An Introduction: The "Science" of Getting Your Film Produced

At the time indicated on the right, you can join us live:

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2. Click and paste in Webinar ID 190-511-860

Frequently Asked Questions

Mr. Norman Berns
, an acknowlegded film industry expert with an impressive biography has taught a number of courses at the Indie Filmmakers Bootcamp and to a select few students from his film budgeting group. As the interest and demand grew for these hands-on workshops, we recently asked him to share his experience with the greater public through instructing online Internet Conferences.

Please join us to hear Norm's tips and insights in this free introductory course overview of those key aspects of Scheduling, Budgeting and writing the Business Plan that investors want to see. You will learn for yourself how these tips and tools can dramatically increase your chances of getting your movie funded.

This introductory course-sampler is provided to you at no charge and without obligation. Jot down your production questions now, and take advantage of the call-in question opportunity that will be provided following Norm's overview presentation. Norman C. Berns is an Emmy Award-winning producer, a consultant to the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants and also the founder of the Film Budgeting Group.

11:00-11:05 Welcome by Tom Lassu
11:05-11:45 Norman Teaches
11:45-12:00 Questions and Answers


1. Script Breakdown and Scheduling

The heart and start of filmmaking begins with the breakdown of the script. Before there can be a budget, there has to be a schedule. Scheduling courses explore the logic and methods for turning a screenplay into a blueprint for production. Mr. Berns will provide a basis for budgeting as well as discuss techniques for manual scheduling and using major scheduling software programs.

The process of "dissecting" the script — isolating the elements like props, sets, action, even the time of day is revealed; elements are separated by scene, each entered into a separate page. Learn about the seven dangers to avoid and follow the seven rules to better schedules.

2. Creating Precise Budgets for Motion Pictures

Learn why budgets are essential, what a budget does for filmmakers and how it helps your production to get financing and ultimately to get the film made. The basic budgeting class outlines the structure of a budget and shows how to get started.

Basic Budgeting is the course to take before starting your first budget. Practical budgeting is introduced through the use of over twenty current programs including spreadsheets and paper. Advanced techniques are shown using a wide variety of software packages. Learn how the budget evolves after the script breakdown and schedule have been completed.

3. Business Plans
Making them Effective and Keeping them Legal
The real substance of a business plan and how it gets there. This is a step by step guide to planning and writing an effective (and legal) business, marketing & fund-raising plan. This course will not do the work for you
but it will point you to the right direction — you will be informed enough to either hire someone or know how to get started yourself.


4. The Art of Pitching
You have five minutes to make your pitch and sell your film.  Everything you’ve done for the past year has to be reduced to bullet points. Can you do it…?  The steps are easy.  If you learn them, you might walk away with a deal.  If you take the time to talk about the wrong things – like the art of your script – the odds are good you’ll leave empty handed.

5. Maximizing the Benefits of Film Festival
Build your team before you begin.  Hit the ground running and don’t stop until the party’s done, the dawn has come and every deal’s been run past every deal maker in town.  Taking your beloved film to a festival is no sprint; it’s a marathon.  Here’s how to get in shape.  Here’s who to pick as your trainers and your cohorts.  And here’s where you’ll find the guard rails that can save your deal when it falters.

6. Finding Financing for your Film
  Comments by Entertainment Attorney Don Bertrand, Esq.
How tough can it be…? Actually, if you’re ready, it can be a breeze. All you need is an incredibly great deal, solid distribution, a well-crafted cash-flow analysis, a realistic budget, a drop-dead wonderful marketing plan and a team of seasoned pros beside you. How to get all that stuff so you can get to the stuff you really need…? Slowly, carefully, wisely… There are just a few hundred steps. Number one…



Norman C. Berns is a producer, director and educator whose contributions span from making feature films and acting through producing feature-length dramas to episodic television, international documentaries, industrials, software authoring and curriculum design.

A member the DGA, SAG and Actors Equity, his credits include My Dinner With Andre, The Exterminator, Scalpel, The Premonition, the acclaimed PBS series The Human Language, CBS' Wish You Were Here and Universal's The Street. He produced nine films for the Metropolitan Opera's Live From the Met broadcasts, earning an Emmy and Golden Eagle award, among others, and was instrumental in BMW's widely popular web-based film series. Additionally, Norman spearheaded the development of ProductionPro Budget software for Set Management, a favorite budgeting program among indie filmmakers.

Mr. Berns is the moderator of The Budgeting Group on Yahoo, a respected forum of several thousand film industry professionals; he is a consultant to the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants and member of the Board of Advisors for People With Disabilities Broadcasting Corporation.


The International Movie Database (IMDB)
Interview with Norman C. Berns
The Budgeting Group


How Will the Class be Conducted Over the Web?
We will use GoToMeeting, an interactive online software for shared presentations. You will be able to get audio access through the Internet, or dial in from your telephone in the US. We have tools to draw, highlight and point to items of interest right on your screen and will also include a complete PDF of the class, as well as additional support materials. Detailed log-in instructions will be e-mailed to all participants a few days before the actual class date.

What if I am in a Different Time Zone?
The class starts at 11 AM Pacific Time, 2 PM Eastern Time on Saturday, November 8th 2008 and it will last 1 hour. Visit the links to find other time zones:

Can You Cover All the Materials Listed in Such a Short Time?
Well, we will try to hi-light as much as possible.
However, this is an introductory class-sampler; we will soon offer a six weeks long course that will include in-depth coverage of all the subjects we touched upon initially.

How Will The Six-Week Course be Priced?

The course will be priced in accordance with the current economic situation. Film Synergy Magic Development folks and members of professional film groups will be offered a discount that can be combined with various time-based incentives. We strongly encourage registering early in order to get the best possible price.

Name Sales End Price
Complimentary Ended Free

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