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How much to do a proper fan episode?


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#1 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:42 AM

Hello everyone,

I've been in and out of this forum for the last little while, and I am still interested in doing a webseries. To get an idea of the costs, can someone tell me how much it would do to produce a web episode as they do in Phase II? I've heard James Cawley spent $100,000 just to get it started up, and I've heard that each additional episode would cost $50,000.00 or so.

Can anyone give me ideas on this? Thanks.

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#2 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:41 PM

I can't say for them, but the bridge set was our primary cost, and it came to around $5000. The other sets were around $1000 each. The cost of producing an episode of Potemkin is less than $250 (costuming, props, mini DV tapes, and lunch (from Subway!)).
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#3 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:14 PM

I can't say for them, but the bridge set was our primary cost, and it came to around $5000. The other sets were around $1000 each. The cost of producing an episode of Potemkin is less than $250 (costuming, props, mini DV tapes, and lunch (from Subway!)).


Thanks for the input, Randy. That's very encouraging. But the bridge set was built with a green screen, wasn't it? And it was in your house, right?

I'm thinking of converting a garage and basement into a bridge set, but that could cost quite a bit.

Edited by Fan Producer, 25 May 2013 - 09:15 PM.


#4 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 01:05 AM

Thanks for the input, Randy. That's very encouraging. But the bridge set was built with a green screen, wasn't it? And it was in your house, right?

I'm thinking of converting a garage and basement into a bridge set, but that could cost quite a bit.


There's no green screen used on our carport-based bridge except behind the captain to hide the door to the kitchen and the mainviewer of course. :) The rest of the sets are completely physical, although we do animate the panel displays. They're not green screened, however. We mask out areas that we want to animate.

We are presently looking at a warehouse to move our transporter room and ready room sets this week. We also will begin construction on the new corridor set there.

Edited by Randy Landers, 28 May 2013 - 01:06 AM.

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#5 Ezri Dax

 

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:50 AM

Intersting topic!

#6 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

This is an interesting topic. :)

Randy, are you going to rent the warehouse full time? I'm asking because, if you shoot only part time, the question is what you will do with the time when the set isn't being used.

#7 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:38 AM

I'm renting the warehouse for one year with an option for a second year. It's been the cheapest thing I've found to deal with the non-bridge sets.

I sold my copy center business Wednesday, and will be opening a video service business next week. The warehouse has two offices that will be used to that business, so I'm basically making the warehouse a studio for both Potemkin and my video service.

My wife and I have agreed that we'll give this business a year, and then we'll examine how we're doing and make a decision then.
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#8 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:35 AM

Good luck with your new business, Randy - the US economy is doing well, so your timing may be good.

But are you using the warehouse to store sets, as opposed to setting them up?

#9 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:04 PM

No, it's 2000 feet. I'm going to set up quite a few standing sets.
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#10 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:01 PM

2000 feet is a good size. I may rent, as opposed to buy, but, if a good investment opportunity presents itself, I'll consider buying.

So the area would stay empty if you're not filming, I take it?

#11 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:14 PM

Not empty; we don't strike the sets. But certainly not used. Our bridge set sits empty most of the year, but it's always there. A few folks have actually stopped by at times just to see it. No problem as long as they call in advance, which everyone has done.
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#12 Kirok

 

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:27 AM

It's great to hear that your group is growing without placing you under a major financial strain - I've always thought that evolution and development is a more sensible growth pattern that revolution and gambling all on a massive immediate investment.

All the very best of luck!

K

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#13 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:26 PM

As some fans frequently point out, our budget limitations are apparent, even with some generous donations from time to time. That being said, there's nothing stopping us from continuing to work on our zero budget series. We hope that our story telling will help overcome any shortcomings from the budget.
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#14 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 12:13 AM

Storytelling is key, Randy. The last two ST movies were all action and no story. In fact, much of SF today doesn't tingle the neurons, which is a shame.

#15 Kirok

 

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 06:10 AM

As some fans frequently point out, our budget limitations are apparent, even with some generous donations from time to time. That being said, there's nothing stopping us from continuing to work on our zero budget series. We hope that our story telling will help overcome any shortcomings from the budget.

There is no denying that money can open up more possibilities, allow you to produce more, faster and to a higher quality, but some things don't cost anything - creativity, talent and ingenuity, to name a few. These are the intangibles that individuals are born with or develop over time with practice, education and experience. Money can also be a limiting factor though because investment demands return and, although the studios can employ people who have more talent and/or skill, they will also task them with delivering a return of their investment as their first priority.

<shrugs> I'm not complaining, that system has delivered films and TV that I have enjoyed. However it also leaves fans a loophole, a shot at things that the studios will not address because they will probably not be profitable: politically, ethically or socially dangerous ideas or styles and plot devices that they feel will not appeal to the modern demographic. These are the things that a not-for-profit group such as yours can try and with perseverance succeed with.

Cheers

K

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#16 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 10:52 PM

Thanks for the encouragement!
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#17 barbreader

 

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:50 PM

I have NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL making films, I just WATCH them... but like the fool on the hill, I watch and see a lot.

It seems to be hard to get your hands on the people at Phase II, but they do allow others to use their sets for 'cost.' Of course, your operation would have to go there to shoot on those sets, but when you take into account the time and expense of building sets, you might want to consider talking to people who already have them about making a contribution to their upkeep and using existing sets. Upstate New York is a vacation area whose hay-day was the late 19th century and early 20th century. Motels there are probably cheaper than you think. Yorktown has used George Kayaian's (Multiverse Crisis) set... when you consider that Yorktown has been working between China and California, and George is on Long Island, EAST of New York City... about as far from China as you can get without leaving the planet, well, it's done. Don't write this off based on location alone.

Randy will have to speak for himself on that subject.

Oklahoma City's Ajax was planning on making their sets available, but the recent severe weather there has flooded them. I have no idea how much damage was done. Heaven knows, those folks have faced more setbacks than anyone... including Excelsior. You'd have to talk to them. I suspect they must need to talk after all they have been through.

I have heard that Farragut charges a flat $1000/day for using their sets. But I do not have that directly from them.

Anyway, that's my two cents. If you live in Canada, you no longer have pennies, but it's still not worth a Canadian dime.
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#18 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:18 PM

Anyone's welcome to come use our sets. I wouldn't mind a reasonable donation to help defer costs of maintaining the sets, but as many times as I've offered to loan the sets, no one's ever taken me up on it.
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#19 Fan Producer

 

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 01:36 AM

Anyone using your sets should pay something. I presume the main cost is the lease on the warehouse?

#20 Randy Landers

 

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:14 PM

Actually, in the case of the bridge, there's no charge. We'd appreciate a donation to cover the utilities, but nothing else.

We're still weeks out from the warehouse being ready for a shoot, but I suppose we'd charge a pro-rated per diem rental fee, say $40 per day which would cover the rent, the electricity, the insurance.
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