Filmmaker Daniel Kremer has made six microbudget features since 2007 - an impressive achievement. Here he talks about how that has been possible and about his filmmaking method, including his approach to what he calls "structured improvisation".
In a recent poll that I took amongst subscribers, I found that the biggest obstacle that filmmakers felt they faced was "raising the cash". Last on the list was writing a great script. Here I argue that this is upside down thinking. Click on the image to check out the video.
Thanksgiving is coming up and then it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. And you know what that means: New Years Resolutions! Maybe you’ve wanted to quit smoking or go to a gym or learn to dance salsa. How about an even better New Years Resolution? 2017 will be the year that you finally become a feature filmmaker!
There's a lot of ways to cut corners on your no budget feature film to get it in the can and out the door. We're big fans of making your film whatever way you can, by hook or by crook. But this is one corner you should seriously consider NOT cutting.
Technological innovation has made filmmaking affordable to millions. But to get truly innovative, microbudget films out there into the world and build audiences, we need something more: we need a movement.
HERE I PROVIDE AN EXCERPT FROM OUR BOOK: MASTER THE NANO ON WRITING GOOD SCRIPT FOR YOUR NO-BUDGET FILM:
Three-act structure gets a bad rep. Blame Hollywood. They have perfected the three-act machine to drain the life and edges out of scripts – catalyst happens at 12 minutes, first act change at 22 minutes, B story introduced at 30 minutes, etc. But this is in part because the three-act structure is such a powerful and simple machine for storytelling. That is, simple to say or analyze – not so simple to do well.
Once upon a time I almost made it to the “big time” in the film industry. It was 2007 and I had just finished a post-graduate program at the Canadian Film Centre. And even more, I had managed to get a feature screenplay into the hands of an Oscar nominated, extremely prolific producer who loved my script. In my head I was already spending the six-figure script fee. I daydreamed meetings in LA with A-list agents. For me this was extra-exciting because, prior to getting into the CFC, I was entirely self-taught. I never went to film school. And, yet, here I was, on the brink of the big time.
My first short film, we rented a lighting kit “out of the back of a truck” – literally. A very, very sketchy dude named Scott and his rude girlfriend came by with a van load. He showed up 12 hours late (yes, 12) and almost pooched the shoot. At the end he showed up late to pick up his gear and tried to squeeze more money out of us. His gear was beat up and included (if I remember correctly) maybe 5 or 6 lights of various sorts. We had to build our own softboxes. We paid him $500 for the weekend.
Maybe I’m just a shop-a-holic and haven’t quite come to accept and admit it. But I think that – besides the advances in camera gear and the potential for internet distribution and marketing – e-commerce and e-shopping are disruptive elements in microbudget indie filmmaking.
I've shot two microbudget feature films plus a few no budget short films as well. Based on this experience I’ve decided that the one constant you can count on when shooting a microbudget film is endless surprises and endless improvisation. Let’s list some of them from the first week of shooting Fucking My Way Back Home (FMWBH) in 2015.
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