Zero Dollar Feature FIlmmaking 1.1

Posted: May 4, 2012 in Film Journey, Musing, Video Production
Tags: , ,

I believe you can make a feature film these days for $0 and I aim to prove it. Sound like fun and something you want to do, too? Well, you can. Will it look like the latest blockbusting action flick coming out at the megaplex and starring the hottest A-stars in Hollywood? No. Can it look as good as the “small” films that win BIG awards? You betcha. I refuse to believe that a quality film must cost a million dollars, a half a million dollars, a quarter million, or even 100 thousand. Why? Because I’ve seen it done. And I’ve done it. And I’m going to do it again. And so can you. Will you have to beg, borrow, and steal? Yes! (Well, not steal, but that’s up to you…but for sure you’ll have to beg and borrow…) You can do it starting today. Right now. Just keep “zero dollars” in the front of you mind the whole time. Do the film well, and your second film may be done with (other people’s) big bucks. Let’s begin…right now.
It all starts with a good story. You can’t make a good film without a good story. You can’t write a good script without a good story. No – it won’t improve or get awesome “out in the field” nor will you be able to “fix it in post.” Good films and good scripts start with a good story. The good news for zero-dollar filmmaking is that a good story is about real people with real problems who overcome. And these problems and solutions happen in your own neighborhood. In my neighborhood. To you and to me. So that’s where we’ll find our good stories. Right where we are.
Let it be added here that if you have never shot a film and only dreamed about it, it might be a good idea to begin by starting small and gain experience by first making a short film. Oh, but wait, you say – you don’t want to make a short film. Short films gets no respect. There are not outlets for short films. No one watches short films. Short films are Grade B projects.
I say hogwash.
A well-made short film gets great respect. Many of todays top directors got their starts by first making a short film (or several). A quick search of your favorite directors will most likely list shorts films at the beginning of their careers (and perhaps even continuing today), and for those that do not have a short film listed, I bet most of them in fact made a short film or two early on and the films are just not listed.
Short films have many outlets, especially today. There are hundreds of film festivals that play short films. In fact, most film festivals love a well-made short film and would rather have a dozen of these instead of one good feature, if for the only reason that more films means a more diverse audience which means more potential attendees. And there are film festivals that want only short films. Add to that cable channels filling in time between features, cable channels geared towards only showing short films, even shorts that run on the big screen before features, or as an “extra” on a DVD. The outlets are there and plentiful.
And as far as people watching short films – it only takes a quick look at the numbers of viewers that the internet outlets get per day and you can see that these films are more popular than the longer ones playing at the movie theatre down the road. Short films are extremely popular and are not Grade B projects. The Academy Awards give out statues every year to two films, and those statues look identical (are identical) to the ones they give out for Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Director.
So – are you ready to begin this journey to zero dollar filmmaking? Let’s go… well, stay tuned until next time…

  1. Reblogged this on "MidWood" In The Making, Presented by ThNita Productions and commented:
    Good info for our Independent Film Makers!

  2. […] advantages I did when you go to shoot the film. That said – I am developing my next project – a zero budget feature film, of course. So I want to write the novel first, but that is not an easy undertaking, and cannot be […]

  3. […] you have your film (or book or poem or song or blueprint) finished. You are ready for the next step in your creation […]

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