FOLK RIGHT OFF
What does 30 quid buy you these days? Half a hairdo? A night in a crap hotel? A Czech hooker? Among my spam this week comes an invitation to join the latest in a long line of short-lived film networking websites. FilmingFolk.com bills itself as Scotland’s premier resource and networking community for anyone working, or wishing to gain experience, within the film and television industry. All for just £30 a year.
After all, when you can’t make a living out of the film business, surely the next best thing is to exploit all those wannabe filmmakers who are either too dumb or too lazy to find out for themselves that film isn’t some clandestine closed shop. All the information’s out there for free if you can be bothered to look, so who needs to spend 30 quid a year to read content written by other members who presumably joined up because they don’t have a clue about the business either.
You can’t shoot them for trying, but if I want to give somebody my money, I like to know who I’m giving it to. On FilmingFolk you'll find a Terry Dray, who has a single credit on IMDB as an AD on a short made five years ago, alongside Lynzie Dray and Christine Davidson, plus a couple of outfits purporting to be production companies, neither of which musters a Google ranking. Like, how much do they know about making films? Or, like most companies here, have they made the standard couple of shorts and the odd corporate?
Especially not enticing is the rate they charge for script feedback. I mean, £279 for ‘extensive analysis’ of a feature script? Are they kidding? Even the Script Factory only charges £75 for a feature script and at least they've got some screenwriting chops.
As for FilmingFolk’s 'short film competition', this really beggars belief. For a start they’re charging £25 to enter (£40 if you want feedback). And the prize? I quote -
“The winning script will be produced using a professional producer, director, crew and actors and will go into pre-production on Monday 3rd November 2008 for a 7 week shoot, which includes, development, pre-production, the shoot and edit time”.
Hello-oh? A 7-week shoot for a short? I think FilmingFolk must’ve got D minus at film school, because any idiot knows the shoot is the bit where you have a camera and actors, not the bit when you sit in front of a computer editing, or rewriting the script. It makes you wonder what the losers get – two scripts produced by FilmingFolk Productions Ltd?
If this sounds like a slagging, you’re dead right. It’s one thing to be fleeced by professionals, but it’s another to get mugged by a bunch of amateurs who clearly don’t have the first clue about making films or is qualified to teach anyone else how to. Because if they could, then why aren’t they doing it? Here's why - nobody in the real film business wants to fund films these days, especially films in Scotland. Even big grown-up filmmakers who know what they're doing can't make a living. So unless you want to starve...
FF has got what must be the world's wordiest website with delusional claims about how they deal with ‘industry professionals’. If that's so, then what’s the point of submitting the finished film to BAFTA Scotland? What do you think Alison Forsyth is going to do with it, apart from use it as a coaster? And as for the claims about getting the film to festivals – it’s just pish. Anybody can fill in a form for a festival but getting accepted is a whole lot harder.
If FF wants my advice, they should cut the crap, post their CVs, and get rid of their dumbass terms and conditions. By all means be in business, but don’t lie about your so-called expertise because you come across like a bunch of chancers. I've been shaken down by better than you guys. And finally, stop spamming me. I’d rather throw thirty quid down the toilet than sign up to you lot.