Want to be a storyteller? Tell stories.
You know this already but it bears repeating: producing your own work is not only a great way to get unstuck, re-inspired, and connected to your purpose as an actor, but can be a career launcher for some actors, too.
Start small. Go one step at a time.
And be sure you have extremely clear goals. Don’t make a film simply because you need footage for your reel — make a film because you are lit up by a story that won’t stop nagging you. (If you simply need footage, please talk to me before you start shooting stuff!)
Here’s what Filmsupply has to say about optioning material:
“Tracking down a relatively unknown author isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be. Self-promotion is just as essential to some writers as it is to filmmakers. So they ought to have some sort of website or platform with contact information listed. According to Rob, the most important thing to keep in mind is how you sell yourself and your vision in those initial conversations.
You want to build a personal connection with the author. The best move is to get them on the phone and say, ‘Look, I’d like to option your property. I don’t necessarily have a lot of money; but I’m super passionate, and I’m super excited about your vision, and I want to make sure your property gets set up the right way.
Speak to what excites you about their story. Be specific. Drive home the idea that you want to see their work treated with respect and consideration. After all, if the shoe were on the other foot, you wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t have genuine excitement for your work trying to turn your film into a book.”
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sarah: Pay attention to the stuff that really inspires you, to the shows that inspire you, to the stories in the news that inspire you…to, you know, listen to news stories, podcasts. I listen to the Daily, which is the New York Times podcast, pretty regularly, and there was an incredible story about—kind of about drug cartels, but not really—and I just thought, that would be an incredible story to tell. You know, you can option, you can option (the rights to) these stories, and what that means is essentially you pay—and it doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money—but as a producer you option the rights to that (author’s) story. And then you can team up with people and have a writer write it if you’re not a writer, and write yourself a role. And then become a producer and start putting people together that are really good at those things, simply by being inspired by the story. You know, by reading a novel and thinking, “oh my God this would be an incredible film,” I’m going to option the rights to this novel and work with a screenwriter to adapt it and get it made and put a team of people together and get the funding and make it!
Sam: I didn’t…that’s really cool.
Sarah: And that’s possible! That is 100% possible and in the world of possibilities. Whether or not you get to go make a studio version of it, you know, maybe not, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get it made and tell the stories that you want to tell.
Sam: Yeah. I like that. That’s really cool.
Sarah: There’s a lot of ways to empower yourself.