#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – When Friends Aren’t Right

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This question comes from one of my wonderful Patronage supporters. If you’d like a change to see the inside of the industry in a really interactive way, please come join us!

It happens. You audition friends or watch their work and realize: this isn’t right for this project. It doesn’t mean they aren’t wonderful talents, it just means that their skills are better suited for a different film or show. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can still hurt feelings to hear a ‘no’ so you want to be careful how you reject your friends.

In general, when you don’t get a job… you just don’t hear back. You MIGHT hear “they passed” via your agent or manager but more often than not, it’s just crickets. Don’t do that to your friends. They’ll know you went another direction, you have to tell them first. And YOU have to tell your friend; don’t make their agent do it. Reach out — and medium matters. If this is a big opportunity for someone, you need to call. If it’s a small production, text or email are fine.

Start with a compliment. You’re a friend, this shouldn’t be too hard! What about the performance did you enjoy? We loved the way you made us laugh on this line! No one else did that! It was so creative. And mean it.

The next thing you can do is involve the team in the decision; you aren’t operating in a vacuum, nor is this singularly your decision. I absolutely love working with you, but after consulting at length with <the director/producer/whoever>, we had to go in another direction. We, and I, think the world of you and know what a strong talent you are, this just wasn’t the right film. It’s okay. It’s okay to reject your friends. You don’t love them less and that is this industry.

If you do want to work with this person, close with that! I can’t wait to get a chance to work with you; I’d love to develop something with you. Let me know if that’s of any interest! and then go do that!

Be nice, express remorse, find another project. Rejection is a necessary part of this industry — both getting it and giving it — and knowing how to dole it out will make you someone people want to work with again and again.

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – How to Market a Digital Series

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This is a big one. The big one, maybe. This is a question I get very, very often and it’s a huge topic sooo… Please leave me a note if you’d like more videos about this!

And as always… If you liked this video, please join me at katehackett.com/patronage!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Guided Budget Breakdown (Patronage Supporters Only!)

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As part of my ongoing “monthly cool thing” for Patronage supporters, I’ve put together this nifty guide of how I break a budget. I would love for you to see this — if you’re NOT a current Patron, please join us to get access to this awesome walkthrough. Please DO NOT resolve, edit, or add […]

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – On Set Jobs: The Must Haves!

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Patron Only – The Long Dig Trailer

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This post is locked to members who have been with me for two weeks or more! If you’d like to become a Patron, please visit www.katehackett.com/patronage! Enjoy and check in on the Discord to let me know how you like it! Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share […]

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – No Budget Locations

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If you liked this post, please consider joining my Patronage team. We have lots of fun AND you help make posts like this possible!

Finding locations for filming is complicated even if you do have a budget for them, especially in Los Angeles. Filming in LA is a major industry, so the city makes sure you’re paying for the privilege, no matter how big or small you are. If you fail to obtain the proper permits and insurance, you can be shut down entirely …and imagine how much THAT will cost your production.

There’s a lot to be said for just getting out there, making something, and learning as you go. Filmmaking is a funky business; you need to learn on the job and be as hands on as possible but you can’t do that without being experienced, so how do you get experience. Digital filmmaking & the web have been great platforms to share your developing skills without the burden of studios and networks. Which means that sometimes, yeah, the solution is going to be go rogue and just shoot the thing.

Rule one: stay inside. It’s much, much harder for anyone to see you inside of a private residence, which means you probably aren’t going to get caught. It’s when you venture out of doors that problems arise.

If you can shoot with permits and all the sundry items… you really should, especially if you’re in a film market town. People call the cops, productions get shut down, it happens. It even happened on Classic Alice!

check out my face as we were told we can’t film here.

But if you can’t… where the heck do you shoot?!

Tried & true: Your House. That’s right, your house.


And over…


And yeah, you probably will eventually burn out that location. But you can get at least two locations just by swinging the camera all the way around to shoot the opposite side of the room. You can also build “walls” with fake wood or flats or even just bookcases. You can buy wall decals. You can drape cloths over furniture or buy slipcovers to change the entire tone of the room. Your DP can also accommodate by shooting tight shots if the film calls for that; you might get away with some creative camera work.

Double up. Find a location that can serve as multiple things; the fewer company moves, the better.

There’s also a lot to be said for paying for set decoration. In the hands of a skilled set designer, the sky is the limit. On The Long Dig, Michelle was able to transform a downtown LA warehouse into a post apocalyptic underground monster home. Locations are expensive. Set designers are more reasonable AND they’re trained to be able to see what the camera sees so you aren’t spending time and money on something that won’t even be in the shot.

Then there’s mooching off your friends. Especially people already involved in the production. Steal the director’s yard. Borrow the actor’s bathroom. Make the project as much theirs as yours and embrace the extra space that comes with it. If your parents live nearby, even better. They might even throw in some craft services!

If you need business locations, try to approach places where you have a personal connection. They’re so much more likely to hand you the keys to the castle if you or someone on your team knows the owners. Also make sure that you’re asking to film during their off-hours; you can’t ask a restaurant to close down on a Saturday evening so you can shoot for free, that’s just not considerate!

Eventually, however, you will reach a place in your filmmaking career when you need to start paying for space. If you’re trying to avoid having to pay for permits or insurance, try Airbnb, Peerspace, and LocationsHub. All three tend to have more indie-friendly pricing. Make sure you visit the spaces and map out your shots; if you’re paying for the time, you are going to want to be incredibly efficient on your actual shoot days.

How about you? Where have you managed to shoot on little to no budget? Leave a comment or hit me up @HackettKate on Twitter!

This post contains some affiliate links. If you choose to purchase via those links, I receive a small fee.

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Resources for Hiring Women!

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First up, obviously, it’s illegal to discriminate based on gender, skin color, religious beliefs, disability, etc. Don’t do those things. But it’s also important to have many different voices making up your set experience, so I’ve gathered a few resources that might help you find women to hire who you might otherwise not bump into in your search.

All the Resources

Alliance for Women Film Composers
The Director List

If you liked this video, please join me at katehackett.com/patronage!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Who is Who on a Set

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An overview of each department on most film, television, and digital sets (especially the bare bones ones!)

– Actors – These are the people on your screen. I encourage you to go SAG and to pay these people. Generally the actors are the first to go unpaid and that gets so old and so unfair after a while. If you’re a shoestring, at least give them gas money.

You must feed the actors. They get hangry.

– Producers – On a TV show, these are also your writers. On films, they tend to be the money people. On a digital series, they’re everything. Both. All of it. They are probably doing eight other jobs as well on your super low budget material. It’s tempting to ask a producer all your questions, but please do not. They’re the top of the food chain; only go to them if you have already checked with other departments.

– Director – The dude in charge of the shot! He’s the one we think of as holding his hands in a little viewfinder box. He’s the one with the baseball hat and the chair. Directors are in charge of ALL the different departments and are responsible for the integrity of the entire piece. I personally hate it when directors go on about MY VISION, but at the end of the day, the piece you get is, really, a lot about his or her vision.

– Makeup/hair – Sometimes combined into one wonderperson, makeup & hair makes the actors look good. I’ve found that this team sets the tone for the entire shoot day: if they’re happy and friendly, your day will be happy and friendly. Make sure they’re happy & friendly. 90% of their job is telling the 1st AD to calm down and they need 4 more minutes, REALLY.

– Wardrobe – In charge of the costumes for the actors. They tend to work fairly closely with hair & make up and have the same kind of time crunch from the AD. Hire someone good with a thread and needle and with a creative eye!

– Art Department/Props – They make your world. They’re in charge of dressing the set and supplying all the STUFF that populates it. Art has a great eye for what the camera will pick up and dresses for it; they want to make sure the frame isn’t just actors standing by a wall.

– DP (aka, cinematographer) – He or she works very closely with the director to create “the perfect shot”. They agree on the look and tone of the movie and the DP directs his department to light and otherwise fill the environment to fit the tone of the piece. The director and DP also create a color palate, a shot list, and are basically in charge of everything visual.

– Lighting – they’re in charge of moving lights around! To put it very simply. They work with the DP to create the right mood for the moment.

– Sound – Do you want to hear the words your (paid?!) actors are saying? Hire a sound mixer for the day. He or she may or may not have equipment, but budget for it. You might need to rent microphones or other bits and bobs for sound.

– 1st AD / Production Assistants (PA)  – The first AD is in charge of keeping everyone on schedule, which is one of the toughest jobs on set. They have to be upbeat and kind enough to make people love them while they’re cracking a whip. That’s hard. That’s a skill. Bless you if you are an AD. PAs work under the 1st AD and run around like crazy people making sure everything is where it needs to be; they are also wonderful.

– Scripty – In charge of the script! Actor goes up on a line? Scripty’s on book to tell him what it is! Actor changes a line? Scripty says so or makes a note if the director doesn’t mind.

– Crafty – THE FOOD. Be nice to crafty. They feed you!

Next month (June!) I’ll be sending out an even MORE in depth break down of a lot of the roles on set by sharing how I break my budgets. But it’s for Patrons only! If you’d like to see that, make sure you join the community here at katehackett.com/patronage!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – How to Get Better at Acting

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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Stop Being Afraid of Being Annoying!

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I’m afraid of being annoying on social media. How can I promote my work and not bother people?

My very short advice is: stop caring. …but I know that’s not very constructive.

I think this particular question is one a lot of women face in many capacities: how do I make sure I am not perceived as annoying/bitchy/bossy/mean/rude. On social media, the fear is exacerbated because we can’t see the people on the other side of the screen and we don’t really know what their reactions to us might be.

Case in point, when I was working on Classic Alice, we ran two crowdfunding campaigns; the only way to really drive traffic to the campaign (or to the series) was to write about it All. The. Time. and Ev.Ery.Where. There is no other option. I bumped into people in the community upset with me for being aggressive and I remember thinking at the time:

Do male creators get this much guff for something so vital to the longevity of the show?

So I poked around and didn’t see a whisper directed to male creators working in similar spheres or running crowdfunding campaigns. That’s not to say it never happened, but I wasn’t able to track it down. And I thought: well, why? What is the difference?

I have a very hard time believing that the audience for Alice actually ever would believe women should be quieter than men, but somewhere along the line, that notion gets so deep within us it’s hard to shake. I wound up writing a post explaining why I was aggressively promoting my campaign but I was, if I’m being super honest, kind of resentful of it: why do I have to explain myself? Why do I have to defend my desire to keep 80+ people employed for a few months?

The reality is: I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t have to do that. But my choice was to either ignore it or try to embrace a teachable moment, which is what my longer advice to anyone struggling with feeling obnoxious on social media is: first, of course, stop caring. But second, can you reframe the entire thing as a potential for learning? You would learn to develop the patience for dealing with disgruntled fans and your fans, hopefully, learn just how fucking hard it is to keep a low budget digital series alive.

I know that made the whole thing more palatable for me: how about you?

Did you like this post? Want to see more? Please consider joining the community here at katehackett.com/patronage — you get exclusive #FemaleFilmmakerFriday entries and so much more!