grabbing each element, location and
character. From this information, create a final schedule.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

18. From your schedule and breakdown, create a final budget.

You probably know how much money you have to work with. If
you find you don’t have enough you have two choices:

A. Get More Money!

B. Modify the script and schedule.

19. Get your crew. Work with a seasoned Physical Producer AKA
Line Producer AKA Unit Production Manager to help you get
organized. These pros will look at your schedule and tweak it.

20. Additionally, if you’re going to direct and product, having

these pros around to help out will open the door to relationships
with 1st Ads and crew. These folks will help you hire the right
people. They will know a good payroll company. And many know
a thing or two about tax credits in your state.

21. I know. Money is tight. So if you cannot hire a location

scout, you may have to scout and procure locations yourself.
This means you will knock on doors, introduce yourself, your
project and your goals. The goal is to appear reasonable.

22. What can go wrong with a location probably will. So you will
want to have a 2nd and 3rd location added to the mix. This way,
should something happen, you will have a fall-back plan.

23. Assuming you’re directing your own movie, you will want to
find a director of photography who shares your sensibilities and
has equal enthusiasm for the project.

24. Your DP will help you find an asthetic for your movie. Given
your cost constraints, you will most likely shoot in HD.

25. Marketing: Create a website specific to your movie. Make

sure you have a way to get site visitors on your mailing list.

26. Later as you get into production, you will be able to add a
movie trailer. (The goal: increase your mailing list subscribers
and create a website you can later modify into a sales funnel.)

27. If you’ve raised money, you can hire talented actors

interested in your project. But in the event your budget is tight,
try to cast people with large social media followings.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

28. Once you have all of your actors, you will want to find a
location for a table read. Go through the script. If you wrote it,
now is a time to take some notes for a final tweak. Anything you
change in the script also changes the budget and the schedule.

29. DO NOT skimp on food. You will want someone in charge of

Craft Services. They should be good at going out and getting
deals on food and catering. If you can not find anyone to do this
for you, you'll have to do it yourself. Allow me to repeat. . .

30. Make sure you have adequate food. If you are doing a union
shoot, there are guidelines and rules you must follow. If you are
doing a non-union indie, then some advice is: GET QUALITY!

31. Do you have all of your permits, releases and agreements?

Do you have production insurance? There are so many different
types of insurance, it will make your head spin. Make sure you
talk with some experienced insurance professionals to make sure
you have adequate insurance for your movie!

32. Meet with your Camera Department and find out how much
memory you'll need (assuming you’re shooting in HD). If you're
shooting film, which might be costly for your first feature – you
will want to have an idea of these needs too.

33. Try to take as many naps as you can. This is a fun, but
stressful time. So sleep. Eat. And take time to exercise.

34. Once you have all the above stuff checked off the list, you
will want to meet with your department heads and make sure
everyone's needs are met. Assuming you've maintained limited
locations, with a limited cast and crew, you will probably still be
baffled by the amount of questions that come flying at you.

35. Seriously, you would think you're making a gazillion dollar

movie. But this is indication people care about their work. They
care about the movie. And they want to make it a success!

36. This goes without saying, but don't be a jerk. Seriously,

never forget you are making a movie. Enjoy the experience.

37. Did I mention you need plenty of sleep? I am serious here.

Making a movie is going to demand a TON of energy. You need
to keep up with the physical and mental demands.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

38. Commence production. Defer to your 1st AD and Line

Producer to keep everything running on time and under budget.
Keep your cool and always remember to have fun!

39. During production, try to constantly get press to profile your

movie. It would be great to create buzz, get people to your
website and get them to opt into your newsletter mailing list.

40. After the WRAP, have a wrap party. Don't sleep with your
cast and crew, get overly drunk or make a fool of yourself! You
are a professional. Act like one.

41. After you recover from your hangover (I just warned you),
you will probably start editing the movie. I suggest sharing the
edit suite with another set of eyes. And do be nice to your editor.
Those professionals can offer valuable feedback. Listen to it!

42. Your first cut will be rough. Screen it with a group of people
who have never seen the movie. Get feedback.

43. Take the feedback and refine your edit. After that, take a
week off – Do not look at the movie or mess around with it. This
way, when you come back to the suite, refine and refine again.

44. Have another small screening with people who have not seen
the movie. Take notes. Take those notes back to your edit suite.

45. Add some sound FX to your movie. Clean up actor dialogue

and rough areas. Sound is more important than visual.

46. Screen the movie again. This time, have the screening with a
new, small set of people. Take notes. Go back and refine.

47. When you have a cut you're happy with, then you can begin
to plan your next strategy. Visit:

48. There are opportunities for traditional distribution. With

some qualified professionals, analyze each deal. Find out if the
deal will fit your business objectives. If not, PASS.

49. What if there are no traditional deals? If you planned

accordingly, you will have a strong mailing list, a marketable
hook and a plan for reaching your target audience.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

50. When you are ready to start selling, refine your website into
a sales funnel. Upload your movie to one of the many popular
VOD platforms. Refine your movie poster and artwork to fit.

51. Upload your trailer to YouTube and all the other video sites
on the internet. I prefer to stream from YouTube because I don't
have to pay for streaming and I can monitor viewer comments.

52. Write press releases related to the release of your movie.

Have a blog component that details your movie and allows other
people to comment.

53. Play around with your key words and SEO (Search Engine
Optimization). If those terms are new to you, find someone in
your network who understands the importance of the web.

54. Marketing is all about telling memorable stories and getting

into the conversations. Adding your thoughts on website forums
is one way to get the word out about your movie. But if you
totally disregard the conversation – that's bad form.

55. Create both a Facebook and Twitter handle for your movie.
The purpose of this page is to lead people back to your site.

56. Have adequate social share buttons on your website so

people can easily tell their friends about your movie.

57. If you have the budget, purchase some offline advertising in

publications related to your movie. (This assumes you've taken
time to define your target audience and ways to reach them!)

59. All of these methods are intended to get people back to your
website. The purpose of your site is to get people to watch your
movie trailer and click the BUY NOW button. Anything that
distracts these visitors must go! Install Google Analytics.

60. If your website visitors fail BUY NOW, then at least try to get
them to opt into your mailing list. Do you need a mailing list?

61. Out of all the people who click the BUY NOW button, some
will actually buy. If you have access to the contact information,
reach out and personally thank your customer.

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Jason Brubaker – – Filmmaker Checklist

62. Assuming you are generating revenue, consider using that

money to purchase more advertising and repeat the process. In
internet marketing, they call this scaling a business. The name of
the game is: “Conversion Rates.” Read this marketing article.

63. Sooner or later, you will figure out how to jump-start your
next project. And you will realize that making movies and
making money making movies is possible.

64. The thing to remember is long term perspective. On average

it takes seven meetings to make a relationship! Most people quit
long before they get to meeting number seven. Not you!

65. As a final thought, I would ask you to consider the following

questions: Given the resources that you have right now, what is
the movie that you will make this year?

I hope you enjoyed this brief filmmaking guide. If you did, you
are really going to LOVE my Filmmaker Action Pack.

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