THE Z LIST
by Michael Chasin Screenwriting Mentor, IAFT/Miami
Before the tent-pole budgets, trailers, and cutting-edge technology, A-Lister filmmakers were Z-Listers.
Being on the Z-List has nothing to do with notoriety, but has everything to do with making a film on a zero budget.
Demonstrating the artistic talent and management skills to make an entertaining film on a zero (or micro) budget—will open doors and access dollars.
The keys, of course, to completing a zero budget film are in obtaining free services and generous assistance.
Luckily, because film is fun and sexy, people want to help—but they won’t help a disorganized filmmaker.
Successful Z-Listers practice the following with perfection:
Professionalism—being serious and respectful about all aspects of the film, from script to sets to crew to cast. Potential sponsors will immediately recognize professionalism and will have confidence that their contributions won’t be treated frivolously.
Preparation—having a plan, including the script, shooting schedule, set sketches, and actor headshots (which will greatly impress)—will lead to assistance.
Politeness—in an often uncivil world, being polite can go a long way towards having strangers willing to help.
Positivity—people like people who are positive. An upbeat attitude will help to infuse potential sponsors with the desire join the production.
Participation—assure potential sponsors that they will be included in all film events and will be included in the credits—which is a thrill for most non-film people.
Passion—above all else, allowing passion to flow. The filmmaker’s excitement will be contagious and will be caught by sponsors.
Greatly enjoy your time being a Z-Lister—if you do it right—you won’t be one for very long.