Ardent guest blogs for The New England Film Junkie

When we started out to do some festival promotion for the Boston Latino International Film Festival, we did what we usually do — we got in touch with local media to let them know we would be in town with The Devil’s Tail. We got what is perhaps the coolest pre-festival news so far: Darren Garnick from the New England Film Junkie (a part of the Boston Herald) got in touch and asked us to do a guest post. We decided to write about what we know best — independent, low (no) budget filmmaking — and the piece was published today. Check out the excerpt below, and visit the New England Film Junkie site to read the rest. (You need to scroll down to the second article to see us.)  

How We Made an International No-Budget Movie

Here’s how you, too, can make a feature that gets on the festival circuit and wins awards – with almost no money!

Make a schedule, and stick to it. Not just a shooting schedule; assign a date to every important milestone from the idea’s conception: first draft completed by; second draft; cast actors; secure main location; readthrough; and so on. A real, hard schedule is the most important tool for completing a movie. Without one, you’re just a hobbyist.

Write a good script. Focus it on character and story and themes that are personally significant to you, not one that is a copy of the latest Hollywood movie. Avoid including anything that will cost you money i.e. car chases, thousands of extras, rented locations, a role for Harrison Ford, etc. You don’t have their budget, so don’t write as if you do.

Know as many of your locations in advance, and write a script that takes full advantage of what is already there. In our case, we had a story about Americans, Canadians and Mexicans converging in Mexico. We flew down on air miles, rented a beach house for a month, and it and the grounds became our main location AND accommodation. Almost all other locations (city streets, cenotés, pyramids) were shot guerrilla style.

Digital technology is your friend in more ways than one. When we say digital, we don’t just mean camera and editing packages. Audition on the web. We wanted actors from across North America, but couldn’t afford auditions in three different countries. Apart from actors we already worked with, we used casting websites. We posted character breakdowns online and actors emailed pictures and resumes and uploaded video auditions to our ftp site. If you find an actor who can figure out how to record their own audition and upload it to an ftp site, that’s a pretty resourceful actor and you probably want them by your side.

Get commitments and contracts up front. All payments to be deferred UPON SALE OF FILM, of course.

(Wait! There’s more! visit the New England Film Junkie site to read the rest. You need to scroll down to the second article to see us.)

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