Filmmaking: Tips, Sources & Tools — March 12, 2013 at 12:27 am

“Mutant Chronicles” producer: movie business is about people and relationships

arab-middlee-filmmakingTim Dennison has leveraged his career to becoming “The Go To Producer Guy” for low budget films.  He produced both low-budget films (Evil Aliens, 2005), and big budgeted films (Mutant Chronicles, 2008) as well.

Raindance team caught up with Dennison after the Cannes Film Festival, and talked to him about his projects, and filmmaking in general.

Dennison started off, like so many, with saying that he did not attend a film school.

“Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity of going to Film School. My route of entry was as a tea boy, through a commercials company called The Shooting Lodge. I was also given the opportunity to work in their cutting rooms to get a general understanding of post-production – it was a great way to learn because I was never under any real pressure – but they were very informative years,” Dennison recalled.

When asked what was the most important thing he learned, Dennison spoke of what movie business, in a nutshell, really is.

“The movie business is so about people – and your relationship with them. The old adage is true in some cases, it’s not ‘what you know’, but who you know,” he said.

“The second factor is, no matter how you go about it, start with a ‘sound’ script and make sure it is the very best it can be – don’t go to financiers too early before the script is fully thought through and address any script concerns upfront, because they will only come and bite you on the ass, when the film is in the cutting room – and by that point, it’s probably too late,” he noted.

Speaking of how he got his first break, Dennison noted that it came when he got to meet a when a property developing representative.

“He asked if I would be willing to assign my lease to them for a sum of money, as they were looking to develop the building for a big restaurant complex,” Dennison said. “This money gave me the opportunity to fund and produce my first movie, Revenge Of Billy The Kid.”

“We started Revenge of Billy the Kind with our own funds of approximately $100,000. Through lack of knowledge and pure inexperience, by the time we had finished shooting the first week, we where already a week behind! It was a massive learning curb and something that I look back on today with fond memories,” he recalls.

Dennison continued, as ultimately all the money were spent, and the film got saved by a private investor.

“Making this film was my ‘education and film school, all rolled in one’ in how NOT to make a movie….but what a learning curb!,” he added.

Dennison noted that if he had a chance to do it all over again, he would have spent more time developing relationships with people, early in his career.

“I also think we are all often our own worst enemies, and often hold ourselves back through our own insecurities – which we shouldn’t. Some of the opportunities I was given in the past, I should have probably taken,” he admitted.

Dennison noted that today’s technology was the thing that has changed the most, since the days he first was starting out in the movie business.

“With the advent of the digital era, film making has become a highly accessible process to everyone. This has to be a good thing as there is far more product and choice out there now,” he said.

“This may also just be the tip of the iceberg as the technological revolution takes hold – which even some of the smartest minds are still trying to come to terms with – especially in how to make money out of it,” Dennison added.

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