Legendary director Frank Capra was once quoted saying, "There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins! And the cardinal sin is dullness." These holy words are a formula to anyone who dreams of making compelling movies with believable characters. Film production, however, has never been unicorns and rainbows, given the mayhem behind the glitz. If you are a producer, and do not have the resources to create content, form a crew and connect with service providers, you are bound to create a snoozer instead of edge-of-the-seat cinema.
Filmboard Movies Pvt Ltd — a B2B online platform — thus came into being last Tuesday, aiming to tackle the million roadblocks that producers face. Sandeep Varma, co-founder of Filmboard, says, "I have been in the entertainment industry for almost 15 years now, but I originally come from a corporate background. So, I am used to delivering large projects within a particular timeline and budget.
When I first started making ad feature films, I needed a line film producer to prepare a budget for me. As per my experience in these many years, if your budget is about Rs 5 lakh, and it exceeds to Rs 5.4 lakh, it is said to be within the budget. When Manjunath was produced, say for instance for Rs 5 crore, it had easily exceeded the budget by R30 lakh. And that is definitely not a small amount. I consider that a criminal waste of money. So, I started thinking of ways to prevent this."
In a first, Filmboard has created verified, rated, and reviewed a database of vendors who offer line production services across the country. In simpler terms, Filmboard is a service aggregator much on the lines of, say what Trivago is to the hotel industry — allowing the end user to compare prices and get great deals on a range of services, says Varma.
"Our job is to provide options as long as the creative vision of the filmmaker is clear. People working with the same service providers to hire camera equipment, make-up artistes, dubbing artistes and other crew members may want to explore options through this platform. Our database might actually have someone who would offer better services for the same price as your original vendor. Apart from these broad categories, we also have a database of locations across the country. If a director wants to shoot outside Mumbai, we have suggestions curated with pricing," he says.
Filmboard has more than 3,000 options for buyers across locations, service providers, crew and talent. This number is likely to hit 5,000 in the next few weeks. Varma says that the portal's transaction fee model, when introduced, will be transparent, adding, "Right now, there is no transaction fee being charged from any seller. Worldwide, the standard transaction fee charged in market places ranges from 8 to 20 per cent. As and when Filmboard does initiate a transaction fee, it will be within this standard range."
Rajesh Butta, co-founder of Filmboard, says that together they want to change the way films are made in India. "As of now, we have cracked this idea to make things more planned and cost-effective for novice as well as veteran filmmakers in Mumbai and Pune. We will soon be collaborating with location managers to increase the reach of the platform."
A startup that aims to make filmmaking an organised and systematic process was launched recently. Named Filmboard Movies Pvt Ltd, a B2B, the platform aims to organize the unglamorous, behind-the-scenes chaos in the Indian film industry. It is an aggregator that provides services to those in the film industry who can choose from among the listed vendors at the rates mentioned for their services.
Started by Sandeep Varma, ad filmmaker and Rajesh Butta – batchmates at BITS Pilani, the duo want to bring the organised culture of the corporate world into the disorganized world of films. Varma says numerous TV shows, ad films and movies incur excess expenditure where certain critical questions fail to come to the fore and remain unanswered.
The platform comes from the pain points that Varma experienced as an ad filmmaker. “When I first started making ad films, I needed a line film producer to prepare a budget for me.To my surprise, I realized that unlike other industries, here, a budget of Rs 5 lakh executed in say, Rs 5.4 lakh is considered ‘broadly in budget’. When my feature film, Manjunath, was produced, the budget ran into crores of rupees, and even there, an under 10 percent escalation was considered ‘executed within budget’. But in this case, that escalation went into lakhs of rupees. I consider that a criminal waste of money, he said.
How does it work
The platform enables producers, line producers, and filmmakers from anywhere in the world to book any film. For the first time, all services listed on the platform will have one single rate as against the prevalent haziness regarding rates prevalent in the industry. Apart from this, the online platform facilitates negotiation of rates between both players as well as communication through a chat feature, in turn, solving any probable queries.It also enables discovery where there are options of various services available which can be booked based on ratings and reviews of past performance which Filmboard will build. As of now, the platform has around 3,000 listings /options. The platform has tied up with ICOMO, RMWP, and Digitouch.
“Right now, there is no transaction fee being charged from any seller. Worldwide, the standard transaction fee charged in marketplaces ranges from 8 to 20 percent. As and when Filmboard does initiate a transaction fee, it will be within this standard range,” Varma said.
Rajesh Butta, the co-founder said, that they would “soon be collaborating with location managers to increase the reach of the platform."
Varma said their aim is to ensure more projects are completed within predicted cost and timelines; and more large studios gaining better control over line production of their projects, as against it being a haze right now where they fund and do not have much handle on how the funds are spent actually on the ground. The platform, through its services, aims to enable its users have better control over final output and thus better accountability to shareholders, Varma said.