Micro-budget filmmaking

Introducing …. SPARKS!

Introducing …. SPARKS!

So for the last month or so, Lisa and I have shamelessly been touting our own recent work. Is this our natural instinct? NO. Was I taught to talk about myself nonstop, providing photos, silly anecdotes, imdb links and other fodder? NO. (No! Says my mom.) No, no, no.

But guess what? It’s the new world for indie filmmakers. For years now, but in the last year or so more than ever, filmmakers have had to very carefully strategize every aspect of distribution. Partnering with a distribution company, if one is lucky enough to actually get one, as opposed to simply handing over a film, is simply the new way it is. (A recent indieWIRE event had a panel of experts generously doling out twenty great tips on distribution and festivals. The level of strategizing, which implicitly includes talking up your work, is an example of the level of involvement I’m talking about here. Read the summary here.) So with chin-up spirit, and not complaining at all, because who doesn’t like to retell what unimaginable feat they accomplished on the set, or how they survived the perils of micro-budget filmmaking, or how fabulous, gorgeous, talented and fashionable their actors are … introducing SPARKS.

How to drag a pregnant woman across the West

How to drag a pregnant woman across the West

Well, make that ‘pregnant.’ As in, strap on that belly and hop in the van, let’s shoot! Lisa and I just wrapped our micro-budget feature, SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS, starring Anna Margaret Hollyman (above), and it was an adventure to boot. We wrote an entry about our tech approach, and one about our micro micro approach (see Beauty; Beast and Movie in a Van) — to make it three we thought we’d share a few photos from the road. And also urge you to take a peek at the new Sundance Channel online series that spawned the feature — SPARKS, now up HERE, starring Sarah Hudnut as well as other actors who appear in our feature, Jackie of “The Good Wife” Mary Beth Peil and soon-to-appear on “Friends with Benefits” Andre Holland.

Movie in a Van

Movie in a Van

It’s fairly unreal, but our entire film project titled SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS fits into a Chrysler Caravan rented at LAX. We’re making this micro-budget feature, you see, and there’s just enough room for two directors, one DP, one actress and one sound guy. The van happens to be, er, the featured picture car as well. Here we are, on our way to our next location (this photo was snapped after leaving Las Vegas – the only people to drive out of there that morning with absolutely no hangover):

Return to the 90s

Return to the 90s

If you haven’t noticed, Annie and Lisa have been thinking a lot lately about micro-budget filmmaking. Why? Full disclosure – we’re embarking on the adventure ourselves, we drank the Kool-aid and hope we don’t collapse in a fit of spasms. We have all the too-cool-for-school-tools. We got our Kickstarter, we got our 7D, we got a sound guy – wait – we didn’t get that, because the DIRECTORS are doing sound! Man, that’s cheap. Told ya … we got the fever bad … and we’re practically middle-aged women! What must the 20-somethings feel? In a certain sense the current wave out there is making me think about the early 90s.

The Art of the Fund

The Art of the Fund

We know times are drastically different in the world of film financing when suddenly fiction filmmakers are creating and mastering a new nifty little form: the fundraising video. For years in documentary, one first shot some footage and then crafted a “trailer,” used really as a funding pitch reel for both grant and private equity opportunities. In fiction, of course, this was never needed (“Let’s wait for the studio to cut a trailer once we sell this thing for a MAJOR profit!”), but times they have a-changed. Some of those studios don’t even … exist anymore.