Making a film should be, in my humble opinion at least, as daring and as bold and as seemingly impossible as trying to catch lightning in a bottle. And when done right, the results are just as beautiful as what I would imagine lightning would look like, captured and bottled. But as difficult as that might seem, and I am no physicist…I’m pretty sure catching lightening is actually impossible. What I am really reaching for is the concept of setting your expectations really, really high and to not be afraid of that.
Why bother making something at all if it doesn’t scare the pants off you a bit!
If you have something buzzing around in your head, something that keeps you up at night, and haunts your dreams when you do eventually drop off, then that is exactly what is worth all your time and effort.
Just because you have no money and possibly very little expertise, this doesn’t mean you cant aspire to something beyond your reach…well, actually it means exactly that…
Being bold of course doesn’t mean you should try to make something completely unattainable, like, um, I’m actually having a little trouble thinking of something unattainable right now…
I suppose that a massive space battle between loads of space ships might be a bit difficult to do with no money, but honestly, unless you are thinking of comparing your CGI to Avatar, you could even make a film entirely set in space. It would just be more like first generation Battle Star Galactica than Gravity.
But it is your film!
So, if you wanted your alien planet to look like say, North Hollywood and could explain it, perhaps by inventing a parallel universe warp in the space time continuum clause, or something, then go ahead!
I’ve certainly seen several aliens walking about in broad daylight in Noho, and I don’t mean undocumented New Zealand bartenders!
The point is to make it something that burns within you. After all, you could save all the effects or makeup or set building etc for just one grand final scene, glorifying the entire film.
One film I saw a couple of years ago did just that, although it wasn’t exactly a zero budget film, but it was completely independent.
The film in question, ’Safety Not Guaranteed’, was a comedy made in 2012 based on an actual ad posted by bored employees in a local paper. They asked for someone to accompany them back in time, hence the title of the film. Its really about the two main characters and the locations are a motel, a house, a beach, and thats about it really. So when you get to the final scene, the money shot if you will, it’s a real payoff because nothing you have seen up to that point in the film would lead you to expect the kind of science fiction, beautiful effect shot ending.
Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but it really is worth seeing, an excellent and inspiring film.
I think the reason I am writing about this is to repeat over and over to you, and indeed to myself, that we really are limited only by our own imaginations, even in the world of very, very independent film. Because really, when you look at it, these brilliant moments that we capture on film really should be brilliant. They should be the absolute best things we can do, the absolute best of us, because, in the end, that is all we have to give.
Our film, our art.
So, just like the very best part of the pie, which for me is either the first part or the last part. I never can decide. What we create from the very best of ourselves is our very best creation.
Even with no budget and nothing but hope and a handbag is ours and our alone which I think is the point of all art in the end…to be ourselves.
So dream it all up and pick up a camera and go out there and film it, starships hung with string and wobbly sets and all.
And don’t worry, it will be brilliant because it’s you…