Jump to content


Photo

An Example of Showcasing with Zero Budget


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Jim Keller

Jim Keller
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Producer
  • Fresno, CA

Posted 12 June 2009 - 12:57 PM

I'll start with the disclaimer: I have a (weak) financial interest in this project, as I did a one-day guest role on it and will therefore get paid if the creators ever succeed in monetizing it. I am not a producer on the project, nor am I being paid to promote it.

Now that that's out of the way, here's what I think everyone on this board should take a look at:

And Boris: The Web Series

The story behind this project is that the creators -- a husband and wife team -- were both laid off from their day jobs in the same week. Rather than collecting unemployment and whining about how they can't find anyone to fund their $1 million feature, they assessed what capabilities they had (a number of friends who are actors, training from USC School of Cinema and Television, a garage full of... uh... props, and a cheap still camera with a movie mode) and spun a story that they could tell with what they had. The first "season" was produced for, literally, no money. The second "season" saw someone interested enough to loan them a consumer-grade HD camera, and they spent a little money (under $700) feeding and costuming actors.

I'd love to hear what all you out there think. Are they helping or hindering their futures as filmmakers by doing a project like this? Do you consider this useful as a technique of showcasing, and hopefully building your momentum into bigger projects?

Speaking as a producer, here are the things I think they're doing very, very right:
  • Conspicuously admitting to how low the budget is. When things look cheap or badly produced and someone is trying to pretend they've spent $10,000 on it in order to justify a bigger return or a bigger investment in their next project, I frankly wonder about their abilities. When this project looks cheap or badly produced, I'm amazed that it looks as good as it does.
  • Delivering it on the web. Being able to watch it conveniently, and for free, makes it far more likely that I will see it. If I have to drag myself off to some obscure festival or hope I get mailed a screener to watch it, I'm almost certainly not going to. Also, since the web has such low standards, this team is coming in a cut above a lot of their online competition, as opposed to looking pathetic at a festival.
  • Keeping it fun and short (for the most part). Yes, they haven't always stuck to this (there's at least one episode that is predominately heavier drama rather than lighthearted action), but I'm far more likely to watch when I'm laughing rather than when the project is making me want to slit my wrists.
Other reactions?

Edited by Jim Keller, 12 June 2009 - 01:02 PM.

  • 0

#2 Alex Donkle

Alex Donkle
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Sound Department

Posted 25 June 2009 - 12:41 AM

Personal opinion, but when Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, and company first created super low budget films a while back, it was impressive and maybe did help make their stories more marketable. While it’s still very challenging to make movies for next to nothing, I think the glory of it has faded.
A good movie is a good movie, and the technical elements either distract or they don’t. Looking at the site and watching some clips, it doesn’t strike me as something worth paying for honestly. Impressive? Sure (and saying that fully accepting I don’t have the ability to do what they’ve done). But I’m not overly compelled to go hand the makers a bunch of money to do a feature or create a new season.
I’m more impressed by someone that created an excellent 1 minute film that could pass for big budget stuff, than someone that can make a series off the same amount of money that looks and sounds amateur. There are some people that’ll pay money for movies solely on the “look what they did for only $x amount", but the vast majority of people just want to be entertained and not be questioning why it doesn’t look or sound like a professional production. Films shouldn't have disclaimers. That's just my opinion though, and everyone is entitled to their own.

Having said that, projects like that can be great to help people hone their skills and meet people.

Edited by Alex Donkle, 25 June 2009 - 12:43 AM.

  • 0

#3 David Rakoczy

David Rakoczy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1579 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • USA

Posted 25 June 2009 - 07:43 AM

Jim,

I think they are right on and a great example of the American Spirit and how a Free Market Economy (should) work! I especially like the part where they didn't sit around feeling helpless and sorry for themselves but rather got off their asses and MADE it happen. Kudos to them! ;)
  • 0

#4 Jim Keller

Jim Keller
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Producer
  • Fresno, CA

Posted 25 June 2009 - 01:16 PM

Having said that, projects like that can be great to help people hone their skills and meet people.


Oh, I'm totally with you there. When I was still actively teaching, I always told my students to happily work on any project, no matter how awful, because someone on that awful project is going to climb the food chain and know you've got the skills to deliver what they need on a bigger and better project.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

CineTape

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

CineLab