42 Minutes for $1,200: Producing a Micro-Budget Film (Introduction)
Although filmmaking is a creative endeavor, it is one primarily driven by money and time. Costs, deadlines, and other factors often play a larger part in the creation of film than many directors would prefer. There are some benefits, for example, deadlines drive even the most meticulous filmmakers to yield tangible results. Often, though, a lack of funds or time can simply leave a filmmaker feeling creatively stifled.
A director of photography I assisted for had the following saying: "Filmmaking is a triangle. At each point sits one of three factors: money, time or quality. You can only pick two of the factors, so if you have a lack of money, it means you'll need time to achieve quality. If you have a lack of time, it means it'll take a significant amount of money to achieve quality. And if you have no time and no money, you're basically screwed."
The hard reality for independent filmmakers is that money, time and an enormous amount of hard work are required to achieve the kind of quality that can be easily accomplished on a Hollywood sized budget. Over my next few blog posts, I am going to address how my directing partner Andrew Dalton and I, along with a team of talented creative professionals, created a forty-two-minute political thriller on a shoestring $1,200 budget. The final film has action scenes, impressive locations, and other elements that although difficult, we were able to achieve on our shoestring budget. In these blog posts, I'll first begin by addressing the writing and pre-production process and I'll talk about how to craft a script that balances boldness with practicality. Next, I'll discuss funding and other non-financial methods for reducing production costs while achieving large-scale results. Lastly I'll talk about how we picked gear and equipment that fit the work creatively whilst minimizing budgetary impact.
I'm looking forward to showing you how to create a professional and successful film on a limited budget! Click here to go to part one of the series. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the film, entitled "The Horsemen", below: