Monday, 9 May 2011

The route of all evil

Now I understand where all the money goes.

There is a myth in low-budget film making that once you’ve got your camera and a place to film in, you’re pretty much good to go. Edit it on your laptop, and there’s no reason why you can’t turn a feature around for the price of a round in the pub at the wrap party.

Damn you, Colin-the-£45-movie. I don’t believe a word of it.

And while Jake and I know a bunch of highly awesome technical people that live in the environs, what we lack are ten talented and enthusiastic actor pals waiting to hand across their August to us. So to redress the balance, today has been a crash course in how to stop hard-fought investor cash making it as far as the big screen.

I fully appreciate that we are asking a truck-load from our actors. Come and be doused in blood and swear in a school for four weeks, and we’ll pay you in May 2012 (o.n.o.) once we’ve sold the movie. Sure, it’s a rare-ish chance to star in a feature film, and it should yield some fabulous footage for a show-reel, but these guys are taking a lot on faith – faith that Jake and I can create something from the bare-bones of the screenplay that they are going to be happy to stand behind. Their names are going on the DVD box, after all.

We need to treat our cast like they were treasured family heirlooms for the duration of the shoot.

So the first step is planning to accommodate them comfortably and feed them properly.

We’ve always had money set aside for this, but now is the moment to turn these estimates into real figures. Today we have both been mostly on the phone and on the internet; any creative output has been swallowed whole by production donkey-work. Again. And bang goes a third of our accrued cash in one sitting.

I guess this is why people need a separate producer, and ideally one with some entrepreneurial flair; that said, every film-maker that we’ve spoken to has ended up doing it all themselves too. Thankfully, the next best thing is a partner in crime – if Jake and I couldn’t double up on the phone calls with caterers and hotels, I’m pretty certain we’d be drowning in admin all the way through to the start of principal photography.

The real challenge is to make sure that when the Director’s hat finally goes on that someone else is dealing with all the production details. We should better describe days like today as an investment against future angst; that elusive “someone else” is welcome to hoover down any praise for his or her careful planning, but I bet you that any boot in need of a testicle to kick will come straight to find us. Throbbing.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love the way you guys dismiss no-budget filmmaking as a 'myth', and claim that investing in your own movie is a 'cardinal sin'. You guys crack me up. If you won't put money into your film, why the fuck should anyone else? Wake up guyz, you ain't Hollywood. You could raise some money by selling your copy of the 'Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook', that thing might have a lot of info in it but none of it applies to you, nor does any of it relate to 'Guerilla Filmmaking'. 5 months down the line and you guyz only just understand that no-one is going to invest. Slow learners.