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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old September 10th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
8MM? Choose that over a Canon A1? ...and you want to save money? I don't understand.
I agree, its a dead medium. if someone gave me a VHS I couldn't play it its the same thing.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #17
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Lots of great info here. Yes, it's possible to do a feature for $5,000, but you're going to lose a lot in terms of production value, etc. I did a feature for half that in 1999, though my gear purchases were around $12,000 (XL1, G3 blue and white Power Mac, monitor, Final Cut Pro, lights, sound, etc.).

Because of a lack of money, we did minimal lighting (almost dogme 95), I had to run camera for most of the film (BIG mistake--I wasn't directing as much), I didn't have a lot of crew, no rehearsal time except a couple of days, we couldn't shoot straight through but on weekends and evenings (plus one week vacation in August to wrap it up). We lost an actress and had to recast, the shots were okay but not great, etc.

The only thing I think we had going for us was a script that had a ton of revisions and, even greater, two wonderful actors with great chemistry. If I'd waited a year, the script would've been better, I probably would've found more money and hired at least a DP, but our actors would've been gone.

I then went and did around 5-7 short films to "re-learn" how to make movies before I tackled directing my feature last year. I left the shooting up to an award-winning DP, Jon Fordham (www.jonfordham.com) and we assembled a great team of crew and cast.

I'd focus on making shorts, learning your craft before diving into a feature. Ambition is great, but learn your craft.

heath

ps-And find more money. Or very talented crew willing to work for very little money (no money crew is tough to find; you sometimes get guys and gals who are done in 3 days--I got lucky on my feature with our boom op/grip).
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Old September 24th, 2007, 01:22 PM   #18
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I think we lost the original poster (15) awhile back, but this is a good discussion for others. Thanks.

I can't imagine a feature length show for 5k that's worth watching (El Mariachi aside). I have a copy of Steven Soderbergh's production notes from Sex, Lies, and Videotape... and I'd have to check the actual numbers again (it's been years since I read it), but I just remember the budget just kept rising. He originally planned B&W to save money, and since it was such as character driven show, he spent money on talent. The film cost 1.2 mil but grossed 25 mil at the box office and won the Palm d'or at Cannes.

You get what you pay for... 5k, well you can get a ratty room for the afternoon in a seedy hotel in LA with a plastic horse on top. I wonder if they'd let you use the hotel/horse's image in your film for that price.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 08:59 PM   #19
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I think we lost the original poster (15) awhile back...
He's likely moved onto trying to become a rock star, if he's 15.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #20
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I had a student from my film school teaching days who was 18 and within a few months, was out of wanting to be a filmmaker. Natch.

Btw, I'm reading MovieMaker's latest (2008) "Complete Guide to Making Movies," one of my favorite things to receive this time of year, and I love the ad on the back of the magazine, from Fuji Film. It's several different cans of film with these words:

"If they can write it, you can shoot it."

I think I'll go to my grave with that, though I think it'll be the reverse. What Fuji Film is trying to say is, script matters. Get that right, then go shoot the movie. So if a killer script can be done well for $5,000, then I'm the first in line to see it.

heath

ps-The other message I think could be, get the script right, camera/shooting comes second (or third, if you count the director).
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:01 PM   #21
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I read a book Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices--this was in the mid 80s. How one could make a movie for the price of a used car. I'll have to look at it again to see what sort of advice it gave and if it seems unrealistic now. I remember it was fairly grounded though---encouraging creative thinking to get the job done, like writing titles in the sand instead of getting it done optically. And this was before digital or Rodriguez too. So many more possibilities today, even for a 15 year old. But Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

That Disney producer sounds like a really nice #$@%^#@!
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #22
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No you havent lost me, and no im not trying to be a rockstar now. And yes the (15) is my age. We are still working on solidifying the plot, and writing some on the way. I think HD is gonna be the way to go-- maybe a scene or to on 16, for the experience. Once the script gets rolling along, were going to try and get some grants. Does any body have any experience in getting grant $? Also some questions that were asked that are in need of clearing up...

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we'd need more information. Have you shot other shorts before? 8mm isn't a production medium - why are you thinking about using it? Do you have a DP onboard? If you have hired a DP, what is he/she bringing to the table and how much are they charging you? If you're doing the lighting, how much experience do you have? How long of a shoot are you planning? How many actors per day? How many locations and are you paying for them? Do you mean two Tota light kits? Or Tota lights? How are you planning on handling post? What large city are you near? And lastly, and most importantly, is this your personal money or someone else's?

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I have shot many shorts before, dititally, and on film. I was thinking of using super 8 because it looks like film for the least amount of money. Real film, that is, not all thoes afects in AE, which to me dont seem to work that well. For now im going to be action as the DP, along with the guy im doing this with. I have no formal training in lighting, but I know what looks good, and what i need to do to get the look im going for (most of the time). Im thinking of a 10 day shooting schedual, over the summer, so it wont affect with school or anything. Our cast and crew will consist of myself and the guy im doing this with, two other deticated crew members (no pay), and hopefully four to five actors. There are the main characters, and if need be, the crew members or ourselves can step in as extras. We will be shooting by the time I am 16, so i will be able to drive. I know this sounds ambitios, but we will likely be shooting in *Salt Lake city* (Likely to be changed to a closer region made to look like salt lake city-- Tahoe or something), Reno, Stanford, and near LA. (Not in it) The script calls for lots of driving and shots along open highway, which is why the highway around reno should be good. Right now just 2 tota lights. will buy a couple of omni's also, when the money is there. Premeir Pro prod. suiet stuff is for post.

Sorry for the delay, thanks,
-Corwin
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Old September 25th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #23
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8mm over HD? Have you seen 8mm? And of course the cost.
Moot point by now, it seems, though.

I'd say that's plenty reasonable for a low budget indy production. It won't have all of the advantages of a professional setup, but if you can get some dedicated people, should work out.
No big things to rent, no expensive locations, costumes, sets or complex practical or visual FX sequences, and I think it's possible if you cut some corners.

Generally, having had similar experiences to you, I say:
1. Don't give up and do your best. Keep trying.
2. Don't let it get out of hand to where you can't finish it.
...Good luck!
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Old September 25th, 2007, 01:21 AM   #24
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Thanks Dan
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Old September 25th, 2007, 04:55 AM   #25
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Corwin, I also would REALLY advice you to shoose the Canon XH A1 over the 8mm...
It will look better, and you can make a Canon XH A1 look very filmic too.
Look once for the program (plugin) Magic Bullet Editors... I've worked with it, and I'm very pleased with the results.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #26
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If you want 8mm, talk to these people:

http://pro8mm.com/main.php

The only thing is, a feature will cost you around $12,000 or so (my good pal tried convincing me to go this route until he saw how grainy the footage is and how much it costs) and I don't remember if that includes the camera or not.

This girl at the age of 12 or 13 did a feature:

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=21023

Inspiration all around. And Rick Schmidt's excellent book, Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices, is an EXCELLENT book. I have read it numerous times, though I haven't shot on film since...I think early 1998. I re-read most of it before we shot my latest feature a year ago.

One more book:

http://www.mwp.com/books/marketing-d...marketing.php4

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Old October 1st, 2007, 12:00 PM   #27
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Hi, I have an idea if you wish to shoot on super8

If youve never made a film before, shooting super8 will be very very costly.

So why not shoot your film on dv. Dont worry about lighting, and just shoot. Get the story, screenplay, acting all down to a 't', and just shoot.

Edit your film to a finished project in a cheap NLE

NOW you will have a finished film and exact shooting/scene schedule.

Instead of shooting 8 hours of super 8 film getting it right, shoot 8 hours of minidv (cheap).

You will now know exactly what you want to shoot, and you can pump your budget into the super8, lighting and production.

tbip2001
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:57 PM   #28
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Short and sweet, James. Thanks!

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Old October 1st, 2007, 05:05 PM   #29
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At that point, if it's so efficient, go for 16mm. So much better than 8.
(8, though not an organic material, is actually equivalent to less resolution than HD.)
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Old October 1st, 2007, 05:55 PM   #30
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Corwin, i like your ambition, most kids your age are out riding their bikes or whatever .As long as you have people round you that have the same drive you'll do okay even if the film doesnt work out you'll learn a lot.

best of luck,
Andy.
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