Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What Next?

So I’m writing something that I can possible produce that won’t break the bank. Writing within a low budget kind of sucks. Plain and simple. So how do I make it interesting while obeying the low budget film rules. Rules you say? What rules are they? Well maybe not rules, but lets say their suggestions rather then rules. They are in no particular order:

1. Limited locations
2. Characters kept to a minimum
3. No costly special effects
4. No animals
5. No children
6. Short shooting schedule
7. Use local talent
8. Small crew
9. Shoot DV
10. Pay people for their time

I’m sure there are more rules, I mean suggestions, but I think you get the idea. The following ten things to get your film done is written by me and is the culmination of my experience in making a film & going to dozens of lectures by producers. If these suggestions or rules help great, but remember it’s the story stupid. Above all else the story better be good or all you’re work will be in vain. So why am I writing something that may not be financial possible to make at this time? The answer is “why not”?

In order to get a film done, and out there you’re film has to be a passion of yours. Passion will get it done, but you can’t ignore the realities of film marketing and that is that the film needs to generate interest in its audience. After all you’re not making you’re film just for yourself. I’ve heard many filmmakers talk about their film as something they wanted to do for themselves and I never buy into it. Go ahead and tell your investors that you’re making this film for just yourself. If you said that to anybody they call you crazy and wouldn’t give you a dime. That’s why “Deadly Obsessions” exists. It isn’t a personal film where I want to preach some sort of lesson or message to my audience. My film exists because one I wanted to prove that I could make a feature, and two that I could entertain people with its story. I worked within my budgetary constraints and tried to make it interesting. It’s not the happiest film out there, and its kind of dark, but I kind of like it. It isn’t another horror movie of some horny teenagers running around in the woods and getting chopped up by some psychopath. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against the horror genre. In fact the horror genre holds a special place in my heart. I’ve worked on even a couple very low to sub-basement budgeted films in my career, and it was always fun, yet tiring. My film tried to emulate the old 40’s & 50’s films of the past affectionately called ‘film noir”. I updated the look & tone to present day and hoped that I could pull it off. To some extent I think I succeeded. I’m proud of the results, and so I need to move on.

So what’s next? What do I do for my next film? I’m not entirely certain on the project, but I do have a film that is close to my heart and one I would like to shoot, but it’s a bit personal. But wait didn’t I just say that a film needs an audience? Didn’t you just say that you should be thinking about your audience? I did didn’t I. But that’s where “Deadly Obsessions” fails. Did I not just write that I’m proud of the film I did? I most certainly did, and I still am, but I do have to look at why it didn’t get into festivals, and why it didn’t play at your local bijou. One reason for its failure is that I aimed high and couldn’t compete with what Hollywood produces. Hey that’s okay. I think I have enough exploitive material in the film to make it entertaining and interesting. What I don’t have is the money Hollywood has to market it, and hype it. After all it’s ALL hype. Hype creates interest, and Hollywood is good at that. How many times did you leave the theater muttering to yourself “why in God’s green earth did I pluck down my $10 to $12 for such a piece of crap”. It was the hype. It gets us all.

So why am I writing something personal? Surly you can’t keep an audience interested. But I’m betting I can. How you ask? Well it’s become apparent to me that we all go through things that rock the very foundation that makes us ourselves. Loss, love, heartbreak, sickness, joy, divorce, birth, and yes-even violence. We deal with it in our own way and just maybe I can create a piece of work that touches us in some small way.

Good films rock us. They touch our core, and entertain us. The good films find common emotions that we all share and exploits them. . I said I want to do a film that touches others. Now that I’ve learned how to make a better film maybe it’s time to make something better and something bigger. Something that transcends the film. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that. Maybe it’s too grand of an idea, but Harry Chapin said it better in a song he wrote: “If we don’t strive for heaven, are we just settling for hell”. Wish me luck, and thanks for listening.

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