“If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Of course Yann Martel is a writer, a brilliant one, and not a filmmaker, but he is an artist, and so are we!
Across The Pond, TV Pilot, England, 2009
Unfortunately, there is little to no government or public funding or support for film in the US, and in the very, very independent world, very little point in taking the endless amounts of time to research and apply for whatever is out there, particularly if your work is fictional...
Same with Kickstarter or indigogo, you wouldn’t want to put one of those campaigns together every month just so you can make a film I can tell you!
That said, and after having spent countless hours researching and attempting to apply for various grants and funds, and setting up kickstarters and indiegogos, so I can speak from bitter experience, I believe it’s a real relief to know that your budget is either zero or close to it. As odd as that may sound, I have always found the lack of money to be wonderfully freeing.
No money, no involvement by others creatively or otherwise, no commitment to others expectation, and therefore whatever is created is yours!
Your vision, your rules, your mistakes, your triumphs.
But then, if there is no money for films or from films, there must be money to live and how do we make films, short or otherwise, and live....
A good question....
One I am still figuring out for myself.
Needless to say, I have had very, very tough moments over the years where I have either been unable to cover my bills or unable to make a film.
But you must remember that filmmaking is an art, and therefore we must consider ourselves to be artist. At times the role of the artists is to starve, so I guess the less money there is, the truer the artist.
Which must mean I am the ultimate artist!!
Because with two kids, two dogs, a cat and three chickens, I have a lot of mouths to feed and bums to wipe...I also have a Husband who can thankfully complete both those tasks for himself, at least for the moment, but since he is an actor and a filmmaker too, we are both on the same page when it comes to regular jobs, ie, we don’t really have them...we ‘freelance’...
We have all our own film equipment, or most importantly, our own camera. So we can, and do, make our own films and shoot other peoples, develop projects and write for our own production company, knowing we can at least shoot something when we’re ready.
For free, essentially.
But the question of ‘how can we shoot this with no money‘, and how can we pay our bills, is of course a real consideration for filmmakers.
Even the big guys have to find a way to pay for everything, and the bigger you get, the harder that seems to become.
Filmmaking is not really considered to be an art form in the US, at least not by the general public.
In Europe and many other places on the planet it is, The French treat filmmakers like gods, but then, they are The French, after all.
But, seriously, if and when people ask me what I do, I usually reply “I am a filmmaker and a writer,” and then, of course comes the question, “Would I have seen anything you have done?” Or, failing that, and shortly after they have given me the proverbial once over, they assume I couldn’t possible have made anything they have seen based on the fact that I do not even remotely resemble what most people imagine a filmmaker to look like. I am female for a start, and do not wear, or even own a baseball cap. I am also in my prime, so to speak, not exactly the common consensus for the visual definition of ‘filmmaker.’
So I think the point I am seemingly trying to avoid making is this.
You can make very, very independent films, gorgeous, short, imperfect, full of passion and entirely yours, and make a living doing something else.
Lord knows even the well paid and very well paid filmmakers in Hollywood have to do that, they just do it by making a studio film they may not have much control over, that they don’t particularly love, and then they take some of the money they earn doing that and make their own independent film.
What I, and many other very independent filmmakers do is pretty much the same thing, we just may not be making huge studio pictures to pay the bills.
But whatever work we do, related to filmmaking or not, it serves the same purpose.
To support our habit.
Nothing to be ashamed of, far from it in fact. I am very proud that we have managed to live our dream. Even if it means I don’t eat out a lot, but hey, I’m a great cook!
I am a creative being, wether I am writing, producing, directing, editing or building a chicken coup!
So being able to do that most of the time, even if we are not lousy with cash, is, I believe, a real privilege, and certainly not something I take for granted.
So what if it means an occasional sleepless night worrying about bills, I know I still did that years ago when I was working full time and making money.
I am too old to worry about what other people think about my lifestyle, and I certainly don’t worry about comparing myself to the sudo-rich “Angelinos” who just have a lot more debt than I do....no judgement...
Basically, what I am saying is, that if you have to tell a story in film, regardless of your income, ability, experience and even how much time you have.....just figure out a way to do it!
Because we are non of us getting any younger and if you are like me, those stories in your head aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So unless you get them out of your head right away, they will probably end up driving you out of it.....not something any of us want I think!
Some of the most gifted filmmakers worked as something else and made their art when they could. Because they could do nothing but that.
Quentin Tarantino worked in a video store, John Hughes sold jokes to Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers, Martin Scorsese was a film editor, James Cameron was a truck driver, Peter Jackson was a photo engraver and Oliver Stone drove a cab.....
If you are an artist, a filmmaker, then be that and if you have to, be something else to pay the bills.... And that means do the work, write the script, shoot the film, tell the story and make money elsewhere to cover your costs.
If it means you film just on the weekend, or once a month, or even just on your vacation, thats fine too!
Being creative, being a filmmaker is about taking the story you have, the time you have and the resources you have and making something authentic and wonderful.
Wether that takes a year and millions of dollars, or it takes a couple of weekends, and the coins from your car ashtray.....the remains of one bad habit supporting another!
You will find a way....No need to worry about how........just know that you can.
And make your work, ‘work’ and your habit ‘film.’
“Even if I set out to make a film about a fillet of sole, it would be about me.”
Ain’t that the truth!!
As artists we all need to find our voice.
Your reason for creating.
In some cases, such as mine, it can take half a lifetime to find, but once you have found it, it’s hard to ignore.
‘Fontana’ 2011, 52 Weeks/52 Films
So to give you a little insight in to how I found mine, I thought this week I would go back a bit in time, not far back, just to 2011 and to one of my favorite films of the 52 Films/52Weeks project.
This was the film, that made me really think about my ‘why,’ and that gave me the first insight into what seems to be my cinematic theme.
Adapted from two of Javier Ronceros’s (my talented husband’s) short stories, ‘Fontana’ is a bleak but poetic exploration of death and abandonment.
“A bedraggled group of apocalypse survivors find themselves abandoned by their leader in their darkest hour.”
This bizarre group awake one morning in an abandoned, partially destroyed house to find their beloved leader, the one person with hope and the strength to keep them alive, has shot himself.
Clearly this is not a comedy....
This film was certainly one of the more obvious explorations of my eternal ‘why’ question that I have written so far. Every choices we make every day, mundane or otherwise, lead our lives in such a wild variety of different directions. Life or death is pretty serious stuff.
This group of survivors waits for a scouting trip to return in their truck, the only mode of transportation, and as the days pass they realize they are alone, with no hope of rescue.
How would they cope under such circumstances, how would any of us cope and when would we decide that death on our own terms is preferable to the inevitable decline into despair, savagery and violence. When does the need for dignity and permanent escape seem the obvious choice, and to whom.
Why, why, why?
I have been told, on many an occasion, that asking ‘why’ is a pointless and ultimately unfulfilling quest, but, it has become my most defining theme, and not just in film...
Finding your story to tell and your theme to follow will be what makes you decide which film to make and even if you want to be a filmmaker in the first place.
Each filmmaker has their own recurring themes of course, Spielberg has his absentee fathers, the catholic guilt of Scorsese’s films are evident in every one of his brilliant works and Quentin Tarrantino does like to talk, in between eviscerations.
As a filmmaker, or an artist of any kind, everything we create has its own unmistakable color, wether we intend it or not. After making 52 short films in a row in 2011, I look back now and I can clearly see the themes that reoccur in my work. Death, choice, fear, love and the mind constantly at work trying to find a way through, without unravelling.
Really, I’m not a cynical person.....
I’m just drawn to the big questions.
Making Fontana, was a big adventure. Shot over two days in Lancaster, CA in a very cold Spring. The location was an abandoned house that our AD found for me. Since it was empty, had been for some time and was in the middle of nowhere on the high plains of the Antelope Valley, we decided to shoot on the fly....hoping no one would care enough to call the cops. Certainly the nearest house was ten miles away and we would be shooting mostly inside the house anyway, so any kind of sheriffdom interruption seemed a rather remote possibility.
‘Fontana’ set Antelope Valley, 2011, 52 Films/52 Weeks
The location was amazing, it really looked as if someone had picked the house up off its foundations, shaken it a bit and put it back down, carelessly. I couldnt have had an art department build me something more perfect.
One of the first rules of making very, very independent films is find an amazing location that looks as if you have spent a fortune on it and exploit it as much as you can.
I would go back to this house tomorrow and shoot just about anything, if its still standing that is.
This was also one of the most rehearsed films I have shot, and by that I mean we actually had a rehearsal....
Since the film was set a couple of years after whatever disaster had befallen the planet, the actors and their wardrobe needed to look particularly destroyed. Because of that I asked the cast to bring some clothes that they didnt need back so we could distress them and thats exactly what our amazing wardrobe department did. The highly scientific approach was to tear the clothes, rub dirt and grease into them and stain everything with tea, or at least that is what we told the actors is was, fray everything at the edges and then finally set it all on fire a bit.
The result was that we had custom fit, beautifully ruined wardrobe, for free!!!
We also had a couple of amazing makeup artists, we needed two since all the actors had to look pretty rough and a couple of them very badly beaten up. We had a safe house, up the road where we prepared for everything and had lunch, out of the wind and the rain thankfully.
It was very important, since we had such an incredible location, that the actors not look out of place in it, and they didnt, they looked amazing.
All these details helped the actors feel and act perfectly authentic to the story.
It really was cold and damp and they really did feel as uncomfortable as they looked, but giving great actors all the opportunity you can to perform as well as they want to is so important. Too often filmmakers on a budget forget that the performances are the most important aspect of a film. More so than lighting or what camera you can beg, steal or borrow. If the actors aren't given every chance to use their craft, then they feel a huge lack of respect and trust from the director, and however hard they then might try, they can never give as good as they hoped and the film will always suffer.
Authenticity is the foundation of every film, and very, very independent films must cling to it more than most, or it will show in every frame and the point of any film is to be true.
We shot the first scene of the film, the death scene, on the first day, with just a stripped down crew, me, basically, and the actor.
The suicide scene.
Since it was the cause of everything that followed in the film, I wanted to make sure I got the action right. Having someone shoot themselves on screen is very powerful stuff, and because we couldn’t actually show that, we had to get quite creative, and in the end the build up to the actual shot was enough to let our imaginations do the rest. I think it worked really well. Actually, I’m quote sure that if I could have really shown the whole thing, blood, brains and all, it wouldn’t have held the same power somehow. Sometimes we see too much, just because its possible to recreate gore, doesn’t necessarily mean its necessary or even preferable.
The second day we brought everyone up, makeup and wardrobe during breakfast and set out to the location. Everyone was impressed with the location, and we all took a moment to really feel the power of it. After that it was really just a question of putting the actors in the right positions and letting them do their thing while we captured it on film. The perfect way to shoot I think, all the preparation and the work has been done, flip the record button and let the magic happen.
We did have a bit of a panic when we got back from lunch at the safe house to find the sky was black where it had been blue and the wind and rain had swept in. But in the sequence of the film it worked so perfectly, its like I arranged it with the universe!
The camera person had the flu that weekend, so Javier shot it for me and it was a magical couple of days that reminded me what a brilliant team we make. I even dragged my son Josh along for the day, he was a huge help, so it was a real family effort.
Of course we had our faithful grip Mike, and even a sound guy Scott, which was rare. With the wind and the rain he had a very hard time, but it was worth the effort, and any wind noise was thankfully explained away by the genre.
Over the years I have been on many sets where magic has happened, I’m lucky I know. But this film, with its dark and emotional story, and its heartfelt anguish was the most magical experience to date, which is saying something I can tell you.
It just worked.
The actors, the crew, the location, the weather, the wardrobe, the makeup, everything.Sometimes, when you think you have a fools hope of anything working at all, everything does and you can’t wipe that smile off your face for quite some time I can tell you.
Why does that happen, I hear you and especially me asking.
To quote a great and wonderful screenwriter, Tom Stoppard, “Everything will work out in the end, how? I don’t know, it’s a mystery”.
It is a mystery, just as mysterious as how a box with glass and mirrors and a bunch of chips in it can capture action and sound and emotion and then recreate it an infinitesimal number of times at our whim.
At its best making films is like creating memories that we can relive over and over again.
I may be over romanticizing, again... but these best memories, of our art, self made and self financed, are us. As a filmmakers, and as a human beings.
Every word spoken in a film that I have written is my ‘Why.’
“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.”
Billy Wilder (1906-2002);
filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist
Beautiful Sexy Funny Evil, 52 Films/52 Weeks, North Hollywood, 2011
Well, I agree whole heartedly with Billy!
If there is one skill that can’t be taught it’s to trust yourself. That’s something you have to learn on your own.
Mistakes, I’ve made a few....I’ve travelled each...don’t worry, this article doesn't sing at you like one of those very amusing, and very quickly, very annoying greeting cards.
But you get the idea. Everything I have ever really learnt about filmmaking, including writing, lighting, directing, editing and especially casting I have learnt through making mistakes. And sometimes, though not as often and after paying close attention to my own instincts, I have made the right decision and learnt that way. Hopefully,and at some point soon, that will happen more often than not.
Everyone has an opinion and when you make films you want to surround yourself with good people who have great opinions. But eventually, you are going to have to make decision about stuff all on your lonesome....petrifying I know.
Mostly because you don’t have anyone else to blame but yourself, of course.
But think of it this way. When the choices you make are the right ones, you will have only yourself to thank!
Great for the ever present, although furiously denied, ego.
If you want to make films, big budget or no budget, you have to be able to make choices.....all the time.
Which location, which crew to hire, which actor to hire, which time to schedule everything, which scene to shoot first, and on the day of shooting, which scene to scrap because of some kind disaster which, somehow, was also something you chose.
In the world of very independent filmmaking the buck starts and stops with you, the buck being the actual dollar amount of the budget that is...
In the context of full disclosure and because I trust you all not to spread this around, I have myself, very recently, chosen to go against my own instinct and my better judgement, several times and with the same person in fact, to very nearly disastrous results. Although they of course will never be made aware just how very nearly. It wouldn't do to admit just how crushed certain people can make one feel, even at my ripe old age, experience and couldn’t care lessness.
The fact is, if I had just trusted my instincts early on, things would have been very different. But of course, I let the lure of the work and the prospect of promises fulfilled lull me and consequently I was screwed....
So, we can all make mistakes and these mistakes can floor the best of us. In fact, in retrospect, I think I have learnt far more from this than I would have if things had worked out the way I thought they would. At least that is what I keep telling myself when my mind invariably strays in the direction of second guessing.
But that was working on someone else’s project, at someone else’s pace and with someone else’s agenda...too many ‘someone else’s’ that’s for sure...
So I guess that’s what I learnt from that fiasco. Be careful how many degrees away from being in control of the project you truly are.
If you are used to being the one in control of pretty much everything, then working with other people, or on their ‘team’ can sometimes cause a problem. If not for them, then probably for you. Its frustrating to not be helming the ship, even if the ship might be bigger and on a longer voyage, taking on a position of less control might be one compromise to many for you. Watching someone else steer, especially when you know they’re getting into treacherous waters and they just don't see that giant sea monster up ahead, no matter how hard you shout and wave your arms at them, is something I feel I am not cut out for.
Can you guess I used to work on boats?
But seriously folks, this is probably one of the biggest reasons I like to stick to my own projects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a control freak, nor do I enjoy micro-managing. I like to work with a team, amongst people I trust and enjoy spending time with. I like to be in charge, but not in a cult leader sort of way. I think I like to be trusted, we all do, that’s no big surprise.
Trust is something that comes naturally to me and in the project that shall remain nameless, from which I am still smarting, just a little, the trust I had in the project, myself and the boss was not reciprocated, in any direction I discovered, not just mine. But since I was the one dealing with that lack of trust and therefore respect on a daily basis, I got the brunt of it. Maybe thats why I over compensated by trusting too much in their direction, who knows, I’m no expert on my own psychosis, even after having lived with it for this long.....I wish I was!
In any case, what came out of it, within a couple of weeks of quitting, were two separate and equally fantastic new projects that I feel completely involved in, and with people I adore and trust, and some new people, friends of friends, that seem to trust and respect me. So I guess that’s filmmaking and regular karma furiously at work!
These two projects are far more up my alley as well, so the universe really was telling me over and over again to stick to my own path and not be drawn into someone els’s, however seemingly worthy.
How easy it is sometimes to convince yourself to fulfill certain peoples misguided dreams, in place of your own....hey ho....
Again, stick to your instincts, believe in your own mojo....it will steer you right, unless you’re a bit drunk, then you should probably check with someone else before making any life changing decisions.
And we’ll save misogynists for another day, shall we?
Because in the world of the very, very independent filmmaker we can, and do, tell them all to sod off, and quite rightly!
What’s this one about then?
There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.
- Frank Capra
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ― Woody Allen
‘Across The Pond’ TV pilot, England, 2008
So what is success?
When I first began making films as a producer 15 years ago, we did everything by the book. The script was completed before we even sent out a casting call. We cast out of a lovely spacious conference room in an agent’s office. The sides were beautifully printed and stapled, there were cookies and drinks in the waiting area. We had call backs, we held several rehearsals, pause for effect, and spent time on costume, shot lists, hiring equipment and so on. In short, we were very prepared.... The film was well executed and apart from some sound equipment malfunctions and therefore reshoots, which can happen on the biggest of movies, everything was perfect!
This was pre-Youtube, so the film ended up being seen by very few and the cut was certainly effected by the sound issue, but it was otherwise very successful. At least it was completed to our own extreme satisfaction. As a first attempt at filmmaking it was pretty amazing to be honest, especially as we were shooting on the first consumer quality 3 chip DV camera. So to those of us who were involved in the project, it was a complete success, and the more I make films and are involved other peoples as well as my own projects, I appreciate exactly what made that first one so successful to us. We decided it was a success because our expectations and our minds were very open, we just wanted to make a film from an idea that we had, and we wanted it to be as good as we knew it could be. We succeeded.
I think it is very important to be very clear from the beginning about what you think success is when it comes to your own project. The definition of success varies wildly from person to person, and so it follows that what makes a film successful can and should be unique to you and your film.
But what makes a very independent film successful?
To some it may be accolades, film festival awards, huge responses from friend and family etc, and to others it might simply be a completed cut.
It is really worth spending some time thinking about what you actually expect from your foray into filmmaking, realistically, because it that expectation will surely lie somewhere between Sundance and forgetting to press the record button. Even if all that thinking only accomplishes the lowering of your stress levels, its well worth the effort I can assure you, especially if you are fledgling filmmaker.
Here are a few mantra’s I have used over the years to keep me calm, with varying degrees of success.
“Lets make a film and learn a lot from the process”.
” Lets not be too hard on ourselves and have some fun whilst not wasting our and everyone else's time.”
“Blimey, I can’t believe I am actually making my film my way, how bloody lucky am? !!!”
The last one is my current favorite, but all of them and whatever else you make up for yourself will help to put things in perspective, or keep you honest. There does have to be a sense of balance, after all we don’t have anyone breathing down our necks asking for our first cut or demanding to know why we are over budget already.
Because along with the freedom that being an independent filmmaker allows, the joy that comes with no budget, no investors and no management, the bliss of working without any kind of pressure at all from anyone else, comes the very real danger that this same freedom you cherish will mean you will never finish shooting the film, let alone editing it.
Quite ridiculously and conversely, the best way I have found to work has always been under some kind of time pressure or stress, even if self inflicted. In the case of very independent filmmaking, this pressure must be set by us, the filmmakers. Setting ourselves the very clear boundaries of time, subject and film length is absolutely why we were able to make 52 films in as many weeks and finish them all in 2011. Even if we would recut some of them now, or make adjustments to sound or whatever, because lets face it, lot of filmmakers would change things in retrospect, even with money. But more scenes and more options isn’t always the best route to a good film or a completed film and a good completed film is, after all, what we are all hoping to achieve.
We are at the beginning of a new year, in case you hadn’t noticed, and I think it’s very important to remember that the last one seemed to go by disturbingly quickly, and while I remember some of it, I do think that I must have been tranquilized for a good deal of it otherwise why are we in 2013 already... That said, I have no intention of skipping through large chunks of 2013 like some okay movie we have seen a hundred times, fast forwarding through it only because we but feel compelled to watch again and again the one or two scenes we quite like. Or maybe that just a quirk unique to me. No, in 2013 I will wring the potential out of every single second with my own bare hands if I have to...or something to that effect.
I am loathe to make New Year resolutions because, along with everyone else I know, I can never keep them. But it doesn't hurt to write things down at this time of year or any other for that matter, so as to remember to actually do them eventually... or at some point in the near future.
So here’s a bit of a list of some of the things that might be worth thinking about this year, if your interests lie in filmmaking that is...
Create your own opportunity
When making a very independent film it is extremely important to make the decision early on that you are going to hire yourself. Give yourself a contract if you feel it’s necessary, write it down, have someone witness it and seal it with a blood oath if you have to. Thats a bit dramatic I hear you mumble, well of course it is, but that’s rather the point, to make it feel deathly important and therefore something you are bound by blood to complete at all costs, or perish in the pursuit of it. Otherwise it may well become one of the many things you wanted to do but never did, trust me, I have a lot of experiences of that...
Be good to others
After all once you set your foot on the road of filmmaking, and by that involve others on your journey, you do have an obligation to those ‘others’, certainly, and at the very least to not waste their time on something that will never see the light of day.
Don’t compare your project to anyone else’s
It is very easy to feel completely overwhelmed and underfunded when you do, as you undoubtably will, compare yourself to both the commercial and Independent worlds of filmmaking. But please try to free yourself of this terrible burden of comparison, it’s a completely pointless exercise and will only make you never begin anything.
Forget about being unique above everything else
Don’t worry if the idea for a film that you have held close to your breast since 9th grade has been already made, never saw general release and is now on Netflix, you are not trying to compete with studio or even independently financed films anyway. There is very little original film, in fact, even when you examine the films released that aren't remakes or sequels, almost all of them are adaptations of books at the very least. It’s very rare for a film to be green-lit that doesnt have a built in audience these days, sadly. Whether that is from bestselling novels, previous incantations, video games, or whatever. I am almost certain that there is a studio executive right now trying to figure out a way to make a movie out of a phone app.....Even though independent films are far more often original screen plays than the big studio films, just because a screenplay is original doesn’t mean the ideas behind it are. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a film and remarked at the end of it “wow, I have never seen anything like that before”......my point entirely.
So don’t worry about whether or not your idea for a film is the most original idea on the planet, if you write it, create the characters that live it, hire the actors that bring it to life and shoot it in your own style it will be unique and new.
The hardest thing to do is to begin. If it’s safe in your head then you can never fail, you won’t doubt yourself or your choices, or heaven forbid have to suffer the doubt of others.
Anyone who has ever done anything even remotely artistic, from writing War and Peace to painting the bathroom ceiling knows this. So to begin, to write the script, to find the locations and to realize that you can actually do this is hard to do, but you must. Even if your beginning is simply to name a new folder on your desktop and open up a document, name that and save it to that folder, something I do with every idea I have, its a start, and then it actually exists in the world. Once it exists you will feel obliged to at least visit it from time to time, if only out of politeness, and you’ll be surprised how quickly, with each visit, something begins to form. At a certain point that little folder on your desktop will be bulging with creativity and you will too! Maybe for you the feelings of success you will get from all this work will so invigorate the project that it will take on a life of its own and before you know it you will be shouting ‘Action!’ to a very confused looking flock of pigeons at the park or, more hopefully, a small group of inspired and enthusiastic fellow artists on your first day of filming.
Creating something, anything, is to me a success, in whatever form it takes. It’s hard enough to get through each day without bumping into things, so making something that begins in your own imagination, and then taking that something out of your head and putting it out into the world is miraculous and life changing, with luck not just for you either. And if what you then create, your film, feels completed to you, if it feels like ‘your’s’ and you love it, then isn’t that success?
Not every film that every ‘big’ filmmaker with a budget makes is successful, not to them and not on every level. Very independent films are bound to run into far more road blocks in production than big studio or pseudo independent films, but I always believe truly and deeply, that if a film gets made, and gets seen, even by just a few lucky people, then that is the true mark of success.
Allen Wolf, on the set of In My Sleep 2010
Why go to all the trouble and pain, why risk your money and your reputation and possibly your sanity?
Filmmakers are a funny lot, and very, very independent filmmakers have to be especially ‘out there’ because its hard work and no money and you are really and truly on your own much of the time on each project, start to finish.
‘Fontana’, 52 Films/52 Weeks
In the realm of very low budget filmmaking it can elevate the production value from 0 to a million dollars in one very simple and hopefully very free step. The studios have the luxury of purpose built sound stages and fabulous, fabulously expensive locations. We do not.