Film is such a collaborative effort. The needier you are the more you rely on people helping you out, and as indie filmmakers we can really push the envelope of neediness.
It was in a similar vein, I suppose, that Paramount lent James Cameron a hand with marketing and tech help for his new behemo-film, “Avatar”. The plot of the film consists of humans invading a planet with indigenous blue people for our own benefit. In return for Cameron in return will be helping out Paramount’s new 3-D home theatre system project with his acquired 3-D expertise. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.
This is just one of the ways that Cameron, vision-driven to make his epic, used models of funding usually associated with indie and student films to cover his projected $500 million budget, according to Michael Cieply’s article in Nov. 9th’s New York Times. In addition to Paramount’s services-swap, Imax lent the “Titanic” director a hand by getting theater owners to screen a 15-minute preview last summer as an in-kind donation.
As the price of production flew over $300 million, Cameron had to defer his share of the revenue until all the different contributors, which included not just Fox, but Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media, got their investment back. One more way to reassure them that their collective half a billion dollars is money well spent.
And with Cameron’s track record at Fox, the odds that this SciFi will be a blockbuster are pretty good. But still, it just goes to show that at all levels and budgets, films are made with a little help from friends.