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Archive for the Category "Low-Budget"

You’re All Invited – WAKE UNTO ME Online Premiere Jun 11

Wake Unto Me

A woman alleging to be a time traveler makes a startling proposition to someone she claims will become her future spouse.

Most of you know me for my proofreading and script consulting services, but I also dabble in filmmaking.

My last short film, TRIPLE TIMe, was fortunate enough to win a number of awards at festivals this year and I was already gearing up for another project when the 2018 AT&T SHAPE Mobile Filmmaking Competition came along.

The challenge was to film a five minute short film, using only a mobile phone, tablet or drone, then edit and submit it — all within one week’s time! How do you say no to that?!

The really cool part is that Warner Bros. Studios allowed us to film at one of their sets — which was chosen at random. We were lucky enough to get the same set where the climax of DARK KNIGHT RISES was filmed.

Watch and Vote

From June 22nd to June 25th, I am cordially inviting all my clients and blog readers to watch the online world premiere of the short my team created.

It’s free, only five minutes in length, and you can watch it from any device that has an Internet connection!

Please head over to the Facebook event page for all the particulars of the online premiere and contest voting.

And don’t forget, when the time comes, if you enjoy the film, please vote for us to win! Online voting accounts for 25% of the score.

Mobile Filmmaking

I sure learned A LOT from the process of making a short film using only a mobile phone camera (albeit an amazing one, with add-on lenses, etc.). Is anyone interested in reading or watching videos about my experiences? How I put it all together, etc.? Filmmaking in general?

If so, let me know!

The Raven Apr 24

This sci-fi action short, by Peruvian Director Ricardo De Montreuil, was created for only $5,000 and shot in one weekend in L.A. It was originally conceived as part of a trilogy, but now, according to The Latino Review, the director is fielding calls from studios interested in turning it into a feature film — and the short’s only been on the web for a few days.

What’s stopping you from creating your own amazing short, and writing yourself into Hollywood?

Vimeo Link

Want me to personally read your script and let you know if it’s ready to go out? Please take a look at my professional script services.

Category: Low-Budget, Shorts  | 3 Comments
3 Tips for Low-Budget Spec Scripts Jan 31

Low-Budget Success

With the recent sale of the low-budget film Buried at the Sundance Film Festival, and the success of movies like Paranormal Activity, a lot of screenwriters are hoping to craft the next great low-budget film.

Here are three things screenwriters should keep in mind when writing low-budget spec scripts.

1. Make Sure It Is Contained

One of the key things low-budget filmmakers look at is the number of shooting locations in your script. If your story takes place in five locations or less, it is said to be “contained.”

Here are a couple of excerpts from one of InkTip‘s recent newsletters (where they post industry requests for scripts):

Company F

We are looking for completed feature-length contained indie scripts in the vein of “In Bruges,” “Up in the Air,” “Juno,” or “Thank you for Smoking,” i.e. anything written in a Jason Reitman style. Specifically, though not exclusively, we are interested in screenplays which feature young adults (16-21). Please note, contained means 85% or more of the story takes place in 5 or fewer locations. A location in this context refers to the setup and breakdown of equipment for a shoot, so if your script takes place in five rooms in a single house, that’s still just one location. A city, on the other hand, is not a location. [Emphasis Added]

Company G

We are looking for completed feature-length mystery/suspense scripts that can be shot on a first feature budget. Submissions should be for contemporary, character-driven material that takes place in five or fewer locations. [Emphasis Added]

See the pattern?

If you’re writing a low-budget feature film on spec, make sure it’s contained in five or fewer locations.

2. Embrace the Limited Number of Locations

Some screenwriters are now taking big budget movies they’ve written and converting them into low-budget flims. That’s a very tricky thing to do — especially if the story is to maintain its organic feel.

When James Wan and Leigh Whannell developed their idea for the movie Saw, they built it from the ground up — knowing they needed a story that could be fully realized with only a handful of locations.

The story came out of that mandate, and therefore worked very effectively. If you take a big budget movie and simply strip locations out of it, more likely than not, you’ll simply end up with a watered down version of your original concept.

It is therefore vital that you write a movie that works better as a low-budget movie than as a big-budget picture. The story should capitalize on the limited locations, rather than feel like it’s suffering because of it.

Can you imagine how much less effective (and successful) Paranormal Activity would have been if it were filmed with a large budget?

3. A Low-Budget Film Does Not Mean A Weak Concept

Just because you’re writing a low-budget film it doesn’t mean you can get away with writing a boring, cliché or uneventful movie. Concept and execution are still king.

The Blair Witch Project, had a brilliant marketing ploy with the idea of “found footage.”

Open Water, had a horrifying and attention grabbing premise.

Paranormal Activity, featured some genuinely creepy moments that had never been filmed before.

Buried, takes place entirely in one very claustrophobic location.

Moreover, all of these films made the most of their respective hooks by sustaining tension throughout and building to a thrilling climax.

Does your low-budget spec script have a powerful concept? Is it entertaining/enjoyable/thrilling throughout?

Despite what the headlines tell us, it’s still a very difficult market for spec scripts of all budgets. Whether writing a low-budget indie or a big studio feature, write the hell out of that script! It’s the only way it’ll be sold.

Category: Low-Budget  | 3 Comments