Just got word that a particularly well-funded indie film company passed on Passing Harold Blumenthal. Phooey. Luckily, I have other funding irons in the fire that will hopefully pan out in the next couple of weeks. Some nice meetings are in the works, but as usual, I'm not waiting by the phone. While the push for money is still in full effect, I am spending much more time envisioning a shoestring version of the film. It's a more practical/logistical process rather than, say, a creative one, but it's a good deal more productive than waiting for Daddy Warbucks to call and tell me he wants to make this a $3 million dollar movie.
To that effect, I have begun some preliminary looks at scheduling and budgeting for a DIY micro-budget production. Usually, a skilled producer or line-producer is responsible for this, but for now my skills will have to suffice. This is where having produced, scheduled, and budgeted short films comes in handy. From my experience in the short form, I have a good sense as to how much time I will need for any given scene, location, and shot. Of course there are always surprises on-set, so I'm including contingency time wherever I can. The budgeting angle is similar in that regard. While eternally difficult, I have a decent sense as to how much I need to spend (or not spend) to get certain scenes or locations in the can. We'll see how this translates to the intense marathon of shooting a feature. While I may not have to resort to doing everything myself, knowing exactly what I need and how I want it done will benefit me on any budget.
The videos below are two of a series that director Robert Rodriguez did that I love. He talks about his shoestring endeavor to make his debut feature, El Mariachi, and goes into some specifics on how to think creatively to save money and overcome technical and logistical obstacles. Planning is everything.
The next post will go into shoestring scheduling and why it's worth doing earlier rather than later.