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Kickstarter Funding for a film

Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 2:16pm

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therpgfanatic

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I'm not sure if this is the best thread area for this topic or not, but here goes.

I have a project at Kickstarter to raise the $6,000 production budget I need to fund my feature film production, Deathfist Ninja GKaiser. It's not the first film I've made, but it's the first I'm making with the intent to show it in arthouse theatres.

(It's actually two films because we're also doing a documentary on the entire production process, American Movie-style.)

I want to start production in September so the project has 37 days to reach the funding goal. Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal; if you don't raise the full amount of your goal, none of the pledges are charged.

I've been trying to promote it by posting on various tokusatsu / power ranger forums, but I'm not having a lot of interest shown there. I've asked a few blogs and web series for a plug and only one has responded to me so far. I'm planning to don the costume myself and walk around a couple conventions handing out flyers (Screwattack Gaming Convention, San Japan and Alamo Gaming).

To those with more experience fund-raising, is there anything more I could be doing that I'm currently not? I feel like there is but I'm out of ideas.

Thanks.
Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 2:27pm

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Simon K Jones

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I can't imagine many art cinemas in the UK showing a movie called 'Deathfist Ninja Gkaiser' - which is more about their prejudices rather than your film.

Best of luck with the project. Kickstarter is something I've been keeping an eye on for a while now, it's a fascinating idea for entrepreneurs/creatives.
Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 3:58pm

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Sollthar

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To those with more experience fund-raising, is there anything more I could be doing that I'm currently not?
Basically what Tarn mentioned: Ask yourself, if there is a MARKET for a film called "Deathfist Ninja Gkaiser".

Without knowing what it is about, I'd say "probably not" simply because the title makes it sound like a terribly dull C-Movie. If there's no market for something, cinemas won't show it. It's really that simple.

I watched your video and your "test footage" and I'll be honest, because dishonesty won't help you: It looks just as terrible as the title suggests. No one apart from your friends and family and some really crazy freaks will pay money for a film with such a title that has test footage that shows little to no filmmaking skills on a level many 14 year olds here beat.

So either come up with a new concept or seriously invest into your filmmaking. Learn how to make a proper film, experiment and experiment until you get good enough so someone who doesn't know you and isn't a freak would pay money to see your film.

Currently, I can almost guarantee you that isn't the case.
Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 4:31pm

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davlin

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I think there is too much of this going for big bucks on this site ,peeps should concentrate on making movies and having fun doing so....big bucks
screw that right up.

Also as Sollthar says ..movies have to be of an exceptionally high standard before anyone would consider putting money into.

What sort of person would want to fund some film maker ,so he/she can fulfil some kind of dream/ego.
Funding is about profit and movies are not the best example of great returns for small investors.

If you want a career in the "business" then study and study some more with hope of getting in on the ground floor,even just as a cleaner.

Last edited Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 3:10pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 9:31pm

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Garrison

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I'm like Tarn, and I think kickstarter is an interesting idea to seek funding for a short someone is creating and I have also kept an eye on this site as well.

davlin wrote:

Funding is about profit and movies are not the best example of great returns for small investors.
But if you look at kickstarter's site, it is clear that you DON'T go into it for a profit. The creators of the film set fund prices and rewards for people pledging money to support the project. Not one movie on that site promises anything about a profit, but more credit (in the film and/or imdb), copy of the movie, copy of the scripts, signed movie posters etc.

Seems like a fair trade to me.
Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 9:58pm

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therpgfanatic

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I just want everyone to know that no one on the crew is going to make a dime off the film. Any profits gained from any DVD sales or distribution is going into making a free to watch web series. I'm doing a full feature film first because I believe we can do it and do it well, and it'll be able to be shown in film festivals and arthouse theatres. Not all of them will want it but I believe some will if we make a great film.

We're doing it because we love making art, but art of film-making is expensive. 6,000 is way cheap already. We want to make a good movie and the reality is we don't have the resouces we can use to make a film of this scale. The easiest way to get the resources is purchase or lease them, and that costs money.

The test footage is just that; test footage. That's not what the film is going to look like, it's just a proof of concept. I can't shoot HD with a 35mm lens adapter if I don't have the camera or lens adapter available to me, and I didn't try to make every digital effect absolutely perfect either. It's a prototype and not the final product.

The film does have an audience, and it's very niche. The title was selected because of the cheese-factor. This film is a tongue-in cheek Super Inframan. our audience will understand.

I'm still looking for ideas for promoting the fund-raising. I'd really appreciate if some of you more experienced fund-raisers cold give me some ideas. I'm not looking for investors; I'm looking for ways to reach out to people and build our fanbase.
Posted: Fri, 25th Jun 2010, 10:27pm

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Sollthar

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I am one of the more experienced and I was giving you ideas, you have to read them.

Idea one: Take that "proof of concept" off the net because it looks really really bad. No one serious will give you money based off that.

You dont need fancy effect or an expensive camera to show of filmmaking skills. But you need to show that you have the skills to pull off something great and your video doesn´t show that at all. You say you can do better - all an investor has is your word for it.


You have a dream. That´s cool. Follow that dream. But for someone else to invest money into your dream, youll have to prove that you can make something that sells and is well made.

It´s really that simple.
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 2:18am

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therpgfanatic

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Solthar I respect your opinion because it is logical, but if Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez and David Lynch (whose first films I have seen, along with researching how they got the money for the films that broke them into the industry) followed your advice they would never have made anything. You may think telling me to not make a movie is helpful advice on how to raise funds for a movie, but it's not.

Also, I'm not asking people to invest into the film and hope to see a profit. I'm asking for them to donate $5-10 as a pledge and in return I promise to appropriately thank those donations as much as I can and use the money for what I said it was for: making a movie. If they choose to donate more, they get more as gratitude.

And why should they donate? Well, because they want to see the movie get made like I do, and they want to be apart of the process that gets the movie made. And for less than the price of a movie ticket they can be part of that process, helping a movie get made that they think would be fun to watch.


It's possible we may not raise the funds when I want to raise them. But I will raise them and I will make this movie. This is because I am not going to sit around waiting for all the stars to align until I decide it's time to make a movie.
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 7:15am

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Sollthar

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It seems you don´t understand at all what I´m saying to you:

I´m not saying "don´t make the movie". I´m saying, "Your video reel does not look like you have the necessary skill level to make something commercially sellable and chosen a subject which makes it even harder. And if your goal is to show it in cinemas, that is vital." And there´s the big difference between you, Raimi, Rodriguez and Lynch. They know their stuff and have known their stuff before they went out and shot their first film.

If you just want people to pay for you having fun shooting a movie, then that´s something different.


Anyways, listening to advice or not is your choice.

Good luck with it all.
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 8:04am

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Helge

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Hi therpgfanatic,

first of all: I don't think Solthar would ever want to discourage you making a movie. It's just that there are certain details (first of all: the demo/test footage) which might discouraged people from getting involved in this project (meaning: giving you money).

The test scenes you are showing are what people know about you, your skills and what you are going to do. To most of them you are a complete stranger, so (like you said before) what you need to do is:

- motivate and inspire them
- make them want to see the movie get made as much as you do
- make them proud of being (a vital )part of a successful production
- make them trust you to get all this done like planed

This isn't easy with people you know and it is even harder with strangers. (I once did a survey in the pedestrian precinct of Stuttgart - eventually every 15th person I approached didn't run away instantly. And all I wanted were a few answers - and no money:-) )

If you want to inspire viewers, you might want to put together some decent demo footage. Even if you end up with only 30 seconds of high quality material (with regards to acting, perspective, action, effects - whatever the movie will focus on) this will help your cause a lot more than the videos currently online.

One last thing:
I'm really not that much into this kind of movies. That's just a personal preference. Nevertheless, if you know that there is an audience for this (meaning: people who really like the genre and are only waiting for a movie like this), this might be where you can start raising the funds. Of course this will still be far from easy, but it might work a little better. Do you have any idea where to find members of this potential audience? Maybe you could ask people who just went out of a cinema showing something similar smile

I guess that's it for the moment. Keep up the motivation/love you have for this project. This seems to be one of you greatest assets. (And you will need it to make your dream reality and the production a success.)

cu,
Helge
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 10:55am

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pdrg

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From my own experience, you're setting yourself a hard target - raising money from public subscription will work if it is something a lot of people want to get behind, and so to get people behind it, they need to feel safe that you can make the film and fulfil your promises to them. I can assure you that whilst $6k may sound like a big number, it isn't, so people will naturally wonder about the quality of the finished film, especially feature-length. Prove to them that you can do it - shoot a 5 minute short with a story arc, good lighting and camerawork, crisp audio, decent acting and direction, etc - then people will know you can do it, then they can get behind you. There are loads of people out there wanting to sponsor the arts with a few bucks, but you have to reassure them that *yours* is the best value for money for them.

But $6k isn't a big amount of money - I sure as heck couldn't produce a feature for that - where did that number come from? If you're going to ask people for money, tell them how you spend it - what's your budget and shooting schedule? At the moment everyone has to trust you on the basis of a tech test, you need to approach it seriously - people worked for that money, and so should you. Earn their investment. And get a job. Mow lawns for $10 a time, or sell glasses of lemonade. I'm serious. One producer buddy entered illegal bare-knuckle boxing matches just to raise finance for his feature (lawns and lemonade aren't so big over winter). Also consider the cost of your promises - $10 each from 600 people is 600 DVD's burnt and mailed, that's probably $1000 just sheer cost of finance. Plus the website will take a commission too...

By the way, always take the stories of directors breakthroughs with a pinch of salt - Hollywood is REALLY GOOD at sugarcoating stories and selling the dream. Film and TV lies, habitually, it can't help it. Every breakthrough story is airbrushed and sweetened, and all the crash and burn stories ignored, even though there are hundreds more of them. Look instead to Roger Corman (producer) who would *charge* directors to make one of his films, just to get that feature credit.

And believe me, it is *all* about money. Cinemas will not show your film unless it will make money, simple enough, they have to pay wages, etc. To do that in any meaningful way, you need distribution, and to do that you need a distributor (to pay for the prints and advertising), and to get one of them you basically need a 'name'. And that means money. You would not believe how much it is about money. Remember the movie biz was heavily tied up with the Mob, and to a lesser extent still is. There are crooks and creeps riddling the industry, but sometimes you just have to deal with them, even though you'd rather poison their food. It really is ALL about money at the features level.

So why not take a half-step back and shoot a short showing your storytelling and technical capabilities? If that's good, you may have an idea of real costs, and so have a paper budget to show, and then get to work gathering finance from as many sources as you can. It /will/ involve getting a job of some sort, but you may be able to show your short as a calling card when asking for investment.

It may sound like people are being down on you, but we're not. You can go on plenty of weekend courses or watch hype DVD's and read comforting books telling you how easy it all is - but ask yourself, who the heck is selling these things, why aren't they famous directors if it is that easy? Hmmmm. It's storytelling, it is selling a dream, it is sprinkling stardust on a brutal industry. We could all join in with the woo, and indeed we all really want you to succeed, but that's why we're trying to inject a drip of realism and honesty from personal experience (your experience may differ, that's a good thing) not to discourage you, but to stop you giving up altogether wwhen you find it's not all quite as easy and magic as some would have you believe!
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 12:56pm

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davlin

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I wont quote PDRG's post because every word of it says it all for me and I hope for all of us.
It is about time that reality was put back into this forum and a hard cold look at the "Business" and some of its financial aspects brought
into the daylight.
We all know the dream factory scenerio so lets not fall into the production line without some very serious thought.
The dreams of amateur film makers should not be of the need for money but how to bypass that need with innovation and planning.
We've all seen some outstanding indie movies done with nothing but love and determination.

Sorry to go on about this but it is something that really gets to me.
I believe that amateur and professional films are two totally different parts of the movie world and should never be brought together.
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 6:19pm

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Sick Boy

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Only 5970$ left to collect biggrin
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 8:26pm

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therpgfanatic

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pdrg wrote:

Also consider the cost of your promises - $10 each from 600 people is 600 DVD's burnt and mailed, that's probably $1000 just sheer cost of finance. Plus the website will take a commission too...
Good thing I never promised a DVD for a $10 pledge.

The website commission has been calculated as part of the $6,000 goal.

This is not the first film I've ever made. This is not the first film I've ever shopped around. I have one film streaming on Crunchyroll (a hub for the target audience) and I have a Youtube Partner account, so I could make it available for $1 rental through there, or stream with ads. I have some leads for getting into indie theatres, but I need to make the film before I can arrange any of that.

I wouldn't be trying to do this film if I wasn't 100% sure I could do it and get it seen. I have everything except the resources I need the $6,000 to obtain.

You guys are making a lot of assumptions about me when you clearly have only skimmed my proposal.

I have a detailed budget. I know what resources I can obtain for free and which will cost money.

Making a short at the quality needed is still going to cost a thousand dollars I don't have. I simply do not have the needed equipment to even do the short at the same quality the film will be at. A lot of the crew are like me, in a film program. We cannot use any of the school resources to shoot anything that isn't a class project. It's simply not do-able; I've tried begging. I can't even lease the school equipment, even if I had the money to lease it.

People with less than what I put together have used Kickstarter to raise funds. Please dont tell me it can't be done, because it's been done several times now. You haven't done your homework.

I made a post here thinking this place was how it was a few years ago; a good forum for indies to brainstorm and share information. Doesn't seem to be the case anymore, so good day.
Posted: Sat, 26th Jun 2010, 9:03pm

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Sollthar

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Yep, don't think you'll get what you're looking for here.

Have fun making your film and a good day to you too!
Posted: Sat, 24th Jul 2010, 9:14pm

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Sollthar

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Just randomly came back to this... Still only 30 $... Why am I not surprised? neutral
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 1:33am

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Aculag

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I just wonder if rpgfanatic is surprised or not. Probably, unfortunately.
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 4:42pm

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RodyPolis

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His presentation video was well done, and it did succeed at making me believe he was serious about the project. But like many of us said, who out there really wants to invest in a movie called Deathfist Ninja GKaiser? I would think young Japanese cheesy TV show fans, but they probably don't have credit cards to be investing online since their haven't even hit puberty yet.

It's already hard enough to raise money for an independent movie that has a wide audience, let alone a movie with a guy dressed up like the cartoon Wolverine fighting with bad special fx.

Seriously though, you do seem like you were serious about the movie, but I think it's time for new ideas. Unless you fund it yourself, I don't see DNG working out anytime soon.
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 9:24pm

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pdrg

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Problem is that being good or capable means nothing compared with having a big name star or an adaptation of a known work, ideally both. Feature finance is at best impossible, at worst, worse than impossible. Investors want you to use all the available tax breaks to make their investments safe and cheap, but those schemes are uneconomical under 7 digits as they require company formations, lawyers, accountants, and everybody with their sticky fingers in the pot. And there are lots of people wanting a slice of that money, which is why it takes 7 figures to get anything made - the cost of production is notional compared with all of the useless extra costs of doing business. For a hard cash spend of 500k after deals, the total budget could be a couple of million (equity for deals, interest on loans, fees, commissions, fees on commissions, historical costs, etc) with part of that made up with tax deals based on this higher figure.

It's all borderline legal, but with a good dose of outright crooks for good measure.

That said, we're trying a little focussed crowdsourcing for a £2.5M feature which West Ham have put their name to, so we'll be looking into premium seating/sales for the shoot days, merch, meet the (named) talent, etc experiences for sale. And what serious West Ham fan wouldn't want to stand on the centre spot and have a photo taken with some of the team and a film name? Hopefully they all will, it'll make my life easier, but I doubt we'll make a half-mil from it, just beer money!
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 10:12pm

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rogolo

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RodyPolis wrote:

His presentation video was well done, and it did succeed at making me believe he was serious about the project. But like many of us said, who out there really wants to invest in a movie called Deathfist Ninja GKaiser?
I think he has bigger problems than just the name of his project! wink

The footage he showed leads me to believe that his knowledge of filmmaking is limited to 'hit the record button and add drag-and-drop VFX presets'. If that's the best he can do right now, he should not be panhandling to make a feature - he should be practicing with shorts until he has decent product.

Oh, also, this guy is a huge ass.
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 10:31pm

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mikeh

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My favorite line... "This shoot will be extremely low budget (for perspective, Power Rangers: The Movie cost $15 million to create) but I guarantee the quality will be of the highest possible value as we will be shooting HD"

If only it was as easy as shooting in HD to make a high quality film...
Posted: Sun, 25th Jul 2010, 11:29pm

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AwesomeFist

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Last time I checked $6000 isn't a "extremely" low budget. And I don't believe that its that easy, in fact I'm starting to doubt this guy for some of the stuff he said so far.

And he said he used to use this forum, yet he only has four posts and there all in this thread. If I didn't know better I would say he's lied about some of the stuff he's said. But the thing I'm wondering is how did he even get a partner youtube account, Looking at the quality of his videos.

He's also acting aggressive towards the people who are trying to give him advice.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 1:26am

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Rawree

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Has previously made a documentary about cosplaying, 27 and still inexplicably a Power Rangers fan, apparently enjoys seeing children in distress, inflated ego and sense of entitlement. Why do I get the feeling that before too long the pitch footage will be on the news after the climax of some gruesome murder suicide pact (presumably in 6 days when the investor realises he's just bought a screen credit in a non existant film)
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 2:13am

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Aculag

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AwesomeFist wrote:

Last time I checked $6000 isn't a "extremely" low budget.
Yes it is. Keep in mind that "big budget" usually means somewhere around 50-150 million dollars, or more. Extremely low budget is basically anything less than $50,000. Of course $6000 seems like a lot to you, or rpgfanatic, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a paltry amount.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 8:40am

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Simon K Jones

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That 'Evil Ronald' video is fairly tasteless. What an odd thing to have on your YouTube channel when you're also trying to present yourself as a serious interviewer and filmmaker.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 8:58am

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Atom

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Still having a younger, little sister currently- I want to kick this guy's ass for that bullshit. Just awful.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 9:08am

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Avenging Eagle

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People are not going to donate based on that test-footage. Sure, you have passion, but the VFX in your test-footage weren't great, and the actual filmmaking craft on show was very limited. I understand that you really want to make this movie, but I just don't think you're ready for it. You need to build up to these things, you can't just jump from 5 minute Youtube videos to full length feature films.

Secondly, your video sounds like you haven't got a script. "It's going to have...." Please tell me you're not expecting people to donate to your film when it doesn't even have a script.

Lastly, and I don't want to sound big-headed, but do you really need $6000? I made 'Roulette' basically on a zero-budget, using only my allowance to pay for stuff. The whole 70 minute film took a year to make, yet cost less than $200.

AE
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 11:31am

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davlin

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AE you are not big headed at all....you've made and proved an excellent
point in this discussion.


Dave
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 11:40am

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Sollthar

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You can safely stop giving advice I think... He's not reading it and even if he does, he quite obviously doesn't intend to listen to it.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 12:14pm

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davlin

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Agreed ,but it's a good topic to discuss regardless....some realistic
info coming in , which might useful to some.
Posted: Mon, 26th Jul 2010, 12:16pm

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Simon K Jones

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Indeed. Good to know that you shouldn't publish videos of you deliberately and maliciously scaring young children when you're trying to solicit financial support, for example.