In 2003, Boston-area filmmakers
Howland walked into their first film festival,
International. Still relatively new to the
industry, they were simply hoping for a chance to
network with local filmmakers, and for a successful
premiere of Jack
Milton, a short comedy they produced in
After walking through the doors
and meeting other filmmakers from around the country,
Aaron and Seth quickly realized that most filmmakers,
no matter their experience, ask each other the same
"So, where did you get your funding?"
Not only is filmmaking perhaps the most expensive
art form, because of the equipment, resources, and
people needed to complete even a short film,
it also has the sharpest learning curve. No one ever
said that being an author or a musician is easy, but
the truth is that a musician can write a hundred songs
before recording his first album. An author can write
a hundred stories before she gets published, at a
cost of no more than the paper and ink it took to
complete those stories. Filmmakers, on the other hand,
are considered veterans by the time they've produced
or directed a handful of films. This is because of
both the expense and the time involved in completing
just one film.
So where does this money come from?
In order to fund their first film, Aaron and Seth
used what was supposed to be a year's college tuition
money--a very common choice among independent filmmakers.
Now they have a classic first film--never publicly
screened, sitting on a shelf, collecting dust.
Was it worth it, though?
Says Aaron, "If you decide to be a filmmaker,
any path you take will be risky, so it's important
to weigh the pros and cons, and then make an educated
guess. I know people who say they can't imagine life
without their degree. Others tell me that film school
was a waste of money--that they could have learned
the same things from reading books, watching movies,
and working as a production assistant on professional
sets. My guess is that the truth is somewhere in-between.
I think in the end it's about coming up with a reasonable
plan, and then being willing to accept the hardships
that come along with that plan. No matter what you
choose to do, it's going to be a hard road."
Unless you're wealthy, though, you can only fund
your own films so many times. At a certain point,
you're going to have to turn to outside help. Whether
you're fortunate enough to have a wealthy friend who's
always wanted to be in the movie business, or you
spend months applying for (and most likely being rejected
for) grants, you'll have to go through the process
of acquiring a production budget, and then being held
accountable to the people who gave you that money.
That's why Aaron and Seth founded the BMPAs.
The Boston Motion Picture Awards, in contrast to
traditional film festivals, was founded with the express
purpose of giving independent filmmakers a head start
in getting their next projects made. While the money
and resources generated by the BMPAs may pale in comparison
to those provided by movie studios, the resources
provided by the BMPAs belong solely to the winners,
and as a result, the filmmakers have sole control
over what they do with those resources. In addition,
once a project has partial funding, it becomes easier
to find investors willing to sink their own money
into the project.
Aside from money, there are other factors to consider,
as well. As a budget-conscious independent filmmaker,
you need to keep up with the latest breakthroughs
in technology; you need the proper equipment and resources
at your disposal, and you need a solid track record
behind you in order to entice investors, quality cast-members,
and a talented production crew willing to work on
an indie budget. This is where the other BMPA prizes
come into play. The BMPAs have worked hard to collect
a prize pool filled with goods and services that will
make an impact. Whether it's free screenwriting software
to help in pre-production, free subscriptions to magazines
so you can keep up with current indie film breakthroughs,
or reviews of your work to help with publicity, the
BMPAs are here to help.
Das, a previous BMPA Place Winner, "The
Boston Motion Picture Awards really help you to launch
your next film. The BMPA has put together an awards
package that helps both the novice and experienced
filmmakers. This is because their awards focus on
what filmmakers really want and need. Consequently,
your win in BMPA both energizes and equips you to
make new films while their friendly, supportive people
make you want to have a lasting relationship with
To learn more about this year's prizes, please click