I’ve had the incredible good fortune of directing three micro-budget features that have manifested from literally nothing. It always boils down to puling an uncooperative rabbit from a seemingly unattainable hat and believing it will all come together in the end.
Here’s a ridiculous but true tutorial on how I finished my last project “Erasing Eden” and was able to laugh at the train wreck that became my life.
6 WAYS TO FINISH A MICRO-BUDGET MOVIE:
Being a micro-budget filmmaker has many challenges, but the biggest is actually finishing the film your heart is set on making. You can sit on a film waiting for it to hatch like some kind of expensive and all consuming egg. Or you can follow these simple steps:
- Paint yourself Into a Corner – Market the film until you get a bite from a respected film festival. Then, agree to screen it despite the event being less than a month away. With your back against this self-imposed wall, you’ll be forced to finish. As an added bonus you’ll either get fired from your day job or be forced to turn down full-time work until the film is done. Sometimes the best way out of a difficult situation is to make it worse.
- Go For Broke – When you start to lose everything, Airbnb your apartment and sleep in the edit bay. Don’t forget to bring your pets! No one will notice the cat box next to the CPU. Pets are free yes men – they will agree 100% with all your creative decisions. Remember, at this point the only way is up.
- Know Your Audience – Drive a luxury car so no one suspects you’re living out of it. Fancy cars are clever marketing tools for broke ass filmmakers, so beg borrow or steal one. People will think you’re making millions selling your indie film when most likely you wont recoup a dime.
- Work With What Your Mama Gave You – Make sure you get your hair blown out. Accomplish this by using the hand drier at a local gas station. Also, change clothes often. This will make you look and feel less homeless.
- Reward Yourself For All The Hard Work – Sure, you can shower at the gym. But spending your last $12 dollars at the Korean spa makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Spending money you don’t have can relieve tension. This helps to ease the stress of the ridiculous deadline you just agreed to. Plus it will get you in the zone when traveling to a foreign land – provided of course that your film festival is overseas or in the Deep South.
- Sit Back And Enjoy The Ride – Be eternally grateful that you and your team made it all happen. Getting into any festival is a total win. Also screening your finished film before a live audience other than hostages (friends and family) becomes a giant pay off. Enjoy the moment and sing the praises of all those involved because it truly takes a village.