Pitch not strong enough? A lookbook can be the ace up a hardworking producer’s sleeve.
Richard Botto, founder and CEO of the nearly 400,000 member-strong filmmaker network Stage 32, once told us that he wanted to “change the world” for creatives. As independent producers of over a dozen films (like Wristcutters: A Love Story, Lovelace, and The Words), we wholeheartedly share that mission, so we conducted a workshop for Stage 32 members titled The Art of Indie Producing: From the Inception of an Idea to the Release of the Film. One pre-production tip we spoke about at length was the oft-underrated step of putting together a lookbook to communicate a film’s story, tone, and visual references.
Indie moviemakers don’t have to break the bank to get the idea of their films across to potential investors, filmmakers, and talent. A lookbook can be in the form of a printed-out booklet for in-person meetings, or a digital document that you can easily share online. It doesn’t have to be long, and doesn’t cost you a lot to make, compared to the cost of developing and producing a short film for proof of concept.
Make sure that you have all the necessary elements of your film in the lookbook. They should convey the overall gist of the film without overwhelming the reader with too much minutia. There is no right or wrong lookbook, of course, but make sure the experience is engaging for the reader—your film’s fate rests in his or her hands. So what should your lookbook contain?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. A dynamic and comprehensive logline about the script is key to the opening of a lookbook. Encapsulate the core idea of your movie in one or two sentences. Make sure your logline includes a brief summary of the script’s plot and emotional hook.
Have you made them want to read more? Assuming the logline has hooked your intended audience, a detailed synopsis comes after in your lookbook. Mention all the most important and interesting parts of the story in the summary, like the main characters’ arcs…
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