Arthur Vincie: Writer/Director/Producer, 'Three Trembling Cities'

(Arthur Vincie) #61

To be clear, “Three Trembling Cities” had no investors, only my last feature, “Found In Time.”

I made a business plan that tried to make a case for investing in the film as a business. I tried to estimate how much the film could make given market conditions and other comparable films, and sent it out to anyone I knew who either had deep pockets or knew someone who did. 99% of the time I got a “no thanks” back.

My ex-wife (who produced my first feature, “Caleb’s Door”) and my friends (one of whom was my first film professor) both liked the script and believed in me, and so they invested some money in the film. 90% of the investor stories go something like that - it’s someone in your family/circle of friends/one degree of separation from.

I cautioned them that the film would probably not go into the black, and they knew that since they were in the business. [It hasn’t.]

For “Three Trembling” the budget was much, much lower, and the upside was nil, so it didn’t make sense to ask people to invest. They could help crowdfund, and get a producer credit if they gave us enough money.

(Arthur Vincie) #62

If you make a feature or some kinds of television in New York State, you can qualify for a tax refund. That means that you can get a check for 30% of your below the line costs (with exceptions).

You have:

  • Spend at least one day on a qualified NYS soundstage
  • Shoot a certain percentage of your film here
    There are some other requirements as well that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Some costs are excluded (above the line, legal fees, insurance).

If you shot somewhere else but do your post in NYS, you can qualify for the post incentive (30% of post costs).

You have to apply before you shoot. I did it about six months before production. There’s a fair amount of paperwork to fill out but the folks are lovely.

In some counties they throw in an extra few % because they’re trying to attract more production.

The cost of the soundstage can suck but they give you a list and you can shop for a good deal. Cinemaworld was historically the cheapest one in Brooklyn.

Here’s the official website to get you started:

(Arthur Vincie) #63

I think if you don’t try to “sell” yourself. Approach a conversation as an attempt to get to know someone first. Ask someone about their work, what they’re looking for, talk about common experiences… If it’s difficult to talk to strangers, practice with friends.

Networking events can be great or terrible, depending largely on how packed the place is and how loud the music is. Stareable has hosted some IRL events that have been very chill. Sometimes it’s easier to do this at an event that’s about something else - like a workshop or class.

It sounds weird but posture and presentation matter a lot. If you project a certain amount of confidence (even if you don’t feel confident), people will find you more approachable than if you radiate desperation.

Realize too that almost everyone feels terrible at networking and talking about ourselves. We all go through imposter syndrome, even folks who’ve “made it.” Thinking the person I’m talking to might have the same anxieties as me has helped take the pressure off a bit.

(Arthur Vincie) #64

Car work - just shooting stuff in cars (either with the camera in the car or somewhere on the car). It’s just hard to block car shots so they look interesting. It’s always a tight squeeze fitting the crew in the car.

Big budget films sometimes use a process trailer - a low-riding trailer with the car on the trailer, and a big platform around it for the crew/lights/camera. That way it looks like the actor’s actually driving the car, but it gives the crew the ability to reposition the camera, etc.

Or they put the car on a greenscreen stage and put the background in later. The actors pretend to drive.

Small budget projects can do a greenscreen. For a night shot we put the car on a dark driveway, the DP and gaffer rigged a rotating light (so it looked like headlights/streetlights passing them by on the road - gives the illusion of motion), and mounted the camera in front of the car. Me and a couple of guys hid behind the car and bounced on it to make it seem like the actors were actually hitting some bumpy roads.

(Arthur Vincie) #65

Yeah I can’t draw freehand for shit anymore. I’ll send you the PDF or Word template, can you put it on Stareable?

(Arthur Vincie) #66

THANK YOU all for asking such great questions, and thank you Bri and Stareable for having me on!

(Sandwich Fam) #67

Thank you @Bri_Castellini for moderating and asking so many great questions of Arthur. This conversation had a wealth of insight. We especially loved all the personal stories Arthur shared (both the highs and lows of his producing his projects). Thank you @avincie for being so candid!

– John & Lena