3 Key No Budget Filmmaking Principles
Behind the Scenes of “Breathless” by Jean-Luc Godard
1. USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Do you need the latest RED EPIC 6k, 8k, 10k camera?
So get yourself into the discipline of getting your ideas on paper, then translate them into a preproduction plan and then shoot your film. As simple and as hard as that.
BUT first, take into account what do you have and what will you most likely have available when you actually shoot your film. It is as simple as making a LIST and fitting, for example, the locations YOU have available.
When you are done with Locations you should cover this list:
- LOCATIONS (Use Natural Light INT/EXT + FREE use)
- GEAR (Cameras + Lighting + Sound) (Owned/ Rented)
- TIME (The weekends / 1 day a month/ etc. ) (How can I pull it off with the time I have got?)
- TEAM & SKILLS (Is it a one man job or do you need a team? Can you get a team? Can you do several tasks and minimize the team size to its minimum? Can you learn the job so you do not need someone else? Is it worth it?)
2. CREATIVITY ALWAYS WINS
AFTER Knowing WHAT you have at your disposal, let creativity STEP IN!
BUILD THE STORY YOU LIKE THAT COULD FIT WHAT YOU HAVE
Meaning, you wouldn’t want to build a story you are not passionate about for the basic reason that you won’t enjoy the process of filming it if you didn’t like the process of writting it. Maybe for that same reason you won’t even never finish the film…
Get deeper in the theme you wish, that you have an interest in and let ideas come to you.
Pick Ideas WITHOUT judging if they are suitable or not for your very very independent film project. Evaluation comes afterwards.
PICK IDEAS BY THEIR CREATIVE WORTH.
Try to make the most exciting and creative story that you can having in mind that you will be doing an evaluation afterwards where you’ll choose and modify the ideas you found the most excitings to tell.
That brings us to the next point…
3. EVALUATE IDEAS MINDING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
Now is the time to toss (but not permanently) all the ideas you find boring or that you simply don’t like as much.
Pick one or two and see where it leads you. Relate to your subject/theme, expand it, bring old ideas back in and maybe from the mix comes a bigger idea that you never expected. But always operate through principles or axioms because if not you will become mad in an endless sea of possibilities.
The axioms or principles or questions are:
- How does this relate to my THEME? Is it necessary (dramatically and thematically)?
- Is this the best WAY/ FORM to express that idea? Is there a better one? How can I improve the one that I have got?
If you can answer the questions from above, you are ready to go and write your story.
In the process you will find better ways to fit those ideas into your story and more importantly you will find better ways to fit those ideas into a script that you can produce and film.
It is a process of trial and error, as any other craftsman’s job.