Why You Should Go Ahead and Shoot Your First Feature Film Without a Budget.
No Budget? No Problem!
If any of you have seen my first feature film “The Garden’s Keeper” you would notice that it’s very low-budget. 750 dollars total budget. It’s crazy, I know, but failing to secure funds taught me more than I would have learned if I had more money. I’m not saying more money is bad. Your first film is a learning experience. The less money you have the more creative you get and the more you learn.
Doing a feature film without any money will help you be more creative, trust me. It sucks not being able to represent your vision on-screen, but you will learn how to solve problems even before they present themselves. Solving problems is an ability that everyone should have. It will help you in other aspects of your life including business and family.
Another thing I did, even though I had access to a pocket dolly and a small crane, is shoot the film on a tripod. In my mind, I had to dominate the most basic form of storytelling. I’m happy to say that I was able to pull it off and I know that in my next film I will be more confident.
Wearing many hats in production will actually help you budget and hire people for the second one. You will know what must be done, how much time it takes, and what abilities that person needs to do the job. I transferred all the footage and audio filmed each day, organize it, and double-check it (we had 2 hard drives). That was something I learned while working in L.A. as a video editor and wearing many hats.
A somewhat famous Mexican film director (who had a few movies in Mexican Theaters) once told me: “My first movie sucked. It was horrible. It had bad lighting, bad directing, bad acting, but I was learning how to direct”. This actually inspired me since he is now making million dollar movies. He also said to me “people will hate your first film, they will say it’s crap, your second film? same response, it’s crap, your third one? they will say that you are starting to make decent films but it’s still bad. About your fourth film, people will start to appreciate them and think they are not so bad”. With that in mind, I set out to do at least 4 feature films. My 15th film could be the one that gets me noticed or my 5th one or my 50th one, I…