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Article title:   Make Your Own Movies
First posted:   Wed 01 Sep 2004
Article text:

Make Your Own Movies

If you've made your own film and want to share with us how you did it, we'll post it on this page. If you want to know HOW others have done it, this is good information for you to print out and share with your friends.


PARKER PRODUCTIONS: Sean Norris e-mailed us to say that they are taking submission for short film scripts: "We want to be a resource center for independent filmmakers, and part of that is hooking up screenwriters with filmmakers. If you want to post that information that would be great. Thanks." Consider it posted, Sean. You'll also find this same notice on our Hollywood News to Use page(Production Companies:Query by e-mail).

LAST GASP FILM GROUP is owned by Gregg Atwill who sent the following e-mail: "As supporters of the new film makers, we have designed a web page entitled 'Showcase' where film makers with their own Web Site or Personal Home Page may link themselves with our Website." For more information, write to Gregg at

JIMMY NEUTRON: Betty Jackson told us not too long ago, on this site, the way she and her friends suggest going about shooting your first small film. But she also has this story she wanted to share with you. Maybe it should go on an Inspirational page! Anyway, Betty tells me that back when there were just four animators working in a little cracker-box of a studio (her description, not mine), she recognized their tremendous talent. Says she was proud of them - but - they were doing commercials to pay the bills and always, always sending their shorts to festivals. As her e-mail described it: "If one throws enough spaghetti at the wall, it finally sticks". One day they entered a teaser about Johnny Quasar in the Wavys competition. A studio producer saw it at Wavys and hired them to do a 30-minute TV show for him. He loved their work so much he managed to get them hired to create a 30-minute children's Christmas special for Fox, "Santa vs. the Snowman", which led to "Olive, the Other Reindeer". But back to Johnny Quasar. The studio producer pitched it to Nickelodeon who in turn pitched it to Paramount. Paramount saw a feature in their future. Dah-dah!! Johnny Quasar became Jimmy Neutron! By its third weekend it had grossed $62.5 million. I love the way Betty ends her e-mail to me: "Several months ago I mentioned to a co-worker that some of us had entered some work in a film festival. He said, 'Did you make any money from it?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'Sounds like a waste of time to me.' I just looked at him and smiled." So ... if you've been thinking about putting together a little something for a film festival, this note might be just the kick in the rear you've been needing. Go for it!

How Betty Did It

Here's the latest from this Texas dynamo, Betty Jackson: (from her e-mail) "My husband and I call our company Safari Productions. We now have almost everything we need (in order) to do shorts. We have a fully equipped shop to build sets and props and two cameras and a light kit. Joe (the husband) has recently installed a sound editing suite and I have just finished putting togeher my Adobe Premiere video editing suite. Now it will not cost us much to do creative projects... I am working on a scheme whereby indie filmmakers can screen their shorts on Jack E. Jett's TV show (Jack's show is on cable access in Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Francisco and I believe New York and LA plus the internet. If anyone has quality shorts, Jack would like to take a look at them." (Esther's note: e-mail Betty at with your queries). You can watch Jack Jett's show on the internet every Wednesday night at 8:00 PST by going to

How Lorre Did It

Lorre Fritchy is the Massachusettes writer I rave about constantly (she wrote one of the best screenplays I've ever read, "Porch People"). There's a tiny blurb about her on our Success Stories page, in fact. Anyway, this feisty lady made her own film and I asked her these questions, which I figured is what you'd have asked if you'd had the opportunity: "(1) How'd you raise the necessary funds?, (2) What'd you shoot it on, and (3) How'd you manage the sticky wick of distrubution?". This is her reply, quoted directly from her e-mail: "(1) All private investments and my own funding went directly into the film's production. I also used common sense film scheduling, i.e, my 'vacation' to California was one part Disney and two parts filming, so that I was already at the location, no extra plane costs. I stayed with friends or family whenever I could, to cut down travel costs. All $$$ I made freelance writing or film crew-ing, went straight back into getting tape stock and supplies. (2) Shot MiniDV with a Sony TRV-900. Edited in Final Cut Pro 1.2 using a system I purchased and saw as an investment in future productions. (3) Sticky wick still being picked. Self-distribution is slow and challenging, especially as a production team of One. But building a database while I was filming (getting names and addresses of students and parents at schools where I filmed) was a help. Getting a few niche catalogs to carry it helps. Web sites like and the Amazon Advantage program for indie filmmakers at help. It is extremely difficult getting through to cable networks as an indie filmmaker with no distributor to speak of. They SAY they want that fresh and original stuff that is undiscovered, but they don't necessarily MEAN it. So be prepared for the same brick walls you sometimes get as a screenwriter trying to sell your story without an agent or lawyer. Same parallels and obstacles in some cases. Hope this helps!" Signed, Lorre Fritchy. If you have any questions for Lorre send them to me in care of this website and I'll see that she gets them.
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Copyright 2005, Esther Luttrell. All Rights Reserved.