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I need low budget inspiration stories

tales of success?

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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

Guys and Gals I could really use your help.

I'm starting my next documentary in March. It's a biopic, and I've spent the last three years corresponding with the subject, and I've finally gotten him to sign on to participate in the film. That and in March there is an event being held in his honor (he's a former Olympic athlete with a tremendous story of success and failure).

I could wait forever for the ideal conditions, for money and gear which may never come.

Instead, I've resolved to shoot something...anything. To get the key interview, and shoot enough of...something, anything to sculpt a short proof of concept film to help raise money for the whole show.

The rub is he's in Hawaii, so the travel costs are a pretty huge chunk of the money I have to spend. I've had to beg and borrow a camera (an EX1-R) and I'm sleeping on the floor at a friend's place, who lives on the island as well.

This is about as humble a production as one can be. I've got to do it. I know I must, because if I don't do it now, I don't think I ever will.

And yet, I'm terrified that it'll all be a waste of time, because what I shoot will betray those humble origins. I see all these terrific documentaries, and I see how long the credits are of all the crew involved. I can't afford even that on this trip.

I feel terribly self conscious, like, how can I possible expect to make a good film without lots of money to throw at crew and post production and all that.

I know that's a silly thought. I try to tell myself it's about the story, and telling it well.

I just still feel like I'm going to go into this thing, and waste everyone's time. That I'm just not good enough, and I'm going to fail to do this story justice.

I need inspiration. I need stories of success from such humble beginnings. I need to believe that what I'm trying to do could turn into something worthwhile, that I might actually be making a good film here.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:32 PM

Get high quality interview audio, that is the key.
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:41 PM

Get high quality interview audio, that is the key.


No problem there. Using a marantz 670 with a nice lav mic and a second backup for the audio.

In fact, much of his interview will be off camera. I want to keep him unseen, a voice only, seen through archival images and films, until the end when he is revealed.

I know, it's nuts, but I'm confident this is the pathway to making this film really distinct, and I don't want to work with a safety net. I'll have to force myself to be creative to give imagery to what we are hearing.

As a bonus, I don't have to worry about lighting. For the brief amount of interview footage I'll shoot, it will be outdoors, and I'll rely on bounced cards for fill.

Apart from the interviews I will gather lot s of B-roll of his daily life. I think the trailer will be a purposely mundane series of vignettes of his daily life, with the surprise reveal that this humble old man was once an Olympic athlete.
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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

There are always a million reasons why you can't. Quitting is easy, doesn't take any effort at all, all you gotta do is stop then blame everything on what you didn't have and what you couldn't do to make yourself feel better. You can tell stories for years about how you almost got there, almost did it, came so close but were dashed by reality. Well here's a shocker, we're film makers. We don't live in reality. We look at the odds and laugh the go ahead anyway. If you dwell on what you don't have or can't do, you've defeated yourself before you've even started. It may not have occurred to you but you've chosen the hardest profession in the world so quit complaining about it, get up on your horse and get it done. There is no secret, no short cut, no magic formula. It takes only the will NOT to quit. You need to take a long, hard look at yourself and decide because there are one HELL of a lot easier ways to make a living. If THIS film is the one you want to make, make it. If you're not able to do it right now, make something else but whatever you do, commit to doing it and follow through because that is the only thing that will make you a film maker. We do this for the love of doing it, the money's just a way of keeping score. B)
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#5 Brian Rose

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

There are always a million reasons why you can't. Quitting is easy, doesn't take any effort at all, all you gotta do is stop then blame everything on what you didn't have and what you couldn't do to make yourself feel better. You can tell stories for years about how you almost got there, almost did it, came so close but were dashed by reality. Well here's a shocker, we're film makers. We don't live in reality. We look at the odds and laugh the go ahead anyway. If you dwell on what you don't have or can't do, you've defeated yourself before you've even started. It may not have occurred to you but you've chosen the hardest profession in the world so quit complaining about it, get up on your horse and get it done. There is no secret, no short cut, no magic formula. It takes only the will NOT to quit. You need to take a long, hard look at yourself and decide because there are one HELL of a lot easier ways to make a living. If THIS film is the one you want to make, make it. If you're not able to do it right now, make something else but whatever you do, commit to doing it and follow through because that is the only thing that will make you a film maker. We do this for the love of doing it, the money's just a way of keeping score. B)


Yeah, I know it's an awfully hard profession. It's what I love to do, and it's the only thing I think I'm good at. I just want to do a good job telling this story, and I have all these terrible self doubts. I mean, loving what you do doesn't make you good at it, or mean you have talent. I love running, but I'll never be more than fifth rate, because I don't have the talent. What if that is the same for film? What if, no matter how much I love what I do, and how hard I work, i'll never be more than mediocre, because I just don't have what it takes? I fear disappointing people by not making a really great piece of work.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

Orin Peli with his crew of one, himself, made a movie with $13, 000.00 that made 100 million at the box office.

So to heck with everyone that says you can't do it, just do it. And do it for YOURSELF. Don't try and please the audience, or will fail miserably.

R,
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:22 PM

Yeah, I know it's an awfully hard profession. It's what I love to do, and it's the only thing I think I'm good at. I just want to do a good job telling this story, and I have all these terrible self doubts. I mean, loving what you do doesn't make you good at it, or mean you have talent. I love running, but I'll never be more than fifth rate, because I don't have the talent. What if that is the same for film? What if, no matter how much I love what I do, and how hard I work, i'll never be more than mediocre, because I just don't have what it takes? I fear disappointing people by not making a really great piece of work.


Ed Wood made 59 movies and had a block buster hit film made about him that starred Johnny freakin' Depp!!! Nobody ever said you had to have talent to be a film maker!! What the Hell are you worried about? :lol:
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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:24 PM

Orin Peli with his crew of one, himself, made a movie with $13, 000.00 that made 100 million at the box office.

So to heck with everyone that says you can't do it, just do it. And do it for YOURSELF. Don't try and please the audience, or will fail miserably.

R,

Pay attention Brian, man knows what he's talkin' about
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#9 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:24 AM

Ed Wood made 59 movies and had a block buster hit film made about him that starred Johnny freakin' Depp!!! Nobody ever said you had to have talent to be a film maker!! What the Hell are you worried about? :lol:

"Ed Wood" is a masterpiece, but it wasn't a hit and certainly not a blockbuster.That movie is sublime, the irony is thick- cinematography is gorgeous, the directing/performances are perfect, soundtrack, etc..It's literally food for the soul. Unfortunately the marketing campaign was (?). I saw it on the back of a shoe box in a tiny theater in D.C. in 1994/95. A matinee with one other person who walked out after 15 minutes.. just a crazy world we live in, huh?
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:11 AM

On Sunday I have an intimidatingly huge shoot for which there are still many things to organise, and I went down with norovirus this weekend. The temptation to cancel was overwhelming, but I somehow managed not to.

If I can do it, a small patch of moss on the underside of a small pebble can do it.
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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

On Sunday I have an intimidatingly huge shoot for which there are still many things to organise, and I went down with norovirus this weekend. The temptation to cancel was overwhelming, but I somehow managed not to.

If I can do it, a small patch of moss on the underside of a small pebble can do it.


er Phil! It IS Sunday! I'm afraid you may have some missing time there!!!

Freya
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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

"There are those who believe they can... and there are those who believe they can't... and they are both right!"

Freya
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

The EX1R is a really good camera that can still hold it's own right now. It would be better if you had an outboard hdmi recorder too for backup and higher quality but what the hey. Nowt wrong with an EX1R. Be sure to film it all properly just in case. You can throw it all away later if need be, but you can't put something special back in that you missed! It's also good practice and yes get good sound too. Not sure what the quality of the audio is like on the EX1R but I suggest you record at least a guide track to the EX1R too. I've been spoiled with my DVX100 which has great sound quality.

Freya
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#14 Heikki Repo

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:02 AM

We finished one year ago a documentary of 30' length. It cost us about 7000 EUR (incl. music and very nominal payments to our crew) and we shot it using EX3. We had a crew of four, of which there was usually only three or two people present (dop, me=director, ad). Some parts I as the director shot myself. Considering that the subject wasn't the best setup for a documentary (four different people and their lives) I think we managed it quite well. And if that was manageable, what you are doing is even more so. :)

The trailer is here:
PM me if you want to see the whole thing.
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#15 Bruce Greene

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

That saliari composer was no Mozart. But he was pretty darn good.

There is always someone better than one's self. That should never stop you.

Never give up, never surrender!
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#16 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

The EX1R is a really good camera that can still hold it's own right now. It would be better if you had an outboard hdmi recorder too for backup and higher quality but what the hey. Nowt wrong with an EX1R. Be sure to film it all properly just in case. You can throw it all away later if need be, but you can't put something special back in that you missed! It's also good practice and yes get good sound too. Not sure what the quality of the audio is like on the EX1R but I suggest you record at least a guide track to the EX1R too. I've been spoiled with my DVX100 which has great sound quality.

Freya

Yeah I wish I had better too, but that's the damned infernal thing about all this.  No matter what I shoot on, it'll go out of date, unless it's film which I don't have budget for on this production.  Wish I could used a second recorder, but it just adds more to rental fees, and batteries I have to contend with.

 

At the end of the day, I hate shooting a picture this way.  I want to do it right, and the best way I can.  But the money isn't there, and there won't be any coming until I've got something to show.  And ultimately, I've got to shoot something, or I'll never shoot anything, and I'll hate myself for that.

 

I just hope and pray I've got what it takes to make it work under the limits I have. I hope I have the ingenuity and the creativity to tell this story well.  I pray I'm not a hack that's gonna blow this thing, and ruin a great story that needs to be told.


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#17 Paul Salmons

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:01 AM

Even Michael Jordan didn't make the high school basketball team. You are not perfect, art is not perfect. It's ok to fail, even if this film is the worst documentary ever made, the worse you fail the more you will learn. At some point you have to suck it up and try. When all else fails, just go on netflix and look at some of the flops there that are bank rolling the next project.


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#18 georg wachberg

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:47 AM

... here's a shocker, we're film makers. We don't live in reality. 

yes. yes. yes.


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#19 georg wachberg

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

i have a similar situation. decided to make a no budget feature. lucky i have some

equipment at hand for free (sonyf3, zeiss primes, good audio), but, hell, much work.

keeping actors happy, getting free, yet beautiful locations, organizing a f^ckin' lot

more than i want to ... 

 

as you sound, mate, you have to do it or regret it for ever. just one thought. i would

go with where the material takes you.


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#20 georg wachberg

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:13 AM

if you can by any means have second camera as wider shot or

different angle, it makes the final thing so much more interesting.

if you don't have anything better and can shoot in daylight, use

an iphone. is full HD after all. buy a little glider for it on amazon

for 5o,- and you have some camera moves as well.

 

shooting hawai can be a big positive. great light, great landscape.

take him sitting alone atthe beach, reflecting on his former life. or

as part of a family beach party, interviewing others about him. what

the think about him, what they actually know about him. 

 

get inspiration out of great documentaries with similar topics.

bruce weber's piece on chet baker comes to mind. 

 

go for it.

 

g


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Willys Widgets

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Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc