A Conversation With Christopher Nolan & Emma Thomas

The Produced by Conference at  Sony Pictures Studios was packed full of energy and information. The best of the best in the Producing world are here. Friday night was the kick off party where I was fortunate enough to meet up with Les Nordhauser of Greenlight Films and meet Martin Cuff of AFCI.

The first session I went to was ‘A Conversation With Christopher Nolan & Emma Thomas’. Wow, what a way to start my conference!!!! There wasn’t an empty seat on the Wheel of Fortune stage, everyone wanted to hear what this successful duo had to say.

Known for their non-linear style of filmmaking, Christopher and Emma’s first film was a mere $6,000 budget, shot on the weekends. How many of us have done that? I’ve done that. Work 9 to 5 to pay the bills and do our projects on the weekend. The film, ‘Following’ didn’t make it into Sundance. Someone working Sundance invited them to the San Francisco film festival, which was very well received and opened the door for funding ‘Memento’, a mere $4.5 Million dollar project. Since then, many great films have followed.

Christopher said the key is when people ask what your next project is, have something. If you go back in 6 months, they will already have a project. Have other projects to talk about. Emma took a back seat on ‘Memento’ and learned on that project le viagra en france.

When asked ‘How do you remain true when your budgets have increased from $6,000 to over $100 million’? Christopher says ‘production value never changes’.

Some key thoughts from Christopher and Emma:
1) Always be entirely honest about what it’s going to take or be required when
approaching a studio to talk about the budget.
2) Stay on schedule and budget, it shows you are trustworthy.
3) Identify the key people who need to be experienced on the film. Christopher and
Emma continued to use their same crew they had on their $6,000. With an expanded budget, they were able to bring in people with experience their team may not have had to fill the gaps.

4) Watch the dailies. This isn’t done much any more in Hollywood, but Christopher
and Emma insist on it.
5) Be patient. It took a year to get distribution for ‘Memento’. Newmarket Films
created a distribution arm in order to get the film distributed, because no one was interested. What a great result.
6) Distribution is where the real pressure is.

If you have the opportunity to attend the Produced by Conference next year, I highly recommend it. -CC

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