The Voice of Treason
I never ask
people for permission to make a film. Instead, I present them with the
fact that Im making a film. If theyre wise, theyll get
in on it early. -
Francis Ford Coppola
to digital video (DV) equipment and the Web, you can write, finance,
direct, shoot, edit, and distribute your own low-cost CLERKS or
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
Follow these steps to transform yourself into a microbudget auteur:
#1) LEARN FROM THE GIANTS
Study 700 movies and 800 scripts. Examine character arcs, scene construction,
conflict, and plot twists. Youll find hundreds of screenplays, from
ALIEN to WITHNAIL AND I, at http://www.script-o-rama.com/
#2) WRITE YOUR AMAZING SCRIPT
Then rewrite it 17 times. Dont stop until its original, doesnt
suck, and you believe every scene. Its a low dough show,
so delete crowds, explosions, expensive costumes, children, dogs, and
Jim Carrey. A terrific resource is Charles Deemers Screenwriters
and Playwrights Home Page: http://www.teleport.com/~cdeemer/scrwriter.html.
#3) RAISE SOME MONEY
Try family, friends, grants, limited partnerships, casino heists, and
mail order fraud. How much cash will you need? Whatever you can get. Collect
dozens of credit cards---preferably not your own.
#4) RESEARCH YOUR SHOOT
Billed as the headquarters of the digital filmmaking revolution,
www.nextwavefilms.com offers The ABCs of No-Budget Filmmaking, post-production
financing, plus marketing and distribution strategies. Next Wave wants
to free filmmakers from the belief that they must have the permission,
approval, or resources of 3rd parties to make their films.
#5) FIND A GREAT CAST
Cast well and youre 90% closer to a strong film. Select the best,
most versatile actors you can afford. For advice on actors and casting,
Judith Westons book, Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances
for Film and Television, is available at www.mwp.com.
#6) RECRUIT A SMALL REBEL CREW
Think energy, talent, and commitment. Check references because you should
NEVER work with assholes.
#7) SECURE LOCATIONS
Before production, scout your locations for sound, light, outlets, and
toilets at the same time and day (or night) youll be shooting. Bring
your Director of Photography, Boom Operator, Assistant Director, and your
versatile Production Designer/First Aid Attendant/Caterer.
#8) CREATE STORYBOARDS and a SHOT LIST
Study Steven Katzs book, Film Directing, Shot by Shot: Visualizing
from Concept to Screen www.mwp.com #9) EQUIP THYSELF Canons XL1,
www.canondv.com is the preferred mini-DV camera for the microbudget revolution.
Use the XL1 to shoot auditions, rehearsals, location scouts, and your
entire film. Approx. cost: $6,000.
#10) SHOOT YOUR MASTERPIECE
Gather actors, crew, and camera in the same place. Make everyone comfortable,
then aim the camera at the actors. Remember three things: 1) Youre
not paying anyone, so feed em well. 2) Get someone to snap good
publicity photos on location. 3) Besides death or (maybe) jail, nothing
is more important than what happens between Action and Cut.
#11) EDIT YOUR MASTERPIECE
Apples Power Mac G4 (approx. $6,000 with a 17 monitor) is
the best home movie studio for power, speed, memory, and its iMovie 2
video editing software. Or install Apples Final Cut Pro ($999) to
professionally mix your sound, effects, music, and titles (www.apple.com).
#12) SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
When your films done, show the world. Make VHS copies and an eye-popping
poster. Enter video/film festivals found at http://www.filmfestivals.com/index.shtml
Woo distributors. In January, for example, Hollywoods power brokers
flock to Sundance to party, ski, and maybe even see your movie. You can
also try Slamdance, Slamdunk, or Slumdance, which all screen in Park City,
Utah at the same time. Come February, Berlin is the epicentre of the film
festival circuit. March brings the Amnesty International Film Festival
to Amsterdam for films about Human Rights. And in April, New Mexico hosts
the Taos Talking Picture Festival. If your film wins Best Feature in Taos,
they give you five acres of land.
#13) ONLINE DISTRIBUTION
If traditional distributors overlook your genius this time, sell your
film directly to indie fans via www.reeluniverse.com. Regardless of where
you show your film, learn how to talk about it with the same passion you
devoted to it during its creation.
#14) WRITE YOUR NEXT AMAZING SCRIPT
Find the time and flex your writing muscles. Soon youll be unstoppable.
© Ken Hegan
Copyright © 2002 Voice Of Treason Productions Inc.
Ken Hegan is famous in Vancouver for many short and funny films and writes
for several Canadian Magazines.
Also Published in Pursuit magazine
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Starts August 16th Get a team together NOW
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