Creativity is King in the World
of Independent Film Production
A creative mind is a low budget independent filmmaker’s
most valuable tool. It all starts with an original thought; from there it is all
about nurturing that thought until it grows to be a brilliant idea. After that
it is a matter of getting that idea made into an independent film using every ounce of energy and
resources you can possibly muster up.
Most of the successful very low budget independent films that are showing at
film festivals these days are movies that were made at a fraction of the cost
that it takes to make a major Hollywood studio film. Advances in technology have
made it so that just about anyone can make a movie. Film cameras, video cameras,
sound recording equipment, and just about any other kind of equipment that one
needs to make a movie can be purchased at very affordable prices these days.
The equipment that is available these days can provide a
very low budget movie with a production value that looks like James Cameron had
something to do with the project (well, maybe not...but you get my point). This
professional look coupled with a unique story can increase the chances of a very
being accepted into film festivals like Houston Worldfest, Cannes, Toronto Film
Festival, Sundance Film Festival, etc…
Try as they might, the major Hollywood film studios will
never have a monopoly on creativity. They spend millions of dollars on marketing
research in an effort to figure out just what it is that the film-going
audiences of the world look for when they go to the movies. Despite all of this
effort, they still have not come up with a formula. They still need independent
films to satisfy the tastes of the movie going public when they are
oversaturated with technology-minded blockbuster films.
The preferences of people who go to the movies is as hard to
predict as an earthquake. The pattern changes all the time. Although they seem
to enjoy the big budget films, people cannot live on mindless entertainment
alone. Because of this
fact, once in a while the door is left wide open for the creative types of the world to enter
the game. All they need to do is come up with a unique idea that they can
transform into a movie, enter their independent film in film festivals like Sundance, and then let
the judges decide. While the big studios have tried to take over the film
festival circuit in recent years, it is still the little guys with the small,
yet creative independent films that are celebrated in that realm.
It does not cost as much as you
would think to make a movie that can be entered in film festivals like Sundance. Sony has a line of High Definition camcorders that are perfect
for anyone who wants to make an independent film on a shoestring budget. While
movies made with these cameras will not be shot on “film” (like they have been
since the beginning), they will (almost) look like they were.
These new HD video cameras give a high
quality image that is comparable to the image that film provides. Two of Sony's
latest are the PDW-F330 and the PDW-F350. They offer all sorts of film
production features that even the most film-loyal professional filmmaker must
respect. Both cameras offer true 24P recording in both SD and HD, interval
recording, and slow shutter recording to name a few.
Sony's F350 model also offers
true variable frame rate recording capabilities which are also referred to as
the “slow motion/fast motion” features. Features like these are very valuable to
anyone making a low budget independent film for it allows them to include motion effects in
their movie without the use of an expensive film camera or a high priced film
Sony's F350 HD camera costs about twenty
thousand, while the F330 model only costs about twelve thousand dollars. A
PDW-F30 deck is available for about seven thousand. These are small prices to
pay to be a self-sufficient independent filmmaker with everything you need to
make independent films with very little money.
A low budget filmmaker can invest
in a relatively low-cost HD video camera (and deck) and
make as many independent films as their mind and body can crank out. All they
will need is some creativity, a few thousand dollars, a few ambitious and
for their actors and crew, some script writing software like
Final Draft, a computer with post-production software like Final Cut
Studio and an iron resolve to make a movie. They do not have to
worry about the high costs of film stock, film processing, or film-to-DVD
transfers. All they will need is their camera and a $30 disc (23.3GB) and they
will be set to film an entire movie. Buying discs for a camera is a lot cheaper
than buying film and all the financial baggage that comes with it.
Once they shoot their movie with
one of these cameras, a low budget filmmaker can go right to their computer with
the disc and start editing it using one of the many affordable editing programs
that are available these days such as Final Cut Pro. They can do all of
the post production work for their independent film on their home computer, as long as they
are willing to shoulder a mother load of work responsibilities.
Technology has allowed
independent filmmakers to bypass many expensive steps in the filmmaking process.
Instead of paying a bunch of people hundreds of dollars an hour for film
services that are only available in cities like Hollywood and New York, they can
now do all of these steps in the comfort of their own home on their own
For anyone who has ever had a dream of making their own
independent film, there is no better time than now to make it happen. The playing field has
been leveled in terms of technology, but you still need a creative story to get
anywhere on the film festival circuit. The affordable equipment can get you on
the field, but you must bring a good game to win.
A creative mind is your best
player in the independent film game. If you have that part taken care of you are halfway to
making your film vision a reality.
Nurture your creative idea until it becomes a unique script
and then dedicate your life to making this script into an independent film. If
your idea is as good as you think it is you will do quite well at film
festivals. If this happens, it could lead to a decent distribution deal
for your movie. If you stick with it and continue to make movies you may even
find that you have made yourself a career as a professional artist who makes
independent films, and that dreams really can become reality.
Michael P. Connelly
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