… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1252: Essential Tips for an Indie Film

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Patience is the watch-word when working on low-budget films.

Alone, starring Stephanie Barkley. (Courtesy of NoFilmSchool.com)

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This article, written by William Hellmuth, first appeared in NoFilmSchool.com. This is a summary.

NOTE: This article – “Essential Tips for Filming Indie Sci-fi on a Tight Budget” – focuses on a sci-fi film. However, these tips apply to just about any low-budget film.

We only had $6,000 to produce a movie that was set almost entirely in outer space, with substantial production design and VFX challenges attached to it. In the end, we not only made our film, but we also got it distributed by Dust.

There’s a saying I’ve heard over and over: “Good, fast, cheap. Pick two.” I knew I needed Alone to be good and cheap. That meant I couldn’t have it fast. Since we didn’t have a lot of money, we had to wait until we could find the right designer and the right star, at the right price. It took almost a year before that happened.

I am terrible at VFX. I’ve seen a lot of sci-fi films get stuck in post-production hell because the director bit off more than they could chew. To avoid that, I wanted to capture as many VFX shots in-camera as possible.

No matter where you’re at in your career, you always have a certain amount of social capital. You’re always better off working with people who want to be in the trenches with you, and the best way to do that is to make sure they know and trust you.

Above all, when you’re working with a shoestring-budget project, be patient. Try not to hover on specific deadlines, because if you want something good and cheap, it won’t come fast.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked above, has a trailer, more details and images from the production.


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