Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a movie?
"Getting a movie made is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it." – Douglas Adams
This is my favourite and most accurate quote on what it is like to make a movie. It is an incredible amount of hard work. People often send us emails or Facebook messages asking if we can please explain to them how to make a movie. We are sorry, but we don’t have the time or ability to condense 10 years of blood, sweat and tears into an email.
Start by reading books about making films, network with other film makers, watch as many movies as you possibly can, read industry publications, attend film festivals, contact your National Film and Video Foundation or your regional film office (see Links), talk to a distributor, but whatever you do, do your research properly before you embark on the journey of making a film. These days, there are plenty of resources available.
Film making is not rocket science, but it is incredibly hard work, which is why so few people get past the phase of ‘Oh, I have this great idea!’ People in general have a very glamorous idea of what it must be like to make a movie, but let me tell you, it is nothing like in the movies!
There is no magic formula to making a movie. The journey is different for everybody. Just like there is no magic way to get fit or lose weight. You gotta just do the work. The only common denominator between all the people that get movies made is: they just did it.
Surround yourself with people that are skilled, know more than you do and make you look good. And then work hard. Because we work in a passion industry we all believe in the ‘Dream big’ philosophy. I want to add my own little bit to that mantra: Yes, dream big, but also work your ass off!
And have some fun along the way. We work in a very special industry. We get to create magic, and there’s a certain responsibility that comes with that. Tell your stories with integrity and treat the people you work with with respect. We owe it to this crazy, weird and wonderful industry we get to call a job.
I have this great idea for a movie…
We are so happy for you. And so does the rest of the world… An idea is only an idea until you’ve put it down on paper and put together a detailed synopsis or treatment. Also taking into consideration who your audience would be. Are there other people out there that would also think this is a good idea? Ideas rarely become films when you (and your mom) are the only people that think it’s a good idea.
How do I write a movie?
Writing movies is a specialized skill. Just because you have a computer and Microsoft Word does not mean that you have the skill to take a cool idea and make a movie out of it. Just because you own a TV, doesn’t make you a filmmaker. If you are looking to learn how to become a writer, there are many good script writing books available. I would suggest you start with Blake Snyder’s ‘Save the Cat’. It is a great resource and explains in a simple, practical way the Hollywood recipe of script writing. Learn the rules before you try to break them. Alternatively, contact your local Writers' Guild and partner up with somebody that actually knows how to write. There are many writers out there who are looking for good ideas. The Writers' Guilds also regularly offer script writing workshops and other networking opportunities.
Can I send you my script?
Scramble Productions is always interested in good stories and new ideas, but please don’t send us a full script at first. We only accept a brief synopsis or treatment of your story, and if we are interested in your idea we’ll contact you for the rest of the script.
What kind of scripts is Scramble Productions interested in?
We have mainly two criteria when choosing new film projects:
Is this script do-able/ make-able on an independent film budget and will it sell? Writers often forget that independent filmmakers don’t have the same budgets as big studio productions.
Because we are both actors as well, Scramble Productions is always interested in producing work that will offer us challenging acting opportunities.
How do I become an actor in South Africa?
We often get emails from young, aspiring actors who want to know how we got our ‘lucky break’, ie how we became ‘famous’. Firstly, if you want to become an actor because you want to be famous, you are in the wrong industry in the wrong country. Start playing rugby, soccer or golf or marry a millionaire. Secondly, just being famous makes you a socialite and not actually an actor. Thirdly: we’ve made many many sacrifices and put many many hours of hard work into our craft to get our ‘lucky break!’ Remember, what you see in the magazines about Hollywood actors and on E-Entertainment applies to a minute portion of actors in the world and most definitely doesn’t apply to actors in SA.
Acting in SA, actually anywhere in the world, is hard. It is a brutal industry with very little jobs and a lot of people that want those few jobs. But it is possible. If you have talent, the capacity to work hard and manage yourself as a ‘brand’ and the ability to create your own work, you can make a career out of the entertainment industry in SA.
The most important skills you’ll need are patience and diversity. You need to be able to do comedy and drama, film, TV, radio, theatre, you need to be able to write your own shows and sing and dance (at least move!) if necessary. The more versatile you are, the bigger your chances of finding work.
All (serious) actors in SA work through talent agencies. A talent agent is somebody that represents you to casting agents and potential production companies. This is how it works: A client, let’s say ‘Sparkle Toothpaste’, wants to shoot a TV advertisement. The client then gets a marketing agency on board who then gets a casting agency on board. The casting agency sends out a brief to the talent agencies: ‘Hi, I am looking for a Caucasian male and Black female 25-35yrs old with great teeth.’ The talent agency then checks who on their books match that description and depending on your teeth, you might or might not get an audition brief from your agent.
It is important that you get a good agent. Some agencies specialize in extra work, advertisements, modeling, radio adverts, films, theatre etc., but if you want to become a serious actor, you want to work your way up onto the books of an agency that does all of the above. Remember, it is just as important for you to like your agent as it is for them to like you. In the end, the agent is actually working for you. Go check out their websites, see who they represent, and decide who you would like to represent you. If you can’t get into the top agencies immediately, just get onto the books of somebody, start building up a CV, and once you’ve got a body of work, approach one of the bigger/better agencies again.
NOTE: Agents work on commission. ONLY once they’ve booked you a job do they earn a percentage. If an agent asks you an upfront fee, RED LIGHTS should go on somewhere!
Making the move to Hollywood - From SA to LA
More details to follow soon...