Monday, June 26, 2017

Making Films on Zero Money. WE CAN DO IT!

We all have it in us, a story that needs to be told.  Some act upon it, some aren't aware of it and some, well... some are like me and consumed by it.  I have always been able to come up with a story just by looking at an object, observing people or just sitting on my couch doing nothing.  These stories have consumed me and have bored me.   Some have made me pace around the house looking for the right words to transpose upon paper or type into a document.  It is these stories that have driven me to make films.  I admit, I tried writing a book or two in my life, but the training that I needed to make them coherent I just didn't have.  On the other hand, making them into a visual story has always been something I inherently have a talent for.


I began making films a very long time ago. Ok, not that long ago, but far enough in the past that I did not have access to the tools to even attempt to do it right. Even 10 years ago the cost of making a film was too high for a first timer. Now the time is right. Filming has become accessible to the lowest on the totem pole for a small amount of money.

In 1991 Richard Linklater made a movie called "Slacker". It was arguably a film that made history. The film was done for around twenty five thousand dollars and was shot with actors that were less than trained, with a few that were. It was mostly incoherent prose and conspiracy theory mixed with nonsensical dialogue. With all of that, it still won film festivals and even played at Sundance, ushering an "independent film" sub genre.

After "Slacker" we saw another indie film that rose to stardom and launched many careers of Pop Culture Icons. Kevin Smith's cult classic "Clerks" makes many of the same arguments and has conspiracy theory throughout but in the form of Comic Book references and crassness (of which I love tremendously). It's success spun off many movies, TV show pilots and even a Saturday morning cartoon. This film is as eerily the same as slacker as it is different.

A phenomenal success and a very cheap film to make, "Clerks" was shot in black and white in a world of color only because they didn't have enough cash on hand to buy the color film stock.

Even though these films were made for "nothing" in comparison to even the cheapest of the movies in the 1990's, they still cost the equivalent of Fifty and Thirty thousand dollars in today's money, respectively.  For the average man or woman in even the middle class of American society, these amounts are pipe dreams. Who in their right mind would spend an entire years salary or max out a bunch of credit cards to make a movie that might possibly never be seen by anyone? I would, if I had it to spend, but that's just me and I don't.

Since it has been deemed financially unattainable to pay for a film out of my own pocket I work very hard at making them for FREE.  Yes, I said FREE. Well, they aren't technically free, I suppose.  I did buy the camera and the lenses as well as the computer and other nefarious items that I probably don't need to tell an effective story.  But lets not ponder on that too long, right now.

Everyone with a modern smart phone can make a film for free.  All you need is dedicated people to surround you. If you want to make a movie that doesn't look too bad and it sounds good you can definitely do it for a few thousand dollars in equipment and about a hundred hours of you tube learning about lighting and camera composition. Get a boom mic, a pole to put it on a DSLR and about three lights. You probably wont make the next Hollywood Blockbuster but you WILL make something special to you and the people that helped create it.

So now, It's up to you... and me, I guess.


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