Sunday, June 29, 2008

12 Days

(Comic from Player vs Player, specifically this place.)

So... we shot a movie in 12 days. It was hard to do and we did it because our scheduling fell apart so badly that we just had to. But low-budget genre filmmakers seem to do just that -- shoot in 12 days. Corman shot quite a few pictures in 12 days. I know The Asylum (at least used to) shoot their pictures in 12 days. Even Dov Siemans recommends the 12-day shoot ("You can get someone to commit to 2 weeks. If you say '3 weeks', that sounds like a month. Nobody wants to commit to your low/no-budget picture for a month.")

But I like 20-day shoots. I like 4-day weeks. I suppose if I had to choose, I'd go with three 4-day weeks. I don't like anything more than 10-hour days. Interestingly, because of locations constraints, the 10-hour day (including lunch) is usually our maximum anyway.

I may end up with a 12-day shoot to schedule on my next picture. That means 80 setups a day, which is obnoxious. 40 setups is a lot more relaxed (one every 15 minutes rather than one every 7 1/2 minutes).


So that little thingy from Mark McGill has been going around the independent movie blogopile? John August has his take on it.

Oddly, most of what Mark McGill says doesn't really apply to us at the bottom of the heap in the "genre" film world. It's a nightmare world out there for art-house, but in our $10K-budget-to-make-$50K-back-world, it doesn't really apply.

And to demonstrate the philosophical difference between the genre and art-house worlds, John says:

We need to ask, “Failure for whom?” Even a movie that doesn’t earn its budget back will likely make money for its distributors, once you factor in video and TV sales. More crucially, a good indie film generates future work for its stars and filmmakers. So there’s a lot of success to be found in that 99.9% failure.

Egads Man! Failure for the people putting up money for the picture means (in our universe) that you don't get to make another picture!

This is why I say there are basically two worlds in independent filmmaking. There's the world where you try to convince rich people to give you money in a way which virtually guarantees they won't make it back, and there are those who try to make their investors' money back. Or another way to put it: there are the art-house filmmakers who complain about film festivals, and the genre filmmakers who complain about distributors.


Chance Shirley said...

You shot a movie in 12 days. Man, I am such a loser. I hope I can see some of it the next time I visit.

That John August is a good fella. And I agree with him. At the end of the day, if you want to make a movie, you should. But that's not to say you shouldn't be mindful of commercial possibilities for your movie.

"Or another way to put it: there are the art-house filmmakers who complain about film festivals, and the genre filmmakers who complain about distributors."

Very insightful. Is it just me, or do we seem to hear from the art-house indies much more than the genre indies? Why isn't there a magazine like Filmmaker or Movie Maker for us genre guys?

Andrew Bellware said...

The feature we shot in 12 days was actually Angry Planet/Solar Vengeance. That doesn't count a couple days of reshoots (which were very short 1-hour type days).

I think the reason we don't hear as much about the genre indies is that they've established themselves as the "true" independent filmmakers and we're just the exploitation guys. Of course they're just jealous because we can greenlight our own pictures. So maybe there's no "Filmmaker" for us because we're the guys who write the book.

Shooting in 12 days is hard. I don't wanna do that anymore. But when you have an ensemble cast (which it looks like I'm gonna have on the next picture) I don't see another way to deal with the schedule.

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