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Liz Adams

Award-winning director of the indie film Side Effect offers advice on how to get your indie film made on a micro-budget during a recession

Liz Adams 1. Make sure the subject matter is unique. Choose an idea that hasn't been done before. This is the time to take risks and pitch ideas that will create interest from the industry, press and filmgoers. Don't be afraid of controversy. Controversy and shock actually create more interest and hype than anything.

2. Don't just assume your project is commercially viable...make sure! Test out your ideas on a study group. Ask the important questions after a read-thru. Now is not the time to be pushing a project that is only going to appeal to a small niche when you are seeking funding.

3. Get busy! With tsunami force, go after gifts and grants, investor financing, domestic government subsidies and tax incentive programs, lender financing, international finance options, and studio or industry financing. Don't be afraid to adapt your script to suit an investment opportunity. So many directors refuse to compromise. Well, set your ego aside and get to work. In this economy, everyone needs to make concessions and bend, otherwise your film may never be financed. When Hollywood crowns you the darling of the studio system, then you can forego casting the investor's daughter - but don't count on it, even then!

4. Capitalize on underused assets - find underused but talented actors who believe in the project to help give the film a professional look. Give crew people a chance to move up in title and gain needed experience in exchange for working on a low budget project.

5. Collaborate - encourage co-operation and excitement on your set, ideas are the indie filmmaker's currency; if someone brings you a good one, use it!

6. Keep it simple - think about props that you already own and locations that you can access for free when developing your script, write with your budget in mind, focus on story.

7. When all else fails, go guerilla! Keep your focus on the premiere and do whatever it takes to get your shots and editing completed. Now that credit cards are harder to come by, directors are begging, borrowing and stealing to get their work in the can. I do not condone the latter, but when there is a will there is a way.

Hopefully by 2015, the recession will be over and we can all enjoy an abundant flow of money to indie filmmakers once again! I'm thinking positive!

Liz Adams has written and directed several short films for festival exhibition. Adams latest project Side Effect is a short horror film made during her participation in the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women. After serving as Vice President of Development at Independent Filmmakers Alliance in Los Angeles, Adams continues to submit Side Effect for festival exhibition. Adams also has available a script for a feature length version of Side Effect called Blood Level. Blood Level picks up the next day at a nearby high school where the kids are clamoring for the new achievement-enhancing drugs to help with test scores.

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