Big dreams on a small budget

This blog is a little bit more geared toward my independent filmmaking brethren.  Although most people will say that any advice can help when rightly applied.  I simply want to talk about doing what can be done and wanting to reach beyond your scope.  Believe me and my fiancé can attest to this.  Every time I sit down to work on a project I want to act like I have several hundred thousand dollars to spend that ironically enough, I’m no where near having that kind of budget.  It’s a constant frustration when you want to do something on a grand scale and you have big ideas bursting at the seams.  Nonetheless, I cannot throw infinite bundles of imaginary money at the situation and expect it to work out right.  So what I’ve learned to do is really a three fold process.

            My first step is to say, who cares if I don’t have the budget it’s a great idea.  So with that in mind I write my first draft, which as you recall from previous blogs is the “get it out of your system” draft.  I put every idea in the draft that I can think of/want to see done.  Which I think when you are writing a script you should start on a grand scale and slim it down as you go.  Of course there’s also the intent of the script, is it something you are going to make yourself or are you going to attempt to sell it to someone else?  This question should also influence your writing ideas.  Now I will say this, Robert Rodriguez in his book Rebel Without A Crew (available at talks about the process he went through and it involved making a list of all the assets they had.  I am not opposed to this method, but it’s not the method I take.

            The second step is to decide what you are going to do with the script/project.  And here there are a few things you can do.  If it’s a short script you can decide to do the whole thing yourself or choose a pivotal scene that can be done so that the audience understands what is occurring, without the context of the rest of the story.  Or you can do a trailer for the project in an attempt to garner financial assistance or assistance from other amateur individuals looking for exposure/experience.  If you have a feature length piece you want to put on youself, then I would choose one scene that is the most captivating (and once again that your audience can follow without the rest of the story) or again choose the path of creating a trailer.  This is something that I am looking at doing in the coming year (because of my impending wedding in a month, my productions had to be put on hold).  And when I write the scripts I try to keep as grand a scale as I wanted to have from the beginning, but at the same time as a filmmaker I try to be aware of what exactly I can and cannot do.  It’s a pain sometimes but it’s a necessary pain.

            Finally, I take an alternative to the Rodriguez approach and see what I have and can get access to and what I need for the scene/trailer/project and see where the two cross paths.  Say I wanted to do a monster movie, but I don’t have a monster costume and don’t have the budget to go by one, well, I can just show a piece of a monster, something that will give the audience the idea that something monstrous is off screen.  This is when you need to hit up whatever creative individuals you have to assist you.  I actually encountered the monster dilemma and took the concept I had for a bigger piece and trimmed it down to a 45 second video (found at once again my fiancé helped me create the tentacles you see out of pantyhose, cotton stuffing and a chain.  It’s not the monster I wanted but it turned out much better than the garden hose tentacles I was going to create. 

            So remember to write as large as you want, but always be aware of your production scale when it comes time to execute your vision.  So enjoy and keep creating no matter how large or small all creation is worthwhile.

About lagomorphflix

Hey everybody, I'm a writer/ amateur filmmaker. I'm looking to go professional and always looking for ways to reach new audiences. So please feel free, take a read and let me know what you think.
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